Follow Us

© 2019 Piston Photography All Rights Reserved

Adding a classic touch

Why use vintage lenses?

A question I get asked a lot is why do I use my chosen lenses. Well here is 5 reasons a vintage lens is better than a modern lens:

  1. Perfectly Flawed – If you look at the elements that make up a modern DSLR lens, of any brand, they will be optically perfect, almost clinical. Go back only thirty years and you will find photos that had so much character that digital filters have since been created to try and replicate them. This character is caused by flaws in the lens itself, be it a manufacturing defect or simply an optically poor design. Despite how good digital effects are you will struggle to replicate the characteristics of classic glass.
  2. Built to Last – The fact that these lenses are still about is testament to an era when a camera wasn’t a throw away purchase. Many vintage lenses are made of metal and the elements are made of glass, compared with the plastic which a lot of modern lenses are now made of. The down side to this is weight, however this can also be of benefit as this can often help to stabilise the camera (to a point).
  3. Fun to use – If every photographer relied on the auto-focus system in their camera it would make a shoot a far less fun experience. Part of the joy of vintage glass is it forces you to take control, and with the modern focus assist features available it makes getting sharp images a pinch with a bit of practice.
  4. The History – I will have a separate entry on my Helios 44 lens, however it is worth mentioning that almost any vintage lens has some history to it. You could have a wartime artefact in one hand and a piece of cinematic history in the other… pretty cool right.
  5. Looks to die for – This goes without saying, the modern plastic lenses you see today are just plain boring. Grey, lighter grey, darker grey, black, they all look the same. Classic lenses have a patina that modern equipment just can’t match.