Please comment briefly on your experiences with using both post- and pre-digital manufactured lenses.

Editor's picture
There's a continuing debate about the use of "legacy glass" on modern DSLR cameras, that is, using lenses of "pre-digital" manufacture on today's cameras. Some insist that only modern lenses "dedicated to digital" will yield optimum results, while others disagree. Aside from the multiplication factor, have you worked with older lenses on your newer DSLR and found they give good results, or not?
Please comment briefly on your experiences with using both post- and pre-digital manufactured lenses.
Yes, and I see a marked difference in image quality when using "digital dedicated" lenses.
87% (556 votes)
Yes, and I see no difference, or no marked difference that would convince me not to continue using the older lenses.
11% (73 votes)
No, I only work with digital dedicated lenses.
1% (8 votes)
Total votes: 637
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Comments
Martin's picture

The only dedicated digital lens I own is the kit lens I got with the camera. All other lenses are full-frame/pre-digital and outperform the kit lens in all aspects.

Ed Travis's picture

Look, good glass is good glass. I shoot a canon 5D full-frame and the "L" series lenses easily swap back and forth between film and digital.

Nicci's picture

I believe it's all about understanding your equipment and what it can and can't do. I feel I get more control with some of my "pre-digital" lenses.

Ihtzaz Qamar's picture

I use 100mm Series E lens and a 50mm lens on my Nikon D40 in manual focus as well as manual exposure. The images I get are a lot more satisfying than those from the kit lens.

Tom McElvy's picture

The difference may appear using cheap off-brand lenses, but I have seen no differences using my older Canon lenses (L-glass) on my digitals.

Gregory Sargeant's picture

It's all in your head, I like new lense, new cameras but the new lenses do not make you a better photographer and I like the mag factor now.

Harry's picture

I use The Leica M8 and can see no real difference.

Curt Hedman's picture

Though not without some challenges (to use), my legacy manual focus lenses provide excellent results. I also find my legacy auto focus lenses on par with my newer 'digital' lens - but I have yet to purchase a 'pro quality' digital design lens. The financial advantage offered by legacy lenses far outweighs any (hypothetical or potential) performance issues!

Sandy Robbins's picture

I have the Maxxum 5D with a digital wide angle lens. I also use the older telephoto lens from the Maxxum 5 on the 5D. I see no difference between the lenses, but all the photos taken with either lens on the digital camera are generally less sharp than they are using the film camera.

Jon Cunningham's picture

Digital crop gives new life to some old ultra-wides that were soft in the corners. My old 17mm makes a great 24mm (actually 25.5mm).

Russ Meyers's picture

Primarily. I have been using my old 35mm lenses with my Nikon DSLR, but I am seriously looking at adding "dedicated digital glass" to my equipment list.

Joe Sandler's picture

I constanly use a 1991 Model Canon EF 80-200 f2.8L lens on Canon DSLR cameras & get wonderful results from this great piece of glass.

Don's picture

I still use my pre-1999 Nikkor 80-200mm lens and it is still a fantastic piece of glass! I only have one lens that was made for digital cameras.

Trey's picture

I prefer the older lenses! For my Nikon digital gear I have bought 6 AI lenses for $40 each delivered! The older lenses have a wonderful coherence and color balance. The new ones are nice too, but I really enjoy my older lenses a lot and plan on getting more.

John Ling's picture

A good lens is a good lens, regardless of the imaging method.

Bill Mueller's picture

I think both type lenses work just great.

H.  Hough's picture

When used within the acknowledged limits of the pre-digital lens coatings, I've had excellent results from older 'classic' glass and would not willingly give up their superior build and optical qualities.

Ted Jensen's picture

Get fine results with old glass. Love to use my old 50mm 1.7 as a very fast 75mm for pictures of grandkids without flash.

Louis A.  Podesta's picture

I own a Nikon F5 and a Nikon D-100. I am an advanced amateur who owns Nikon lenses ranging from 28mm to 1000mm and, I mainly shoot color positive film with my F5 and find no difference in Image quality when I use the same lenses on my digital SLR. The only difference that I see is the magnification. I can get closer with my long distance lenses & not quite as close with wide angle when using these lenses on the digital camera.

Marie 's picture

I have a wide range of Nikon SLR lens - just have not wanted to try them out yet on my digital. I can imagine, though, that they would work well enough in manual as long as the mount worked.

Rich Lacey's picture

While speaking ONLY for the Nikon system, if you need fast lenses (f2.8 or faster),then you're only choice is "legacy" lenses. In my experience, these lenses deliver exceptional clarity with virtually no chromatic distortion on DSLR's.

John T.  Marsh's picture

Although more difficult to focus, older lenses have distinct qualities or focal lengths that are useful. Especially useful are fast primes for shallow depth of field. Also, if you've got them, why not use them?

Danny Gilleland's picture

I shoot quite a bit with an old Nikkor 500 f8 mirror. Get really great results. The newer lenses are just better lenses.

Stan Orlob's picture

There are some great lenses made for the APS format cameras that can't be compared directly to full-frame lenses.

Bob Myers's picture

Didn't think my Canon 20D would accept the old lenses - the mirror would get damaged. Maybe I misread something somewhere.

Gunter Altermann's picture

I got an adapter to use my good old portrait(135mm) lens on my E-Volt330 Olympus, bad disapointment, out of focus all the time.

Char Kowalski's picture

I prefer my Old Nikon Lense from my Nikon2020 35mm Camera.

James's picture

Some of the problems that many claim to be having may be due to the quality of the legacy lenses being used. I reaaly don't know. However, what I do know, is that I have both types of lenses in like manners, ie 75-200mm Zoom to note only one lens. I cannot see a difference in the work either of these units produces, not even when out of curiosity I produced multiple but identical shots usin both the digital and the legacy lens.

Travis's picture

My grand father gave me lenses that he bought roughly 30yrs ago for his pentax k1000 that I now use on my Pentax k100d. I use them mostly for shooting bands and the quality is just as good as some of todays new digital lenses.

David's picture

I shoot both film and digital so older lenses offer versatility as well as good image quality.