What is the Oldest Lens You Still Have in Your Kit?


Remember the very first bread-and-butter lens that you bought or received? Joining it to your camera, and seeing some of the first photos from that union, most likely made your eyes light up with joy. Remember when you took it out of the box for the first time, and realized that you and that lens just bonded? Perhaps you loved the feel of it in your hands, or how the different rings on it turned. That's also probably the moment that you told yourself, "I really got my money's worth." Tell us about your baby in the comments below, and visit our used store to see if it's still available.

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One of the oldest lenses I possess is possible my Minolta MC 50mm f/1.2, which I use on various Minolta bodies and on my E-PL1.

I shoot wth a Nikon D80. I recently purchased a 1950's 50mm f1.4 manual focus lens at a yardsale for $5. I had read somewhere that the older lens would work, but without any metering suport. The lens is in mint condition and sports the older fluted metal focusing ring. I mounted it onto my camera, took a deep breath, and powered up the camea. What????  Error...Error... crap!  Then, the light came on in my head, I couldn't meter,  so what if I switched the camera to manul mode???  Viola!!!!   It worked! I've had more fun with this lens and love the ultra shallow DOF and the bokeh since they're soooooooo smooth. This is a glass and metal with no plastic anywhere. This was the best $5 I've ever spent in my life!!!  I plan on holding onto this lens and perhaps move to a full frame sensor Nikon where this lens will continue to perform so well.

I have a few old Russian lenses for Fed 2 and 5c plus my Mom's old Konica 1 with a 50mm f3.5 Hexar, and assorted Argus lenses--I have five Arguses (Argii?). Although I admit, I use my D90 or my iPhone more.

Maybe it's about time I share mine: the Canon 80-200mm F/2.8 L, otherwise known as the Magic Drainpipe.

These are all great lenses - it's great to see people still using the classics!

Jason Naparstek

B&H Photo-Video-Pro Audio

The oldest I have is a Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenar 3.5/16 50mm.

 The oldest for me is a 1949 production Leica Elmar 5cm f/3.5. Also the smallest and lightest lens in the kit -- collapses when not in use, making it a little more than a body cap.

Also have a 50mm Summitar f/2 from 1951, a 50mm Summarit f/1.5 from 1955, an Elmar 90mm f/4 from 1958, a Summicron DR 50mm f/2 from 1958, and a Super-Angulon 21mm f/3.4 from 1964... all see regular use on an M3 (1962), a CL (1974), and the more recent and more digital M8.

Also have a set of chrome Zeiss (50, 80, 150) lenses and a Hasselblad 500C that I got from my dad -- he tells me that they are from 1957.

I recently started using a 50s Industar on a dslr, though that may get beat if I bite on the 1920s large format lens at the antique shop by my house.

That said, my go to 50mm is the classic asahi 50mm f1.4

Nikon 50 mm 1.4, they used to give it away with most bodies way back when. 40+ years ago and still going strong.

 My first Nikkor lens was the old 45mm GN f/2.8 purchased with a F body FTn. Its had the aperture ring converted to AI and I still use it on my D3 and D300. The triplet design gives me a look like no other lens in my kit.

My favourite oldest lens is my Canon 50mm L f1.0 ... they don't make 'em like that anymore

I have and use several with adapters on my Canons 7D and 10D, not sure which is oldest:

Vivitar Series 1 90mm f2.5 macro (Tokina made - 2 copies)

Nikkor-P 105mm f2.5

Zuiko 35mm f2.0

Nikkor-N 35mm f1.4

GAF 55mm f1.4 (Tomioka)

Vivitar 135mm f2.5 (Tokina), Vivitar 135mm f2.8 (Komine)

Vivitar 28mm f2.0 (Kiron)

Industar 61 50mm f2.8

Jupiter-9 85mm f2.0

Soligor 350mm f5.6

Vivitar Series 600mm f8 Solid CAT mirror

Super-Takumar 50mm f1.4

Soligor 180mm f3.5

Vivitar 200mm f3.5 (Komine)

Super-Takumar 200mm f4

Nikkor-P 200mm f4

Vega-12 90mm f2.8 (Pentacon-Six)

Mir-26B 45mm f3.5 (Pentacon-Six)

Arsat 30mm f3.5 (Pentacon-Six)

Mir-38B 65mm f3.5 (Pentacon-Six)

Pentacon 50mm f1.8

Olympus Zuiko 50mm f1.8

Nikkor-P 50mm f1.4

Soligor 250mm f4.5

Soligor 105mm f2.5

Nikkor-P 28mm f3.5

Nikkor-P 135mm f3.5

Nikkor-P 35mm f2.8

Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f2.8-3.5 (Komine)

Vivitar Series 1 70-210 mm f3.5 (Tokina)

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f2.8-4 (Komine)

Tokina RMC 500mm f8 mirror

Canon FL 55mm F1.2

canon 50mm f1.2 L FD mount.

received it from my uncle along with a canon f1N, both in perfect condition about 5 years ago. probably late 70's issue. i still use both the camera and the lens still, and they're beautiful coupled with the right film. 

i even use the lens on my 5d mkII with an adapter and get amazing results.


I own and use a Canon 50mm 1.4 FD lens. Not positive on the year it came out but I'm pretty sure it was 1971. 

The fancy faster f/1.4 Minolta 50mm MC Rokkor-X, bought to go with my shiny new SR-T 202.   Probably 1975.

And I still have the lens.  I just got an adapter to try using it (well, the middle of it) on a micro-4/3s body.