The beauty of old lenses

My great uncle was an enthusiastic photographer, so when he passed away he left behind a lot of equipment and a huge amount of Kodak slide film which expired in the 1970’s. My first film camera came from this collection – an Olympus OM-1 – and a few of us worked our way through the slide film which, despite being purple, came out pretty well.



In addition to this he had a few Nikon mount lenses which weren’t of any significance to me until I started shooting Nikon and my dad mentioned in passing that he had them sitting around. None of them had any sign of fungus or any significant dust, their aperture and focus rings are lovely and smooth as well.

After some time spent reading up about AIS and non-AIS lenses however, I realised that these were the latter. So with some (or a lot of) trepidation I got to work with a file, and then a dremel, to modify them for use with Nikon’s AIS system. I wouldn’t recommend trying this on precious lenses, it’s hard to make it look pretty and I’m sure isn’t great for resale value!


Ugly, but functional


The 50mm Nikon lens now lives on my Nikon F3 almost permanently, the 105mm Tamron couldn’t be modified to work the AIS system but is handy when I’m desperate for a telephoto for the F3.

The 35mm Vivitar lens has only had digital adventures at this point and is by far the most interesting lens. It has beautiful, soft bokeh, giving it an almost dreamy quality. I absolutely love it.


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