A Great Path to a Cheaper Lens

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AuthorVit Kovalcik

I’ve been a freelancer since early 2012; photography is my living. I acquired my photography experience, both inside and outside the studio, during the previous years—when I was working all day and taking pictures every evening and weekend. I don’t have just one clearly defined topic; I like photographing people, but also cityscapes and landscapes.

Comments (7)

  1. While I agree with the intent of this article, there are a few errors and omissions. 1 – M42 mount used for example in old Pentax lenses is a screw thread mount, not bayonet (the later Pentax K mount is a bayonet). 2 – Pentax does not use M42 screw mount today, the new Pentax DSLRs use a modern version of the K-mount. However, all Pentax DSLR’s can work with old M42 screw mount lenses (with a thin adapter ring) and will work with all older K-mount lenses. 3 – With certain camera brands, you don’t have to “live without” focus confirmation if you use “dumb” adapters – many cameras (Pentax included) can provide metering and focus confirmation without “smart” adapters. Pentax for example can provide both focus confirmation icon in the viewfinder or “focus peaking” highlighting when using the live view screen. I’m sure there are other manufacturers who also offer this capability. 4 – An omission – the newer mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras like the Sony NEX or the Pentax K-01 are well suited to use older manual focus lenses like M42 or other mounts, avoiding the issue of mirror interference and having a very short sensor to mount distance enabling them to use almost any old lens (even those designed for rangefinder cameras like the Leica). I’ve been successfully using many old Pentax and Minolta lenses on my Sony NEX-5N mirrorless camera and now on the Pentax K-50 DSLR (in addition to my old Pentax Spotmatic 35mm SLR).

    1. That’s an informative follow up, thank you! Now I see there is a problem with our internal processes as I am sure that I have fixed at least error 1 and 2 in the Czech version of this article. However it was the previous version of the article that was translated. I’ll see what I can do about these bugs here.

      As for the number 3 and 4 you are of course right, especially number 4 is very valid and you give a good point about this new (relatively) phenomenon. For the Four Thirds system it is common to use the old lenses. I am not sure why I didn’t even mentioned that, but I am glad you did.

      So, sorry for the mistakes and hopefully, the next articles will be better in this regard :)

      1. Thank you for writing the article. It was through photographer/authors like you and inspiring articles like this that I’ve learned so much over the last year on this topic. I look forward to reading your future topics.

  2. Hey all, great article, congrats! I’d like to add a couple of notes for all the Nikon users on a budget out there. I myself own a good couple of old lens because Nikon uses the same F bayonet as on the original F (I own an F2, hence the lens collection). Of course there are downsides as well, but depending on the lens you can get pretty much everything. There are many great articles out there about it, do your research on lens and functions you loose / can keep before buying.

    There’s only one thing you must watch out for which can seriously damage your camera’s electronics, is that you can’t use pre-AI lens. Again, just research that and you’ll have hundreds of articles discussing this. There are ways to protect your circuits though, with DIY, look into it, it’ll worth it. There are some truly amazing lens out there that you can get for less than $50 if you’re lucky. But hurry, because they are becoming cult and cool as we speak. Every time I show up with my F2 or my Yashica mid-format dual lens camera at a wedding people immediately forget about the newest and most expensive models and come to me to chat.Especially the photographer… :)

    There are great advantages with these lens, some of them were mentioned in the above article (again, great job). But for the price they are just unbeatable. Compare them with lens for the same price range and you’ll see. :) I use these with my D700 and get amazing results.

    And yes, they are without competition when it comes to shooting films with your DSLR or RED (they used F bayonet too).

    Keep on shooting (pictures/film ;))!

    1. Wow, that’s some interesting information, thanks for sharing! As a Canon user I don’t know much about the underlying problems and advantages of Nikon lenses, so is’ great that you could have added it.

      You are right about the older cameras that steals the show on weddings or other places :) As a wedding photographer I now recall that in the few cases when someone had such rare camera, I was definitely intrigued and I saw myself chatting with those guys very soon :))

  3. I have a very old (40+ years) Vivitar Tele-Zoom 90-230mm 1:4.5 lens that I used to use with my old Canon 35mm camera. I now have a Canon EOS 70D camera and I wonder if someone can tell me if I should be able to find an adapter – if so, what should I look for?

  4. Thank you for writing this article. After reading it, I searched and bought a lens adapter by Metabones. Now I am using a Lumix GX7 fitted with a 30 year old Nikkor 35-70mm lens which is a manual lens. The Lumix GX7 is a perfect camera body to use this type of lens as it has focus peaking and in body IS. The quality of the photo taken using the Nikon lens is very close to a CAD$1,500 Lumix 35-100mm lens.

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