Using Technology to Combine New and Vintage Photography Gear

For very little money it's now possible to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to using both vintage and modern cameras. Prepare to have your mind blown.

I love to shoot on both modern and vintage cameras and have a fair collection of both. Although I know that adaptors exist which allow me to connect my older lenses to my newer DSLRs, I have never actually tried it. I think what has put me off in the past is that the adaptors were quite expensive and I'd heard a few horror stories about inferior adaptors possibly short-circuiting electronics. It's for these reasons that the two sides of my camera bag have never met.

It was while watching a recent video by Michael Andrew that I realized how much things have developed since those early lens adaptor days. Not only is there a much vaster collection of modern smart lens adaptors on the market, but people are actually 3D printing their own. Andrew shows in his video how he did just that. After being given a 50-year-old Konica Autoflex T with a 52mm f/1.8 prime lens, Andrew was able to easily print his own adapter and attach the vintage lens to his Sony a7 III.

The video goes on to show some side by side image comparisons of the older lens against a more modern camera setup and the results are pleasantly surprising. What really excites me about this concept is how 3D printers can open up a whole world of possibilities for us photographers. A quick look on popular 3D printing repository Thingiverse shows just how many lens adaptors are already out there to download for free. Nowadays, it's also incredibly easy to get a 3D printing service to print the files for you so you don't even need to own a 3D printer.

For a little investment in time and money, you could really change the dynamics of the contents of your camera bag and breath new life into your photography. This is something I want to experiment with very soon.

Have you used vintage lenses on your modern cameras before? Do you like the idea of 3D printing your own photography parts? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Lead image by Graftencom via Pixabay, used under Creative Commons.

Paul Parker's picture

Paul Parker is a commercial and fine art photographer. On the rare occasion he's not doing photography he loves being outdoors, people watching, and writing awkward "About Me" statements on websites...

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I've printed out an adapter for my husband's Sony camera to use my Nikon lenses. Worked out rather well TBH, and really only took an hour of printing and some fugly green filament we never use. There's a lot of things on Cults3D too for photographers that you could print out that are pretty awesome.

Cults3D is new to me so thanks for the tip! thanks for the info : )

Go get the 50mm f/1.7, it's even better. One of the best vintage lens out there.

About 40 yrs ago I paid $75 for an F mount adapter for my dad's leica 200mm f4 m series manual telephoto. Worked great on my Nikkormat FT3 AI. Was scared to use it and the 50mm on my Nikon 7100; but cant wait to try on the new Zmount- i see there is an adapter at B&H

Put this in your Bag ..

what a beauty! can I see any shots from this setup, please?

This is why I still shoot Pentax, everything still works no adapter needed.

Great video, i would advise not to use 3D printed adapters and buy a little adapter as needed. I have about 50 vintage lenses, from a 500mm f5.6 Meyer-Optic Gurlitz (about 4Kg and 60cm long), over Canon FD 200mm f2.8, Jupiter-9 85mm f2, all the way to a tiny Jupiter-3 50mm f1.5 and many in between. Moints systems i have on vintage are M42, Pentacon Six, Canon FD/FL, Leica M39, Pentax K, PB, Nikon, Exacta, etc. I use them on my Sony A7 III, Panasonic GH5 and Canon 80D, EOS-1n. It is fun, and you can of course also use them on their original camara's with 35mm film. Like the Kiev 11 for M42, Canon AE-1 & T90 for the FD, etc

another 2

Thank you for these images and info on adapters Dirk, they look great!!