Are vintage 35mm lenses as sharp as modern lenses

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
rich_cx139 Senior Member • Posts: 1,297
Re: Are vintage 35mm lenses as sharp as modern lenses

saab900 wrote:

Hi people

I often find myself looking at vintage lenses as a cheaper option to new mirrorlesss lenses, but am I just wasting my time.

I know older lenses have character but I often find myself looking at sharpness, can old 35mm film lenses compete in sharpness against newer mirrorlesss lenses??

If sharpness is your criteria then, generally, no - at least comparing to the best of MILC glass.

In particular, if you are looking for corner to corner sharpness or at f1.4 then you are going to be out of luck. Most legacy glass ( without aspherics etc and usually with double Gauss derivative designs ) are going to be loaded with spherical and other aberrations wide open. You will get that softer rendering and maybe nice bokeh that some people like.

If you are shooting at f4 -f8 then things even up a lot.

There are exceptions and you would have to look on a case by case basis.

For example, some ( not so old ) Nikon ai-s and AF-D lenses can outperform their AF-S ( DSLR ) equivalents - but not the Z glass.

I use a lot of C/Y glass on my Z6 ( 24 Mpx )  - used properly they are plenty sharp enough for what I want but I rarely shoot at wider than f2.8 on them. They have other attributes which I prefer to modern glass - in some circumstances.

In general, people are aware of the worth of legacy glass and know the good from the indifferent so prices, though well under modern, good MILC stuff, are not necessarily that low.

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