Converting to Manual Focus & Learning Lens Repair

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This is one way to gain an edge on the competition amongst professionals in the photography business… Learning to repair one’s own equipment in case of a stuck shutter, or a lens with sticking aperture blades, as was the case with this Minolta 58mm 1.4 lens. I disassembled it and put it back together again after re-lubing the aperture with rubbing alcohol and cleaning the excess dust from between the elements making it look brand new. I paid $10 bucks for it at the local thrift store!

Many of the lenses that are being made these days are auto-focus and highly calibrated and much harder to fix. Learning to fix these old lenses allows me to collect broken ones from eBay, or elsewhere at a much cheaper price. The demand for manual focus lenses is going up though, because people like me have discovered the joy in having complete control over every aspect of their photography. The art of manual focusing has a learning curve and could be considered by some to be a sub-field within the trade of photography. Learning to repair these old lenses though gives me an opportunity to really enjoy my equipment, building a bond between me and the tools.

I’m surprised how popular these old manual lenses are getting. The demand for vintage lenses is skyrocketing because of the new mirror-less technology that many camera manufacturers are implementing in their latest digital cameras. My personal equipment consists of mirror-less cameras made by Olympus in the Micro Four Thirds format. I highly recommend these cameras and those made by Sony under the label; NEX. All these cameras can utilize these old manual focus lenses with special adapters that can be purchased relatively cheap. Anyone who is half serious about photography should learn the art of manual focusing because it develops a skill set that can set you apart from the soccer-ball mom crowds who use Canon as their brand and refuse to move beyond the zoom-lens.

I have no problems with soccer-ball mommies if they are willing to learn the process of photography before calling themselves pro. I also advise people to avoid the zoom lenses, because they stifle the creative process. Fixed focal-length lenses are the best for mastering photography, because they force your feet to become the zoom and you begin thinking more about composition. I also prefer shooting with medium telephoto primes because of the tighter crop factor with allows the photographer to really isolate the subject matter.

These are just a few thoughts on my mind for tonight. So stay tuned for more tips! :)

 

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