It's no secret that I'm a fan of vintage film cameras (in fact some might say i never shut up about it....) so imagine my delight upon discovering that some boffin in a shed somewhere has invented an ingenius device that allows me to use some of these ancient lenses on my Canon 6D DSLR!
(just in case you are struggling to imagine the extent of my delight, let me tell you that i was pretty blooming delighted)!
The adapter itself is basically a metal ring which attaches to the lens on one side and then has a Canon EOS mount on the other to attach to your camera - there are some ridiculously cheap ones (£2) and some ridiculously expensive ones (£30) - i opted for somewhere in the middle - the 'X C Source' branded version which was £8. I'd recommend getting one with the focus confirm chip attached as pictured, as it allows you to programe in the focal length and max. aperture of your lens so that not only can your camera record EXIF data (aperture, ISO, shutter speed) but most importantly it allows you to program inthe correct focal length and max aperture of the lens which helps the Camera to ensure you get accurate focussing - it's a bit of a faff to be honest but once it's done you're good to go.
As for the lenses the ones featured here are M42 mount lenses - M42 being a very popular mount used by loads of different manufacturers back in the 60's and 70's - which means that there are hundreds of different options to try out (and they're relatively cheap too) here's my small collection:
Helios 44M/4 - a Soviet classic with legendary swirly Bokeh abilities! although this one only works on my Canon 5D
Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm 2.8 - another Soviet classic, this East German lens was nicknamed the 'eagle eye' becuase of it's sharpness!
Auto Reflex 55mm 1.8 - an 'unbranded' lens that cost next to nothing with a Chinon Camera, the image at the top of this blog was taken with this - not bad eh?!
Auto Chinon 35mm 2.8 - my obsession with 70's era mid range Camera manufacturer 'Chinon' continues!
There is something to be said for the additional challenge that shooting with old lenses brings above and beyond the physical and visual characteristics of the vintage glass itself (which can render some lovely dream like images) and of course most of them are dirt cheap! the most expensive M42 lens in my small collection was £20!
In time I'll do a bit of a review of each lens using both Digital and film (as nature intended) but for now I'll finish with a few general pointers on what you can expect when shooting with classic lenses on modern cameras:
Aperture Priority shooting - you'll have to manually adjust aperture and then set the aperture on the camera to corresponding number as it won't always do this automatically, no biggy!
Viewfinder - because of the way the lens adapter works the narrower you make your aperture the darker your viewfinder will get as it lets less lightthrough - not much of an issue in daylight but in low light situations, focussing and composing can be tricky (which is why focus confirmation is a good thing)
Focussing - you may find it hard to find focus as modern DSLR's do not have focusing screens so the confirmation chip really helps
Manual means Manual.....I realise this is obvious but just in case you hadn't figured it out that these are of course all manual focus lenses - you're fancy auto focus system won't work here!