Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 - A Year in Review -- Part II

This year I spent a lot of time and effort on Do It Yourself lenses; mainly projection lenses and a few enlarging lenses. The helicoids that I made/bought have helped making these otherwise useless lenses into image making tools. Projection lenses in particular, are dirt cheap, mostly because they have no aperture control, and their flange is extremely short, making them usable only the NEX (and some cases, M4/3). But, these lenses are very FAST, often with aperture of f1.2, perfect for low light, extreme shallow depth of field images. Below are some of my favourite DIY lenses:

Kern-Bolex 50mm f1.3

Extremely sharp, but flare and purple fringing prone.  Love the colour that comes out of this lens.  Very small and compact, yet very fast.  When mated to a focusing helicoid, it can focus very close and can be used as a pseudo macro lens.  Yet, it is able to achieve infinity focus. Avoid strong light/back lights.

Little Blue Flower -- NEX-5 & Kern-Bolex 50mm f1.3 Projection Lens. Click for larger.

Federal Fedar 3.5 inch f6.3 Enlarging Lens:

This lens gets my vote for the best bang for the buck.  Seriously, people have trouble selling this enlarging lens for $5, because it's tiny, uncoated, and has very slow maximum aperture of f6.3.  But, as a sunny lens, I have found that it can make beautiful and colourful images, and it's sharp!  Best used with a hood as it's uncoated and flare is a huge issue.

Tulip twins -- NEX-5 & Federal Fedar 3.5 inch f6.3. Click for larger. 

Astro-Kino Color 65mm f1.5 Projection Lens

One unique signature of this lens is that it produces swirling backgrounds when shot at a certain distance.  Many readers seem to enjoy this characteristic but when over used, it could be nauseating.  Like most projection lenses, It's very sharp at working aperture.

Tommy Thomson Park -- NEX-5 & Astro-Kino Color 65mm f1.5.  Click for larger.


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