Why do older camera lenses have faster F-stops?

Started Apr 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Supplied WITH the camera, they do...

Dennis wrote:

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?

It's interesting that so many people are giving you reasons why "older cameras lenses have faster F-stops" ... when they don't.

Now that modestly priced zooms are supplied as kit lenses, with the camera, they do have very much smaller apertures (f/3.5) than the typical single focal length lenses supplied with cameras 20 years ago (f/1.8).

50/1.4s are perfectly prevalent today and have been vastly improved.  (You can find faster lenses, too, but they continue to be obscure as always).

As for a $400 50/2, that's a macro lens.  As macro lenses go, it's actually pretty fast.

A 50/1.4 might not cost $150 any more (a 50/1.8 doesn't cost $69 any more, either) but then again, gas isn't 50 cents a gallon any more.

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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

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