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Old Nov 20, 2010, 10:42 PM   #1
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Default Really old lenses

So this is a question in general, not about a specific lens.
Is there something these old lenses bring to the table that the newer ones do not? image attached is an example of these older lenses I am talking about. These bare looking metal ones. Pretty old. So what is the draw to these over newer types?
Not a specific lens I say again, just these really older versions.
I mean I think they look pretty kewl, but I would not buy one just for that.
So I am curious.
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 11:11 PM   #2
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well you can use them with micro 4/3 cameras. Some are very good glass, and it is a good way to play with manual focus. As there are plenty of adapter to mount different legacy lenses to micro 4/3. Old contax G lenses and Carl Ziess are excellent optically. And have found new life with micro 4/3.
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 12:23 AM   #3
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Some like them because they wanted them when they were younger but could not afford them. Some want them because they are quite nice looking.(the cool look you mentioned). Some like them for the different look some give to their photos. (Smooth or wild bokeh) Some like the optical quality and swear by them. Me? I don't have any but a lot of them would fit right on my Pentax K7 with out much trouble. Wouldn't mind trying some of them but for now that particular bug hasn't bitten me ....Yet!

If you are interested in them then go here and ask around...These folks have a lot of them and use them all the time.
You'll find me there and a few others from here.
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 11:45 AM   #4
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I think the construction has a lot to do with it. Metal and glass, with not a hint of plastic (or sometimes just a hint). They were built to last, and, in their day were probably pretty expensive.
Nostalgia has a lot to do with it too, but it is also good to be able to force yourself to use manual focus and aperture - it slows you down and makes you think more about what you are trying to capture.

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Old Nov 21, 2010, 1:17 PM   #5
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Hi fofa,

From a technical standpoint, the negatives of old lenses are:

1. They are not coated to prevent reflections from the sensor surface. The film emulsion had a matte surface, but the sensor is shiny. This can cause unwanted flare to show up on some images, but this is a pretty rare -- I've not seen any examples in over 100K images of mine with non digitally optimized lenses.

2. Each light sensor site is at the bottom of a tiny well, so light direction has to be pretty perpendicular to the sensor surface to register correctly. The smaller image circle size requirements of the APS-C sensor compared to 135mm film makes this less critical for non digitally optimized lenses, but this is factored into the design of digitally optimized lenses, so there tends to be less distortion and light falloff at the edges and corners -- probably pretty much another non-factor for most shooters.

3. Most DSLR models (with the exception of Pentax and some higher end C and N models) won't focus confirm or meter with fully manual lenses. The utility of lens backward compatibility has been largely dismissed by other mfgs until the introduction of the EVIL/MILC bodies with adapters for a lot of old mounts. Now it's seen as an advantage since the fully compatible lens choices for these camera are relatively thin, and there seems to be little or no AF or AE automation available for even modern AF DSLR lenses for the mirrorless bodies. I'll admit to not knowing much about this, as I personally don't keep current concerning development of cameras without a real-time viewfinder, so I can definitely be wrong about this.

The bottom line is that most of the older MF lenses from known mfgs were probably hand assembled, built more durably, and tested with more quality control than their modern counterparts. If the lenses are mount compatible (either with adapters or by themselves), and you don't mind the extra steps to meter with them, and have subjects that lend themselves to (and develop the skill needed for) manual focusing, then they are usually a great high quality/relatively low price alternative. They are also probably more compact than their AF counterparts as they don't need the space for the AF mechanisms. They are likely to be heavier though as they usually had aluminum bodies as opposed to the common use of high strength plastic in more modern designs.

Of course, the lenses with "legendary" optical quality status will probably always retain a high market value, despite obsolete mounts, as photographers will always find a way to utilize them. Since the adapters for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras make register distance for either SLR or rangefinder film bodies irrelevant, the market value for some of these old lenses is bound to increase dramatically as users of these cameras seek out the best ones that haven't had a modern body that could use them for many years or even decades.


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Old Nov 22, 2010, 8:17 PM   #6
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You want the look but in AF and coated ? Get yourself a 43 Ltd !!
Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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