A good way to spend the first Sunday afternoon of 2022 is paying a visit to a friend who is a likeminded photographer. To drink some coffee and talk some serious photography shop. His passion is to acquire vintage lenses from the era of film cameras. This means high quality glass that performs admirably when attached to today’s modern DSLRs or System Cameras via an adapter. For very, very little money.
These lenses are available in high numbers on eBay or your local craigslist platform. As it was too late to go out shooting and put these little gems to the test, he loaned me a couple lenses so can try them on my Leica M. These are a Yashica Auto Yashinon DX 50mm F/2 (Made in Japan), a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm F/2.8 and a Pentacon electric 2.8/135 MC, the latter lenses being manufactured in the German Democratic Republic. All three lenses are 40plus year old. The GDR lenses sell for about 30 Euros, the Yashinon for about 50 Euros.
I saw photographs he took with these lenses that blew me away in terms of image quality, sharpness, color rendition. They don’t need to shy comparison to modern lenses that set you back 10 times this money.
I already own a Novoflex adapter for the M42 gear mount all these lenses share. This adapter attaches them to the M-Mount of the Leica rangefinder system. It should be clear that all these vintage lenses require manual focussing.
I’m very curious about the results I get with this lenses and will sure put them to work the next days. And you will get to see the results here on the Streets of Nuremberg.
Have a great Sunday