Shopping for Used SLR Lenses
Mechanical single lens reflex (SLR) cameras are the forerunners of today's digital SLRs, and hundreds of used SLR lenses are available for photographers who want SLRs as part of their arsenal. High-quality used lenses are available for the vast majority of SLR cameras that were popular before the introduction of the DSLR.
Types of SLR Lenses
SLR lenses are either prime, with a fixed focal length, or zoom, with a focal length ranging between two magnification powers. Used prime lenses include wide-angle, standard (usually 50mm in focal length), and telephoto options. Wide-angle lenses are best for capturing inclusive images, such as landscapes or group photos. Standard lenses are for everyday photography or portrait work.
Telephoto lenses create a narrower, more magnified view of objects. They range in focal length from 70mm up to 300mm. Medium telephotos enhance everyday objects, while super telephotos are ideal for capturing distant objects outdoors. Zoom lenses are the most versatile of all lenses with their different focal length ranges. They come in wide and super wide angle to telephoto and super telephoto focal lengths, from 10 to 24mm, to 28 to 135mm, to 75 to 300mm.
Do SLR Lenses Fit DSLRs?
The short answer is, sometimes. Most manufacturers have proprietary mounts that don't allow cross mounting of lenses from other camera manufacturers, while still allowing other lens manufacturers to create fitted lenses for their specific cameras. For instance, older Nikon film lenses are interchangeable with used lenses manufactured only by Vivitar. However, with special adapters, DSLR cameras will accept SLR lenses, but forego some of the automated features built into DSLR lenses. In addition, used lens adapters are available to cross-mount lenses from different manufacturers.
B&H Photo and Video has an impressive array of used lenses for SLR film photographers, from both the major camera manufacturers, and from numerous other brands. And you can find modern autofocus lenses, too. Check out the selection and find one that's right for your SLR.