I find that there is a place in my photographic journey for both modern digital and vintage film cameras. Digital meets my needs for macro and astrophotography, but I find myself reaching for a film camera when I want to slow down and enjoy the art of crafting a photograph. There is however another way that I have found where I can enjoy the best qualities of both at the same time.
My Canon EOS R is an early-generation mirrorless camera that has a fantastic 30 MP sensor that offers plenty of resolution and dynamic range. Using inexpensive adapters, I can mount my vintage lenses to my R. Not just Canon glass, but Nikon, Zeiss, Pentax and Olympus as well. There is an adapter for any body and lens combination, and the results can be fantastic.
To demonstrate, I went for a photo walk today with my Canon EOS R, 3 vintage lenses and the required adapters. A Nikon 50 mm F1.4, Nikon 24 mm F2.8 and a Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58 mm F2. I shot all of them at their widest apertures to demonstrate some of my favourite characteristics of these vintage lenses. Bokeh, that wonderfully soft, painterly effect that you get in the background, as well as a natural lens vignette.
Manufacturers of cell phones try to replicate this effect using their “Portrait” mode, but so far, I haven’t seen anything that matches the natural focus falloff and unique out-of-focus qualities that come from good, vintage glass.
These all-manual lenses adapt perfectly to modern mirrorless cameras, and many can be found online for a fraction of the price of contemporary glass. Consider adapting vintage glass if you have a digital camera that uses interchangeable lenses!
Note: If you are interested in purchasing any of Jason’s photography you will find his contact info on the right sidebar.