The Ones That Got Away

Over the last eight years or so I’ve had one or two different lenses and cameras. 

Those that remain I’m very happy with.

But sometimes I think about others I had and enjoyed, but then donated or sold on, regretting that decision later on. 

In fact sometimes the regret was so great I sought out the same lens or camera again.

So what of those that got away and I didn’t replace, which would I like to own again now?

There are actually very few.

Perhaps the Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4, which is probably the physically most beautiful lens I’ve ever held, and wasn’t too shabby making pictures either. 

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These days though I don’t have any Minolta cameras to use it with, and in fact it saw far more action mounted on my Sony NEX than any film camera.

Minolta to Micro Four Thirds adapters are available relatively cheaply, if I wanted to shoot one digitally again. But I’m not tempted.

Plus to replace that 58/1.4 now I’d probably be looking at more than the £70 odd I sold mine for a few years back, and M42 lenses give me all I need when I want to shoot a vintage lens on my MFT camera.

Maybe the Minolta AF 50mm f/2.8 Macro?

Possibly the most impressive lens I have ever used in terms of the final image, I had great fun with this on my Sony DSLRs, which evolved from the ashes of Minolta, and shared the same AF mount.

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But again, I don’t have anything to mount it on now, and whilst the Sony Alpha DSLRs I had were compact and capable, they didn’t feel anything like as good to use as my favourite Pentax ones.

Or would the Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50/1.4 be welcomed with open arms back into my stable?

Again it was enjoyable to use, and as smooth as any well kept Takumar – in other words about as luxurious as lenses can feel – but in practice it was no better than the 55/1.8 or even 55/2 variants. Or indeed other 50mm lenses, like the Pentax-M or -A 50/1.7.

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Plus I have a thing about 55mm lenses that would (and did!) make me choose the 55/1.8 over the 50/1.4 anyway, and especially as the 55s are usually about a third of the price.

So overall, whilst there may still be (and will always be) other cameras and lenses I’m curious about, I don’t have any longing for any of those I’ve already had.

But how about you? Do you look back and rue any lenses or cameras that got away? 

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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7 thoughts on “The Ones That Got Away”

  1. I’ve had 2 Nikon D2H cameras and sold them to reduce the number of cameras I own.

    One reason I sold them is they don’t have a white balance profile in darktable and given I’m partially colour blind it was challenging and time consuming for me to set the white balance accurately.

    Another issue was the size, weight and the limited dynamic range, yet for some reason I enjoyed using the camera hence it going back on my watchlist.

    Also regret selling a Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG (not the art). I made the mistake of looking at the reviews after I sold it and realised it’s such a good lens, especially for the money. It went because I hardly used it and it was a massive but beautiful piece of glass.

    1. Thanks Phil. Sometimes it’s not the things we first buy a camera for that turn out to be the reasons we enjoy using it. And then we end up selling it for the wrong reasons.

      Over the years my most desirable features in a camera have evolved, and things like handling and image output straight out of camera come high, whereas sensor MP, focus speed, max ISO and many other criteria are much lower down the list.

      Sounds like you did make the right choice with the Sigma lens, the ultimate measure of how valuable any gear is to us surely comes down to how often we use it.

  2. If I like a lens enough, I don’t sell it… but I haven’t moved around multiple systems like you. If I did, I’m sure there would be something about an abandoned system that I still wish I had. That’s just the nature of things.
    One thing that might interest you… a guy at PentaxForums bought a K-S1 and installed an Adaptist mount on it. These Adaptist mounts were made a few years back and it’s not easy to find one but he put an ad in the “Wanted” section and someone had one that they never installed.
    The Adaptist allows you to use some other mounts and they’ll work like an M42 lens. These include the Yashica/Contax C/Y mount (Yashica and Zeiss lenses!), the old SLR Olympus mount (great Zuiko lenses) and the Nikon F mount. But I think the Nikon mount won’t give you infinity focus.
    Too bad it won’t work for Minolta lenses… or the old Canon FD lenses.

    1. Very interesting Chris, never heard of that Adaptist mount before. The only thing remotely like it I’ve used is Tamron lenses, which then have adapters in different mounts.

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