The above is only a rough check of the current price on B&H and Ebay, but should be able to see the obvious differences.
The freedom comes from the fact that you can choose, around ten thousand dollars can be to form a set of wide angle to medium telescopic lens group.
When the budget is only enough to buy one modern lens in one year, the excitement probably lasts for one week like buying a new iphone…. , and then passion it’s gone.
For example, the Leica Summicron 35mm f2 classic eight-piece lens, which has both optical and collector’s value, is already priced in the realm of jewelry.
So maybe Capy’s collection of cheap old lenses can also increase in value in the future!!
Reasons for Vintage Lens－II：Old Lens Multiverse
What are the advantages of the old lens other than cheap? First, How about the advantages of the modern lens is that :
Low distortion deformation
Low chromatic aberration
High glare resistance
These advantages are really good, but when these advantages become universal, you pick which brand of lens as long as the money up in fact are almost the same.
Of course, there are still slight differences in bokeh and color of each lens, but they are slight and do not have that explosive sensory difference.
What is the multiverse of old lenses?
Types are: lenses for DSLM cameras (M42, YASHICA/CONTAX, Minolta, etc.) lenses for Rangefinder cameras (LEICA L/M, CONTAX G, etc.) Film lenses (C-ring, Kinoptik, etc.) ……
Generally considered：the Japanese mirror has a Japanese flavor, German mirror has a German flavor Bokeh： there are cream, bubbles, swirls, radiation, bilinear, fish scales
And a lot of super-duper pronouns（most of all heared from Asia ）：
the eye of the bar, a hundred years of eagle eyes, fish scale king, after the night, eight feathers monster, the gods of the bead ring, Afghan girl mirror … … These names alone make people very curious to see what these in the end look like in the second lens.
Check a find, shocked when know that these Vintage lenses all still can buy online and in a reasonable price.
The old lens is full metal body, full glass. Like The NIKON AF 20-35mm F2.8 D is Nikon’s only hand-ground aspheric lens.
Most modern lenses have multiple “special lenses” to correct the optical path, reduce dispersion and deformation, but most of them are still “plastic” after all.
The coating about Vintage Lens is even more amazing.
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple color coating are: Steinhaier blue, East Jena violent red, Takumar Sun Set yellow (radiation lens), Mamiya green, Minolta purple ……
With these old lenses out of the color(or flavor) is really different, people who have experienced will know that the atmosphere and tone which is PS or LR software can not go to simulate or reproduce.
These babies in the hand, cold like holding a piece of infinite stones, comfortable.
The world view of Vintage lenses- the difference with modern lens
The biggest difference between old and modern lenses is that each old lens is presented in a completely different way on the screen.
Some are lyrical, some are retro, and some are bold, just like the characters with their own personalities.
Each old lens has its own way of telling a story, and a single lens represents a way of seeing the world.
Below Capy introduces some of the special “world views” of old lenses.
The flowers are surrounded by a mysterious halo of light, and it’s a bit like the light is slowly seeping from the inside to the outside.
The GXR’s 12-megapixel CMOS sensor still managed to fully express the flavor of the old lens, as if it were a soft-focus photo from the old days.
This unpredictable effect (probably due to the use of cheap adapter rings, or maybe just not in focus…) is one of the joys of playing with old lenses.
Using Daido Moriyama’s high-contrast b&W mode on the GXR, a white fog effect can be obtained by facing the light source with the aperture fully open.
Vignetting refers to the phenomenon of loss of light around the four corners of the screen.
Older lenses are especially prone to vignetting when the aperture is fully open, and reducing the aperture by one or two steps can effectively eliminate the vignetting result.
However, vignetting is also a very effective means of creation, as the four corners are darkened while the subject in the center of the picture can be well highlighted, producing a tunnel-like effect.
At the same time, when the aperture is fully opened in the old lens, the quality of the corners will be degraded, and there will be a lot of chromatic aberration and dispersion, which is certainly not good by modern standards.
Capy will try to make it a creative technique to highlights the central theme.
The above photo and the previous one use the same len, the difference is that the hood is installed and the aperture is reduced at f8.
If you are tired of vignetting and blurring, then reducing the aperture and installing a hood, further adding a CPL filter if necessary, will usually give you a satisfactory picture.
It really looks like two worlds, telling a very different story line.
III、Flare / ghost shadow
Flare and ghosting are phenomena that occur when light enters the lens because of chaotic reflections within the lens and the lens barrel.
Flare refers to the part of the picture where the contrast between white and fog is obviously reduced.
Ghosting refers to those round or square shaped spots of light.
In terms of the lens itself, the best way to reduce flare and ghosting is to use a good “coating”.
For example, Pentax’s SMC coating, Fuji’s EBC coating, and Zeiss’s famous T* coating.Each old factory even proudly engraved the name of the coating on the lens nameplate.
Flare and ghosting are also considered “flaws” in modern lenses, so lens makers nowadays are trying to avoid such designs.
But if you find flare and ghosting attractive, like Capy, you can’t go wrong with these old lenses.
Being different from the rest is a valuable quality in itself.
What is the top of bokeh in modern mirror? The bokeh that melts like cream seems to be the only and the highest choice.
However, there are hundreds of bokeh shapes in old lenses.
There are creams, bubbles, swirls, radiations, bilinear, fish scales, stars, squares, triangles ……
Scattered scenes are very personal taste, I think the beautiful scattered scenes, you may not.
But because there are so many different kinds, in the old lens universe, you will always come across a type of bokeh that you can’t help but fall in love with.
And for Capy? I want them all.
How Vintage lenses adapt to Camera
Lens adapter ring is necessary , and that is all.
Each camera has its own unique mount, generally speaking, even the latest mirrorless camera lens.
For example, you can not directly use Canon’s lens on Sony camera, the only solution is to use the corresponding lens adapter.
On September 25, 2018, Leica, Panasonic and Sigma announced the establishment of the L-mount alliance, which means that the L-mount lenses produced by these three companies can be used with each other without the need for an adapter ring, a relatively rare situation.
Therefore, it is better to follow the normal steps to use the lens adapter ring, and what you want to do in the end is to connect the lens, adapter ring, and camera body together like this disassembly picture below
step 1：Connect the len to the adapter
Turn the lens to the adapter ring, just pay attention to the point of the lens body and the adapter ring can be installed smoothly (the location of the point of many old lenses is on the bottom of the lens)
step 2： Connect the Adapter ring to the camera
To connect the adapter ring to the camera bayonet, simply align the points on the adapter ring with the points on the camera bayonet and turn counterclockwise until the “click” sound.
This picture above is a wrong demonstration, the normal time in order to let the dust as far as possible do not enter the camera, you should let the mount side toward the ground, like the following picture.
This assembly process is also a lot of fun playing with old mirrors, similar to the feeling of assembling steel bullets or dismantling cousin’s Gundam robot when I was a kid.
How to choose a Vintage lens adapter
step 1: Check what mount of your camera
step 2: Check what mount of your lens
step 3: How to select a good adapter
The main difference lies in the accuracy of the adapter ring, because if it is a cheap adapter, there may be the following problems (not necessarily occur).
Adapter ring and the lens is not a complete fit： and the lens combination, shake a slight sense of looseness, is not affected by shooting and picture imaging, but feel strange.
The internal matte performance of the adapter ring is not good： resulting in a decrease in the contrast of the picture taken or easy to appear flare or ghosting.
Poor rust resistance of the screws of the adapter ring： so that after a long time will fall off, and even the entire adapter ring disintegration (I really encountered).
The adapter ring can not be infinitely far focus：that is, after you install the adapter ring, turn to the lens infinitely far position, but look at the distant scenery or buildings but obviously not in focus. Unless you are an expert can use other ways to balance the problem of flange distance, otherwise there is really nothing to do but to return or buy another manufacturer’s adapter.
So, cheap adapter rings are so terrible, so I can only pick those expensive adapter?
In fact, it is not, the above problems do exist, but in addition to the fourth point zero tolerance, other than the situation is still acceptable.
Capy’s lens adapter has 10 or so, cheap about 90%, really more expensive in fact really not much, most of them can still be used.
So when will you use the expensive adapter ?
If you want to transfer the most precious (usually expensive) lens in hand, use the more expensive adapter ring!
Newcomers to test the water temperature, of course, it is recommended to buy a cheap adapter is good enough to use.
There are actually many types of adapter , including those that can shorten the closest focus distance (commonly known as the Helicoid Adapter), those that can change aperture infinitely, those that can produce an axis-shifting effect, and even those that allow old lenses to auto-focus again.
What kind of Camera Suitable for Vintage lenses
DSLR camera , it can be said that it is difficult for Vintage lenses.
The first is that there is no LCD screen like mirrorless cameras, what you see become what you get. On DSLR you often need to manually open the Live View function, also the synchronized display speed is not very good.
The second is the traditional DSLR camera because of the built-in mirror, it is very likely to encounter the problem of hitting the plate (lens tail knock to the mirror).
The third is that most of the DSLR cameras have a long frank distance (the distance from the sensor to the body mount), so when transferring to different brand of lens, they often encounter the problem of not being able to focus infinitely far.
Compared to the DSLR , DSLM(mirrorless camera) has a definite advantage on adapting Vintage lenses.
Mirrorless cameras can be made thinner and have a much shorter flange distance because the reflector is removed, so basically, as long as you can find the adapter, you can freely transfer a thousand kinds of film lenses.
The LCD screen of mirrorless cameras is equipped with peak focus and quick zoom focus, and various focus assist functions such as optical image stabilization can greatly reduce the difficulty of manual focusing.
Here are some purchase considerations when transferring a mirrorless camera to an older lens
You don’t need to buy top models： The reason is simple, the autofocus of top models are very strong, but you don’t need that when using with old lenses.
Optical image stabilization：The camera body is anti-shake and the old lens can also enjoy anti-shake effect.
The thickness of the low-pass filter and the protective lens in front of the sensor：the thickness of these filters directly affects the sharpness of the corners of the old lens, especially in wide-angle lenses (the end of the lens protrudes more), if the sensor does not receive enough light because of the thick protective layer, the corners may cause red shift in addition to blur. So some old lens fanatics will take the Sony sensor in front of the protective lens to the master to change the thinning, in order to cope with the RF wide-angle lens red shift problem. Of course, there are many models on the market without low-pass filters, such as Capy’s Sigma fp and Nikon D5300.
135 format sensor Camera (full-frame)：If you want to present the full flavor of the original angle of view of the old lens, a 135 format (full-frame) camera is very suitable, because most of normal accessible old lens is coming with 135 format camera.
Use the characteristics of the focal length conversion ratio to increase the choice of focal length: If you choose APS-C mirrorless camera, the original focal length of the lens in the field of view is about multiplied by 1.5 times, for example, a 55mm focal length of the old lens, transferred to the APS-C body, it will become about 82mm lens. The advantage of doing this is that there are many options for old lenses 50mm, and the price is relatively cheap. And the price of the native 85mm old lens is usually more expensive than the 50mm old lens price, the use of this transfer method, there is a feeling of earned. Of course, the sense of compression will be less than the 85mm on 135 format sensor cameras, which is probably the only drawback.
The advantages and disadvantages of a small sensor body： Another feature of using APS-C or other cameras smaller than 135 format is that the image is cropped to offset the less sharp corners of the lens’ imaging circle, the advantage is that the overall picture becomes sharper, the disadvantage is that the original flavor of the old lens is also cut down a lot, such as vignetting and swirling bokeh effect will be reduced because of the corner cropping.
The exclusive benefit of small sensor bodies：many rare film lenses or projection lenses are C-mount or D-mount, if transferred to 135 or APS-C will produce strong dark corners on the screen due to the lack of imaging circle of the lens. But if the film lens is transferred to the m3/4 or one inch sensor camera, the imaging circle can cover the entire picture, which can be said to be the exclusive benefit of the small sensor.
How to use the old lenses to take pictures
Capy commonly uses these types of focus method.
Has been a necessary feature of today’s mirrorless cameras, the focus on the edge of the subject will appear light (many cameras can change the color of the peak focus display).
Zoom in on the focus screen + peak focus
Use this combination to manually focus to shoot close objects, many times more accurate than autofocus.
Of course, when shooting portraits on the street is also useful, how to use peak focus while zooming in to confirm the display, need time to practice, after getting used to the pleasure of this slow rhythm will be found.
In the street photography, if you want to use the old lens in the moment to shoot a clear picture, in addition to the peak focus assistance, how to choose the aperture, shutter, ISO is also a major point.
Capy used to open a small aperture in street photography, in order to achieve a greater depth of field, so will choose F8, f11 and other aperture values.
The shutter will be set differently for cameras with or without anti-shake, like my Sigma fp which does not have IBIS system (body shake), so the shutter will be set at least 1/250, most of time is 1/500 or 1/800.
If replaced with Ricoh GR3, it can be reduced to 1/160, 1/125 or so.
In addition, in the shooting mode selection, I most often use the S mode or M mode.
For example, I use S mode on the Sigma fp, then turn the aperture ring of the old lens to control the aperture size (I usually default to f8, f11), and set the ISO to auto (limited range ISO100-ISO6400).
The rest of the shutter can be controlled by the wheel, which is very convenient and allows me to use the old lens to shoot without pressure.
he prerequisite for using S mode is that the camera’s metering system must be accurate. If I encounter a body with a relatively old metering system, as well as occasions that require precise exposure (such as long exposure or still photography), I will switch to M mode for shooting.
Because the two machines exposure system is older, if you use A mode or S mode, when the subject is in the shadow or shadow mixed with sunlight half bright half dark occasion, often the result is that the camera decided too dark.
Often the result is that the camera is judged to be too dark and thus improve the brightness of the whole picture, to overexposure. This time M mode will come in handy.
In M mode, Capy’s settings for street photography will be adjusted to
The main change here is that I preset the aperture and shutter do not move him, and then the exposure of light and dark with the eyes to see the camera’s built-in exposure value to confirm.
In conclusion, I am in S mode, the only thing that moves is the shutter, in M mode, the only thing that moves is the ISO.
The above is Capy’s own summary of a set of settings for their own shooting process, may not be suitable for everyone’s habits and rhythm, for reference only oh.
As the name implies, you should wait for the prey to fall into your hunting area. For photography, you should first find the composition you want, and then wait for interesting people or moving things to enter your screen.
Because you have already composed a good picture, wait until the people themselves into your focus range and then press the shutter is good.
For example, the picture above is an example of using an aperture of f4 to compose a good picture before pressing the shutter.
4. Hyperfocal focus(Snap focus)
I do not want to make an effort.
Children have been running, pets have been running, to take care of the aperture to take care of the shutter to take care of iso, the camera and can not focus, it is better to take a cell phone?
There is no way to make the camera, so that the old lens, back to glory, killing the phone.
Hyperfocal focus, I personally think this way is very good.
First of all, focus, focus is not focus on that one point only, but a focus range, is wrapped in that range of things are clear, but than that range is close, or than that range of places will be out of focus.
In this way, Hyperfocal focus is commonly used to select a lens with a wide angle focal length, coupled with the use of a smaller aperture (f8, f11, f16 etc.).
From a distance from to infinity, all will be on focus. That is a often way for me.
For example, if you take a 135-size sensor camera (commonly known as a full-frame camera), use a 28mm lens + f11, and set the focus distance and fix it at 2.5m away.
In this way, the place from 1.2m onwards, until the infinity of the object will be in focus.
You just need to fix the shutter and ISO (such as the previously mentioned fixed at 1/250, ISO let him automatically), the rest is just crazy snap shutter ~
But in this case, you will face two problems.
How do I know how far I have to focus to achieve Hyper-focus?
Don’t be afraid! The focus ring of old lenses are engraved with a focus scale.
For example, the following picture is Nikon 24mm f2.8 ai-s old lens, I currently set the aperture at f11.
The number f11 is yellow and I have circled it with two red boxes. The range between these two boxes represents the depth of field you can use if you set it to f11.
Then how to achieve Hyper-focus?
First, first find the infinity symbol of the focus ring (the word lying like an 8 is), turn the infinity symbol to the left side of the red box, in other words, be careful not to let the infinity symbol turn beyond the red box, so that the setting is complete.
In this picture, you can find that 1m~infinity is sandwiched between the red boxes, which means that everything from 1m onward to infinity will be clear, and this is the Hyper-focus.
2. What are the focal lengths of lenses suitable for hyper-focus(snap), and what to do if it is an APSC body or other kinds of cameras?
In fact, there are already many apps that can calculate the depth of field range.
HyperFocal Pro is a free app to calculate the depth of field ( currently there is no apple version, but there are many such apps, just search for depth of field calculator or Hyperfocal should find a similar)
Another good choose is Photopills , photopills is a Professional photography planning app, it cost a little but has really useful functions on there, almost all modern type of camera and lens can be finded on it.
Here is some sample for HyperFocal Pro.
HyperFocal Pro allows you to choose your camera, set your lens focal length, the size of the aperture, set the depth of field can be seen after the range.
But because it’s free, there are not many types of cameras to choose from, many of them are old cameras, but as long as you choose a camera with a sensor size about the same size, it’s good.
The actual fp sensor size is 35.9 x 23.1mm, and the Leica is 36 x 24mm, but I don’t think there is much difference in the actual test.
Provide some notes on Hyper-focus.
Because the aperture has to be reduced, pan-focus is more suitable for use in good weather in broad daylight.
The focal length 50~55mm is almost the limit of the hyper-focus( in my case), and it is difficult to use this trick for lenses above 60mm.
Where to buy old lenses
You can find in large numbers Vintage Lens on Ebay, and some really good adapter on Amazon.
What is the focus of old lenses selection
After all, old mirrors were produced decades ago, and by the time they fall into your hands, they may have changed hands several times and been preserved (or destroyed) for several eras.
In addition to choosing a reputable dealer or seller, you must also have some personal appreciation for old glasses.
At the very least, one must know what a “flawed” lens is.
In addition to the physical flaws that must be filtered out, here are some points that Capy will consider when buying old lenses
The closest focus distance：RF lenses such as Leica or DKL mount lenses have a closest focus distance of 0.7m or even more than 1m. If you really want to use these lenses, Capy recommends that you prepare the Power Ring, which is an adapter ring that can significantly reduce the closest focus distance.
The strongest range of picture quality of the len：because the old lens have their own picture quality of the best range, some are good in the near field of vision, some are good in the far field of vision, must check clearly on web.
The most important thing about manual focusing is the precision of the focus, which is why I prefer lenses with long focus strokes, but the short focus distance is also convenient for street photography, so there are advantages and disadvantages.
Lens weight： Capy thinks that a lens that can be carried around every day is a good lens, so the weight of the lens is one of the reasons I care most about choosing.
Lens version： like Minolta’s 85mm lens, there may be 4 or 5 versions, MC, MD, f1.7 and f2, not necessarily a new version is better than the old version, many old lenses are better than the old version, perhaps because the new version for mass production to reduce the cost of materials but become worse, in short, to Google to check the evaluation of the villagers.
The lens era： the most rough distinction between old lenses, the later the lens optical quality is higher, such as Zeiss Contax lens, but the imaging is also closer to modern lenses. If you want to pursue purely old lens flavors, such as bokeh and flare or Lomo-style vignetting, look to the early production lenses!
Lens accessories：Capy thinks that, in addition to special specifications, otherwise buying a lens with front and rear caps should be the basic responsibility of the seller, if there are no two small accessories to protect your lenses when shipped, it is hard to imagine how the seller usually takes care of his lenses. In addition, such as lens hoods or black and white special filters and other accessories, is also quite collectible.
Some old lenses will move together with the front lens when you turn the focus ring (such as Canon 85mm f1.8 L39), and if you have a CPL installed at this time, the original position will also run away and need to be readjusted, depending on what you don’t care about.
And Several key items that must be confirmed with the seller before purchase：
Check front and bottom glass, whether there are in mold, mildew, or diffacult scratches.
Whether there are water marks, you need to take the light to see the lens, similar to the glass water stain dried marks, water marks are mostly mold marks, indicating that the lens has been moldy and processed.
Aperture whether there is oil, it can cause no way to switch the meaning of the aperture.
Whether the lens is fogged (degumming, leaving the plastic). This is the most troublesome problem, the same can first read the previous paragraph of the common causes of lens failure to understand what the meaning of deglueing. Capy encountered most of the case of deglueing in the lens group, you must take the light exposure to look carefully to see out, there is generally no way to rely on the seller to post before and after the jade photos to determine, you can only choose to believe in a creditable seller, or face to face direct view. General out of the plastic situation if not serious, at most in the case of high light or large aperture to reduce the contrast of the picture, reduce the aperture can improve a lot, and do not have to be too nervous about getting this kind of lens to do.
The focus ring is smooth, too tight too loose are very affect the feel.
If you have a zoom function old lens, especially the push-pull zoom lens, it is easy to have the problem of drooping head, you can search the Internet for related DIY solutions, or simply do not buy this type of lens.
What else want to say
This article was written at the end of 2021, several years after the outbreak of the whole world epidemic. During the time when the epidemic was severe (of course it is still severe in some countries……).
I was already tired of going to work, but I couldn’t relax and go out to take pictures after work or on holidays.
It is really too torturous.
So, in this mood of “no photography”, this website was born out of grievances.
Capy wanted to use the time when couldn’t take pictures , to gather up my passion for photography again and give this motion a place to belong.
I really like Vintage lenses, I hope this article will bring you some fun.
It’s like looking at the world through an old lens, the world really starts to look different.