Newbie legacy lens question

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Bokeh Face, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Bokeh Face

    Bokeh Face New to TalkEmount

    9
    Nov 24, 2012
    There seems a LOT of choice when it comes to legacy lenses out there and I'm way confused. Could I have a pointer please?

    I want a fast prime, ideally with macro capabilities and something the will give me a nice narrow DOF. I don't want to spend loads.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    Any 50/1.4 will be a good place to start. Canon FD 50/1.4 was their reference lens in the 1970-80s and by all accounts is fabulously sharp across the frame, and very common and therefore cheaper too.
     
  3. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    I think if you search the board a little you'll find a boatload of information on this topic... I'd be biased, since I have two fast 50's for sale right now, eh eh...
     
  4. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    The sticking point might be fast and macro . Most fast 50's don't have macro (the fastest I can think of is the Olympus OM 50/2 macro and it is not cheap. Most manufacturers have a 50/3.5 that is very reasonably priced. Another option would be putting a macro adapter tube on any fast 50 or perhaps some close up lenses. Both can be found cheaply and can give great results.
     
  5. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    I have no experience with macro but given how cheap tubes are, and the fact that you'd have to stop down to get any decent dof, I assumed ebay macro tubes are the simplest solution. Are macro lenses sharper than other primes at, say, f3.5-4.5?
     
  6. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I don't find that macros are any sharper. Maybe expensive ones but that has more to do with the quality of the lens itself. What I havefoundisthe macros I have used have had busier bokeh.
     
  7. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    In terms of shallow DoF, generally

    * The longer the focal length (narrow field of view), the shallower the DoF;
    * The bigger the sensor, the shallower the DoF with the same lens. NEX is with 1.5x crop factor;
    * The more open the aperture, the shallower DoF is. I agree 50mm f/1.4 is a good starting point;
    * The closer you focus to your subject, the shallower the DoF is. That's why macro lens, even though generally slower at f/2.8 or more, can often give very good bokeh.

    Which mount you choose, depends on whether or how you want to reuse the lens on other cameras.

    * Canon FD, Konica AR, or Minolta SR (MC/MD) mount are orphaned mount to DSLR, but perfectly adaptable to mirror-less. That's why lens on these mounts are with less demand;
    * Contax Yashica, Nikon F, Olympus OM, Pentax m42, Pentax K - these all can be adapted/used on DSLR especially Canon DSLR. So you're competing with more user;
    * Tamron Adaptall - very adaptable.

    Let's say you start with a fast normal, and you also want to use it for macro, there're a few ways:

    * Extension tube, either NEX extension tube, or extension tube specific to the lens mount;
    * Close-up filter add-on, search for those with >=2 elements, don't buy the cheapo ones. A variation of this, is to reverse mount one lens on top of another.
    * Vivitar 2X macro teleconverter.

    Personally I like close-up filter because it's convenient. They also work on zoom lens, native or not.
     
  8. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    It's because that macro lenses are usually slower. When focusing closer (the intended usage of macro lens anyway, which normal prime cannot do) bokeh should be better.
     
  9. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Not sharper per se, but I think they tend to be sharper edge to edge (less field curvature) over a normal lens aren't they?

    Personally, unless you plan to shoot a lot of macro, extension tubes or a reversing ring (or both) are a viable answer to macro.

    How to get macro:

    1) buy a macro lens
    2) buy extension tubes for a normal lens
    3) buy a reversing ring for a normal lens
    4) buy a coupling ring to mount two lenses nose-to-nose (magnification is controlled by the ratio of the focal lengths- long lens on camera, short lens on long lens)
    5) any combination of 1, 2, or 3

    All the above (except 1) assumes lenses with aperture rings. Cost in the above list (1-4) runs from most to least expensive options.

    hth, ymmv
     
  10. Bokeh Face

    Bokeh Face New to TalkEmount

    9
    Nov 24, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies guys. I think I'll start looking at some old nifty fifty primes and see how it goes from there. Looking on here there's a lot of love for the Rokkor(?) lenses.
     
  11. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    It's been mentioned elsewhere that it's actually hard to find a bad MF 50mm. These lenses came standard on most film SLRs back in the day and they were produced in vast numbers. The simplicity and the long developmental history of prime lens designs at this focal length made it easy and economical for manufacturers to produce these with very high IQ. The question is like you said, with so many to choose from it can be daunting to know where to start, or you can't loose no matter where you start (depending on how you look at it).

    To narrow down your choices, think about:
    1) How fast is fast for you? The nifties at f/1.7 and f/1.8 are cheap as chips, but don't let that fool you into thinking that these babies are inferior. If you compare these to their more expensive and faster f/1.4 or f/1.2 cousins you could call them 'slow' but if you compare them with the modern crop of AF kit zooms (f3.5s or f/4s) these are pretty darn fast.
    2) Macro 50s are more expensive and like already mentioned, are slower specialized lenses. Are you going to do macro shots occasionally or frequently, is a question that would settle that. If not get a reversing ring.
    3) Picking a particular brand is a hard one, because so many personal and subjective factors come into play here. A high amount of good reviews and market desirability (and therefore resale value) might be a good bet.

    Get a mint one and try not to overpay... so do a bit of research for the average going price. Happy hunting! :)
     
  12. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    f
    Hi the part above I have found very useful so far few more questions here

    -How I can make it more specific for my lenses? For example my 135 at f 2.8 has indeed very shallow DoF. How it cann be compared to the shallow DoF of a 50. Would the 50 give you roughly the same Dof at f 2.8, 2, 1.7?

    -Do the same hold for zoom lenses as well?

    -How DoF relates to bokeh?
     
  13. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    Just find an online DoF calculator, input parameters, and see what comes out. The focus distance is also an important parameter, so you cannot compare the DoF of 135mm with 50mm, even at the same aperture.

    DoF is an objective quantity, bokeh is the subjective quality of the out-of-focus rendering. They are loosely related because DoF determines what is in and out of focus, and bokeh appears in the out-of-focus area by definition.

    Lot of the times, it is best to read a little bit, try/practice a little bit, and repeat. This approach will be much more helpful in understanding.
     
  14. Trotterjay

    Trotterjay New to TalkEmount

    3
    Aug 9, 2013
    CT
    Jay
    If you're going to buy a 50 I love the Sony 50, f1.8 for my Nex - 7. It's as sharp as my Zeiss 24mm, F1.8 with excellent color rendition and contrast. For around $300.00 U.S. dollars it's a steal.
     
  15. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Hi I would like to thank you for your answer. Indeed a dof calculator might help but few examples how this knowledge on how to blur out background would also be beneficial...
    Actually the ideal would be for me to have a printed book as a companion to my daily train rides... Any ideas on that ?