Sunday, March 29, 2015

Commlite EOS to E-Mount AF Adapter with Canon EF 135mm f2.8 Soft Focus

This is sort of a sleeper lens that most Canon shooters don't even realize it exists. Even if they do know, the lens is often overlooked, and made worse by the Soft Focus description in the lens which make people think it can only be used as a soft focus lens.  The fact is that this lens is very sharp, and the soft settings can be disabled and be used as a normal lens.  There are only two things going against it; very terrible build (though not as bad as the plastic fantastic 50mm f1.8 II) and it sucks dust like a vacuum.  I have two of these lenses and both have lots of dust inside.  Both of my lenses were dropped and became inoperative.  I have one fixed by Sun camera and they did a good job, but the other one is still dead.  Looks like this lens can not take any abuse :)  I might as well add that this lens focuses very loud, since it uses a Arc-Form Drive (AFD) motor, like the original EF 24mm/28mm/35mm/50mm lenses.

I took this lens to Allan Gardens (along with the 180L macro) to test.  The light in the greenhouse is actually quite bright, but autofocus was very bad with the Commlite and often the adapter is unable to achieve focus, especially when the subject is near the minimum focus distance.  I gave up after the first few shots and used the lens in manual focus mode for the rest of the shoot, and it worked out quite well.  This lens, unlike the 180L macro, did not behave erratically like the macro lenses (100mm and 180mm) and stayed at its intended mode.

At this point, I am pretty disappointed with the Commlite adapter. It's quite obvious that it has not gone through thorough testing with each lens, or perhaps, they know of the issues, but could not do anything about it.  I would not recommend this adapter if you intend to use the Canon lenses as your primary or only lenses.  It will simply drive you up the wall.

All pictures below were taken with the Sony A7 & Canon EF 135mm f2.8 SF + Commlite AF adapter. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dallmeyer De Luxe 2 Inch f3.5 Enlarging Lens

Dallmeyer lenses seems to have a cult following.  Some of its lenses are rediculously expensive in the tens of thousands of dollars territory.  I can't lie.  I love Dallmeyer lenses; some of them are truly unique in image rendering, especially the bokeh with painterly quality.  But, these lenses are not affordable for most of us.

I don't have much experience with Dallmeyer lenses.  I had a Speed 1 inch f1.5 c-mount cine lens that I got in a junk bin for $5 when c-mount lenses were pretty much useless.  It produced very swirly bokeh on my Panasonic G1 M4/3 camera and it was fun for a little while, but I didn't like the effect, so it was gone.

Last year at one of the camera shows, I bought a Dallmeyer Dallon 12" f7.7 large format lens but only shot it a few times, because it was difficult to use due to the focal length and flare, but I like the pictures it produced.  The bokeh was captivating and attractive.  In fact, I am hoping to use it much more often this year.

Few weeks ago, I saw a Dallmeyer De Luxe 2 inch f3.5 enlarging lens in excellent condition, and it was somewhat affordable, so I went for it.  It came few days ago and I couldn't wait to give it a go.  The rear thread of the lens is slightly larger than standard 30mm used on many folder camera lenses; I had to enlarge my 30mm to 52mm step-up ring so that the lens thread could go through.  Once the hole was enlarged enough, I glued the lens to the step-up ring, and mounted it on the Yeenon 18-33mm focus helicoid.  It can focus relatively close but also able to attain infinity focus.  All set for a photo shoot!

I am not disappointed with the lens.  It's very sharp and produces nice colours. Stopping down to f11 to f16, the edges are almost as sharp as the center.  What I like most about it is the overall pleasing rendering, especially the bokeh, which I thoroughly enjoy.  The colour is also very nice, although it's not really an issue for most lenses as it can be adjusted in post.

Will update with more pictures.

All pictures below shot with a Dallmeyer De Luxe 2 Inch f3.5 & Sony A7

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Commlite EOS to E-Mount AF Adapter with Canon 180mm f3.5L Macro

I couldn't get any useful pictures with the Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II, so I will postpone the write up for that lens for a later date, and instead, I will update with the 180mm f3.5L Macro.

The EF 180mm f3.5L macro is the least used lens I have.  I should just as well get rid of it and probably would not miss it, but I know full well I will regret it as soon as I do that.  It's quite a bit better than the Sigma 180mm f3.5 I once had, in terms of build and optics.  Each time I use it, I am not disappointed.  The long working distance is perfect for shooting critters that might  move if they sense you are too close.  The colour and sharpness are outstanding qualities this lens has, not to mention how well it's built.  Unfortunately, this lens does not work well with the Commlite AF adapter.

Unlike the EF 100mm f2.8L Macro, which is a complete disaster on the Commlite adapter, the 180L does work, just not the way you expect it to.  I set the shooting mode to Aperture priority 99% of the time, except when the light is getting low, I would switch to Shutter Speed Priority.  When this lens is mounted on the A7 with the Commlite adapter, the shooting mode does not seem to have an effect, whether set to A or S.  The adapter seems to have a mind of its own and changes the aperture/shutter speed as it saw fit, like the mode dial is on P.  The strange thing is that when the adapter sets the aperture on f4.5, it does not close down when the shutter is pressed, but stayed wide open.  It does, however, support Full Time Manual focus, which is important for macro shooting, and I was able to take some pictures with the lens.

Auto focus wise, let's just say forget about it.  The 180L macro lens already has a very long focus travel distance and the adapter would rack the lens from closes to infinity each time it fails the attempted focus.  It's excruciating to watch the lens struggle.  By the time it finally obtained focus, the cows had already come home.  So, this lens is best used in manual focus mode, and AF is pretty much useless anyway when shooting macro near maximum magnification. Still, it's useful because manual focus is possible.

All pictures below were taken with the Commlite AF adapter on Sony A7 with Canon EF 180mm f3.5.