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11-18-2010, 01:44 AM   #1
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Does Anyone Here Forgo Digital Lenses On DSLR?

Use just strictly manual lenses with a digital body? If so, why? Just curious. I'm seriously thinking of selling my digital lens if my non-digital K mount set works out. It's a good lens but I'm just not bonding with the Tamron 28-200MM I have. I think I'll prefer the older non-digital lenses actually. I like the convenience of a digital body, but the digital lens thing, maybe not so much.

11-18-2010, 02:34 AM   #2
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That's me.

I enjoy the experience more, especially with the Takumars.

They're like butter.
11-18-2010, 03:51 AM   #3
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I don't use strictly old manual lenses, but all my lenses are full frame - so that i can use them on my film SLR as well (and in case Pentax gets around to a full frame DSLR - and no, let's not start another FF DSLR debate here, that's not my intention).

I share Ira's preference though - only 4 of my 13 lenses are AF, the rest are MF - I like the fun of focusing manually, even though it may mean more NG shots. Still the fun is in the taking as much as it is in the results. In fact, MF on DSLRs is probably less risky than on film, since you can preview right away and shoot another if your focusing is off (doesn't work on events/sports though, but hey, you might be better off on a C***n if you shoot those exclusively).
11-18-2010, 04:01 AM   #4
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Started with manual focus lenses and figured that's the best way to stay, but I do have a minimal set of AF lenses - the DA 35mm f2.4 is the new kid on the block and does satisfy a nitch that I didn't have a lens for.

11-18-2010, 04:36 AM   #5
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Mostly manual focus for me, though I do enjoy my DA70, FA43 and DA16-45 on both film and digital.
11-18-2010, 05:15 AM   #6
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I use both. I love my older lenses on digital. Some of them I like better on the K10d than I did on film. Nevertheless, I found that the more I used them on a DSLR, the more I wanted to use my older film bodies with viewfinders and metering systems that were made for these lenses.
11-18-2010, 05:46 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by knyghtfall Quote
I like the fun of focusing manually, even though it may mean more NG shots.
I recently shot about 1400 photos at a dance recital. About half were with Takumars (manual focus) and about half with a Tamron 17-50/2.8 (autofocus).

When I came home and did the initial keep/cull review of the photos I found six that I had to toss due to focus error. Two were from the Takumars and four were from the Tamron.

To answer the OP's question: I shoot non-digital lenses every day and have trouble imagining how anyone derives any satisfaction from using modern autofocus/zoom lenses.
11-18-2010, 05:52 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
I recently shot about 1400 photos at a dance recital. About half were with Takumars (manual focus) and about half with a Tamron 17-50/2.8 (autofocus).

When I came home and did the initial keep/cull review of the photos I found six that I had to toss due to focus error. Two were from the Takumars and four were from the Tamron.

To answer the OP's question: I shoot non-digital lenses every day and have trouble imagining how anyone derives any satisfaction from using modern autofocus/zoom lenses.
I totally agree with you about focus error. I miss more shots due to AF error than MF error. Nevertheless, I can get some satisfaction from modern lenses.

11-18-2010, 06:17 AM   #9
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My only current MF lens is the M150 f3,5. I love it, but I find my focus is often slightly off. Not horrible, but not quite sharp either.

I believe to really enjoy MF you need a split screen. But I find a split screen distracts me from my composition.

So there you are. I use an MF lens when the AF equivalent is too expensive, otherwise it's AF. The wife prefers that too...
11-18-2010, 06:22 AM   #10
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One of the fun things about vintage lenses (aside from the fun of manual focus) is that they all render differently... many of them are imperfect, and have a LOT of character. Some of them add colour casts to your images, and some of them add all sorts of little touches to your images that a modern digital "clinically correct" lens will miss out on!

E.g., If I want to take a photo a film-camera feel, I'll use my A 28 2.8. The colours tend to be rather muter compared to most of my lenses, and it can flare in a way that few of my lenses can. It can give a nice "nostalgic" snapshot vibe.

I suppose it is all about having all the proper tools for your kit, and manual focus gives you all sorts of "imperfect tools" with loads of character you won't find in modern, computer designed lenses.In the end I like having both, but the cost and fun factor of manual means that I will never sell the good ones!
11-18-2010, 06:33 AM   #11
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I shoot both digital and film lenses on my DSLRs.

There have been some issues raised with respect to the use of film lenses on digital bodies, and I cannot give you a definitive answer, but I will tell you what I see with my lenses on my cameras.

Issue 1) reflection off the sensor, and rear element coating.

This issue has been raised because the sensor has a much higher reflective index than the emulsion side of a peice of film,

I believe it is true that you can get reflections, not only off the rear element which on many film lenses is not coated, but also off internal parts of the lens. There is a forum member that had a serious problem with reflections off a shiny part in a 645 to K mount adaptor, and I have had an issue with the reflections off the element locking ring on a Ricoh/Rikenon 135mm screw mount lens. These reflections were corrected with flat black paint. Some other members have posted shots where reflections have cause greatly reduced contrast, specifically in the center of the image, HOWEVER these issues are few and far between. Does it exist, yes, how big a problem is it, for me 1 out of about 30 film lenses.

issue 2) Vignetting due to incident light not perpendicular to the sensor.

There has been a long standing concern about the design of some lenses causing light to hit the sensor at shallow angles, and being absorbed by the deep well walls of the sensors, or reflected off the sensor or front UV filter or micro lens as opposed to being collected by the sensor. this reportidly causes vignetting, specifically in the corners, and is / was reported as much more problematic with wide angle lenses.

I am not sure about this issue. I have not noticed an issue with any of my wide angle lenses, but I can report that specifically for my 50mm F1.4 lenses I see vignetting in the corners, which is in the order of about 3/4 of a stop, compared to the center of the frame, when the lens is wide open. Stopping down from F1.4 to F2 removes all of this. I do not know if it is the lens or the lens/sensor combination, because I have not done any test shots on film to quantify the problem further. Having said this, I shoot all the time with 24 and 28mm film lenses at relitively fast apertures of F2.0 and F2.5 (wide open) and if there is an issue of vignetting, It does not appear obvious in the shots.

Issue 3) Metering accuracy.

Perhaps the most serious issue for me, and this is camera type dependant, is the accuracy of the metering. Depending on whether you use screw mount or K mount, and depending on body type, each lens can meter differently. At one time, I used to test each of my lenses with both my K10D and *istD, and create charts for each lens. I have fallen woefully behind and have not really tested any except my K50mmF1.4 since I got my K7

I have attached below, what has become a "famous" chart within the forums, of how my different bodies and focusing screens impact metering.



This is something you should do for each lens yoou own, not just film lenses, so you know how the camera behaves.

For me, the metering is the biggest issue, and knowing how each lens behaves is the most important, but because you can look at the histogram immediately after the shot, you can make adjustments with exposure compensation or with manual settings and get the shot right,

As an overall conclusion, Non Digital lenses for the most part work fine, and do not cause any problems. As for focusing, there are many split image focusing screens that make using manual focus lenses a snap, and a pleasure to use. There are as many excellent shots posted here on the forum with Non digital lenses as there are with digital. That is why, today, used pentax lenses command such a high price, and are rare compared to their canon or nikon equivelents. They do work, are excellent optically, and you can use them.

Canon has made use of old legacy lenses impossible by changing the mount twice, and while nikon can mount the lenses and trip the shutter, only 2 or 3 of the pro level bodies can actually meter with the lenses, making the use of legacy lenses a trial and error process. Pentax has taken another approach, and you can take a photo with metered exposure with any lens that you can attach to the camera. Is the system perfect, NO, but it is good enough to get the shots.

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 11-18-2010 at 06:40 AM.
11-18-2010, 06:44 AM   #12
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I only have one digital lens...and I gave it to my wife. Everything else I own was designed for film. Going to a DSLR HAS made me start using autofocus lenses, though, and that was something I totally by-passed before.
11-18-2010, 06:53 AM   #13
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The only reason I bought a Pentax...scratch that, the only reason I bought a DSLR...scratch that too...the only reason I bought a camera was because we had about 5 lenses sitting in a closet collecting dust along with what we originally thought was a broken k1000, me, and mx.

So I started out with all manual lenses. A few months later I bought the kit lens 18-55 (the k100d is currently sold at best buy as a refurbished model for $224 without a lens (online only)) because we didn't have a lens that was less than 50mm. Shooting indoors I started to realize I needed something less than 50mm to shoot pictures of our renovation projects.

A few weeks ago I picked up a DA ED 50-200mm, but only because it was included with the sale of a pentax-k 24mm prime, which is what I really wanted; and it complimented my 18-55.

I'm just learning here, I try not to take any of this too seriously (although my attempts at taking good portraits of my newborn say otherwise), but so far this year (i purchased the k100d back in march of '09) I've seemed to prefer all of my manual lenses over my digital zooms.

That might be a prime versus zoom preference, I don't know - I do use my digital zooms over my manual zooms, but i use my primes more than my zooms.

I just like manual focus and using an aperture ring over pressing a button to change the aperture. This probably has nothing to do with it but like shooting raw and post-processing, i feel it's helping me get better at taking a shot, I feel like I have to sit there and think more.

but what do i know...
11-18-2010, 07:01 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I suppose it is all about having all the proper tools for your kit, and manual focus gives you all sorts of "imperfect tools" with loads of character you won't find in modern, computer designed lenses.
There is nothing improper or imperfect about the old lenses. They behave the way they do because they were designed to do exactly what they do.

It is true that many designs predate the use of computers, but that does not mean the designers were stupid, or the designs flawed. In many cases the designs were simpler, and while perhaps not as compact as some modern lenses due to that simplicity, that does not mean they cannot perform.

At the end of the day, it is the photographer that makes the shot, and he makes the shot because he understands his equipment, not because his equipment is the latest and greatest.

None of us to day would ever consider taking landscape photos with the equipment that Ansel Adams used, because it is not as good as what we have today, but none of use is capable of taking the shots Ansel Adams took either, with his vision, and eye for composition.
11-18-2010, 07:02 AM   #15
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While I do lust after a DA 15, I have decided that I'm going to wait close to a year before buying one. First I need to learn about photographing and using the MF lenses will require that I don't just flip into auto mode and snap a lot of photos.

Money is also a factor. I'm building up a nice set of high IQ primes for less than the cost of one DA lens. I've even decided that for the time being I'm going to venture into the film camera world as a cheap wide angle alternative. A 28mm lens on film is wider than a DA21 and a 24mm lens ($150-200) on film is almost as wide as a DA 15.
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