Retrofitting Modern Cameras with Vintage Lenses

Retrofitting Modern Cameras with Vintage Lenses

Avid camera enthusiasts pay regular visits to the money pit, contributing to it with the purchase of gadgets and gear. These pricey add-ons can seem pointless to outsiders. After all, they mutter, isn’t the camera enough? On the contrary, a lone camera is the equivalent of a stock car – no flash to be had (pun intended). A new lens makes a world of difference, and the price tag reflects that, setting photographers back anywhere from £100 to £1,000! Dropping that kind of cash will take the wind out of anyone’s sails.

Happily, there are other options.

Vintage lenses can be used on modern cameras. This throwback trend saw its heyday sometime around 2014, inspiring blog posts and YouTube videos. Since then the idea has gained traction in the photography community where many readily take advantage of vintage glass mainly due to the lower price tag.

Using these lenses comes with some unexpected upsides:

Older Lenses Are Completely Manual

Modern lenses adjust settings automatically, wresting control away from the photographer. Settings are controlled internally making operation of current glass convenient and mindless. Familiarity with the inner-workings of a vintage lens is vital if a photographer wants to use the glass properly. A certain level of understanding is required to calibrate settings manually.

Unique Effects on Finished Product

Vintage glass comes with built in character, imbuing photos with traits uncommon to modern lenses. Before automation, lenses were hand-built, meaning that no two were quite the same. Each would have individual flaws and imperfections that changed the overall aesthetic.

In most cases, it isn’t possible to connect a vintage lens directly to a modern camera; adaptors make this revival of the past possible. Bear in mind that it may be difficult to find adaptors to fit every vintage lens. Unfortunately, some modern cameras are unable to work with vintage glass.