So, how does that old, crusty Zeiss 50mm f1.7 lens work with a $15 adapter on the Lumix S1? Is it pure crap or was I able to salvage something?

Gone cheap. Thank God!

I've been buying up stuff like a Saudi prince with a open-ended credit card at Rodeo Drive. I put on the brakes but when I was looking through the gear drawer I found an almost forgotten Contax/Zeiss 50mm f1.7 manual focus lens. I went over to the computer and searched for a cheap adapter so I could use the lens on a Panasonic Lumix S1 camera. I found an adapter for about $15 so I ordered it. 

Today I put the adapter and lens on the camera and drove over to the lot next to the lake and then headed off on foot through downtown. I didn't shoot much but I did try to pay attention when I was shooting. You know, get the focus right (thank you, Mr. Peaking) and get the exposure nailed in. 

To say I am "happy" with the performance of the camera and lens together would be an understatement. They work very well together. The lens, by f4.0, is exquisitely sharp and even wide open it's better than decent. Pretty amazing. Putting a used $125 lens on a $15 adapter on a $2,500 camera and I'm as happy as I could be.

Two cons: you have to manually focus so you're not going to be following super fast action, and there is a bit of barrel distortion to the lens. Not that I care....I wasn't shooting test charts with it.

The right eye of the doll on the right, just above. 

This is a pretty good starting point for enjoying art. 
In the perfect world the tacos would be free. 

All done. Dusk. Twilight. The limits of my hand holding.


Fred said...

Nice pictures Kirk.
The biggest benefit of a full frame mirror less camera for me (not a professional photographer) would be the ability to use a lot of cool old lenses. I spent a lot of years manually focusing lenses and bet I could do it again.

Anonymous said...

i bet that big S1 does Ok w/ gloves on!?

christer said...

How much was the lens? $ 15 or $ 125? You give different figures on different days.

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

No Christer. I am amazingly consistent. The lens was $125 (a few years back) while the new adapter was $15. Read the body type, not just the headline!

Eric Rose said...

I have a Leica 50mm Summicron I use on my Panasonic m4/3 cameras. While the 100mm effective FL is a limiting factor for me, the sharpness and visual characteristics of the lens are what you would expect. In other words, stellar! My Nikkor 50mm f1.4 and f2 lenses are "ok" and usable. I like the f1.4 for video work. I also have a Summicron 90mm which doesn't perform as well as the 50mm imho.

The beauty of the older lenses are their individual signatures. Something that is mainly lacking in the new crop of lenses when paired with the in-body wizardry that is going on computationally speaking.


Roger Jones said...

I need to stop reading Kirk Tuck for awhile. He makes me think of the old glory days, the days when we had to use what we had, we had to use manual focus, set the F stops, and shutter speeds. So now he's got me going through equipment locker looking at old lenses (old friends) from the golden days. Not to mention I'm thinking of a new camera to put these oldies on. I still love shoot my D700 or D810 with the AIS lenses 85 f2 or 50 f1.4 or 24 f1.4 or or or or, they all work and still do a great job. Your right, I don't need a new camera, I just need to shoot more.
Thank goodness that's over with, now I can still read about Kirks next adventure!!
Happy Halloween

Noons said...

Got one of those too.
Use it in my EM5MII m4/3 and quite frankly, it is superb! Incredibly sharp and with superb contrast.
Because of the smaller sensor, I don't suffer as much from the barrel distortion.

Ronman said...

I'm really enjoying screwing the old but brilliant SMC Takumars (3) onto the front of my Z6 and XT3 via adapters and seeing how the different characteristics play out in the images . Fun stuff, and yes the vintage lenses is truly the proverbial rabbit hole . Ebay is far too tempting with the advent of mirrorless!

Bill Langford said...

Any camera that can't be adapted to my Zeiss 85 f1.4 C/Y will never be on my won't list. When you get a great copy of a lens never sell it!