3 Manual Focus Primes

3 Favorite Manual Focus Primes

Legacy Lenses Review:

3 Favorite Manual Focus Prime Lenses

'Adapting legacy manual focus prime lenses for use on a 2x crop-sensor Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILC)'

Against the odds of acquiring high-priced auto-everything prime lenses for my 2x crop-sensor mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (ILC), I am looking, instead, at legacy manual focus primes with a similar or a near-to focal length equivalent as alternate options. This is on prudence that I am not spending too much or being too lavish with my hardware acquisition.

While I might lose out on the automation and updated technology that current digital camera lenses may have, this tried and tested alternative has proved to be popular and prevalent among enthusiasts. On the supply side, legacy manual focus prime lenses are always easily available, some at very low prices, from camera and photo outlets, online stores, or auction sites.

3 Favorite Manual Focus Primes

Besides the lens, the other item required for the adaptation is a lens adapter, a non-electrical, nor mechanical join to fit the lens to the camera body. The form factor is a simple connector with the lens brand mount on one side and the camera brand body mount on the other. These are also readily available at very affordable prices on the market.

Manual 35mm Lenses with Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless camera design has had a big impact on the way we take pictures. The original thing that attracted me to mirrorless was the idea of being able to g...
In parallel, the current camera market is also being inundated with a new crop of purpose-designed manual focus lenses for use on current digital ILCs. On the off chance that this turn around will develop itself into a trend that will grow as a new norm, or never, only time will tell. One can always say that the notion has never been off the mark, and has always been a practice.

Olympus Pen E-P5, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8
Manual focus lenses are good options and advantageous when used, among others, for focusing in low-light conditions, for directed focusing on image compositions, and for precise control in macro or portraiture photography.

These lenses are equally adept when used with settings for zone or hyper-focal distance in street or landscape photography.

For use on my age-old 2x crop-sensor mirrorless ILC, the Olympus Pen E-P5, these are the 3 favorites, adapted for use as an almost a standard normal, short telephoto, and macro photography.

Yashica ML 28mm F2.8

Almost A Standard Normal

Yashica ML 28mm F2.8
The Yashica ML 28mm F.2.8, a wide-angle prime lens for 35mm SLR film cameras with a Contax/Yashica mount, is undoubtfully one of the sharpest lenses in my collection. On the Pen E-P5, the lens converts to almost a standard normal prime with a focal length equivalent of 56mm.

The standard normal, a prime lens with a focal range from 40-55mm and a fast aperture, is often referred to as the 'nifty-fifty' for a full-frame 35mm camera, so-called for their almost true to life perspective capture.

With its great colors and contrast rendition, the Yashica ML 28mm F2.8 is the one for the 'punch' when called for contrasty images that stands out. Acknowledgments about the lens include excellent sharpness, picture depth, an almost total absence of vignetting, and excellent correction of distortion.

Olympus Pen E-P5, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8

Fitted to the E-P5 with an adapter, the lens does have a slight bulk. By itself, the 7-elements in 6-groups lens weighs 250 grams and has a dimension of 61.5 x 41.5 mm.

Olympus Pen E-P5, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8 01 Olympus Pen E-P5, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8 02
Olympus Pen E-P5, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8 03 Olympus Pen E-P5, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8 04
Image sample: Olympus Pen E-P5, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8


Minolta MD 45mm F2

The Choice for A Short Tele

Minolta MD 45mm F2
When adapted to the 2x crop-sensor Pen E-P5, the Minolta MD 45mm F2, a fast normal lens for a 35mm SLR film camera system with Minolta SR (MD, MC) mount, is the equivalent of a 90mm focal lens on full-frame 35mm camera.

The focal length is just a wee bit longer than the highly recommended 85mm short telephoto lenses which are the doyen for low-light and portraiture photography, good compression, and bokeh, and has also been known for being the standard prime of a few professionals.

The mostly plastic-bodied Minolta MD 45mm F2, well respected for its accurate color reproduction, though with a bit of muted contrast, does come with a sense of pleasing bokeh when shot wide open. The lens is a very compact six-elements in five-groups design, measuring only 41mm and weighing 125 grams.

Olympus Pen E-P5, Minolta MD 45mm F2

On the E-P5, even with a third party lens hood attached (rather a savvy looker if you are interested in looks), the lens is a delight as it comes without the bulk and the weight that you might want to stigmatize with the use of a vintage or legacy all metal and glass lens.

Olympus Pen E-P5, Minolta MD 45mm F2 01 Olympus Pen E-P5, Minolta MD 45mm F2 02
Olympus Pen E-P5, Minolta MD 45mm F2 03 Olympus Pen E-P5, Minolta MD 45mm F2 04
Image sample: Olympus Pen E-P5, Minolta MD 45mm F2


Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro

For Macro Photography

Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro
The Zuiko OM Auto-Macro 50mm F3.5 manual focus, a macro lens for Olympus OM-System 35mm SLR film cameras, is not only acknowledged as very capable of extreme close-ups but is equally capable as a normal standard lens, acknowledged for its excellent sharpness and good color rendition.

The lens is a compact 5-elements in 4-groups construction, 40mm deep, 200 grams weight, and incorporates a floating element design for close-range optical correction.

The lens is capable of being focused all the way from infinity to its closest focusing distance of 0.23m without any physical attachments. Reproduction ratio is 0.5X (1:2 reproduction ratio).

Olympus Pen E-P5, Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro

The combination of the lens and the OM Adapter MF-2, when fitted to the E-P5, is snug and compact that provides for a nice fit. The seemingly correct bulk and balance make it comfortable when the camera is used handheld, handy on the tripod, and pleasant to work with.

Olympus Pen E-P5, Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro 01 Olympus Pen E-P5, Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro 02
Olympus Pen E-P5, Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro 03 Olympus Pen E-P5, Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro 04
Image sample: Olympus Pen E-P5, Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro
One up for the Zuiko OM system lenses is the availability of a set of 3 Olympus OM bayonet mount extension tubes which provides approximately 7, 14, and 25 mm of extensions each when mounted to a lens. Functionally, these extension tubes let you get closer to the subject, even when used with a macro lens, increasing the scale of the reproduction ratio.

Olympus Pen E-P5, Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro, Olympus OM 25mm Extension Tube

The 25mm extension tube, for example, when used with the 50mm F3.5 Macro, will give a 1:1 (life-size) reproduction. As an added bonus, these extension tubes will add a whole range of added versatility to the lens system without the need to add more lenses.

Olympus Pen E-P5, Zuiko OM 50mm F3.5 Macro, Olympus OM 14mm Extension Tube
These extension tubes can be used either on its own or combined for up to seven different extension lengths with any of Zuiko OM standard lenses. On the distress level, these extension tubes can be replaced by low-priced third party options which will provide you similar but not necessarily optimal performance satisfaction.

Setting The Timer Back To On

I may look into lenses with longer focal length next, maybe in the short telephoto range, or just at a purpose-built adaptation next. Time to set the timer back to on ...


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