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.


  1. Hi! Stumbled across your blog a few days ago and have been slowly going through your posts, especially the ones dealing with either the Sony Nex or Panasonic G1, as I am eyeing one of those systems. But what I find intriguing is your use of "cheap" lenses as my budget is not very much and with a used Panasonic G1, it might just work! Do you have any posts that explains how you "adapt" these lenses? Keep up the great work and looking forward to seeing more of your work. Mahalo, Thomas

  2. @Thomas: The Panasonic G series of cameras are still the best camera for manual focus lenses! They can take pretty much any lenses. You just need to get the proper conversion mounts, and they are quite inexpensive too (except those for rare lens mounts). Of course, you can make your own. I have posts in this site on how to make your own focusing helicoids. This will be by far the cheapest option. Good luck!

  3. Hi Yu-Lin, As usual I am always envious of your cheap lens finds as we don't get that here in Singapore. You can find the MF lenses for sale but they are often two, three or even four times what you've been talking about. I guess that is part of the supply demand economy and populous.

    I was recently in California (holiday) and tried to make it out to a flea market, which I did, but it was small and by the noon hour many of the stalls were packing up. There were 3 stall that had camera gear and I saw some projection lenses and they looked like C-Mounts but I wasn't sure and time was short to be asking questions so I didn't offer or pick them up. I kick myself for not just giving an offer. Anyway, cut to the chase, I came across a SLR (Nikkormat FT) in pristine condition with the 50mm f1.4 and a 28mm f3.5 (externally the 28mm was in rough shape but butter smooth focusing).

    Grabbed the lot for US$90. Not sure if the light seals are any good, they looked good, the meter didn't work at the time since the battery was dead. Now got a new battery and the lollipop and stick are working and I'm on my first roll of 36 exp. Will try out the 50mm 1.4 on my GH1 and if it doesnt knock the mirror on my 5DMk2.

    Must find a way to get some of your growing inventory so I can also have some fun. :)

    By the way, what do you think of the Nikkor 55mm Micro/Macro, that is, if you've ever worked or owned a Nikon lens.

  4. Hi Chester, Toronto is a good place for old cameras and lenses and we are blessed with 2 to 3 used camera shows a year. This is a great source of cheap stuff. I always find something interesting to buy.

    The thing is, some of these lenses I have accumulated many years ago, and at that time, I didn't know what to do with them, but at the back of my mind, I always wanted to make pictures with them, even though it was not possible with then current cameras. So, yes, partly it's luck and partly because I am a pack rat.

    I think you got a pretty good deal with the Nikkormat FT. I have had a few, an FT2, FTn and possibly other variances, and always wanted to do some shooting with them, but always seemed to end up not shooting any film at all. I find it a quirky camera to use, compared to normal SLRs, but they are beautifully made.

    I still have a Nikkor F mount (non AI) 50mm f1.4 Nikkor-S.C that came with a dead Nikkormat. For some reason, I don't like Nikon lenses. I have had a 35mm f1.4, few 50mm f1.4, 180mm f2.8, 300mm f2.8 and few others(all manual focus) but I could not warm up to them. They just don't jive with me! But, I do like this F-Mount 50mm f1.4. It's quite a nice lens. Maybe I will even keep it and use it for a while.

    I used the 55mm f3.5 Nikkor for a short time, and it was a fine lens, but needs an extension tube to achieve 1:1 magnification. I heard the 55mm f2.8 micro is a better lens, but I have not used one.

    I will be having an annual photography yard sale soon. Maybe I will even take some pictures of the yard sale this year! Each year, it generated enough money to buy more toys and then become next year's yard sale item. Haha.