Open Photography Forums  
HOME FORUMS NEWS FAQ SEARCH

Go Back   Open Photography Forums > Digital Camera Discussion > Lenses: DSLR and Rangefinder, MF adaptions to 35mm such Zoerk

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old November 3rd, 2011, 10:27 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default Alt lenses, my entry into the realm.

I have a project which calls for shallow DOF urban landscapes shot with a normal (perspective) lens on my FF DSLR. I started the project with my 50mm f1.4 lens shot wide open and got an incredible looking image right off the bat. Unfortunately it was very misleading, the image was shot in flat light and in those circumstances the lens performed perfectly. When I went out shooting the next time however it was in the sunlight and I learnt that if there was even a hint of a highlight the bokeh started looking very very nasty when shot wide open. I had known this, for my wedding work I always stop down to f1.8 because of this but this brought it home with a nasty shock. I only ended up with one useable image and I had to do quite a bit of smoothing to the troubled highlight OOF areas to improve the chrunchy rendering of the lens.

I asked on the FM Alt forum which lens to invest in, I knew that the Canon 50L was the solution but it's hugely expensive. The sigma 50mm has an incredibly smooth rendition but I found it rather 2 dimensional, the effect looked like a wildlife shot taken at 600mm. I want smooth but not non existent OOF areas but with the sudden focus fall off of shooting at f1.4. I also wanted a slightly ethereal rendition which the my canon did provide when shot wide open. I had thought of the legendary and increasingly expensive Rokkor 58mm f1.2, I'll admit to still lusting after it, but I didn't have the $600 for a canon converted copy. The advice was to get a Pentax Takumar Super 50mm f1.4, not the SMC version to preserve an older and less modern rendition. I picked one up for just $70 including shipping on ebay and bought a chipped adaptor from Big-IS to go with it as well as a cheap generic metal hood.

I got the lens and this is one of the first frames I took with it.


The lens flares if you look at it the wrong way, is nowhere near as sharp as the canon wide open however it does ethereal in spades and has a georgous rendition. Here is another image I shot of my daughter with the lens. As you can see the bokeh is nice without being boring or flat and highlights are rendered in a very pleasing manner. It seems to be an incredible lens for portraiture usage if you like that kind of look.


But now on to what the lens was bought for. I've detailed the story of these pictures elsewhere on the forum but here are two images which the first outing with the lens produced.







It has a very nice rendition with the OOF highlights, the 2nd image would have looked very ugly with the canon 50mm in the highlights, instead of nasty circles I've got these very faint little circles with halo's on them that you would think would be annoying but for some reason aren't. It doesn't have quite the amount of sudden focus fall off of the canon @ f1.4 and seems to look more ethereal in portraiture than landscape however I think that is more to do with subject distance. It's significantly less sharp too than the canon (not that the canon is sharp at f1.4!) but I'm not sure if part of that is due to the less clinical/modern rendition and the lack of contrast this lens has shooting in bright sunlight probably wasn't helping eventhough I had a hood on.

Focus. Forget focus with the stock canon screen, it shows f2.8 DOF as default so you can't see what's in focus at all. The chip, eventhough calibrated for focus with this lens and my 5D, gives me sharp focus about one in three times and when I was outdoors it was 1 in 5! The way canon focus works is that it racks through the focus until it finds the general focus and then refocuses to fine tune that focus and confirm (it's why you get two blips of red on the focus point in the viewfinder when using AF, one for each stage). You don't get that 2nd stage with a chipped adaptor and at f1.4 it shows! That is apart from a rather gummed up focusing helicoid on the lens due to age, the knurled ring which I really don't find intuitive to use and a massive 200 degree turn from minimum focus to infinity (try doing that fast with a stiff focus ring!). I started my photography with Canon FD and shot for years with Mamiya 645 so I'm not a stranger to manual focus but I just can't get the focusing of this lens to work subconsciously for me. Taking the lens for a CLA would cost more than the lens itself! :-)

I do want to get the focusing fast and smooth though, it looks so good for portraiture but I can't shoot bridal portraits while I slowly and painfully wind through the focusing range and have to constantly focus bracket due to the chips rather tempremental confirmation. I've ordered a Canon EE-S focusing screen, the one which allows far more focusing feedback when using manual lenses and hopefully I won't have to shim the screen to allow a faster and more accurate focusing experience. It's hard work, a lot of hard work, these cameras and lenses were not made for each other, one is a DSLR for use with AF lenses and the other is a manual focus lens from 1962, half a decade old and showing its age. I believe the results however are worth the journey, what do you think?

p.s. If I do get the lens up and running the next stage is a new project that I've had in mind for years but only now is becoming possible. A project to photograph the old men of Jerusalem, to hear and record their stories and present them together as a finished presentation and book. Anyone want to sponser the project? :-)
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old November 5th, 2011, 12:46 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich/Germany
Posts: 2,275
Default

Ben,

from my experience, old lenses and modern DSLR can match quite well and the result can be more appealing than the sometimes too clinical result from some modern lenses.

I use quite often older lenses.

The rendering of the M 50/1,4, two generations younger than your Super Takumar, is IMHO also appealing (photo taken with f1.4):


Best regards,
Michael
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old November 6th, 2011, 03:15 PM
Jim Galli Jim Galli is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 699
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post

But now on to what the lens was bought for. I've detailed the story of these pictures elsewhere on the forum but here are two images which the first outing with the lens produced.

:-)
Beautiful work sir.
__________________
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old November 6th, 2011, 03:28 PM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default

From you Jim that is praise indeed! You are the master of the 'alternative' lens.
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old November 16th, 2011, 05:03 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default

Now here is an image from today which the Canon would have ruined outright but the Takumar has handled beautifully. Couldn't work out today why it was so incredibly hard to get accurate focus from the lens. The chip isn't great but the focus was horribly off until I gave up and focus bracketed while shooting (my EE-S screen is arriving on Thursday). Wasn't till I opened the files that I realised that the metadata was showing a focal length of 65535mm. I must have screwed up last time I did the focus adjust and screwed up the focal length. I have fixed it to check that was the problem but if the camera thought a lens like that was attached I can see why the focus confirmation was out! :)


Shabtai
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old November 23rd, 2011, 09:47 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default

Here is the picture I shot today with the Takumar, when I get focus the results are exquisite, unfortnately it's rather rare. I bought the canon EE-S screen just to find out that the viewfinder is miscalibrated. Now I need to buy shims to fix it. Sigh..



Gaon
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old November 29th, 2011, 10:15 AM
jake klein jake klein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: minnesota
Posts: 747
Default

I'm not sure what body you are using but does it have live view? A tripod and live view may the answer to your focusing troubles.
__________________
Best Regards,
Jake

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakekleinphotography/
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old November 29th, 2011, 10:30 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default

5Dc I'm afraid.
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old November 29th, 2011, 11:05 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Munich, Germany.
Posts: 3,756
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
I bought the canon EE-S screen just to find out that the viewfinder is miscalibrated.
You may want to double-check that the new screen is perfectly in place. I do not know specifically about the 5D, but on a different camera I have had that problem.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old November 30th, 2011, 12:26 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default

It is, I've shimmed it using scotch tape and now it's perfect.
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old December 1st, 2011, 11:53 PM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default

Me with my son last night with the Takumar.


Fustrates the heck out of me that my wife can focus that lens accurately and consistently at f1.4 even in light like this (1/30 f1.4 iso 3200) and I can't get it right in broad daylight. Oh well, one day I'll be able to afford the 50L.... :D
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old December 2nd, 2011, 01:04 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,579
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
Me with my son last night with the Takumar.


Fustrates the heck out of me that my wife can focus that lens accurately and consistently at f1.4 even in light like this (1/30 f1.4 iso 3200) and I can't get it right in broad daylight. Oh well, one day I'll be able to afford the 50L.... :D
The picture is wonderful in so many ways. Do you feel that this ethereal quality is the soft focus effect of this lens and it's particular lens coatings? Are you able to recognize any unique effect to shadows, mid-tones or highlights different from other lenses. IOW, "ma nishtana" :)

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old December 2nd, 2011, 02:12 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default

It is ethereal wide open, I've been basing the series I've been shooting with it on that fact. It's incredible however for portraiture though, especially emotive portraiture where the ethereal look (not soft focus which looks more contrived) can really make a portrait that inspires thought. I just wish I could begin to focus it consistently wide open to make that a reality. That kind of portraiture, not posed, natural, in natural light and just showing heartbreakingly sweet interactions, that is something I'd love to do. Studio type portraiture is horribly contrived I feel in its lack of emotion, lack of captured moment. Even the modern style stuff.

I've been playing with Nex 7 files actually today, finally here is a tiny camera with all the features you might want which has the incredible focus peaking mode through the viewfinder and after some file torture I've come to the conclusion, noise which can match my 5D when downrezzed to a similar resolution or can be cleaned up otherwise and most importantly, tonality which is a match for my full frame 5D. Especially when downrezzed slightly. I've yet to see that in any non FF camera period.

I'd kill for a Nex 7 and a 35mm lens with similar characteristics of this takumar (not found one yet, actually make that an affordable one, the pre-asph Lux would work but I could buy a car for that money!) but we're talking in the realms of a good $2000 which I don't begin to have at present or for the next year + to allow me this luxury of similar or better IQ with viewfinder focus peaking.

Asher, if you make me the money from that gallery show, I'll get one, promise. :-)
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old December 2nd, 2011, 05:18 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,579
Default

I don't think you really need to look elsewhere. This Takamur has a great reputation and it's delivering character in spades. Work with just that!

This is all I used for 5 years, that one lens!

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old December 2nd, 2011, 05:32 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
I don't think you really need to look elsewhere. This Takamur has a great reputation and it's delivering character in spades. Work with just that!

This is all I used for 5 years, that one lens!

Asher
I wouldn't even think of anything else if I could focus it! :-) a mixture of the dim uncalibrated screen in a 5D and my eye problems are the only thing making me even think of the NEX. I'd prefer not to have to bother, believe me! I have a seagull 2.7X magnifier and with it I nail focus perfectly each time but it's a tripod only solution and I'm still trying to avoid that reality as it counts out much of walk around and all people photography.
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old December 2nd, 2011, 08:34 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,579
Default

Put it in front of an iphone with masking tape. Tap on the image and it will focus perfectly!

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old December 4th, 2011, 07:52 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,540
Default

I don't have an iphone which is why I might not understand that one?
__________________
Ben Rubinstein
Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
Blog: http://thedustylenscap.com
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old May 7th, 2015, 08:28 PM
Roger Lund Roger Lund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: MN, USA.
Posts: 76
Default

Thanks for sharing. Share more! I so enjoy my growing collection of alt lenses.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Canon EF-S lenses Doug Kerr Canon Eos Mount DSLRs 17 June 9th, 2011 03:58 PM
Fabulous eyewear Doug Kerr Medical-Forensic-Scientific-Legal-etc 0 December 12th, 2010 08:44 PM
Eyeglass lenses and "vertex power" Doug Kerr Imaging Technology: Theory, Alternatives, Practice and Advances. 0 November 10th, 2010 06:47 AM
Pentax K10D with older Pentax or Sigma lenses Jim Dulc All other DSLR's and Four Thirds, 4/3 5 April 13th, 2008 12:12 PM
lenses for architecture in 35mm Rainer Viertlböck Architectural - Industrial 8 November 5th, 2006 04:23 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:06 AM.


Posting images or text grants license to OPF, yet © of such remain with its creator. Still, all assembled discussion © 2006-2017 Asher Kelman (all rights reserved) Posts with new theme or unusual image might be moved/copied to a new thread!