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SMC Pentax 28mm 2.8 on Olympus M4/3

SMC Pentax 28mm 2.8 on Olympus M4/3

This is trendy and very cool nowadays due to the popularity of mirrorless cameras among enthusiasts and prosumers. I for one didn’t see the point in adapting vintage lenses to my modern cameras, I mean why would you go through all that trouble to lose autofocus and image quality, lose metadata info on aperture number and buy adapters, what there to gain?

Here’s some things you should know before and/or after you decide to adapt a vintage lens to your modern camera.

1. Images are not going to be as sharp as with modern digital lenses

If you’re a photography forum dweller, a pixel peeper and a high level seeker of photographic technical perfection you know this and bro, I feel your pain but there is more to adapting lenses than razor sharp images.

If you started this journey looking for ultra sharp results you’re going to be disappointed. Think of old/ vintage lenses like your computer screen, it can resolve a certain resolution, the higher the resolution , the clearer or sharper the image is perceived by our eyes. Think of a decades old TV or computer screen, they’ll never compare to the image quality of a full HD or 4k TV in image quality.

Don’t get discouraged either, the image quality of old lenses is quite decent even by modern standards and you still can have a lot of fun using them.

2. You’re going to lose autofocus

For some of you out there this might be a deal breaker and I must admit I wasn’t too happy about it either but I heard some many people talking about how fun the whole tactile experience would be so I gave it a try and guess what? I’m in love with manual focus now.

Manually focusing makes me feel like I actually worked for a photo and that I actually made it, created it, not only through my vision of what it could be or what I actually saw but through concentrating on getting the sharpest image possible and doing it with my own hands (or finger rather) not having it done by a computer.

Imagine having a great dinner at a restaurant vs cooking the actual dinner yourself, stirring, mixing the ingredients, boiling or frying and at the end knowing you did all that and it tastes great.

If you haven’t before, try manual focus today, it’s positively addictive and fun!

3. You’re going to lose aperture settings metadata and lens type and focal length metadata

Old film lens have no electronics built in so you’re photos will have no data regarding what lens and focal length you used and no data on what aperture you used on your images.

Now it should be pretty simple what lens you used on a particular set of images but as a tip, when you save your photos to your computer make sure to add the lens and focal length in the folder name, it will help knowing exactly what lens was used in the months/ years to come.

The aperture setting is a bit more tricky to remember and there are a few ways around this:

a) you use the same aperture setting (e.g F2.8) for all the photos taken on a specific day and add the info in the folder name later when you save the image

b) you use different apertures throughout the day and after each and every photo you make a note of it in a small notebook you carry with you – a bit troublesome of you ask me

c) never mind what aperture: you use whatever aperture setting you want and not care about it – I enjoys doing this but in some situations I wish I knew what exact aperture I used

All in all setting the aperture by rotating an actual ring and hearing it click is part of the experience and it is a great one.

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