Why do older camera lenses have faster F-stops?

Started Apr 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
peevee1 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,247
Re: Why do older camera lenses have faster F-stops?

vjk2 wrote:

I've gotten into vintage lenses lately, and it seems like with these older lenses, they're often much faster than the lenses I've gotten used to in the modern era.

I use Olympus and while I know that there is a 50mm f2.0 prime lens that costs $400, there are a number of less expensive vintage manual lenses I know of which will range from $50 for a f2 50mm to at most something like $150 for a f1.4

Could it be...what, autofocus, maybe the zoom design that makes modern lenses so dim?

In film times, nobody cared about angles of incidence of light hitting the sensor, very few about the ridiculous resolutions, especially wide open, and those who did, shot LF, not 135.

If you put those old 35mm lenses on modern 35mm cameras like Nikon D800, you will easily see how absolutely horrible they are. Even much newer legacy lenses are horrible. For example:

and it is not even fast

some off the charts vignetting on a Nikon 50 1.4D

Very little of that old junk even gets tested. But it might be fine for some low-res video, especially B&W to mask aberrations.

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