Using old camera lenses on micro four thirds cameras

Not that long ago, I used some old Minolta film cameras. These cameras used lenses with the Minolta MC/MD mounting system and I have several old lenses that can be used on micro four thirds cameras with an appropriate adapter.

Here’s my informal judgement as to work works well and what does not when using these old lenses on modern micro four thirds cameras. All of my tests were done on my Lumix GH-2, shooting JPEG images and evaluating the JPEGs as they came straight out of the camera. I did not do any tests in RAW mode.

Minolta 50mm prime f/1.4

  • f/1.4 – At f/1.4, this lens is soft, almost fuzzy, and with low contrast. Not recommended at f/1.4
  • f/2.0 – At f/2.0, this lens is clean with good contrast. I would rate this excellent for my own purposes at f/2.0 and above.

Minolta 50mm prime f/1.7

  • f/1.7 – At f/1.7, this lens is also very soft.
  • f/2.8 – I rate this aperture as “pleasant”. Its not really soft but its not quite a sharp either – but overall provides a pleasing, smooth quality to the image, yet with a very nice narrow depth of field.
  • f/4 – At f/4.0 the lens becomes very sharp.

Sigma 28mm prime f/2.8

  • This lens just does not work well at all until probably f/4, then its fine. The lens is useful, however, since it is a macro focus lens. The 28mm works like a 56 mm full frame equivalent lens on the micro four thirds format – but focuses down to about two inches (5 cm)!

Sigma 28-70mm UC Zoom f/2.8

  • f/2.8 – At both the 28 and 70mm zoom settings (56 and 140mm FF equivalent on m43ds) the lens is noticeably soft, probably better at the 70mm end than the 28mm end.
  • f/4 – At f/4 and above the images are excellent.

This Sigma 28-70mm lens is probably one of my favorite lenses on my Lumix GH2. Its great for shooting when I want a narrow depth of field, but provides excellent sharpness and contrast.

Other Lenses

Another popular old lens is most any Canon FD glass. I have not tested these but the reviews I have read of Canon FD lenses similar to those above, also perform similarly – such as the Canon FD f/1.4 lens being soft at f/1.4 but nicely sharp by f/2. These can be found on eBay for $30 to $70, sometimes including the m43 adapter ring. Older Nikon lens are also excellent and popular and available used.

Keep in mind that to use an old lens you need to ensure your camera can operate with a “no electronics” lens. The Lumix GH-2, for example, has a menu setting to let the camera operate even if “no lens is attached”.  I use this setting and then put the camera in “A” Aperture mode, and set the aperture and focus manually. My Nikon 1 camera only works in “M” mode when a non-Nikkor lens is attached – this works, but is not as convenient as using the “A” mode and letting the camera meter and choose a shutter speed for me.

Newer lens systems, like the Canon EF series can also be made to work but with limitations – these lenses do not have an aperture ring and the lens, by default, will also be in the wide open aperture setting. There is a trick to get around this but its cumbersome – mount the lens on an actual Canon camera, set the aperture using the camera settings, remove the lens and put it on the m43d camera and it retains the aperture setting. But why go to that trouble? Better off getting an original all manual lens like the Canon FD.

Both of these two photos were taken with the Lumix GH-2 and the Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 lens at f/2.8 to create the narrow depth of field look. You can click on these images – twice, in fact – to zoom in to larger versions. Both are reduced in size and compression from the originals, however.

P1030698 (Custom)

P1030696 (Custom)

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4K Pay TV To Have 46 Million Subscribers by 2018

4K Pay TV To Have 46 Million Subscribers by 2018 | Digital Samurai |

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Microsoft sends takedown notices to Youtube videos that did nothing wrong

Microsoft Serves Takedown Notices to Videos Not Infringing on Anything | WIRED.

Tar and feathers for Microsoft, in this case. They issued take down notices to videos that were product reviews, and in some cases, critical of Microsoft products. Apparently this company also sent take down notices to Google to remove URLs pointing to Microsoft web pages because the pages allegedly violated Microsoft’s copyright :)

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7% of TVs sold in 2014 so far, are 4K Ultra HD TVs

RedShark News – Is 4K UHD really 10 years ahead of HD’s pace?.

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Youtube’s 3D Video Player is Now Working Again

Since September 30th, the ability to select 3D viewing options has been turned off on Youtube as Youtube appeared to have forced all to use the HTML5 video player, which does not support 3D.

Today, every browser I have tested- except  Chrome – is back to using the Flash-based video player, which supports 3D, by default.

Some said this was due to something in Firefox version 33, which was just released but there is nothing in their release notes suggesting this new release had anything to do with the restoration of 3D. Further, the Flash-based 3D player is now appearing in Internet Explorer, Opera for Windows and Mac OS X, Firefox for Windows and Mac OS X, and Safari for Mac OS X. The only browser that does not support 3D is Google’s own Chrome browers that continues to rely on the HTML5 video player.

There has been no official word from anyone as to what they are doing with this back and forth changing of the video player, the dropping of the 3D feature and now the restoration of the 3D video player. We hope the 3D feature remains available but will Google decide in 2 weeks to make another random change and break it?

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Youtube 3D video player reported to work in Firefox 33

There are reports that the new Firefox version 33 browser is now displaying the Youtube 3D player again.

I do not have time at the moment to check on this – or whether the feature is working in other browsers yet. Let’s hope that this gets repaired – it is odd for companies not to issue official statements when there are serious defects that cause serious problems for customers.

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Fascinating article about Youtube stars’ business models

Is YouTube Risking A Creative Exodus? ⚙ Co.Labs ⚙ code + community.

It’s getting hard for many of them to make the money needed to fund their production efforts based on Youtube ad revenue, alone.

Musicians make their money primarily by selling their music outside of Youtube (e.g. iTunes) – and use Youtube for the promotion of the music.

For others, the “stars” are branching out with sponsorships and paid product placements (a lot of videos now have hidden ad placement – some like the endless fashion/hair/makeup videos targeted at tweens through age 20 or so feature products the star was paid to show), merchandising and the latest is books, movies and even TV deals. Others, like Devin Graham, do sponsored videos that get shared with his millions of subscribers, featuring people having fun with products and services. He just announced he’s off to Istanbul courtesy of Turkish Airlines (and then probably other destinations as well).

Youtube is rapidly turning into something other than what it has been. Whether it ends up in a good place only time will tell. Obviously, Youtube and its content creators cannot sit still.

Yahoo might use Tumbler as a way to compete with Youtube. Hmmm.

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