Monday, February 19, 2018

Take Five: Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8

Take Five: Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8 01
Take Five: Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8 02
Take Five: Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8 03
Olympus Pen E-P5, Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8

Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8

Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8, View

'Time out in the garden with the Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8 mounted on Olympus E-P5'

It is one of those days when I can spend, literally, only a few minutes with a lens before I had to send it off to a buyer, and in this instance, the lens was the Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8, a vintage from the FED factory in Kharkov, Ukraine.

Commonly found as standard lenses on FED and Zorki rangefinder cameras, the Industar 61 is four elements in three groups construction, and comes with a six-blade iris providing a range of apertures from f/2.8 to f/22. Coming in as a simple, sleek, and sturdy designed, the lens is acknowledged as one of the best normal SLR lenses to come out of the Soviet Union.

Digital Moments: Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8 04

Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8, Top
The lens elements are multicoated, images are surprisingly sharp and contrasty, and with a focal length of 50mm, makes it worth the fit as a standard for normal use.

Though not designated as Macro, the 61 L/Z has a close focus of 30cm, and with its front element located deep in the barrel, you can go without the need of a lens shade, which also makes macro shooting a very functional aspect of the lens.

Due to a very shallow DoF (depth of field), you might find it hard to get the right focus plane for your macro shots with the lens opened wide at f/2.8 (see second and third image above).

With the preset aperture system, however, where you stop the lens down to the correct aperture before taking the shot, you can always go for a deeper DoF with a smaller aperture opening, combined a longer shutter duration for the correct exposure.

Digital Moments: Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8 05

On the E-P5, the lens looks slightly longish, extending out 95mm (including the M42/M4/3 lens adapter) from the lens mount face at its closet focal length, it does not add too much to the weight of the camera, though. Effective focal length is now 100mm. Both the focus and aperture rings are easily manipulated with the thumb and index finger of your left hand.

Olympus Pen E-P5, Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8

As I mentioned earlier, these mixed images were rushed through in about 5 minutes, taken at f/4 for the first three images, and at f/16 for the last two, with the final image especially framed to capture the shooting star effect generated by the lens at its smallest aperture. Images were post-processed on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3) and print sharpening done on Google NIK Sharpener Pro 3.

The Industar 61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8 is definitely a lens which I will want to have as part of my collection, and the sooner I look one up at the auctions, the better.


Resource Links:
Industar-61-LZ 50mm F2.8
The Industar-61 L/Z (MC) 50 mm f/ 2.8 Lens. Specs. MTF Charts. User Reviews.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Minolta Maxxum 7: Getting The Feel

Minolta Maxxum 7: Getting The Feel 01
Minolta Maxxum 7: Getting The Feel 02
Minolta Maxxum 7: Getting The Feel 03
Minolta Maxxum 7, Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.7

Getting The Feel

'A brief test run with the Minolta Maxxum 7, the best of Minolta's A-mount autofocus film cameras'

There are reviews on the net that recommends the Minolta Maxxum 7 (Alpha 7 in Japan, Dynax 7 in Europe) as perhaps one of the best of Minolta's A-mount autofocus film camera one could get.

While the top-of-the-line Minolta model was the Maxxum 9, the Maxxum 7 does have its ways by being smaller, lighter and more compact, comes with features that are more appealing to the enthusiast, and has an LCD panel fitted to the film back.

Highlights of the Maxxum 7 includes a shutter speed range from 30 seconds to 1/8000 second, plus Bulb, flash sync speed at 1/200th of a second, three metering modes, full PASM shooting modes, exposure compensation, AE lock, continuous shooting at up to four frames per second, unlimited multiple exposures, self-timer, both DX and user-selectable ISO control, and more.

Minolta Maxxum 7: Getting The Feel 04

Minolta Maxxum 7, Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.7
I took the camera down from the display shelf recently, fitted it with a newly acquired Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.7 RS, which has its own share of good reviews and decided to give the camera and lens combo a once-over with a roll of Kodak Gold 200.

Ultimately, my wish was to have the opportunity to test out the Maxxum 7's STF function, which is supposed to be extremely cool. The function mimics the effect of Minolta's 135mm STF 'master bokeh' lens, by taking a sequence of 7 multi-exposed shots of the image with varying aperture opening.

Minolta Maxxum 7: Getting The Feel 05

Are these the shots then? No, they are not. These are just the initial shots when trying the camera out, or, as the title says it, 'Getting The Feel'. As expected, the nominal functions of the Maxxum 7 were easy enough to operate, with the PASM dial, the shutter release, and the control dial for aperture control just within the grasp of your right hand.

Minolta Maxxum 7, Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.7

The camera was easy to get started with, autofocus is fast and accurate, metering seems equally flawless, and as these images show, it looks like the Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.7 RS is also equal to the task. Beyond this scratch on the surface, looks like I still have a long way to go to really understand the full potential of the camera. Let not wait too long for that.



Resource Links:
The Minolta a7 (Maxxum 7, Dynax 7) is the Perfect Film SLR for Shooters Who Want it All
Minolta Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.7 Review

Monday, February 5, 2018

Throwback 2009: Lumix DMC-FZ18

Throwback 2009: Lumix DMC-FZ18 01
Throwback 2009: Lumix DMC-FZ18 02
Throwback 2009: Lumix DMC-FZ18 03
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ18

Lumix DMC-FZ18

'Throwback 2009, a look back at early black-and-white images and black-and-white conversions with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18'

Lumix DMC-FZ18, Front View
It was in 2009 that I began to get interested in photography again, and of course, it was the time of the digitals. I wasn't too sure what I was after, and after looking around for a bit, I finally decided on the Lumix DMC-FZ18 which was on offer at a reasonable price on the auction site.

The DMC-FZ18 was part of Panasonic's popular range of compact superzoom Lumix cameras, introduced about half a year after the FZ8, featuring itself as a bigger brother to the former.

The camera came with a bigger 18x zoom lens (28-504mm equiv.), more pixels with 8.3 MP on its 1/2.5-inch sensor, and new features which includes a dedicated AF/AE button, Face Detection, Intelligent Auto mode with integrated Image Stabilization, Intelligent ISO, Face Detection and Scene Detection modes.

Throwback 2009: Lumix DMC-FZ18 04

Lumix DMC-FZ18, Top
Though diminutively small, the camera is quite elegant when fitted with its flower hood. It feels stable, safe and solid in your hands, and operating of the main controls (zoom and shutter release) is equally easy. The excellent handling, balance and weight, and with the support of image stabilization, make it even comfortable to use the camera with one hand.

The crowning glory of the camera was, of course, the superb Leica DC Vario-Elmarit f/2.8~4.2 lens, where images remained exceptionally sharp and clear even at the extended zoom limits. Exposure modes available on the camera was Programmed AE with shutter speeds at 1-1/2000 second, Aperture Priority AE / Shutter Priority AE at 8-1/2000 second, Manual at 60-1/2000 second, and Starry Sky Mode at 15, 30, and 60 seconds.

Throwback 2009: Lumix DMC-FZ18 05

As a novice then, and probably still a novice now, I also did the cardinal mistake of not going through the instruction manual fully, and just used the camera in its Programmed Mode most of the time, with the zoom normally fully extended. A lesson learned, but regardless, I was quite esteemed with the quality of images that the camera is capable of capturing.
Lumix DMC-FZ18, Back

That, however, does not deter me from having a fine time with the camera. The joystick-controlled quick menu means that all the functions and features are easily accessible, and I also have access to a macro mode that allows the full focusing range of the lens (from 1cm at the wide end of the zoom and from 200cm at the long end) to be used.



Resource Links:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Review

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