Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2 vs Canon FD 55mm f1.2 SSC -- Part I

Today we have the Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2 and Canon FD 55mm f1.2 SSC.  Both lenses are from about the same era so that they should compare well with each other.  As with the last round, one of the lenses is slightly longer than the other, which help to tell the pictures apart, but just in case, I took a picture of the lens that I was going to take pictures with, so that I know for sure which lens took what pictures.

Again, the pictures are straight out of the camera in jpeg format.  No processing performed.

Bokeh -- NEX-5 & Canon FD 55mm f1.2 @ f1.2. Click for larger.

Bokeh -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2 @ f1.2. Click for larger.

The f1.2 lenses are super-premium line of lenses for most companies.  It's a show piece of their lens engineering capabilities, so it makes sense that the lenses are built well, and optically excellent.  If you look at Canon, for example, with its EF 50mm f1.4 and EF 50mm f1.2L, you will know what I mean.  The price difference is $450 vs $1885 CND as of June 29, 2011 at Henry's.

Both lenses exhibit quite a bit of CA wide open, although the Minolta shows a bit less.  In truth, taking pictures in the sunny day light at f1.2 is asking for trouble, unless neutral density filters are used.  Well, I didn't use any.  I figured that it's for comparison, both lens would over expose for the same amount anyway.

Center Sharpness compared. Click to see larger.

Both lenses are acceptable wide open, but the Canon is quite a bit sharper with better definition than the Minolta at f1.2.  The sample above, the light changed a bit between lens change and the Canon is a bit more overexposed than the Minolta.  By f4, both lenses are extremely sharp.

Full frame for the crop above.

The edge, if you can call that on the crop sensor, is also VERY good, even at f1.2.  I am sure would be quite a bit worse on full frame.  There is almost no difference between the two at the far edge.

Edge compared at f1.2.

One interesting thing about the comparison is that the colour stands out between the images from the two lenses.  The Canon is quite a bit cooler in colour and the Minolta is warmer. I personally like the Canon colour better, but I am sure some will prefer the Minolta.

A rose by any other name -- NEX-5 & Canon FD 55mm f1.2 @ f1.2

Pink Rose - NEX-5 & Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2 @ f1.2

There is very little to choose between the two lenses.  Both lenses produce very nice pictures. The advantage goes to the Minolta MC Rokkor if you intend to convert the lens to EF mount.  The Minolta is very easy to do and completely reversible.  I did it with a Jim Buchanan conversion kit.  The Minolta is currently in EOS mount.  The FD lens, on the other hand, need major surgery in order to have it converted to EOS mount.  If you are handy and have tools, you should check out this site.  It in Chinese, but have very good pictures that shows what needs to be done.

Next time, we will look at the low light use of the two lenses, and see how they compare.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Intermission

Honda Motocycle -- NEX-5 & Pentax-M 40mm f2.8 Pancake.

I was planning to do a comparison  between the Canon FD 55mm f1.2 SSC and the Minolta MC Rokkor 55mm f1.2 today, but I was not able to get out during lunch.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better in terms of timing, so that I can shoot some pictures with the two lenses.  I really want to get some low light shots since these are very fast lenses and I am sure many would like to see them perform side by side in this regard.  But, we have a long holiday weekend this week in Canada, and I plan to take it easy so the lens battle will have to continue next week.

Yummy Pancakes: Carl Zeiss Tessar 45mm f2.8 vs Pentax 40mm f2.8

Today we see two pancakes compared: Contax Carl Zeiss 45mm f2.8 Tessar, and the Pentax 40mm f2.8.  Both lenses are really small thin lenses with similar optical design.  The Zeiss is 5mm longer than the Pentax, which turns out to be perfect, as I don't have to take know of which lens took which picutre.  The Pentax pictures are always wider when taken from the same spot.

All pictures were taken with RAW + JPEG, and all the pictures you see here are jpeg straight out of the camera, without any further processing, just to make sure they are processed identically in-camera.  The Sony jpeg engine is absolutely horrible.

Size comparision: Left - Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f1.4; middle - Zeiss 45mm f2.8; right - Pentax 40mm f2.8.

So, which one wins?

Both are winners.  The Pentax is a hair sharper than the Zeiss wide open in the center, but the Zeiss seems to have a nicer bokeh, and a tiny bit better at the corners.

Pentax 40mm f2.8 @ f2.8

Carl Zeiss 45mm f2.8 @ f2.8

If you care about edge sharpness, you won't be disappointed with either lens.  It would be like splitting hair to tell the difference, although I would say the Zeiss is ever so slightly better.  It's amazingly good on the far corners wide open, one of the traits of a Tessar design.

Far corner 100% crop -- Pentax wide open @ f2.8

Far corner 100% crop -- Carl Zeiss wide open @ f2.8

I think both lenses cost about the same, but I am still a bit surprised how good the little Pentax pancake is.  Both are worth owning.

bokeh -- Carl Zeiss 45mm f2.8 @ f2.8

bokeh -- Pentax 40mm f2.8 @ f2.8

Note that I didn't post any pictures with apertures smaller than f2.8.  Stopping down the lens improved the sharpness a little, but not as much as you would expect.  Both are very sharp from wide open.  The only draw back is the rather smaller maximum aperture of f2.8.  But hey, you want small size, you have to pay for that with less light coming through the lens.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Let the Battles Begin

Red Bicycle -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Tele Rokkor 200mm f3.5. Click to see larger.

Something I have often thought about, and meaning to do for a while, but never seems to bring myself to do it.  I am referring to comparing lenses of similar focal lengths.  I know it's a lot of work and really boring to do anything like this; partly that's what puts me off, as I don't really like to do that any more, as I used to do.  But, since I have many lenses of same or similar focal lengths, it really would be nice for others to see the differences, if any, of some of these lenses.

I am not going to shoot walls and test charts and dissect every aspect of the lenses in comparison.  I will shoot the same scene with two different lenses at a time, and possible provide a 100% crop for each.  No tripod will be used, so it will be very unscientific.  Please take the results with a spoonful of salt.

The plan is to do a comparison each day of the week, but it may not happen, depending on circumstances.  This week will be all standard lenses.  Tomorrow will be the battle of the pancakes: Pentax-M 40mm f2.8 vs. Contax Carl Zeiss Tessar 45mm f2.8.  The results may surprise you.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Pentax-Q

CN Tower from Lakeshore & Cherry St. -- NEX-5 & Leica-R Summicron 35mm f2. Click for larger.

So the rumor has been right, Pentax has introduced a point & shoot sensor interchangeable lens, except that name is Q and not NC-1.  Pentax has always been a little different, but I think this time they have gone a little too far.  When a camera gets too small, it becomes difficult to handle and thus affect the shooting pleasure.  The very small and noisy sensor is the biggest issue for me.  I am all for reasonably small camera/lenses, but not at the expense of image quality.  But, I don't think Pentax targets people like me with this system.

This camera is perfect for the very young people who wants something different than everyone else.  Image quality is secondary.  Cool factor comes first.  Just look at the lenses that got introduced.  Three out of the five lenses are "fun" lenses.  Personally, I think it will sell well to the targeted demographic group, if it lowers the price.  As it is, the camera costs more than entry level M4/3, NEX, and DSLRs.  Even at $500, this camera is still way too expensive.  But, what do I know?  They must have market researched the heck out of this before setting the price.

I am, however, looking forward to their APS-C sensor EVIL camera, to be introduced later this year.  Just hope that it will be unique and have some innovative features, instead of a me-too product.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Toronto Jazz Festival

Drummer of the Margaret Stowe Trio at the Distillery District -- NEX-5 & Leica-R Summicron 90mm f2  

Every year, the Toronto Jazz Festival attracts a lot of people from all over the place.  It's a big music event that starts in June and lasts through July.  Many of the events are free but some are paid.  The TD Bank has been a big sponsor of the Jazz Festival for many years.  du Maurier used to sponsor it until it became law that Cigarette manufacturers cannot sponsor any public events.  For events, check out

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NEX Firmware Version 4 - Peaking Level

Took some pictures today using the new feature in version 4 of the NEX firmware -- Peaking Level.  Overall, I am very happy with it.  It works well for the most part, but there are couple of limitations.  Peaking Level does not work for flat surfaces, or objects that do not have much contrast.  Also, for very thin depth of field, peaking level is not precise enough.  I found that it works about 50% of the time.  Perhaps with practice, the keeper rate will be higher.  For pictures taken with smaller aperture, this peaking level feature is near perfect.

Thanks Sony.  This is a really nice thing to do.  Few camera makers would add major features to older camera models.  They rather you buy a new camera.  Appreciated.

NEX-5 & Leica-R 90mm f2 Summicron @ f2. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Fantastic Four

Downloaded and installed version 4 of the NEX firmware this evening, and couldn't wait to try out the Peaking Level feature.  This was the only feature I really wanted and don't care about others.  I was not disappointed.  It would have helped me tremendously if this was available with the original firmware, but it's better late than never.  Basically the peaking level colours the spot(s) where they fall into focus. I set mine to high with red colour and is very visible.  Can't wait for some real world testing!

Checking Messages -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Tele Rokkor-QF 200mm f3.5.  Click for larger.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 - Six Month Review

So far, in terms of new photographic equipment announcements, 2011 has been pretty boring.  Innovation seems stalled.  All camera makers seems to be content in milking the consumers with old technology.  Sure, we have the Fuji X-100 and the Sigma SD1 which seem to stand out from the crowd, but they price themselves out of most people's reach, especially the almost $7000 SD1 body from Sigma.  I have seen samples from the SD1, which show amazing clarity and detail, where the Bayer sensor can't match. Sorry Sigma, as good as the SD1 is, your price is out to lunch.

Perhaps, the second half of 2011 will be more interesting, with new models coming out from Canon, specifically the 5D III and 1Ds IV.  Not that I can afford either of them, but I am hoping there will be some innovative technologies that go into these bodies, instead of just more megapixels.  Possibly more interesting products will come from Sony and Pentax.  I am praying the NEX-7 will come with a viewfinder, or least an option to have one.  Don't need more megapixels, but lower noise and more dynamic range will be very welcomed.  Pentax, who doesn't usually play by the rules, produces such gems with odd focal lengths as 77mm, 43mm, 31mm limited lenses, will likely announce an equally odd-ball EVIL camera with a point & shoot tiny sensor.  I really wish they will do better and succesd as I love their lenses, especially the old manual focus lenses.  Meanwhile, Panasonic and Olympus seem to be very happy churning out the me-too models that hardly has any significant changes from previous models.

Personally, I have been good.  No new camera bodies, no new auto focus lenses, just picked up some old lenses from the camera shows, and made some myself.  In terms of making my lenses, I have accomplished almost everything I set out to do the beginning of the year  - to make some of the non-focusable projection and TV lenses usable.  In fact, I went further than I expected.  Now I have a "system" of projection lenses.  I had so much fun and learned a lot from making these lenses.  Even some decent pictures were produced in the process.  More than what I asked for.  Really.

My heart is still longing for a full frame camera.  Because of the lenses I have already invested, there isn't many choices for me.  It will have to be a Canon full frame body.  My goal is to get either a 5D II or 1Ds II this year, hopefully the beginning of autumn, or least before winter.

Unknown flower -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 85mm f1.7 @ f1.7. Click for larger.

 Today concludes a week of pictures taken with Minolta manual focus lenses.  Missing are MD 135mm f2.8 and 200mm f4.  I am not really comfortable using long lenses on the NEX, so I skipped them.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mirvish Village

Mirvish Village -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2 @ f2

Incidentally, the MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2 is my third f1.2 Minolta lens.  My first one, which was the MC Rokkor-PF 58mm f1.2, same built and series as the Rokkor-PF 85mm f1.7; the second one was the MD 50mm f1.2, my least favourite of the 50/58mm f1.2s.  The MD version had only 6 blades, whereas the MC Rokkor has 8-blade; the latest one is the last version of the MC 58mm f1.2. It's simply called MC Rokkor 58mm f1.2.  This  is the second favourite behind the Rokkor-PF version.  All three lenses exhibit similar optical characteristics wide open where the MD version is slightly better at flare suppression and purple fringing.  I like the overall image quality of the Rokkor-PF (first version) the best.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bicycle Bell #3

Bike Bell -- NEX-5 & Minolta MD Rokkor-x 45mm f2. Click for larger.

This MD Rokkor-x 45mm f2 is visibly smaller than the MC 55mm f1.7 and the MD 50mm f1.7.  It has a 49mm filter size, instead of the 55mm of the MC versions.  Quite a bit lighter too.  The MD lenses were a start of cost reduction in terms of built quality and materials used.  They are generally smaller and lighter than the MC version.  For this reason, I like the MC version of the lenses much better.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Bargain that Rewards You -- Minolta MC Macro Rokkor-QF 50mm f3.5

Last time we looked at the bargain priced MC Rokkor-PF 55mm f1.7, which was one of the best deals in manual focus lens universe.  Today, we are going to take a look at the sister lens -- MC Macro Rokkor-QF 50mm f3.5.  As the name suggests, it's a macro lens capable of 1:2 ratio.  This lens normally comes with an extension tube that makes the magnification ratio 1:1, or a true macro lens, but you will also sacrifice quite a bit of light -- more than a stop I think.

Chain -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Macro Rokkor-QF 50mm f3.5. Click for larger.

At infinity, this lens is not as sharp as the Rokkor-PF 55mm f1.7.  This is a compromise as most macro lenses are usually optimized for closeup performance rather than at infinity.  There are exceptions, of course.  The Carl Zeiss Makro S-Planar 60mm f2.8 is one of them.  It's sharp at all distance.  But, let's not compare a lens that costs about $40 to one that costs many times its price.  As a macro lens, it's very good indeed.  As a macro lens at such a cheap price, it's fantastic!

Bokeh -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Macro Rokkor-QF 50mm f3.5. Click for larger.

I know some will turn their nose at this lens, as it has a rather small maximum aperture of f3.5.  Really, macro lenses serve a different purpose than your fast f1.4 lens, although it can double as a normal 50mm lens.  It's designed to perform best stopped down, and for macro, most of the time you want as much depth of field as you can get.

Compared to the 55mm f1.7 Rokkor, this lens is quite a bit larger and heavier, but still very compact without the 1:1 adapter.  As with most MD/MC lenses (with some exceptions of course), this is one bargain of a lens, possibly the cheapest macro lens you can get from a well known manufacturer.

Lunch Time - NEX-5 & Minolta MC Macro Rokkor-QF 50mm f3.5. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Guard

On Guard -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Rokkor-pf 55mm f1.7

Around the financial district in New York City, there are police everywhere, and sniffing dogs and security personnels checking every vehicle going through some of the streets.  Security is very tight, especially near the 10th anniversary of 911.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The (Taxi) Rides of My Life

Long Island -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC W.Rokkor-SI 28mm f2.5. Click for larger picture.

I have heard, and read that New York City taxi drivers are crazy, and I had the fortune to experience it today, twice.  Ian and I took a taxi to Time Square.  On the way there, the taxi driver zipped through traffic, like the Auto Car drawn by Cursor (if you are old enough to remember the show "Automan", you will know what Cursor is).  It was scary, but I managed to snap some pictures along the way.

On our way back, it was only worse.  This driver was even more crazy the previous one.  I swear he was driving at 70 or 80 miles per hour on city streets.  The funny thing is, he had the radio set to play nice, soft, classical music, which totally clashed with his driving.  New York City, is a city of extremes.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New York, New York

Minolta MC W.Rokkor-SI 28mm f2.5 & NEX-5

My colleague Ian and I are in New York City for a three-day training.  I took this as a photographic opportunity.  Walked around the financial district this afternoon, and found that New York City is similar to Toronto.  Lots of constructions going on, especially around Ground Zero area.  In some ways, New York City is like Montreal, where lots of old buildings are surrounded by modern, new buildings.  Lots to see, but unfortunately, not much time.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 85mm f1.7 - First Impression

Rusty old Dodge Suspension -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Rokkor-pf 85mm f1.7. Click for larger.

Bought this lens few weeks ago at the camera show, along with a Carsen-Polaris 85mm f1.7, which has a stuck aperture.  These two lenses share some similarities: same maximum aperture, same great build quality, about the same size, similar coating, similar minimum focusing distance.

Generally, 85mm lenses have a pretty long minimum focusing distance at around a meter (or 3 ft), so it's not really a good lens for close ups, but this focal length is not intended to be used for this purpose.  After all, it's a portrait lens.  The sad thing is that none of my kids wants me to take their pictures any more, so I haven't taken any pictures of people.  I will have to snick a picture or two later on when they don't notice.

Broken -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC 85mm f1.7 @ f1.7. Click for larger.

Image quality -- so far I am quite happy with it.  Usable wide open and as with most lenses, sharpness and contrast improve with the aperture stopping down a little.  I am no longer a pixel peeper; there is more to image quality than just sharpness.  It's the sum of all aspects that makes the lens unique, not just sharpness.  This lens has only six aperture blades, but the bokeh looks quite nice, even when shot at f2.8 or smaller.

Bokeh -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC 85mm f1.7. Click for larger.

Personally, I don't think there is too much difference between this lens, and the Takumar SMC 85mm f1.8, except the Takumar feels nicer both focusing and holding in hand, and more expensive than the Minolta.  Will do a comparison if time permits.

Wheel -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC 85mm f1.7.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lift It Up

Reflection -- NEX-5 & Angenieux 75mm f2.5.

I have never seen so much building constructions around Toronto.  Everywhere you look, especially downtown Toronto, huge cranes are everywhere.  Everyone is saying the economy  is not doing well, but buildings keep getting built.  I sure hope things are better what everyone says.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Bargain that Rewards You

Quite often, we are blindsided by the promises of great optical quality by expensive lenses, and overlooked the bargains under our noses that are almost as good.  I am not saying more expensive lenses are not better, they often are, but do you get 100% better quality at 3 times the price?  I don't think so.  I am not a lens snob.  I use whatever that makes me happy.  In fact, I use more cheap lenses more often than expensive lenses.

Wide Open -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 55mm f1.7. Click to see larger.

So what bargain are we talking about?  The Minolta MC Rokkor 55mm f1.7.  Truly this lens can be had for the cost of a lunch, very often at around $10 to $15.  This lens is all metal made, like the MC Rokkor-PF 58mm f1.2, MC Rokkor-PF 85mm f1.7, all of the MC Rokkors share the same great built quality.

Sharp as a knife @ f5.6 -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 55mm f1.7. Click to see larger.

These Minolta manual focus 50mm f1.7 lenses are often over looked.  Partly because they really can't be used on other DSLRs without special mount adapters to make them focus to infinity.  But it's not a problem for Micro 4/3 and Sony NEX (and Samsung NX series) cameras.  I am sure they will go up in price once people find out how good they are.

Woman in red -- NEX-5 & Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 55mm f1.7 @ f8.

Really, optically, this lens is no worse than a modern 50mm f1.8, maybe except the flare control is not as good as the modern counterpart, but the built quality more than makes up for that.  If you have a Micro 4/3 or Sony NEX camera, try one.  Guaranteed you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Three Brewers

The 3 Brewers -- NEX-5 & Meyer-Optik Primoplan 58mm f1.9. 

The best thing about working downtown, is that there are so many photo opportunities.  I could take a walk in my lunch hours, and come back with at least a couple of view-able images.  I ventured out further than normal this afternoon, to Dundas Square.  Very busy place.  A transformation that's much more lively than those old run-downs stores at the corner of Yonge & Dundas a decade ago.  Very good move on the part of the government to revitalize downtown Toronto.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Cost of Mistakes

Photography is expensive in many ways.  Not the least is the cost of mistakes.  I have my share of costly mistakes, and most of them were made because of not knowing enough.  Case in point, Kern-Paillard (Bolex) c-mount lenses.  Obviously, there are at least two versions of their lenses that I didn't know of: the AR and RX.  I have two AR lenses which won't focus to infinity.

Wide Open -- NEX-5 & Switar 50mm f1.4 @ f1.4.  Click for larger.

Both AR and RX are c-mount lenses.  You would think that a c-mount lens is a c-mount lens.  It's a standard, right?   Well, if everyone makes everything to the exact standard, the world will be a much nicer place.  Alas, the AR and RX lenses share the same mount, but different lens to film register.  My Switar 50mm f1.4 can focus to about 3 meters wide open, and the Switar 25mm f1.5 is about the same.  They are still usable, just not to infinity.  Until someone makes a special c-mount to accommodate the difference, these AR lenses will be much less useful than they really should be.

Another one wide open -- NEX-5 & Switar 50mm f1.4. Click to see larger.

I wouldn't feel so bad if these lenses are mediocre, but they are nice little lenses, especially the 50mm f1.4.  I really like the bokeh of this lens, although it may be a bit weird to some.  The image quality reminds me of the Switar 25mm f1.4 RX that I used to have, and still regret to this day that I sold it.  The 25mm f1.4 has very severe vignetting even on the Panasonic G1, but the 50mm f1.4 has only very slight vignetting on the NEX-5.

Re-post, because this is one of my fav -- NEX-5 & Switar 50mm f1.4. Click for larger.

I am sure I will continue to make this kinds of mistakes in the future.  There are just so much that I don't know.  Was it Socrates that said  "The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know"?  Well, that about sums it all up.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Green Car

Green car -- NEX-5 & Tokina 24mm f2.8 (M42). Click for larger.

I have been shooting almost everyday and my storage is becoming a problem.  Shooting RAW makes things worse.  So I decided to get another 2-Terabyte drive for my Drobo to release the pressing situation.  I took a walk to the computer shops on College & Spadina.  One of the best things about working and living downtown is that everything is so conveniently within close reach, even within walking distance.  On my way home, I went through Kensington Market, which is an interesting place favored by many bargain hunters and those looking unique stuff.  One thing is for sure, it's different!  Just look at the car in the picture.  It's used to grow trees and other plants.

Ontario Place

Ontario Place celebrates its 40th birthday this year (2011).  Opened to the public in 1971, Ontario Place was one of the largest tourist attractions in Ontario.  The trade mark Cinesphere which houses North America's first permanent installation of the IMAX theatre.  When I was in awe the first time I saw a film on it.  It was totally awesome.  Ontario Place attracted a lot of visitors in the first few years of operation.  But time matches on, and things changed.  Ontario Place hasn't kept up with the change of time and in 40 years except the price of entry which kept going up.  It basically looks the same and only minor changes in 40 years.  To celebrate it's 40th anniversary, Ontario Place has free admission all summer, but you still have to pay for all the rides.

Cinesphere with IMAX Theater -- NEX-5 with Kit zoom lens. Click to see larger

We visit Ontario Place pretty much each summer and last year we bought a summer pass for each member of the family.  We visited it again today, but the older boys already find it too boring. I don't believe we will be visiting it often unless there are major changes.  It's a shame, as I really do like it.  It's very well designed, just not enough to attract people back often.

Closing for the day -- NEX-5 & Kit zoom lens. Click to see larger.

As of today, many of the attractions, rides were removed or not working.  They are starting a face lift, but we will see how much.

View of Downtown Toronto. NEX-5 & Kit zoom Lens. Click to see larger.

In previous years, I would carry my 1D II or 5D or 30D or whatever current Canon camera I had, and a 70-200mm f2.8, 100-400mm zoom lens, plus a few primes.  It was murderous.  The last two years, I brought only a kid lens and a couple of small wide angle primes.  It was just as well.  Today, I used mostly the 18-55 kit lens, and occasionally the 16mm pancake, and only a few pictures with the Leica-R 35mm f2.  My only complain about the kit lens (and the 16mm pancake) is that the distortion is horrible, especially on the wide end for the zoom.  I find the sharpness quite acceptable for both lenses.  This is true for the Canon 18-55mm IS kit lens as well.  I guess we can not expect too much from a cheap lens.  What they offer is already pretty good for the price.

The Marina -- NEX-5 & Kit zoom lens. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tommy Thompson Park - June 2011

Went to Tommy Thompson Park with Dillon and my good friend Cliff this morning for a shoot.  Unfortunately we didn't go early enough to catch the sunrise. But it was fun.  Decided to go light so didn't take my 1D IIn, and instead, took along the NEX-5 and a few manual focus lenses, including the Kinoptik Speciale Cine 210mm f2.8 which I have not touched for a little while now.

Lots of birds in Tommy Thompson Park, and we didn't even go to the spot was migratory birds reside. You can actually see more birds on trees than trees there.  Shot some random birds from the main road.  They don't seem to be afraid of people until you get really close.

NEX-5 & Kinoptik Speciale Cine 210mm f2.8. Click to see larger. 

I really like how the Kinoptik lens renders the pictures.  Very pleasing to look at.  But, is it really worth that much money that people are paying for Kinoptik lenses?  I have my doubts.  But, when it comes to lenses, especially niche cine lenses, people seems to become irrational.  I am happy I was able to get most of my lenses relatively cheap, before the crazy price that people now pay.  My motto is that fun is gone if your wallet hurts when it comes to photography.  Enjoy within your limits.

Wide Open -- NEX-5 & Kinoptik Speciale Cine 210mm f2.8. Click to see larger. 

Fortunately, there are so many alternatives to have fun with photography, and often you don't really need to spend too much money either.  Making your own lenses from projection and enlarging lenses certainly is one of the cheap but very rewarding hobbies, and you don't even need any specialized tools!  Seriously, if I could do it, anyone could.  I am not known to be very mechanically inclined and most often am all thumbs.  For people like me, we just need persistence to build up the skills.  Really, they don't even need to look nice, just need to be able to take pictures!

Reborn -- NEX-5 & Astro-Kino 65mm f1.5 Projection Lens. Click to see larger.

My suggestion is to go to used photo equipment shows.  There are at least two of them each year in Toronto and Montreal.  If you have nothing to do on the weekend, shop the second hand stores, sometimes you will be surprised what you can find.

Snail -- NEX-5 & Astro-Kino 65mm f1.5 Projection Lens. Click to see larger.