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Using odd lenses on Micro 4/3rds cameras
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:20 am    Post subject: Using odd lenses on Micro 4/3rds cameras Reply with quote

I recently bought an Olympus E-P1 Micro 4/3rds camera in order to being able to test all my collection of old/odd lenses on a digital camera. Due to the short registration distance of the Micro 4/3rds standard, adapters are available to mount about any kind of lens on these miniature cameras, including lenses designed for orphaned SLRs (Canon FD, Exakta/Topcon, Konica, Olympus OM), lenses for rangefinder cameras (Leica, Contax), cine or video lenses in C mount, lenses for the Pentax 110 SLR, etc...

I would like this thread to feature pictures taken with odd lenses mounted on Micro 4/3rds cameras.

As a starter, here are a few pictures taken yesterday with an old cine lens, the Cooke Kinic 1" F/1.5. Its manufacturer, Taylor, Taylor & Hobson (TT&H) is the company behind such famous lenses as the Cooke Speed Panchro, a lens used by all the movie majors during the 1930s, due to its high optical quality and ability to clear the prism of the then new Technicolor cameras.

As fast lenses were in great demand by the movie industry, TT&H decided to look for a suitable lens design. The old Petzval design was known to be suitable to build fast lenses with very good sharpness in the center of the field. The weak point of the design was the fuzzy borders of the frame, limiting the use of Petzval lenses in photography. As movie cameras used only the center of the frame due to their small image size (10.26 x 7.49 mm for 16mm film and 22 mm by 16 mm for 35mm) and also to the relatively long focal length required to clear the viewfinder prism, the low quality of the borders was not a drawback for cinema usage, so TT&H chose to build a lens based on the Petzval design, with an additional element in the front in order to increase its light gathering capability: the Cooke Kinic lens.

I love the imaging character of Petzval lenses, including their fuzzy borders and typical swirly bokeh, and I was looking forward to using these lenses on a digital camera. The problem with these lenses is that they usually were designed as portrait lenses for large format cameras, so they come in focal length ranging from 200mm to 300mm, which is not a very standard focal length on a small format camera. The other issue is that a digital sensor (even a $$$ medium format back) will only capture the center of the image circle delivered by the lens, thus throwing away the delightful fuzzy borders.

Enters the Cooke Kinic 1 inch F/1.5. As the lens was designed to equip 16mm cameras (Bell & Howell), it can be used on a Micro 4/3rds while retaining most of the image circle, including the blurred edges that were not used on movie cameras. The result is exactly what I was seeking: dreamy images with a sharp center and fuzzy edges, and a crazy swirly bokeh as only Petzval lenses can deliver. Enough talking, here are the pictures:













Cheers!

Abbazz


Last edited by Abbazz on Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:23 am; edited 2 times in total


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting results - picture #2 has a strangely wonderful air about it which I really like. You should be in for an entertaining time of experimentation.

I see lots of ex-movie camera lenses appearing on eBay now - but very few of the vendors even hint that coverage on 4/3 will be the way it is. How many "innocent" (or simply ignorant) buyers are going to think from the results that these old lenses were actually "poor" quality? Perhaps some will find their way here and become more enlightened!


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice pictures. Very strong character lens.

And portraits? I imagine very sharp eyes in an atmosphere of dreams, in 20's fashion way.

Rino.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astonishing! Well done! Did you make your own adapter?


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys for the kind words.

Shrek wrote:
Did you make your own adapter?

No, I use an adapter bought from Chiif for 58 Singapore Dollars (29 euros).

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice, makes me want to have such a camera to try out everything....

Klaus


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love that effect, so helios 40-2ish. So does most od cine lens perform like that? How sharp is in the middle, can you sow any crop. Would it be possible to made an adapter to eos cameras?


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daddy likes.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Abbaz, nice to see someone "alike" Very Happy
I am doing same with my m43 panasonic G1. Got myself a lot of FD and C mount lenses I am using. This is my C mount collection:





I do not have the Cooke but it sure is a very nice lens. Love the swirly bokeh.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very effective!

I'd love to upgrade my e-420 to a G1 so I could see the liveview in the viewfinder.

Only problem I can see is that the adapters appear relatively expensive at the moment, by the time I bought one for all my different lens mounts it would add up to quite a lot and one of the appeals of manual lenses to me is the affordability.

I heard that not all c mounts are the same specification in regards to thread width etc, is this true?


PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent! I did make this thread to sticky I believe this thread is very important!


PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Carl Zeiss Biotar 25mm f1.4 (Robot lens) on the G1



PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:17 am    Post subject: A few more pics from the Cooke Kinic Reply with quote

Thanks guys for the comments and thanks to Attila for making this thread sticky.

The ability to use all those orphaned lenses on a modern camera is indeed a revolution. From a camera history point of view, I consider the Panasonic G1 as the most important camera since the Nikon D1 (the first fully integrated digital SLR -- it was 10 years ago...).

Here are a few more pictures taken with the delightful Cooke Kinic. I love the nostalgic look of the pictures. All were taken yesterday at a local market:





















Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:29 am    Post subject: And now, the Pentax 110 lenses Reply with quote

The Pentax Auto 110 was a clever little camera launched in 1978, the smallest single lens reflex with interchangeable lens ever made. Its big flaw was the 110 format, which was doomed because of its lack of film flatness. But the camera and the lenses were top notch quality. Especially the lenses. The normal lens, the 24/2.8, was hardly bigger than a thumbnail and it covered the 13x17mm frame of the 110 format. Now, when I compare this to the size of the lenses manufactured for the modern 4/3rds cameras with a comparable imaging area measuring 13x17.3mm, I cannot help but wonder if we are heading in the right direction...

The whole line of lenses comprised the 18/2.8 wide angle and an interesting variation, the 18mm Panfocus, which was a fixed-focus lens, the 24/2.8 normal lens, the 50/2.8 telephoto, the 70/2.8 telephoto and the 20-40/2.8 zoom. Same as for the 4/3rds format, focal lengths have to be multiplied by a factor of 2 to get the 35mm equivalent. The diaphragm itself was combined with the shutter and included in the camera, therefore the lenses had no aperture control of their own.

These lenses were surprisingly good for their size and weight -- can you imagine the standard lens weighted only 13 grams? Wide open, they have a very sharp center with somewhat blurry borders. but everything improves nicely by stopping down a bit. The only problem when using these lenses on a Micro 4/3rds camera with an adapter is that the lens is always wide open because there is no way to control the aperture, except maybe by inserting a tiny iris or a Waterhouse stop behind the lens.

Here are three pictures taken (wide open) with the 18/2.8 lens:







And two pictures taken with the 70/2.8:





Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very inspiring Sebastien!!


PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Klaus.

Rino asked for some portraits. Here are my kids with the Cooke Kinic:







Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's amazing, thanks for pictures! Really nice results!
So I understand that you can use cine lens on micro4/3 because of registration length. So same lens on eos mount wouldn't be able to focus to infinity?


PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

egidio wrote:
That's amazing, thanks for pictures! Really nice results!
So I understand that you can use cine lens on micro4/3 because of registration length. So same lens on eos mount wouldn't be able to focus to infinity?


yes of course would they not.


PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like the composition of #1
very powerful.
I love profile portraits, they have a strenght that the frontal portraits often lack.
Unfortunately people today don't seem to favour profile portraits anymore. I think many perceive profile portraits as old fashioned. I love them the most.
In my selected 2009 images in Contest forum, first one is a profile portrait that I personally arranged with the model. After she saw it she was very happy with it. All other photographers only asked her frontal portraits.

As for this lens, I like it, it looks really Helios-40ish.
For EOS users, I think the Helios-40 can successfully approximate this result.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Egidio and Orio for the compliments.

I agree that a Helios-40 on a full frame camera can deliver results that are a good approximation of the Cooke Kinic, the only difference being the Helios weights a hefty 885g, while the Cooke is only 121g for the same f/1.5 aperture!

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:24 am    Post subject: The lenses Reply with quote

Here are the pictures of some of the lenses I use on the E-P1. First, the Cooke Kinic 1" F/1.5:





The Pentax 110 70/2.8:





The Pentax 110 18/2.8:





The Olympus Pen 42/1.2:





And last but not least, the Pentax Limited 77/1.8:





Cheers!

Abbazz


Last edited by Abbazz on Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:48 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abbazz,

The first set of photos made me a bit dizzy.

I like the portraits, though. Very strong.

Is it possible to put D mount lenses on this (or similar) cameras?

I have some D mount Kern Paillard and Som Berthiot 8mm cine lenses.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superb Abbaz! Many thanks! Art small... I especially like portraits! Why did you pickup Olympus and not Pana ?


PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheesegears wrote:
Abbazz,

The first set of photos made me a bit dizzy.

I like the portraits, though. Very strong.

Is it possible to put D mount lenses on this (or similar) cameras?

I have some D mount Kern Paillard and Som Berthiot 8mm cine lenses.


Thanks for your comments cheesegears. It seems difficult to put a D mount lens on a Micro 4/3rds camera for two reasons. First, because the image circle (diagonal) of a 8mm movie picture is 5.94mm, while it is 21.63mm for Micro 4/3rds, meaning that these lenses will usually not cover the bigger format, leading to a small circular image on a black background. Second, because the registration distance (flange focal distance) is 20mm on a Micro 4/3rds camera and only 12.29mm on a D mount lens, meaning the adapter would need to have a part protruding 7.71mm into the camera, dangerously close to the shutter assembly.

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attila wrote:
Superb Abbaz! Many thanks! Art small... I especially like portraits! Why did you pickup Olympus and not Pana ?


Thanks Attila, I appreciate the kind comments.

I picked the Olympus because it was better suited to my needs:
- built in stabilization
- better image quality in JPEG
- LCD screen brighter in full daylight. I like to work on a large viewfinder image so, for me, a ground glass or an LCD screen is better than an eyelevel viewfinder. The viewfinder is also not very well suited to tropical climate, where perspiration gets into the eyepiece, blurring the image. I tested both cameras and I found the image on the E-P1 more readable in bright sun (important here!). The GF1 screen was a little bit more detailed (not as much as I would have thought), but the image was more difficult to read IMHO.
- better compatibility with 4/3rds lenses. The Panasonic doesn't autofocus with most of the 4/3rds lenses, the Olympus does.
- I love the double electronic level when framing with a wide angle lens. With this feature and the built-in stabilizer, no need for a tripod!
- compatibility with third party batteries. With Panasonic, you are forced to buy the branded batteries for $80 a piece!
- As I don't use on-camera flash, the lack of a built-in flash was not a problem for me.
- Autofocus speed is also not an issue, because I don't shoot sports and I use mostly manual lenses.
- As for the Olympus kit lens being inferior to the Pana, I found it not so bad -- but I may be partial because I love collapsible lenses -- anyway, you are free to buy the E-P1 body only and then use any Pana lens on it!

Cheers!

Abbazz