Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 70,331   Posts: 1,537,247   Online: 961
      
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 48

Thread: old lenses

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    252

    old lenses

    I've been hearing a lot about how older lenses from 60's and 70's can have an affect on the look of the image.
    Whenever someone is asking for advice on how to get some sort of a retro look, people among other things mention old lenses.

    My oldest camera is an old 70's practica SLR, and I've made a lot of pictures with it, but I have never had a chance to compare it with my newer cameras from 90's, because it has been broken for some time.

    Besides the different flare type, I really don't know what I should be looking for when trying to indentify a signiture look of such old lenses.

    So does anyone have an example photo when such features are clearly visible, or better yet a side by side comparison with new lenses.

    If not, I would appretiante if you could tell me in words, what kind of effect do old lenses have on images?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    3,370
    If you want old lenses for 35 mm interchangeable lens cameras that will affect your results, go for the bottom of the barrel. And I mean bottom. Pre-WWII Leica glass. Early Contax lenses. And then abuse the lenses. Shoot them wide open, perhaps a little out of focus, and to get the real effect, in dim light and hand-held.

    Oh? You prefer SLRs? Go for the bottom of the barrel. Petri. Economy lenses in Exakta mount. Kowa leaf shutter. Topcon leaf shutter. Spiratone pre-set wide angles. And then abuse them.

    I started shooting in 1970, got the best glass I could, still have some of it, and there's no {many obscenities repeated forcefully}vintage look about pictures taken with any of my lenses. Now that I've moved up a little in format, I'm using a few pre-WWI (I, not II!) lenses and the same is true of them. In spades.

    You want crappy pictures, just shoot crappy pictures. Out of focus, lens abused, hand held, with grainy film that's been underexposed and overdeveloped. What you want is better achieved with the right technique than with old lenses.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Shooter
    35mm RF
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
    I started shooting in 1970, got the best glass I could, still have some of it, and there's no {many obscenities repeated forcefully}vintage look about pictures taken with any of my lenses. Now that I've moved up a little in format, I'm using a few pre-WWI (I, not II!) lenses and the same is true of them. In spades.

    You want crappy pictures, just shoot crappy pictures. Out of focus, lens abused, hand held, with grainy film that's been underexposed and overdeveloped. What you want is better achieved with the right technique than with old lenses.
    I have to agree, here. Most often the only real difference between old lenses of any particular line and the newer offerings is better flare control and slightly different colorations due to changes in glass and coatings. Often, in the past, people confused the color differences between brands as a sign of superiority of one brand over another and, really, what they were judging was their taste in over-all coloration in their pics. As to really old lenses (from the 20's on back), most of the higher quality types and brands will perform rather well within limits, depending on what formulation was used. Shoot....look at some of Jackson's photos of Yellowstone, made back in the 1880's to 1900. Before coatings, before multi-element/multi-group lenses, before effective lens cleaning equipment (photogs in the 40's would use their ties to wipe down a lens), folks were routinely churning out some really nice, sharp images. Granted, they were generally using what we now call large-format and mostly contact printing to get their images, but, at the same time, they were using fragile glass plates with what we would consider rather primitive emulsions.

    One other note: If it is a softer, rounder image you are looking for, many of the old, uncoated three element lenses of the 30's and 40's will fill the bill. Use 'em wide open or stop down a maximum of one stop and shoot away. I found the Zeiss Triotar on a Rolleicord IIa to be an excellent portrait lens in this regard, especially with 400 ISO film. Stopping it down to more than f/5.6 tends to sharpen the image too much.

    Jon

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    861
    The 1960s and 1970s era of lenses from some companies offered somewhat larger apertures (in 35mm) than more recent and modern gear. When you think that in the last five to ten year most cameras came with a slow kit zoom lens, and would often be used in some program mode, then many shots end up with everything in focus due to the smaller apertures more common.

    Get some old 1970s era fast fixed focal length lenses, then use them as close to wide open aperture as possible, then you will get a very different looking image than someone using a modern autofocus zoom. This is the era of lenses I largely use, even though I did not grow up with these systems. There are a great many used deals out there, and many old manual focus lenses were quite well made, meaning that finding good quality used gear is not tough.

    In 35 mm, I started out with a used Leica M3 and 50 mm f2.0 and a used Nikon FM with 50 mm f1.4. Now I have many more lenses, all manual focus, and no zoom lenses . . . plus several more camera bodies. I tend to use them wide open, which means slow films and ND filters whenever I shoot in daylight.

    Now for a really, really old look, I have an AGFA Jsolette made in 1937. I just use my Sekonic L-358 lightmeter and some nice transparency film, and the ancient 85 mm lens gives me some vintage looking images. The look with this one has more to do with an uncoated lens that is a little soft, and that I need to transfer the rangefinder reading to the lens to sort of scale focus.

    Hope that gives you some ideas.

    Ciao!

    Gordon

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,565
    Images
    47
    Dan -Amen Brother! I have some old lenses (turn of the century -Zeiss Kodak Anastigmat 4 element 1903) that are razor sharp when used at their optimum aperature. Want fuzzy images? Try an old brownie box camera. Smearing vaseline around the edges of a filter (not on the lens) can give a good old world look too. Just leave the centre clear. As for old 35mm stuff, I have a 28mm spiratone that is good and sharp. My old Takumars are painfully sharp.

    Monaghan's medium format site (is it still running?) has a blind lens test where an elmar, summicron, takumar and olympus lenses were tested for lpm resolution. Warning -if you are a leicaphile, don't read the results.

    I took a few shots at a friend's wedding on Ilford 3200 in 120 with Zeiss lenses. People ooood and aahhhd about the old-world look. It was the grain they liked and the warm-tone prints
    Rick Jason.
    "I'm still developing"

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    415
    Quote Originally Posted by ricksplace
    "... It was the grain they liked and the warm-tone prints..."
    I think that's what gives "the look" Ed is after—the grain. I'd guess that, from the 60's and 70's to today, there's far more difference between films than between lenses.

  7. #7
    gnashings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,376
    Images
    17
    I have three words: Makinon wide angle lenses.
    OK - four - four words!
    I found mine to be the most wonderfully horrible lenses I managed to hook up to a reasonably modern camera.
    Now, if you really want bad - glue a Holga lens onto a body cap that fits your favourite SLR! It gives neat results, quite pridictably Holga-like.
    There are also lens-babies, but I'd be damned if spend money (the kind they are asking!) for one of those!

    HAve fun!

    Peter.

  8. #8
    df cardwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Dearborn,Michigan & Cape Breton Island
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    3,342
    Images
    8
    "Vintage" doesn't mean crap, it means different.

    If you KNOW what differences are possible between fine lenses like the first 105/2.5 Nikkor and the second, you can exploit them to your advantage. The first, a Sonnar design, has a different signature than the second, a Planar. You can see the differences working close up, from f/2.5 to f/4.


    Exceptional 1950 lenses like a Leica 85 Summarex and 50 Summitar were obsolete by 1960, but their performance opened the world to many. Adrian Siegel's images of Toscannini and Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra are still beautiful, as are the pictures by Gene Smith and David Douglas Duncan. Smith and Duncan used lenses whose flaws were contributed much to the images, that would be impossible to replicate with new glass.



    A musician can choose from an array of instruments, strings, bows and so on to make the sound they choose. We can do the same. I keep a mix of new and vintage lenses in my bag to suit the needs.


    Here are a couple of Siegel's images, taken from the 1954 Leica Manual.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  9. #9
    df cardwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Dearborn,Michigan & Cape Breton Island
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    3,342
    Images
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by ricksplace
    .......

    Monaghan's medium format site (is it still running?) has a blind lens test where an elmar, summicron, takumar and olympus lenses were tested for lpm resolution. Warning -if you are a leicaphile, don't read the results.

    .....
    Monaghan's test was well intentioned, but kind of simplistic. As SK Grimes used to say, "Sometimes the test tests the tester". :o

    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  10. #10
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawai'i
    Shooter
    Large Format
    Posts
    17,241
    Images
    20
    There was some nice German glass in the 1950s. My favorites are the Voigtlanders. I sold my Vitessa-L, because I wasn't shooting much 35mm, but the 50/2.0 Ultron is one of the nicest 50mm lenses out there for 35mm--

    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin