Friday, 28 December 2012

Reading National Geographic, 1982 January edition

Couple months ago I picked up 30 years old National Geographic 1982 January edition.  I was interested in article about the Berlin Wall and was wondering how the Wall was seen back then, long 7 years before its fall. What a fascinating reading! But, as a photographer and practical collector,  I also spotted one camera ad in the magazine and it was the "Wildlife as Canon sees it".

After digging internet I found that, according to Wikipedia, it was the FIRST Canon's ad featuring new F-1 in National Geographic. The only other recognizable picture of the camera in that edition was....

Monday, 17 December 2012

Back to film in new year?

Last weekend I scanned some of  my old negatives and slides that were taken about 10-12 years ago, just before I got my first digital camera. Back then I was using a lot of old cameras, expired films and cheap lenses. I didn't have auto-this and auto-that and enjoyed the simplicity of old mechanical cameras and manual focus lenses. It was so much fun like I never had after with any of digital cameras or, may be, I was just twelve years younger :)

 Christmas CAT. Nikon FM2. Fuji Velvia 50.
I was using Epson V700 and SilverFast 8 SE to scan everything from 35 mm to 4x5. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A ray of sun in my garden

It lasted only couple minutes after weeks of grey skies. No snow yet. Strange.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

An old pocket watch

Taken with Fuji X-Pro 1 and Tamron Zoom Macro 85~210 f/4.5


Tamron Zoom Macro 85~210 f/4.5

Yesterday I got a call from a gentleman who sold me Tokina RMC 28-85 zoom lens couple weeks ago. He said that he found another relic in his attic and wants to give it away to me for free. This time it was Tamron Zoom Macro 85~210 f:4.5 BBAR Multi C. It came with Adaptall 2 for Minolta MD mount, in pristine condition with manual, protective filter and carrying case.

According to Tamron this lens (model Z-210) was introduced in 1973 at  ¥ 33,800 (about $400) price tag and had 12 elements in 9 groups. Not bad. 
I couldn't find any additional information or reviews about this lens other than this manual , so I did my own tests and was very much surprised with the outcome.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Garden. Still raining.

Green and brown, no snow yet. Taken with X-Pro 1 and Minolta MD 200 mm f/2.8


RMC Tokina 28-85 f/4 zoom lens

Couple days ago I was at the local yard sale and spotted new (to me) zoom lens, RMC Tokina 28-85 1:4. I bought it because it had fixed f/4 aperture, Minolta bayonet (compatible with my MD-FX-NEX adapters), cost me only $10 (including manual, 72mm protective filter, both caps and carrying case) and had some kind of cool red letters on the front barrel. The lens was in pristine condition and I was very curious to try it.

I couldn't find any lens reviews on the internet,  so here is my own.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

"After the rain" jewelry

Not important: Fujifilm X-Pro1 and MD Rokkor-X 85 mm 1:1.7


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Shooting with Polaroid 195

Polaroid 195 was introduced in 1974 as a professional camera and arguably was one of the best Polaroid camera ever. It was extremely well built, supplied with fast 114mm f/3.8 Tominon lens (by legendary Tomioka)  and very high quality central shutter (Copal, Compur ?). On the picture you can see it with mechanical self-timer attached.
Even today it works like a charm with Fuji instant film and Type 100 from the Impossible Project.

Minolta XE-7. My new favorite film camera.

I don't remember when I was last time so excited about used film camera.   
Couple days ago I came across Minolta XE-7 (aka XE-1 in Europe) in excellent cosmetic and working condition. I have never seen one before and had no idea what this camera is about. But I was so impressed with top notch design, high quality materials and excellent workmanship that I bought it on the spot.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The appreciation of autumn

Yes, another still life, but what did you expect?

So, how it was done?

still life studies continue...

This vintage Singer sewing machine has a lot of character and very "photogenic".

The picture was taken with X-Pro1 and Fujinon 35mm, very straight forward. I think I need to study this object a bit more.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Still life studies

My studies in classic still life continue. I am exploring texture, composition and light of common objects as appreciation of their natural beauty.

Beemster cheese. Fujifilm X-Pro1 + Fujinon 35 mm f/1.4

Dead leaves. Fujifilm X-Pro1 + Fujinon 35 mm f/1.4


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Visit to The Distillery Historic District, Toronto (X-Pro1)

I was in the downtown area today and decided to visit this famous Toronto tourist attraction, the distillery district.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Picture of the day

Red tree.
The light was very colorful during the sunrise and I couldn't resist to take this simple picture.
Picture was taken with X-Pro1 and Nikkor AIS 105mm f/2.5


Monday, 12 November 2012

Still life with lemon and encyclopedia Britannica

OK, I think that great MC Rokkor-X PG 50mm deserved a second chance :)

 X-Pro 1 + MINOLTA MC ROKKOR-X PG 50 mm f:1.4


Sunday, 11 November 2012

still life with puffer fish

In my previous post I praised Fujifilm X-Pro 1 with Olympus Zuiko standard 50mm lens. Here it goes:

 Olympus G.ZUIKO AUTO-S 50mm 1:1.4


X-Pro1 with six classic legacy lenses

I like to use classic legacy lenses with modern digital cameras. They are very well built, have their own character and it is just pure joy to use them.  Although with the introduction of mirror less cameras the price went up, you still can get one of those in decent shape for less than $100.

I was wondering if there any practical difference (in sharpness) between them and finally decided to put efforts and test some of standard lenses that I have.  For this exercise I chose classic 50 mm 1:1.4 lenses only. 

The test was very simple and consisted of three shots of the same object at f :1.4, 2.8 and 5.6
All shots were taken with Fujifilm X-Pro 1 on a tripod, OOC jpegs (Ns), Auto WB, ISO 100. I was using cheap (but very decent) adapters purchased from rainbowimaging. No post processing. I don't have any modern Fujinon FX lenses with the same focal length so I used Fujinon 35 mm f/1.4 (insanely sharp) as a reference point.

This is not a scientific test or lens review and should not be taken in anyway shape or form as such, I simply share my observations.

The list of contenders: 
CANON FD 50 mm f:1.4
AUTO YASHINON DS 50 mm f:1.4

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Traditional still life, Northern Renaissance style

My humble reflection on some exquisite work that I experienced in Belgium and Netherlands museums.

Light: Natural light from the window
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1
Lens: KONICA HEXANON AR 50mm 1:1.4
Other: tripod, cable release
Camera settings: Fine jpeg, Film Simulation Ns, ISO L100, DR Auto


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Milkweed (Asclepias)

One from a short walk around Bond Lake in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
Light: Natural light
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1
Lens: Fujinon 35 mm f/1.4
Camera settings: Fine jpeg, Film Simulation Br, ISO 200, DR Auto


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Olive oil

Light: Natural light from the window
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1
Lens: MC Rokkor-PG, 58mm f/1.2
Other: tripod, cable release
Camera settings: Fine jpeg, Film Simulation Ns, ISO L100, DR Auto


Friday, 2 November 2012

Shooting with candle light

Light: one candle light
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1
Lens: MC Rokkor-PG, 58mm f/1.2
Other: tripod, cable release
Camera settings: Fine jpeg, Film Simulation Ns, ISO L100, DR Auto


Golden leafs

Days are getting shorter, perfect time to read books.

Light: Natural light from the window.
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1
Lens: Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4
Other: tripod, cable release
Camera settings: Fine jpeg, Film Simulation Ns, ISO L100, DR Auto
PP: CS6 


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Old silver

The weather here in Ontario is cold and dump, perfect time to study photography in the comfort of your home. Although none of the subjects in the picture are made of silver, I called it "Old Silver".

Light: Natural light from the window.
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1
Lens: Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4
Other: tripod, cable release
Camera settings: Fine jpeg, Film Simulation Monochrome (B), ISO L100, DR Auto

Actually after shooting X-Pro1 in B&W mode only, I think I know why Leica introduced a monochrome camera.


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Canon Serenar 135mm f/4.0

According to Canon Camera Museum: “The trial production of this lens started in 1941. Canon Inc. started as "Seiki Kogaku (Precision mechanics and optics)". This was the first interchangeable lens for Seiki Kogaku and it was advertised in the May 1947 issue of the monthly magazine "Kouga". The focus control system is not coupled to the rangefinder and focus is decided by guess. The original standard bayonet mount was changed to the S mount, before it was marketed as the first interchangeable lens for Seiki Kogaku. This series of lenses were named "Serenar" by a Canon employee in an in-house naming contest. The word "Serenar" was coined from "Serene", the name of the sea on the moon (the Sea of Serenity) and an adjective meaning of "tranquil". 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A still life study in monochrome (X-Pro1)

Inspired by Josef Sudek' Rose Series.

Light: Natural light from the window.
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1
Lens: KONICA HEXANON AR 50mm f/1.4
Other: tripod, cable release
Camera settings: Fine jpeg, Film Simulation Monochrome (B), ISO L100, DR Auto


Monday, 29 October 2012

Autumn colours - a still life study with X-Pro1

Light: Natural light from the window.
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1
Lens: MC Rokkor-PG, 58mm f/1.2
Other: tripod, cable release
Camera settings: Fine jpeg, Film Simulation Ns, ISO L100, DR Auto


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Reviving Kodak DCS 420

Have you ever wondered how did the first digital images look like?
Here it goes :)
Some time ago I managed to revive and take pictures with Kodak 520 (Canon body).  The camera story is here and some awesome pictures are here .
Now it was Kodak' DCS 420 turn.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Autumn garden

Fujifilm X-Pro 1 with MC ROKKOR-PG 58mm 1:1.2

Monday, 22 October 2012

Fujifilm X-Pro 1 - film simulation modes

I decided to post samples of various film simulation modes.

STD (Provia)
The rest is here:

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Chasing colours

Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus
Fujinon 35 mm 1:1.4

All pictures were taken with X-Pro 1 and Fujinon and Minolta lenses

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Fujifilm RAW files conversion

Couple weeks ago Adobe announced Lightroom 4.2 and Camera Raw 7.2 Final Releases. I tested them to see if there any improvement for Fuji RAF files. I took a shot of a leafy scene with image quality F+RAW and image size L3:2. RAF file was converted using three methods:  ACR 7.2, in camera and Silkypix. OOC jpeg is posted as is.
After careful inspection and comparison I came to conclusion that, unfortunately, ACR 7.2 didn't address the issues with "water color, smearing" effect. OOC and In-camera converted files are identical. Silkypix still produces more natural colors and resolution/details.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

More colours

Just came back from 2 day trip to Haliburton (Ontario). Foliage colours are just gorgeous!

Nikkor AI-S ED 180 mm 1:2.8
All photos were taken with Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and various lenses.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fall foliage

It seems that an unusually warm summer didn't have any effect on this fall's foliage colour in Ontario.

All pictures were taken with Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and Fujinon / Minolta lenses.

Monday, 24 September 2012

X-PRO 1 RAW file processing

As you all aware there is an issue with with X-PRO 1 raw files. Lightroom creates a watercolor effect and provided Silkypix converter creates washed out images and it is too cumbersome to use. But  I was and still am extremely happy with OOC jpeg files. Images are clean, colorful and sharp.
Today I tried a new workflow published by Kinematic Digit on Flickr and it works really well. Here is my comparison:

01_JPG.tif  - OOC jpeg
02_RAF_KD.tif  - raw file converted using KD's method
03_RAF_LR.tif - raw file converted with LR standard settings
04_RAF_SP.tif - raw file converted with Silkypix

Results are very good but I still can't still justify an extra work.



Monday, 17 September 2012

Pictures from the cottage - X-Pro 1

Couple shots from the cottage country in Haliburton (Ontario) area. The weather up there is still pretty good and unusually warm, but no colours yet.
Stormy Lake. Fujifilm X-Pro 1 + MD ROKKOR-X 85MM 1:1.7
More pictures are here:

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Shooting with Kodak DCS 520

Once the the camera was revived I took it for a real life test.

By modern standards it is bulky and heavy but well balanced. It works well with all  my Canon lenses, supports AF/IS functions, controls are very simple to navigate. Sensor is CCD type, 2 million pixels (1728 x 1152) 2:3 aspect ratio and 1.6x focal length multiplier. Considering that NASA is using 2 MP camera for mission to Mars specs are not bad at all.
The pictures are captured in a RAW (proprietary TIF) format which is fully supported by LR/PS. Converted to TIFF the file size is 6 MB.

I was shooting mostly with EF 70-200 1:4 L and 24-105 1:4 L lenses in aperture priority @ ISO 200 with -2/3 EV expo correction. All images were post-processed in LR to my liking.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Reviving Kodak DCS 520C

Wikipedia: Kodak DCS

Kodak DSC 520 (Canon D2000) was introduced in 1998 at MSRP around $16,500 (according to DigiCam History Dot Com). Today you can find it on eBay for about $250 or less. The camera is based on professional Canon EOS-1N body and Kodak 2 million pixel CCD. As per Phil Askeys' excellent review  (1999) it was "Most, Hugely, Very, Highly recommended. The best image quality, high resolution, colour and gray balance. A "reference camera". There were several versions produced including colour, monochrome and infrared (to be confirmed).  *Update: Kodak DCS 520 was produced as colour only (520C), no other variants.
When couple weeks ago I saw Kodak DCS 520C on eBay for $199 I just grabbed it:)
The package included camera body (in almost mint condition with less than 1500 actuation), battery and camera AC adapter.
I was extremely excited to find out how this, one of the first professional DSLR, performs and took it for a test. But...

Monday, 27 August 2012

Picture of the day (2012-08-26)

Man in the hat.

I am still working on my "non scientific" review of some old Kodak digital cameras. But I couldn't resist to publish this one ahead of time.

Kodak DCS 520C, Canon 70-200 1:4 L

This shot was taken just before dawn, at ISO 200.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Digital history (Kodak DCS 420 & 520)

I was always wondering how first digital images were looked like. Recently I had a chance to acquire  Kodak DCS 420 (circa 1994) and Kodak DCS 520 (circa 1998). Both are one of the first professional digital cameras. DCS 420 is using Nikon N90S camera body and DCS 520 is based on Canon EOS 1N. It took some time, efforts and additional parts to revive them and get some meaningful output results. Here it goes.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Picture of the day (2012-08-10)

NEX-F3 + Tessar 135mm 1:6.3 (circa 1910), hack details are here.


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Canon 5D MII + Nikkor AI-S 105mm 1:2.5 (and adapter)

I tested Nikon to Canon adapter tonight that came " for free" as a compliment with my other order. It's called "Big is Ai-Eos Adapter" and has focus confirmation chip on it.

Actually I was pleasantly surprised that it works and focus confirmation is spot on, even with aperture wide opened.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Bokeh samples (Konica, Minolta and Nikon lenses)

I did simple bokeh testing with some of my favorite lenses.

Nikkor ED 180mm 1:2.8

Field flowers in B&W

Taken with Sony NEX-F3 and Minolta MC TELE ROKKOR-PF 135mm 1:2.8


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Black envelope and new filters

About 6 or 8 weeks ago I registered my X-PRO 1 with Fujifilm Canada and today I found black envelope in my mail box.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Some colours

X-PRO 1, shot mostly with Fujinon 35mm 1:1.4

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

X-PRO 1, black and white

Usual garden shots, somewhat abstract this time.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Conversation over the Qalyan

I was invited to a Persian celebration and, with all my great cameras and lenses that I left at home, I had only BlackBerry to capture the moment.

Two men smoking Qalyan and dancing party on the background.

Friday, 6 July 2012

NEX-F3 + Fujinon Aspherical 35mm 1:1.4

Just for fun folks. I attached Fujinon 35mm (came with X-PRO 1) to NEX-F3 body and took couple shots.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Gitzo 1542T + Kirk BH-3 Ball Head

The time has come to replace my old (and heavy) aluminum Manfrotto tripod which served me well for over 15 years.
I spent hours in researching internet and testing various tripods / ball heads in the stores. Finally, I have made up my mind and picked up Gitzo 1542T with Kirk BH-3 ball head.

You can find all technical details at Gitzo and Kirk web sites and read other reviews on the internet. But at $600 for legs and $275 for the head (plus taxes) the question is why did I choose those products over the others? For 5 simple reasons.