Tag Archives: lens

Vintage Lens Honeymoon

Is Over.

Well, I kick-started my photography hobby for a second time recently after a hiatus of about 37 years. I bought into the theory that I could populate my lens arsenal with vintage stuff and save a bundle.  In short order I had over a dozen lenses in my possession, none made after the date they want to check on driver’s licenses in order to purchase hard whiskey.   Some were made not only that many years ago – but multiples of that many years.

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Caveats associated with Vintage Lenses

My vintage lens collection is growing by leaps and bounds.  I have gotten some good results from some of the lenses, and in some cases I find that they equal or exceed a number of currently available (newly manufactured) lenses.

However; not every vintage lens can be used safely on every camera.  I think the old film cameras must have had larger registration distances between the mirror and the rear of the lens barrel.  Certain lenses, when they are focused at some point in the direction of infinity on the focus ring, protrude from the rear of the lens mount.

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Vintage Lens Sharpness List

I’ve been collecting quite a few vintage lenses, and I consider some of them to be very good lenses, while others seem lacking.  I’ve decided to create a “Sharpness list” for these old lenses (most are older than 30 years old, and some are over 40 years old).

I should mention the methods I’m using to determine what is (at least according to my eyes) a sharp lens.   I am using an image focus comparison chart (a “fine resolution” spoked star chart), affixed to a wall, and illuminated with daylight.

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USING OLD FILM LENSES WITH THE K5

Figure 1:  Three old film camera lenses – a Tokina is mounted.

Who shoots green mode anyway?  Sure, using old film lenses limits the number of modes you can use on the K5.  For the lenses shown, only Av (Aperture priority) and M (Manual) modes are available.  But Av is about as automatic as I want in most cases.  I like to have the diaphragm and the ISO completely under my control.

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Rare Earth Plates for Breakfast?

Figure  1-3 A plate from the 20s, 30s, 40s.

I love to use old (vintage) camera lenses for my photography, but tend to stay away from the oldest ones.  Up through the sixties,  and (for some lens companies) – into the seventies and beyond – lenses were sometimes made with radioactive glass.  When this glass was marketed, the term “rare earths” was sometimes used to imply a glass additive or lens coating that contained thorium.

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Photography On the Cheap

Figure 1: The K5 is shown with a Tokina lens from the 1980s.

I started shooting with a bridge camera about two years ago (the FujiFilm s8600).   This was an attempt to bootstrap a photography interest of mine that had started in the early eighties (with an Olympus OM-1) – but which never managed to progress past the level of a novice, and hasn’t to this day.  There was always something more important to do, other than to teach myself to use a camera.  Now retired, I am devoting a lot of time to the task of catching up with the post millennium photography world.

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