A vintage lens on a modern camera
Recently, I purchased an adapter to convert a Yashica Y mount to a Canon RF mount to experiment with some vintage lenses I had purchased from a nearby thrift store. My go-to lens was a Yashica 50mm 1.9 manufactured sometime in the late '70s, paired with my fancy Canon R6.
I wasn't sure what to expect; part of it felt sacrilegious. In the back of my mind, a voice kept saying, "Why are you doing this when you have a $3,000 lens in your bag with flawless autofocus?" "Why don't you just go shoot film?" Many questions arose during that initial walk. Having a lot of experience ignoring my better judgment I continued on. However, I quickly learned to enjoy it. You can draw some similarities to shooting film without the expense, long development times, and the need to load film. (There is nothing like shooting film)
If the lens and adapter did one thing for me, it made me stop, slow down, change my perspective, and my appreciation for photography. Sometimes it becomes too easy with digital and autofocus. You need a challenge or a fresh perspective. Picking up one of these adapters and shooting with a 45-year-old manual lens certainly achieved that for me, and if you have a few old lenses lying around, I highly recommend giving it a try. It also great to note if you have been thinking about shooting film but haven't made the leap this may be a great stepping stone to do that! I actually grew to love the combination so much, that I threw the adapter and lens in my bag on a recent trip to England & Scotland!
A side note: These adapters do not communicate with the camera, and your camera may not know there is a lens attached. With some cameras, you may have to enable something like "shoot without lens" in order to adapt lenses properly. I learned with a quick google search, but I will save you the trouble!
A few things to note before taking the plunge:
Compatibility: Make sure you get the correct adapter, There are numerous companies out there, I bought mine on eBay for under $10.
Manual Focus: Most vintage lenses are manual focus only, so you'll need to focus manually. Although, some of these cameras even have built-in functions to assist with manual focusing and stop-down metering, making it more user friendly. But regardless no fancy eye tracking here.
Manual Aperture: Sometimes, vintage lenses have manual aperture rings. You may need to set the aperture manually.
Image Quality: Vintage lenses may exhibit optical flaws, such as distortion, chromatic aberration, or reduced sharpness. I noticed a overall softer vintage look, which I generally enjoyed.
Research the Lens: Research your lens to understand its characteristics and quirks. Different lenses from various manufacturers have their unique qualities.
Adaptation and Crop Factor: When using an adapter, be aware of the crop factor that it may introduce. This can affect your field of view and effective focal length.
Experiment: If you're new to photography, or have limited funds, this may be a great way for you to experiment with new lenses, or try lenses from a different. manufacturer without investing in a new camera body.
"Overall, it is a great experience and a fun way to change things up if you're feeling stuck. It's also an excellent means to experiment with different lenses and focal lengths without breaking the bank. If your goal is to capture tack-sharp, well-focused photos, this setup may not be the best choice. However, for us common folk who enjoy the craft and annoy our spouses by stopping every few feet to grab a shot while on vacation, this may be the perfect happy medium for you!"
Enjoy the gallery, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to drop them in the comments!