How and Where to Buy Vintage Lenses? Take a Look!

There are plenty of retailers online who sell modern day lenses, and it doesn't take a lot of effort to find a trustworthy seller, but how should you go about finding and buying vintage lenses that have been off the market for years?

Last time, we wrote about using vintage lenses, which aside from saving you money, especially when starting out, they also act as a great tool for teaching you how to shoot in manual. But how do you get to actually find and purchase these lenses? Undoubtedly, it won't be as simple as merely heading down to your local electronics store, which is why photographer Mark Holtze brings us another video on practical tips that will help you locate those old lenses which may be gathering dust in someone's attic. 

Whether your family or friends have old, unused equipment laying around or if you're searching for a specific lens on online auction sites or social media, be sure to take precautions and check whether the lens is in usable condition before you part with your money. This, of course, is not always possible when buying online; therefore, Holtze heads to vintage camera sales, but these aren't that easy to locate either! Check out Hotlze's tips for finding, inspecting, testing, and buying these vintage lenses!

Have you ever bought an older lens from a vintage camera sale or auction?

Lead image used with permission of Mark Holtze.

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9 Comments

16mm Camera's picture

I’m really enjoying these vintage lens posts. Great post.

Anete Lusina's picture

Glad you are! Thanks for the comment. :)

Joel Fritz's picture

Where's the story? There's only a link to a video.

Anete Lusina's picture

Which story are you referring to Joel?

Dirk Valcke's picture

Hi mate, I have about 52 vintage lenses. People often forget that they are sometimes great lenses.
The infamous Takumar 50mm f1.4 is fairly cheap; if you need distance, the Canon FD 200mm f2.8 is also a good idea. I have them in 24, 28, 35, 37, 50, 85, 100, 135, 185, 200, 300 and 500mm, all old manual prime lenses. In the mounts M42, Canon FD, Contaxt, Pentacon Six, Nikon F, Kiev RF, Exca, etc. I use them on my Panasonic GH5 and Sony A7 III.

Mark Holtze's picture

How do you find the crop of the GH5 works with the lense? Must be nice to get a full frame 85 equivalent image without having to drop as much as one needs to get even a vintage ff 85. Probably the most expensive focal length right now on the vintage market.

Dirk Valcke's picture

To be honest, i never stopped to think about the difference in cost. lol
The crop is great to easily get extreme reach, or to use a smaller lens and have long reach, ex the Canon FD 200m f2.8 becomes a fast 400mm, certainly for video (i film race track events). For that task i also use Canon ENG Broadcast lenses (powered zoom) and standard primes.
The problem with 2x crop is getting a 'normal' length. There are not many 14mm or 17mm old lenses to get normal reach like 28mm FFEQ, 35mm FFEQ.

I have a new 85mm f1.8 Batis for my Sony, so no worries there.

Rifki Syahputra's picture

Nikon serie-E lenses are gems.. they're small, lightweight, with good result

Mark Holtze's picture

/scrambles to look them up! Thanks mate!