Playing with old lenses… 1

Playing with old lenses… 1

I’ve been reading recently about people using vintage lenses on new mirrorless and DSLR bodies, and I thought I would check it out to see what all the fuss was about. So I’ve been checking Ebay out for the last couple of weeks, and have bought 3 dirt cheap (under $50) old lenses of various flavors, and the first one arrived a couple of day ago so I took it out into the woods to check it out today.

It’s a Canon FD mount 35-105mm f/3.5 zoom. Now all of these lenses will require either modification or an adapter to mount on my 5Diii, but the adapters are super cheap; and the lenses will be fully manual- ie no auto focus or aperture control from the camera, you set the aperture on the lens and focus through the viewfinder (or using live view on the screen), but the camera will help you out with the shutter speed. This is fine with me as I usually shoot either in manual or aperture-priority anyway, though focus is a bit of a crap-shoot as I find I really miss the old split-screen focus in the center of the viewfinder that my old film cameras had!

I have a kit on order that will modify this lens to work without an adapter, but for now I’m using a cheap adapter that has it’s own lens element in it to compensate for the extra distance the lens has to be from the sensor (because of the thickness of the adapter), and I’m sure that doesn’t help the image quality, but I have to say I’m quite impressed 🙂 As I said, focus is hard to judge perfectly, but when you nail it it’s pretty pin sharp. The lens seems to lack a bit of contrast, and that may be the adapter, the age of the lens and the inevitable haze, or just because it was kind of a washed out day, but whatever it was it was easily fixed in Lightroom…

The lens has a quite nice macro feature and what looks to be some very interesting bokeh (the quality of the out of focus elements of the picture). It also introduces it’s own quite nice vignetting at shorter focal lengths. I’m looking forward to trying it without the adapter and on a day with better light!

And watch this space as the other lenses arrive, one is a Starblitz 28mm f/2.8 and the other is a Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 coming all the way from Ukraine!

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