Other Lens mounts on MFT camera

Posted on 26 June 2012

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The nice thing about shooting video on MFT camera’s is that the sensor and flange focal distance are smaller then most other systems, so it will fit almost any lens. You might loose autofocus and auto-aperture functionality, but for most videographers this might be an advantages. When you buy an adapter, one of the most important things is that the length is exactly right, so the lens’ focus markings will still be right and it is possible to focus to infinity. An adapter that is too long will act like a macro-tube which means you will not be able to focus on distant subjects. These type of adapters are useless. If it is too short, most of the times it will not have a big influence on close focussing but for distant objects you’ll never have to go up to infinity focus. I guess this is what they mean with focussing past infinity. Th bad thing about this is that you can’t use the markers on the lens. The good thing about this is that it allows for the adapter to expand in hot weather without making it useless.

Another thing that might be of interest is the material. Mostly there is aluminum (light) and brass (soft). Sometimes you’ll find steel (heavy duty) and plastic.

The third thing that I like is that most of the adapters have a tiny screw at the bottom of the mount (camera-side) that functions as a rotating stop. If you take this screw out, you can rotate the lens in the mount forever. If you misplace this screw 90 degrees, you can have your markings on the side instead of the top of the lens. The finishing touch is to drill a new lock-hole in the mount and you have your lenses mounted cine-style. This could also solve another problem I have with the M4/3 mount: it’s too loose. You can always slightly rotate te lens on the body. This means you can’t use the lens mount only to put the camera on your rod support as this allows a degree or something of skewing of the camera.

Canon EOS, EF or FD

Most Canon EF lenses require power and electronic controls in order to adjust the aperture. Or you have to buy the $ 545 Redrock LiveLens adapter with an external aperture control box. MFT services also has one, with an external aperture control box in 1/8th stops. The cheap option is to get the Fotodiox adapter with built-in iris, but this is said to generate a lot of vignetting and other problems. The general advice is to not use the standard lenses, as only the L lenses are of enough quality. The lack of manual aperture control is putting me off buying Canon EF lenses. It might be interesting for Canon users though, with the USB focus remote! The lens with Canon EF mount, that is really interesting is the $ 500 Tokina 28-80 f/2.8 ATX-PRO. This one has internal focus, internal zoom, almost no breathing, parfocal zoom and (constant!) manual aperture.

There is also the older Canon FD mount. From 1971 until 1987 this was the standard Canon lens mount, until it was replaced by the EF system. Those alway have manual focus and mechanical aperture. Mount adapter from E-bay bought for 20 pounds on 23/3/12.  This is on advise of allenswrench. The poland one seems to be the best if I need better.Like with the EF system, Canon has their more expensive L lens series that are of higher quality then their ‘normal’ lenses. They started with a breech-lock mount, but from 1981  the FD lenses do have to be turned as a whole (although mating surfaces still remain fixed).

I am confused because both seem to be generally referred to as EOS lenses. Do they use the same bayonet? No: the FD mount even has a shorter flange focal distance, so the old lenses can’t be used on the newer Canon bodies.

The Thorium (Chrome Nose) series are the oldest FD mount lenses (1971-1973) and seem to be collectors items. I’m trying to get my hands on a few of those (24, 50mm, 135mm). They have multi-coating (“S.C.” (Spectra Coating), or SSC (super spectral coating)). In the ‘chrome nose’ series, only the large-aperture 55mm f/1.2, 50mm f/1.4 (regular and ‘AL’-type) and 7.5mm Fish-Eye lenses used S.S.C. coating. The second series of breechlock FD lenses (1973-1979) should  always have SSC (written in red).

  • $ 300 Canon 55mm f1.2
  • $ 50-109 Canon 50mm f1.4
  • $ 50-150 Canon 28mm f2.0
  • Canon 20mm f2.8
  • $ 600 Vivitar Tokina 17mm f3.5
  • $ 124 Sigma 14mm f3.5. Looks cheap

These lenses are the best choice if you are on a budget: their quality is slightly lower then their Nikon counterparts. Get the Nikon AI lenses if you can get them at the same price as the Canon FD lenses, just take into account their wrong focus turning direction though!

Nikon F, G or DX

The current Nikon mount in use is Nikon F. When it says Nikon G mount, they mean ‘Nikon F mount – G designated’ which means this lens does not have it’s own aperture ring, so it needs mechanical aperture control from the body or the adapter. All other F-mount lenses have manual aperture on the lens itself. Nearly all F-mount lenses have focus controls which operate in the reverse direction from the other (canon, mft etc) systems. There are different kinds of mounts and lenses, for different sensor sizes: FX 36×24 mm, DX 24×16 mm (same as APS-C or super 35).

  • £ 280 Adaptimax original or plus (plus is for lenses without aperture ring: G and DX series).
  • € 169 Novoflex (Germany) with aperture control.
  • $ 44,94 Fotodiox with aperture control.
  • $ 33 (incl shipping) Ebay mount with aperture control ring and tripod mount. Bought it 23/3/12
Zeiss has the SLR lenses in ZE (Canon EF mount, electronic aperture) or ZF.2 (Nikon F mount with electronic interface). When buying it for video on, it’s best to buy the F mount version: as it has mechanical aperture coupling. But, be aware of the fact that these Zeiss lenses are breathing a lot and have too much contrast for DSLR’s. I think the Nikon AI lenses are of the same quality at a much lower price level, or the Leica R or Hasselblad lenses are better.

DKL mount

There are really nice voigtlander and schneider kreuznach retina glasses on ebay. The have metal gear rings for focus and aperture. This is a Deckel mount, as used by Kodak Retina SLRs and Voigtländer in the 50s /early 60s. There are converters to – for instance – M42, from which you can go to MFT.

Hexanon AR

This might be a nice and cheap alternative for the Leica models. As I understand Konica (1948-2006) made these lenses between 1960 and ???. They have their own mount. The older ones have a scalloped-like metal focus ring, not very useful for follow focus. The newer ones still have a metal focus ring, but the chrome ring is cone and the EE (auto exposure) setting could be locked at the end of the aperture ring. The third generation (mid-1970) have a checkered pattern rubber focus ring. The fourth generation (late 1970’s) have a AE instead of EE setting and got UC (ultra-coating). I’ve seen that you can take the rubber gear ring off of and place your own gear-ring.

For Nikon users: be aware that these lenses might not fit without changing the camera mount, because of a shorter focal distance.

C-mount

This mount was used on a lot of  8mm, 16mm and CCTV camera’s. So be aware: As a lot of these lenses are 2/3 or 1/2 inch lenses, you will have to use them with the Panasonic ETC mode (1:1 pixel mapping), and still not all lenses will not cover that small part of the sensor. Another problem could be that the back of the lens might touch the sensor, so the lens might need modification. The advantage of most of these lenses is that they are fast, pretty cheap and have metal focus and aperture rings. Be aware: because of the crop factor the depth of field of such a f1.4 lens is like a f3.5 MFT lens. Good options are:

  • Kodak Cine Ektar II 25mm f1.4. Has 30mm front filterthread and works with the Indisystems SNAP system.
  • E 130 Kodak Cine Ektar 25mm f1.9 incl c-mount to m43 adapter, from this seller.
  • E 145 Schneider 1.9/25mm incl c-mount to m43 adapter.
This is a very good adapter: $ 5 (Allows focusing to infinity), but it does not ship to Europe. So I bought this one on the Dutch ebay.nl. Also infinity focus. the $ 30 fotodiox adapter seems to be quite good, but looks like it is thicker, so the aperture ring of your lens could disappear behind the ring (they also state is has limited infinity focus, maybe because it is thicker).

PL-mount

This mount is for most professional film-lenses for 16 mm and 35 mm lenses. The best adapters are:

  • £ 350 MTF services PL to M4/3 mount. Provision to accept their support bridge.
  • € 170 Polish adapter PL to M4/3 mount. They also have one for € 300 with lightweight 15mm support. Bought this one.

B4, 2/3″ or ENG mount

This mount was designed for 2/3″ ENG-style lenses with zoom and aperture motors on the lens itself. See this article.

T or T2 mount

This lens mount is an intermediate mount that was made as a one lens fits all bodies mount. See this article.

Leica R mount

This is the mount of the discontinued Leica R series camera’s and lenses. There are a few different versions, see this article.

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Posted in: GH2, Lenses