The word “vintage” means that the lenses are old and no longer in production. If you want to shoot with a vintage lens, then you better know what you’re doing! In this article we will talk about the different types of telephoto lenses and explain which ones are best for shooting photos.
50mm f/1.4 Super-Takumar
The Asahi Optical Company of Pentax is well-known for lenses with outstanding optical quality. Super-Takumar is without a doubt no exception, delivering beautiful bokeh and brilliant colors as well as remarkable sharpness even at wide apertures. This lens comes in two versions: a 7-element model and an 8-element model. There are two different mounts available: M42 and K mount. It’s one of the quickest M42 prime lenses available, and it’s made entirely of metal.
35mm f/1.8 W-Nikkor C
This W-Nikkor C was the first high-speed wide-angle lens for the Nikon S2 rangefinder camera in the 1950s. It’s a tiny lens that uses a rare lanthanum glass to improve its performance. This lens has wonderful bokeh at wider apertures and is surprisingly sharp. The ergonomics of this lens are fantastic; it has an easy focus and aperture setting.
85mm f/1.5 Helios-40-2
The Helios 85mm f1.5 was originally very popular in the filmmaking community and just recently became well-known among photo enthusiasts.
100mm f/2 Olympus OM Zuiko Auto-T
The Olympus OM 100mm is still one of the best vintage portrait lenses available today. It was introduced with the multi-spot-metering Olympus OM-4 in 1983 and it was one of the few Olympus optics from that era to include ED glass. The build quality of this fantastic lens is excellent -it’s made from metal, glass, and rubber, with everything operating smoothly. Even wide open, it delivers stunning sharpness, color is vibrant and accurate, and bokeh is creamy and smooth. To reduce distortion, there’s a floating rear element on this great lens.
Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2
The Minolta MD 35mm F1.4 is one of the most popular manual focus lenses from Minolta. It was launched in the late 1960s and has remained a favorite among many photographers. This lens is well-known for its speed; it features a large aperture of f/1.2. However, due to this huge aperture, it is a rather heavy lens (compared to mid-grade lenses). This high-end lens features 9 aperture blades (compared to 7 aperture blades on mid-grade lenses) and creates an intriguing super creamy bokeh that appeals to vintage lens collectors.
50mm f/2 Leitz Summar
This is a vintage lens with a very fast aperture of f/2 that was originally designed for screw-mount Leicas. The center of the image is extremely sharp, but the edges are somewhat soft at f/2, giving fantastic bokeh. Furthermore, it’s surprisingly sharp at f/5.6 and creates moderate-contrast pictures. If you like portraiture, this old lens might be the right one for you.
58mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar
This telephoto lens was originally produced by the former East German branch of Zeiss and has a M42 or Exakta screw mount. It’s sharp even when open wide, especially in the middle of the frame. This lens creates incredibly creamy bokeh, making it ideal for portraiture. If you pair it with a crop-sensor or micro four third system camera, you’ll get a medium telephoto focal length. Its optical quality is outstanding!
100mm f/3.5 Canon
This exceptional medium telephoto lens was originally produced by Serenar in silver finish in 1953. It wasn’t until 1958 that it became known as such! This fantastic vintage lens produces vibrant photographs that are sharp and rich in contrast, with creamy bokeh. The color rendering of this lens is also beautiful! Because of its small size, this charming antique is perfect for vacations.
35mm f/2 Leitz Summicron-M
The legendary “bokeh king” was produced from 1979 until 1996. It’s still quite costly, and it’s known as the “bokeh king.” Many photographers nowadays utilize it with their Leica M9. This exquisite antique item has a distinct gleaming polished look to photographs and produces exceptional bokeh, especially at f/4-5.6.
35mm f/2.4 Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon
Its f/2.4 variant, which was introduced in 1950, has a readily adaptable M42 screw mount, making it quite popular. It provides outstanding sharpness and color fidelity, as well as being size and weight conscious. Its construction is also first-rate!
Other Tips On Purchasing A Vintage Lens
If you’re a photo enthusiast who is looking to purchase your first vintage lens, there are some important things that you should keep in mind. First of all, make sure the mount suits your camera! It’s best if it has an M-42 screw thread as this type can be easily adapted onto most SLR cameras from different brands. Furthermore, check the aperture mechanism and see how fast it opens up -some older lenses do not open as quickly as newer ones.
Lastly, decide whether or not you want a “soft focus” variant; they provide soft backgrounds for portraits but don’t create sharp images like regular lenses would (with excellent bokeh). We hope that our blog post about best vintage telephoto lenses was useful for those of you who are in the market for one!