Why do older camera lenses have faster F-stops?

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

Hugowolf wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

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).

Even 30 years ago the choice was there. 1978 I bought a Canon AE-1 with 24-70 mm f/4 as a kit. The fastest lens I had at the time was a 24 mm f/2.8. I never owned a 50 mm lens until 2004, when I bought a 50 mm f/2.5 compact macro lens (1:2).

Yes. I could have said 30 years, or even 40... which was when I bought my Nikkormat with its f/2 lens.

Trouble is, I'm beginning to feel my age... (sigh)

(I took my first commissioned photograph at 14. It was of my English teacher, and was done in the school library. There were skylights illuminating the tables, so I sat him under one and boosted the natural overhead light with a home-made foil-on-card reflector. That shot was 53 years ago.)

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

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