Vintage Lenses on New Cameras

March 29, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Y'all! Hope you're having a Super week. This week I want to talk about gear again. LOL ! Thats what I do. Now you know I love shooting used gear. And if you've been reading my blogs from the beginning I do like shooting film also. But what about shooting vintage lenses on your new mirrorless camera? Can it be done? You bet it can and it's pretty easy and fun to do.  Bringing life into old and vintage lenses is great. The older lenses were built to last. Film lenses and camera's were built to be used a lifetime and still have lots of life left in them. I personally shoot a camera that is over 60 years old and it still functions like it was new. New 60 years ago not like new today. If that makes sense. Now I'm not saying that a vintage lens is sharper or quicker than a new lens is because it's not but it has a quality that gives it  character.  Vintage lenses are manual focus lenses and have an aperture ring that you have to manually have to set.  So getting sharp focus is up to you.  But why would you ever shoot a vintage lens on a new mirrorless camera? The first reason is that it's just cool and fun to shoot. Some of these lenses come in focal lengths that just aren't common anymore. I have three or four vintage lenses but the one I like to use the most is a 28mm. It's a focal length that you just don't see anymore on modern lenses. Another reason to use vintage on new cameras is to get some photography mojo working again. It slows us up to take time to compose and focus the shot. Instead of just pointing and shooting like we can now with our modern cameras and phones. So how do I find a vintage lens to shoot? You may already have one on an old film camera that is stuck way back in the closet. If you have an old SLR film camera chances are you've got a 50mm f1.4 lens on it.  It really doesn't matter if your old camera was a Canon, Minolta, or Nikon you can adapt it to your new camera. If you don't have one you can find one on Ebay or in a pawn shop very cheaply. Sometimes less than 100 bucks. Now think of that a 50mm f1.4 for 100 bucks. These old lenses are built with high quality metal and glass and are fantastic.  Now these are manual focus lenses but can easily be zone focused for street photography for fast shooting. All the markings are there for easy set up. Speaking of set up how do you make your new camera use vintage lenses?

I shoot Sony cameras but I'm sure you will have the same settings on whatever camera you have you will have to dig a little in the manual or look up online. The first thing we need to do to shoot vintage lenses on new cameras is to get a lens adapter. For example the vintage lens that I use is a Pentax 28mm. I shoot Sony so I have to get an adapter that takes the Pentax mount and adapts it to a Sony mount. You can get these adapters off of Amazon for 25 bucks or so. Modern mirrorless camera's are little computers with all kinds of sensors on them. Old vintage lenses have no electronics at all so when you put the adapter on your vintage lens and hook it to your camera your camera doesn't know that there is a lens there. Most camera's are set up by default not to release the shutter if no lens is attached. So you will have to go into the menu and find that setting and change it. Most modern camera's have Focus Peaking to help focus when in manual.  The camera highlights in some color the areas of the image that is in focus. You will have to also turn this on to help you focus. My cameras have in body stabilization. How great is that to have a 50 year old lens and now it is stabilized ! When you put a modern lens on the camera it can see what focal length it is through the electronics on the camera even if it's a zoom lens.  The camera adjust the Stabilization to match the focal length. When you use a vintage lens you have to put that number in. For example I set it to 28mm for my lens. Then when the camera can't see the focal length it goes to 28mm otherwise it's in Auto and adjust to what lens I have on. Now if I changed to a 50mm vintage lens instead of the 28mm I would have to go and change to 50mm. But since this is the only one I am using currently I don't have to change this setting. And that's about it. You can set your camera on Manual or Aperture Priority like I do. I adjust my Aperture by the ring on the lens and focus and shoot. If you're in Manual you do the same but set the shutter speed like normal. So that's really all there is to do. So if you have a vintage lens you only have to come out of pocket about 25 dollars or so for the adapter and you can rock and roll with a vintage lens.

So be the cool kid on the block like me? LOL ! And until next week Get out and Shoot!

 


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