I’ve been wanting a vintage lens to have some fun with without breaking the bank. I did a lot of research and found the Sigma 28mm f/2.8 Mini Wide II on eBay for $40. This lens is probably the best bang for your buck you can get in this price range. Its available on nearly all camera mounts, made in Japan, all metal construction and the focus is buttery smooth.
Keep in mind that this is a manual lens, no auto-focus, no cpu, no electronically controlled aperture. This is all manual baby. Some cameras let you setup non-cpu lens data like my D610 to allow color matrix metering and support for i-TTL flashes.
I think it’s a good first vintage lens to see if vintage lenses on digital is something you want to get into. I used this lens on a full frame DSLR (Nikon D610) and I was surprised by the results at first and then quickly realized this lens cannot be used for landscapes or anything focused at infinity.
While the center sharpness of the lens is where is shines, the corners are terrible and I don’t mean the extreme corners, I mean once you start looking away from the center it becomes softer and softer and the chromatic aberration is just awful. The lens just can’t handle the high resolution sensors these days. But what do you expect from a $40 lens that has been around since the 70s? On film you probably didn’t even notice. I know some might say “oh that’s just pixel peeping” but when you can see it on your camera’s LCD monitor, you know its bad!
Still, its an awesome little lens and it has a ton of character which makes for rather interesting photos…if you can look pass the awful chromatic aberration that is.
It focuses quite close too, almost 1:4 macro magnification! Which I thought was actually quite impressive and bokeh is quite pleasing, I think anyways.
Take a look at some the shots I’ve taken with the lens and the Nikon D610.