Oh man, I love legacy glass. I have several Canon FD and M42 lenses that I regularly shoot with, and then several other oddball lenses that can be very cheap. eBay and it’s damn cheap old lenses filled out my kit without having to spend a fortune while also making me an addict to those very listings. While I do like Russian glass, I personally find some of the Japanese and other ‘off-brand’ glass to be just as good and a bit cheaper. Overall, prices have seem to come up a bit now on eBay as the demand for these older lenses has grown a little. I started buying them because there were maybe five m4/3 lenses when I had a GH1, and adapters and eBay was the only way I could affordably get faster glass.
And then the MetaBones SpeedBooster hit the market. Holy balls. While it was kind of expensive, ~$400 IIRC, I ordered the Canon FD to m4/3 adapter as soon as it was available. It literally doubled my kit. You can use the lenses with a standard adapter and the 2x crop factor, but with the SpeedBooster, my Canon 50mm/1.8 becomes a 71mm/1.3 rather than a 100mm/1.8. There are now plenty of ‘knock-off’ and cheaper focal reducers that do nearly just as good of a job, but it really made buying legacy glass a hell of a lot easier. As Logan pointed out, wide angle lenses are a bit trickier with the 2x crop factor, and a focal reducer will help bring that down to ~1.5x crop and also give you ~1 extra stop to boot!
For reference, these are a few other common focal length lenses that I have and their ‘converted’ focal lengths/apertures.
28mm/f2.8 on 35mm, 56mm/f2.8 on m4/3, 40mm/f2.0 on m4/3 + SB
35mm-105mm/f3.5 on 35mm, 70-210/f3.5 on m4/3, 50-149mm/f2.5 on m4/3 + SB
55mm/f2.8 on 35mm, 36mm/f2.8 on m4/3, 26mm/f2.0 on m4/3 + SB
I made this video more for a reference for myself to go back and look at, but this was some test footage I shot with a few of the lenses I have. I shot this before I got my SpeedBooster, so I may need to do an update video. But it can give you an idea of some of the image quality of the lenses and focal lengths on a crop sensor (Panasonic GH2, 2x crop factor)
I can post sample more photos and video, along with pictures of the lenses themselves later. I really love m4/3 for the fact it’s so easily adapted to older mounts. C-mount lenses can be super cheap and fun to play with as well, though vignetting can be an issue. This is a short I shot with a cheap 25mm/f1.4 CCTV C-mount lens (it was cheaper to go this way than just buy an adapter alone).
One of my favorite lenses is an SMC/Takumar 55mm/1.8. The back part of the lens has a radioactive coating, so over time it give the image a slightly warmer tone (or so they say, they stopped production in 1965, and since I haven’t had the lens since then, there’s no way to tell how much has changed). But that is really what I like about the older lenses; their character. You obviously don’t want to buy ones with broken focus rings or massive scratches, but I think the little scratches and dust in/on the lens adds something to the feel of the footage/photos. Digital photo/video can look very ‘clinical,’ and a lot of new lenses designed for super high resolution digital photography/videography are extremely sharp and only add to that look. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially depending on your personal style, preference or the project you’re working on; but for what, and how, I like to shoot, the newer lenses are kind of boring.
Sorry for the long post, there’s a whole bunch more I could add, but if anyone has any questions, feel free to tag me here or on the Discord.