Classic Lenses

by Allan Weitz ·Posted 02/10/2021
In addition to its innovative image-processing abilities, the recently introduced Zeiss ZX1 is also notable as being the first camera to wear the Zeiss nameplate in five decades. This Classic Camera review is about the last camera to wear the Zeiss nameplate—the Zeiss Ikon Hologon Ultrawide (1969-71), which was as technically remarkable as its 21st-century follow-up act. Although this article is a classic “camera” review, the story is really about
by Allan Weitz ·Posted 10/01/2020
How “good” are vintage lenses when used on modern digital cameras? In a word, vintage lenses are “fine,” though I would have to immediately follow that statement by adding, “It depends,” because there are always exceptions to the rules, though even in these cases, the lens in question often works fine albeit with a technical or optical shortcoming of sorts. Original photographs © Allan Weitz 2020 When adapting older-generation film camera lenses to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, most perform well in terms of sharpness, color fidelity, color
by Allan Weitz ·Posted 07/08/2020
Few camera lenses helped to define a brand name more than Nikon’s NIKKOR 105mm f/2.5. Produced from 1959 to 2005, this portrait lens underwent five updates during the course of its production run, including a complete makeover, in 1977. Considered by many photographers to be one of the sweetest portrait lenses ever made, it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn it was the very lens used by Steve McCurry when he photographed the legendary “Afghan Girl” cover for National Geographic magazine. Photographs © Allan Weitz 2020 Based on Nikon’s 10.5cm f/2
by Josh Taylor ·Posted 02/06/2019
Why mount classic lenses on your digital camera? Because they have character! As many of today’s creative digital shooters have discovered, some of the great old lenses of the analog era can capture images that have that elusive quality known as character. In other words, they render subjects like portraits and landscapes in a distinctive and appealing way that can’t quite be conveyed in words. Back in the day, writers tried to express these qualities by referring to the “rounded,” “luminous,” or “plastic” rendition of a specific lens. But by
by Cory Rice ·Posted 06/04/2019
Ethan Covey’s photographs linger through time and space. Records of insatiable wanderlust, they arrive as unfinished stories, longing for an imaginative viewer. The understated familiarity of Covey’s subjects invites nostalgia and inspires reverie. Created with an ever-growing collection of vintage cameras, a timeless aesthetic prevails, whether depicting a barren landscape in Utah or a motel room in Amsterdam. I interviewed Covey at his Brooklyn studio before he departed on another journey. Above photograph from Desert Speaks Photographs ©
by Allan Weitz ·Posted 05/01/2018
The Nikon F was introduced in 1959. Integrating a newly designed mirror box, pentaprism, and bayonet lens mount with existing components from Nikon’s popular SP rangefinder camera, Nikon’s engineers were able to design a pro-quality 35mm camera that could be used with lenses longer than 135mm without having to resort to a reflex housing, which has its own limitations. Nikon’s management and engineering team wanted a professional-quality reflex camera system that would surpass the limitations of rangefinder cameras and, hopefully, expand the