Scanner files: First Roll Through the Russian Tank Zenit E w/ Kodak Gold 200

First test roll through a recently acquired $15 Zenit E that I unwittingly tried to destroy by attaching a Takumar M42 screw mount to it (Do not ever do this as it quickly jammed itself on the body. There is a pin on the lens that will jam in one of the screw-heads on the face of the Zenit’s mount.) followed by a camera store fix visit with no change followed by my own brief berserker episode w/ a .009 feeler gauge that managed to save camera and lens.

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Now matched w/ the intended era correct favorite lens of mine, the Helios 44 2. Continue reading “Scanner files: First Roll Through the Russian Tank Zenit E w/ Kodak Gold 200”

Scanner files: Contax G1.. and G2 too.

There will be more written about these cameras. Not sure if it will be here or as a contributing writer at KEH Camera’s blog. But there will be much more written about the Contax G1. Why? On a high-level it is so good that…

  1. I am already on film roll 4 in a weeks time.
  2. I have not used any digital gear since I received it.
  3. It prompted me to do something I had no intention of doing. Getting a G2.

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Continue reading “Scanner files: Contax G1.. and G2 too.”

This Old Camera: Konica C35 AF2

So I walk into Southeastern Camera…

(The beginning to many a story.)

…and ask, “What do you have in new that is film, auto exposure, with a built in lens and costs around $50.” To which Dennis replies, “I have your next camera right here, Eric.”

This would freak me out, but similar exchanges have become quite common there.

And it was marked at $50 exactly. After a quick flickr sample shot search I was sold. This is not my first film Konica purchased here. Darth Vader’s disco ball helmet (aka AiBORG) preceded it.

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But other than being film, AF, otherworldly consistent in image output, and having Konica written on them these two cameras could not be more different. Where the AiBORG is a mash up of 80s form and function oddity born in the early 90s and full blown automation the C35 AF2 (and AF before it) is 70s function and design minimalism birthed in 1980. Where some aspects of the AiBORG beg the question why, everything about the C35 just makes sense. I do enjoy the AiBORGs quirkiness, but I would choose the C35 any day. The only worthwhile advantage the AiBORG offers over the C35 is zoom and that is not worth it. I still enjoy owning (moreso than shooting) the AiBORG, but it has one glaring fault. Its viewfinder is like looking through a hole punched through a potato with a pencil. The one on the C35 is a joy by comparison with it’s big and bright vantage point. It even has a parallax adjusted view box for close framing. In use it feels much like my beloved rangefinders._DSC4335Which it seems to actually be… but with AF. On to minuses, pluses, and sample galleries and link to more images. Continue reading “This Old Camera: Konica C35 AF2”

A Most Friendly Legend: An Interview with Lonnie Graham

Adding contributing writer to linked in today. A milestone I have been after for quite some time. KEH contacted me a couple of weeks ago about being a contributing writer for the blog and I accepted. For my first contribution I wanted to interview and spotlight a photography influence and Professor Lonnie Graham graciously accepted my request. Read on to read the blog post and more importantly the interview I had with him.

Link below:

http://blog.keh.com/2017/04/10/a-most-friendly-legend-an-interview-with-lonnie-graham/

 

New Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Review: Thank you Sony.

What I really like from a system are solid 50mm and 85mm lenses. Affordability, f/1.8 or larger apertures, and sharpness on center are welcome here. As stated in a recent blog post Sony seems intent on providing both:

  • FE 50mm f/1.8
    • A true nifty 50. Though a bit pricier than alternatives and some disparage it’s AF speeds I am not that worried since I use MF mostly anyway so any AF is about acceptable in my book.
  • FE 85mm f/1.8
    • Now released and on line tests were already touting this as a bargain Batis. And with a sub $600 asking price day 1 ’nuff said for me

First acquired of the 2 above is the FE 85mm f/1.8. I have had and loved many 85mm and crop rough equivalent lenses and one native crop, but 85mm anyway lens. Some native. Some manual focus marvels. Ranging from f/1.2 to f/2.0. This lens is better than all of those. Batis, L, G Master, and the like are too rich for my blood but I believe Sony has brought levels approaching those to the masses in my opinion. Why such a claim? Glad you asked. Here are things no 85mm lens I had before this could muster:

  • AF focusing is swift and silent. I say again completely silent and quick. So much so that I thought the AF was not working at first. This has been the achilles heel of every single 85mm lens before. For example the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 was wonderful, but it was not the lens for candid moments and would often require that I ask portrait subjects to wait as AF caught up. Not horrible, but put to shame by the Sony FE. Case in point the sequence below was taken casually, day 2, hand held from the 7th row past the band pit.

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    No camera and lens combination I have used has ever performed this well. This is not a fluke. And I do not even know Sony’s focusing system well enough to use tracking focusing yet. This is on the A7ii with 5 fps and I would love to see how it would do with the a6### series 11 fps. Especially now that I see an a6000 can still be bought new for $500-$800 depending on whether you get body only, one lens, or two.

Continued after the break:

Continue reading “New Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Review: Thank you Sony.”

New Lens To Me… again: Sony 28-70mm

A sucker for a good kit lens. That would be me. But more on that later.

I have traded a lot of gear since the digital interchangeable lens gear churn started a few years back. Occasionally I have regretted trades and bought gear more than once. Once a brand I bought into twice burned me badly, but with a little fortunate timing their terrible business practices also provided me the trade currency necessary to land a full frame DSLR body that cost way more than I would be willing to pay outright. Funny how trade money can feel like funny money when you do not have to open your wallet.

Back to Alpha.

This time it is a Sony lens that found its way back in to my camera bag. What was wrong with the lens the first time? Absolutely nothing actually. It was traded because I did not fully warm up to the camera it was attached to, the Sony A7. But 2 years is forever in the camera world nowadays and a lot has changed with this mount. What? Glad you asked.

  •  Sub G. Except for the K-1 I have never acquired an above $1,000 body. Either the new price was sub a grand or I purchased them second hand. But as of recent a second hand A7ii dipped below this threshold at KEH.com and I jumped on it.
  • In body IS. Of all the A7ii additions/modifications that addressed the reasons I traded the A7 (better ergonomics, superior materials and such) this is tops. After all the main draw then and now is adapting legacy 35mm glass to a  full frame sensor. The Pentax K-1 sold me on this IS/full frame combo and the A7 bests that since it can be adapted to even more lenses owing to it’s mirrorlessness.
  • Lenses. This above all else doomed my first go around with Sony. Two years ago I scored an A7 when it’s new price dropped below a G when the A7ii dropped. But after the full frame fog cleared and the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 haze dissipated I swiftly realized that I could not afford Sony’s native AF lenses. “Nifty 50? No, we have a Zeiss 55mm though. Price? Oh. More than you paid for your camera. You like 85mms? Are you sitting down? And all our zooms are priced out of reach even though we do not yet do f/2.8… but when we do you will not be able to afford them either.” But since then a couple of primes have caught my eye. They offer great specs and even better prices.
    • FE 50mm f/1.8
      • A true nifty 50. Though a bit pricier than alternatives and some disparage it’s AF speeds I am not that worried since I use MF mostly anyway so any AF is about acceptable in my book.
    • FE 85mm f/1.8
      • Though a few days from release as of this writing on line tests are already touting this as a bargain Batis. And with a sub $600 asking price day 1 ’nuff said for me

But first.

There was one exception my first Sony go around. One outlier where bargain price met stellar performance. Especially if you were willing to pick one up second hand. Why was it exceptional? As I read and found out:

  • While reasonable new and bundled as a kit lens the used market was littered with examples that were likely spurned kit lenses of those seeking greener slight wide to mild tele pastures. Amazing at $250 or less. (KEH’s current stock as exhibit A)
  • I try not to get caught up in specs and I read in a few places that for all the extra cost the optical performance of the humble 28-70mm often held it’s own against it’s pricier step up 24-70mm ball of f/4 constant aperture goodness. The 24-70mm f/4 (new f/2.8 is clearly out of my reach) is better I am sure, but the 28-70mm easily falls in to that will do territory. In fact they both hold the same score of 4.5 on Sony’s own website.
  • Surprisingly like the 24-70mm it is “Dust and moisture-resistant design”. Nice touch for a value lens.
  • The lens barely extends at all during it’s full zoom sweep. Not internal zoom technically, but as close as you could get.
  • Small and light.
  • Silent focus.
  • Fast focusing, especially in good light as is expected.
  • OSS, or Image Stabilization. In their value offering. This combined with the last few bullets let’s you know that high content value Sony lenses were possible.
  • Versatile. With it’s humble aperture specs there is no mind blowing bokeh, nor sliver thin depth of field to be found here, but that is it. It can muster acceptable isolation under the right conditions, but is excels at nearly anything else that falls within it’s focal range.20047333534_f999625e82_o

Continue reading “New Lens To Me… again: Sony 28-70mm”

Scanner Files: Pentax ME Super w/ RPX 100 sensor and a 600mm Sigma Mirror lens for some

New roll back from SE Camera and has been run through the trusty Epson V600. Usually I am obsessed with sharpness and background blur, but this roll was taken a lot less seriously. Especially considering my being led to use the combo below.

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Hindsight is 20/20, but using an f/8.0 only 600mm lens (donut bokeh! ahem.) for many shots with 100 ASA film (400 is my usual) is not optimal for sharp pictures… but perfect for oddball, blurry pictures that I still like. Gallery below. Happy shooting.

Continue reading “Scanner Files: Pentax ME Super w/ RPX 100 sensor and a 600mm Sigma Mirror lens for some”