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Fast, lightweight telephoto options suitable for adapting to MFT?
  • I'm looking for a 90-150mm f/2.8 or faster (actual, not boosted/equivalent) lens that's lightweight (e.g. APS-C format or lighter MFT native) and preferably a prime lens. I'd reach for a Rokinon/Samyang but those are usually re-housed full-frame lenses that are quite heavy and large and not suitable for what I'm interested in (urban telephoto work without screaming "huge camera" or breaking my neck or being unwieldy on a lightweight rig). The Panasonic and Oly super-zooms are insanely expensive. The Nikons focus in the wrong direction and the Nikon DX require a special adapter which makes aperture control a pain.

    Are there any other options out there that meet these criteria or come close? Huge thanks for any tips.

  • 13 Replies sorted by
  • Sigma 50-150 mk 1 canon mount. All depends if you have a ef to m43 adapter though

  • The old M mount Voigtlander 75mm F2.5 perphaps?

  • I have the Canon FD 135mm f/2.5 and it is lovely but not exactly lightweight.

    If you don't need AF, with a bit of luck you can find it rather cheap at the usual sales platforms.

  • Nikon 105mm f2.5. Cheap, fast, light and very sharp. I suggest you practice with the different focus direction :)

  • @ninetto, it is indeed a beautiful image. Too large/heavy for our situation though. Needs to fit in a cargo pocket without looking "large" or "threatening". @Cde, another lovely lens, but not long enough. @Fitzy, yep the original Sigma was a very nice lens. Sadly, same issues as the Canon (physically too large). I'm looking for something ideally no bigger than the Panasonic 35-100, but as a prime.

    @geoffcbassett, thanks for the suggestion but switching directions during run/gun means missed shots for me. I have other things to learn/practice first. :-D I sold all my Nikons off a few years after trying to incorporate them into my flow and don't miss them at all. Nice lenses, if they fit your flow, though, and good prices used.

  • Oly 75mm f1.8 mft prime is lovely and pretty small and light nice, good on the newer panasonics with sensor stabilisation as well.

  • It's not as fast as what you're requesting, but Leica's 90mm f/4 collapsible Summicron is awfully small when collapsed (though you'll need to add a small shim to keep it from impacting your sensor's cover glass). It's about as light as you can be expected for a metal lens.

    Otherwise, you might want to explore super 16 telephotos - some of them have surprisingly good coverage. I'm not sure if any will cover all of micro 4/3, but I wouldn't be surprised if some do.

  • Hm. Good ideas! Thanks, I'll look into those options.

  • "and the Nikon DX require a special adapter which makes aperture control a pain."

    Pain? Actually it is awesome! As the adapters are cheaper than the EF ones, and you get to do smooth iris pulls!

    Also, you mean G lenses, not DX lenses.

  • If 90mm is not enough, a lightweight lens will be slow, I'm afraid. Have a look at the Minolta SR 135mm f3.5 (the model from 1979 onwards is the best).

  • When it comes to telephoto prime lenses, the size and weight difference between full-frame and APS-C is so small that they scarcely make any in APS-C. So don't worry about that.

    What's going to save you size and weight is sticking as close to those minimums of 90 mm and f/2.8 as you can.

    I suggest the Minolta 85 f/2.0, Canon FD 100 f/2.8, or Olympus OM 100 f/2.8. The Olympus is the lightest and smallest of the bunch, at 230 g and 50 mm long.

  • Some good points.

    @ironfilm : Yes, sorry, I did mean the G specifically, although it seems the majority of DX lenses these days are also G series. My main gripe about that is that there's no aperture ring NOR is there any in-body indicator as to what the aperture is. I don't do aperture pulls almost ever, it's not my style of shooting, but I do like to know exactly what aperture I'm at for calculations, lighting, etc. and the metabones adapter (which I used to own) for Nikon G does not provide any aperture information, you just have to guess. This is not acceptable to me. So, combined with the reverse-from-cinema-focus direction and the G series lenses becoming the mainstay of the line, I've made the decision that Nikon lenses are not something I'm going to invest in adapting for.

    @nomad : Yes, hence the question, as I was pretty sure I hadn't missed any lenses but figured all of you geniuses would know of at least SOMETHING that would work.

    @balazer, nice ideas, I'll look into those, thank you.

    The main interest in these is, again, as a very long portrait lens for candid (not "sniping", hence 90mm is perfectly fine, but I like to shoot in a lot of areas where big lenses are inconvenient at best and disallowed at worst, and I like the longer look for portraiture work). Festivals, for instance, tend to have odd requirements for non-permitted photographers (some are no zoom lenses, some are less than 3x zoom, some are under 100mm focal length - none of them make any sense when you consider sensor size and resolution, but that's the best they can do to try to draw a line between "pro" (and hence some "threat" to revenue somehow) and "amateur" (e.g. people taking photos for souvenirs) and still make it rapidly enforceable by the large man at the gate. The less "pro" looking the lens is (e.g. big, expensive, modern), the less likely you are to run into trouble when shooting.

  • Wow, that Minolta looks almost perfect. I have the Rokinon 85 but the damn thing is HUGE and at least mine seems a little too warm and it's either defective or something because the focus seems quite soft at 1.4 and still soft at 2.0.

    The images I've seen with the Minolta look amazing at f/2.0.

    I guess I've got yet another adapter to save up for, hah!

    While the Oly 75mm is too short for what I want, it's a gorgeous lens (and expensive, holy hell).