Sunday, 10 September 2017

My Journey with Vintage Lenses | Vintage View

This is my Favourite Macro lens (canon 50mm 2.5) taken with a 1980 vintage, manual lens.
I'm really starting to enjoy vintage lenses.

At first I wasn't sure what all the excitement was over vintage lenses. Sure they're inexpensive, but they're so much more work. It's not so much that you focus manually (I'm no stranger to pulling focus) it's the super small focus throw, combine with how stiff the mechanics can be that creates the difficulty.

Aside from that, the don't resolve at the same level as modern lenses*. It's also much harder to control light when using these lenses. Flairs and blown highlights are everywhere.

Sure, some of the flairs looked cool & there where some other effects I liked, but had no idea how to control. All-In-All I wasn't sure the benefit out weighted the work & missed shots.

Brick wall, Vintage lens,  I'm happy.
But, I kept trying and playing & even got a few more vintage lenses.  That's when things started changing. These additional lenses where so much easier to use than the lens I had been using. Turns out the Canon 50mm 1.8 FD (from my old AE1) wasn't a good place to start. These other lenses focused more easily & where generally easier to control.  So I played with them more & got a little better with them.

An images that made me think 'these lenses CAN be useful'

Now I'm starting to see the appeal. They're not for every project, or even most projects, but they can really do some interesting things when used on the right projects. I wouldn't say I can control all of the 'vintagey goodness' & I'm still a long way from confidently using them on a paid gig, but I'm enjoying thier use a lot more & slowly getting better with them.

I went full funk on this shot taken with a 1980's vintage  lens.
More Bricks & Vintage

So for me the next step is to start using them more for motion (video) work with them. I'm a little daunted to start this.  When taking stills I can take the time to set up each image and change the exposure and manage flairs etc. This will be a little more challenging when shooting 24 images a second.  I'm going to have to find new strategies to get the images I want.

I like that it has the vintage characteristics of super smooth bokeh, really high highlights & a nice warm tone, while while not going to overboard

Sometimes when using Vintage lenses, I go too far and end up with a big blurry mess.  I've been told that this image isn't that, but I think it's pretty close to that line.   What do you think?

* As I understand it, the optics of these older lenses won't give you best levels of colour fidelity, contrast & sharpness that modern digital sensors are capable of capturing.