Five reasons why you need a vintage macro lens – especially if you’re new

Aug 11, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Five reasons why you need a vintage macro lens – especially if you’re new

Aug 11, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Do you still need vintage lenses even in 2020? Well, yes, you do, despite all the modern ones out there. Vintage lenses can be awesome for video, or for portrait photography. And if you’re new to macro photography, they’re a perfect choice for you, too. In this video, Mark Holtze will give you five reasons why vintage macro lenses should be your choice if you’re just starting out.

1. Low price

Vintage lenses are generally more affordable than their modern counterparts, so it’s easier to jump into macro photography if you’re new to it. I mean, how can you know if you like somehting if you don’t try it first? If you need to buy one or more new lenses to get started, it’s definitely cheaper to choose vintage ones.

2. It’s super-easy

All you need to know before you buy the first lens is its mount and the mount of your camera. You’ll then need a matching adapter to connect them. Mount the lens onto the camera and you’re ready to shoot.

3. Better with manual focus

Vintage lenses will not have autofocus natively with your camera. That could be a problem in many scenarios, but Mark suggests that manual focus actually works better than auto for macro photography. I personally agree with him. I almost always use AF, but when I shoot up close, I find the manual focus to be a much better solution. After all, we also have different focusing aids on our modern cameras, which makes it easier to get the focus just right.

4. Tack sharp

Vintage lenses are often tack sharp even at wider apertures. For example, just look at this one. So, with vintage macro lenses, you’ll get sufficient subject isolation and background blur, yet the subject will remain sharp.

5. Multi-purpose

Remember, macro lenses don’t have to be used for macro photography only. You can also use them for more general-purpose photography, such as portraits. So even if it turns out that macro isn’t your cup of tea, you can still use your lens for other purposes.

As a bonus point, Mark reminds you that IBIS in modern cameras compensates for the lack of optical image stabilization in these vintage lenses. So, the lack of OIS isn’t as much of a big deal as it was before. So, all in all, if you’re just entering the world of macro photography, a vintage lens (or more of them) could be an ideal choice.

And if you have already shot with vintage macro lenses, feel free to share your recommendations and impressions.

[5 REASONS TO SHOOT WITH VINTAGE MACRO LENSES – Up Close and Personal via ISO 1200]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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4 responses to “Five reasons why you need a vintage macro lens – especially if you’re new”

  1. Carol Simmons Avatar
    Carol Simmons

    Not with macro, but I have an old 100-200 zoom that I connect to my DSLR. I have to go full manual when I use it. Mostly for shooting clouds….

    1. MegaNickels Avatar
      MegaNickels

      Nice! I just got a vintage m42 Pentax 135mm lens. It’s friggin awesome! only $65 bucks and it’s suuuper sharp!

  2. Matthias Avatar
    Matthias

    Been there, done that. For static subjects, any time. But I found following butterflies on a flower in a light breeze to be quite challenging. Even with a micro four thirds camera that offers more depth of field for the same view, you very quickly end up with the focus on the leg of the dragonfly rather than on its head. When you are lucky. I’ve gained quite a bit of experience with film SLR since then, maybe I should try again. But for moving subjects, I rather go for the kit 40-150mm on extension rings. Also a very cheap option. Anyways, these days, you can always buy a vintage lens and sell it later if you don’t like it, might turn out to be basically a negative rental price :)

  3. Jukka Jalkanen Avatar
    Jukka Jalkanen

    I have vivitar 90mm 2.5. do i need to say that is awesome tool for macro and closeups