Bought a New Lens

It was love at first sight. I saw the lens, and had to make her mine.

I’d guess that I take more than 80% of my shots with my 24-105mm zoom. It’s an incredible piece of technology, combining versatility and really impressive image quality. In second place is my beloved 85mm, a lens that totally changes the rules when it comes to lighting, that I’m only just starting to master. My fishy-fisheye isn’t getting a lot of work these days, nor is my big ol’ 100-400 zoom.

I shudder to think how much money I’ve dumped into this hobby. (I have not done the math, nor will I.)

Since buying the new camera, I’ve bought two lenses. The first I will not describe now; that is for another episode. Today we’re discussing my new 135mm portrait lens, which is in the hands of the United States Postal Service and heading my direction from Baker City, Oregon as I type this.

Of course I did my due diligence before I bought the lens. I looked to see what other lenses with similar characteristics were going for. On ebay, there was one for less that had better numbers. The auction was young, however, and I wasn’t interested in hanging out to see what it finally went for. I was already in love, and it was purely physical.

I bought the 135mm prime f/3.5. I also bought an adapter to mount it on my camera. Total cost, including shipping: $46.

Yeah, baby.

The funny thing about my new, super-expensive camera: it’s manual-focus friendly. That means, within certain limits, I can mount a host of old glass in front of the state-of-the-art sensor. Ironically, old Canon lenses are not easily adapted on new Canon bodies. But ancient Pentax? Piece of cake. My new lens is by Vivitar. Here’s the link to the ebay listing: [Alas, the link didn’t work for the general public]. (I didn’t want to post the picture here, lest it undermine the drama in the previous scene.)

I have read (though I have yet to discern), that modern Canon lenses on modern Canon bodies create a look that can be distinguished by the trained eye. Same with Nikon and Sony. Not sure I buy that (there’s software between camera and viewer), but there’s a handful of photographers out there looking to bust loose by using old glass. Brand aside, the flaws in lenses before robots made them and lasers measured them adds a certain character to a shot. I like character, but to be honest, that’s not what motivated me. $46 for a 135mm prime lens (a lens I honestly think I can use to good effect) was only part of the story (but a meaningful part). It had to be this 135. Look at the picture in the listing and you’ll understand why.

OK, the link above seems to only work for me. Here’s the lens (click to biggerize):

My New Lens

My New Lens

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