Lenses and lens adapters for Micro Four Thirds

NOTE: This information has now been copied to my wiki which is easier to navigate and view.

 

One of the great features of the Micro Four Thirds system (MFT) is that it’s short lens mount to sensor distance means it is the most adaptable and versatile camera system yet invented.

Not only can it mount Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds lenses, and all the lenses which can be adapted to Four Thirds such as Nikon F, Sony/Minolta, Pentax KA, Pentax M42, T2, Leica R, Contax Carl Zeiss, etc but it can also mount Canon FD at infinity focus and Canon EF lenses as well as the compact rangefinder lenses such as Leica M, Voigtlander VM, Carl Zeiss ZM, Canon and Nikon RF, Leica M39, Olympus Pen as well as even Contax G rangefinder (via a special adapter to adjust focus and aperture), PL Cine (Carl Zeiss Ultra Primes) and 16mm Cine lenses.

That is just about every interchangeable lens ever made!

Furthermore, you can now get tilt or shift adapters which will allow 35mm SLR lenses to become tilt-shift lenses on your M43 camera – now that is awesome!

Of course, except for MFT and certain Four Thirds lenses with contrast detect AF capability (and Canon EF/EF-S via special AF adapter), these lenses must be used in manual focus, but fortunately, the MFT cameras tend to have the best manual focus assist functionality available.

The other main potential downside is that the 2x crop factor of smaller than full frame sensor of the MFT means that the field of view of lenses becomes half, in other words it is the almost the same field of view as if you used a lens with twice the focal length on a 35mm camera. This is great if you want telephoto reach at wide aperture yet reasonable depth of field, but not so great if you want wide angle.

And, of course, you gain HD video with all these lenses!

The MFT is just meant to allow you to experiment and have fun – just get the adapter you need, and if you are using Panasonic cameras, set the menu to “Shoot w/o lens”. If you are using Olympus cameras, set the IS focal length to the actual lens focal length and you now have image stabilisation of up to 2-4 stops for that lens – this has never before been possible for many of these lenses – now you can use your Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L lens in really low light and have it image stabilised!

This is why the Olympus E-P1 was so popular and inspired the photography world – it was the best available “digital back” for these lenses and as you will be using manual focus anyway, its slower AF (compared with Panasonic) with MFT lenses is not really an issue.

Be aware that modern lenses such as Canon EF and Nikon G do not have aperture rings on them so you cannot adjust the aperture once they are on the MFT camera (unless you get adapters with aperture control). To get around this on Canon, adjust the aperture on a Canon body, hold in the DOF preview button as you remove the lens and the aperture will stay at that which you selected.

Lens AF compatibility with GH-1:

  • Silent, AFC-capable lenses for HD video:
  • quiet, AFC-capable lenses for HD-lite video:
    • Olympus M.ZD 9-18mm f/4-5.6 – 52mm filter; a nice landscape/travel /video lens at only 155g – $A799 – dpreview
    • Lumix 100-300mm f/4-5.6 OIS – 67mm filter, 520g
  • AFC-capable lenses (ie. most MFT lenses) but not optimised for HD video – slower AF tracking, no continuous AF in HD AVHCD mode:
    • Lumix 8mm f/3.5 MFT fisheye – released in 2010
    • Lumix 14mm f/2.5 MFT -released in 2010
    • Lumix 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS MFT 52mm filter – $US350
    • Lumix 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS MFT (H-FS014042) – cheaper build kit lens released in 2010
    • Lumix 45-200mm f/4-5.6 OIS MFT 52mm filter – $A879/$US350
    • Lumix 7-14mm f/4 MFT ~$A2199/$US1099
    • Lumix 45mm f/2.8 macro OIS MFT 46mm filter ~$US900, $A1549
    • Olympus M.ZD 14-150mm f/4-5.6  RRP $A799 quiet AF
    • Olympus M.ZD 40-150mm f/4-5.6 Oct 2010 RRP €329 quiet AF
    • Olympus M.ZD 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 – Dec 2010 RRP €899 – quiet AF, world’s smallest lens with 600mm telephoto reach
    • Olympus M.ZD ?50mm macro – US Spring 2011 (I hope it is f/2.0 so we get a nice portrait lens as well, and it comes sooner)
    • Olympus M.ZD ?8mm fisheye – US Spring 2011 (I would have preferred Olympus make a relatively cheap 40mm f/1.4 lens instead to give new users another portrait entry point)
    • Olympus M.ZD ?12-14mm prime wide angle – US Spring 2011 (I hope it is a 12mm rather than 14mm as Panasonic will have a 14mm)
  • AF Canon EF and EF-S lens adapter:
    • Birger Engineering have a $US700 adapter which allows AF, aperture control and optical IS when used on M43 bodies with larger batteries (eg. GH-1)
    • ie. ANY Canon EF or EF-S AF lens should be able to AF (although speed yet to be seen) and perhaps with AF-C during 720p video but these lenses will be noisy

Lens adapters for Micro Four Thirds (MFT):

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