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Legacy Lenses – Information

Legacy Lenses – Some Information on Buying and Using

Following my Legacy Lens Workshops this month in London here is some additional information from my chat at the beginning of the day:

£15 – A Fujifilm 90mm f2 ???

Lets face it £829, excluding cash backs makes it a good price against Canon & Nikon equivalents still, however…

I have argued that the XF90mm is not the best portrait lens. It is a great lens but I don’t consider 90mm (144mm FF) the ideal focal length for portraits. Around 50/60mm (85mm) FF does it for me.

I tend to shoot on manual focus with portraits and ensure I get the depth of field where I want it to be, using focus peaking. I am not after speed so slowing down on manual focus and choosing the pose is helpful. Even in the studio manual focus on the tripod and then movement from a model works fine as long as they do not step away from the zone of focus.

Generally I want my portraits not so ‘clinical’ and certainly a tiny bit soft on the skin tones especially with ladies and younger children.

Take a look at the Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 compared to the XF 90mm (length, 105mm) it is…
Tiny, minute, minuscule, really really tiny – 35mm!. Even with the Gobe adapter it is still only 60mm, nearly half the length!

Weight 280g with the Gobe adapter! The Fuji XF90, 540g!!

Maximum apertureOlympus f/1.8 – Fuji 90mm f/2

Price… £15!
Yep that really does say £15 (plus £16 if you add a Gobe adapter, with my discount, which can then be used with other OM lenses).

From – All Photo Lenses:
“The Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-S 50 mm  f/ 1.8  is a  standard classic kit lens of Olympus. It was manufactured for more than 30 years practically without modifications (there were 6 versions and 5 million such lenses manufactured in aggregate).

Being rather small, it features magnificent optical qualities. Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-S 50 mm  f/ 1.8 is already sharp at f/1.8. It produces beautiful bokeh. Contrast is good, almost no optical distortions visible. Images have nice,natural colors. It is well resistant to back lighting, especially the MC version.

The Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-S 50 mm  f/ 1.8 has very high resolution:

Resolution at f/ 2.8 (center/edge):  57/40 lpmm

Resolution at f/ 5.6 (center/edge):  90/40 lpmm”

Get a fast portrait lens for £15 !!! – Olympus OM 50mm 1.8

Yes OM Zuiko do come up more than £15 but if you look around you can pick them up at around £15. Just make sure it is a good one 🙂

Legacy Lenses: INFORMATION

Use weaknesses on cheaper lenses:
* Flare when shooting into light
* Colour changes
* Lens halation
* Softness overall or at edges
* Coma (swirly bokeh)
* Shoot wide open for bokeh & quality issues!
* Use ND filters on bright days for bokeh.


eBay….watch out for expensive collectors selling… Eastern Europe, Russian….AND UK!




Include cameras when searching as these can be cheaper!

Boot fairs

Charity shops

Club donations

UK shops, especially classic shops, they will be a little more expensive but are very good used lenses and usually with a 3 month guarantee:

MrCad is worth a visit if you are in London, within walking distance of Victoria Station. Allow a couple of hours to browse!

Watch quality: Scratches, dust, fungus, stiff focus, aperture blades, dents, filter thread OK?

With an adapter infinity may focus slightly ahead. Be careful with this when focusing. It is not a problem but just be aware of it 🙂

Depth of field scale, use this when shooting street on the wider lenses for zone focusing.

They are not waterproof!

Manual focusing:

Use Peaking
Use Zoom focus (Focus Assist)
Try prefocus on 24/28/35mm (zone focusing)
You can shoot aperture priority or manual exposure

Set up manual lens shooting on your camera if required e.g. ‘shoot without lens’ on Fuji.

Lens examples:

Olympus, Canon, Nikkor, Rokkor, Takumar, Voigtlander, Leica, Zeiss etc.

Watch out for overpriced Carl Zeiss ‘Jena’ lenses- these are Russian equivalents that were built in the old Zeiss factory after WW2. Still good average lenses but can be bought ‘cheap’.

Helios. Swirly Bokeh. Quality. Flare. Several types. I like the early ones:

helios 44-2
My personal fav Helios the 44-2 Glossy Zebra (£15!)

Zuiko. Japanese ‘Leicas’ – little chromatic aberration compared to others. A very high quality lens from Japan.

Cheapies. Expect: Flare, colour shift, halation, lower quality, coma, however some can surprisingly good particularly at around f/8.

Higher quality: Nikkors, Voigtlander, Zeiss… if you are serious and want something excellent or to collect.


Legacy Lenses
Light Academy Legacy Lens Workshops – Try your hand all day at some great glass that will not break the bank!
The Fourth Wise Monkey – Text No Evil – Helios 44-2
Gobe Logo

Gobe adapters & filters: 20% Discount code: lightacademy (one word)

logo_permajet flat black

Permajet: 15% off plus free delivery, mention my name when ordering on phone.

Interested in Street Photography? London Photography Workshops? Look out for my days in London. Sign up and subscribe to my mailing list in the menu to get details of up and coming street photography trips. Or… subscribe below 🙂


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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Totally in agreement with you Tony with regard to legacy lenses and manual lenses in particular.
    Depending on your subject matter and style zone focussing is definitely the way to go. I just spent a whole day shooting general urban architecture and didn’t touch the focus at all once set up.
    Zone focussing is definitely quicker than auto focus particularly in low light.

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