Ready to try something new in your photography? Adding a vintage lens to your camera bag could be just the thing you need to change the way you see the world.
I know, it seems odd that something old can bring freshness to your work. But, like film, vintage lenses can bring unique qualities to your photos. Here’s why I love using vintage lenses.
1. You’ll see and capture light in a new way.
Vintage lenses are known for capturing amazing sunflare, haze, and magical light. Since vintage lenses don’t have the protective glass covering that new, modern glass has, they filter light differently. They let in more light, and light anomalies are allowed into the lens which can produce large colorful sunflares, unique haze, and interesting bokeh.
In the photographs below, you can see that my Canon 50mm f/.95 lens produces large sunflares and circle sunflare, which gives a magical feel to the images. The Russian Helios 44-2 58mm lens is also a favorite for capturing light in a dreamy, interesting way.
2. You’ll become more intentional.
Vintage lenses do not communicate with modern DSLR cameras. They have external aperture control rings which allow you to manually change the f/stop. Vintage lenses are not able to autofocus and therefore must be manually focused.
Manually focusing my lenses has led me to become a slower, more purposeful shooter. When I am using vintage lenses, I take my time, breathe, and work on nailing my focus and composition.
3. You’ll create unique art and break out of a creative rut.
They are also so much fun to use! I get the most compliments on my photos that I have taken with my vintages lenses because of their unique qualities that just can’t be reproduced with today’s modern lenses. For example, my Japanese Minolta Tele Rokkor PF 100mm f/2.5 produces magical images with great color.
4. You’ll save some money.
Vintage lenses are inexpensive tools to add to your camera bag. Many can be found on online markets such as eBay for under $150. This allows you to add gear to your arsenal for a fraction of the cost of new lenses.
Estate sales, garage sales, and local thrift stores can also be locations where these hidden gems can be found. When searching eBay, I only purchase vintage lenses that have no haze, scratches, or fungus on them.
5. You’ll gain a creative edge.
Unique photos that tell a compelling story and possess a sense of mystery will help your work stand out in this industry. Soft skin tones, low-contrast, dream-like images with amazing light? Who can resist?! Your photos will help define your work and give you the ability to shine.
Words & photos by Krista Roth
We love lenses! Don’t you? Here are a few more stories about lenses that we think you might like: How the Sigma 105mm Art lens helps me capture the magic of childhood, 4 reasons you should love zoom lenses and Traveling with one lens: The Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 Pancake lens. Plus, read more product and gear reviews here and check out which lenses the Click Pros use on the Images by Lens platform!