Thread: The Vintage Lens Market - 2020 and Beyond

Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1 The Vintage Lens Market - 2020 and Beyond 
    Senior Member Zack Birlew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    California and Las Vegas
    Posts
    913
    Hi, everybody, I’ve been on the lookout for new and interesting lenses over the past year or two, checking out thrift stores, antique shops, garage sales, and the like and it got me thinking. When I started really searching for lenses, it was to find interesting or unique options and I’ve found quite a lot of good deals, taken chances, and collected some vintage lenses I never would have thought about investing in before. This past year has certainly brought some new additions to the industry that have certainly given me pause, particularly inexpensive options from the likes of Venus Optics Laowa and Surui and new advanced mirrorless lenses from Nikon, Canon, Sigma, and SLR Magic. I do appreciate the character and occasionally surprising performance of a vintage lens but, looking closer, after a while it starts to blend and be almost the same from set to set, at least for video. There’s a current thread comparing a vintage Angénieux zoom and modern Canon zoom and looking at pricing for the Angénieux, despite its flaws, it’s clear that a more practical option is to buy a newer lens. Much like the retro videogame market, I’ve seen some rare items go up in price overnight and then come back down within months to a year and more and more I’m seeing that happen with vintage lenses and anamorphic lenses and adapters in particular. A good example lies in the phone anamorphic area as Moondog Labs used to be the only game in town but then a few others joined and now you can get a phone anamorphic for $20 on Amazon. My question is, is there a possibility of the high priced vintage lens market bottoming out? Any thoughts or experiences with this observation?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2. #2  
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    70
    Hi Zach,
    I'd say there's little chance that any lens you'd want to shoot a professional job is going to bottom out. Over the years I've seen more interest, especially with the 4/3 cameras on the market for "retro" lenses like the Zeiss, Nikons and Leica.
    One of the things I came to the conclusion is, having a matched set was the most important thing to me. A propertly cared for hight quality lens never looses it's value. Now, when we transitioned to digital there was a time when older lenses were less valuable but that time has long passed. There are a lot of great less expensive cinelenses on the market now.

    I tested a bunch of different leneses like you and then settled on some lenses I wished I hadn't which is another long story. If I had to do it again I wouldn look at buying a set that matched and cross rented well. Good luck!
    Jimmy Gilmore
    Writer/Director
    https://Fluid-Films.com
    Reply With Quote  
     

  3. #3  
    Senior Member Domenic Barbero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Seattle/Portland/LA
    Posts
    1,927
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Gilmore View Post
    Hi Zach,
    I'd say there's little chance that any lens you'd want to shoot a professional job is going to bottom out. Over the years I've seen more interest, especially with the 4/3 cameras on the market for "retro" lenses like the Zeiss, Nikons and Leica.
    One of the things I came to the conclusion is, having a matched set was the most important thing to me. A propertly cared for hight quality lens never looses it's value. Now, when we transitioned to digital there was a time when older lenses were less valuable but that time has long passed. There are a lot of great less expensive cinelenses on the market now.

    I tested a bunch of different leneses like you and then settled on some lenses I wished I hadn't which is another long story. If I had to do it again I wouldn look at buying a set that matched and cross rented well. Good luck!
    I beg to differ. Look at all the prices of the S35 glass these days. ultraprimes are selling for next to nothing. S4's you can now find 11 lens sets for just over 100k. list goes on. Just like anything, stuff will go up and down as the market comes out with new tech. But buying anything brand new these days is very scary.
    DP/Director/Producer
    www.domenicthedp.com
    www.nw-camera.com

    Alexa Mini/Amira, RED Dragon, Monstro, Canon C500 Mark ii, C300ii, Sony FX9, FS7, UMP G2, Pocket 6k/4k, Sony A7s/r ii, Cooke Panchro Classics, Atlas Anamorphics, Zeiss Cp3, Angenieux EZ1/2, Celere HS set, Leica R Duclos set, DSO Trump series, Sigma Cine Primes, Contax Zeiss Superspeeds, GL Optics 18-35, 50-100, 70-200, tokina 11-16 PL, Laowa 24mm Probe, Movi Pro, Grip Vans, Skypanels, HMI's, Hive, Aputure, Litepanels, Litemats
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #4  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,113
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Gilmore View Post
    Hi Zach,
    I'd say there's little chance that any lens you'd want to shoot a professional job is going to bottom out. Over the years I've seen more interest, especially with the 4/3 cameras on the market for "retro" lenses like the Zeiss, Nikons and Leica.
    One of the things I came to the conclusion is, having a matched set was the most important thing to me. A propertly cared for hight quality lens never looses it's value. Now, when we transitioned to digital there was a time when older lenses were less valuable but that time has long passed. There are a lot of great less expensive cinelenses on the market now.

    I tested a bunch of different leneses like you and then settled on some lenses I wished I hadn't which is another long story. If I had to do it again I wouldn look at buying a set that matched and cross rented well. Good luck!
    What do you wish you'd settled on?

    Given my investment history, vintage lenses are about to bottom out. :(

    I do suspect that the move to larger formats will have some impact on things. Double Panchros might get even more ridiculously expensive.

    And matched sets aren't easy to come by...

    I started with Nikon and am starting to think that's still the way to go, minus the focus direction issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Domenic Barbero View Post
    I beg to differ. Look at all the prices of the S35 glass these days. ultraprimes are selling for next to nothing. S4's you can now find 11 lens sets for just over 100k. list goes on. Just like anything, stuff will go up and down as the market comes out with new tech. But buying anything brand new these days is very scary.
    Yeah I saw a bunch of S4s that couldn't sell for $5k apiece. Which is insane. But S4s and Ultra Primes aren't really vintage. Neither are Moondog Labs anamorphics imo.
    Last edited by Matt W.; 01-07-2020 at 01:51 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #5  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    1,664
    Part of this depends on where (and how carefully) you're looking, of course. Particularly with stuff that's of interest to the less knowledgable prosumer range. Even just looking at eBay, the difference between the top asking prices on most days and what numbers you'll see if you only look at listings that actually sold ... big gap. This is especially true of stuff marketed to more prosumer [less knowledgable] like myself. Old S16 beaters that'll work on Blackmagic cams? Have absolutely exploded. We're talking $50 lenses being offered for $1000. Heck, even really good stuff this can happen to: if I'd bought a ton of Leica R's after the cancellation of the R program I could've practically retired reselling them after the introduction of the Sony A7.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #6  
    Senior Member Jens Jakob Thorsen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    783
    My guess is that the 'extra' Canon FDs I havent rehoused(the fast aspherical S.S.C.s) will keep rising for about a year or so. At that point I expect my 24mm Apsh to sell for $4.000 :-)

    I generally think that manufactures are having a hard time making vintage-like lenses, partly because the glass is made in a different way, I guess?

    The Altlas Orion are good examples with their "plastic" look.

    I therefore think that the likes of K-35, FDs, Zeiss Superspeed, Cooke Speed Panchos , Lomo anas, Hawk Cs, will find a steady price once the dust from the FF-craze settles.
    Jens Jakob Thorsen DFF
    Director of photography
    Denmark
    www.jensjakob.com
    mail@jensjakob.com
    Monstro VV
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #7  
    Meanwhile, in another part of the internet, this guy bought a handful of vintage Zeiss lenses and cinevized them himself for about €900:

    https://youtu.be/shYZ7zFEato
    Michael Tiemann, Chapel Hill NC

    "Dream so big you can share!"
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #8  
    Senior Member Christopher S Johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    183
    Quote Originally Posted by Jens Jakob Thorsen View Post
    I generally think that manufactures are having a hard time making vintage-like lenses, partly because the glass is made in a different way, I guess?
    That's because they can't make glass the way they used to. They don't use lead in glass anymore due to the environmental impact. It's also why old lens designs were so much simpler, and why the glass was so heavy.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #9  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    11,479
    Though my more recent sets cost me a penny more and I'm certainly adding to the problem by sharing thoughts about glass I like, a good chunk of decent vintage stuff can be had pretty inexpensively.

    And truly the reason to get into some of that older glass is all about the look. Mechanics are often not ideal, but that doesn't stop a lens from making a nice looking image when it comes down to it.

    Some of the rare and older cinema stuff has gotten a bit out of hand pricing-wise, but rarity and familiarity breeds desire. I'll spice that up by all the newer "vintage looking" glass referencing the K35 look which as of yet literally don't look anything like the K35s. Sort of the worst marketing I've seen in the last year and a horrible trend. Perhaps say they were inspired by or whatever, but literally zero of those lenses look like them if you at all familiar with the glass. FDs and FLs to date get you the closest, but of course, not proper cinema stuff. Put there's plenty of people to rehouse your babies.

    Truthfully there's so much good glass out there now it's just really hard to sludge through it all. Most of my 2019 was shot on the Tokina Cinema Vistas followed by the Sigma Cine Primes, but I closed out the year going back to my Zeiss Otus set and Schneider Xenon FF-Primes. Zoom action was Fujinon Premista (rental and I'm mulling it over) and my Zeiss CZs. My lens choices are really project dependent. But the strength of having a good all around set of proper cinema primes is extremely valuable if you are a working professional or aspiring to be so. I did have that one weird shoot back in May/June 2019 where I put together a rather large arsenal of macro lenses for the motion control stuff, but I owned about 1/2 of that already. The quirky and classic lenses I use certainly get whipped out when I feel the urge, but most of my shoots require decent glass both in what they offer optically as well as general mechanics and build.

    I will say this as it's come to pass for a couple companies no longer around. If you plan on investing in a set of primes it's good to go with a name brand and it doesn't hurt to inquire at a place like Duclos Lenses on if they service the lenses. I've seen a handful of folks bitten by that spider in the last calendar year and it's hard to watch.

    I picked up the Laowa 12mm and a couple of the newer Irix lenses, for the price and what they actually do, really hard to beat sort of ever price-wise. Value to performance ratio is very, very high.

    That's a shame on the S4s. They are truly and exactly what are the Cooke Look. Everything else they make are nice and familiar, but S4s are S4s.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
    ________________________________
    phfx.com IMDB
    PHFX | tools

    2X RED Monstro 8K VV Bodies and a lot of things to use with them.

    Data Sheets and Notes:
    Red Weapon/DSMC2
    Red Dragon
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #10  
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    São Paulo - Brasil
    Posts
    34
    All the vintage lenses are going down. Except for the k35´s are now mutch expensive since it covers FF>
    Reply With Quote  
     

Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts