Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Leica M lens comparo / Ricoh GXR A12 / Summar / Jupiter 8 / Summicron / Nokton 40 S.C. / Epson R-D1

Slow today. I did the shooting to compare the R-D1 to the GXR A12, both for useability, sensor rendering, focus ability, etc. It's also fun to see how the lenses do from the 1930s to the current day, from bargain lenses to decent but not expensive modern, coated lenses. I got about what I expected.

1.) The newer the lens, the less chance there is for internal haze, fog, cleaning marks.
2.) The newer the lens, the the better the coatings that make the lens perform in all kinds of light and which tend to serve as a color filter.
3.) Newer lenses provide better micro contrast for digital cameras.

So, if this is true, why fool with old lenses?

They provide a different rendering to a photograph. Not a whole lot separates modern lens rendering. Great color, clarity and micro-contrast. The only way to provide some relief from all this perfection is to resort to legacy lenses. It's also true that really good modern fast lenses tend to be expensive. Older fast primes can provide focus separation just as well or better than new lenses. A blurred background doesn't need all that clarity, it just needs smooth bokeh.

I've also come to realize that modern photographs can be made more or less sharp, more or less saturated, more or less green, red, blue, yellow or monochrome through software. It's a great equalizer but while it can help subject a photo to the taste of a photographer, it can't render what subtlety a legacy lens can produce on a properly aligned photosite on a decent sensor. Anyway, I shot some shots to compare lenses using two M bayonet mounted cameras. I shot raw and developed in PS 5.1 and Epson PhotoRAW. I tried not to do much in the process.

I think each lens has its use. I like the way the Summicron renders but let me say this, the Jupiter is pretty close to the Summicron in rendering, even though its build quality is poorer. But photo to photo it holds up really well. If you want to try out an M mount lens on your camera that can accept an M mount adapter and you don't want to spend a whole lot, get a Russian lens. They're a little weird but bang for the buck, you can't go wrong. The Nokton is a modern lens that knocks it out of the park now and then. Again, great value for the money when compared to a modern Leica. They hold their value, have decent build quality and render sharp, well contrasted images. The difference can be seen between comparable Leicas but again, all modern lens differences can be Photoshopped a bit to alter color, sharpness, etc. So far it can't repair nervous bokeh. A really good photograph, well taken with a great lens that doesn't NEED post processing can bring great satisfaction. So there's that. Anyway, nothing earth shattering here, just a few photographs made out of curiosity that I'm sharing. I think they show quite a bit of continuity of comparison and spending a lot more for a lens isn't always necessary and the Russian lens holds up well.

Where there's no camera credited on the photo, it defaults to the GXR. The Summar apparently has a bit of haze inside or it's lenses are fogged a bit, so you can a bit of glow and flare. These photos are not worst case of anything.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Disney World / Magic Kingdom Theatre / Street Scene / Nikon Coolpix A

Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me / Disneyfied / Pirates of the Caribbean / Disneyworld / Nikon Coolpix A

Maybe not the happiest place on earth but still worth a few hours, every few years, as in: why not? Optimists will love it, pessimists will hate it and the rest of us endure/enjoy it for what it is, a virtual moving 3-D movie you see while you're in it, as long as you don't mind waiting in line. Took this waiting in line. Converted to DNG to load into PS, then brightened it up and cropped it.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Miami / South Beach / Art Deco Welcome Center / monochrome

Miami Beach / Clevelander outdoor court / monochrome / wide

Lots of places to eat outdoors in South Beach.

Miami Beach / Espanola Way / monochrome

Miami South Beach / Clevelander / Monochrome

Miami Beach / Chief Rocky Plaza / Police HQ / Nikon D5000 / Monochrome

Miami Southbeach / A day at the beach / Nikon D5000 / PS 5.1

Southbeach bike ride / Nikon D5000 / PS 5.1

Friday, February 20, 2015

One White Rose / Ricoh GXR / A12 / 50mm f2.5

Ricoh makes photographer cameras. I know when you use a camera to take a photograph, you become a photographer. Manufacturers, however, often consider cameras consumer electronics. A means to an end when the goal is to take a picture. Not capture a scene. Take a picture. Photographers take pictures too, of course. Capturing a scene, an emotion, a rare beam of light, unusual juxtapositions, a moment in time, are example of photographs, not pictures. What photographers aspire to producing. Somehow elevating just pictures to actual photographs. Almost any consumer camera these days is capable of both making pictures and photographs. Point and shoots that don't allow photographers control of aperture and exposure time, white balance and iso, make it more difficult but not impossible. And quite a few point and shoots now have such controls, which is great. But good cameras that are designed as photographic tools make it a whole lot easier. The more the camera is designed to capture photographs, the better it is for photographers. Better controls. Better choices for specific photographic modes built into the system. Making those modes customizable and accessible. Some manufacturers "get it." They make cameras designed to capture moments as photographs. They understand what it takes. Their engineers seem to be photographers too. Leica camera engineers get it but Leicas are precious. Cameras to be stored in controlled conditions. No? Perhaps not for rich people or professionals who deduct equipment as an expense and depreciate them 10% a year to lower their tax. But for "the rest of us" Leicas, while being true engineering marvels, are outside our comfort zone of expenditure. It's also true that there are bazookas and RPGs of cameras. The Nikons and Canons (among others) of the world. Digital SLRs capable of shooting 40 frames per second of 500 megapixel images. You shoot a couple thousand frames and take your pick. I know, professionals use professional tools, SLRs for weddings and studio work and produce amazing images, all obviously photographs. Were I a professional shooting concerts, weddings and studio work, I'd shoot a cannon (uh, Canon) to make sure I hit my target too. So why doesn't everybody just make and shoot really fast SLRs? Size? Part of it. Using an anvil to drive a nail? Part of it. The feeling you get using a small, precision photographic instrument? Part of it. The satisfaction of achieving a photograph without using a bazooka? All part of it. Of course Ricoh isn't well known outside Japan. It is and it isn't. It is amongst camera cogniscenty. It isn't amongst rank and file picture takers.

Do I have a point? Perhaps. I just managed to pick up a lensor for a GXR I bought a while back. Because Ricohs have a selective audience, their lack of general popularity can't guarantee used price stability. If you want to maintain used price stability, buy a Canon. The GXR is also a pretty weird setup, even for a Ricoh. I won't go into it, there's more than a thousand words expended over the internet of the past several years. The A12, 50mm, F2.5, macro lensor was the first announced with the camera and was not an immediate success. Speed of focus and focus hunting was an issue. I find it more than acceptable and am tickled to death to get it. I got it from Beijing, China, via DHL express in five days Fleabay strikes again. I got it yesterday. Love the macro.

Here's a picture I took. DNG raw (Ricoh uses standard RAW and standard batteries, god love them) quickly converted to JPG in PS 5.1 without much if any adjustment.

 I realize it's just a picture of a flower but I'll keep on taking it and adjusting it until I think it's a photograph.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Saints gnome buddy / Sony RX1

Saints didn't have a great season in 2014 but I noticed last night that the Saint's gnome's football keeps glowing brighter each day of 2015. Let's hope his enthusiasm is catching.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Legacy Rose Shot for Valentine's Day / FujiLux

The last post was of roses we purchased today. Three roses looked a bit skimpy. The SD card from the X-E1 I downloaded them from had a more robust rose shot on it from last summer. I feel better posting it to supplement the meager three.

Roses for Valentines Day / GXR A12 (Summicron, Nokton), Sony RX1, Fuji X-E1

Three roses for Valentine's Day. Rendered by: GXR A12 with an old collapsible Summicron; same camera with a 40mm f1.4 Nokton SC; Sony RX1; Fuji X-E1 with a Fujilux 1.4 (35mm). They're not in that order. Camera nuts can tell at  a glance. Others won't care. Happy Valentine's day!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Key West / Sloppy Joe's interior shot

Key West / Sloppy Joe's

USS Key West / Sony A3000

Key West / Carnival Dream in port / Sony A3000

Key West / Hard Rock Cafe / Sony A3000

Key West / Oldest House / Interior / Sony A3000

St Paul’s Episcopal Church / Key West / Sony A3000

Key West / The Strand (housing Walgreen's) Theater / Sony A3000

803 Whitehead St., Key West, FL / Sony A3000

Disneyworld / Magic Kingdom / Monorail / Dock / shorebirds / lake / Sony A3000

Key West / The Little White House / Sony A3000

When's the last time you saw cutoff jean shorts? Radical.

Key West / Taking the tour / Sony A3000