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Thread: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

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    Default Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    I've been shooting olympus since I got into photography (admittedly not long ago), but I've been restricted to the domain of film by my truly severe budget. If I saved all the money I spend on film and developing I could buy an E-410 kit in about a year, but I wouldn't be able to shoot at all in that time. So I've been looking at the possibility of just skipping the kit lenses and using my OMs with the adapter.

    Reasons for this:
    -I prefer primes
    -I use large apertures a lot
    -For the money I would spend on one kit-quality normal zoom I could have several large-aperture telephoto primes
    -I almost never shoot wide-angle. I used to, but my preferences have moved away, and if they move back in the future, I'd be more inclined to buy an 11-22 someday when I have more income
    -I'm happy to go slow and focus manually and meter in stop-down mode. I mean, come on, I spent a year shooting with and OM-1 with a broken meter
    -Compact size is important to me. I love how small my OM-2 with the 50mm 1.8 is. I'm not terribly inclined towards any lens that big with such a short reach and small max aperture

    Just for a little more info, I have a 35mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, 100mm f2.8, and a 75-150mm f4 zoom. I don't know if the last has ever been tried on a digital body, but as I've seen all the others tested, I'd be interested to know if anyone has. I plan on adding more OM zuikos for use with my OM-2, because even once I do have an E-410 I don't plan on ditching my nice full-frame slr, so I'd probably pick ones that could also be used nicely with the digital.

    So basically, I'm just interested in others' experience with zuiko legacy lenses on the Olympus digital bodies, especially the E-410 and E-510. If I'm happy with stop-down metering and manual focus, and I prefer the telephoto range, do you think I'll be happy with the OMs on an E-410?

    I do plan on buying digital lenses sometime in the future, but at the moment I'm on a really tight budget, and will be for a while, so I feel it would be more economic to buy the E-410 body and the adaptor rather than the kit lenses, so that I have more selection right off the bat, and a selection that better fits my goals. But I want to be careful with my money; are there any glaring flaws or otherwise important things I should keep in mind?

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    Default Re: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    Just got my E-400, specifically for use with some of my manual focus primes. Works fine as long as you have 20:20 vision. I've never had glasses but intuition tells me those who wear them would have a tough time manually focusing with an E-400. If money's the problem, why not get a different model? I've seen E-330 and E-500 go for practically nothing...

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    Default Re: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    Hi Erikksen,

    manual focus with any lens that produces a shallow DOF (f# < 2.8) will be difficult with the small viewfinders of the E-400/410/510. I would strongly suggest that you get at least the 14-42 kit lens when you get around to buy the camera. (Note that there are kits containing also the 40-150 for just $100 added.) Believe me, it will allow you to exploit your digital camera in many more situations than just relying on legacy lenses and you will increase your keepers rate even if the ZD lenses are dimmer.

    If finances are tough, you can find the kit lenses second hand at very attractive prices.

    Cheers, Jens.
    Motto: Wildlife won't come to me unless I go to it.
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    E-5, E-3, E-510, IR-E-1 ,E-P2
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    Default Re: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    I'll just combine and second the opinions already given. I shoot a lot with manual lenses, but I'd be considerably limited to shoot with them exclusively. You want at least the 14-4x, and probably the two lens kit to start with. The best deal going for a camera to use with manual lenses is currently the E-330. It gives up compactness and a little resolution versus the E-410, but gains some dynamic range and the surprisingly useful "A"mode Live View, plus the price is very low at present.

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    Default Re: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    Hmm... I'll look into the E-330. I hadn't really thought about it, but now that's starting to look like a very good option.

    I am aware that the second kit lens only adds another $100, but for me $100 dollars is actually quite a lot. If I could get a kit with just the E-410 with the 40-150, I would, since that's the range I mostly work in, and the long end of the 14-45 just isn't quite enough for me. But basically the situation is that I can buy the adaptor and use the legacy lenses (my eyes should be ok for focusing, and then stopping down will increase dof) OR I can get one kit lens, but only one. That's really all I can afford right now.

    Unless I get one of the older bodies like acme mentioned...

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    Default Re: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    My experience with OM lenses is solely with an E1, which I understand has a larger & brighter VF than most of the other E cameras. You mention you're interested in longer lengths. I found the OM 135mm f2.8 a joy to use--was easily focused at f5.6 so need to open wide & then stop down. Plus I could operate it reasonably well in shooting moving subjects (like our dog). That said, once I got the DZ 40-150mm, I seldom used the 135mm again.

    While I could handhold the 135mm, the same was not true for my OM 200mm f4 and 300mm f4.5. I used the 200mm, like my 135mm, until I got the DZ 40-150mm. However, I always kept my my 300mm lens in the bag and always carry a tripod. It is my absolute favorite OM lens. But, I just purchased the Sigma 135-400mm telephoto, and it's replacing all my OM lenses except my 50mm f1.8, which I think will be useful in some low light situations. My 300mm is now listed on eBay. I don't really want to sell it, but my budget is too tight to allow me to keep it at the Sigma, too. Assuming it sells near my reserve, I will have just covered the expense of the Sigma with sales of my OM lenses.

    So, here's my short take: If all you can afford are the OM lenses, go for it! They work, and they work well, as long as you understand their limitations. They are sharpest in the f5.6 to f11 apertures, too, so be aware that if you shoot wide open, you will have some softness (which may or may not be desirable). On the other hand, if you can find a good used copy of the DZ 14-42mm, you won't regret owning it. It shouldn't cost any more than the OM lenses I mentioned above, either, and maybe less.

    Cheers,
    HS
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    Default Re: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    I'm seeing the E-330 for $329 at amazon, so I'm in much better shape here than I was expecting price-wise, now that I'm looking at options other than the E-410.

    I tried focussing with several lenses using only the ground glass (no split prism) and holding my OM-2 viewfinder away from my eye, to effectively narrow it down to about 2x the focal length, in a really cheap, imprecise sort of way. Of course, it's still brighter than the E330's porro-mirror assembly, but it's dimmer stopped down. I found that on the ground glass I could focus accurately even at the larger apertures pretty much all the time, and even fairly consistently with no glasses. So I'm pretty optimistic about manual focus, especially with the E330's live view on top of that.

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    Default Re: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    Quote Originally Posted by er1kksen View Post
    I found that on the ground glass I could focus accurately even at the larger apertures pretty much all the time, and even fairly consistently with no glasses. So I'm pretty optimistic about manual focus, especially with the E330's live view on top of that.
    Bear in mind that the E- series cameras don't use ground glass screens, but rather microlens based ones. They're inherently brighter than ground glass (this is how the 1-12 OM screen is so bright), but by gathering up more of the incoming light cones they hide focusing error at fast f-stops (below f/2.8). For critical manual focus with fast lenses an aftermarket split prism screen, or live view, are the only reliable solutions.

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    Default Re: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    Well, I can focus at f4 most of the time (especially as the screen is brighter) and use live view B when needed, or most of the time if I prefer it. Thanks for recommending the E330, otherwise I wouldn't have looked into it.

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    Default Re: Buying Advice (legacy-lens related)

    I have pressed some of my legacy Nikkors into use on 4/3. Some things I've noticed...

    Don't use most of my old Nikkors, because they fall into a range covered by my 4/3 zooms. In side by side tests, I didn't see any improvement by going to a prime, and at wider apertures, the ZD zoom seemed to resolve a bit better. That's not a slam on the Nikkors, they're fast and high grade, more a statement on how good the intermediate ZD zooms are. I'm down to two that can do things my current ZD collection can't. A 105 1.8 and 400 3.5.

    Also had the focusing problem, especially with the 400 and it's shallow DOF. I put a Katzeye focusing screen in my E1, and that put the focusing problems to rest. It also gave the E1 a very 'retro' look in the VF, with the focusing ring and split prism.

    Live B with 10x magnification on the E330 really helps, if you can take the time. It's even more precise than the Katzeye screen. I'm also finding that it works extremely well with my 2800mm F10 lens, better known as a Celestron C8+ telescope. Having that bright screen with it's light boosting capability for framing and focusing on celestial objects is wonderful.

    If you're looking at E330's, consider getting one with the 14-42 kit lens. Price will be lower than buying them individually. Note also that the 14-54 is plunging in price right now, and it's a terrific lens. The 11-22 doesn't seem to be dropping in price. Darn it.

    And if you like primes, you should really check out the 50 Macro. It is very sharp.
    E3, E1, E330, EP1, EM5
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