Vintage lenses - what's this trend all about???

Messages
21,702
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
Well, yes and maybe anyone who doesn't see the point isn't really trying to as there are many reasons... the cost savings over new lenses, the vintage look they can give if that's the way you want to go, the tactility and user experience for zone and hyperfocal shooting etc to name three. There's probably more :D
 
Messages
3,970
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
anyone who doesn't see the point isn't really trying to
I don't think there's a need. Maybe it's similar to a case of preferring plastic boobs over real ones, or walking over jogging, or digital over film, or software over filters... Oh wait... :exit:
 
Messages
4,570
Edit My Images
Yes
Snip:
It depends how far you take the chase for quality. One could argue, for example, that anyone using a Canon DSLR is on the wrong track as these days Nikon and Sony have much better sensors....
Do they really have much better sensors? Currently, I believe they may have a small advantage in some areas, but is that really noticeable in real-life everyday situations in the photographs they produce? A little more dynamic range may be noticeable to a few camera users (probably in the landscape and wedding photography fields?) but for the rest of us and the viewer/client?

I've just been calibrating a Sigma 100 400 lens as it was front focussing and I think I've now got it about right. To check this I've been pixel peeping and comparing the final results with those on the internet, including some from DSLRs with much higher MP than the one I'm using. The thing that unexpectedly struck me was there isn't a huge difference between the results from my camera and those from some high MP ones. Yes, it's noticeable if you zoom right in, there's more detail and resultant clarity just as I'd expect, however, it's not a massive difference - in other words, up to around A4 you'd need to put the two images side-by-side and have a good look to notice that one contains more detail. I'm quite glad about this as it's made me more content with the FF DSLR I own and put the urge to 'upgrade' on the back burner for a bit.

Furthermore, the sharpness of the lens and the higher MP of the camera emphasises the point of focus to the extent where you can't get the whole of an object (such as a side-on mallard duck) in focus when it's filling more than around a third of the frame at the smaller apertures you'll probably be using on a telephoto lens in 'average' UK outdoor light. This is great if you can nail focus on the required point every single time, but with that degree of sharpness and resolution any error is going to be very much more evident than it is with less resolution and sharpness.

Compare that to the results from some classic old lenses, where the image wasn't absolutely pin sharp but created the overall impression of sharpness in such a visually appealing way that no-one really noticed or minded. Perhaps the creators of some of those old classic lenses knew a thing or two after all?
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
DG Phototraining
Messages
4,812
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
Yes
Quite often the modern lenses are the ones with the distortion, it's just corrected by the camera even in the RAW image.

Equally older lenses are of higher quality than you seem to assume. Many of the measurebating test sites never retest old lenses on modern equipment so any statistics you see will be from old sensors. If it makes you feel better about the money you've spent, so be it.

Just because they have character is no reason for you and your photo-dawg pro buddies to justify derision of people who prefer to use them. I just don't buy into the 'dpreview comment thread expert' line of thinking that the only way to enjoy this hobby is with as many clinical megapixels as possible.

Some of us don't want to spunk hundreds of pounds on 1kg monster lenses when we get perfectly enjoyable images from old lenses. Aren't we allowed to enjoy the better light gathering capabilities and faster operation of the modern bodies too?

I have a bookshelf of monographs made by masters with old lenses that I didn't stop enjoying when the latest Sony sensor came out. Get over yourself.

FFS will people STOP suggesting I'm against old lenses - I'm against s***e old lenses that's all :D

I hope I don't have to repeat this line, but if so I'll just cut & paster :D

Dave
 
Messages
14,420
Name
Nightmare
Edit My Images
No
Furthermore, the sharpness of the lens and the higher MP of the camera emphasises the point of focus to the extent where you can't get the whole of an object (such as a side-on mallard duck) in focus when it's filling more than around a third of the frame at the smaller apertures you'll probably be using on a telephoto lens in 'average' UK outdoor light. This is great if you can nail focus on the required point every single time, but with that degree of sharpness and resolution any error is going to be very much more evident than it is with less resolution and sharpness.

Compare that to the results from some classic old lenses, where the image wasn't absolutely pin sharp but created the overall impression of sharpness in such a visually appealing way that no-one really noticed or minded. Perhaps the creators of some of those old classic lenses knew a thing or two after all?
I disagree with this bit.

For a start the high MP sensor output can be quite happily be downsized to smaller sizes, and at that point it would only look sharper throughout compared with native old camera output. This likely to be far exaggerated in case of sensors without AA filter.

Again there is nothing wrong with sharp lens if you can get overall sharp focus. If you want softness don't add any sharpening, clarity or even use -ve values and it will soon look like vaseline spread. You also don't have to inspect image at 100% from high MP sensor and expect same area of acceptable sharpness like in small film print. You have to compare apples with apples. If you want small sharp print (or web res image), new modern lens will give you a better one hands down.

Also don't knock older lenses as not as sharp. The 400mm f5.6L is pretty old design, but sharpness is hard to beat. I bet the older FD equivalent if there was such a thing, and 300mm versions were quite close. Let's hope the adapting enthusiasts would clarify this. Only slightly missed manual focus vs AF could sway the equation from parity. In film days I presume it was more than likely to ever so slightly miss the critical focus. When I tried I got 2/36 close enough hits with 300/2.8.
The main difference I would expect would be flare resistance and contrast in backlight situations. This is where latest coatings really made big gains recently.

I also wonder how 85mm f/1.2 FD and EF versions stack up. I know which one I would get for specific video work (actually both have distinct appeal). But then the RF version will blow them both out of the water for sharpness.
 
Messages
13,502
Name
Keith
Edit My Images
No
I still cannot believe this became a serious discussion - I mean, kudos to both sides. Bu seriously ... people like to use vintage lenses on modern cameras? stop the presses!
 

nandbytes

I owe Cobra some bacon
Messages
7,404
Edit My Images
Yes
I also wonder how 85mm f/1.2 FD and EF versions stack up. I know which one I would get for specific video work (actually both have distinct appeal). But then the RF version will blow them both out of the water for sharpness.
And money :p
Latest and greatest f1.2 lenses may be greatest but I for can't afford nearly £3K for one. I'll either stick with my cheaper f1.4 version or go with the older f1.2 if I really need/want it.
 
Messages
1,472
Name
Soeren
Edit My Images
Yes
I cant help wondering if photographers have grown an intrinsic fear of failing.
With the development of digital with ever growing MP counts for perfect details and Eye AF for perfect focus, higher resolving lenses for perfect sharpness and software for correcting DIV aberations and other lens flaws for perfect technical image quality + the redundancy of double cardslots besides carrying 2 or more cameras it seems the idea of making a one of non repeatable technical slightly unperfect maybe even flawed image where the model/subject strikes that pose or special compelling atmosphere, the perfect ray of light could make for the prize winning image if only.....
Why such a fear of failing and taking risks?
Its part of making art.
 

sirch

Official Forum Numpty 2015
Messages
8,685
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
Remember Venn diagrams from school? The notion was that there were distinct sets of things but that for some situations some of those things were in more than one set.

We seem to have a lot of this kind of debate on here and I can only suppose it is because photography is a single word that covers a vast field of endeavour. Some people seem to struggle with the intersection of the sets (classifications) of photography; birders over here, film shooters over there, studio lighters somewhere else and people are happy but start to mix them up and it undermines expectations and preconceptions. Perhaps one of the biggest distinctions is making money vs having fun, it might all be photography but the choices you make when the goal is to make money could be very different from the choices made just for fun.
 

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
Messages
3,385
Name
Stephen
Edit My Images
Yes
That sparked an interesting train of thought for me. A painter might produce the Mona Lisa, paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or just apply a coat of magnolia to a bedroom wall. But all are painters. A writer might write Hamlet or a note to the milkman (showing my age there!) but it's still writing.

The problem comes when Leonardo says painting a bedroom wall isn't the same thing. And then you begin to wonder, is he right? It depends on the exact connotation you apply to painting - whether applying paint to a surface is all that there is. Just as, reduced to a minimum, the works of Shakespeare are simply ink marks on paper.

Sorry to go off topic.
 
Messages
4,570
Edit My Images
Yes
Can this perhaps be divided into two camps; those who strive to achieve technical perfection and those who wish to produce artistic images? Then, as Chris says, the Venn diagram scenario takes over with it's overlapping 'ecotones' where the two categories merge and overlap rather than abutting each other like adjacent tiles.

Then there's the factor that most people want the kit they buy to perform as well as they can expect it to; if you've paid a lot of money for a top spec camera and lens you want it to deliver results comparable to those you saw from the same model kit before you decided to buy it. This probably leads to pixel peeping and something of an obsession about optical 'perfection' and once your eye becomes attuned to that it can be something of an anathema to see a photograph that seems to flout this criteria?

If so, can this perhaps result in losing the ability to see the photograph as a whole, and the subtle complimenting nuances that others can perhaps see? Whilst it's always reassuring to know your kit is working as well as it should, and that it can render some amazing detail, are we perhaps losing sight of the original objective (for most photographers) of producing attractive and interesting looking photographs? Is this perhaps becoming akin to the difference between art and technical drawing?
 
Messages
13,502
Name
Keith
Edit My Images
No
That sparked an interesting train of thought for me. A painter might produce the Mona Lisa, paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or just apply a coat of magnolia to a bedroom wall. But all are painters. A writer might write Hamlet or a note to the milkman (showing my age there!) but it's still writing.

The problem comes when Leonardo says painting a bedroom wall isn't the same thing. And then you begin to wonder, is he right? It depends on the exact connotation you apply to painting - whether applying paint to a surface is all that there is. Just as, reduced to a minimum, the works of Shakespeare are simply ink marks on paper.

Sorry to go off topic.
I'm sure Michelangelo would have managed as good a job using brushes from a previous era
 
Messages
21,702
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
I am one of the latter. I have no interest at all in technical perfection, even assume ing that there can be such a thing.
I think that's one of the things about photography as a hobby. Maybe it's a bit like golf, you can have a good day and you can have a bad one, you'll never be perfect but you can strive to be :D
 
Top