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Author Topic: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?  (Read 9181 times)

gigabellone

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Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« on: December 24, 2013, 09:39:57 AM »
I switched to a 6D some weeks ago, and i'm really loving my new toy :D . However, i only have a nifty fifty to go with it, and now i'm starting to crave for another toy (some of you here call this condition G. A. S. :D ). I'm a gearhead, but i'm also budget-conscious, so, before spending big bucks on L glass, i was considering the plan of getting some cheap vintage primes and adapters to see which focal lenghts would fit my needs. I know nothing about vintage lenses, and the variety and quantity of lenses is a bit overwhelming. I can borrow a Zeiss Planar 1.4/85 with adapter from a friend, so i got that focal length covered. Can you suggest me some cheap 24mm, 35mm and 135mm primes?

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Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« on: December 24, 2013, 09:39:57 AM »

Drizzt321

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2013, 12:33:55 PM »
Be cautious with vintage lenses, as they will all be manual focus, manual aperture on your 6D after adapter. While the 6D does have an interchangeable focusing screen for one optimized for manual focusing, you still will have to gain experience at that. You'll also need an adapter, and not all lenses will be compatible due to how far back they extend (i.e. will be in the way of the mirror), or will need an adapter with corrective optics which will tend to be a bit more expensive for a quality one over just a simple metal adapter that some lenses might need.

That said, I do enjoy some vintage lenses now and then, but they take more work to use. I'd actually recommend going for the EF 24-105L as your next lens, as it's a great general purpose lens with fairly good optics & performance.

If you already have that and want to get into vintage just because, maybe look into m42 mount lenses. There are a ton of them out there, although of varying quality. You'll generally find 28mm rather than 24mm for 'very wide' as those lenses were designed before the modern computer simulated optics was the rule. You can also look at http://www.panoramaplanet.de/comp/ for mirror compatibility.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2013, 03:08:40 PM »
Generally, you are better off with a low cost camera and decent lenses.  A fine body without good lenses is a sure loser.
You do not need "L" lenses, and a zoom lens is handy for determining the focal length you use most.
A used 28-135 can be picked up for $200.  Its not fantastic, but its decent.  If that's too much, consider selling the camera and get something for less that leaves you room to purchase decent lenses. 
 
In the longer focal lengths, you can sometimes find a old EF 70-210mm f/4 for around $100.  Its good for the price, but does not have digital reflective coatings.  I've never had issues with low contrast using this lens.
Keep an eye on your local craigslist and use the price list reference link on CR to see what actual used values are.
While there are many old manual focus lenses that are very good, they are also sought after and will cost more than a common one that is not up to digital standards.  One of the things old MF lenses are often missing is a proper non reflective lens coating on both sides.  Light reflects of the shiny digital sensor and reduces contrast so it does not matter how sharp the lens is if the image is washed out.
Tell us what you are willing to pay, and we can suggest something.

johnf3f

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2013, 04:54:15 PM »
If it's any use I get very good results with my Contax-Zeiss 25mm F2.8 T* on both FF and 1.3 crop with an E Bay adapter. Note this is supposed to be about the worst of the Contax-Zeiss lenses - I am still looking for faults! Manual Focus is not an issue for landscapes as the depth of field is so great, though I do use Live View when precision is required.
There can be compatibility issues with some older lenses so have a look here:
http://www.pebbleplace.com/Personal/Start.html

Dylan777

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 09:35:50 AM »
Why buy adapter(s) + vintange lenses + manual focus?

Brand New Canon 85mm f1.8 @ BH is selling $319: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/cart.jsp

People selling 135L on CL for low $800.

I took over 1000 photos last holidays with 50 & 135 combo ;) 
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 09:41:21 AM by Dylan777 »
Body: 1DX -- 5D III
Zoom: 24-70L II -- 70-200L f2.8 IS II
Prime: 40mm -- 85L II -- 135L -- 200L f2 IS -- 400L f2.8 IS II

unfocused

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 10:50:40 AM »
Just do the obvious thing and pick up a "white box" 24-105mm zoom. It will be much cheaper than accumulating several primes and allow you to experiment with various focal lengths. Later, as your budget allows you can start accumulating primes if that's what you want.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 01:25:55 PM by unfocused »
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mackguyver

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 11:04:33 AM »
Quote
Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?

No, but L lenses will, no matter which one you pick.  Beware of the L addiction, though... symptoms include red rings, improved upper body strength, and the occasional marital troubles... ;)

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 11:04:33 AM »

Digbydriver

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 12:08:05 PM »
A friend of mine asked the same question. I think that if you have some good used lenses that cover focal ranges you want and don't have, they might be an option, if you are willing to give up the automatic focusing and exposure aspect of your photography.  The adaptors, however, are not cheap. I told my friend to buy non-L lenses on eBay instead.

Blakegard

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 01:05:54 PM »
If you can find a good copy on Ebay/locally pick up an old 20-35L f/2.8 (Predecessor to the 16-35L) I got mine for about $550 and between a friends 16-35L II and 17-40L I don't see too much difference other than chromatic aberrations, the focus speed and the obvious focal length differences. It pairs great with the 6D too :)

RomainF

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 01:25:35 PM »
I consider the 24-105 to be a bad glass. Optically, it ain't that good and that's an f/4. If you want to shoot anything at anytime and get "good" pics, that's your lens.
If you're really looking for that full-frame feeling which is about bokeh and sharpness, go for primes. You'll get great shots. That's the main difference.

If you're cheap (not really smart…lenses get you pictures, not bodies) and looking for MF lenses,  you know what's the best bargain ever ? Old Nikon lenses. Pre-Ai ; Ai ; Ai-S are insanely great lenses. And you can pick them for about 100/150$ in shops (meaning you can find them for 50$ on craigslist). You'll need an adaptor which will cost you a few bucks on ebay.
Get what you wanna get and what will makes you happy. 28 f/2.8 ; 50 f/1.4 ; 50 f/1.2 for about 350$ (most expensive one) ; 85 f/1.8 : 105 f/2.5 ; 135 f/2.8 ; 200 f/4 ; 300 f/4....
All these lenses can be find for a hundred bucks each, no joke.
Automatic exposure works perfectly on Av.

As Blakegard wrote it, if you're cheap but looking for AF lenses, have a look on the old L-series-glasses side. The ones which have been designed during the film-era.
Contrasts and AC won't be that great when wide open and the sides will suffer but they remain to be good lenses. On wide-angles, we don't actually have a great glass. The main improvement on all the versions (20-35 ; 17-35 ; 16-35 ; 16-35 II) have been about the sides. Sharpness is real good on the center even on these old lenses.
I think that you paid a lot for yours Blakegard. I've had a hard time selling my 17-35 for 350 (which i paid 390).
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 01:27:18 PM by RomainF »
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35 1.4 for both ; ultra-wide & teles for the Canon

EverydayGetaway

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2013, 02:16:58 PM »
This is why I don't frequent this forum as often, everyone makes it out as though you can't take a good photo without a >$1000 lens.  I can't believe there's such a lack of support for vintage lenses.  I shoot mostly with vintage glass and when comparing it with shots I've taken on some of the newer glass my old stuff does better.

As long as you're not opposed to manual focus and aperture, vintage lenses are a great way to figure out which primes work best for you.  You should also look into Samyang (Rokinon, Bower- same brand, different label) primes.  I've had their 8mm in the past and now have their 85mm (chose it over the EF 85/1.8, owned both for several weeks) and both are excellent lenses.

Take a look through these threads, there's a lot of great information here.  Also, feel free to PM me with any questions.  I highly recommend any Yashica ML primes, I have 3 (28/2.8, 50/1.7, 50/1.4) and they are among my favorite lenses and they adapt very easily and without mirror interference.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=644277

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1228845

Also, I highly recommend the EG-S focus screen.  It's very easy to install and for me it makes a big difference in manually focusing.

TexasBadger

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2013, 02:40:31 PM »
Vintage wine will help you find the way.
5DC, 5D3, Elan7, G12, 28 1.8, 50 1.8 II, 85 1.8 USM, 135 2.0 L, 24-70 2.8 L, 70-200 2.8 L, 560 EX, 580 EX II (2) --- all Canon.

mackguyver

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2013, 02:49:37 PM »
Vintage wine will help you find the way.
True, but a compass, GPS, or even a vintage sextant will do you better -- but it won't be as much fun as the wine.

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2013, 02:49:37 PM »

yorgasor

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2013, 03:21:23 PM »
I've done a lot of research on the old Nikon glass for use on my 5D Mk III.  Nikon ruled the professional range in the 80's, and has excellent support on Canon mounts with adapters.  Beware that some have glass too far back and may get in the way of the mirror.  I mostly wanted something that I could use as a good reverse lens for high magnification macro shots, so I got a 24mm f/2 AIS lens for ~$200.  It's a decent lens, and will get nice shots when I have time to manually focus the lens.  The bokeh is very different, sometimes distractingly so.  This was one of my first sample shots I took of my daughter at very close range:


Tea Time by yorgasor, on Flickr

Here is a list of other Nikon primes I'd like to eventually get.  It's a solid list, and I tried to pick the best ones from each focal range.  Some of them are still pricey, enough so that I'm sure I'll end up getting the Canon 135mm L lens, which has a very nice autofocus, and only a couple hundred $$ more, and would be much more useful.  I didn't find any notes in my research that any of these were incompatible with Canon, so do some due diligence and make sure before you make a purchase.

nikon manuals lenses keh.com
300mm f/4.5 ed-if ais  $300-400
135mm f/2 AIS  $650
35mm f/1.4 ais $500
85mm f/1.4 AIS $650
28mm f/2 ais $200
50mm f/1.8 ais $100

The 300mm lens is the most intriguing for me, as my current lens collection maxes out at 200mm.  If I were you, I'd probably only get the 50mm and maybe the 28mm nikon lenses, and maybe the 300mm if you're looking for a good way to get reach.  The other ones are expensive enough to make it not worth the hassle of vintage / non-autofocus.

7enderbender

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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 03:42:37 PM »
Just do the obvious thing and pick up a "white box" 24-105mm zoom. It will be much cheaper than accumulating several primes and allow you to experiment with various focal lengths. Later, as your budget allows you can start accumulating primes if that's what you want.

Hm. Not sure about that. It depends on what the OP is after really in his photography. I personally find the 24-105 to be a very limiting lens because it is f/4. I really only use it for portrait shots with studio lighting where you stop down anyway. For everything else it's pretty expensive for what it is.

I agree though that MF lenses are no fun on a modern camera given the limitations of today's AF viewfinders. Interchangeable screens only help very little with that issue.

My recommendation would always be to start with primes to have more DOF options. The OP already has the nifty-fifty so I would add another prime in that class such as the 85 or 100 or something at the wide end if that's more desired. Yes, they are plastic and everything. But honestly, so are most of the L lenses. Just better plastic. Optics are all very good and certainly not worse than on the 24-105 (which is optically also great, don't get me wrong).
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Re: Will vintage lenses help me find the way?
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 03:42:37 PM »