Saturday, September 21, 2013

Photo links broken

I have been having issues with a photo troll, so I had to lock out the site I was hosting the photos on this blog from.

I am working out a new way to put them back, so please check back in a week or so.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Old Glass, New Body

Toward the end of 2011, I found myself in Cape Town, SA for the third time this year. When you fly that far to get somewhere, it generally makes sense to stay over a weekend for sanity as well as for airline ticket savings. This last November was no different. On my free Saturday, I wanted to head up Table Mountain and get some pictures. Wanting to pack light, I brought my trusty old Canon G10 compact. I love this camera both for it's ease of use as well as the quality of the photos I get with it. As I was packing to go, I filled up my insulated water bottle, closed it, and placed it on the bed... propped up against my camera case... bad idea.

After fiddling around with some other things, I started to pack things in my rucksack to go, and I noticed that the bedspread was damp. REALLY damp. I picked up the likely culprit, and indeed, the water bottle was leaking. It turns out that I had cross threaded the cap. THEN I discovered, much to my horror, that it had been leaking into my camera case!!! Poor old G10 never had a chance.

Fast forward a few weeks. This year, my Christmas present became a new camera to replace the venerable G10. After much vacillation, I settled on buying a discounted Panasonic GF3 with a kit 14-45mm zoom lens. One of my co-workers has one and I have been fairly impressed with the results he has been getting. But... one of the MAIN reasons I chose this new fangled Micro 4/3 format was to once again have a camera that I can mount Leica lenses on. Great theory.

I received the camera just in time to take it to Paris for the last trip of the year. The results were acceptable, though not spectacular.

As I said. Not spectacular, but acceptable.

What I am REALLY looking forward to is playing with the m4/3 to LTM adapter I got the other day. I tried it with a Russian Jupiter 11 135mm f/4. Can't focus too terribly close, but I can see some potential with Black and White.

Now that I have a new toy to mess with, look for more frequent updates to the blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Polaroid Experiments

Devolving into Lomography

It's been a fair while since I last posted anything here. That said, I am still mucking about with old gear.

Recently, I undertook to re-examine that most maligned of photographic processes, the Polaroid.

From The Polaroid Experiments

I recently rescued a Polaroid 600 One Step Macro from the local Goodwill for the paltry sum of $3.99. Following that, I went to this site:

and got my hands on some of their Silver Shade PX Silver Shade 600 +UV Black Border.

The Results:

From The Polaroid Experiments
From The Polaroid Experiments
From The Polaroid Experiments
From The Polaroid Experiments

OK, so a bit rough. Great if you are into the whole Lomo thing.

I'll post more after I try this film in a better camera. 



Friday, March 26, 2010

Sacrilege!! (or not)

I MAY be about to engage in sacrilege.
I have an opportunity to trade a piece of spare radio gear for a Nikon D70 with the stock 35-70 and 70-300 lenses along with a wicked nice 60mm Macro f/2.8D.

I HAVE a Canon Rebel XT with the stock 28-90, a Tamron 70-300, Tamron 17-35, and a 55-250 with IS.
What are the opinions on Canon vs Nikon at this level? (6-8 MP)

Let the holy war begin!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No, I haven't given up (yet)

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. This whole job thing keeps interfering...

I have just finished some test shots with a pair of M42 tread mount lenses I have. I made an interesting discovery, my eyes SUCK!! All this time I have been getting what APPEARS to be good focus to my unassisted eye, and when I look at the result, BLEAH!

It seems the diopter adjustment on my camera is nowhere near strong enough to allow me to do naked focus. Fortunately, there is a remedy for this, I have ordered and await delivery of a pair of adapters that will activate the focus sensor in the Canon.

In the mean time, I am drafting up a post on the M42 lenses as far as basics...

The Vivitar
85-205mm two ring f/3.8 (constant)

From Old Glass

A (blurry) test shot with the big Vivitar

From Old Glass

The Yashica Yashinon-DS
50mm f/2

From Old Glass

A test shot with the Yashica 50mm f/2

From Old Glass

Monday, March 1, 2010

The challenges emerge...

I have now had a chance to take some of these lenses into the real world and see how they perform. The answer is, it's not so easy as I thought! All the older lenses I have been testing were designed to be used with SLR and rangefinder cameras that have analog focus assistance built right in. Split prism, micro prism, even the two arrows and a light system in my old N2020 are all sorely missed now.

This is an example from the 135mm Jupiter-11

From Old Glass
Not so good with the focus, eh?

This is from the Nikkor 50mm

From Old Glass

Again, not so good. It LOOKED good in the viewfinder, but a Rebel XT doesn't exactly have a huge VF... clearly I need a focus assist.

Finally, from the Vivitar 85-205 f/3.8 with a 2X teleconverter

From Old Glass

Again, it looked good in the VF. And I KNOW this lens is sharp when it's in focus.

Apparently, there are adapters that have a circuit built in that will enable the built in focus assist on a Canon EOS body. Not cheap, but I will be trying to raise the funds to grab one and try it on.

I'll try and have a review of the Vivitar M42 lens yet this week. It rocks, WHEN you can get it in focus...

Also, if anyone else is experimenting with this type of thing, and would like to contribute, PLEASE let me know, more information is a good thing!



Funds running short...

So my funding for this project has run dry, so it's time to start putting things on the market to finance my research!

First to go is the Rollei RF 35 with the Leica Summicron f/2 50mm, LTM to M adapted and the Jupiter-11 135mm f4 (scale focus only on the Rollei)

Asking $450

Pictures are in this blog.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Well I suppose I was due for disappointment...

From Old Glass

The second Russian showed up while I was in LA/San Diego... It seems I need to pay a LITTLE more attention to the entry in eBay. I thought a Kiev 4 used LTM mount lenses, but alas I was mistaken. The ad even said it was a Contax III type mount. It came with what looks like a REALLY nice f/2 50mm Jupiter-8M lens, but I can't USE the bloody thing because I don't have that converter. When I went to price one, the $250 price tag (!!!!!) sorta scared me off.

From Old Glass
"OK, so this fabulous lens came attached to a mediocre camera. You say that the technical quality depends more on the glass than the camera, right? So shoot some film with it and stop griping!"

Well, yeah, when the camera it comes mounted to has all it's parts. Sadly this nice little number is lacking the ubiquitous "take up reel" that the early Contax/Leica/Kiev/FED camera's depended on.


SO I have a nice camera, and I am going to order a $2.00 part from Latvia or Ukraine or some other post Soviet republic, pay the $12.00 or so shipping, and wait another freaking month to try this thing.

From Old Glass

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's sort of like Ellis Island around here, just with ancient camera gear...

From Old Glass

The first of my Soviet Bloc adoptions arrived today (pictured above with the M39 to EOS adapter and the lens caps). A serviceable Jupiter 11 135mm f/4 Leica Thread Mount. $29.05 total from a nice gentleman in Ohio. Upon ripping the thing out of it's packaging, I met with my first disappointment; on the Rollei I will be stuck with scale focusing. No cam driver to couple to the rangefinder mechanism.


I dug out the adapter plate I procured from and mounted it up to the Canon. OK, MUCH happier now :) While focusing is a bear, especially with my old eyes and no focus indicator, once you get the fool thing on the spot, it's sharp as nails.

This is a shot of my backyard, I try to use this as one of my examples for each lens...

From Old Glass

"...yeah, that's not mine, I'm just holding it for a friend..." :)

From Old Glass

Using it on the Rollie is clearly going to be a challenge, but I think I can adapt on the Canon.

Time will tell...

Time to get back to work I suppose. I will post more samples this weekend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!!

From Old Glass

A few months ago, I got my hands on a Rollei 35 RF Rangefinder 35mm camera. It's really a rebadged Voigtlander R2 with a silver body, which makes it a variant of the Leica school of design. The original came with VERY nice Zeiss lenses in Leica Thread Mount (LTM) and an M Mount adapter because the body is Leica M mount. It is difficult to find these with the original Zeiss lenses, and when you do, they tend to cost close to $1000. You can find just the bodies, which run from $200 to $500 on eBay. The reason being that most of them have been snatched up by Leica heads for the Zeiss optics, and the the bodies thrown back into the sea of collectors at a decent price.

This particular example I found on eBay for a decent price, but without a lens or adapter. M mount lenses are not the cheapest in the world. A majority of them are (or were) made by Leica, Voigtlander, Zeiss, and other high end optics company. I once heard a line about "A rich man's new car should never be a poor man's used car" seems to sum up cameras as well. I set about locating a lens to use, and fell upon a Leitz Wetlar (Leica) Summicron 50mm f/2.0.

From Old Glass
From Old Glass

Famous lens, wicked good reputation, with one flaw... The coating on the front element was very soft. So soft, in fact, that you were NOT supposed to wipe the dust off with a cloth as the fibers in the cloth, combined with the motes of dust, made the equivalent of 100 grit sandpaper to the lens!! This makes it difficult to locate a perfect, or even reasonable Summicron from before the mid 60's. The one I found was from the soft coating era. The seller was honest enough to note that there were "Slight cleaning marks on the front element". Right. What was once a beautiful and remarkably sharp example of high quality German optical design and manufacture is now on (barley) useful for "soft focus" portraits. Bummer, $200 and change for a functionally useless lens.

Interesting thing about the Leica M design, you can, for a reasonable amount of money, obtain an adapter which will allow you to use the older LTM lenses. The cool part about this is that the format has been in production since the early part of the last century! Now the Russians were pretty upset with Germany in the post WW-II era, and to help sooth their jangled nerves (that's their excuse at least) they absconded with a couple Leica factories, along with the designs. Once they had these plants and designs, they proceeded to "Soviet things up a bit". (Think Volga, Trebant, "Five Year Plans.) On the UPside, they left the lens designs alone and did a much better job producing these than they did with the bodies. (Think Stolichnaya, Kalashnikov, MiG.) The lenses are mostly either Contax/Kiev mount or LTM/Fed mount, and can be had for a SONG. The risk lies in the source, of course. While there are many reputable purveyors of these lenses in the old Soviet countries, there are also some serious scammers. Well, I now have one of the adapters for the M mount, as well as one to allow me to put LTM lenses on the Canon EOS body. Additionally, I have a pair of old Russian Leica knockoffs in LTM that I bought from (you guessed it...) eBay. One for $22 from Ohio, and the other for $15 from Canada that happens to have a Kiev 4 RF camera attached. Still a bit leery of buying something like this from the old Soviet Bloc.

So lenses are on the way, and once I have them, you can look for some test shots and results.

I am also thinking about getting a Contax/Yashica to EOS converter plate as well as one for M mount to EOS.

More to follow...