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Legacy Lenses Discuss the use of older lenses, using adapters, from the Olympus OM system, Leica M and R-series, and the millions of others too.

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  #1  
Old 28th February 2010
big_al
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70-300 or more

Hi All
as i have said in my "introduce yourself " threrad I am a complete novice.
I am wanting to take shots of birds but would like to go with the older lenses as the dedicate ones seem so expensive when you can play with adapters.
Can someone please point in the right direction of what to look for on e-bay or elsewhere? Which lenses , adapters etc to buy or steer clear of.
Thanks Alan
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  #2  
Old 28th February 2010
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Ian Ian is offline
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Re: 70-300 or more

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Originally Posted by big_al View Post
Hi All
as i have said in my "introduce yourself " threrad I am a complete novice.
I am wanting to take shots of birds but would like to go with the older lenses as the dedicate ones seem so expensive when you can play with adapters.
Can someone please point in the right direction of what to look for on e-bay or elsewhere? Which lenses , adapters etc to buy or steer clear of.
Thanks Alan
The issues to consider with legacy lenses are; the cost and quality of the adapter, the cost and quality of the lenses, and ease of use (no autofocus or exposure connection between lens and camera).

Some cheap adapters are no good - others here can advise on the best make and supplier. Price varies a lot, with the official Olympus one being quite dear, but very dependable.

Telephoto lenses work better with Four Thirds cameras, in general, than wide angle lenses. This is because of the characteristics of digital sensors and the angle of the light rays meeting the sensor. But older lenses did not have to be made to the tolerances and resolution of modern lenses for digital sensors, so some are much better performers than others. Again, others here are better informed than me to recommend specific lenses.

Although using legacy lenses means there is no data link between the camera and the lens, you can still shoot in auto exposure mode. Set the camera to A (aperture priority) and the camera will look after the shutter speed no matter what the aperture is set to on the camera. If you use the main optical viewfinder, you will need to open the aperture up to brighten the view for manual focusing. Then return the aperture setting to the tha you desire. If you use live view you can use magnified view for critical manual focus and you don't even need to open up the aperture as the live view will compensate the brightness. You can then check depth of field easily too.

Ian
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  #3  
Old 28th February 2010
big_al
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Re: 70-300 or more

Thanks Ian
hope some more people reply with the info you suggest.
I forgot to mention the body is an E-420
Alan
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Old 28th February 2010
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Re: 70-300 or more

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Originally Posted by big_al View Post
Thanks Ian
hope some more people reply with the info you suggest.
I forgot to mention the body is an E-420
Alan
I'm sure they will, Alan - Sunday can be a quiet day here

Ian

PS The E-420 and other E-4xx bodies, don't have image stabilisation, but E-510 and later bodies do and you can use this to stabilise even legacy lenses, which is very handy for telephotos.
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  #5  
Old 1st March 2010
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Re: 70-300 or more

The difficulty with legacy lenses is accurate focussing, especially with the small viewfinders of the E4xx and E5xx. There are several options that can help - using Live View, a split-screen viewfinder screen (eg Katz Eye) or the ME-1 magnifying eyecup spring to mind. All have been discussed much on this forum, and all have their pros and cons.

You can also get adapters that include a focus confirm chip. Once you get the hang of it, my one seems quite reliable, although more faff than AF, obviously! Have a look on John Foster's Biofos site to learn more: http://www.biofos.com/cornucop/af_adapter.html I bought mine from the vendor he mentions.

I think for the plain adaptor, you're good with anything but the cheapest specimens on fleabay. It's basically just a hunk of machined metal if you don't want the chip.

You can pick up the OM 300mm f4.5 for around 100 less than the 70-300, I believe, but it's quite a substantial beast. Also, buying old lenses can be fraught: my 300mm looked fine when I got it, but it has developed a case of oil on the iris blades that I can't currently afford to get fixed. Maybe I have my central heating on higher than its last owner

Faster 300mm (or more) legacy lenses are available, but they tend to be pretty expensive. I also have a Tamron f8 500mm catadioptic (mirror) lens, but I have yet to get a decent bird picture with it. The plane of focus is thinner than a gnat's kneecap and really fast shutter speeds are needed to avoid shake. It's best on a tripod with mirror lock up and a remote...

If you are really keen on bird photography, I don't think there's any substitute for biting the bullet for something like the Sigma 135-400 (do they still make these???) or 150-500. The 70-300 offers a good "budget" compromise, so long as you can get close to your "victims". However, you don't necessarily need the longest lens in the box. A regular poster on the Flickr Sigma 4/3rds Group gets good bird shots with a Sigma 150mm - and, I suspect, some good fieldcraft!

Last edited by HughofBardfield; 1st March 2010 at 04:23 PM.
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  #6  
Old 1st March 2010
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Re: 70-300 or more

Unfortunately the 135-400 is no more. Overshadowed as it was by the Bigma.

Pity as I've had some good results with mine and certainly wouldn't part with it.

Nick
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  #7  
Old 3rd March 2010
big_al
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Re: 70-300 or more

Thanks all
thankyou everybody for your input, now i am more confused
Am I correct in thinking that a 300mm lens for a 35mm slr will in fact be 600mm on my camera?
Alan
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Old 3rd March 2010
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Re: 70-300 or more

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Originally Posted by big_al View Post
Thanks all
thankyou everybody for your input, now i am more confused
Am I correct in thinking that a 300mm lens for a 35mm slr will in fact be 600mm on my camera?
Alan
A 300mm lens for a 35mm SLR will have the field of view of a 600mm when used on a 4/3 camera due to the sensor being approximately 1/4 the size of a 35mm frame.
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