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Old Aug 7, 2010, 7:53 PM   #11
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Guys..

A really interesting post. I think for $40 the 50mm f1.8 would still be good to have if you needed some fast glass and didn;t want to slpurge out for the PL25, any of the Sigmas or the ZD 50mm f2. I'm still hankering after an old 50mm CZ 1.8/1.4 or a Lecia R 50mm F2... but as Zig's pointed out even the Oly kit lenses are pretty darn good.

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Old Aug 7, 2010, 9:14 PM   #12
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Hi Guys,

Paul, thanks for taking the time to put together a rather thorough comparison of various legacy lenses against the ZD digital lenses. It is much appreciated.

Fred,
There may be some benefit in clarifying my earlier statement.
From my perspective, I think there are plenty of legacy lenses that can and are being put to good use on digital camera bodies to achieve certain effects as well as images that, otherwise would be difficult to replicate with ZD Digital lenses. As an example, I would very much like to have an old Olympus or Minolta 50mm 1.4 lens prime because of the shallow depth of field those lenses render. I think either one would be a good choice as a portrait lens in situations where I want to eliminate the background.

As John pointed out, a 400mm legacy prime is reasonably priced and can produce some pretty darn good wildlife shots for a lot less money than the 50-200mm+ EC-20 tele-convertor combo.

But, I still believe that when you use one of these lenses you need to be prepared to accept a lot of out-of-focus shots that can be very frustrating.
When I first started to use the OM 135mm f3.5 and OM 50mm f1.8 I took a lot of practice shots and felt that I really knew how to use those lenses. Then, one weekend near the Christmas Holiday, my wife and I visited our son, his wife and the 2 grandkids. I took a lot of candid photos of the grandkids thinking that I had nailed the shots. When I got home and loaded the image files onto my computer, I realized that most of them were slightly out of focus. But enough to render them useless. Had I only used the 14 -54mm lens that was in the bag, I would have those images framed and hanging on the wall today.

Now, at the time, I had the E-510 camera body equipped with a relatively small viewfinder. Normally, the size of the viewfinder is not that critical with a digital lens as the camera focuses the lenses for me and I mainly use the viewfinder to compose and frame the shot. Using the OM lenses, you really need to be able to 'see' through the viewfinder and determine when the shot is in focus since the camera can't communicate to the lens.

People who have an E-3, E-1 or the E-30 typically have better results because those bodies all have larger viewfinders making it easier to focus in the lens.

Anyways, I know there are plenty of people out there that are successfully
using old glass on digital bodies. But it's not as easy and straightforward as using a kit lens.

Zig
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Old Aug 8, 2010, 1:28 AM   #13
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Zig pretty much nailed it with that post. I'd say for 90% of the DSLR users here legacy glass would be a non-starter. It appeals to a certain type of shooter. It's not easy, takes patience and you have to be willing to miss shots.

BTW Zig, by fast 400mm i was thinking more along the lines of the Nikon 400/3.5 which would actually be about the same as a used 50-200 with ec-20 but would be faster. Sometimes the extra speed makes all the difference. Here's a comparison of shots taken with the Sigma 135-400 on the left and the Tamron 80-200/2.8 on the right. Note that despite being taken at 800 instead of 1600 I could still get a faster shutter speed and a better shot with the Tamron.

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Old Aug 10, 2010, 7:43 AM   #14
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I am in the process of conducting some additional lens tests on both the ZD and various legacy lens; this time under more carefully controlled conditions. With this set I will keep the shutter speed at a constant 1/2000th and vary only the aperture. These tests will also be performed with the mirror lockup (antishock) as vibration has proved to be a bugger especially with the 50-250 and longer lens. I will post all of the final results here when complete so that everyone can evaluate and form there own opinions.

One thing has already become very apparent and that is that a lens that tests very well with respect to resolution does not always produce sharp images in real world shooting situations. Such is the case with my Olympus 50mm f1.8. As I stated earlier in this thread I was initially disappointed with this lens and found that I got better results from my Nikon Series E 50mm 1.8. Yet when I compare tests of these two lens, the Olympus beats out the Nikon in sharpness. Why?

Zig has mentioned several times that the problem with most of the manual focus lenses is that they can be difficult to obtain sharp focus and I believe this is the answer. I find the Olympus 50 more difficult to focus than the Nikon 50 even using the Live View 10x magnification. I don't know or understand the focusing mechanism of either lens but I suspect that the difference in focusing behavior is related to their helicoid design. The Nikon just seems to snap into focus but with the OM I have to really work at it.
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 7:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Hi Fred,

By the way, some people use split screen viewfinders that they buy on EBay that work the same way as the split screen focusing screens used in 35mm cameras. Trouble with those are that they mess up the metering system in the camera.(more wasted money).
Zig
Hi, Zig

I have to disagree with you on this. According to Rebecca Katz's folks, the only Oly DSLRs that have the metering tied to the focus screen are the E-3 and E-30. Metering in the other bodies should be fine (although KatzEye doesn't appear to make one for the E-6xx bodies). Of course, they're Massachusetts folks and who knows if their veracity can be trusted...

The previous owner of my L1 had had KatzEye install a split image screen with their OptiBrite option. I have to tell you that it makes manual focusing a real pleasure. But you have to be willing to spend $200+ for it. And I've always agreed with you that legacy glass designed for film SLRs just isn't worth it over ZD (or PL) lenses unless you already have some, can get one real cheap, or just plain like to futz with them.

One note of warning for folks whose experience doesn't go back to the earlier days of 35mm film cameras: The original 35mm cameras were rangefinders and the diaphragms in their lenses stopped down when you turned the aperture ring because there was no reason for them not to. When SLRs were invented, the OVF would get pretty dark when the lens was stopped down, and the split image part of the focus screen would black out. So lens manufacturers invented Auto lenses. In an Auto lens (this term is not the same as auto-focus), turning the aperture ring doesn't move the iris, it just tells the camera where to stop down to when the shutter is tripped - this kept the OVF at it's maximum brightness. Nowadays Auto lenses are so common that we forget that not all lenses are Auto - specifically the lenses made for rangefinders (like most Leica legacy lenses) are not. If you get a split image focus screen and use it with a non-Auto lens you will probably be disappointed. Of course, manual focusing with a stopped-down non-Auto lens is tough anyway...

All that said, I really like the KatzEye screen in the L1.

[End of ramble ]

Ted
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 1:00 PM   #16
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Hi Ted,

I was careful in stating that I was referring to split screens purchased on EBay.
From my personal experience, I bought 1 of these low cost screens and installed it in an E-510. While, it was easy to install, and it did aid in focusing a manual focus lens, the exposure of my images had changed. To the point that I decided to take it out and replace it with the original screen. The exposure on my images returned to normal. I decided that it was better to go with the original screen.

Katzeye screens are a different product entirely and, since I've never used on, I can't really comment on it.

Zig
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 4:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Hi Ted,
I was careful in stating that I was referring to split screens purchased on EBay.
Zig
Yes, you were. But I wanted folks to know that the KatzEye screens are very different than the Chinese ones on EBay. I felt that you did not make this distinction clear, presumably because you have had no experience with KatzEye screens. I wouldn't have brought this up except that my experience with a KatzEye screen is so dramatically different than what you conveyed about these screens in general.

Quote:
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Katzeye screens are a different product entirely
Zig
Well you didn't make that clear. And folks that do a lot of manual focus on Oly DSLRs other than the E-3 and E-30, may very well find them useful. I posted this only because I felt you gave folks a limited view of the split image screens available. Frankly, your summary was equivalent to discussing Oly lenses only in the context of their Standard lenses, ignoring their other 2 higher grades. I understand why that happened - your only experience was negative. But my experience with KatzEye screens is very different.

Also it was hard to resist teasing you about a Massachusetts company.

Ted

PS: I would also note that in my limted experience with the KatzEye screens, the Optibrite option is not worth the price.

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Old Aug 10, 2010, 8:16 PM   #18
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For those who just can't enough information on using non ZD lenses on Olympus' digital cameras, here's a pretty good article on the subject:

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/any-lens.html

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Old Aug 20, 2010, 3:11 PM   #19
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Fred - I have the same lense that I bought on Ebay for $109 after a friend recommended it. I realized today when I received the shipment that it would require an adapter to fit on my E-420 - where did you purchase the adapter?
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 8:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Fred - I have the same lense that I bought on Ebay for $109 after a friend recommended it. I realized today when I received the shipment that it would require an adapter to fit on my E-420 - where did you purchase the adapter?
Amazon.com has them available for 19.95 each if you don't mind not having an auto confirm chip. they are made and shipped by Fotodiox.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846


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