Old Lenses - Better Images?


Link Posted 31/01/2013 - 23:02
I want to generate a bit of discussion about older lenses and whether members think that they produce better images than modern lenses. Now, before everyone shoots me down, I am well aware that there are massive differences between good and bad old lenses, just as there are differences between good and not so good modern lenses. However, I find that I generally like the way that older lenses render images - usually more warmth and a more organic feel to pictures. I include, for your comment and as a starting point, an image shot a few days ago on my K-5 with the revered Pentax SMC K135 F2.5, a lens I have owned for only a short period of time, but one which I feel will get more than its fair share of use given what I think it is capable of. Your views please!

My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com


Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs


Link Posted 31/01/2013 - 23:14
I have a small arsenal of M and A lenses but to be honest - Unless I'm specifically doing landscape (or using the MX), AF is just too convenient to be without... As such I rarely use them despite the differences in rendering...
Surely your best images come from the equipment you're most comfortable with - DA, FA, A, M, K, M42 or whatever?
Pentax K5- Vivitar 19mm 3.8; FA35mm f2; D-Xenon 100mm macro f2.8; DA50-200mm WR...
Yongnuo YN-560; Vivitar 285HV; Cactus V4 triggers...
Pentax-MX & M50mm f1.4; Spottie & 55mm f1.8; MG & M40mm 2.8...



Link Posted 31/01/2013 - 23:21
I agree to some extent Dave, but also the quality of the glass must play a massive role in how the images turn out? As for ease of use, the lens that took the photo above is an absolute joy to focus, even in very dim light and I fid that I can get results as accurate, or more accurate than AF by using manual focussing in the viewfinder with this lens.

I also find that although my M28mm F3.5 suffers from CA in some environments, the way it renders landscapes is quite magical.

My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com


Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs


Link Posted 31/01/2013 - 23:23
Funnily enough I am having a K series week at the mo and I was just thinking about this very issue. I had an idea for some threads which you will see soon.

Autofocus and metering I could easily do without. I do know I could quite happily live with just the K series apart from a 300.
You can see some of my photos here if you are so inclined


Link Posted 31/01/2013 - 23:39
DaveHolmes wrote:
AF is just too convenient to be without...

I would have said that until I was able to have a split prism screen in a K20. So in my case I had to match old glass with old technology.
Too Old To Die Young

Last Edited by bforbes on 31/01/2013 - 23:39


Link Posted 31/01/2013 - 23:46
Some interesting thoughts so far, but I was referring to image quality rather than ease of use in this thread, so I would be really intersted to hear the views of everyone on IQ? Particularly interesting would be comparisons between old and new lenses of equivalent focal length, for example how does the M28mm F3.5 perform compared to 18-55 set at 28mm?

My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com


Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs


Link Posted 01/02/2013 - 00:17
I think I know where you are coming from, but I believe you have to be more careful when picking comparisons. 18-55 = 28-80, 28 = 40 and so on, or kit lens = kit lens i.e. 18-55=50/f2 or something!
Too Old To Die Young



Link Posted 01/02/2013 - 06:01
I love the IQ of many of my old lenses and I don't accept much in the way of an IQ reduction for the pleasure of going all manual. There's a lot of poor old glass out there, but there are a lot of good lenses too.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses


Link Posted 01/02/2013 - 08:42
It just depends on the lens. Current lenses are made to a very high standard, only picked apart once we start zooming in on screen. Older lenses are also made to very high standsards, but not all of them are designed in a way that suits digital imaging.

However, even a technically poor lens can have its uses if we exploit its defects for visual effect.

I have used older lenses, many older lenses, but currently only use the latest AF ranges. The right ones can show all the beauties of their older bretheren.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 01/02/2013 - 10:00
I'm rather with you on this one, David.

I had a DA17-70 which I bought as an upgrade to the kit lens. Then I bought a K28 f3.5 and, apart from the very wide end at which the 17-70 isn't brilliant, imho) I used the 28 and had an M50 and SuperTak 55 for the longer end. The 17-70 became hardly used.

I've now got a Sigma 10-20 for ultra wide, but my lens of choice is the K28, it's resolution on things like trees just blows the 17=70 apart...again, imho. It also has that lusive 3D quality which these old lenses have sometimes. So now I have a K55 as well, that's all sorted.

I don't value the "convenience" of autofocus above the image quality I can get with the K's. In fact, I reckon I take my time more with a manual lens and enjoy it more, but that may be just me.

And, very importantly, I sold my 17-70, which paid for the 28, the 55, and half the 10-20!!

Like Dr O said, I could easily use the K series, plus the DA*300, and plus my DFA 100. Er, which is almost what I'm doing!
This space deliberately left blank.


Link Posted 01/02/2013 - 11:34
I much prefer the output of my Vivitar S1 105mm f2,5 macro to the Pentax 100mm f2.8 WR. Only problem with the Vivitar is the weight and the massive focus throw.
No equipment list here but thanks for taking an interest. My Flickr


Link Posted 01/02/2013 - 12:07
I've been thinking about swapping. The spare change could go into the very long term A*200 macro fund.
You can see some of my photos here if you are so inclined


Link Posted 01/02/2013 - 12:57
Lenses basically fall into two categories...

A): Usable

B): Unusable

Some lenses in category A: are exceptional, but not essential
and don't get used much because other lenses in the same category
do the job quicker, are easier to carry and are more versatile.

Some lenses in category B: get raved about, but aren't
actually much use, probably old and now worth more moneywise
than their performance would indicate.

Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff



Link Posted 01/02/2013 - 15:56
Yes, kinda agree with Algi. This just seems like a mute issue. All lenses are different all have have got a sweet point. All togs maybe different, along with the conditions, so subjective opinion is guaranteed. I only rave about my old lenses, but would I take them to a wedding or any other payed work? No.

My favorite rendering lenses are:
Da40 - Srs - load a dosh
Zeiss Jenna 135 - charity shop - 30 quid (inc Praktica SLR)

Interestingly both at opposite ends of 'the ease of use' spectrum. One old one new. Go figure.
Pentax pour des images riches en détails!


Link Posted 01/02/2013 - 16:13
I think no matter what you use, if you don't have a "photographer's eye and see" the picture a badly composed shot will always be that no matter how sharp etc. There is no substitute for talent.

Last Edited by tyronet2000 on 01/02/2013 - 16:13
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