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Thread: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

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    Default Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    I'd like to get some opinions on adapters for OM and other legacy lenses. I know that you lose the ability to focus to infinity when using an adapter, but I haven't been able to find any other drawbacks associated with them (obviously manual focusing and aperture, but I don't think they're necessarily drawbacks). Sorry if this has been discussed in another thread, but I couldn't find anything; feel free to direct me there.

    Is it worth using legacy lenses with adapters? I'm looking particularly at prime, fast lenses with (relatively) short focal lengths - no longer than 50mm and absolutely no slower than 2.8. Thoughts?

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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    hmm. With a properly made adapter, you don't "lose infinity", but with most you can focus a little past infinity. This is done to ensure that all lenses will be able to obtain infinity focus.

    I've used adapted lenses since I bought the L1 in 2007. There are many superb lenses out there. Using adapted lenses on the SLRs has its drawbacks in terms of constraints on camera function ... metering range and accuracy, camera feature support, and how well you can focus manually. The E-1 and E-3 have better viewfinders for manual focusing than other SLR models, the L1 is only so-so. But I found it worth it.

    Then I bought the G1. Adapted manual lenses on the G1 are as easy to use and have fewer constraints in use than on the SLR bodies; indeed, they seem to work as well or better than on the cameras they were originally designed for in many cases. The G1's metering system is hardly affected at all by the adaptations, and the viewfinder is superb for manual focusing.

    Since I bought the G1, I've discontinued using adapted lenses on the E-1 or L1 as those bodies work best with FourThirds lenses. I have a nice, small kit of adapted lenses that return excellent results with the G1.

    Perhaps what I'm using now would be helpful for you to consider.

    SLR kit:

    11-22/2.8-3.5
    14-50/2.8-3.5
    25/1.4, 25/2.8
    35/3.5
    50/2 (+EC14)

    G1 kit:
    Cosmicar 12.5mm f/1.4 TV
    Lumix G 20/1.7
    Konica Hexanon AR 40/1.8
    Olympus Pen F G.Zuiko 70mm f/2
    Pentax SMC-Takumar 135mm f/3.5

    The Konica and Pentax lenses can also be used on the SLRs, the Pentax with the EC14 as well. All the SLR lenses can be used with the G1, the two 25s will autofocus on it too.

    It's a kit that is working very well for my work, and exploits the capabilities of both the SLR and G1 bodies well.

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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    I have the Konica Hexanon AR 40mm 1.8, except it is modified to mount directly on my e-620.
    However, I am considering some other legacy primes - I know olympus makes the OM adapters - but what about other adapters. Godfrey, I noticed that you are using a cosmicar TV lens - I have seen micro 4/3 adapters for those cctv, c-mount lenses, but nothing for standard 4/3. I am shooting an e-620.
    This is the kind of lens I am looking for (small and fast):

    http://cgi.ebay.ca/Cosmicar-16mm-cct...#ht_500wt_1182

    What do you think? Are there any adapters from c-mount to standard 4/3?

    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    You cannot adapt C-mount lenses to FourThirds SLR cameras ... the mirror and mirror box gets in the way, the mount register is too deep.

    For FourThirds SLR cameras, you can get adapters for Olympus OM, Nikon, Leica R, Contax/Yashica, Pentax M42 and K, Exacta, and maybe a couple other SLR lens mounts. Konica lenses require the lens itself be modified, as you already know, and Minolta MC/MD lenses can be used but the mounting is a little tricky IMO.

    See CameraQuest.com and look for "adapters". Steve Gandy carries a good number of them.

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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    Is it worth using legacy lenses with adapters? I'm looking particularly at prime, fast lenses with (relatively) short focal lengths - no longer than 50mm and absolutely no slower than 2.8. Thoughts?
    Sure! but don't bother with the focus confirm chips. Also IMHO old lenses over 50mm and the macros are the ones to try.
    February Photos
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    Comments/criticisms are just my personal opinion and are meant to be constructive. Please feel free to do the same for me.


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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    Godfrey said....

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    ... Minolta MC/MD lenses can be used but the mounting is a little tricky IMO.
    This may be more a matter of how handy you are, but the procedure is not really difficult.

    The aperture adjustment pin of the Minolta MC and MD lenses protrudes a bit too far into the Olympus SLR mirror box to insure smooth operation of your lens's aperture adjustment ring. Depending on the Olympus body you use, the pin may snag on the edge or the surface of the mirror box. Or it may fit perfectly fine without snagging! One of my lenses mounted without snagging on my E-420, but required shaving to fit the E-620. Three other MC Rokkor's required slight shaving to fit well on either camera.

    The trick is to take your Dremel tool's grinder wheel and shave the pin. Use reversed (sticky-side-out) masking tape, duct tape or gaffers tape over the lens aperture when you do this. It'll protect the lens and also catch the shavings.

    Different Minolta lenses may require that you shave more or less from the pin. The Minolta lenses I own all seemed to have pins of slightly different lengths. After careful measuring though, I found that when a lens is mounted on the adapter, a pin-length of 10mm beyond the adapter flange will clear the mirror box sufficiently to allow free movement of the aperture ring once the lens/adapter combination is mounted on the camera.

    This whole procedure sounds a lot riskier than it is. Just mount your adapter on the camera and carefully measure the depth from the front of the adapter flange to the front of the mirror box. Then mount the adapter on your lens and measure how far the pin extends behind the adapter's front flange. Shave off any excess with the Dremel.

    Before shaving, be sure to cover the lens aperture well enough to prevent any grit from getting inside. But that's easy to accomplish with a roll of two-inch wide duct tape.

    Oh... and even after shaving the extra pin length, your lenses should still function on your Minolta body without difficulty. At least mine do, on both my SRT-101 and SRT-201. Reports from other folks indicate their Minoltas still function properly, too.

    P.S. As MikeL mentioned, forget the focus confirm chips. In my experience, they won't give you a precise enough indication for critical work. You'll do better with LiveView magnification or, if you're shooting action, with zone focusing.
    Last edited by BobG; 02-24-2010 at 11:58 AM. Reason: added p.s.
    Peace,



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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    Thanks! I just looked at the mount on a minolta MD and it looks very similar to an olympus digital mount. Just to make sure I'm clear though BobG, on the lens pictured below, the only modification that needs to be done to fit it onto an olympus evolt is shaving down the black pin protruding from the mount?



    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    Just to clarify: after shaving down the pin, you still need an adapter to mount Minolta MD to 4/3. I have the CameraQuest adapter, but have heard that the less expensive ones available on Ebay are just as good.

    My favorite legacy lens is an MD 50mm f/1.7, which is an absolute joy to use on the E-510. It's small, lightweight, and plenty fast. I've had no difficulty at all focusing with the Olympus viewfinder.

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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    Dear Jimmi232,

    You might want to visit FORUM > FRONT PAGE NEWS > FOUR THIRDS - ADAPTORS on this website to read my Inexpensive Chinese Lens Adaptors Awaken DSLR Lens Hacking article. This short piece (6 pages, 14 figures, PDF format) addresses several of your questions.

    Good luck and happy hacking,

    George

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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    I think the question with Minolta Rokkors is not only shaving the pin down, very easy, but also the fact that the adapters are so thin that they have to be screwed tight to the lens, via allen key head grub screw, and whilst this is not difficult it makes changing lenses a real pain unless you have separate adapters on each lens.

    Sure there are some pretty nice Rokkors but there are more convenient, easier to use, better lenses out there. My legacy journey for 4/3s started off in M42, visited Minolta and wound up in Contax/Yashica mount Ziess T*s and Leica Rs, sure it can be great fun finding out what each lens can do, and discovering that its great to have 5 50mm fast primes all with slightly different characters that can be used for different styles of picture - but when I look at which lenses I use the most it always gets back to Leica R 35 & 50 or Zeiss 28, 50, 80, 135. (with very easy to use adapters)

    The temptation is to go for 200mm+ (heavy requiring tripod only use), teles, hoping that you can get a bargain, some are stunningly sharp in the middle distance range but pretty messy at full distance, which rarely makes them any better than Oly 70-300, and never as convenient.

    So I'd say unless you've already got a pile of Rokkors and you really love their style stay away from them.

    Clive

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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    And the answer is....

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmi232 View Post
    Just to make sure I'm clear though BobG, on the lens pictured below, the only modification that needs to be done to fit it onto an olympus evolt is shaving down the black pin protruding from the mount?
    ... Yes. That's the pin that (usually) needs shaving. But as others have pointed out, you do also need an adapter so you can mount the lens on the Oly bodies. You mount the lens to the adapter, then mount both on the body.

    I have one adapter for each lens I use, so it's a simple matter to switch lenses -- just push button and twist, same as with your regular ZD lenses.

    Prices vary widely from around $80 (US) with an AF-confirm chip -- don't waste your money, the AF chip isn't that big a help -- to around $15 or so for those without the chip. Each one I've purchased has come from a different eBay vendor and each was priced differently. But I haven't experienced any quality issues with any of them.

    The adapters from jinfinance seem to have a good reputation. My first one came from there and I use it on a 50mm F1.4 MC Rokkor. The bokeh from that lens is absolutely marvelous! Last one I purchased ($15 US) came from one of the vendors mentioned in the article DocFox noted above. You can find that thread here...

    http://forum.fourthirdsphoto.com/showthread.php?t=52728

    The one thing I haven't been able to find yet is a rear lens cap that will fit over the adapter to protect that end of the lens. Oly rear lens caps don't fit. This makes carrying these lenses unmounted a bit inconvenient. I keep each one in its own extra-heavy-duty thick plastic bag pouch, then put that with enclosed lens inside a foam gadget the Aussies call a "stubby cooler." But it would be nice to do away with the plastic pouch if I could just find a cap that would mount over the back end of the lens adapter.
    Peace,



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    Default Re: Legacy Lens Adapters - worth it?

    I find the Rokkors only need less than a mm taken off. The adapter can be a pest if you keep changing Minolta lenses on 4/3, but they are great if you have micro 4/3 with a micro 4/3 adapter.

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