Monday, January 31, 2011
this was from last weeks sushi escapade, I didnt realise how much I manipulate some of these scenes until I looked atthe files afterwards .
I dont mean by post processing , I mean moving items around, or removing things from the shot , or angling menus and/or napkins to reflect light around. As you can see in the shot to the left , Its a bottle of Soy sauce, 3 small dishes ( I dont know their proper name) and chopsticks that I removed from their wrapper but unseparated. The first few didnt work out, but once I removed the napkins and placemats , and slid the items directly under a spotlight, it was the shot I was looking for . My daughter says I used a menu to reflect the light onto the bottle.
Super Multi Coated Takumar 50/1.4 at f1.4 and ISO 800 .
The news I was talking about was grabbing an actual autofocus pentax lens, the FA 50/1.4 that has the same optical formula as this lens, so we shall see how the images turn out.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
I focused about 3 inches prior to the bowl and i had it away from the spotlights so it has a nice subdued lighting, and a rich colour to it all.
The top part is the bowl of miso soup, and the bottom left is a piece of Red Tuna Sushi ( yum!) taken at ISO 800 on my Pentax KX and my lens of yore, Super Multi Coated takumar 50/1.4
Full size here, enjoy
Saturday, January 29, 2011
We had a 24 piece party pack of sushi and maki and it was delicious except for the miso soup which I didnt like ( she didnt either) being a kid she got away with " I dont like it" and I had to make do with " I left some in the bowl so I can take some photos of it ":)
Im trying something new that I learned on another site , Thorsten Overgaards excellent site . For outdoors Im using ISO 100 for indoors ISO 800 , and I am also trying to use the lenses as close to wide open as possible , so this shot is:
Pentax KX with 1971 Asahi Pentax Takumar 50/1.4 @ 1.4 ISO 800 and shutter speed of 1/60 second. The in-body IS ability of the KX is a godsend for these type of shots , and I also found that the density of the Takumar makes the camera really easy to hold steady as it ends up being well balanced. full size here
I mostly took this shot as I noticed the crazy bokeh of the spotlights in the restaurant , and I cheated alittle by sliding my bowl directly underneath one of them !
later , now Im hungry, just not for Miso
Friday, January 28, 2011
Cpntax Carl Zeiss T* 85/1.4 Planar I got for a really great price from a retired photographer in Saskatoon
The downside of it is that it wont work on my KX without some hardware modifications and I am reluctant to do so as its a rare German made version as I said before.
The upside is : the incredible clarity and definition even on a 7 year old Canon Rebel XT , this was taken at a party for my daughter and using natural light only . Handheld and wide open my mother seems to pop out of the frame, but as she said " I look like an old woman" funny how being 67 does that to someone!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I was a bit disappointed with the performance of the pentacon outdoors in the harsh winter glare, I need to buy a lenshood methinks! Saying that, I went out for a coffee with a friend of mine, and it was -21C outside, which apart from being cold as all get out was great for my car stereo, i dont think the sound has ever been so clear and crisp!
I ordered my usual drink and for some reason this time it was bubbly, I mean REALLY bubbly, so before i put in my dairy product I took 3 or 4 shots with the Pentacon 50 wide open at ISO 800 .
One major advantage of the Pentacon is that it can focus down to 0.3 metres, so thats what I did to see how the quality and depth of field are, and i must say i am pleasantly surprised , the middle bubbles are in focus, the foreground ones arent and the ones at the back of the mug have the crazy Euro-style swirly bokeh that I like in these oldies. Im thinking I should print it out and see if the coffee shop will hang it up.........
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Once again, the trusty Pentax KX and the soviet M42 gem Helios 44m-6 , the lens for some reason has a way of making the images *pop* I guess thats what you get when you copy a lens formula from Carl Zeiss , luckily as I mentioned before, it was 40 dollars and not 200+
This was taken at f4 and the sun had started to set, but the clouds above were still in the sunlight and gave off the awesome radiance that you see here
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
This is the tree outside my house taken at f2 ( f1.8 has no shape to the out of focus highlights) and you can see the hexagonal flares in the ice drops quite readily
Monday, January 24, 2011
This is my go-to lens when I want to just shoot and not worry about anything, I had a lot of fun and most importantly so did the kids, especially once the cake was broken out
This shot is at F1.4 wide open and amazingly its at ISO 1600! the credit goes to the KX's excellent sensor and Adobe lightroom 3s noise reduction algorithm , you can see that the eyes are in focus, and almost everything else is smoothly out of focus , the lighting from the right is reflected from outdoors and is bouncing off all the snow , roll on spring!
Sunday, January 23, 2011
This one was taken wide open outside the YMCA as the summer sun dropped behind the trees and buildings , using the older Canon Rebel XT as Pentax wont accept the Contax /Yashica mount lenses unless you do some hardware modifications to it , its not destructive, but a bit pricey and fiddly the gentlemans website is here: Contax and Leica mods for Pentax I havent tried them myself, but I hear really good things about the work he has done for others .
A small tidbit about this lens is that it is the MMG version ( G for made in W Germany, as opposed to the MMJ made in, you guessed it, Japan) I really like this lens, but its worth quite abit of money and I dont want to hack/mod it, so I will probably sell it in the near future and use the money for something almost as good ( details to follow!)
thanks for reading, now I am running out of archived photos and will have to get to work!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I think Pentacon was a conglomerate of optics manufacturers that was created in the 40s/50s in East Germany from a lot of the smaller businesses that were still around after WW2 , but I am not 100% sure about that . The lens I have is well made , and all metal and it feels really dense, Ill have to do some research to see what its construction internally is, because it feels like it has a lot of glass in there. Focusing is smooth and its called a 50/1.8 MC so I assume its multi coated , but again Im not sure. All I know is , it takes very pleasing shots and it can focus very close, about 30 cm , which is almost macro territory!
This is a shot taken in my computer room using the M42 adapter on my Pentax KX , and its my daughters curly hair , I was so close the depth of field is razor thin, but as you can see, parts of the strands are in focus and are quite well defined , this was wide open at 1.8 and using ambient light, so as usual, a shot I took for a goof ended up being a keeper , I should rely on my instinct more often and not try and force creativity
Friday, January 21, 2011
The only thing I really had to change was the noise in the image, the Pentax KX takes really good JPGs but I am now using mostly RAW as the vintages lenses have a tendency to over or underexpose depending on the f-stop used ( no correction inside the camera like the fancy new lenses) and i found that trying to add 2 stops to a jpg ended up with banding
The plus side is that when you use higher ISO settings, the RAW files actually look like film grain, so it fits perfectly my *vision* of what i wanted to accomplish with this project, shoot filmic imagery without using film :)
ISO 800 wide open at F1.4 focused about 1 metre before the object , and hand held , the body image stabilisation is a godsend!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Second of all, a wide open aperture thats under F2.0 has a razor thin depth of field that works great for portraiture as it can isolate your subject easier to cut out background or foreground clutter in the case to the left
I took this inside a dimly lit coffee shop on an overcast day in january using ISO 800 and f1.4 wide open on my Super MC Takumar 50/1.4 , the Pentax KX body has really good higher ISO capabilities, and 800 is as good as 200 on my rebel XT , but the KX is 7 years newer :)
As you can see from the shot , my daughters eyes and face are in focus and everything else is blurred, but not blurry to the point of annoyance, I find it actually quite a pleasing effect as the blur is subtle and smooth
the only reason I converted it to Black and White was I thought the tones and contrast looked better in B+W as opposed to colour :)
bye for now
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
This shot is from a whale-watching trip we took this summer in the bay of fundy , and even with the crop factor making the lens 202mm the whales were still VERY close , and the definition of the lens isnt as bad as I remember . and the shot was taken at F8 , you can actually see the whales mouth under the water ! full size version is here
The 135/3.5 is a hugely overlooked lens, because Pentax also made a 135/2.5 , but the 3.5 version is still a good buy, and is available on ebay for about 50-60 dollars!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I got this for 62 dollars off ebay and that was with 2 caps and a cool lens hood ( the hood itself sometimes sells for 40 ish) and the lens showed up and it was/is mint , and its barely bigger than the 135 tak , plus on my KX with the crop factor, the 200 becomes a 300! sweet! Right now ( jan 18 2011) there are about a dozen of these available for 100 dollars US shipped on ebay so if you want a really light and sharp prime telephoto lens, there you go
This shot was taken using a tripod on international observe the moon night, why they picked a non full moon for this i dont know, but this is one of the hots that came out nice , shot wide open at f4 and ISO 200, the shutter speed is a surprisingly fast 1/400 of a second , just goes to show you how much light the moon does reflect ,I also cropped out a little bit of the top and bottom to give the moon itself more impact in the frame
Monday, January 17, 2011
I already showed you some shots taken with the Takumar 50/1.4 and its awesome, and the wide angle 28 nature lens, plus the 35mm *normal* lens , but there is an overlooked gem in the Takumar range , the 55mm series
This lens comes in2 varieties, the 55/1.8 and the 55/f2 , mine is the 55/f2 and it cost me 22 dollars , I bought it to use as my bad weather lens , or a lens i can pop onto a camera and not worry if it gets ruined or dirty, so of course I used in once in the rain and it took some phenomenal shots!
The shot to the left is during a fall rainstorm wide open at f2.0 full size hereand the camera was wrapped up in a plastic grocery bag and the lens also. The trick was to unscrew the UV filter from the lens, wrap the whole rig in the bag, then rescrew on the filter OVER the bag, then remove it again and you have a perfect circle for the lens , just pop the filter back on and a rubber band to stop the bag opening and you are good to go ( Its actually quicker to do than it took to type and read all this)
One of the rumours about the 55 series of lenses is that they are identical, but the ones that didnt pass the wuality inspection for f 1.8 were remarked as f2.0s instead , I dont know if thats true, but it was on the internet so it must be . This lens can be found now for about 50 dollars, and the M42>EOS adapter was the fotodiox one I got for 10 dollars or so . The out of focus rendering is really cool, and with a bit of goofing with the light balance i made the shot look like the Vangelis Album cover to Beaubourg , by some strange coincidence, i was listening to Vangelis while doing the post - processing in Lightroom!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
First off you need an adapter to utilise the lenses on a modern body, I used the official m42>pentax K adapter for my lenses, but if you are using say a Canon body , then you will need a m42> eos adapter, the ebay seller Fotodiox sells decent ones for a good price, I think mine was under 15 dollars shipped.
Next of course you will need a lens, an inexpensive one at the moment is the one in my shot here, a Super MC Takumar 35mm/3.5 by Pentax, mine was 20 dollars and as you can see it is mint, in fact that guy who sold it to me said it had taken perhaps half a roll of film in 1970 or so , and was unused until I popped it onto a body 40 years later , the threading still had black paint on it :) On ebay right now you can expect to grab this for about 60-80 dollars with lens caps and a hood , like I said , the Takumars are going up in price rapidly , but they are very well made and have a great rendering to them that I find pleasing, especially the out of focus *bokeh* which reminds me of a painting . The neat part is that on a cropped sensor the 35mm becomes a 52mm to 56 mm lens , which is close to the classic film 50mm standard size.
here is a link to the full size image full size on flickr
Saturday, January 15, 2011
This is the lens that started me off in the realm of vintage glass for my cameras.
I was looking for an update to a videogame and the lead designer is an avid photographer quite reknowned in the world of underwater work , and he was talking about using his old Tair fotosnaiper lens on his modern body , so I did a search for vintage lenses on modern cameras and was surprised at how many sites were going on about dong that!
I started scouring around and found a guy 100km away who had a takumar 28mm f3.5 for 20 dollars , so I ordered it from him, and it cost me 28 total :) and I also ordered a m42 > EOS adapter from ebay , the lens shows up wrapped in bubble wrap and thrown into a xmas ornament thin cardboard box , plus it was a bit dusty , I was worried it might have been damaged, but it is a solid lens, all metal and crystal clear glass.
I put it on the Canon Rebel and couldnt believe the quality of the images , the colours popped, and the field of view was/is awesome! For up here in Eastern Canada one thng we have in abundence is nature, and with sunsets, sunrises etc , this lens really comes into its own, F3.5 isnt as sexy or cool as some of the other lenses made, but I shot almost all of my sky stuff at f3.5 or f5.6 and the only troubles I had was avoiding the darn powerlines!
The shot here for example was me running across the street in my pyjamas with a Pentax KX and the tak 28mm to grab a few shots of the brilliant colours before the sun was full risen and they all faded, the sky was only like this for about 90 seconds, but I think I managed to grab a decent shot of it, full size is here: Full size tak 28 sunrise
This lens is still quite inexpensive and is a bargain IMO, smooth focus , solid build and a very good angle of view , ( 42 mm on my KX, 44.8 on my Rebel)
Friday, January 14, 2011
Enough history, what I have is one of the best regarded Pentax lenses the Super Multi Coated Takumar 50mm/1,4 , I have a few takumars that I use on a regular basis , but the 50mm is my go to, I have shot a wedding with it, quite a few portraits, landscape , candids etc, all came out better than I expected , this lens is very clear , and sharp and optically to get the same quality in a modern AF lens you would spend over 1200 dollars , and this can be had for around 100 , but the secret is out and the prices are rising rapidly due to the Canon 5/7D video gang , the 7 glass elements are well made and the outer body is metal, so the lens is dense, and very solid .
If you are used to modern plasticy autofocus enses, the first time you pick up a Takumar it feels like you are holding a hand grenade, a hand grenade of awesome! What Asahi's design mantra atthe time was to create a lens that was better than zeiss of Leica, and they achieved pretty much that ideal, in the 60s this lens was $199 and i read somewhere that they took a loss on every one they made until the manufacturing process became less expensive , to convert that, $199 in the 60s is about $2000 now!
This shot was taken at night time using my pentax KX using the official m42>PK adapter from the pentax site, it was 30 dollars and it lets my KX use ANY pentax lens made from the mid 50s until today ! Adapter info I stepped the lens down to f4 so the OOF highlights would be octagonal as it has 8 blades inside, it came out nicer than I thought, and here is the full size version full size : click on original
Thursday, January 13, 2011
That got me thinking, so when I got home I looked through the shots i took with the 44M6 and decided to post process some of the others that I liked
This is one of them, and I liked it because at the time I recall trying to angle the camera to grab the coloured lens flares in the ice and water droplets . You can see the turqouise blue along the bottom about a 1/3 of the way from the left ( full size on my flickr page here: full size)
Regarding the Helios 44 : What I have is the 6 iteration of it, and it cost me 48 dollars shipped! with lens caps and a metal hood , all of them are clones/copies of the excellent carl Zeiss Biotar 58mm/f 2 and each successive version has its merits and drawbacks, some have 8 bladed or i believe 13 blade irises , some are single coated, ( mine is Multi ) and they are either fully manual, manual/auto or auto, so of course mine is Auto. That meant that it wouldnt step down as there wasnt anything in my camera to activate the machanism , so I took the bak off the lens, and put a piece of surgical tubing on the pin to keep it pushed it, in essence turning my 44M-6 into a fully manual lens and I think its a great piece of gear.
If I had to choose 3 lenses to keep , this would be one of them , hop on ebay and see what you can find, you see 44m-2s for about 30 dollars and the optics are excellent
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
the tripod collar actually hits the popupflash unit, but luckily it can be loosened off to be positioned anywhere , so what I have to do is arrange it to the left or bottom of the camera , then install the screwmount lens, and then I tighten up the tripod mount , phew!
there are 3 knurled rings , the top one is the aperture set for the step down mechanism, the nice middle one is the one to turn to step it down, and the bottom torture device is the one for focussing :(
how it works is, you set the aperture using the top ring, IE F4 , then the lens stays wide open for focussing, then when you are ready to take the shot, you move the middle ring to stop it down , and click, there is your shot
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
using my Rebel XT and the contax yashica adapter , I was able to shoot into the sun using the 85 planar f1.4, I made sure the sun was either blurred by the tree or didnt look directly into the viewfinder, all that glass + sunlight could be dangerous
The irony here is that teh planar lenses are som of the finest and sharpest glass made, and i seem to spend all my time taking abstracts with them, c'est la vie!
Monday, January 10, 2011
When I first got it, I had a lot of trouble in Lightroom getting the colours right, so I converted most of the portraits to B+W , this is one of my youngest daughter
I find the lens itself overbalances my small Pentax KX and the knurling on the focus ring starts to abrade my fingers after a few minutes , but when I can retrieve an image like this, its all worthwhile, nothing like suffering for your craft!
Someone asked for some extra info behind the lenses and cameras , so here you go:
The reasons I like the Pentax KX over my rebel XT ( in addition to being 7 years newer tech!)
1: very agile and easy to use
2: In body image stabilisation easily adds 2 stops+
3: the High ISO ability is awesome, I have shots at ISO 3200 that are great
4: Nice colour rendering when shooting in JPG mode
5: The official adapter from pentax lets me use every lens that pentax made, from teh M42 mounts to the modern ones!
Thanks for the feedback , comments welcome
Sunday, January 9, 2011
So I had to break out my old ( 2003) Canon Rebel XT ( EOS 350) and use that instead, so I pop the lens on , take a few shots and uploaded them to the PC , this one came out really nice,its shot at f1.7 and is the last vestiges of sunlight streaming through the blinds to my computer room, quite sharp for wide open.
I did some research and on some sites the Planar 50/1,7 is regarded by some as one of the sharpest 50mms ever made, and it definitely has a beautiful build quality , the focus is silky smooth, the only downside is that now I have 2 camera bodies and the only reason for keeping the Rebel is to use the planars :(
Saturday, January 8, 2011
The lens is single coated and prone to flare, but I like it , and I dont know why,but it has a great rendering that the more modern lenses dont do, is it more contrast? less definition? I dont know , but it was made when black and white photography was the norm, so when used to take colour, it seems to really generate excellent images
Friday, January 7, 2011
|Ray of Gold|
On the way back to the car during an evening photo trip the golden sunset was almost done,but a ray of light shone through the forest and landed on this leaf , so I took a picture of it naturally :)
I like this lens, even if it is a bit yellowed with age , the thorium coating causes the cement inside to discolour over time!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Super Multi Coated Asahi-Pentax Takumar 50mm f1.4 at f1.4 on my Pentax KX
I had the lens wide open to get the circular highlights, if you stop it down below F2 it turns them into octagons, and by f4 they are perfectly symmetrical . Quite cool!
Monday, January 3, 2011
This one is a full shot as there werent any cars driving by :)
shot at F2 , I love the swirly bokeh!