So I made a big purchasing decision a few months ago by investing in the new Fujifilm GFX 50R camera. It is a larger-than-full frame, ‘medium format’ sensor camera. The 50Rwas by far the most affordable medium format option in its class at the cost of $4500 USD($5700 CAD). Despite the amazing image quality of the Fujifilm G series lenses, they can be prohibitively expensive and lack the wide apertures that full frame shooters are accustomed to. What excited me most about this camera was its ability to adapt other lens systems with F/1.4 lenses to create images with a very shallow depth of field. In an ideal world, I would be able to treat this camera like a medium format digital back.
Vintage lenses have their quirks, but they also have a certain charm. Many of them are well-built and tack sharp, yet very affordable. Photographer Mathieu Stern is a great fan of vintage glass, so he decided to do a little test. He compared a vintage manual 50mm f/1.2 lens he paid $80 with a modern AF 50mm f/1.2 lens that costs almost $1,500. Are they comparable at all? Let’s take a look.
Thanks to lens mount adapters, you can play with vintage lenses on modern cameras and get some of their bokeh goodness in digital photos. Iranian photographer Alireza Rostami made a simple modification to one of these vintage lenses. By flipping a single optical element, he has created “magic bokeh” which adds a dreamy, unique feeling to images. In this video, he shares a process and a couple of sample photos he took after modifying the lens.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, sharp lens with fantastic bokeh, vintage lenses can be a great option. They can give you images of great quality, yet you can buy many of them at very affordable prices. In this video, Mathieu Stern compares three vintage lenses for shooting portraits: Konica 40mm f/1.8, Porst 50mm f/1.4, and Jupiter 9 85mm f/2. He paid the cheapest among them around $6, so let’s see how they perform.
I have been a commercial and wedding photographer for over 13 years. And from the beginning, I have been using Canon DSLR cameras and a variety of auto-focus lenses for the Canon EF system.
Switching to another camera system/brand did cross my mind because I made a substantial investment into lenses for the Canon system. Meanwhile I have gathered over 15 EF and EF-S lenses.
But in 2016 I decided to try a mirrorless camera and bought a SONY A7 r-II.
Because lens adapters exist that allow me to use my existing Canon glass on a Sony mirrorless camera I did neither plan nor anticipate that I will buy lenses especially for the SONY system. At least that was the plan.
But little did I know…
In Mathieu Stern’s videos, we’ve seen some fantastic vintage lenses paired with modern cameras. In his latest video, he pulls off another unordinary combination of camera and lens. He mounts a lens that’s older than the Eiffel Tower on a $15,000 RED Dragon camera and shoots video in daylight and in low light. The results are wonderful, and you can check them out in the video.
Most of us have heard (or owned) lenses from Helios 44 series. But photographer and filmmaker Mathieu Stern has found an ultra-rare Soviet lens with extraordinary bokeh. He got himself a Helios-65 50mm f/2, a lens so rare that there’s no adapter on the market for it. So, he 3D-printed his own adapter and put this vintage lens to a test.
For a few years now, I’ve had in my collection one very strange lens. I bought it primarily for it’s value as a collectible so, up until now, I haven’t really spent much time playing with it. Made in 1975, this manual focus Minolta MC Rokkor-X 40-80mm f/2.8 lens is one strange puppy. When it was first introduced, no other zoom lens could top its image quality and it really didn’t have much competition until more recent years. This is largely due to its very unique Gearbox design that sought to overcome the problem with zoom lenses that we still face today.
If you use vintage lenses, you might have heard that some of them are radioactive. As a matter of fact, many lenses produced between the 1940s and the 1970s emit a measurable amount of radioactivity. It comes from the element named Thorium, which was used in the glass elements of the lenses. But should this concern you? Could your precious collection of vintage lenses damage your health? Mathieu Stern decided to find it out. He did some “tests” to check whether the radioactivity of the vintage lenses is harmful to the health, and it seems he even had some serious fun while he filmed the video.
From time to time, Mathieu Stern presents us with a cool, unusual lens. This time, he found Novoflex 600mm f/8, or as he calls it: a “bazooka lens.” It’s not an ordinary telephoto lens, at least not when it comes to its design. It’s made to look like a rifle, and it’s definitely not something you’d want to shoot with in a crowded place. At least if you don’t want to scare people off or have a talk with the police.