View Full Version : Legacy Lenses MF-1 OM Adapter (OM to 4/3 Lens Adapter)

10-09-2005, 04:41 PM
http://www.olympusamerica.com/e1/e1_img/accessories/1140_mf1.jpg (http://www.olympusamerica.com/e1/sys_acc_lens.asp)
PDF on OM lens compatibility (http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_files/mf1instcomp.pdf)
Let's a person attach OM lenses to a 4/3 camera.
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10-09-2005, 04:42 PM
More to come at some point...

10-09-2005, 04:44 PM

10-09-2005, 04:44 PM
Please use this format, or else you will be deleted!!!
price paid:
Other info:

First Light
10-24-2005, 12:01 PM
Years ago Olympus and its Zuiko lens division earned an excellent reputation in the SLR camera industry for its OM line of 35mm film SLR cameras and high-quality lenses. Many of these Zuiko OM lenses were considered to have some of the best optics in the world and a consistently superior build quality to their larger competitors. The OM system was popular enough for a variety of third-party lens manufacturers to develop lenses for the system. The result today is that there is a substantial number of these older "legacy" lenses available for sale on eBay and at used camera dealers. Often these lenses cost hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars less than their Zuiko Digital 4/3rds equivalent.

The MF-1 OM adapter provides an excellent way to mechanically mount one of these legacy OM lenses onto a 4/3rds mount camera like the E-1, E-300, E-330 and E-500. I have one and I've used it with a variety of OM lenses. The adapter is carefully designed so that the focus range of the lense is preserved. You can still focus to infinity.

This is only a mechanical adapter. It does not adapt any electrical connections. Nor would any of the 4/3rds camera bodies be able to control an automatic OM lens even if the electrical connections were adapted. This means that the only way you can control a legacy OM lens is manually. You must manually set the aperture (f-stop) and focus. The latter is a serious problem for consumer and prosumer 4/3rds bodies like the E-500 and E-300 because their small optical viewfinders make it difficult to see well enough to manually focus a lens. A pro body like the E-1 is much better. Plus the focusing screen of an E-1 can be replaced with a custom split-prism focusing screen from a third party like Katz Eye Optics (http://www.keoptics.com/). I did this and I love having a high-quality split prism with microprism collar in my viewfinder. It makes it very easy to quickly focus a lens manually (both a legacy OM lens and a Zuiko Digital 4/3rds lens). The E-330 has been announced but is not yet available. Its large live preview in its LCD monitor may aid manual focus, making it a good choice for use with a legacy lens. We'll have to wait and see once it is available.

Since the MF-1 is only a mechanical adapter, it also means that you will not be able to operate your camera in Program (P) or Shutter-priority (S) mode. You must use either the Aperture-priority (A) or Manual (M) mode. This will be further complicated by the fact that the in-camera metering system of your 4/3rds camera will not function properly with a legacy OM lens (it will be worse when the lens aperture is wide open). In other words, your pictures may not be exposed properly if you rely on the camera's light meter. But this is not as big of a problem as it sounds because you can easily review a test shot on the camera's LCD monitor and adjust the aperture and/or shutter speed until you get good exposures.

The lens image circle of a legacy OM lens is designed for a 35mm film frame so it will be substantially cropped by the much smaller image sensor of a 4/3rds camera. Measured diagonally, a 4/3rds camera will use only the center half of the lens image circle. This means that the effective optical resolution of the lens will be less and your pictures will often be softer than a lens made for the 4/3rds system. It also means that you will lose at least one f-stop of brightness compared to a 4/3rds lens that focuses all of its light on the image sensor. This won't affect the depth of field (DOF) but it will force you to use a slower shutter speed. The only good news here is that the center portion of a lens is usually its best.

Digital image sensors need light to strike the sensor straight on. Problems occur if the light strikes the sensor at an angle. For this reason, the 4/3rds standard has very stringent specs for the light path angle. Legacy OM lenses had no such requirement because 35mm film is not as sensitive to the light angle. As a result, many legacy OM lenses that produce great pictures with film may exhibit problems when used with a digital camera. You can expect to see some vignetting and chromatic aberrations (CA) in otherwise good lenses. Fortunately, these problems are worse near the edges and, since only the center half of the lens image circle is used, the problem may not be noticeable with many lenses. Generally, it is worse with wide-angle (short focal length) lenses.

Note: We have a forum dedicated to the review of legacy lenses on 4/3rds cameras. Please visit the Users Reviews of Legacy Lenses (http://www.fourthirdsphoto.com/vbb/forumdisplay.php?f=9) forum for more information.

Price Paid:
I received a MF-1 OM adapter free from Olympus during a limited-time offer to E-1 owners in the U.S. This give-away has expired and the adapter now lists for US$99.

Other Info:
John Foster evaluated a wide range of legacy OM Zuiko lenses on an E-1 camera and reports his results here: The Cornucopia OM Zuiko's on E-1 Body (http://www.biofos.com/cornucop/omz_e1.html). His evaluations include 8mm to 500mm lenses. His empirical results are not very precise (he doesn't measure resolution, CA or vignetting) but they do provide a good general guide for which legacy OM Zuiko lenses work best. He does not test third-party OM lenses so you're on your own with them.

Here's my advice: Use a lens made for the 4/3rds system whenever you can (Zuiko Digital or Sigma). Lenses made for the system will almost always produce the best results. However, if you already have a lot of legacy OM lenses, then this adapter will enable you to extend their life. Plus, you might find that a used super-telephoto OM lens is much cheaper than a US$6000 ZD 300mm f2.8 ED lens.

Other 4/3rds Adapters:
The MF-1 is not the only 4/3rds adapter offered by Olympus. They also have an ASE-01 Astro-Scope adapter so you can use your 4/3rds camera with a telescope or a microscope. This is a special order item that costs about the same (US$99) and there is very little information available for it. I believe it is a T-mount to 4/3rds adapter. You can order one from B&H here: ASE-01 Astro-Scope Adatper (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&amp;A=details&amp;Q=&amp;sku=302090&amp;is=REG&amp; addedTroughType=search). Note: If you want to connect your 4/3rds camera to a telescope or microscope and you don't mind stacking two adapters you can also do it with a T-mount to OM adapter plus an OM to 4/3rds adapter (like the MF-1). That's what I did before the ASE-01 was available and it works well.

Another source of 4/3rds adapters is Camera Quest (http://www.cameraquest.com/adapt_olyE1.htm). They offer a variety of 4/3rds adapters for the following mounts: OM, Nikon F, Pentax M42, Pentax K, Contax/Yashica, Leica R, Exakta, Topcon, Minolta MC/MD, and Rollei SL. Most cost US$175.

Yet another source of 4/3rds adapters is Krzysztof Jankowski. His website is only available in Polish here: foto-akcesoria (http://www.foto-akcesoria.com.pl/). However, he will correspond via email in English (email: info@foto-akcesoria.com.pl). He offers 4/3rds adapters for the following mounts: OM, Pentax M42, and T2. Prices range from US$30 to $68. He also says that he will have adapters for the following mounts in the near future: Nikon, Pentax K, Contax/Yashica, and Leica R. This may be the best source for low-cost adapters; however, I have never done business with him so I cannot vouch for him.

10-31-2005, 04:57 PM
Where can I get one? Olympus website says out of stock...

12-08-2005, 05:16 AM
Thanks for the in-depth review First Light,

I just want to add to this thread an issue i have encountered with the OM-&gt;FourThirds adapter related to its use with short focal lengths. It will be noticeable below about 20 mm.

The OM-adapter is 0.1 mm thinner than the ideal thickness required to produce the infinity focus setting of an OM-lens at the actual infinity mark. With lenses of \'ordinary\' focal lengths where the lens package moves several millimeters, that is not critically important. However with for example an 8 mm lens, an offset of the lens by as little as about 0.1 mm will change the focus from infinity to 0.3 m. Thus, the fact that the OM-&gt;FourThirds adapter is 0.1 mm too thin makes the distance scale on short focal length lenses very unrelieble and it will also give considerably longer shortest focus distance. Thisalso severely limits the convenient shooting style with extreme wide angle lenses to set a hyperfocal distance on the distance scale and then rely on the immense DOF of the lens for focus.

Regards, Jens.