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…
Vintage manual lenses can give you splendid results in both photography and filmmaking. There are some real gems among them, with exquisite sharpness or crazy bokeh. Filmmaker Brandon Li likes to use a couple of vintage lenses for his videos, and he shares four of his favorite ones and the reasons why he loves using them.
It’s the holiday season and it seems like Christmas lights are everywhere you look. Photographer Mathieu Stern has taken advantage of this and he’s turned those lights into some crazy bokeh. In his latest video, he uses three cheap vintage lenses and turns the Christmas lights into rich, sparkly, “bokehlicious” backdrop. So if you’re planning some holiday-themed portraits, maybe you can look for these lenses at flea markets or eBay.
As my love for photography has increased over time, so has my love for manual focus lenses. Lenses such as the Samyang 135mm f2 provide unsurpassed sharpness and image quality, at a price much lower than its autofocus counterparts. Often you also save weight and size when switching to a manual lens. I switched my Sigma 35mm f1.4 ART for a Voigtländer Ultron 35mm f1.7, and got a lens that was just a fraction of the weight and size while maintaining comparable image quality and low light performance. Not to mention the joy when using manual lenses – the fact that you are forced to pause for 2-3 seconds whenever you take a photo, forcing you to consider the composition for a moment, often with better photos as a result.
Photographer Mathieu Stern is crazy about vintage lenses, and his collection contains some pretty unusual pieces. For his latest video, he chose three vintage prime lenses of different manufacturers and focal lengths. He used them to photograph the same model on three different locations, and you can compare the results and check out how each of the lenses performs for portrait photography.
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.
Although new lenses are announced regularly, we must admit there’s a lot of magic in vintage lenses, and many photographers even prefer them. Filmmaker and photographer Mathieu Stern is one of them. He has found another vintage lens that gives great results, yet has a low price.
It’s Konica Hexanon 40mm f/1.8. On eBay, you can find it for under $50. And it can go even cheaper on flea markets – Mathieu got his for the incredible $5. But don’t let the price fool you – with this lens, apparently, you get far more from what you pay for.
If you enjoy experimenting with bokeh shapes, I’ve found a perfect tutorial for you. Mathieu Stern is known for his solutions which are so simple that they are ingenious. In under a minute, he’ll teach you how to create spectacular “bokeh explosion” with a simple modification of the lens.
My collection of lenses grows each month. I’ve recently accepted the fact that I didn’t buy a big enough cabinet to store them all. In an attempt to free up some room I decided to conduct a culling. In the process of getting exceptional lenses, sometimes I have to buy a batch in order to get the one I’m after. Recently, I bought such a box which had one lens I wanted and the rest were all “bonus” junk. One of these freebies was an old Minolta SR mount Vivitar 80-200mm f/4.5. This lens is a one-touch, push-pull style zoom; slide the fat ring of the lens to adjust the focal length and to adjust focus you simply rotate the same ring. The lens’ ring is about as a tight as a 30 year old sock. With even the slightest tilt it sloppily slides forward or backward. There is a term for this condition which is called ‘lens creep’. Usually lens creep just means that the heavy front barrel of a zoom lens slowly drifts forward or backward, depending on which way it’s angled. Mmyeah… on this lens, the zoom ring itself “creeps” about as smooth and quiet as a bowling bowl thrown down a flight of stairs.