Friday, October 30, 2009

Dizzying Effect

Dizzy Swirls, Moss Park -- Panasonic G1 with Kodak 50mm f1.6 Anastigmat @ f1.6. Larger Picture.

Some people really like this kind of effect, but it just makes me dizzy and gives me headache.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese at Queen & University-- 1D Mark III & EF 100mm f2 @ f2.2, ISO 640. Larger Picture.

After a few uses, the EF 100mm f2 has rekindled my love for this lens -- fast focusing, large aperture, small, light, sharp and nice colours.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vespa Twins

Vespa Twins -- Canon 1D Mark III & Pentax Ultra-Achromatic-Takumar 300mm f5.6. Larger Picture.

Tried out a very rare lens today -- Pentax Ultra Achromatic Takumar 300mm f5.6. One of a small number of lenses designed for infrared and other scientific uses. As a normal lens, it's very sharp even at f5.6, but I don't see anything special other than that it's made with two fluorite elements. Unless you have a very specific use, this lens is not worth the money (which was $1600USD in the 70s when introduced).

Mr. Chu's Garden

Phoebe street is right behind my work building. Frequently, I would take a walk around the area on my lunch time, usually finish my walk on Phoebe street. Mr. Chu's garden is one of the few on that street that has many nice flowers. I usually stop and take some pictures of them.

Yesterday, Mr. Chu saw me taking pictures of his flowers again, and invited me in his front garden. In his 80s, Mr. Chu does not look a day older than 60, so is his wife, Mrs. Chu. I do wonder what their secret to keeping young is. Gardening, perhaps? Feeling Happy all the time, because they both look very happy? I could see that in their eyes. Mr. Chu introduced me to many of his flowers, some of which were kept inside the house. Unfortunately, I am just not good with names of flowers and can't remember them. Mr. Chu said he would show me how to transplant some of the flower trees come spring next year. I felt honoured.

I am sure I will stroll by his garden again, in my lunch time. Who know, I might glow a greener thumb with some experience from Mr. Chu.

Flowers from Mr. Chu's garden:

1D III & Steinheil Culminar 85mm f2.8 @ f2.8. Larger Picture.

1D III & Steinheil Culminar 85mm f2.8 @ f2.8. Larger Picture.

Panasonic G1 & Kodak Cine Ektar 62mm f2. Larger Picture.

Panasonic G1 & Kinotel 75mm f2.5. Larger Picture.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Papa Sole

Papa Sole missing his hand -- Canon 1D Mark III & EF 100mm f2 @ f2. Larger Picture.

I have said many times that the EF 100mm f2 is an L lens without the red ring. This was my favourite lens before I got to use the 85mm f1.2L II. Extremely sharp, and absolutely usable at f2.0. Very nice bokeh too.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

1D Mark III Tracking Focus Test

Statue in the park -- Canon 1D Mark III & EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS @ f2.8. Larger Picture.

Mounted the EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens on the 1D III today and did a bit of tracking focus testing. The weather is very cloudy and lighting wasn't great, so maybe it's not a good day for testing. In any case, I was prepared to be disappointed.

I shot on coming cars at the same spot I did with the EF 50mm f1.2L lens, just outside the Scalding Court Community Centre at Dundas & Bathurst. The cars were travelling at approximately 50 to 60 km/h. Did a half dozen full bursts. In a burst of 28 RAW frames, 3 were out of focus, 4 are acceptably in focus, and the rest are focused ok. All pictures were shot at f3.2. The rest is probably a bit better with a smaller aperture.

So, it was kind of a relief. The camera performs very similar to the 1D II I had. I can live with this.

Of course, more testing will be done on more sunny, warmer days. One thing I found out is the the 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens seems to front focus a bit at 200mm and needs a -10 adjustment. Unfortunately, it's spot on at 70mm, so as a compromised, I set the adjustment at -5.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Walking by...

Walking by -- Canon 1D Mark III & EF 135mm f2 @ f2. ISO 1000. Larger Picture.

Today I met Lawrence. A super nice guy who gave me a tour to the studios of the radio station Classical 96.3 FM and AM740. It doesn't look it from the outside, but the inside of the building is beautiful. I took this picture from the second floor on my way out. Note that the boarder is from the frame of the window, not added later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ghost Bicycle

Ghost Bicycle -- Canon 1D Mark III & EF 135mm f2L @ f2.5. Larger Picture.

[Updated October 23, 2009]
Adam has pointed out that this is a ghost bicycle, placed near or where the cyclist was killed. I am ashamed of my ignorance to such things, so I Googled on Ghost Bicycles and learned more about it. Googled also turned up the event reported on cbc when the cyclist was killed. The man was struck and killed by a Streetcar on Spadina Avenue. I took this picture on Spadina just south of College from my car. Tragic event. May the man rest in peace.
[end Update]

I am sure someone did this as a art piece, you don't think? Interesting.
Found out that my 1D Mark III's firmware was not up to date. Updated to the latest f1.2.5. Will see how it goes. I am already starting to get the feel for this camera.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Panasonic Lens Prices

I have been wanting the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 since it was announced, but when I checked the price on it, I was turned off by the $500CAD price tag. Let's have a reality check here, shall we? We are talking about a normal lens here. One of the easiest and cheapest lens to make. The 20mm f1.7 is not even considered fast, but normal lens standards. Let's compare the prices of similar lenses from other manufacturers. All prices are quoted from Vistek the day this is writen:

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II ($140)
Canon EF 50mm f1.4 ($480)
Nikon AF 50mm f1.8 ($160)
Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.4 ($570)
Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 ($350)

All these lenses, with the exception of the Canon 50mmf 1.8 II, are pretty well made with metal lens mount.

Sorry Panasonic, but I think this is a bit rediculous.

The other lens that also interests me, is the 45mm f2.8 macro that has the Leica name printed on. Again, this lens is $1200CAD, almost the same price as the Canon EF 100mm f2.8L ($1250CAD). Both lenses are stabilized but he Canon version has hybrid IS that helps counter camera shake at macro distance. In terms of image quality, I highly doubt there is a large difference between the two lenses, and I am willing to take a gamble that the Canon 100mm f2.8L IS will outperform the Panasonic version slightly.

Nice try, Panasonic. It's great that you bring out primes for the micro 4/3 mount, but your lens pricing is out to lunch. I will pick the Canon 100mm f2.8L any time if the price is similar.

Well, I guess I will continue to mount manual focus lenses on my G1, and add auto focus lenses for the Canon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Canon 1D Mark III Update

I have had the 1D III for over a month, but hardly used it much. In my initial use of the camera I didn't find its image quality much better than the 5D, and there were some focusing issues, even with One-Shot AF. I have spent the last two days reading Rob Galbraith's write up on the 1D III's focusing issues, and trying different settings. I took the camera out this evening and tried it out and noticed great improvements, at least on my 85mm f1.2L. Focusing was quite consistently accurate, even at f1.2, using AI-SERVO, as well as One-Shot.

With the 50mm f1.2L, I found that it needed focus adjustment of about -5. Shot around the house on f1.2 and I am happy to say focus was very accurate. This is very encouraging.

My next test would be the action tracking with various lenses. I will start with the 70-200mm f2.8L IS this weekend, and see how it goes.

Megan -- Canon 1D Mark III with EF 85mm f1.2L II @ f1.6, ISO 1600. Larger Picture.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kodak Cine Ektar 152mm f4 C-Mount Lens

So far, I have used 4.5 Kodak cine lenses. Why 4.5? Well, let me explain. The 0.5 was the Kodak 38mm f2.5, but for whatever reason, this lens had a very small imaging circle and thus won't cover the G1's sensor. I returned it after a week. For the time that I have had it, it stunned me on how sharp this lens was, wide open. I am serious, that was probably the sharpest c-mount lenses I have ever used. But, I can't keep it.

The other 4 I have used are cine Ektar II 26mm f1.9, 50mm f1.6 Anastigmat, cine Ektar 63mm f2, and finally, the cine Ektar 152mm f4.

The 152mm f4 lens is the longest c-mount lens I have used. It's one of the three lenses that came with the 16mm Kodak movie camera I bought. The lens is equivalent to 304mm when mounted on the G1, it's very difficult to check focus, especially when the focusing ring is very choppy and tight to focus. You will also need very fast shutter speed to counter the hand shake. Like many of the old lenses, this particular one has a very tight aperture ring and focusing ring, due to grease dried up. This really gets in the way of enjoying the lens.

Aside from the focusing issues, I have no complains about its image quality. I haven't encounter a bad Kodak cine lens yet. I dare say the Kodak lenses are very under valued. They are as good as the German, French and Swiss counterparts.

This lens vignettes a little wide open, but after stopped down to about f5.6, it's mostly gone. When you nail the focus, the lens is very sharp from f5.6 on. Colour is very nice, although I think the pictures are a little "dry", possibly because the lens is quite contrasty.

Like the 50mm f1.6 Anastigmat, this lens is also uncoated, but it comes with a lens hood which is pretty effective. Most old c-mount lenses are not very good with flare, so a hood is a welcome accessory to have.

My take? It's not a really exciting lens, but when you need the reach, it will give you the pictures.

Fall Leaves -- G1 & Kodak Cine Ektar 152mm f4 @ f4. Larger Picture.

Car Wash. A bit soft due to focus -- G1 & Kodak Cine Ektar 152mm f4. Larger Picture.

Yellow Rose -- G1 & Kodak Cine Ektar 152mm f4. Larger Picture.

United Met -- G1 & Kodak Cine Ektar 152mm f4. This one is from in-camera jpeg. Larger Picture.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Broken Fence

Broken Fence -- G1 & Bausch & Lomb 26mm f1.9 Animar. Larger Picture.

I think I have c-mount lenses coming out of my ears!!! It's been an interesting experience. I get to use some of the lenses made in USA and they are actually excellent, especially the Kodak cine lenses really surprised me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hot Rod

Mercedes Benz Hot Rod. Parked right outside my workplace. In beautiful shape. Just gorgeous -- Panasonic G1 with Leica-R Elmarit 28mm f2.8. Larger Picture.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Picture Window

Panasonic G1 with Vivitar 24mm f2 PK-Mount. Larger Picture.

There is this very secluded, but colourful, Mexican restaurant right beside Toronto Western General Hopspital (is it still called that? I know many hospitals have been merged/renamed. It's at Dundas and Bathurst). This window resembles a hanging picture with the reflections on the glass.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rodenstock Rogonar-S 90mm f4.5

The Rogonar series are budget line of the Rodenstock enlarging lenses. The Rogonar-S series are optimized for enlargements up to 10x the original negative size. Even the bottom of the line series performs admirably. This lens achieves its optimal optical quality at around f8 to f11. At this aperture, the far corners are as sharp as the centre on full frame.

One of the problems making a lens out of an enlarging lens, is that there always seems to be some slight fogging in the center of the image. It's probably caused by the reflection of the internal lens barrel. Or, it could be just flare entering the lens. Since these lenses usually have odd filter sizes, finding a hood for them is not easy. Shielding the lens with my hand does seem to help a bit.

Another challenge is the small maximum aperture of enlarging lenses. Most of them are slower than f2.8, especially in longer focal lengths. f4.5 to f5.6 are common. This makes manual focusing difficult. Another reason why the Panasonic G1 is better suited for small aperture lenses--the EVF automatically adjusts the gain in the viewfinder or LCD until a viewable image is obtained.

I found that with the Yashica 55mm f2 lens is just slight too short for the 80mm lens, that it can't focus to infinity, and sligthly too long for the 90mm, which focuses a bit pass infinity. The 50mm version of the Yashica may be just right. I think I have one of these and will try it when it permits.

If you are bored with your multi-thousand dollar auto focus lenses, and you are looking for something more challenging and ultimate fun, make your own lens, and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Untiltled -- Canon 5D & Rodenstock Rogonar-S 90mm f4.5. Larger Picture.

New Sign. After more than 10 years, the Black Bull finally changed its hanging sign. I like the new design of the sign -- 5D & Rodenstock Rogonar-S 90mm f4.5. Larger Picture.

The Hugging Tree -- Canon 5D & Rodenstock Rogonar-S 90mm f4.5 @ f4.5. Larger Picture.

Untitled -- 5D & Rodenstock Rogonar-S 90mm f4.5. Check the 100% below. Larger Picture.

100% crop from the picture above. This is the far corner of the picture. Puts the L lenses to shame. Larger Picture.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Using Enlarging Lenses to Make Pictures

No, I am not talking about enlargers. I am talking about making pictures with enlarging lenses. Sometime last year, I read a photography forum where someone showed off some of the most fantastic pictures I had seen, made using an enlarging lens.

I was intrigued, and bought a used Rodenstock Omegaron 150mm f4.5 enlarging lens. Found a cheap 135mm f2.8 T-Mount lens, and removed the glasses. The enlarging lens was then planted on the front of the T-Mount lens. Now I had a lens that could focus to infinity. I couldn't believed my eyes when I looked at some of the pictures I took with it. They were sharp, corner to corner, on a full frame sensor. I was hooked.

Since then, I have accumulated a dozen or so enlarging lenses from 50mm to 300mm and made various lenses out of them. I made some of my favourite pictures with a few of them.

Basically, there are two ways to use the enlarging lenses. One, and the easiest way, is to use a bellows. This usually allows you to focus to infinity if the lens is longer than 90mm or so, and it lets you use the enlarging lens as a macro lens. But, this setup is very bulky and inconvenient to carry around. The second way to go about this is to "plant" the enlarging lens in an existing lens barrel. The second approach is what I took.

Believe it or not, I have a few boxes of cheap lenses of various focus lengths that I have collected over the years. They make great parts to build your own lenses. I found that the older the lens, the easier it is to take apart and be usable. Primes are best. A 50mm lens would make a great barrel for a 75mm to 105mm lens, using tubes or spacers made from filters rims.

I must say that it's great fun. It's a cheap way to get exceptionally sharp pictures, since most enlarging lenses are flat field design. They are designed for optical performance, instead of speed.

In the future, I will talk about individual lenses that I have used. Below you will find some sample lenses I have made, and a few pictures made from them.

Rodenstock Omegaron 150mm f4.5. My first frankenlens.

Sample pictures from the 150mm f4.5 Rodenstock Omegaron. Taken with a 1D mark II. Larger Picture.

Schneider Componon-S 80mm f4, planted on a 55mm f2 Yashica lens.

Sample pictures from the Schneider 80mm f4. Taken with 1D Mark II. Larger Picture.

Wollensak 209mm f4.5 Copy Lens. One of my favourite.

Sample picture from Wollensak 209mm f4.5 and Canon 1Ds. Larger Picture.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Laundry List of the Digital Cameras I Have Owned

Panasonic G1 with Kodak Cine Ektar 63mm f2 and 5mm extension tube.

MAWZ has written a nice little recap of the digital stuff that he has owned, titled "Oh, the Camera's I've Owned" and I think it's a great idea. I have decided to do the same, but I don't know how much I can trust my memory. Be warned, this is a long and boring post.

Canon G1 -- My very first digital camera, and one of the best in its class, sporting a very bright 3x f2 to 2.5 lens. This 3MP camera cost me almost $1300 back in May of 2001. It had the lowest noise and cleanest files. But, looking at it again in 2009, the quality looks like @%^!, compared to the DSLRs today. I owned this camera for 3 years but only shot about 5000 frames with it. I captured the early stages of my kids growing up and I am glad to have bought the camera.

Canon Digital Rebel 300D -- One of the most frustrating thing about the G1 was its focusing. It only wanted to focus on the most contrasty area within the whole frame, instead of where you want it to focus on. So, in September of 2003, I sold the G1 and bought a 300D with a kit lens from Vistek. I was in heaven. Finally I was able to shoot SLR again, without the expenses of film and development. The image quality from this camera was phenomenal. I never saw anything so grain free before. I ignored all the short comings of this camera, and shot the heck out of the camera. Sure it was frustrating at times. No Flash Exposure Compensation, No AI Servo except in Sports mode, which only worked with ISO400. What kind of stupid decision is that to cripple a camera which was capable of so much more! The camera was also very slow, especially at write speed. I made roughly 7000 frame for the 14 months I owned it. VERY unfortunately, this camera gave me GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).

Canon D60 -- Starting with the D60, I have not bought a brand new DSLR except the Panasonic G1. Everything I bought from this point on were used. This camera survived only a few days and then it was dead. I am glad I bought it from Henry's Outlet Store, and I was able to swap it for the 10D. Not used it enough to get any impressions, except that it was as slow as the 300D.

Canon 10D -- Solid, great camera with a much better view finder than the 300D. The 9 RAW frame buffer was a great relief that was the major cause of frustration on the 300D. Like the 300D, it had great IQ, but I wouldn't shoot anything pass ISO 800. About 15000 frames from the 10D in one year. I started using manual focus lenses on this camera, which to this date I still use regularly. In fact, I mount manual focus lenses on my camera more than auto focus lenses.

Canon 1D -- First pro caliber camera I owned, and unfortunately, I lost all original RAW files I shot with it, along with 250 GB of other pictures, due to hard drive failure caused by the fried power supply. All three hard drives died, but I was able to recover the none picture data from the other two, and the data I most wanted to save, the pictures, can not be recovered. The only consolation is that I printed quite a few 4x6 prints from the 1D files. Heavy, built like a proverbial brick outhouse. The focus capability was amazing. For the first time I was able to lock focus on moving objects with some consistency. Very noisy above ISO 640. Unforgiving when under exposed. Shooting this camera is almost like shooting slide.

Canon 20D -- After about 6 months of not owning a camera, due to the heart ache I had from the hard drive failure. I decided to start the photography again, but this time with some safe guarding measure. RAID, UPS, good power supply and a solid computer, etc. I can see why the 20D was among best DSLRs in its class. Fast, amazingly good quality, even by today's standards. Data writing was blazingly fast, compared to the 10D/300D. The handling was also great. It was sad to let this one go. Had this camera for about 1.5 years with roughly 12,000 frames.

Pentax *DL & DL2 -- Totally unexciting cameras. Image quality was ok but not great. Only reason I bought them because I brother-in-law got them very cheap when they were out of production.

Pentax K10D -- Great camera. The in-body Anti-shake helped a lot, but not as much as I hoped it could do. This camera was amazing for the feature it offered: sealed body, SR, great handling and reasonably good image quality. Didn't last long though. It was gone after 4 months and 2000 frames.

Kodak SLR/c
-- My first full frame camera and one of the worse body I have ever used, equal only to the Sigma SD10, which shared the same body. Everything about this camera was slow, slow slow. It took about 15 seconds for the preview to come up after you shoot the picture. At first I thought the camera was broken. The LCD must be the cheapest part that Sigma can find. It was absolutely unusable. The other thing I did not like about this camera is its noise. I wouldn't shoot anything over ISO 320. Files from camera just did not seem very clean, even at base ISO, compared to Canon DSLRs. The thing I liked the most about it is the colours. It's very different and I like it better than the Canon. It only stayed in my hand for two months with about 1200 frames.

Canon 1D Mark II -- Second attempt at the pro body. This was by far the best camera I have owned, in terms of a balance of image quality and capabilities. It's the longest owned camera I had and only sold it very recently after I bought the 1D Mark III. This is a workhorse of a camera that never let me down, except when the shutter died prematurely at 70,000 clicks. I took more 40,000 frames in three years that I owned it.

Canon 1Ds -- While waiting for the 1D II to be fixed, I bought this camera. It turned out that I like the 1Ds a lot. It was ideal for manual focus lenses. I owned this camera at the same time as the 1D II, and used it quite a bit. About 95% of the pictures I took with this camera was made with manual focus lenses. The good -- image quality at low ISO; interchangeable focusing screen. The bad -- noisy about ISO 400; slow. This camera stayed with me for almost a year and 10,000 shots.

Sigma SD10 -- Bought this from the camera show for $125. It had electrical problems with batteries. The batteries were drained after only about 30 shots. I had the intention to use it for infrared, but it didn't turn out very well, because I only had the kit lens that came with it, and the infrared filter I had wasn't very good. It's gone after two months with only a few hundred pictures. Very slow. Almost as bad as the Kodak.

Canon 30D -- Bought this for my son, hoping that he would get interested in photography. No dice. I used it for a few months and I have to say it's one of the nicest Canon consumer bodies. Image quality is slightly better than the 20D.

Panasonic G1 -- Must be the best little camera that's high in the fun scale. I shot an unbelievable 15,000 frames in 5 months! It can take any lens you throw at it. Image quality is good, but not even close to the likes of 5D. Anything above ISO 400 is very noisy. But, it's small with a flip screen. The Electronic View Finder is still one of the best. This finder make manual focus a snap. Still using it every week.

Canon 5D -- I kinda missed the full frame after I sold the 1Ds, so I bought a used 5D. Turns out I love the image from this camera, even more than the 1Ds. It's so clean, files so sharp, it's my favourite camera when it comes to image quality. Auto focus is extremely accurate on the 5D. Still use this camera weekly. I have had this camera for only 3 months, and about 5000 frames.

Canon 1D Mark III -- At the moment, I don't know what to make of it yet. I had high expectations with this camera, but it turns out that I wished I didn't buy it. It couldn't focus reliably even in one-shot mode. Did some test shots with oncoming cars going at about 40km/h and only a few were in focus. This camera has the sub-mirror fixed by Canon. I am planing more focus test with various lenses and see how the auto focus performs. Most likely it will go back to Canon to have the focus checked.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A few pictures from EF 85mm f1.2L

The Canon EF 85mm f1.2L is one of my best loved lenses. The favourite scale is right up there with the EF 200mm f1.8L, but much more portable, much lighter and much easier to work with. Pair it with a full frame sensor, it's a match made in heaven. It's a lens you want to shoot wide open at f1.2, ALL THE TIME!

Working Late - 5D & EF 85mm f1.2 @ f1.2, ISO 1600 hand held. Larger Picture.

Window Art at Queen & River Sts. 5D & EF 85mm f1.2 @ f1.2, ISO 1600 hand held. Larger Picture.

Glass Vases -- 5D & EF 85mm f1.2 @ f1.2. Larger Picture.

Hanging Glass Art -- 5D & EF 85mm f1.2 @ f1.2. Larger Picture.

Boo -- 5D & EF 85mm f1.2 @ f1.2. Larger Picture.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kinotel 3 Inch f2.5 Anastigmat C-Mount Lens

At first I thought the Kinotel was related to Kinoptik of France, but unfortunately no. Many older Japanese companies chose names that resembled established brands, such as Zeiss Ikon (Nikon -- Take the Z and turn it 90 degrees, add it to Ikon, and you have got Nikon. The original name for Nikon was Nippon Kagogu Tokyo KK). So, it's no surprise that Kinotel imitates Kinoptik. Names aside, lets talk about the lens itself.

There are two versions of this lens. One is the 3 inch (75mm) f1.9 and the other is the 75mm f2.5, which I have. The copy I have is in excellent working condition. Focusing ring and aperture ring both are well damped and smooth. When I got my lens, it could not focus to infinity, but as it turned out, there is an infinity focus adjustment. It took only a few minutes to get it adjusted.

Three things I don't like about this lens:

1. Minimum focus distance is 5.5 feet, about 1.5 meters. Similar to the Switar 75mm f1.9 also at f1.5 meters, and worse than the Angenieux 75mm f2.5 at 1 meter. For this reason, the magnification is pretty small, which makes close ups of flowers pretty hard to do.

2. The rear element is very recessed. This makes cleaning the lens extremely difficult.

3. Flare. This lens flares easily. Stray (side) light that enters the lens would make the lens lose contrast real fast. The lens hood that came with the lens is too short to be useful.

With the bad stuff out of the way, let's turn to the image making aspect of the lens. Like most 16mm movie lenses, this one is actually very good. Usable wide open, but helps tremendously when stopped down to f4. Very sharp from f4 on. The colour is quite n and very bokeh is pleasing. This lens, although made for 16mm movie cameras, has a relatively large imaging circle. No vignetting observed at any aperture.

To make this lens more useful, I usually bring a set of c-mount extension tubes. With a 20mm extension, you can get very close, in the order of inches. The magnification also increases markedly. Even with a 10mm extension, it's very usable as a close up lens. Of course, with the extension tube on, you can't focus to infinity.

Truth be told, I prefer the Kodak 63mm f2 lens over this one. The Kodak produces overall more pleasing pictures. But, this is by all means not a bad lens. Far from it. If you can get it for a good price, don't hesitate. Go for it.

Fall Leafs -- G1 & Kinotel 3 inch f2.5 @ f2.5. Larger Picture.

New Leaf -- G1 & Kinotel 3 inch f2.5 @ f2.5. Larger Picture.

Flare -- G1 & Kinotel 3 inch f2.5. Larger Picture.

G1 Is Back

So Canada Post screwed up. It took them 6 days to deliver a package from Mississauga to Toronto, which normally should only take a day. The G1 came back with the problem completely fixed. They even replaced the part where the rubber coating that got rubbed off. The only thing I am unhappy about the repair is that they reset the picture count back to zero. Minor gripe aside, I am happy that I get the camera back. It's now performing the way it was designed.

Let me say it again that I am very impressed with the service turn around time (service was done by Professional Electronics). I wish all repairs can be done this fast.

Took it out today and tried the newly acquired Cooke TT&H 25mm f1.4 lens. Very nice lens indeed.

The Rose -- G1 & Cooke Ivotal 25mm f1.4 @ f1.4. Larger Picture.

Waiting for the Street Car -- G1 & Cooke Ivotal 25mm f1.4. Larger Picture.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Panasonc G1 Repair Update

The camera was sent in on Monday, September 28, and was received on Wednesday September 30. Camera was repaired and mailed back to me on the same day! And, I was supposed to receive it on the 1st of October, but Canada Post didn't attempt to deliver it until October 2nd. Today is the 5th of October, and I still have not received the camera. I am ecstatic about efficient service provided by Panasonic, and yet I am extremely frustrated.

Called Canada Post today and they said it could be because the camera was sent to my work place, and the sender might have forgotten to include the company name. I remember very specifically in my problem description that I sent with the camera, that I included the full return address, including my company's name on the address, care of me. I don't know if I should blame anyone. It just seems that I have had a string of bad luck in the last month or so. I am afraid this won't be the last.

I am keeping my fingers crossed, hoping it's just a some logistic error by Canada Post, and be receiving the camera tomorrow. If the sender has to place a trace of the package, I won't see the camera for another week or so, until the trace is complete.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Take on Equipment

No doubt you have heard some people say, "equipment does not matter. What matters is the head behind the viewfinder." There is a very little bit of truth to this, but I think mostly it's sour grapes, or, put it bluntly, loads of bull.

Equipment does matter, otherwise we will all be using pin-hole cameras to take pictures on 8x10 negatives. Every piece of equipment ever created was to fill a specific needs or purpose. From 8mm fish eye to 1200mm super telephoto lenses. From pin-hole to the latest and greatest digital technology wonders. Because, people will buy what fit their needs.

Some people criticize others when they suggest someone should buy an 85mm f1.2, or 50mm f1.2 lens, saying that the kit lens will do just fine. It's what's behind the viewfinder that's important. Oh yeah? I dare you to shoot with natural ambient light in a dimly light restaurant or party. You kit lens at 50mm is likely to have a maximum aperture of f5.6, and the shutter speed would be around 1/10 second at ISO 1600. Even if you can take a picture on tripod, the subject would have moved miles away by the time the shutter is tripped, unless you are shooting static objects. On the other hand, with a 50mm f1.2 lens, you have more than 4 stops of light available to you to shoot you picture. So, instead of 1/10 second, you can shoot at 1/160 of a second. Fast enough to freeze minor movements.

Let's face it. Kit lenses are mostly mediocre, with a few exceptions. Most of them won't be any good until it's stopped down a couple of clicks. So, if you have a lens that has a maximum aperture of f5.6, you stop it down 2 stops, and that's at f11, close to the diffraction limit on most crop sensor cameras. Most good lenses are usable wide open, and will be bitingly sharp one stop down.

I do, however, think that there should be a limit. Some, such as yours truly, are equipment slaves. There is not rationale to why they buy stuff they buy. They buy it because they want it, and not necessarily need it. But, if you need a job done properly, you need to use the right equipment. The head behind the viewfinder is important, but if all you have is pin hole camera, how are you suppose to capture sports events?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Looks like Halloween isn't far away.

Pirate at the Beach area -- Canon 5D & EF 50mm f1.2 @ f1.2