Vintage lenses on digital cameras make it look stunning.
Fact: Vintage glasses are superior to modern glasses in many ways. Modern post-production is so good that it can remove all the blemishes from a photo. However, if you want to reconfigure them, it becomes more expensive and annoying. This is because vintage glasses give you a look that you can no longer achieve with modern glasses. And for this reason, we give you tips on how to get the most out of it.
Use a sub-megapixel camera body
For this tip, I want to go back to something Nikon did many years ago. Once they released more mega-pixel cameras, they gave a list of lenses that would resolve the sensor. Of course, a lot of older lenses couldn’t do this. And that’s the case with a lot of older lenses. Some will resolve very well to a 42MP camera sensor, while others might struggle a bit. (And of course, there are some outliers.) Pretty much any Contax G-series lens will likely fit the 60-megapixel number. The same goes for some Leica M lenses. The famous 40mm f2 they made with Minolta is just one of those great lenses.
In general, however, most will likely perform better below the 42MP range.
Imagine having vision problems and using non-prescription protective eyewear versus prescription protective eyewear. Of course, you will be able to see much more clearly with lenses that have coatings, that have been shaped, etc. The point is, older lenses weren’t really designed for digital. To this end, film has dominated most of the history of photography. 35mm film has a resolution of around 36 megapixels. More than that, and you will start to see technical flaws.
However, the beauty of digital is that we can accept these flaws. If you have a problem with them, you can fix them in post-production. It’s much easier to get rid of them in post-production than it is to put them in place.
Focus and magnification
Many photographers believe that focus peaking works fine until they enlarge their images. The truth is, most focus peaking systems these days are pretty awful. The exception is Canon’s rangefinder system built into RF cameras. If you plan to use a vintage lens, you need to use a combination of methods. Here are some essential tips:
Turn the focus peak to low
Choose a color that contrasts with your scene
Define a button to magnify an area of ââthe Stage
Always magnify the scene, then focus the lens
When the focus is around the magnified subject, you’re ready to go.
Years of missed shots have taught us that this really is the best way to use manual focus, vintage lenses. The problem with modern focus peaking is that it relies a lot on contrast. But vintage glasses don’t have much contrast. Maximum focus is therefore quite difficult to do unless the lens has autofocus contacts. Unfortunately, most don’t, and adapters don’t help.
Get the right adapter for your vintage lenses
That brings us to our final tip: get the right adapter. Many adapters are inexpensive impulse buys. But they do not bring the lens to the correct distance from the sensor. They also end up being very wobbly. This can cause major problems with the image quality. It is often worth spending more money and getting the right one.