Because most manufacturers (Nikon, Canon) have made the lens mounts on the newer cameras backwards compatible, you can use older non computer type lenses on your digital. These older lenses do not have the contacts and therefore do not "talk" to your on-board computer. If you used one of the older lenses on the first two generations of digital cameras the camera didn't even know there was a lens on the camera and recorded a big fat 0 in the file and you had to set everything manually.
This new generation of digitals (basically the past 2 or 3 years) have an actual function in the set up menu where you can tell the camera you're putting on an older lens.
The image above was shot with a Nikkor 50mm f1.4, probably made in the early 70's. I just punched in the focal length and maximum aperture setting into my camera and now I can use the command dials to change f stop. Plus f stop and lens type will be recorded to the files.
The only drawback is that it only works in the A or M mode. That's a very easy work around.
Why the fuss? If you're really fussy about lenses you look at them as brushes and each one has a particular look. The above lens paints a very delicate picture pattern so I use it for "soft" images and it also works extremely well for close ups on faces. Several of my portraits on my other web page,
andydebruyn.com were shot with this lens.
You can always click images for bigger.
Image taken with the same Nikkor 50 f1.4 on a D70. A nice profile maybe even a little soft on the focus but none the less a beautiful painterly look.
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