Vintage Lenses

Vintage Lenses

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


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16 thoughts on “Vintage Lenses

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    1. Thanks for reading, Alessandra. It’s quite easy. Almost for every mount combination there is a variety of adapters available. M42 was a very popular mount introduced 80 years ago and used on tons of vintage lenses. And you can adapt M42 to any modern DSLR mount.

  1. Zeiss lenses used to be one of the best makes and more affordable.

    I have loads of “vintage” cameras and lenses that I still use – I’ve never heard this name for 35mm film cameras before.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, much appreciated! Isn’t that old gear fascinating? There are also some Russian lenses based on Zeiss technology, like the Zenit Helios 58mm lens. I have one from the late seventies, also a beautiful lens.

  2. Wishing you lots of fun with these lenses Marcus and I look forward to seeing your photographs!

  3. I look forward to seeing what you do with the vintage lenses, Marcus. I have a few and one, a Super Takumar 50mm f 1.4, can be really rewarding to use. The focus can be tricky but that lens can produce very artistic, even poetic images.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Lynn, so much appreciated. How good you have some of those lenses as well. I have read about the Super Takumar, it is supposed to be a great piece of glass. Due to bad weather and not enough free time my testing so far was limited, a first post is up.

  4. I have my first SLR camera, Pentax Spotamic F, which I bought in the early 1970’s. I had it refurbished when I began having trouble with it, but that was not money well spent. I keep the camera for sentimental reasons, though.

  5. I have an old Canon macro lens from around 1990, which makes it 31 years old. It works fine with the new digital camera and produces nice photos.

  6. Most interesting that you can use the vintage lens on the modern digital cameras. I don’t know about lenses, but I do know that Carl Zeiss makes some of, if not the best binoculars.

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