Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Projection Lenses

Streetcar on Empire & Queen
Streetcar on Empire & Queen -- NEX-5N & Kodak Ektagraphic 50mm f1.2. Taken this evening

My crazy passion for the projection lenses has somewhat subsided for the time being.  Still used them once in a while but not as much I used to.  There are still a few projection lenses that I have not had to time to make into a lens yet.  Two very long lenses, 200mm Leitz and 300mm Schneider are too long to be practical and I don't think I have anything helicoid that are long enough for them. I am sure when spring rolls around, and we have more colour around us, I will be using them more.  They are perfect lenses for flowers and greens. But, then again, maybe I will restart the enlarging lens project.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) Omnitar 200mm f3.2 -- First Look

Sometimes luck just happens and makes you happy.  Yesterday I was thinking about how to convert the Omnitar 200mm f3.2 that I bought the day before, so that I could use it either on Canon or NEX.  The M42 to Canon FD adapter on my desk was staring at me.  Instant brain fart!  I tried it on the Omnitar and what do you know?  The rear of the lens fits the M42 opening on the adpter perfectly.  In fact, it fits so snugly that I don't even need to glue it down to try it out.  I did have to saw off the tail tube, which would scratch the sensor of the NEX-5N if I didn't.  But, even with the tail section off, the rear still hits the mirror on the 1D III, but at least I can use it for the time being on the NEX-5N.

Sharp!  NEX-5N & Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) Omnitar 200mm f3.2 @ f3.2.

The lens now has an M42-FD adapter, and then a FD to NEX adapter.  Since it's not set in place with anything, the lens would rotate slightly if the focusing ring is turned too hard, making it awkward to use.  But that didn't stop me of course!  I walked around my work area at lunch time with camera/Omnitar 200mm 3.2 in hand and had some good walking exercise while taking pictures.

I was hoping the lens would be sharp to the edges, but it was just wishful thinking.  This, and the Omnitar 150mm f3, were made for 16mm movie cameras, and the NEX sensor is quite a bit larger than 16mm film.  This lens has very high resolution at the center and is very sharp wide open, but as I said, the edge is blurry.  Not as bad as the 150mm f3, but not sharp, at least wide open.  Another thing I was hoping for is that it would not vignette, but it does, though I think it's due to the small opening of the lens at the rear.  The vignette is worse at infinity than close focus.  As expected,  there is a lot of purple fringing at wider apertures, a problem with most old lenses.  But how does it render pictures?

Golden butterfly -- NEX-5N & Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) Omnitar 200mm f3.2 @ f3.2

Quite good actually, if you are not using it to shoot landscapes and hoping or razor sharp edges like the Distagon 21mm f2.8.  It does not have the modern lens look of the clinically sharp image, but its personally makes itself seen. Generally, images are pleasing to look at, but I also find it, and its bokeh to be slightly too harsh for a movie lens.  I am not sure I like the bokeh very much, but on the other hand, it's not objectionable.

Bokeh -- NEX-5N & Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) Omnitar 200mm f3.2 @ f3.2

Can't help but to bitch about the lack of built-in viewfinder of the 5N (I know an external one is available, but it's way too expensive).  Today was sunny and it was nearly impossible to see the LCD screen clearly.  The peaking level feature helps tremendously, but for critical focus, I still need to check image via magnified view, especially for longer lenses where depth of field is very shallow.  This makes me think about the Olympus E-M5 with its 5-axis sensor shift IS, coupled with an internal EVF, would probably makes long lenses much easier to use and end up with more keepers.

Wind Chime
Wind Chime -- NEX-5N & Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) Omnitar 200mm f3.2 @ f3.2

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Panasonic LX-2: Second Outing

Metropolitan United Church
Metropolitan United Church -- Panasonic LX-2

Took the LX-2 with me yesterday and shot around the Queen & Church area.  I really like the size of the camera, though I would like more if it's slightly larger.  The lens on it has pretty good resolution.  When processed through Lightroom 3 (which I couldn't resist the good deal that B&H had on sale for $69 about a week ago), the quality at ISO 100 is quite good.  I am now shooting at the 16:9 aspect ratio to maximize the solution of the sensor, though I don't really like it for still pictures.  To me, it's not as natural as 3:2.

In terms of image quality, there is really no comparison  to APS-C or even M43 sensors.  Even on base ISO 100, noise is visible and that DC look is staring you at the face at 100%.  I believe in print, up to 13x19, quality will be just fine.

It's a matter of time, the low end small sensor DCs will be history in a few years, replaced by cell phones, and most new DCs will sport larger sensors with much better image quality.  I do believe Nikon will have a upper hand on this, as the one inch sensor in the J1/V1 is perfect for digicams.  It's such a great balance between image quality and size/cost.  APS-C is a bit too large, as lenses that covers this size of sensor will have been be much bigger.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Omnitar Brother Found

Birns & Saywer 200mm f3.2, 150mm f3 16mm movie lenses
Birns & Sawyer Omnitar 200mm f3.2 (left), 150mm f3 (right) Movie Lenses

While waiting for the wife, I strolled around the pawnshop strip on Queen & Church.  I saw a Canon EF 50mm f1.8 Mark I (metal mount) on the window of one of the shops for $60, and thought that's a pretty good price.  Went inside and took a look, but didn't bring my Canon body to test, but bought it anyway.  While paying, I noticed this black, odd looking lens strikingly similar to my Birns & Sawyer Omnitar 150mm f3, which I write about it here, and asked to have a look. Sure enough, it's an Omnitar 200mm f3.2, in gorgeous condition.  Ended up buying the pair for a $100, which I think is a pretty good deal.  Not sure what mount the Omnitar 200mm f3.2 is, but it doesn't matter.  I will have to modify it anyway, somehow, like I did with the 150mm f3 (Nikon mount).

After I got home and put the 50mm f1.8 on my 1D III, and it didn't auto focus.  Turned out the contacts were a bit dirty.  Cleaned it up and it now works beautifully.  This lens is also in excellent shape.  I will give this lens to Dillon, who has been using my Sigma 50mm f1.4 and he didn't feel comfortable using an expensive lens.  Now he can take the lens/camera anywhere without worrying about it.

If the Omnitar 200mm f3.2 turns out to be as good as the 150mm f3, I will be extremely happy, especially if the edges are better, which I think it will be since the focal length is longer.  These lenses were designed for 16mm movies and have some unique looks to the pictures.  Wonder who actually made them, though.

[Updated]: It turns out the lenses were made by Tewe, a German company that made long lenses for motion picture.  On the lens barrel of the 200mm f3.2, it has the Tewe logo.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Olympus OM-D E-M5: The Best M4/3 Camera Yet?

Ever since the rumor mill churned out the news of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Micro 4/3 crowd has gone gaga over its capabilities.  Even many people who currently don't own any M4/3 stuff got their interest on it.  Will it live up to the hype?

The specs certainly looks pretty good: world's faster AF, claimed Olympus.  That's a big claim especially for contrast detect AF.  From the promotional video, it really does look impressive.  For me, though, this will be less important than for others, simply because I would be using manual focus lenses on it most of the time! Among the many features of the E-M5, which I don't care much, the 5-axis image stabilization interests me the most.  I am happy with the NEX-5N, except the lack of a built-in viewfinder, and no body IS.  If it is as effective as Olympus claims, I would be VERY interested and may even get one, so far the image quality is also as good as claimed, or close the what the NEX-5N is.

But, the long waited 5D II replacement will be announced early next week, and the specs are also impressive, but the price is more than three times higher than the E-M5.  I have been patiently waiting for the full frame body (Canon) to come down in price, so that I can  buy one and  be done with body upgrade for the next few years with my 1D III and 5D II/III.  Choices are painful, especially when you can't go wrong with any of them.  I eagerly await Canon's new affordable full frame.  Exciting times when there are so many new cameras being announced, and also painful times when my upgrade fund is limited.

Tilted Lamp -- NEX-5N & Minolta RF Rokkor-X 250mm f5.6.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Graffiti Alley Toronto

Just a couple of blocks away from my work place, is the [in]famous Graffiti Alley in Toronto.  Basically, pretty much all of the walls in that alley is covered by graffiti.  No, it is not vandalism.  Graffiti artists are actually encouraged to do their art there.

Will You Marry Me
Will you marry me -- NEX-5N & Vivitar 24mm f2 OM Mount.

I have been there a few times, but I find that most of them are not sufficiently different to be interesting.  In other words, there aren't that many interesting ones that I like, possibly because I don't know graffiti art, but that's my opinion.  But, if you have never been there, it's quite an intriguing place to visit for the first time.

Graffiti building -- NEX-5N & Vivitar 24mm f2 OM Mount

One thing I didn't mention about the Vivitar/Kiron 24mm f2 lens, is that the bokeh is not very nice, at least not to my liking.  In some ways, it slightly resembles the Vivitar 35mm f1.9 wide open.  But, this lens is definitely very sharp when stopped down to around f4 to f11.  Even at f2.8 it's excellent.

Ugly bokeh?  -- NEX-5N & Vivitar 24mm f2 @ f2

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Favourite Manual Focus Wide Primes - Part II

Yesterday I wrote about the wider lenses that I have used and like, and I forgot to mention that the Olympus 24mm f2.8, which is also an excellent lens worth considering. Today, we are going to talk about the 28mm and 35mm lenses.

28mm and 35mm are very common focal lengths in the olden days.  Partly because these are comfortable focal lengths for most people.  Anything wider and it becomes difficult to control.  Also, they are relatively easy and cheap to make, for most of them.

For the 28mm, my favourite is the Leica-R 28mm f2.8 Elmarit.  As with all Leica lenses, it's very well made.  The only concern I have with this lens, is that one version of it has the pins on the lens where the hood attaches to, and these two pins are easy to become loose and comes off with use.  I had one like that, and the hood can no longer be attached.  The do not remove the hood on the one I have now.  The lens is optically very good and I love the colours from this lens. The only complain about it is the pretty severe vignette wide open.  The other favourite 28mm is the Pentax original K-Mount 28mm f3.5, whose design was derived from the famous and popular Takumar 28mm f3.5.  Compact and sharp, and focuses so smoothly that in itself, is a joy.

The 35mm focal length is a bit tough, simply because I have so many of them and I also like many of them.  I wrote about them here before, and I will reuse the picture below:

Fast 35s

My favourite is still the Leica-R 35mm f2.  This is a lens that never fails me in giving me pictures that I like.  The colour and contrast of this lens is so pleasing to my eyes.  The other 35mm lenses I like a lot is the Minolta MC 35mm f1.8 and the Olympus 35mm f2, in that order.  I kind of regretted selling the MC 35mm f1.8.  Really should have kept it.  In the list above, I still have all of them except the Nikon 35mm f1.4. I got rid of it since I didn't like it much.  The first lens on the list is the Takumar SMC 35mm f2 which I traded for the OM 35mm f2 from Adam.  I like the OM better than the Tak, although the Takumar 35/2 is harder to find.

There are so many fine lenses in the 28mm and 35mm that are very good.  If you just started with manual focus lenses, I would suggest something cheap, like a Vivitar, Soligor, Minolta or even some less known third party marque like Makinon, which sells next to nothing, but many of them are surprisingly good.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Favourite Manual Focus Wide Primes - Part I

A few of my readers have asked me to recommend lenses for their cameras, but unfortunately, lenses are like everything else: one man's junk lens is another's treasure, so it's kind of difficult to recommend lenses.  So, I have decided to write about my favourite manual focus lenses.  The ones that I commonly use, or not commonly use but I still like.  So, let's start with wide angle lenses.

The sad fact about cameras with crop sensors (1.5x, 1.6x, 2.0x, etc), is that equivalent wide angles are hard to find, or very expensive; often both hard to find AND expensive.  For Micro 4/3 system, a very wide 20mm lens on full frame becomes 40mm, which is not even considered wide angle any more.  The APS-C sensors fares slightly better.  The 20mm lens is equivalent to 30mm on 1.5x and 32mm on Canon APS-C cameras.  Still wide but no longer ultra wide.  Anyways, I will be talking about wide angles in full frame terms, or true focal lengths.  If you are looking for exotic lenses/focal lengths, sorry to disappoint you.  I don't have any, and can't afford anything like the Distagon 21mm f2.8 or the Olympus 21mm f2.0.  What you will see are readily available lenses that most of us can afford.

Tokina 17mm f3.5 -- I don't have any manual focus lenses wider than this, except the Takumar 17mm fish-eye. Truthfully, this is not a stellar lens, but is very cheap and more than good enough for everyday use.

Pentax-M 20mm f4 -- This lens is insanely sharp, but has some distortion.  Definitely not a good choice for architecture.  Under normal use, I don't find it objectionable.  This is the lens that I almost always use on my IR modified Canon 20D.

Vivitar/Kiron 24mm f2.0 -- Keep in mind that Vivitar has more than one version of this 24mm f2.  I used the 49mm filter size version before and found that wide open it has a lot of blooming and severely lack of contrast.  The Kiron (55mm filter size) is much better wide open, but still has a bit of blooming, which is gone by f2.8.  Very good optical performance, but do look out for sticky aperture blades.  My Kiron 24mm f2 is completely stuck open, and the Vivitar (made by Krion) 24mm f2 is starting to stick.  Also be sure to check de-centering.  My Vivitar seems to be slightly sharper on the left edge than the right edge.  These lenses have very good balance of value versus price.

Twin Brothers
Brothers -- Note the different coating. These two lenses could be made in different periods.

Twin Brothers
Twins -- Look identical except the mounts.  One is Olympus and the other is Nikon AI.

Next time will talk about my favourite 28mm and   35mm lenses.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Lucky Find

Taking Shape
Taking Shape -- Panasonic LX-2

Few weeks ago I picked up an LX-2 at the pawnshop.  It had no battery, no charger, and a pretty badly scratched LCD screen.  It was a risk because I had no idea if it works, but for $30, I decided to take it.  Ordered the battery and charger from eBay and they came today.  Put the battery in, and it worked!

This little gem is well made and feels quite nice in the hand.  The lens is not as nice as the one on the LX-3 or LX-5, but it has a decent range and reasonably fast maximum aperture of f2.8 on the wide end (28mm).  The sensor produces 10MP but only with the 16:9 aspect ratio, and 8.5MP for 3:2 and 7.5MP for 4:3 ratio.  To me, the only usable ISO is 100 and 200.  Anything over that is too noisy.  That's the reason I love the NEX-5N.  The bigger sensor has its advantages.  I like the size of the camera and it can easily go in a large pocket and easy to carry around.  I know it will stay in my backpack all the time, along with the NEX-5N.  A backup camera, if you will, for the NEX-5N.  Since it's so cheap, I don't worry about it being scratched or bumped.

Pomelos -- Panasonic LX-2

In terms of image quality, well, it has a tiny sensor, so even on base ISO, you will see noise but is completely OK if you don't view it at 100%.  I am sure it will print fine at 8x10 or even 13x19.  The best thing about this camera is that it can shoot RAW, but with one frame buffer (like the Sony R1 I briefly had until I couldn't stand it).  Of course you can't really buy a new LX-2, but if you encounter a used one at a low price, it will make a nice backup camera, or even your primary go anywhere camera.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rogers HQ

Rogers Headquarters -- Sony NEX-5N & Canon nFD 28mm f2.8

Canada has one of the highest cell phone fees (voice and data) in the world, and this is mostly due to the near monopoly control by three major cell phone service providers.  One of these is Rogers, and the other two is Bell and Telus.  Although several new players have entered the cell phone market, it has not made much of a dent to the pricing, partly because the new cell phone service providers have limited area coverage, or are using old CDMA technology.  There are signs that we may see some real competition once the new players have expanded the area coverage and provide better phone options with lower price.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

753 Stars of Love

Jar of stars
753 stars in a jar -- Canon 1D Mark III & EF 135mm f2.8 Soft Focus

Two years after we started dating, Jessica gave me a jar filled with stars, 753 to be exact, with all sorts of colours and sizes. Many of them had Love written on them.  I had the jar in my hand and didn't know what to make of it until she told me that one star represented a day we had been together.  I found my eyes were becoming misty, and my heart warmed.  I was very touched by this gesture of love.  The fact that she counted each day we met, and remembered it with a star, made me realized how serious she was, and how much she valued our relationship.  I knew then, that she had completely captured my heart; that she was the one for me, and that we would spend the rest of our lives together.  Over the years, we went through some very rough times together, and our relationships never grew apart, but got stronger because of that.  Only death will do us part, as in our marriage vows.

Happy Valentine's Day, my love!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Dillon -- 1D Mark III & EF 135mm f2 @ f2

I picked up a used Canon XS Rebel a little while back for Dillon, hoping that this time it will ignite the photography passion in him then the last time I got him the 30D, which I eventually sold as he wan't really into it. I am happy to say that he is somewhat more enthusiastic this time around, and we went out together once in a while for a shoot.  Perhaps the fact that his cousin Sally, who has caught the photography bug, has an influence on him.  In any case, it's a good thing.  Some of his pictures are quite good. Hope he will keep it up.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ryan at Music Recital

Ryan at music recital
Ryan on piano -- 1D Mark III & EF 50mm f1.2L @ f1.2, ISO 1600

My kid's music school had another recital today, and Ryan was asked to play.  I was awed by some of the very young but extremely talented players at the recital.  Few of them are younger than ten years old, but played complex pieces with ease.  Not only that, they played more than one instrument without breaking a sweat, not at the same time of course.  I think it was a great event for kids to learn from each other.

Canon FL 50mm f1.4

Boat in the parking lot
Boat -- NEX-5N & Canon FL 50mm f.14 @ f1.4, ISO 1000

The Canon FL mount was the predecessor of the Canon FD mount.  Basically, it's a very simple mount without any sort of automation, such as aperture priority or speed priority.  All these are really the same mount.  Most FL lenses will work on FD bodies as with stopped-down metering.  I did try the FL 58mm f1.2 on the Canon T90 and it worked well.  The Canon FL 50mm f1.4 lens has the same build quality as the FL 58mm f1.2.  Both lenses have the A/M switch for manual aperture control.  This feature was removed from the later FD and New FD mounts.

Red Tulips -- Panasonic G1 & Canon FL 50mm f1.4

In terms of optical quality, it's slightly less sharp wide open than the FD 50mm f14 SSC or the nFD 50mm f1.4, but is still usable.  Lots of purple fringing at wide apertures on scenes with strong back lighting, but improves when stopped down.  There isn't too much difference between f4 and f8.  All three mounts of this lens are excellent when stopped down a little.  I find the colour of the FL 50mm f1.4 to be very neutral, compared to the FD and nFD versions.

In all, I like this lens.  When you hold it in your hands, you feel the quality of the all metal construction.  The 8-blade aperture helps this lens' nice bokeh.  I don't see too many of this lens, but lots of the cheaper, but not any less well made 50mm f1.8 version, which is also a nice lens.  All the FL lenses I have were made with quality regardless of class.  The FL 50mm f1.8 feels just as good as the FL 58mm f1.2.  For us manual focus lens addicts, a well made lens is just as important as its optics.  In this department, the FL lenses deliver, and their optical quality is not too shabby either.  Grab them if you see them cheap.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Ryan Playing Video Game --1D Mark III & EF 50mm f1.2L 

Itsn't it unbelievable that our digital cameras capture colour images with a black & white sensor?  Ok, cameras using the X3 Foveon sensors are excepted, as it uses a vertical filter on the sensor itself, but majority of digital cameras use a Bayer Array sensor, which was invented by Kodak, and colour is interpolated from the RGBG filter.  Today's Bayer sensors are so good, colour accuracy is truly amazing.  Luckily, we don't have to worry about the technical side of this stuff.  We just point, and click, so to speak.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


William -- Canon 1D III & EF 50mm f1.2L

I like taking candid pictures of my kids.  It was a lot easier when they were young but as they grow older, they are more aware of my presence, especially with camera in hand.  Occasionally, I am still able to snap a picture here and there without them paying much attention to me.  I look at it this way, any picture I can take of them is a bonus.  A little piece of memory that I will enjoy looking back when the kids have all grown up and live their own lives.  That, I think, is why so many of us love to take pictures.  We are capturing our present for the future to see.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Canon 28mm f2.8 IS & 24mm f2.8 IS Lenses

Mystic Lamps -- NEX-5N & Kodak Anastigmat 50mm f1.6 Cine Lens.

Today we are bombarded with product announcements from many companies in the photography business.  The Nikon D800 got a lot of attention with the highest resolution sensor on a consumer DSLR; a whopping 36MP of it.  This kind of resolution was strictly medium format back just couple years ago.  It shows how far digital photography has gone.  Anybody needs that 36MP is completely another business.  Just imagine 70+ MB RAW files.  Storage is cheap, but this is insanity.

But, I am more interested in the Canon lens announcements.  The long waited 24-70mm f2.8L is a bit of a disappointment for many, as it lacks the image stabilization (IS).  The more consumer friendly 28mm and 24mm f2.8 IS are far more interesting, in my opinion.  This is the sign that Canon has finally started to revamp their consumer primes, at least for these two, which were introduced near the beginning of the EOS.

Frankly, these two lenses are a complete surprise for lots of people.  In fact, I didn't read anything about them before they were announced.  I would be completely happy with them, if the image quality holds up, which I have no doubt it would, until I saw the retail price of $800 for the 28mm and $850 for the 24mm.  The currently selling price of them is $330 and $450 Can$ respectively.  The addition of IS doubles the price of the existing lenses.  Canon is getting a bit greedy here, don't you think?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Toronto Mounted Police

Mounted Police
Mounted Police -- NEX-5N & Kodak Anastigmat 50mm f1.6 Cine Lens

Even in this age where everything is motorized, Toronto still has the mounted unit that patrols the city.  Quite often you will see them around the downtown streets,  or the know that they have been there from the horse droppings left behind.  I guess it's more of a tradition than mobility.  Sure the horses will run faster than human, but pretty much everything that requires mobility is done on cars and motorcycles.  I do welcome the presence of the horses though.  I think they look great and is sort of an attraction for tourists.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The End of the Kodak Moment?

Young rose leaves -- Kodak SLR/c & Carl Zeiss S-Planar 60mm f2.8 Makro. Click for larger. 

I meant to write about my thoughts on the demise of the once great Kodak company when they announced that they were filing for Chapter 11, but never got around to it.  I will never know how Kodak has fallen so hard and eventually on the last draw of its breath, but I think the executive management has a lot to do with it, along with the marketing department.  In so many ways, Kodak was a pioneering company that has given us so many advances in photography, analog or digital.  It was the first company to market a professional digital SLR (and of course the sensor in it), and for a long time, they were the only game in town.  Sure, the bodies came from Nikon and Canon, but the digital technology was all Kodak.  It was the slow adaptation to consumer digital cameras that kill them.  They were holding on to film, and hoping that digital would not make it.  It's too bad that they were wrong, and I am sure it's a little too late trying to regain any market share, not to mention the paper thin margins on consumer digital cameras these days.

I had the Kodak SLR/c full frame for a few months, and that was my first full frame DSLR.  Unfortunately, as much as I love the colour and image quality from base ISO, it was a clunky camera and wouldn't even work with my 135mm f2L lens (won't focus, but other lenses were OK).  It was based on the old Sigma 7 body and everything about it was slow and the LCD screen is next to useless.  The dinosaur like 1Ds was like a race car compared to this ancient piece of hardware.  I simply couldn't stand it.

I hope they will restructure, at least keeping the Kodak company alive, but I highly doubt it will ever be a photographic imaging company again, at least not in the consumer market, especially if they sell off their sensor technology.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Love

My Love -- 1D Mark III & EF 85mm f1.2L @ f1.2, ISO 1600

The person in the picture above is my wife, Jessica.  We have been married for just over 16 years, and we dated for 11 years prior to that.  I know for fact that we will be together till the very end; we are made for each other.  You see, we never dated anyone else before we knew each other.  My life has changed in so many ways, to the better, because of her.  I am amazed of her tolerance of my many faults, one of which is the addiction to photographic gear.  She is way smarter than she gives herself credits for, and she never wavers in the principles that she believes in.  She is a person I can trust and believe in; a person who will be there when I need her the most; a person who will never abandon me when I have nothing left; a person who I can't wait to come home to, regardless how far away I am.  I love this woman!

The Conductor

The Conductor
The conductor -- 1D Mark III & EF 85mm f1.2L @ f1.2, ISO 800

This little kid was play conducting along side the real conductor at my kid's winter concert.  I thought it was funny.  Too bad the angle wasn't good to include the real conductor with the more of the players.  Usually these plays lasts about a minute and a half, so there wasn't a lot of time to change lens or get a different angle. Another plug for the 85mm f1.2L.  It's one of those lenses that never lets you down, even at f1.2.  The only other 85mm f1.2 lens that I know of, and is on par with image quality, is the Zeiss Contax 50 anniversary 85mm f1.2.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Flash Back on the Old Love

Megan -- Canon 1Ds & EF 50mm f1.8 Mark I

Going through some of my old pictures and found this one above that I took more than 3 years ago for testing the 50mm f1.8 version I (metal mount) on the original, very old 1Ds.  For some reason, I LOVE the colour from the 1Ds and its image quality at low ISO is still one of the best.  If not for the abysmal LCD screen, very slow operation and the one level of image magnification on playback, I would have kept this beautifully made full frame camera.  I really took this camera everywhere I went since it was my only camera at the time, and I am really glad that I did.

By the way, the 50mm f1.8 Mark I is really nice.  If Canon can upgrade the Arc-Form Drive motor to Ultra Sonic Motor (USM), it will sell like hot cakes if priced under $200.  But then again, Canon wants you to buy the 50mm f1.4 or 50mm f1.2L.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Manual Focus Lenses and Exposure Issues on Canon DSLR

Canon 1D Mark III & EF 180mm f3.5 Macro

If you have been using manual focus lenses on Canon DSLRs, you will know that the exposure is not accurate as you stop the lens down.  Basically you need to compensate -1 stop for each stop down.  On the 1-series of bodies, this is not as bad, but it's still there.  The severity depends on the lens.  Some are better than others, but all seem to exhibit this problem.  You will eventually get used to it and automatically adjust.  When live-view appears on the Canon DSLRs, and if you take pictures using it with manual focus lenses, the problem is gone.  Very accurate exposure on any aperture using live-view.

For EVIL users, they never knew what the fuzz is all about, since all of them use some sort of live-view and exposure has never been an issue.  This is one reason I like using manual focus lenses on EVIL cameras -- very accurate exposures on any aperture.