What lens to buy (Manual Focus,M42,Adaptall)

What lens to buy from old manual focus lenses to use on digital body (DSLR)?

Probably the most important question, because we can't collect all available type and one or two lens not cover all areas , sure also important point of view buy the best ones from available budget. I would share my experience with you what lenses are the best ones for different purposes.

Close-Up Macro photography

True macro lenses 

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 macro 1:1 (w. adapter) review | gallery | ebay.com
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With optional macro extension tube for 1:1 or with Tamron SP 2x Flat field tele-converter.I guess this is one of the best macro lens better or at least same than expensive OEM lens from big ones like Canon,Nikon. This lens offer good portrait capability too.

Kiron 105mm f/2.8 review | gallery | kiron-105

Incredible lens sharp as possible, color, outfocus background ("bokeh") just exceptional, I don't believe this lens is mine. Hard to imagine better build quality etc,etc. SUPERB!!

Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.8 review | gallery | vivitar-90

Same than above lens if serial number started with 22 this means also made by Kiron.

Any Nikon micro Nikkor lens like 55mm,105mm,200mm just perfect same or better than lens above in this list. 


Good enough for macro photography (but not comparable with true macro lens)

Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 75mm f/1.5 gallery |review biotar-75

SUPERB in every aspects, except the prices. One of the most expensive old lens. 

Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8 review | gallery carl zeiss jena tessar-50

Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 1.8/50 mm  review | gallery | |pancolar-50

Well know lens from quality, sharp it has nice bokeh. 

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon  2.4/35 mm  review | gallery | | flektogon-35

Also well know lens from quality. 

Industar-50-2 50mm f/3.5  review | gallery | industar-50

Looks like a toy, not a real lens. Surprise, it has amazing quality one of the sharpest lens what I ever seen with very well color rendering."Bokeh" is ugly, but for 2 EU-os more than superb lens :)

Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8 review | gallery  | industar-61 amazingly good lens.

Landscape, buildings

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 20mm f/2.8 review | gallery | | Flektogon-20mm


Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 75mm f/1.5 gallery |review biotar-75

Not good in every situation, very sharp lens even wide open, this means if model has  little skin problem it will shows for sure. I love to use this lens for parts, like eyes, lips teeth etc.

Helios-40 85mm f/1.5 gallery | review Helios-40   

Little soft at wide open, but sharp ! One of the best dedicated portrait lens.

Pentacon 2.8/135 mm  review | gallery | pentacon-135

Soft at wide open means cover the skin problems, I like this lens really.

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar f/3.5 135 mm review | gallery | | sonnar-135

Just for animals too sharp for human face in my opinion. 

Jupiter-9 2/85 mm  review | gallery  |jupiter-9

Well know portrait lens, In my opinion little short for portraits. 


Carl Zeiss Jena Olympic Sonnar 2.8/180 mm gallery |review | olympic-sonnar-180

Piece of my hear I love so much this old lenses. 

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 2.8/200 mm MC  gallery | review | | sonnar-200


Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 2.8/180 mm MC gallery | review | | sonnar-180

Pleasant experience all around. 

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 2.8/180 mm zebra gallery|review | sonnar-180-zebra

Just lovely takes superb results ,optically superb, but pretty weak mechanically like all "zebra" design in CZJ product line.Auto-Manual switch, not well designed, I found most of defected apperture from this variant.

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 4/300 mm  MC gallery | review | | sonnar-300

Well respected lens all over the world and quite rare in my opinion.

Meyer-Orestegor 4/200 mm gallery | review | Meyer-200

Nr 1. Sharp, very sharp with nice colors. 

Pentacon 4/200 mm  gallery | review | pentacon-200

See one line above :), I linked Meyer 200 review, because they are almost same, I found based on my copies, Meyer slightly better.

Tamron SP 3.8/70-210 mm   gallery | review tamron-sp-70-210

Very nice, but little heavy lens one of my favorite general purpose lens.

Tamron 3.8/80-210 mm   gallery | review | tamron-sp-80-210

043A Excellent 103A pretty good. 

Tamron SP 300mm f/5.6 54B    review | gallery | tamron-sp-300

Just one word. SUPERB! 

Tamron SP 8/500 mm review | gallery | tamron-sp-500

Deliver sharp, contrasty images,but not easy to get sharp result. Probably one of the best mirror lens, comparable quality with Canon L glasses, but the best is MC 3M-5CA!

MC 3M-5CA review | gallery | MC-3M-5CA

Deliver excellent sharp images, much sharper than Pentacon 5.6/ 500 mm.In my opinion better than Tamron SP 500, very few people know this lens not very common. If you have a chance to grab it , don't hesitate.



Tamron SP 3.8/70-210 mm gallery |review | tamron-sp-70-210

Universal focal length,but bit heavy,if you would use lighter I recommend Tamron 3.8/80-210 mm (03A,103A) 

Tamron SP 5.6/300 mm review | gallery | tamron-sp-300

Ultimate professional sharp as possible, render outstanding image quality.


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