You know that feeling when you look at older technology and marvel at the intricacies of their jeweled engineering? I have named this feeling technostalgia. Today, I was playing with a very old lens, an 85mm f/2 AI-S Nikkor lens which has no motors, no chips, no auto-focus, no communication with the camera, nothing. But what it does have is all metal construction, super smooth focusing, buttery soft bokeh, incredible sharpness and a nice compact body. It’s also frighteningly faster and sharper than the lenses I use every day other than the 105mm macro and 50mm. There’s a great review of this lens on Ken Rockwell’s website. The fun thing about Nikon is that these old lenses can still be used on the new bodies. Even on my old D100, the lens works great with the camera. No communication between the lens and body, but with digital photography, you see your results instantly, so you’re good to go after some quick baseline tests.
Funny how we live in this time of old and new technologies competing for our attentions. Today I watched a waveform open and close in realtime on my touch screen cell phone as I left myself a message of possible blog topics. Later, I looked up some creative tips and tricks on how to mess with Polaroid Spectra film (I found a brand new camera and about 20 packs of film recently). Then I played with a lens designed in the early 90’s and wished my newer lenses were made as well.