Putting weird lenses on a micro four thirds body
November 24, 2013 1:40 PM   Subscribe

I have a lovely little Lumix GF3. It has a 14mm lense. While I have great fun sticking the camera right in peoples faces to get a picture, I would like to get something a little more versatile. Ideally by buying inappropriate lenses from strange Chinese sites.

I am a great lover of Deal Extreme, online emporium extraordinaire. They sell various lenses with that sort of mount as well as some adapters. These are usually intended to use on security cameras etc. I would like to know how these lenses might behave on a micro 4/3 body.

There's this 25mm F1.4 one and this 35mm F1.7 one. I understand that I can expect a certain amount of vignetting with both of these and that's fine. What would the differences be between the two otherwise?

Bonus question: would this adapter allow me to put old, non-digital Nikon lenses on my camera? And if I found an adapter that was, say, Leica->Nikon, could I stack adapters?
posted by Iteki to Technology (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have that Nikon adapter and it works great.

You could possibly stack adapters but there are Leica M and screwmount adapters for m43, so you're better off getting one of those.
posted by chrchr at 1:51 PM on November 24, 2013

I use cheap c mount security lenses like the ones you linked to on my Olympus M43 camera and really enjoy them. Yes, there's vignetting and yes, the edges are pretty blurry and only the center is anything like sharp, but that's part of what I like. There's a lo fi character right out of the camera that I really like. I find them a little bit difficult to focus compared to my other old manual lenses, Pentax and such, but that's also part of the fun.

My old Pentax and Minolta lenses are a lot easier to work with in terms of handling and dialing in accurate focus, and I imagine old Nikon glass would be a pleasure in the same way.
posted by mullicious at 2:24 PM on November 24, 2013

Best answer: Micro Four Thirds is a remarkably versatile format. There are adapters for just about everything - Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Leica, Canon, etc. You just snap in the adapter and then snap on or screw in the third party lens. You'll be able to get all sorts of things to work with your GF3.

That said, when you use all but the most expensive/exotic adapters, you give up much of the automated functionality of your camera. Most adapters won't give you electronic control of focus or aperture, meaning that you'll need to focus and set aperture manually on the lens body. Some lenses don't have a manual aperture, meaning that you'll need to shoot wide open, potentially resulting in a narrow depth of field and overexposure. This is not necessarily a bad thing if you're looking to experiment with different photography styles.

You would expect the 25mm F1.4 to provide a picture that is wider and brighter than the 35mm F1.7. I suspect that both will give you less width and depth of field than your 14mm (ie, closer things will be sharp, but backgrounds will be blurrier). Focus and vignetting will also be an issue. Given that they're both cheap surveillance lenses, it's difficult to say exactly what you'll get beyond that. But by all means, try them!

My favorite cheap lens for Micro Four Thirds is a used 50mm F1.4 70s Pentax Super Multi Coated Takumar attached with a cheap M42 adapter. It takes remarkable photos that have a look and feel that seems missing from most modern consumer photography.
posted by eschatfische at 2:30 PM on November 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have the same camera and I bought this lens a few months ago. It is AWESOME (and no vignetting). Here are some pics I took with it.
posted by lollusc at 11:51 PM on November 24, 2013

Response by poster: Excuse the delay in getting back, thanks for all the input!
Still kinda unclear on what the difference would be between the lenses, but brighter sounds good, so I will go with the 25mm. Glad to hear so many others enjoy the format!
posted by Iteki at 12:33 AM on December 2, 2013

Response by poster: It's here! If anyone is still following, the adapter for the lens I got has a sliiiightly too small hole where the pin to register that the lens is attached should go. I am going to drill it out a little, should be fine, it's a mm here or there. Any advice on how to actually shoot with this thing then after? Will I be able to get an image on the viewfinder lcd that shows what I am going to shoot? I know already that I have to put it into "no lens" mode.
posted by Iteki at 12:17 PM on January 3, 2014

Response by poster: Actually, went and drilled it out real quick, the hole was mis-positioned by I would say 3 mm. Dremel to the rescue. However on testing now, I have to be even closer to my subject than before for anything at all to be in focus. Sitting at my usual work distance from my laptop, I can get a sharp image of the keys closest to me but not the screen. Is this basically a macro lens? This should maybe be a new question, but I thought I would try piggybacking retroactively first.
posted by Iteki at 12:51 PM on January 3, 2014

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