*G-FD’d Up From the Feet Up! (or, how I saved thousands buying FD lenses)

Looking down the barrel…

Recycle, reuse, reshoot.  As long as you don’t mind manually focusing and establishing your exposure, why pay a ton of money when there are so many used, high quality lenses available?  Sure there are many optical and automated benefits to modern lenses, but sometimes, for the money saved, I can deal with the shortcomings of older, out of date lenses.  Using older, “legacy” glass on multiple cameras, either via a proprietary mount or adapter, can provide a fun, reasonably affordable and beneficial experience…

FD’d for mere pennies on the dollar.

I stumbled across a cache of Canon FD lenses accompanied by an old beat up F-1 camera for less than an EF 50 f/1.4 lens on my local craigslist site.  The box of old gear included a 35mm f/2, 55mm f/1.2, 100mm f/4 macro, 400mm f/4.5 and a couple of slow zooms.  The owner knew that a couple of the lenses he was selling were worth the price of admission alone, but just wanted to get rid of them.  Looking through Ebay, I knew what he was saying, and also figured out how some folks on Ebay were making their money…  For me, I was more interested in using these lenses (speaking of ebay) via the FD>m4/3 adapter, and even have been having fun using them with an FD>EF adapter.  On my full frame 5DII, the FD lenses exhibit quite a few shortcomings and are certainly under-performers on a high resolution full frame sensor when needing to be translated by an adapter with a sub-par optical element, but hey, for the money, I’m just happy to have an f/1.2 lens to play around with.  On my 40D and my Panasonic GF1, they are awesome.  By eliminating the edges of the image circle (by way of smaller than full frame sensors), it has cut out most of the issues these lenses have been showing on the 5DII.  (the e-bay links I’ve provided above are for the adapters I personally bought from those same sellers, they both function as advertised and I would buy from either seller again)  If you do get an adapter from either of these guys, let them know I said hi.

I have been a critic of the larger, bulky, slower (and not cheap) lenses currently being offered by the micro 4/3’s camp in an attempt to seemingly attract the P&S converts into a low profile system camera, as opposed to (in my opinion) offering up what the system really should be focusing on, being size (or lack of to be more specific) combined with decent IQ (for the overall size of the camera) which is where it trumps other entry level system cameras.  I am not in charge of the bottom line at these companies, so I am sure people much smarter and more savvy than I are in the positions making these choices for good reasons.  I am a big fan of fast prime lenses and because Panasonic and Olympus have been slow in bringing fast, low profile, prime/pancake or fast zoom lenses of varying focal lengths to market, I have figured I would save myself some money by buying older glass.  If I were going to have a bulky lens hanging off the front of my GF1, why not save myself some cash and get some solidly built, high quality, fast manual focus legacy lenses?  That said, Panolympus may still get a bit of my money with fast, wide, pancake primes, in the future (or if the 7-14 f/4 price gets cut in half), but I doubt I will spend much for any other dedicated micro 4/3 lenses personally.  The lenses being offered are certainly quality lenses from what I’ve seen, but too rich for my blood priced as is.

That said, I am a big fan of the micro 4/3 system, and feel the two best qualities it provides (or is capable of providing) over other systems are; #1 – size, followed closely by #2 – its third party lens compatibility.  Most other factors are eclipsed by the other camera manufacturers and cameras being offered currently.  The fact that I can fit a relatively large sensor camera with a fast standard lens in my coat pocket is cool.  If I have to carry a bigger camera bag around, I may as well bring my other cameras out, OR, a bag full of my already purchased and other cheaply acquired manual lenses and adapters just for the fun of it.  So why use large, heavy, third party lenses on these small compact cameras you ask?  Well, because it’s cheap (or free if you already have the lenses) and it’s fun.  That brings us back to the topic at hand.

While I do hope that Panasonic adds sensor based stabilization to the next in the GF line (or Oly adds a decent LCD screen, better AF and gets rid of the menu labyrinth they may get my money)  I am pretty happy with the GF1’s performance with my FD lenses and do enjoy the ‘manual’ shooting experience.  As I mentioned in the previous post linked above, I really have had fun, and have benefited my technique, shooting manually.  Here are a few examples using the GF1 and EF mount cameras with Canon FD lenses (all shot RAW and converted in Aperture 3):

The Canon FD 35mm f/2 SSC lens is a near perfect mate for the GF1 in my opinion.  Relatively affordable, great balance, nice manual focusing dampening and very painterly bokeh straight out of the camera.  It provides a 70mm equivalent field of view, great for much of what I enjoy shooting.

GF1 + FD 35mm f/2 = great combo.

Panasonic GF1 w/ FD 35mm f/2 SSC lens.  LBWHF goes profile.

Panasonic GF1 w/ FD 35mm f/2 SSC lens, straight out of the camera.

Panasonic GF1 w/ FD 35mm f/2 SSC lens. Wisteria to the front.

The Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 SSC was the main reason that I bought the bunch.  I am a fast glass fan and have never personally owned a lens faster than f/1.4 so I thought why not give it a try.  Wide open it is soft.  I wouldn’t consider this lens to be a performer when sharpness in low light was a serious concern, but the results can be really, really cool.  I had to wait for my FD>m4/3 adapter to show up, so I did a bit of shooting on the 5DII just to see how it would go, I’ve since seen the same thing with the other lenses, the smaller the sensor, the cleaner the image from corner to corner.  Cutting out the edges of the image circle on this guy certainly helps, but personally, I like vignettes and edge blur if used right.

GF1 + FD 55 f/1.2 = ‘artistic’ low light shooting

Canon 5DII w/ FD 55mm f/1.2 SSC lens. Shoot wide open or go home.

Canon 5DII w/ FD 55mm f/1.2 lens. More surreal, less sharp.

Canon 40D w/ FD 55mm f/1.2 SSC lens. lit only by a 40w bulb

The 35 f/2 and 55 f/1.2 both provide an almost painting like quality to images shot wide open.  Stopping down can sharpen up the image, but I like to shoot fast lenses wide open, or near wide open most of the time and like to look at their performance, or quirks at the larger apertures.  Why have a fast lens if you don’t use its speed as it’s primary function?  The 35 is sharper than I would have guessed it to be, but the 55, wide open at least, is more an “artistic” lens.  It could be my copy and I hope to get hold of one of the Noktor 50 f/.95 to do some comparisons to see if the extra $600 or so would be worth the extra speed in the micro 4/3 realm.

The Canon FD 100mm f/4 macro is as sharp as you’d want it.  Doing a little searching around, this lens in good condition commands around $150 and I’m sure even better deals can be found.  Even at that price, I’d say it is worth it for a true 1:1 macro lens.  Many 35mm and 50mm legacy “macro” lenses may only go 1:2 at maximum magnification without extension tubes, so if you are looking for a true 1:1 life size macro lens that will double as a great portrait/short tele lens, keep it in mind.

Panasonic GF1 w/ FD 100mm f/4 Macro lens. After the rain…

Canon 40D w/ FD 100mm f/4 Macro lens.  The trumpeters in unison.

Canon 40D w/ FD 100mm f/4 Macro lens.  Up close and personal with a lupin.

What to say about the Canon FD 400mm f/4.5 SSC?  The thing is a beast, but compared to the EF offerings, it is much smaller and lighter.  It looks like a telescope attached to the camera.  On the 5DII, it certainly suffered in the corners, but the center fared well.  On the GF1, it turned into an absolute monster.  Because the high ISO performance of the GF1 is mediocre, this combo is really only decent in good light.

Panasonic GF1 w/ FD 400mm f/4.5 lens capturing the local “wildlife” from across the house.

Canon 5DII w/ FD 400mm f/4.5 SSC lens. The background obliterator.

(This vignetting was entirely down to the lens and adapter’s inability to get the right amount of light across the entire full frame sensor.  Just something to live with on a full frame digital camera I guess.  Actually, I usually add a vignette anyway so it’s fine with me.)

Canon 5DII w/ FD 400mm f/4.5 SSC lens. It’s the closest I’ve been to the moon.

Why do we take pictures?  I’m sure there are quite a variety of answers to that type of question.  Personally, I take pictures because I love to.  It is fun and a much better way to waste my time than exercising or drinking.  I have been enjoying this legacy lens renaissance and have saved myself some money.  I doubt I will do much in the way of paid work with any of these lenses, but I will guess that I’ll catch a few shots here and there that I will put to some use and arguably already have.  Between a couple cameras, adapters and these new lenses I have enough to keep me entertained and enjoying the variety for a very long time, not to mention enough range to cover more shooting situations than I ever have before.  I doubt (much to Mrs. Squeeze’s frustration) that I will go the rest of my life not ever buying another lens, but I must say that I will certainly give older lenses a more serious look.  Have a glance at your local craigslist site, check ebay or find a local camera store specializing in used camera equipment.  I found one here in Portland called Blue Moon Camera and Machine, and they are a great shop and film lab.  I’ve talked to them and they are happy to send lenses all over the place via USPS, and they have a ton of older glass in the FD, OM and Nikon flavors (as well as a bunch of other stuff too) combined with a knowledgeable and friendly staff.  They have their entire used camera and lens inventory on their website which, as far as I can tell they keep up with regularly, with prices and conditions as well as an “inquire” link to ask about a particular lens, or camera.  If nothing else, it is a good reference for what might be a fair price for many of these legacy lenses if you are looking elsewhere.  Stop in there and say hi.

All in all, I have to say that I have been impressed with the return for such a small investment.  Look to make sure that the lenses operate correctly and aren’t wrought with fungus, but otherwise, there are deals to be found!  Sure, older lenses don’t benefit from the newer coatings, or certain advancements in optical element design all the while needing to be manually handled, but they are built like tanks and can certainly provide good results.  It has been nice getting back to basics regarding exposure and manual focusing and has helped me reassess certain aspects of my photography.  I’m really happy I’d found this box of gear on craigslist and decided to give it a new home.  I now have a few lenses that, even if their equivalents were offered in a dedicated mount for EF or m4/3, I’d have paid out the ear to acquire them by comparison.  Have a look around, you may just find yourself a great deal out there.


94 thoughts on “*G-FD’d Up From the Feet Up! (or, how I saved thousands buying FD lenses)

  1. Hi Tyson!
    Hey, I love the 100mm macro shots – both of ’em are really sharp and close. Are you going to show us the GF1 mated with the 100mm and the other FD lenses? I’d be really interested in seeing if you get the same sharpness.

    Interesting point about getting rid of the deficiencies of the older lenses by pairing with the M4/3. Nice also to reuse some of the old stuff laying around, some of which is probably still pretty good glass.

    Did you say the FD > M4/3 has an optical element or is that the other adapter? An optical element might account for some of the $$’s I see charged for M4/3 adapters – sometimes approaching $300!

    I opted for a $30 OM > M4/3 for my GH1 but still haven’t seen it or the old OM lenses my son’s hopefully bringing tomorrow.

    Especially looking forward to the Zuiko 50mm f3.5 macro, although only a 1:2 lens. Still much better than the pancake 20mm or the zoom. At the time it was made, that Zuiko was one of the best tested resolutions from (I forget) Modern Photography or some such mag.

    Do you know what happens to the aperture when you mate a 35mm lens to an M4/3? Since the focal length doubles, I’d think it would affect it – maybe by halving the light or 1 stop. Wonder what happens to the minimum focus distance, too?


  2. Hey Terry!

    I have used the 100mm macro and the GF1 a bit, but handheld, it hasn’t exactly provided blogworthy macro shots just yet. I want to set it up on a tripod and will try to update this post with a shot or two.

    The optical element is in the FD>EF mount adapter. It was required to convert the FD lenses so that they are capable of infinity focus. There are FD lens to EF mount adapters without the optical element, but they act as extension tubes ultimately. That said, I’ve not really noticed a huge degradation in quality. Sure, I’d see it in big prints, or if I pixel peep, but for everyday use, and small prints (which we’ve done quite a few so far) the lenses have worked really well on EOS cameras, even the 21mp 5DII. The micro 4/3 adapters, or at least the couple that I have, are merely engineered to place the lens at the correct distance to the sensor enabling infinity focus, so in effect they’re kinda like finely tuned extension tubes. I don’t know why some of the Voigtlander and Novoflex adapters are SO much as I don’t see what they could offer that the cheaper adapters I have don’t. I will say that the inexpensive EF>m4/3 adapter I have is very loose on the EF mount side, it could certainly be built more precisely, but that doesn’t affect the optical performance at all, so having paid $30 or so, I’m super happy with it.

    The Zuiko 35mm is still considered to be a wonderful lens optically. That’s what I really love about some of these old lenses. They were built well, and really built to last. Lots of glass, lots of metal. As long as they’ve been taken care of, they are still beautiful lenses.

    As far as I know, the aperture, in relation to the physical lens itself is not affected by the crop factor by using a smaller sensor, requiring any more conversion. Because the crop only really affects the field/angle of view by cropping into the image circle, and not really physically extending the the actual focal length, it gets to play by the same rules. As for min, focusing distance, I’ve not noticed a difference, but I would imagine it could minimally decrease it due to the lens being physically pulled away from the sensor, alas to that I cannot speak definitively though.

    I’m excited to see some of your shots once you get your OM adapter (and I’m looking forward to seeing some shots with the GH1 period!)



  3. Great write up…I’ve recently taken the plunge back into film with a $100 grab bag purchase of FD equipment much like yourself off of Craiglslist. I have an FD to EF converter sitting in a drawer ready for when I finally switch back to digital.

    I did put some money towards a 135mm/2.5 and have been very happy with the results if you’re looking for something decently fast with some reach (although not macro).


    • Thanks Mike.

      I too have been starting to shoot film again. I have acquired an old Hassy 500C/M from my father in law and have been loving it. I think I am going to grab some rolls of 35mm once I’ve gone through a few rolls of 120. It’s expensive though! I’d forgotten about all that processing. Makes one a bit more intentional with each frame.

      If I didn’t already have the EF 135 f/2 I might really look at the FD 135, but the 135L plus the adapter has served me pretty well on the GF1 and it is just an absolute killer on the EOS cameras. The FD lenses that I’m really looking for now are the FD24 f/1.4 or FD24 f/2! If I can find a good deal on one of those, I might be tempted… Thanks again for reading and commenting.




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  5. Hi, Tyson.

    I’m glad you’ve discovered the beauty of Canon FL/FD on the m4/3 cameras, and that you’ve entered the world of legacy lenses. IMO it’s where this system really shines, especially in light of the ‘availability’ and pricing of native m4/3 lenses, as you pointed out.

    I have a number of Canon FD/FL lenses as well that I really enjoy on my GH1 (and on my old FTb):

    FD 28/2.8
    FD 35/1.2
    FD 50/1.4
    FD 135/2.5
    FL 55/1.2
    Tamron SP 24-48
    Tokina 90/2.5 macro

    I’d be curious to see what you find when you put the 55/1.2 on your GF1 since you now have the adapter for it. I find my FL 55/1.2 very pleasing for portraits because of the slight softness to it. The Tokina/Vivitar S1 90/2.5 macro is superb!



  6. I’m on a similar journey having just purchased mint OM lenses, 24mm f3.5, 50mm f1.8 and 100mm f2.8. They are stunning lenses wonderfully tactile and my resolution tests show them to be as good as my Canon L zooms on my 5D MkII in the centres and corners. I’m amazed. My plan is to use them on my GF1 with a Fotodiox shift adapter as a lightweight hiking kit option. I’m really excited about producing stitched images with it.


    • Colin,
      I’ve got my old OM Zuiko lenses: 50mm f3.5 macro, 200mm f4, a 35mm f2.0 and somewhere or other a Sigma 16mm which is not going to be too useful, competing as it does with my Lumix 20mm f2.0 which is a lot smaller and lighter.

      Planning on picking a couple of these for backpacking and since I like to shoot bugs and flowers, probably the macro.

      I was wondering how Tyson would hand hold a 100mm (35 mm equiv. 200mm) macro lens. Might be tricky. I’m kinda doubly handicapped in learning how to use my new M4/3 Pana GH1. Waaay more complex than the Pana FZ18!

      Really interested in seeing how everyones’ legacy lenses’ photos turn out – I’ll share mine of Flickr when I get ’em.

      Well, off for a beer with my buds.


      • Colin,

        I’d love to hear about the adapter you’ve got for the OM>EF. That they are as sharp as L zooms is amazing! I’m really thinking that adapters and legacy glass may be my reality in the future as far as lens purchases go. I’ve got my bases covered, but there are a few niche lenses that I’d love to acquire and if I can get them to perform equally as well on the 5DII, well, that is a win win. If you think about it, drop a line if and when you have images somewhere online, or if you’re on flickr, drop them in our group pool (we’re here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1342580@N24/)


        I’m really curious to see the OM50 macro in action. I think it will be a great combo with the GH1. As for the FD100 macro, it is tricky to handhold (as most macro lenses are I guess) and not having been much of a macro shooter up until now, I’m still getting my feet wet. I think sensor based stabilization would really help here. If I am going to try and get some good close ups, I guess I’ll just use the tripod. Hope the beer was cold and plentiful! Happy Friday.



    • This morning I tested a mint OM 50mm f1.8 against a 45mm TS-E and a 24-105mm L all on my 5D MkII, it’s sharper in the centre and as good at the edges, but best of all it’s performance doesn’t drop off so quickly at f11 and f16. On the GF1 using the Fotodiox shift adapter and the OM lenses (see here http://colingriffiths.blogspot.com/2010/04/panasonic-gf1-fotodiox-eos-shift.html ), a three frame portrait stitch produces a slightly higher resolution than a single frame from the 5D MkII can in a compact and lighter package.


  7. Hey Spanky,

    I wasn’t aware of the 35 f/1.2! I am now officially intrigued. I have played around a little with the 55 f/1.2 on the GF1, but most of the shots have been a bit too soft for me to feel like posting. The learning curve, especially when using the LCD to fine focus, is challenging with such a large aperture. As I fine tune my technique, I will add some images with the 55 + GF1 combo.

    Hi Colin,

    I really think that Panasonic and Olympus have caught lightning in a bottle with the micro 4/3 system. I doubt that I would have searched out legacy lenses for use solely with my EOS cameras, but now that I have, I really feel like I was missing out. With the m4/3 cameras, just the fact that it opens up such an interesting cross section of legacy lenses compatible with one system is amazing. I think that largely because of this it will keep the micro 4/3 system ahead of any of the other mirrorless systems which choose to try and maintain a proprietary mount making it harder for older, or other lenses to be used. I really feel that whether intended or not, it is brilliant on the part of Panasonic and Olympus. Because of this, I will continue to support the micro 4/3 system if for no other reason than their openness and fundamental ideology of such an accessible platform.

    Thanks guys!



    • Sorry – typo. That was supposed to be 35/2, not 35/1.2. Got too excited about the fast aperture on the 55 as I was typing =). The 35/2 (older radioactive version) is one of the sharpest lenses around, and different than the more modern one you have. The older lenses only go to f/16, and feature a concave element which is supposed to make for sharper photos. I don’t have the f/22 version you have, so I can’t compare them directly to be sure.

      Here’s a link I found to some info on the f/16 version: http://lummukka.com/canonfd35.html


      • Spanky,

        Just got around to reading the blurb on the radioactive FD! Great stuff and very informative. I’d heard about thorium and lanthium used in earlier lenses before, but the measurements of exposure were helpful in putting them in perspective. I guess, as long as you’re not carrying the lenses around in a vest pocket 24/7, you’d be fine! 🙂 Do you notice particularly sharp images using the 35? Hopefully these radioactive elements weren’t used in vain and they do provide some benefit. With all the radiation we expose ourselves to on a daily basis, I wouldn’t mind a little more if it meant better pictures… 😉



    • Thank you Mike!

      I haven’t done any video yet. “Learning video” is getting close to the top of my to do list. So far my only foray into the world of moving pictures has been documentation of our young son for the sake of posterity (and grandparents). I have always been interested though, and I think that from my initial feel, the FD lenses will really shine for video on the dSLR’s especially the cropped sensor cams. Because they were built to be manually focused, the dampening and overall feel to the focus ring is just sweet. Of course on the micro 4/3 cams, when coupled with an AF OIS lens, the focusing is more or less taken care of, which for a novice like me, can be really handy. I’ll see what I can come up with and hopefully add a video post with the FD lenses sometime in the near future.


      • Hi Tyson,
        Great article and demo of what those FD lenses can do ! I recently discovered FD and FL lenses and use them with my GH1. In fact I use them mainly for video and they come out really great for that purpose.
        I own a 35mm f/2.0 and a 50mm f/1.4 and used to have also a 50mm f/1.8 and 28mm f/2.8.
        If you like you can check some examples of vid I shot here :

        Also many great examples in the dedicated group for Canon FD and FL lenses on Vimeo : http://vimeo.com/groups/canonfd

        And I am really impressed by your shots with the 100mm macro!
        Will have to look for one soin 😉

        Thanks again for this very good article !


      • Thank you Emeric! Great examples. Preparations, est absolument beau. Not being a video guy yet, I love to see such inspirational work done with such accessible combinations, knowing that I at least have access to the hardware and when combined with acquired skill and knowledge can be capable of providing such results. I’ve just recently become a father, so I need to start learning the video side of things. These moments aren’t repeatable!

        Mike L, have a look. Great examples of video using a micro 4/3 camera with FD lenses.

        Thanks again Emeric.



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  10. Thanks, Emeric!
    Great looking video – absolutely first rate! Nice to know the GH1 can make beautiful video like that. What lens or lenses did you use on those two? One of the legacy lenses? I hear great things about the 14-140 Lumix kit lens.


    • Hi Terry,
      Thanks for the nice words 😉
      The GH1 is definitely great for videos ! In fact that’s why I bought it for in the first place, and I am now discovering the world of photography ! Should you need any other example of how good it is for videos, just browse Vimeo looking for GH1 vids, and you ‘ll see some amazing stuff …

      These vids were made using Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 and 28mm f/2.8.

      As for the 14-140 kit lens, its a great lens specifically designed for HD video, which means no noise when autofocusing while filming available, soft zoom, and of course great image. The only point where it comes short is low light situations, with a max aperture of 4.0 at 14mm, it is sometimes disappointing. But in good light conditions it sure does a great job.

      If you like to watch an example, feel free to check one vid I recently made using only the kit lens (except on or two shots with Canon FD 35mm f/2.0, the thorium version 😉 ) :

      But once again I am only an “amateur” and many other great and better examples may be found on the web !


  11. Hi – great piece.

    I’ve just bought a GF1 and am interested in doing this. Is the lack of IS an issue? Do these lenses have a ‘focus ring’ (or whatever it is called when you have the two hemisphere’s that you line up to show focus …) If not do you use the focus assist / how easy and quick is it to do using live view?

    Thanks – love the photos …


    • Hi Jim and congrats on the new camera!

      I would have to list the lack of in body IS the most significant omission from the Panasonic line, but that being said, it is no more an issue than not having ever had in body stabilization in any camera that I’ve ever had (I only have one Canon lens with IS as well). So, I have been used to needing to utilize my CBIS (carbon based image stabilization) system like I’ve always had to. Sure, it would be useful, but in no way is it an absolute deal breaker. The split prism focus assist was a product of an optical viewfinder and focus screen, and doesn’t carry over with lenses so we are left with the focus assist which on the GF1 is activated by depressing the thumb/click wheel on the back of the camera. It will magnify the image at 5x (I believe) at which point you can move the area on screen around by way of the directional buttons, and even zoom in further by spinning the thumb/click wheel to the right. Once you engage the shutter button with a half push, it will bring you back to a full view which I also really like. I think that an electronic viewfinder would certainly help for MF, but I have been fine without one so far. Having come from using more traditional dSLR cameras, I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the manual focusing experience was with the GF1. I wouldn’t trust myself to track a fast moving land animal or anything, but otherwise, it just requires us boning up on our technique a little which has not only been beneficial, but fun for me.




  12. Tyson – that’s great. Another newb question (sorry!). What setting do you use on your camera? Does it have to be completely manual / shoot without lens? i assume if the aperture is set by the lens the body wont know this but can you shoot in shutter speed setting for instance?

    Thanks …


    • Hi Jim,

      I love chatting, so as long as I can answer the questions, I’m happy to do it! Firstly, yes, you need to set the camera up to shoot without lens. That setting is found in the Custom Menu (push the menu button and it’s the third down the “C + wrench”) and it is the second command from the bottom. Toggle that to “On” and it will stay that way (and will also not affect dedicated AF lenses as far as I know). I’ve set mine to on and never changed it. No problems.

      The easiest way I find is to shoot on Aperture Priority (A) which will allow the camera to automatically adjust the shutter speed based on the light passing through the lens via the aperture controlled on the lens itself in combination with the metering method you have the camera set up to. It works well, and for the times that the exposure is off a little bit, I just use the Exposure Compensation adjusted using the thumbwheel. If the image is a little dark, spin/click to the right, if the image is overexposed and too light, spin the click wheel to the left. Works wonderfully.

      Shooting in Manual mode or Shutter Priority will also work, but they work better in situations where you will be dealing with a constant amount of light. Either (M) or (S) will require you to manually adjust the shutter speed to reflect any adjustments you’ve made to the aperture (stop for stop) once you’ve established proper exposure, but it can be troublesome in situations where the light may be inconsistent as the camera isn’t able to automatically adjust any settings.

      Hope this helps answer what you were looking for.




  13. Tyson

    Cracking article, I have just got a Canon FD 50mm 3.5 macro and its that good I have decided to sell my Panasonic Leica 45mm to raise some cash. Have you tried many other lenses 50mm and below? I am very interested in 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm primes.




    • Thanks Richard! I’d love to see how the 50 works out for you by comparison to the 45 Panaleica. I’ve heard nothing but good things surrounding the 45 macro, but I just cannot see how it provides results to justify the cost over other macro lenses compatible with the system myself. If money isn’t a concern though, I’m sure it is a beaut.

      Because I am so happy with the 20mm Panasonic pancake, I haven’t looked too hard for a 20-24mm alternative. I have used the FD 35mm f/2 SSC and I think it is an amazing little lens. I’ve also used the EF 35 f/1.4 to good effect, but the aperture adjustment work around keeps it from being very useful. Optically though, it does play really well with the GF1. Because of the crop factor, I have been struggling to find a good wide angle prime which is why I have been so hopeful to see a 12mm or 14mm dedicated micro 4/3 lens fall into the sub $400 category (like the 20 f/1.7), and it appears that Panasonic is developing their 14mm f/2.5 and Oly is looking at a 12mm (can’t remember the max aperture) which I think might just get my money assuming it’s reasonable and of good optical quality.

      I have heard folks that have been very happy with the OM 50mm lenses, and there are tons of FD 50 f/1.8 around too. For me, the novelty of the FD 55 f/1.2 has done great. Tough to shoot with wide open (regardless of the camera I have it on) but when my technique is up to the task, the shots are great.



  14. Thanks for your response.

    The GF1 and now G1 have been a very interesting learning experience for me from shifting from a D300 and some expensive glass. I really enjoy manually focussing lenses (odd as that sounds) I also think that optically you can get far better results from mf lenses than the standard panasonic options.

    I have found that Voigtlander lenses are superb at 50mm and 75mm but less than this the IQ suffers corner to corner (I think this is due to the narrow adapter). Consequently am exploring FD lenses, hence my earlier post.

    If I manage to get hold of a decent 24mm F2 I will post some shots.

    With regard to wide angle I am lucky to have a 7-14 which does give excellent results. Others have tried numerous other options but to no avail. Speed doesnt bother me on landscape options I have found F4 is fine.




    • Aside from the 20 pancake, that 7-14 is the only m4/3 lens that I have really, really wanted to get. Because I can make the money go further in other areas, I just can’t justify the price as is unfortunately.

      I hear you on the MF lenses. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying using manual focus lenses on the GF1, especially those that were geared for manual focus. The dampening is just so nice, and optically, those that I have are beautiful lenses. They knew how to make ’em back then!

      I’d love to see some results if you do find a 24 (or any results really!) if you have a flickr account, we have a flickr group. Dump them in there!




  15. Hi Tyson – so i dropped $50 on ebay and bought a ‘vintage’ canon 50mm f1.4 (the 1.2’s were too pricey for now).

    here’s my (almost) first shot – its amazingly easy to focus with the live view:


    Quick question – is there anyway to make the thumb wheel magnification automatic as when you use an olympus m4/3 lens (i have the 1.7 panckae) set to MF?


  16. Nice Jim!

    Razor thin DOF coupled with handholding the equivalent fov of a 100mm lens can certainly challenge the balance between our technique and caffeine intake.

    As for automatically magnifying the view on the LCD with a manual lens, I don’t think so, or at least I’m not aware of it. Without the electronic connection to initiate the magnification when manually focusing, I don’t think the camera can automatically ‘know’ to do it. You can just depress/click the thumb wheel for the 5x magnification view and then spin the thumbwheel for an even more magnified view which, while not automatic, it is still very easy and handy when using MF lenses.

    Congrats on the find, certainly a deal at $50!




  17. Yeah – its been a fun learning curve tho. Really love to get that 35mm F1.2 of yours! (Bit out of my price range at present…)

    However it does seem that the lens may be broken . I’d like to ask a dumb question – changing the aperture on the ring doesn’t seem to affect the light entering the camera or the DOF. (E.G. on A say shutter is reading 100th at F1.4 and i switch to F16 it still reads as 100th and DOF = the same. ) When i remove the lens and look though it changing the F stop i don’t see the blades either … it is broken isn’t it?


    • I have a 35 f/2 and the 55 f/1.2, but I would REALLY love a 35 f/1.2!

      Once you have your FD lens attached to the adapter, there should be a “lock/unlock” ring on the adapter itself. If this ring isn’t switched to “lock” it won’t engage the aperture arm on the FD lens and the aperture will not stop down when adjusted on the lens. On my adapter, the lock/unlock ring is loose enough that I can disengage the locking mechanism accidentally by handling it so I’ve gotten used to just checking it as I shoot.

      I hope this helps, and great street shot!

      Load them up in the trp blog flickr group!




    • Awesome! I like it when the answers end up being something like this. I’ve found that the lock/unlock ring comes in handy for focusing. When ‘unlocked’ the lens is effectively wide open letting as much light in as it can, and also providing a very shallow depth of field as well. This helps me get my focus right on my subject and then when I ‘lock’ the ring, it stops down and will subsequently increase my DOF assuming I’m shooting with a smaller aperture giving a little breathing room as it were. The brightness isn’t as crucial with a camera that uses an LCD or EVF as it will adjust for whatever light is hitting the sensor in ‘real time’ but for use on my 5DII via the adapter, my viewfinder gets really dark when stopped down so it is a nice way to brighten it up for focusing and composition.


  18. Hi Tyson

    Did you ever decide to get a long FD lens, i.e, the 85mm or 135mm. I think I can get a decent 135mm 2.5 for around £50 and was thinking of giving it a go.


    • Hi Richard,

      I have a 100-200 f/5.6 zoom and the 400 f/4.5, but I’ve yet to look into a good fast short tele prime in an FD mount. I absolutely love my EF135 f/2. It is an amazing lens. I would love to find an FD 85 f/1.2, but I just can’t justify the cost right now. I’m keeping my eyes open though. I’d imagine as long as the lens and glass was in good working order, the 50 quid for that 135 would be money well spent. It will be pretty long on the m4/3 cams, but with the MF goodness of the FD glass, I think it would act as a great 270mm equivalent tele lens, and watch out for the background because it will be obliterated!



  19. T,

    So the 50mm 1.4 FD is great fun, love it far more than i thought i would. of the set of lenses you bought which ones do you use the most? thinking about which one i should get next … most of my photography is day to day life in NYC and I have my first daughter due in 4 weeks … any thoughts on what i should get?


    • Congrats Jim!

      My wife and I had our first last Fall. I think I’ve taken pictures of him with anything from my ultra wide angle zooms to my FD400mm f/4.5! On the GF1, I have found myself using the 35 and 100mm lenses most. I think I am most happy with the 35 f/2, it is sharp and a great walk around lens, while the 100mm f/4 macro is exactly what you’d want from a macro lens. The 55 f/1.2 is cool, but it’s soft and heavy. Honestly though, for baby shots, when shooting with the GF1, I think for me, the 20mm pancake is perfect. A good field of view, the auto focus is quick and accurate which can be nice for the little moments that happen really quickly, a facial expression, etc and it is fast enough to shoot in lower light. If you do happen to have a lens budget now, spend it. In 4 weeks you will find all kinds of things to spend that money on otherwise 🙂 Enjoy it and take pictures of mom now too! Good luck on the home stretch, it is a crazy and beautiful journey.



  20. Thanks Tyson. Dont think i’d get the f1.2 as it is very expensive for one more f/stop over the 1.4. Almost picked up a 35 f/2 last week but missed the annoying ebay deadline – will keep looking!

    Am surprised how easy manual focusing is on the GF1, been a fun time with it (and my brother, a 5D owner has just gone and bought one after playing around with mine. Think the m4/3 is going to be a real success)


  21. Hi Tyson – I read your reply to Jim about how the camera automatically adjusts shutter speed based on the amount of light passing through the lens. I find that I *always* have to dial in +2/3 or higher Ev to get correct exposure. And it isn’t always consistent, which means I have to take a shot, judge the exposure, take another, rinse, repeat. I know I can set up exposure bracketing but is there a more “automatic” way of getting correct exposure?

    Another annoyance: when shooting with old glass in A mode and auto ISO in low light, the GF1 adjusts exposure by slowing shutter speed to 1/30 first, and if that’s not enough, it bumps up ISO. Don’t know about you, but I can’t hand-hold at 1/30 for most of my lenses! Is there a way to make the camera not go below say 1/50?


  22. Hi Charlie,

    I’ve not used the “auto ISO” with MF lenses, mainly because I found that it’s choices would provide me with inconsistent results, and would not go high enough for lower light situations anyway. Another thing to look at is which metering setting you’re using. In some situations, the overall/average metering works best, and in situations where there are big EV differences in highlights and shadows, spot metering tends to work best as I can meter off of my desired subject and adjust as needed.

    It is another step, but manually adjusting the ISO, to me, is a much better way to handle these types of shooting situations, especially with ‘non-automated’ lenses. I think it may be where some of the confusion may come from as far as the camera is concerned. I don’t know for sure, but I would try to turn off auto ISO and see if that gives you better, or at least more consistent results.

    The only way to get faster shutter speeds, as it is for AF lenses as well, is to adjust the exposure by opening up the aperture to allow more light it through the lens, or adjusting the ISO to a higher setting to compensate for a lack of light otherwise. If I’m remembering correctly the auto ISO on the GF1 will only go to ISO400 right? (maybe 800) This would be a bit slow in really low light anyway, which is where you may be seeing the 1/30sec shutter speeds, etc.

    As for the EV compensation, it may be a function of the auto ISO, or even just the way the camera is calibrated, perhaps a quirk with the way the lens and camera interact, but you can always try to switch to “M” mode and adjust your shutter speed based on the light available. If you’re seeing the need to adjust +2/3 consistently with different lenses being used and all other settings staying the same, it may be something else going on with the camera, and at least you know that to gain proper exposure you just need to dial it in. If it seems to behave differently with different lenses, or in different light, and adjusting the metering doesn’t help, I would guess it is just how the particular lens somehow affects the exposure and metering maybe?

    Sorry for the long winded answer, but hopefully this will help you trouble shoot.




  23. Q: Is something special besides a FD to 4/3rd’s adapter needed for fitting a 800mm or 1200mm FD to a Olympus E3, or as one of my Canon friends tells me “the proper adapter is very expensive” ($1,000.00 to $1,500.00 range) to get clear results.

    I do a lot of rocket launches on Florida’s Space Coast.

    Most of the time I am in the 3 to 8 mile range and need the reach.

    Most of the long shots on my site (http://www.eddolin.com) are taken with a E3 & the Sigma “Bigma” 50mm-500mm, cable release, Manfrotto 3046 & 3063.



    • Hi Ed,

      I’m not entirely sure as I don’t have any personal experience with the 4/3 standard mount cameras, but I assume all you would need is an FD lens > 4/3 Standard converter. Now, I don’t know if there are quality issues from one converter to another, but I don’t think that it would be much of one as the flange and mount required to cover the 4/3 sensor area is much easier to convert for lenses built to cover a full frame. I doubt it would be a major issue. Where the FD lens converters had problems (that I’m aware of) was to the EF mount after Canon changed over. Those converters required an optical element which created more possibility for IQ issues.



  24. So I love the GF1, it is perfect for what I need and it’s taken me on quite a ride so far. I came to photography from an image processing route, for a long time I used a tiny fujipix and worked everything over in Photoshop and the Nik suite. Some of the images I produced have people fooled that I was using a “serious” camera. I upgraded to a Canon G7 then the GF1, each time getting better results in a “small” camera (though the GF1 isn’t a pocket machine).

    I never imagined I’d have so much fun doing everything in camera and just posting what came out but the legacy glass I’ve been using has changed that, I use the GF1 almost entirely manual now and when I stick on the (great) 20mm 1.7 the ease and simplicity seem to take some of the fun out of it. Hey that’s just me.

    So I started with the Canon FD 1.4 after reading this post. It was a fun lens to use but BIG and heavy, reducing the GF1’s compact size advantage. I loved the dreamy quality of the images but it was very soft, even dropped down to f4. f5.6 etc After reading on line it seems old manual lenses from all manufacturers have this issue. The fast glass has resolution that works with film but not with modern large sensors. At this time my brother, a Canon 5D user, saw my photos and bought a GF1 to use as a day to day point and shoot. Since he bought the GF1 the 5D is gathering dust which says a lot. In his garage (true!) he had an old Olympus OM series film camera and he bought an adaptor and stuck the lens, 50mm 1.8 prime, onto his GF1. The images were great, super sharp as good as the 20mm pancake but with all the manual app / focus fun. The lens was also a lot lot smaller than the canon. So I ebayed a pristine model for $39 on ebay and am in love.

    Olympus OM 50mm F1.8. Amazing.

    (taken with the pancake)

    The colour rendition is rich (I found my FD anyway has a more muted colour range, still great but compared to the pancake or OM it looks pale, I never new lenses made a colour difference!) and if you get it right the OM is razor sharp. If you click on the original image and pixel peep here you will see what I mean:

    Locks & Grips

    It also gives a great bokeh at the f4 I typically shoot with (for max sharpness)

    Hydrant at 90

    Park Slope Crossing - Go

    So it has become my lens of choice for now and can’t see a point in buying the current expensive range of Pany lenses. I’m not sure what to go for next but this page is great and suggests I may head for the 24mm f2.8 …


    and OM on 4/3 tests:


    Will let you know if i get any more lenses ….


    • Wow Jim,

      Great write up. One thing that caught my eye was how absolutely unnoticeable any CA was from the OM 50mm lens! I have heard great things about the old Oly glass and this is another great testament. Thank you for taking the time to offer up the insight and examples. I look forward to any future lens acquisitions you come across.




  25. Makes me want to dig out my 50mm Oly f3.5 macro and actually use it. When it was on my OM1, it was definitely my favorite lens and hardly used anything else.

    I’m glad to have the built in viewfinder on my GH1. As an amateur wildlife snapshotter I definitely want both macro and telephoto to get close to little things in the former and closer to far away critters in the latter.

    OT: The other thing I’ve found great satisfaction in recently is the new panorama s/w in Photoshop Elements. Makes great looking shots. Well, I think so, anyway. Here is Smith Rock and Sky High Basin.

    Smith Rock Comp_Panorama_edited_x.jpg

    2010 07 28_Sky High Lake 2010_1013_edited-1.jpg

    W/O the build in viewfinder, tho, I think I’d go loco. Can you really hold and manually focus a GF1? My thanks again to Tyson who pointed this out.


  26. Hi Itbackpackers –

    yes you really can hold and manually focus the GF1, it is much easier than you would think. All my shots are taken using the rear screen. It is high resolution and has a high refresh rate so it works well. When Pano bring out a better EVF clip on to the hot shoe i may get it but at the moment i dont need to. If you have any OM lenses (lucky!) buy the adaptor on ebay and let us know how it goes!


  27. Tyson,
    I just noticed your header pic of ocean beach and arch in the background. Wow! That is GORGEOUS! Tip of the hat on that shot. Was it stitched or do you own some bodacious wide angle?


    • Thanks Terry,

      We were in Rockaway beach. I believe I shot that with my 17-40 on the 5DII at the wide end if memory serves, so yes it’s a wide shot, but I substantially cropped into the image after I’d played around with it. One really nice thing about having a ton of pixels to play with (that doesn’t get enough credit I feel) is the ability to shoot wider and crop into the image file. I think that the native dimensions on that would still render 5 or 6 million pixels (which would still print pretty large at 2-300 dpi) even after cropping to fit into the banner dims which had me throw away a ton of the original image. Had I cropped into the same image taken with my old 12.8mp 5D, I’d have not been able to do much other than down size for the banner, in this case at least.

      I would also echo Jim’s sentiment regarding the MF on the GF1. While I certainly feel my manual focusing would be greatly benefited by holding the camera against my face by way of a viewfinder, it has been easier and more consistent than I would have imagined using only the LCD screen. A big positive difference being attributed to using lenses that were meant to be manually focused in the first place (OM, FD, etc) where my EF lenses are much, much harder to fine focus being that they’re geared for fast auto focus.

      I would also say, absolutely grab an OM adapter and get that 50mm macro back on the GH1! I think you would LOVE it (I know I would).



  28. Tyson,
    The love is not there yet. I just pulled the off-brand adapter out of its box and slipped the 50mm f3.5 Zuiko macro on. I get a msg that says “Please check that the lens is attached properly”.

    Egad! Called Panasonic tech support as they are generally very helpful. Of course they said I should buy their DMW-MA1 adapter at $105 on Amazon.

    This adapter snugs up nicely but both the Zuiko lenses give this msg in the viewfinder. Also, importantly, when I just put the adapter on by itself, I get the same msg.

    I see the DMW-MA1 pictured and it is somewhat different. Here’s a link.


    There is another question raised by the Pana rep who asked if these were Zuiko DIGITAL lenses? No, these are from the dark ages of photography circa 1972.

    Here’s a look at the front/read end of the adapter along with the 50mm f3.5 Zuiko lens.

    I’m awaiting Pana tech’s email on whether 40 year old Zuiko’s will even work with my GH1 with the mfrs. adapter.


    • Terry,

      No problems. Go into the menus and you will need to toggle the “shoot without lens” setting to ON. The camera is looking for an electronic connection, and all you need to do is manually override this. It is a very common thing, and I don’t doubt that they would suggest purchasing an expensive solution 🙂




  29. Bingo! You are the best! I searched to find the Shoot w/o Lens and found it on the Camera Icon Menu down a couple screens, but it works like a charm. Woohoo!!!

    The old 3.5 still focuses to about 3-4″. As I recall it produces 1/2 size images on the 35mm film OM1. I’m eager to see how it does on insects and flowers. Will let you know.

    Did I read somewhere that you can program this “Shoot Without Lens” setting into P mode or some such so you don’t have to fiddle with it when putting the legacy lens on?

    Thanks a bunch! You just saved me a bundle of cash. I’ll buy you a beer when I get to Portland. 😉 Or you can have one if you’re thru Ashland sometime.


    • I’ve just set mine to “on” and left it on. No problems switching between shooting modes, different lenses, etc. Shouldn’t be a problem once you’ve switched it. 🙂 Congrats and I’m glad to have helped! No repayment necessary, you’ve given me a feeling of purpose today which is a nice change from my work day… 😉

      Get out there and get some macro shots!!!



  30. You can leave the ‘shoot without lens’ on all the time, when you add an electronic lens it senses it and overides ..not even sure why there is an option to turn it on / off!


  31. Thanks, Jim and Tyson. It’s unclear why you’d want the camera sensing there’s a lens or not since I don’t think you can hardly put the lens on wrong.

    In any case I’ll just leave that setting on all the time.

    I’ll also take some macro shots with it and post ’em on Flickr. Tried the cat’s face, got nice and close to her eye. Good detail. I should try some video, too, but I’m not a natural videographer.

    Speaking of video – I think if you shoot holding the camera vertically, the video’s gonna be sideways. This could be corrected with s/w, I suppose. Think that’s an add-on to Photoshop Elements.

    I also now have an equiv. 100mm lens and maybe can leave the 45-200mm Lumix zoom home – it’s a bit porky to carry backpacking.


  32. Just new to the GH1, loving it. Got the 1/8 55mm Canon for $ 40. I like shooting in low light. Now my boys are going to be playing football and I want to shoot some action shots. would this be a good deal? Sigma – Canon FD 400mm Telephoto lens for $100?


    • Hi Brian,

      Congrats on the GH1. From all accounts that I’ve heard, it is a stellar camera. I assume you’re talking about the Sigma FD 400mm f/5.6? I don’t know the history on many of the older FD optics, but for $100 it sounds like a deal. Depending on the available light, it may be too slow for action/football shots unless you have full sun, or light overcast situations. I’ve heard that the GH1 has a good stop + better performance in high ISO over the G and GF lines which will help, but I’d think that ISO 800 (maybe 1600) might be about as high as you’d want to go which might get you a fast enough shutter speed. Because of the crop factor, the 400mm lens will have the same field of view as an 800mm lens would on 35mm film/full frame digital cameras which means that hand shake will be further magnified. If you’ve got a good tripod, or can brace the camera and lens well while shooting, I’d guess you could get away with a shutter speed of 1/500 second if you needed to, but I would shoot to keep it around at least 1/1000 for quick moving subjects at that focal length. Shooting wide open at f/5.6 on that lens, I’m not sure how much you’d have to push your ISO to get to that 1/1000sec mark, but it should be plenty possible in sun light, etc and as it gets darker, ISO 800-1600 should account for the light loss (at least 3-4 stops of it anyway). For $100 though, it is worth a try I’d think as it’s as fast as anything else in a dedicated m4/3 mount on the tele side of things (plus you gain extra reach as there are no 400mm lenses currently that I’m aware of) and I’d guess being a prime lens, should be pretty sharp.

      All the best,



  33. Just winging it: I think the GH1 is a great choice (I’ve got mine packed for France/Spain/Morocco in a couple weeks) so let’s see. High school football is under the lights, right? So low light is going to be an issue.

    As Tyson says, 800mm is going to be pretty shaky. No in body stabilization so, you’d need a tripod, I would think. But then you’ve got to follow the action.

    I also don’t know about s/w to edit and/or zoom on video. Still photography, sure. So, you need a lens that will get close, is bright in dim light and will not need editing. Hmmm… you’ve set yourself some interesting challenges there, Brian.

    I think I’d try conservative for a bit: tripod with a 100mm lens maybe. See how that goes and then work up to longer lenses.

    Right now I don’t know what the longest IS lens is: Tyson?


    • Hi Terry,

      Thanks for chiming in as it’s always great to hear from actual users. While I’d love to put a GH1 through its paces, I feel I’ve already taken my photography gear allowance to its current limit 🙂

      Currently the longest IS lens available for a Panasonic m4/3 cam (that I’m aware of) is the 45-200 f/4-5.6 OIS lens. Oly has the 75-300, but of course the Oly’s don’t put stabilization in their lenses as their cameras have sensor based stabilization. Nothing a tripod, or beanbag cant remedy though, in good light anyway.



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  35. Nice write up. I too am a GF1 fan, esp. with an EOS>4/3 adapter (although I love the native 20mm/f1.7).
    I only wish I’d bought it sooner since it kind of woke me up after a summer of lugging around a big SLR.
    I’ve particularly enjoyed using my Voigtlander 40mm/f2.0 “pancake” lens with the GF1 since its focus mechanism is so delightful. I’d bought it for my Canon SLR body and it (re)woke me up to manual focus, so its an easy step to use it as a manual focus lens on the GF1. Highly recommended by this user.
    I also have the Voigtlander 20mm, but it is not as good on the GF1 as the Lumix 20mm (it’s a lot slower and very vignette-y).
    I enjoy your work and am glad I found you through flickr!


    • Thanks Peter,

      I’ve been wanting the Voigtlander 40mm pancake for a while and have continually talked myself out of it because I use the EF 35 f/1.4 so often and find it a little harder to justify because of that, but on the GF1 it might be exactly what I need. I look forward to chatting in the future and I’m going to look for the V-40 images on your stream! You may act as the final straw for me 🙂




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  39. Great article! About a year ago I acquired a Lumix GH-1, lightly used, for $300. I already had a Canon 1DS kit with a Sigma 15mm 1:2.8 fisheye, Canon 28-70mm 1:2.8, and Canon 70-200mm 1:2.8. It was a great kit to start (I primarily shoot video and have applied the 75Mbs video hack to the camera). After using a friends Lumix 20mm pancake I dropped $450 for one of my own. I love the lens and don’t regret the purchase at all.

    I’ve recently started exploring legacy lenses. I found a Canon FD mount 24mm 1:2.8 at a pawn shop for $20 and ordered a Fotodiox adapter for $21. I’m getting a lot of use out of that lens and it looks great!

    Yesterday a friend posted a picture of her AE-1 kit with 4 lenses on Facebook with the caption “goodbye old friend”. I asked what she was doing with it and she said she was taking it to Goodwill. I told her how great I thought those lenses might be and she gave me the kit! I don’t know what lenses I am getting but it looked like 2 primes and 2 zooms. I pick them up in an hour and am looking forward to seeing what I’ve added to my package for free.

    As you can probably tell, I am stoked! Once I’ve had a chance to see what I’ve got and test them out I will give you an update.

    Thanks for the great article.


  40. Hi Tyson,

    Im really looking into getting some legacy lenses to bulk up my lens collection a little, the Canon FD stuff looks awesome and Ive always wanted to own some Canon Glass. Whilst saving for the 14mm I was looking at the 28mm Canon but with the crop factor of the small sensor I’m not really going to be able to get a good wide angle. I have a 20mm (as you know) so dont need a ‘Slightly wide normal’. Any suggestions? My thoughts on the topic regards to wide angle are probably save up for the 14mm Panny right?

    Great shots and great advice




    • Hey Chris,

      I’d strongly suggest looking to go wide with the native mount stuff. Getting a true “wide” angle lens through an older mount would require an ultra wide or fisheye, and those are pretty expensive. I find that the various 24, 28, 35 and 50mm prime lenses are good, and relatively affordable. I happened to luck into a guy selling off a ton of older FD lenses and a camera, but I would also look around at OM (Olympus) or F mount (Nikon) stuff. There are tons of other legacy mounts that have great lenses, but with the Canon FD, Oly OM or Nikon F, there seem to be many, many more still around so prices seem to be pretty reasonable and are easier to find.

      Good luck with it! Lot’s of fun, and with the EVF on the G3, it’s a huge help with the manual focusing.



      • Cool, I thought as much in regards to wide angle. But I used to really enjoy manually focusing and using older lenses. Ive manually focused the 20mm a few times recently to get really tight on an object/someone and works great. Nice to have the option of overriding the auto focus (which maybe doable with all cameras like this, I haven’t explored enough). yeh that’s really cool, I was recently in a market in Leicester town and saw this guy had a massive selection of legacy lenses there so may go see what I pick up. cool, I shall look into those other lenses. The Rainbow imaging adaptors are cheap enough to be too restricted to one brand.

        Thanks for the advice, new posts are a great read also, cheers!!!!


  41. So, I made the plunge, the 50mm 1.8 is on its way to me (went with that as seems to be a relatively good lens, cheap and a focal length (100mm after 2 x crop) that I dont have. Went for a KIWIfotos adapter as heard good things.

    Hopefully it’ll be here before florida in a few weeks!


  42. forgot to show you my FD experience (i own a 50 and a 135 now) Heres a few shots I took using the 135mm on a G3 for anyone who’s interested in seeing

    Flowery Bokeh
    Breakfast Time

    Take A Walk Around The Lake
    Follow the Lights


  43. Hi,
    I just have a few questions, when you attach a lens in ‘shooting without lens’ mode (with GX7 in my case) which focal length are you suppose to choose: the one stated on a lens or the x2 “cropped” one? And how does your choice affect the picture / is it important for in-camera barrel distortion correction only? I’ve been trying to couple my FD lenses but the results are far from impressive – quite heavy aberration. Can it be due to the quality of fd2mtf adapter (I didn’t really spend much on it)?



    • Hi Michal,

      Use the actual focal length (not the 2x crop factor). It is for the stabilization. As for the CA, that would be down to the lenses mostly. Older film era lenses didn’t have to optically correct for this the same way as film isn’t as prone. Easy to correct for in software though, and normally is lessened by stopping the lens down. I too have a cheaper adapter and it has served me well.

      Thanks for the read and comment,



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