Monday, December 25, 2017

Digital Moments, Nikkor 35mm F2 Ai

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Olympus E-P5, Nikkor 35mm F2 Ai

Digital Moments:

Nikkor 35mm F2 Ai

'Five frames with the Nikkor 35mm F2, a fast wide-angle, a lens design Nikon used for generations'

Favored by both Nikon photo enthusiasts and used extensively by photojournalists as a standard prime, the Nikkor 35mm F2's have been in production since 1965. The lens is a solid all metal and glass construction, with an excellent focus ring, and a long focus throw, excellent for a manually more accurate focus.

Nikkor 35mm f/2 Ai, View

The Nikon Nikkor Ai-S 35mm F2 came with strong credentials as well. Ken Rockwell used it as his normal lens on his Nikon cameras until he replaces it with the 35mm F1.4. His main advocate, however, is that the lens should not be used for night photography with bright points and light sources, as the lens has a tendency to produce strong ghost effects.

Beyond that, other users give the lens their thumbs up as well. Image quality was the strong suit, sharp and contrasty even from f/2, sharpest at f/4, and good through f/11.

Olympus E-P5, Nikkor 35mm f/2 Ai
Nikkor 35mm F2 Ai, Olympus E-P5, Fotga Nikon M4/3 Manual Adapter
Shot wide open in 1:1 image aspect ratio on the 2x crop sensor E-P5, these images are not up for evaluation of edge or sweet spot sharpness, coma or comatic aberration which can be an advantage to some as much as it disadvantages others. A lot can be done while the image is post-processed aw well.


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Monday, December 18, 2017

Trying To Get It Right #II, Holga 120-Pan

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Holga 120-Pan

Analog Diary:

Trying To Get It Right #II, Holga 120-Pan

'Five frames with the Holga 120-Pan, trying to get it right with a roll of expired Fujifilm Pro 160-S'

Well, here I am, back again with the Holga 120-Pan at the park right near to where I live, and as per my previous visit, I had the camera loaded with a roll of expired Fujifilm Pro 160-S.

Holga 120-Pan

The Holga 120-Pan is a medium format 6x12 panoramic camera released around 2010. Its form factor is based on the Holga 120-WPC pinhole camera body, as can be seen, by the same field of view lines are on top of the body.

The camera comes with a viewfinder attached, two hot shoes, and a level bubble, features that make the Holga almost a complete contraption all set and ready for tilt and yaw adjustments.

Holga 120-Pan


The 90mm optical lens has the same four focusing distance position as seen on other Holgas as well - 1M,  2M, 6M, and 10M-Infinity. Same as other Holga cameras are the single (N) 1/100 second shutter with a B(ulb) setting. The film back has a fixed film counter window.

To get the correct frame count, the film must be advanced to the next odd-numbered exposure number, otherwise, the film will not be properly forwarded to cover the panoramic film frame and overlapping exposure will occur. An optional 35mm film kit is also available which can expose 24 x 108mm images.


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Monday, December 11, 2017

Digital Moments, Nikkor 35mm F2.8 Pre-Ai

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Olympus E-P5, Nikkor 35mm F2.8 Pre-Ai

Digital Moments:

Nikkor 35mm F2.8 Pre-Ai

'Five frames with the Nikkor 35mm F2.8 Pre-Ai, small and compact, improved over the Nikkor S Auto'

The Pre-Ai Nikon Nikkor 35mm F2.8, an improved version of the Nikkor S Auto model, was first introduced in 1959. The version is more compact than its predecessor, extending only 44.5mm out when mounted on the camera body, and comes with NIC (Nikon Integrated Coating) on all air to glass surfaces which contributed to the improved performance, reduced flare and ghost, and improved color rendition.


Nikkor Pre-Ai 35mm f/2.8, View

From its basic 6 elements in 6 groups construction, the lens evolved through both multiple optical and cosmetic variations and ends with a 5 element optical design. The Ai version was made from 1979 through 1981, while the Ai-S was made available from 1989 through to 2005.

The lens is a nice fit on the Olympus Pen E-P5, giving my smallish hands just the right leverage and finger distance for both aperture and focusing control. Focusing was, of course, soft and smooth, as smooth as a Nikkor should be, while aperture clicks were just right, not that I used much of it. Most of my quick take images were taken at full aperture and almost at the lens shortest focusing distance.

Olympus E-P5, Nikkor Pre-Ai 35mm f/2.8

Sharp as it is, there is no real worry about edge fallout and other things related when the lens is fitted to the 2x crop sensor E-P5. Doing the images in black-and-white also removes the need for me to delve into coma, aberrations or color fringing as well.


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Monday, December 4, 2017

The Car Wash Revisited, Olympus XA1

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Olympus XA 1

Analog Diary:

The Car Wash Revisited, Olympus XA1

'Five frames with the Olympus XA1, at the car wash, compact, point-and-shoot, easy and fun to use'

The Olympus XA1, though not really favored by most as one of the fine flavors of the Olympus XA clamshell series, is still one of my favorite film cameras for its point-and-shoot simplicity. It comes fitted with a fixed focus 4 element Zuiko D 35mm f/4 with an aperture range from f/4 to f/22, shutter speed is automated from 1/30 to 1/250 second. Framed images are in focus from 1.5m onward.

Olympus XA1

The camera, however, does not come with the red membrane touch shutter the others in the clan have, but a standard press-down button in the norm of other Olympus camera from a slightly earlier period. Exposure control is a selenium cell unit fitted surrounding surrounds the lens as per the hugely popular and successful Olympus Trip 35.

The camera does not need or require a battery to run or to manage its exposure system. A red pop-up flag system blocks the shutter from being released if the image is underexposed, simplicity itself.

Olympus XA1

Post-processing on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3) includes a slight Crop to adjust for scanning misalignment, Shading Compensation to adjust edge darkening, a slight drag of the Tone Curve to darken the image ever slightly, and Brightness & Contrast to add volume to the image.


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Monday, November 27, 2017

Digital Moments, Nikkor 28mm F2.8 Ai

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Olympus E-P5, Nikon Nikkor Ai 28mm 1:2.8

Digital Moments:

Nikkor 28mm F2.8 Ai

'Five frames with the Nikon Nikkor 28mm F2.8 Ai, Nikon's most popular wide-angle lens from 1974 to 1981'

The next few posts of Digital Moments will feature images from a batch of Nikkor legacy lenses, shot in 1:1 image aspect ratio, in post-processed colors or in black-and-white done on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3).

Nikkor Ai 28mm f/2.8, View

First up is the Nikkor Ai 28mm F2.8, a 7-element construction introduced in 1977, launched as a followup the non-AI version which was available from 1987 to 1977. The 28mm f/2.8 was Nikon's most popular wide-angle lens from 1974-1981.

As Ken Rockwell wrote it on his blog, the Ai 28mm F2.8 is a compact and lightweight unit, with image quality recognized as a top-class Nikkor performer. Sharp as it is, the lens claim to fame was later overshadowed by its sibling, the Nikkor Ai-S 28mm F2.8, which is reputed to be Nikon's sharpest manual focus wide-angle lens ever.

Aside from the post by Ken Rockwell, a few other instances of discussion or posting pertaining to the lens includes:


Olympus E-P5, Nikkor Ai 28mm f/2.8

Using the lens was easy and fun, the balance was just right, and cradling the camera in the hand with the index finger on the focus ring and the middle finger of the aperture ring is as perfect as it can be.


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Monday, November 20, 2017

Early At The Fair, Maxxum AF 50mm F1.7

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Minolta Alpha Sweet, Minolta AF 50mm 1:1.7

Analog Diary:

Early At The Fair, Maxxum AF 50mm F1.7

'Five frames with the Maxxum AF 50mm F1.7, early at the fair with the Minolta Alpha Sweet'

The A-mount Minolta AF 50mm F1.7 is a very compact lens, the smallest that Minolta made during its production run, shipped as a 'kit' lens type. The filter size is 49mm. On the Alpha Sweet, the AF 50mm auto-focuses quickly and accurately, and being the RS version, the focus throw is shorter than the original non-RS version.


Manual focusing is equally easy, quick, and smooth with the 1/4 turn from close-in to infinity. The feet and meter focus distance scales are engraved on an inner barrel which is visual through a window opening. DoF (Depth of Field) hash marks are engraved on the outer barrel.

As for the event itself, my visit was early in the day the fair started, stalls and sellers are set and ready while the crowd was just trickling in. I had a roll of Kodak ColorPlus 200 installed in the camera, grabbed these few shots, and a few more, but decided later that on the post-processed black and whites are the better option for this presentation.

Minolta Alpha Sweet, Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.7

The camera and lens combination was light and handy, functioned flawlessly, and I was happy to see that the lens stood up to its billing. Minolta A-mount lens, is of course, completely functional with Sony Alpha A-mount APS-C or Full-Frame cameras.


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Monday, November 13, 2017

Digital Moments, AF Nikkor 50mm F1.8 D

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Olympus E-P5, AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 D

Digital Moments:

AF Nikkor 50mm F1.8 D

'Five frames with the AF Nikkor 50mm F1.8 D, detailing the Purple Shamrock'

A lightweight at 155 grams, built of plastic with a metal mount, highly recommended for travel, portraits, or general photography, the 50mm AF Nikkor 50mm F1.8 D has the reputation of being super sharp and is a good prime lens to start your camera system with.

Olympus E-P5, AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 D

The lens itself has a long built history, starting with several manual version since first introduced in 1978. It is a full-frame FX lens, and it works with every Nikon ever made, digital and film, auto and manual focus. It will not, however,  autofocus on low-end digitals like the D40 and D40x, or the F3.

The AF version first appeared in 1986, was slightly changed in 1990, and the AF-D version released in February 2002, complementing the launch of the F90x (N90s in the States), which provides for the innovative distance information for metering and ambient/TTL flash exposure calculation.


Olympus E-P5, AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 D

The only gripe I had is the corse and gritty plastic feel of the focusing ring. It has none of the legendary smoothness of a manual focus Nikkors (of the past). Though well built, the lens still felt that the lens is best left on an AF Nikon where focusing is a mechanical assist.


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Monday, November 6, 2017

A Mixed Bag of Images, Maxxum AF 35-70mm F4

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Minolta Alpha Sweet, Minolta AF 35-70mm 1:4

Analog Diary:

A Mixed Bag of Images, Maxxum AF 35-70mm F4

'Five frames with the Maxxum AF 35-70mm F4, and a mixed bag of images on the Minolta Alpha Sweet'

The Minolta AF 35-70mm 1:4, first introduced as a kit lens in 1985 with the launch of the Maxxum 700 A-mount camera system, which is rather short and compact, was a popular choice then. The lens is acknowledged to be sharp all the way up, and it comes with a Macro mode for magnification of up to 0.25x.

Minolta Alpha Sweet, Minolta AF 35-70mm f/4

As one of the better lenses from the early Minolta period, the lens is also on the list of recommended lenses for current Sony Alpha camera users, both for ASP-C and full-frame sensors.

Trying the lens out on the Minolta Alpha Sweet was also fun and easy. A plastic-bodied lightweight, the Alpha Sweet (a.k.a Dynax 505si Super in Europe, Maxxum XTSI in the Americas) comes with PASM modes, a sophisticated 14-segment honeycomb-metering pattern, a three-point Crosscut AF sensor, and eye-start operation.

Minolta Alpha Sweet, Minolta AF 35-70mm f/4

Using the camera was also a fresh change for me, a change from manual focus and cranked film forward cameras to an era of PASM modes and autofocus point-and-shoot simplicity, much like what you do today with your digitals.

Best of all, of course, is the chance to enjoy the 'Minolta Magic,' the combination of color and contrast rendered by Minolta lenses that you must experience to appreciate.

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