New body, old glass
One of the downsides of digital technology is the speed of obsolescence. The great thing about having a Nikon D70 is that it enables me to combine being digital without abandoning the collection of old Nikon lenses I’ve built up over the years. I have, for example, an 85mm f2 AI-Nikkor which is a terrific portrait lens; and an f1.2 50mm (shown here) which provides the nearest thing to night vision one can get on a camera. (Well…, I think Leica do an f1 Summilux, but it costs more than the GNP of Ecuador.) Of course the effective focal lengths are different with the digital body (I’ve been multiplying by 1.5 as an approximation), but the great thing is that the old lenses work fine. Just switch the camera over to manual operation, clip on the lens and bingo! — you have a digital camera with really good glassware. I’m sure purists will point out that they’re not optimised for the new system, but the results look pretty good to me.
En passant, it’s funny the way the photo-retail industry concentrates on resolution as the defining characteristic of digital cameras. Pricing seems to be entirely driven by sensor resolution. Until recently, nobody paid much attention to the quality of the lenses. Maybe that was because with a 3 megapixel camera you couldn’t tell the difference between the results given by a plastic zoom and those produced by a proper lens. But as the industry matures, manufacturers are beginning to pay serious attention to lenses. Some Panasonic digital cameras, for example, now come with Leica glassware. And the high-end Sony cameras have used Zeiss Vario-Sonnars for quite a while.