Welcome to my new website, dedicated exclusively to lenses, vintage ones in particular. What excited me the most in my research of vintage lenses is the discovery of new, hidden gems that are not popular nowadays, but still offer great results. There are literally 100s of different, very interesting vintage lenses out there, most of which offer a lot of benefits for VIDEO USE over most modern lenses with either DSLRs or Large Chip Camcorders.
The common advantages are:
Smooth, long throw focusing (like the lovely focusing ring on the Chinon 55mm lens in the picture above). These lenses were designed for manual focusing, unlike a lot of modern lenses, which are primarily designed for fast auto-focusing and usually have quite a short focusing throw, which makes it really hard to focus with. On top of that manual lenses always have hard stops at each end of the focusing range, unlike the Canon EF lenses which keep spinning even after you reach the end of the focusing range, messing up any follow focus marks that you might set.
Mechanical Aperture adjustment on the actual lens. Unlike most modern lenses which are controlled electronically via the camera, older photo lenses have manual aperture adjustment, meaning the lens can be used with just about any camera it will physically fit to. On top of that, some of these lenses have step-less aperture adjustment, just like Cine lenses, essentially making them a low budget cine style lenses.
Amazing built quality. Most of the older photo lenses have solid, metal construction, unlike a lot of modern plasticky lenses.
If you only use your DSLR for video, then there is really no need to waist money on high-end photo lenses with sophisticated auto-focusing systems that don’t even work in video mode.
I have absolutely nothing against any modern lenses. In fact I have quite a few Canon EF lenses which I still love and plan to keep for years to come, partially because they are amazing for photography and they simply produce amazing images with great sharpness, colors and lovely bokeh.
I’m not saying that vintage lenses are better than modern. They’re not. If anything, they are different and often have a unique look.
They also offer amazing value for money comparing to modern glass. The difference in the price is enormous, but the image quality that can be achieved with a $$$$ lens can often be matched by a $20-$30 lens if used to its full potential.
Not all vintage lenses are good. A lot of them have poor sharpens & contrast, a lot of chromatic aberration and vignetting, but so do the modern low end lenses that still cost mode than a good vintage lens.
My challenge following the footsteps of my other website, budgetfilmmaker.co.uk is to discover great, but cheap lenses that offer a great value for money. I want people to realise that you don’t have to spend $$$$ to have a nice set of relatively fast, sharp lenses. As long as you know what to get, you don’t have to pay mode than 1/10 of the modern lens price to get a nice, quality lens.
I would like to invite you to join me on my journey as discover various lenses, building up the data base of various lenses some of which I would recommend to anyone and others that should be avoided.
Along the way I will be giving away some of the lenses from my collection. I’ve already given away 5-6 lenses to my fellow filmmakers around the world and will try to do a lens giveaway every month, so stay tuned.