My Leica Elmar 9cm collapsible lens was made in 1957, making it nearly 70 years old, and it shows. The front element is hazy, causing images to be very low-contrast. Here’s an example (mounted on the SL2-S)…
Hazy self-portrait with Leica 9cm f/4 collapsible

It’s like a real-world Instagram filter and I don’t care for it. If it were in better condition, I might like the overall softer look for portraits.

I have a few other older lenses that I’ve almost accidentally collected over the years. There’s an Olympus OM 85mm f/2 which is wonderful and makes a good excuse for using my beat-up but adorable OM-1n. The Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 is legendary, (mostly because it was used by Steve McCurry to make the Afghan Girl photo), but I’m not blown away by it. I have a 1960s thread-mount Canon 50mm f/2.8 from 1958 and I like it for the IIIf but otherwise, it gets very little use.

Taking advantage of the “character” in old lenses is an attractive idea, but in practice, I gravitate toward “better” lenses. I made the photos of lenses in this post using the APO Summicron-SL 75mm and good lord what a lens. It’s hard to ignore the difference in technical quality and just let the old lenses charm me. Perhaps if I was going for a specific look for “my work” but mostly I’m just taking snapshots, so the charm of vintage lenses is often lost on me.

Leica Elmar 9cm f/4 collapsible ready for disassembly.

Still, I’m going to take the Elmar apart and clean that hazy front element and see where it gets me.