Do you even vintage, bro?

My take on Vintage Lens

I don’t like how Hollywood productions are bulk buying vintage lenses, to re-house them into new housing for their $50,000 cameras. I absolutely love the soft, imperfect, flares, bokeh, characteristics, and tangible texture of vintage lenses. I don’t like Hollywood buying vintage lenses because they are driving the price of those lenses. It was better when they were cheaper because there was no demand. Leica lenses, Zeiss lenses and Pentax etc, are all becoming more expensive because Hollywood is buying them by the dozen. Bastards. 

Apart from me hating Hollywood, I love the soft look, the coating of some lenses adding some extra warmth or flare. The vintage look also has a focus fall-off, when the sharpness decreases towards the edges of the frame.  Furthermore, the lenses are all manual and it is a lot of fun to try and use and get better. Feel like a camera assistant on a Hollywood set. 

I love the Helios lens, they’re Russian lenses so not attainable at the minute. Politics aside, the lens has the best swirly bokeh, still sharp enough at f2. (Sharp enough for me anyway) and I like the overall soft look of the lens. We purchased them from a Ukrainian man, who makes sure they’re great to use, with focus gear and lens hood. It has a great replication of colour, but each one is different. We have 3 different ones, and each lens has slightly different colour replications, flares, sharpness, and focus fall-off but the same swirly bokeh and texture.  

I think it may be a sin to not mention the Carl Zeiss lens in our arsenal. The 135mm with an f-stop at 2.8, is a super quick telephoto. The f2.8 speed is perfect, it has the perfect balance between milky, pain brush depth of field and sharp focus. It has the best of both worlds for nailing the sharp focus, f2.8 and a good degree of numbered focus throw on the lens. 

The Helios 44M Cine Adaptation. 

The Focus was not sharp at all, it should have been, but the swirly bokeh makes up for it. As this lens has been modified, the lens flares diagonally. Zooming into the image you discover the texture. 

Next, I focused on the wire, showing the swirly bokeh in full volume. Even though the light is cooler temperature, the flares tend to be golden sunset temperature. 

Helios 44M Photo Lens, 

As I aforementioned, each lens is different to focus on, this one is slightly sharper with the same settings. 

The SuperTakumar is also a magnificent lens, but this one is from Japan and the lens coating is completely different as Japan has massive humidity compared to Russia. (Humidity can destroy lenses and cameras for those that don’t know). These lenses create such brilliant flares and so much warm colours from their coating. The focus fall-off is one of my favourite additions, very arty for my liking. 

Super Takumar 35mm

The lens which got the sharpest image, with the least focus fall-off, could be since I captured the shot with a little bit of sunset remaining. It tends to ear to the warmer colour temperatures, due to its coating. 

Super Takumar 50mm

My favourite lens of the day, the sharpest at infinity focus, but that's not the reason. There is some focus fall-off. ‘Tis the hexagonal bokeh of the city lights that thrusts this lens to the coolest of the night. At f1.4 it is in circles, but f2 and f2.8 have some pronounced hexagons. 


The Canon FD lenses are also such a treat, they’re the perfect balance of sharpness and softness. Slightly more “natural” colours than the previous ones mentioned. The coating is so different. It has less streaking flares that encompasses the entire frame. 

In the Canon FD 35mm we have created the best circular bokeh, perfect circles. 

But basically, a 4K lens on a modern perfect lens, is too sharp, it's just not as fun.


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35mm and 120mm Film Images

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