December 22, 2020

From Gerald R. Lucas

Vintage Lenses covid-19: day 274 | US: GA | info | exit

Matt Osborne, on the YouTubes, has me thinking about vintage lenses. After Steve Huff’s lauding of the Voigtlander Heliar 3.5/50mm, I’ve been thinking about mounting some more vintage glass to my SL. His video “5 Vintage 35mm Lenses” walks through a couple of good choices, one of which I’ve owned before.

I had the Soviet Jupiter-3 1.5/50 for a time. In fact, the copy I had was sent from Russia. I could never really get it to focus correctly on my Sony, but maybe that was because I insisted on using it wide-open all the time. If you can nab the focus, this is a fun portrait lens, but be sure the background is not busy, because the bokeh is unruly.

A lens that I might be interested in picking up is the Nikon Nikkor H.C. 2/50 LTM. This is Osborne’s favorite, as it has a closer focusing distance. His samples all look great, and do not have that glowiness that vintage lenses sometimes do.Still, he shoots a lot of film, and what works for film does not necessarily work for digital. I think he does quite a bit of post-sharpening, too.

The Orion-15 6/28 LTM also looks like a fun lens to have, but a quick look on eBay, it’s rather pricy for what seems like a toy lens. I would probably rather spend a bit more and just get the Voigtlander Ultron 2/28 and have a newer lens.

Still, I’m happy to have the world of vintage and manual-focus lenses open to me again with the SL. I’m definitely going to pick up a Canon LTM lens or two and keep my eye out for other interesting M39 specimens.

I think, too, I need to start categorizing my photos based on what lens I’m using. Going back though the year or so I was into buying, trying, and trading lenses, I poorly documented just what I was using. Going through my Photos’ stream, I can often infer what phots were taken with what lens, but I should have been more diligent about the process. Ever heard of keywords? Duh. I don’t really want to go back and add categories to all the photos I’ve uploaded—maybe thousands at this point—but I definitely will from this point forward, like this for the Trioplan 2.8/100.