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Vintage lens advice on 24mm, 35mm and 85mm
  • Hey guys,

    do you have any tips on which lenses to choose in this focal range. They should be vintage lenses and below 140€ (I know this is probably though for the 24mm). They should be relatively fast (below 2.8), plenty sharp and have an analog, film look like color rendition. I know that everybody wants these, but maybe you have some ideas. Have a great day. V

  • 5 Replies sorted by
  • For that price, I think your best options will be Nikkor, Minolta MD or Canon FD. I have had very good luck with the pre-AI Nikkors which can be found affordably and are very high quality. Some feel Minolta MD have greater color consistency across the range, although honestly none of them are really balanced.

    I also like Nikkor's as they are easy to adapt to cameras with an EF-mount, which I on occasion have reason to use.

  • I second that, but keep in mind that Nikkors focus the other way. So, I wouldn't mix.

  • I own AIS Nikkors and use them regularly on a MB Speedbooster:

    24 f2.0 -Love it and use it all the time

    35 f1.4 -a little soft wide open, never had it worked on, it's good at 2.0 (My nikkor 50mm f1.4 is similar)

    85 f2.0 - Love it, use it all the time.

    I always try to avoid shooting wide open, even though they have a click stop I try to shoot 1/2 to 1 stop closed down. This hold true for any lens of this era.

    I went for Nikkors that all had a 52mm thread in front for simplicity of filtering back in the analog era. Not such a big deal today.

    If I had to do it all over again:

    -On a budget, I'd go for the AI versions as they tend to have a longer focus throw. I don't know much about the pre AI versions.

    -Money=no object, I'd go for the modern AF versions, with better coatings and AF on a Nikon body, or, a set of Rokinon MF lenses in Nikon mount.

    The reverse focusing takes some getting used to. I only use old Nikkors, so it's not that confusing to me now.

  • Not sure what @jeanspillane means about Rokkors not being balanced. I love mine and can vouch for the MD 24 f2.8, 35mm f1.8 and the 85mm f2 all being perfect matches and more than sharp enough for my needs.

    I have Nikkors too, a mix of AI-S and AF models, they're a bit sharper and more clinical, or "modern-looking", than the Rokkors. Good for many things, but a bit much for people/faces sometimes, IMO. Depends on the look you're going for, of course.

    The Rokkors will probably be more affordable than the comparable Nikkors, but the Nikons are more adaptable, they can go on an EF mount for instance. If you're adapting to mirrorless than this really isn't much of an issue, outside the fact that the Nikon mount is still in use and thus you can get modern lenses for it too, so if you only want to buy one adapter/booster then Nikon is the more flexible choice.

    For me, the backwards focusing direction on the Nikons is only an issue if I'm also using "normal" lenses (my Minoltas) on the same shoot- my muscle memory takes a while to switch between the two "modes" and I can miss shots because of it. Better to keep a shoot all one or the other.