Why I use manual focus lenses

If you don’t already know by now, I use a lot of manual focus lenses.

Not that I have anything against auto-focus lenses, I think they’re awesome! But here is why I use a lot of manual focus lenses.

Why I Started Focusing Manually 

When I first started photography, I only had a Samsung NX 500 with an auto focus kit lens.

I was CONSTANTLY missing the shots because the focus was not fast enough. Also, the quality of the lens was not that great.

I got so frustrated, so I switched the kit lens to manual focus and just started shooting that way. I was missing most of the shoots anyway, why not at least have them somewhat in focus? So I gave it a shot.

I was surprised to discover (or though it took some getting used to) that it wasn’t that hard to focus manually.

Manual Focus Lenses

Auto focus prime lenses are extremely expensive, if you haven’t noticed! ;) But somebody mentioned to me on a forum somewhere that I could get an old vintage prime manual focus lens and an adapter so it would fit on my camera, since I was already focusing manually anyway.

I had no idea you could do this. So I did some research and found a Pentax 50mm f1.7 manual focus lens for $35 on eBay.

I could not believe the quality of this lens. I wasn’t used to using such a nice lens!

So then I started looking around for other vintage prime manual focus lenses. I couldn’t believe you could get such amazing lenses for so cheap. And since I was just starting out and didn’t have much money to begin with, this was like someone handing me the world on a silver plater.

Why I Still Use Manual Focus Lenses

Or though I’m finally starting to get a collection of autofocus lenses, I still use a lot of my manual focus lenses.

For example, a 200mm f2 autofocus lens costs around $6,000. I got a manual focus 200mm f2 for $1,000. 

It’s still my favorite lens and until I can afford an autofocus version, I will keep using this one. 

Some Things to Keep in Mind

When looking for vintage manual focus lenses, make sure it’s in good condition. They can be rather old. My Nikkor 200mm f2 lens, for example, is around 40 years old. You will want to watch out for dust scratches and corrosion.

Also, make sure it will fit on your camera or you can find an adapter that will fit it on your camera.

The last thing. Make sure it fits your sensor size. If the lens is made for a smaller sensor and you put it on a camera with a full frame sensor, it will crop the image.


When I discovered you could do this, it was like stumbling across a gold mine. I would feel selfish if I didn’t share this information with others.

I hope this gives you as much value as it did me. If it did, don’t keep it to yourself, share this article with your photographer friends!

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