Old, manual lenses...anyone else still play around with them?

Jim Walczak

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Hey Ya'll,
Ok, there's no real right or wrong here, just curious if I'm the only one... In the past few years since I've moved from Canon to Nikon, I've found myself playing with a few older manual lenses. When I first got into digital, I had original gone with Canon, as I had been a Canon 35mm shooter most of my life previously, however I abruptly discovered that I could not use my older lenses from my FTb with the newer EOS bodies (a stinkin' shame). Needless that all changed when I switched to Nikon. Since moving to Nikon, while I'm still in the on-going process of rebuilding my working lens collection, I've snagged a few older manual lenses (of various brands) and I've actually had a fair bit of fun screwin' around with them, LOL!

Now I do have to say that having grown up with 35mm cameras that were ALL manual...the only thing the battery in my FTb powered was a small on-board light meter...I do in fact LOVE all my electronic goodies. Accept for tricky lighting situations or my astrophotography endeavors and such, most of the time my camera is locked down in AP mode...in most situations I'd rather focus on my subject (no pun intended) rather than twiddle the knobs, LOL!!! That said, every now and again I have found myself playing with these old, manual lenses. So far I've snagged a few, all for very cheap...at a whopping $50, the old Nikkor 50mm was the most expensive. In fact I just snagged an old "Sears" 28-200mm for wow...$5! Sure...it's an OLD department store lens, but it's in pristine condition...no scratches, no fungus, no haze, etc. (I can't wait to get the new D7000 body to give this lens a workout).

In a world so dominated by these technological marvels, occasionally it's nice to do things "old school" as well. No...I'm not about to give up my computer and my copy of Photoshop (currently using CS 5.5) to go out and setup a dark room again...I'll never go back to film, but for myself at least, there's something to be said about using some classic tools at least similar to what I grew up with. I guess part of this is simply a way to remind myself (and show others) that I CAN still do the manual thing. I'll even admit that it's REALLY hard for me to pass up a bargain such as you can get with some of these older lenses. The attached shot captured at the Cleveland Museum of Art for example, was taken with my D90 and an old school Nikkor 35-70mm manual zoom...



Not too bad for an old fart doinkin' with his toys! LOL! I snagged that lens for wow...right around $30. Because this was indoors in a dimly lit art gallery, yea, I had the ISO -really- cranked, so the the image isn't quite as tack sharp as I might have preferred (due to having to clean up the high ISO noise), but still...for a $30 lens, that's really not bad at all.


So with that, again I'm just more curious than anything; how many folks out there are still shooting with the old manual lenses...and what's your reason(s) for doing so?

I look forward to the responses :).
 

snowbear

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I use a 105mm f/4 micro Nikkor (macro) which is an older (c. 1982) lens. I bought it used for a less than I would have spent on a comparable new lens.

Neither my 50mm, nor my 24mm have AF motors built in to them, so they could be considered manual (focus) on the D40. The focus automatically on the N90s, though,


cmw3_d40_5314
by Charlie Wrenn, on Flickr
 

ruifo

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I have the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S, and two more coming in a few days: 28mm f/2.8 AI-S & 105mm f/2.5 AI-S. They're great and last forever. And very much usable with modern DSLRs, including the high resolution D810.
 

ruifo

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In this interesting interview with Nikon staff in Japan, they mention how the old manual lenses were conceived to handle a theoretical maximum resolution, being this one of the reasons why they still work great with modern DSLRs.

Future Vision | Technology | Nikkor.com
 

cgw

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There are stars and dogs among old Nikon lenses. High pixel density cameras like the D7200 can sort them out quick. Macro lenses like the 105/4 sing. The plain vanilla 50/2Ai is nice. I find the 100/2.8 E series gives nothing away to the bigger, heavier, pricier 105/2.5. The little, chipped 45/2.8Ai-P is another sleeper.

Anyone with a shelf--or two--of manual lenses quickly rediscovers old friends and new favorites.
 

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As cgw mentions, the 45mm "P" Nikkor is a sleeper. I sometimes use it in order to introduce a bit of distortion in my portraits. I used it for both of these shots, in order to subtly distort both the height of the subjects, and their features. In this shot, I wanted to emphasis Joshua's muscular forearms, and also make him appear a bit taller.
_D3X5472_lo-rez.JPG


For the lovely lady, I wanted to emphasize the baby bump, and also make her look just a bit taller. By sitting down on my posing stool, I was able to get the camera lower than normal, but keep the back of the camera parallel. The low camera angle and slightly short focal length distorts her height, AND also makes the closer features larger. Both of these were shot at my typical flash exposure of f/7.1.

_D3X5566_lo-rez.JPG
 

480sparky

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Another obscure lens is the Russian-made Tair 135/2.8 11A.

Sharp when it needs to be:

Fire%20Excape%20%20No%204_1312%20post.jpg



Soft when you want it to be:

Arch%20with%20Bricks_1337%20post.jpg


And when you want über-creamy bokeh, just open 'er up:

Kitty%20Tair%20Test_6332.jpg
 

unpopular

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quite literally manual focus lenses is all I use.
 

sabbath999

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Some of us shoot them daily... we do it in our Nikon F's, F2's, F3HS's, FM's, EM's...

My personal favorite portrait setup is a Nikon EM with winder with an E series 100 F/2.8 shooting Svema FN-64 BW film, it's as smooth as melting butter....

I shoot my manual lenses all the time on my DF. Unless the subject is moving, autofocus is meaningless.
 

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I use quite a number of manual focus lenses from time to time, but if I'm honest the old ones (ie pre 1950) get used very little.
My 1930s Kodak astigmat has been fitted to a body cap, making it easy to use via a bellows, but the rest of them still need adapting to use on anything other than 5x4.
This one was taken with the astigmat:
black scorpion 2 stack by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

Some of my newest lenses are fully manual including the 10mm f2 winging it's way to me now :)
 
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Jim Walczak

Jim Walczak

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Some very cool responses there (and great pics)...I'm glad I'm not the only one! Right now I'm mostly just using the old manual's for shits & giggles, but after reading a few of these comments, I may start giving them a bit more serious consideration (at least depending on a given situation).
 

Auslese

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Hey Ya'll,
Ok, there's no real right or wrong here, just curious if I'm the only one... In the past few years since I've moved from Canon to Nikon, I've found myself playing with a few older manual lenses. When I first got into digital, I had original gone with Canon, as I had been a Canon 35mm shooter most of my life previously, however I abruptly discovered that I could not use my older lenses from my FTb with the newer EOS bodies (a stinkin' shame). Needless that all changed when I switched to Nikon. Since moving to Nikon, while I'm still in the on-going process of rebuilding my working lens collection, I've snagged a few older manual lenses (of various brands) and I've actually had a fair bit of fun screwin' around with them, LOL!

Now I do have to say that having grown up with 35mm cameras that were ALL manual...the only thing the battery in my FTb powered was a small on-board light meter...I do in fact LOVE all my electronic goodies. Accept for tricky lighting situations or my astrophotography endeavors and such, most of the time my camera is locked down in AP mode...in most situations I'd rather focus on my subject (no pun intended) rather than twiddle the knobs, LOL!!! That said, every now and again I have found myself playing with these old, manual lenses. So far I've snagged a few, all for very cheap...at a whopping $50, the old Nikkor 50mm was the most expensive. In fact I just snagged an old "Sears" 28-200mm for wow...$5! Sure...it's an OLD department store lens, but it's in pristine condition...no scratches, no fungus, no haze, etc. (I can't wait to get the new D7000 body to give this lens a workout).

In a world so dominated by these technological marvels, occasionally it's nice to do things "old school" as well. No...I'm not about to give up my computer and my copy of Photoshop (currently using CS 5.5) to go out and setup a dark room again...I'll never go back to film, but for myself at least, there's something to be said about using some classic tools at least similar to what I grew up with. I guess part of this is simply a way to remind myself (and show others) that I CAN still do the manual thing. I'll even admit that it's REALLY hard for me to pass up a bargain such as you can get with some of these older lenses. The attached shot captured at the Cleveland Museum of Art for example, was taken with my D90 and an old school Nikkor 35-70mm manual zoom...



Not too bad for an old fart doinkin' with his toys! LOL! I snagged that lens for wow...right around $30. Because this was indoors in a dimly lit art gallery, yea, I had the ISO -really- cranked, so the the image isn't quite as tack sharp as I might have preferred (due to having to clean up the high ISO noise), but still...for a $30 lens, that's really not bad at all.


So with that, again I'm just more curious than anything; how many folks out there are still shooting with the old manual lenses...and what's your reason(s) for doing so?

I look forward to the responses :).

No, a waste of time, if I am wrong, then you can manually focus this image http://biganimals.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/017-perfect-hunting-approach-Eagle13611.jpg
 

jake337

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I have the 28mm f2.8 ais and 135mm f2 ais. I like them both very much. I've also owned a 180mm f2.8 ais and 300mm f4.5 ais and enjoyed them as well.

135mm f2 ais
21959264135_cc8a93e993_b.jpg


135mm f2 ais
20178247574_04d33a9968_b.jpg



28mm f2.8 ais
16790157914_ebddda3d0a_b.jpg



28mm f2.8 ais
17131519768_eed40a304c_b.jpg
 
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nerwin

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I like to shoot with my Sigma 28mm f/2.8 Mini Wide II every now and then..fun little lens. I got it to help tune my manual focusing skills..I like like the fact that it makes me think more when I'm shooting. Its good to have a vintage manual lens in your bag...they are very fun to shoot with.

21229295776_1331f09011_c.jpg


camera.PNG
 

Auslese

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I have the 28mm f2.8 ais and 135mm f2 ais. I like them both very much.

135mm f2 ais
21959264135_cc8a93e993_b.jpg


135mm f2 ais
20178247574_04d33a9968_b.jpg



28mm f2.8 ais
16790157914_ebddda3d0a_b.jpg



28mm f2.8 ais
17131519768_eed40a304c_b.jpg

So you have never taken a shot of an Osprey snagging a bluefish, or a surfer on a wave, if you had you would know what Continuous autofocus is for.
surfing2.jpg
 

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