More Micro Four Thirds lens adapters – now with aperture control rings

Written by Gary on September 12th, 2009

If you read my blog, you will no doubt not have missed that one of the reasons many people are buying Micro Four Thirds cameras, and the Olympus E-P1 in particular (for its built-in image stabiliser), is that this system is the MOST adaptable camera system ever made.

You can mount almost any lens ever made onto these cameras, albeit in manual focus mode only, but in the case of Olympus cameras, they become image stabilised – you just dial in the actual focal length of the lens and there you have it.

This creates a system with possibilities of endless fun an experimenting, and unlike most good AF lenses, you can but excellent legacy lenses very cheaply indeed, thus making it more cost effective if you can live with manual focus.

For example, you can pick up a beautiful Olympus OM 24mm f/2.8 lens and adapt it to these cameras for a nice walk-around 48mm focal length view lens, or get a super cheap Olympus OM/Nikon/Canon FD/Minolta/Leica R/Contax Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 lens and it becomes a nice portrait lens without having to pay lots of money for an AF equivalent.

And if you want a very discrete telephoto, the OM 100mm f/2.8 gives focal length reach of a 200mm lens for a very compact image stabilised package with option of opening as wide as f/2.8 – although better at f/4. The OM 135mm f/3.5 lens is another very useful compact lens and becomes a 270mm image stabilised lens on an E-P1.

Here is my Olympus OM 100mm f/2.8 attached to an OM-EOS adapter, mounted on a EOS-MFT adapter, then onto my Panasonic GH-1 (I don’t yet have a OM-MFT adapter):

OM 100mm

If you want even smaller lenses, you can mount rangefinder lenses such as Leica M mount lenses or Olympus Pen lenses, or even cine camera lenses such as PL lenses.

One problem with the latest AF digital lenses from many of the manufacturers though is the lack of an aperture ring on the lens which until now has generally meant that you can only shoot these at wide open aperture (however, with Canon EOS lenses, you can do a trick to change the aperture by mounting the lens on a Canon body, selecting the desired aperture, hold DOF preview button in while you remove the lens – the aperture will stay at the selected aperture when you mount it on a Micro Four Thirds body).

Now Novoflex has come to the rescue and created new Micro Four Thirds adapters which incorporate an aperture control ring, thus you can now change the aperture of the new Nikon G lenses, Pentax K and Sony/Minolta lenses BUT not Canon EOS – yet.

The only problem with these adapters, is that they come at a price – RRP $US291 – ouch!

If you don’t need this functionality, you can search on Ebay for cheaper solutions – usually closer to $US80.

The Canon EOS lenses require an electronic solution, and although the video camera manufacturers have developed a aperture control solution for adapting Canon EOS EF lenses, we are still waiting for a similar solution for the Micro Four Thirds.

Finally, I am still waiting for an enterprising manufacturer to create a tilt-shift adapter for Micro Four Thirds which should be possible, and which would effectively convert all adapted lenses (even 35mm film camera lenses) into tilt-shift lenses – this is only possible on a Micro Four Thirds system due to its short lens to sensor distance, although similar adapters are available for Nikon and Canon dSLRs but you must resort to massive medium format or large format lenses to use them.

Fun times ahead!


ps… don’t forget, there is a little gotcha … The Panasonic GH-1 (and presumably other Panasonic cameras) will not allow AF-confirm adapters to work on a Four Thirds – Micro Four Thirds adapter: you will get a lens error message even though you have set the camera to shoot w/o lens!

ps… unlike on dSLRs, there is no AF-confirm functionality, but to offset this, there is a MUCH faster manual focus magnified assist system as there is no need to raise the mirror up to enter live view mode (because there is no mirror on Micro Four Thirds).


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