Thought I’d do something a little bit different today, I’ve shown what camera’s I use on a separate page but of course that’s only a small part of how the photographs I take get created. So here’s a selection of the lenses I own for my analogue (or analog if you’re inclined to that spelling), or 35mm film camera’s if you want to be specific. Some I use often, some very rarely and one never due to reasons that will be made clear.
From left to Right above:
Nikon 28mm AF Nikor 1:2.8 D; Olympus OM F.Zuiko Auto-S 50mm 1:1.8; Vivitar 28mm 1:2.8 MC OM fit; Canon FD 50mm 1:1.8; Helios 44mm 2/58,; Riconar 55mm 1:2.2.
Whenever I have posted an image taken on my Nikon FM at 28mm it will have been taken using this lens. I originally bought it for use with my first digital SLR, a Nikon D40x, being a rank amateur who knew less than Jon Snow in Game of Thrones I foolishly didn’t realise that no auto focus would be available. As back then I really didn’t know a lot of what I was doing it was left to one side until I purchased the Nikon FM body, and it’s never been off it since. It’s relatively light despite the metal rear, has one of the narrowest apertures of any lens I use for film photography of f22 (most other lenses I have stop at f16) and interestingly rotates anti clockwise onto the camera body when attaching it (all other lenses I use attach clockwise, obviously a Nikon trait).
This Olympus OM 50mm was bought for a cool and crisp twenty English Pounds, a veritable bargain. This lens was pretty much the bog standard that came with Olympus’ OM system camera’s in the 70’s and early 80’s and is lovely to use. One peculiarity that’s different to my Nikon and Canon lenses is that the aperture selection ring is at the front of the lens and the focus ring at the rear, it took a little while to get used to that at first. This is very small and neat weighing practically nothing and has a 49mm filter thread, as you can see in the photo I have a Hoya UV filter attached to the front. The small metal pin that’s jutting out at the bottom matches another one on the other side and is how you release the lens from the camera.
The newest addition to my lens line-up, this Vivitar 28mm MC has an Olympus mount and I’ve started using on my Olympus OM-1n, I have literally only purchased it this week so haven’t had any shots developed that have used it so I’ll reserve judgement on it’s performance. Although an Olympus mount fit it has the more traditional positioning of the aperture ring at the rear of the lens and stops down in half stops between every printed number which should be useful for getting exposure as close to perfect as possible. As with my other OM mount lens, the 50mm, the small black pin jutting out at the bottom is used to release the lens from the camera body, unlike the other lens though this one carries a bit more weight and feels like it’s made of a lot of metal.
The Canon 50mm lens I have here is the only auto exposure lens I own for an analogue film camera, set the aperture selection ring to the green “A” and the camera will auto expose the image. Of course if like me you like total control then you’ll have that turned off and just do it the proper way. Like the Nikon 28mm I own this also has a max narrow aperture of 22 but also goes as wide as 1.8, making it probably the most versatile lens I own for exposure/bokeh control. The front has a 52mm filter thread and this lens has a Hoya Skylight 1B filter attached, this was already on it when I was given the camera by my Grandfather and would never have thought to use one really but it does give images a nice warm look through it.The big red dot on the bottom is purely to show where the lens attaches and locks to the camera body.
Now we get onto the lesser, or in this case never, used lenses in my collection. This one is a Helios 44mm (such an odd focal length I always thought, why not just go full 50mm?) and came with a Zenit TTL that belonged to my dad. The reason I don’t use it? The camera unfortunately is broken, and being manufactured in a country that no longer exists, the USSR, the parts I would need I can not find anywhere, so alas it remains on my shelf as an ornament instead. This lens weighs a ton, I am not exaggerating at all it really is incredibly heavy for such a small focal length. It’s clearly all metal construction but really feels like it’s been built to withstand a grenade, useful for war photography perhaps? And unlike any of my other lenses it screws into the camera body rather than twisting in gently with a satisfying click. I wish I could say more but that’s about it due to it’s lack of use by me.
Lastly another lens I haven’t really used, this Riconar 55mm came on attached to an impulse purchase Ricoh KR-5 I bought on ebay, think it was £8 at most so I thought why not? The light meter is broken on the camera so I haven’t really had the inkling to run a roll of film through it and badly expose the whole roll, yes I know could just buy a light meter or use the Sunny 16 rule. The lens has a metal rear to it but the rest feels very cheap and plastic and weighs so little you would be forgiven it was a toy, unfortunately I can’t disprove this by showing the quality of the images it produces since I’ve never used it.
So there you have it, a nice selection of lenses, I hope you enjoyed reading about them. I’d love to hear about what equipment you use, camera and lens combinations or even just lenses that you think may work well with the camera’s I shoot with, let me know in the comments if you like.