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how to use a vintage lens on a canon DSLR

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how to use a vintage lens on a canon DSLR
i absolutely love my canon 50mm 1.8 lens, but my favourite lens is actually a vintage one. i take the majority of my photos with it, and it’s the one that’s on my camera about 90% of the time. just for reference it’s a tokina RMC 28mm 2.8, but this little guide applies to pretty much any vintage lens that will go with a canon dslr.

m42 to EOS adapter
OM to EOS adpter
before you can use your vintage lens, you need an adapter to go on to the back of it. the type of adapter depends on the lens (and the camera make you’re using ..but this is for a canon dslr). the most popular vintage lens type is m42, but OM fit is pretty popular too. the adapters are pretty cheap ..they generally are available for about £5. for a canon you need an EOS to m42 or OM adapter. for reference: the top image is an m42, the bottom is an OM. i find the m42 needs to be screwed on a bit more.

if you already have a vintage lens, or are looking out for one google is probably your best bet as to finding out what adapter you will need to make it work on your canon dslr. you can use these on a crop sensor (like the 550d, 650d etc) and on a full frame (like the 5d or 6d). on a lot of ebay auctions they will specify too, which is pretty handy. if you type in something such as ‘m42 lens’ or ‘vintage m42 lens’ that’s a good start. i can suggest some lenses for you if you feel stuck. my dream lens is a flektogon 35mm 2.4 ..i will own one, one day!

RMC tokina 28mm 2.8
helios 28mm 2.8
the two vintage lenses i use most are the one mentioned and pictured above at the top of the post (the tokina) and a helios lens. the tokina is an OM fit lens, and the helios is a m42 fit. when you have your lens and adapter, all you need to do is to screw the adapter on to your lens, and pop it onto your camera as you would any other lens and you’re good to go!

well, almost. there are a few things you need to know to help you get better pictures and to make it a bit easier for yourself.

  • these lenses will be manual focus. not an issue if you normally use manual focusing on your newer lenses, but it does take a little getting used to if you’ve not really used it before. if anything, i’ve found i can now actually take photos faster with manual focus, and very rarely use autofocus. it does depends on your needs though. this also means no image stabilisation, so get that tripod out, or make sure you have a steady hand in lower light.

  • you will need to have at least a basic grasp on shutter speed and aperture. unless you like winging it and learning as you go! like if you were using a film camera, these won’t be done for you, and i think most manual lenses have an aperture ring on the lens, so you will need to set that from there. leading on to…

  • the best mode to use (i find) is AV ..which is the one that chooses your shutter speed for you depending on exposure and the aperture you’ve set. i find if i go full manual with these lenses they tend to over expose. i don’t know why! if the shutter speed is too high or low you can either adjust the exposure compensation, or take note of the shutter speed, switch over to manual mode and adjust up or down depending on your exposure needs.

some images i’ve taken with the tokina: (though most on this blog have been in the past year)
pink flowers
hand holding buttercup
blue flowers
extra things to note:
when it comes to finding lenses, ebay is more than likely your best bet. always keep a look out in charity shops and anywhere that sells photo gear too, though.

older lenses are more prone to dust, fungus and scratches.

i’m not sure, but i think most (if not all) of these lenses will be prime lenses.

vintage lenses can be very good for a bit of videography/filming, especially if you like a dreamy, soft and cloudy look. some vintage lenses have really amazing bokeh!

magic lantern is your friend. use focus trapping and magic zoom to help get your focus spot on.

when it comes to editing ..if you’re shooting in RAW you may need to up the sharpness and contrast a bit more than usual, but this may depend on the lens you’re using or if you like a slightly softer look you can just adjust to your needs.

depending on the lens you may also need to bump up the contrast a little more too. same with saturation. again, it depends on your needs.

if there’s anything else you want to know, or anything you think i should add, let me know in the comments!

how to: make a simple tote bag

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ever had some spare fabric, a bit of time and didn’t know what to do with it? well, how about learning how to make a super simple tote? if a sewing machine novice like me can do it, anyone can! i even had to do a bit of sewing machine repair halfway through, but you won’t have that problem (..hopefully).

learn how to make a simple tote bag
you may say i’m not a craft blogger, but i do love making – and learning to make – so i thought it would be nice to help you out! this is also my entry to the hillary blinds country crafts competition. if you enter now you still have time, you need to request your fabric by the 17th and your entry needs to be submitted by the 31st march.

things you need to make a simple tote bag

close up of abstract floral fabric
(a close up because i think this fabric is super pretty)

you will need:
– your fabric of choice – mine is calluna from hillarys, which was provided for this post.
– webbing, ribbon or whatever you want to use for handles
– tape measure
– sewing machine, thread (and patience if yours breaks midway like mine did)
– iron

fabric and ribbons for tote
firstly you will need to cut out your fabric and webbing/ribbon. i cut two pieces of fabric about 15 inches wide, and 16 inches tall. the handles are 23cm long each, but you can do your own measurements if you want something bigger or smaller.

ribbon handles pinned to bag
pin the handle to the ‘right’ side of the fabric (the side with the pattern or strong colour if you’re using plain fabric). they need to be right on the edge, about 3 inches in on each side. repeat this with the other piece of fabric and handle.

ribbon handles sewn to bag
using a zig zag stitch, sew on the top edge, sewing the handle on in the process. if you’re better/more confident with a sewing machine, sew right along the very edge and continue to the end. repeat with the other side of the bag and handles.

fabric folded, pinned and sewn
turn your fabric so that the ‘wrong’ side is showing (the reverse side). fold over about an inch of the top and with a iron, press down and pin into place.

sew this fold down at the top and bottom – so just above the zig sag stitch, and along what is now the top of the bag. i only now realise i forgot to take a photo of this stage, whoops! but you can see it’s been done in the below image.

tote bag inside out, waiting to be sewn
nearly done now! all you need to do is put both of the ‘right’ sides of the fabric together, pin them along the sides and bottom. with a straight stitch just sew the seams together from top to bottom, along the sides and bottom leaving about half an inch from the edge.

then turn the bag right sides out and you’re done! now you have a cool new tote. i’d love to see if you make one! if you do, take a photo and show me on twitter or instagram. i’ve been using mine a fair bit already, the fabric is nice and thick, so it’s very sturdy.

DIY – how to make pom poms the easy way!

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laura redburn with pink and lilac pom poms in hair, 50's style, vintage hair accessoriesif you’re a regular reader of this blog you may know i’ve been quite taken by wearing pom poms in my hair lately. this tutorial isn’t hair pom pom specific..but ..they look cute, no?

you can make them as big or small as you want, with as many colours as you want, and put them anywhere you want. they would also be good for putting on top of a present (like on my how to make a cute paper bow post) or you could make smaller ones for a necklace. fun for kids and adults too!

fluffy little versatile balls of fun! let’s go!

balls of wool in pink, lilac and grey on a turquoise blanket

all you need is some wool and your hands! oh, and a pair of scissors to cut the wool. simple, huh?

pink wool in shape of heart on green blanket

firstly cut off a small length of wool to tie around after, about 6 inches if you’re making hand size pom poms.

hand with pink wool wrapped around

then start wrapping it around your four fingers. try not to do it too tight or it’ll be hard to get off after. ideally you need to wrap it at least 60 times, but do more if you want it fuller. that might sound like a lot but it really takes no time at all.

pink wool tied in bow shape

take the length you cut off earlier and slide it in the middle between your fingers. if you can’t get it through, just loosen the wool from your fingers a bit by gently moving it up your hand. you just need to wrap it round once in the middle and tie a knot. then you can slide it fully off your fingers, turn it round and tie a knot on the other side too. you can repeat again if you want to be extra secure.

wool with scissors pom pom tutorial how to

slide your scissors carefully in the loops either side of where you tied the knot in the middle. it will naturally curve round a little, so don’t worry. then chop bit by bit until you get to the top. repeat on the other side. then…

ta-da! you’re done! so quick and fun. do you have any creative uses for pom poms?

pink, lillac and grey pom poms, pink things for girls, present wrapping