Vintage Camera Lenses

Last winter I received a Nikon D7200 as a gift, a modern camera body with all the bells and whistles. After getting familiar with it and the two kit lenses, an 18-55mm and a 55-300mm, my girlfriend found an old film Nikon and a couple of lenses a family friend had given her years back. To my delight, they fit my camera body and with a little fiddling I figured out how to shoot with them. Vintage lenses are completely manual, aperture and focus, so it takes a moment to get all your settings dialed in - but oh is it worth it. Vintage lenses have a quality of glass that surpasses most entry-level lenses. I did a little research online and people seem to blame cost saving measures for the softness of modern lenses: lower quality glass, plastic components, and Chinese manufacturing instead of Japanese.

Just like that feeling you get when you shut the door on a luxury vehicle, you can feel the quality by simply holding a vintage lens in your hand and turning the focus.

Vintage lenses have razor sharp image quality, are typically cheaper to buy, and will likely outlast your modern equipment. But they might not fit everyone's shooting style. They're heavier, everything is manual, your modern body doesn't recognize them so metadata about the settings used to capture an image are lost, and depending on where you buy them it can be difficult to determine the quality of the lens when you're buying it online. Vintage lenses that are not cared for can be foggy or have fungus growing inside. Do your due diligence when shopping for your vintage lens.

Below are some example photographs I shot using the AF Micro Nikkor 60mm 1:2.8 D and the Nikkor 50mm 1:2

Do you have any vintage lenses? What has your experience been like using them?