The beat . A blog by premiumbeat

May 7, 2014
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Product ReviewsVideo Production

Save Money: Shoot on Vintage Glass

Instead of buying new expensive glass try pairing old lenses with adapters.

Good lenses are expensive (really expensive). Even a simple 50mm f1.4 on B&H can cost hundreds of dollars. For many filmmakers and video pros the cost of these premium lenses is out of reach.

Lenses, unlike cameras, maintain their usability long after their camera bodies are outdated. You won’t be able to go buy a vintage EF mount lens, but you can buy adapters to make your modern DSLR take vintage glass – resulting in big money savings. Of course with an adapter you won’t be able to utilize the autofocus but as a filmmaker you shouldn’t be using autofocus to shoot video in the first place!

50mm f/1.4

Take the 50mm example: the Canon Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens goes for about $350 dollars on the B&H website. In comparison you can by an Olympus OM f/1.4 for $70 right now on eBay, add in the cost of the $12 adapter from Amazon and you have a great quality lens for only $82.

New Glass: $350

Vintage Glass: $82

Savings: $268

35mm f/2.8

A 35mm f/2.8 Olympus OM lens goes for about $50 bucks on eBay with the adapter costing only $12 from Amazon. A comparable Canon 35mm f/2.0 goes for $550 on B&H.

New Glass: $550

Old Glass: $62

Savings: $488

One thing to look for when trying to purchase vintage glass is if there is an adjustable aperture ring. If there is no manual control for exposure than you will be stuck using the widest aperture.

Got your own tips or tricks for shooting on old glass?
Share in the comments below.

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