Sunday, March 31, 2013

Birns & Sawyer [TEWE] Omnitar 200mm f3.2 on Full Frame

Not trying to start a flame war, but I do think that there is difference between full frame and crop sensor to the look of images taken with the same lens. Somehow, the images have more "wholeness" to it on full frame. Not saying one is better than the other, but different, as it should be, if a lens was designed for full frame, and is used on crop-sensor. Some of the characteristics of the lens is cropped out, but is whole on full frame. The depth of fields is also different on the same aperture; the size of the sensors modifies the depth of field.

The Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) Omnitar 200mm f3.2 was designed for 16mm, but image circle almost covers 35mm full frame format. It's heavily vignetted, but I like the effect on some of the pictures, especially when used on larger apertures. Strangely, sometimes, the exposure needs to be increased by more than a stop or the images would underexpose, even with live-view. As it turns out, this lens is usable on full frame and I rather enjoy the way the pictures turn out. This lens is very sharp even at maximum aperture, and like most good cinematic lenses, it handles highlights very gracefully without harsh clipping. Images look very pleasing to the eyes. It's almost velvety but not unsharp.

Too bad there isn't too much information on the Birns & Sawyer Omnitar 200mm f3.2 and its brother Omnitar 150mm f3. These lenses were made by Tewe of Germany. If you know these lenses, please share.

Logs - Canon 5D Mark II & Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) 200mm f3.2 @ f3.2. Click for larger.

Turns Heads - Canon 5D Mark II & Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) 200mm f3.2 @ f3.2. Click for larger.

Bike Posts - Canon 5D Mark II & Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) 200mm f3.2 @ f3.2. Click for larger.

More Condos - Canon 5D Mark II & Birns & Sawyer (Tewe) 200mm f3.2

Friday, March 29, 2013

Back to Full Frame

Yesterday I picked up not one, but two full frame bodies, out of terrible bad timing. I had a day off yesterday so I decided to visit the Outlet Store, since they still had the 25% off on everything in the store. I was expecting to see a used 5D Mark II, or an Olympus OM-D EM-5. Needless to say, they had neither, but there was a mint condition 5D Classic and I bought it.

As soon as I got home, I received an email from a 5D II seller, whom I emailed earlier, but didn't get an answer, told me that the camera was still available. That's how I ended up with two bodies. Unfortunately, the Outlet Store no longer give refunds anymore, so now I have to sell the 5D myself. The 5D II is very well used with high shutter count, but it was a good price and it came with a Canon 40mm f2.8 FTM STM lens.

Man, did I miss the wide angle on my old lenses! It's good to see these lenses perform as they were designed. A 20mm lens is no longer a 30mm mini wide angle, but a true ultra wide angle lens. In fact, the Pentax-M 20mm f4 is such a fabulous lens on the 5D II with sharpness to the corners I am so glad I didn't sell it.

One of the nasty issues with the original non live-view enabled full frame Canon cameras was the compatibility with certain lenses; at infinity, the lens would hit the mirror. But, live-view has solved this annoying problem. With the mirror flipped up, this is no longer a pain in the rear, though you still can't use the optical viewfinder to focus, but I can accept that limitation.

Well, this does not mean I am abandoning NEX or Micro 4/3. In fact, I still want to buy an OM-D EM-5, when the price is much lower.

United Metropolitan Church - Canon 5D Mark II & Pentax-M 20mm f4

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ernostar 110mm f1.9 Projection Lens - Photo Set

It's been a little while since I used a projection lens to make pictures. Though many people don't share my love for them, I find them fascinating. I do admit, without aperture control, sometimes I find it a bit frustrating as I don't always want to have paper thin depth of field and a sharper image is desirable. Complains aside, these projection lenses are very cheap and the quality is excellent, especially in low lights.

Tree Trunks - NEX-6 & Ernostar 110mm f1.9. Click for larger

Sparrow on fence - NEX-6 & Ernostar 110mm f1.9. Click for larger

Pay Phones - NEX-6 & Ernostar 110mm f1.9. Click for larger

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50mm f2 - Photo Samples

This Pancolar 50mm f2 is the cheaper version of the Pancolar 50mm f1.8. Both versions have a few cosmetic variations. Later ones are multi-coated. Personally, I don't know what the craziness is with Pancolar lenses, as their prices are much higher than the garden variety Pantacon 50mm f1.8. I admit, I like the Pentacon 50mm f1.8, and I still have a few sitting around somewhere. Perhaps some day, I will shoot the same subject/scene with both lenses and see if there are any differences between them.

Aside from the optical aspect of the lens, it has the typical built quality of the zebra version of the Pentacon 50mm f1.8. This one is in great condition, although the focusing ring is a bit dry; no doubt due to the aging grease. The elements are pretty clean for such an old lens. No hazy stuff inside, which is really nice.

The series of pictures below were taken inside my company's cafeteria, while waiting for my wife to finish, and all were shot wide open at f2. I can say that at f2, the lens is very usable. Not really sure how the edges performs, though. I think it probably won't be as good as a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f2.8. The Tessar design is know for very good corners. We will see later when I get around to shooting outdoors with it.

Real Beauty, eh? Click for larger.

Boheh - NEX-6 & Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50mm f2 @ f2. Click for larger.

Water Valve - NEX-6 & Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50mm f2 @ f2. Click for larger.

Bar Stool - NEX-6 & Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50mm f2 @ f2.

Algo Cafe - NEX-6 & Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50mm f2 @ f2.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Topcor 10cm [100mm] f2.8 - First Impression

I was quite excited to try out the lenses I bought at the show yesterday, so I chose the Topcon Topcor 10cm f2.8 and took some snaps with it. Beware that there are at least two mounts with Topcon cameras. The earlier Topcons have aperture settings on the camera body, much like the DKL mount. I wouldn't be surprised if Topcon used the DKL mount as the blueprint. Lenses with this mount is to be avoided. As far as I know, there is no adapter available to mount these lenses on the digital camera. The later Topcons have an Exakta compatible mount. The two Topcor lenses I got mount fine on the EXA to NEX adapter and I think the Topcors would work with most mirrorless Exakta adapters. Since these lenses have the arms with shutter button, they probably would not mount properly on EOS cameras, as the EOS adapter is much larger (wider) and would interfere with the arm on the lens.

The Topcor 10cm f2.8 is a beatifully built lens. Aperture ring has a locking mechanism which prevents accidental aperture change. You will have to depress a button in order to change the aperture. This button is located on the right of the lens and falls naturally on one of the fingers. It's a very well designed feature. The lens is very compact, about the same size as the 58mm f1.8. Minimum focus distance is about 1.2 meters, which is normal for lenses of that era.

The colors of the images taken with this lens seem very neutral, which is great for portraiture. Perhaps it was designed to be this way, as a 100mm lens is normally used for this purpose, though a maximum aperture of f2.8 seem rather slow. In terms of sharpness, the lens performs quite well even at f2.8, definitely OK for portrait. At f4, it has very high contrast and sharpness. So, initial impression is very favorable. Can't wait to put it through some more shooting sessions.

What a beauty! - Click for larger.

Red Umbrellas - Topcor 10cm f2.8 & Sony NEX-6. Click for larger.

Cotton Candies - Sony NEX-6 & Topcor 10cm f2.8 @ f2.8. Click for larger.

Megan - Sony NEX-6 & Topcor 10cm f2.8 @ f4

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Toys from the Camera Show

I was debating whether or not to go the camera show today; last time I went, I spent more than I should and didn't get anything unique. In the end, gear addiction won, and my body had to follow so camera show I went. Met a few old friends there which was nice.  Ever since the old Henry's Outlet Store moved, those of us used to hang out there no longer see each other much, except at photo shows.

In a way, I am glad I went today. Got a few unique lenses, and most importantly, they are very reasonably priced. The Pancolar 50mm f2, which I owned a copy before but had problems, and sold it at the yard sale at give away price. The copy I got today is a beaut. It's in very nice condition and came in the Exakta mount. This lens will be a nice complement to my Pancolar 80mm f1.8.  We will see how it performs. If the Pancolar 80mm f1.8 is any indication, the 50mm f2 will be a fine lens.

Steve, who talked about Topcon lenses in the comments section of this post got me intrigued in these lenses. Ever since, I have had my eye and ear open for them and today my wish is partially fulfilled. Got a Topcon body with two beautiful lenses: 58mm f1.8 and 10cm (100mm) f2.8. Both lenses are in excellent condition. Frankly, I am overjoyed. Don't much care about the camera body, though it is in equality nice shape, but these lenses really make you fall in love with them. Steve is right, these are great lenses. I would probably try to get a collection of the Auto-Topcor and find the 28mm, 35mm, 85mm,  135mm and the 58mm f1.4 and any other focal lengths that they made.

Can't wait for the colors of spring to roll around and try out these lenses.

Three Amigos - Pancolar 50mm f2, Topcor 58mm f1.8, Torcor 10cm f2.8. Click for larger.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Leslieville Pumps

Leslieville Pumps is my favourite gas station.  For the last few years, this, and the Costco gas stations, are the only places where I get my gasoline.  Leslieville pumps is consistently cheaper than most other gas stations around my area. I reward them by buying from them whenever possible.

Leslieville Pumps - NEX-6 & Canon nFD 50mm f1.2L @ f4. Click for larger.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f1.9 DKL - Low Light Samples

Many of you already know, that this Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f1.9 DKL lens is one of my favourite standard lenses. It's bokeh is delicious and wonderful; its optics superb; and it's one of the most handsome looking lens I have. I felt bad that I haven't used it often enough, so I took it out for some night shots yesterday, as seen below. One of the things I just found out, is that it's flare is very interesting. If you look at the second picture, just under the dark cloud, you will find a flare with star-shape inside a circle. Never seen anything like that before.

Grocery store - NEX-6 & Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f1.9 DKL @ f1.9. Click for larger
Toronto at Night - NEX-6 & Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f1.9 DKL. Click for larger

New Bridgepoint Hospital - NEX-6 & Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f1.9 DKL. Click for larger

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fire Station #315

Quite a few historic fire stations in Toronto have very unique architectural designs, and each one is different. This fire station #315 has one of the tallest towers of all the ones I have seen. It's located on College street &  Bellevue Avenue.

Fire Station #315, Toronto - NEX-6 & Voigtlander-Zoomar 36-82mm f2.8.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Graffiti in Toronto

Graffiti is prevalent in most cities, and here in Toronto, graffiti that is not defined as art is considered illegal. Any graffiti appears on the outside of a personal or business property must be removed at the owner's expense. Because of this city by-law, the building right across from where I work has been fighting a losing battle with graffiti "artists". They have been busy removing graffiti on its wall, but usually a few days after the removal of the existing graffiti, another one will replace it.

Graffiti - NEX-6 & Voigtlander Zoomar 36-82mm f2.8 DKL. Click for larger.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

OT: Being With the Wrong Person

This morning a radio station asked its listeners if they had ever been with the wrong person. Not surprisingly, quite a few people called in to say yes and for the time I listened to it, mostly women. There were variety of reasons for still being together, despite being with the wrong person: kids, feeling sorry, etc. I do not understand the reasons why people can still be together if they can't stand each other.

Very often, the feeling of being wrong with each other is not mutual. One partner may never even thinks the other is having these feelings, and often shocked when confronted. In situations like this, communication was amiss somewhere between them; I think communication is one of the most important avenues that link one and other, and provides valuable feedback, so that we know how we are doing. Of course we are talking about sincerity and truefulness here. If honesty is not even there, the problem is far worse and no amount of communication can resolve. Being frank and honest is the basis of meaningful communications.

When all else fails, and they are no long able to have the feelings that pulled them together initially, I think people should part gracefully with dignity; It would be torturous for both to hang in there without reason to, and we really need to respect the other's feelings.

Waiting for the streetcar - NEX-6 & Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Tele-Xenar 135mm f4 DKL

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sigma Mini-Wide 28mm f2.8 - Sample Pictures

This is a Contax/Yashica mount version of the manual focus 28mm f2.8 lens. This was quite a common lens, like most other makes of the same focal length. The lens is multi-coated, but flare resistance isn't too great, as you can see from the picture in my last blog entry. I haven't really tried the lens at f2.8, so don't know if it's any good. I would imagine it would be acceptable. Will test that later.

At f8, the lens is quite decent.  Very sharp in the entire frame on the NEX-6. Probably less good at the corners on full frame. It's a good performer optically, but nothing spectacular. The best thing about this lens, is it's great built quality, and the very cheap price you can buy it for.

More New Condos - NEX-6 & Sigma mini-wide 28mm f2.8 @ f8. Contax mount.

Church - NEX-6 & Sigma mini-wide 28mm f2.8 @f8. Contax Mount.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Garbage Bins

I often wonder what would happen to our living space when we can no longer economically get rid of the increasingly large amount of garbage we produce. A city of a few million people can generate an unbelievable amount of trash. Already, in Toronto, we ran out of landfills, and we were trucking some of our trash to Michigan in the US but that had to stop few years ago, as the Americans had enough of our junk. Now, we are still looking for a site to dump the waste. It will be only a matter of time before the new site fills up, and then what? What would happen 200 years, or 500 years from now? Unless we have fusion engines that uses trash as fuel, we'd better look for a better solution.

Garbage Bins - NEX-6 & Sigma Mini-Wide 28mm f2.8 @f8, Contax Mount. Click for larger

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Canon FD 20mm f2.8 - Second Outing

After more than a month of working mostly from home, I have started working in the office again. One of the advantage of working in the office is the opportunity to take pictures in my lunch hour.  The weather was relatively warm today so it was a good day to go out and do some shooting.

The 20mm lens may seem very wide but on the APS-C sensor, it's equivalent to 30mm; a mini wide angle. It's wide enough as a normal wide angle, but not so wide that's it's hard to control. The Canon 20mm f2.8 is quite a nice lens. I intended to test its edge performance today, so that I can compare it to the Sigma 19mm f2.8. At wide apertures, the Canon FD 20mm f2.8 seems a bit better at the corners. In fact, it almost as good as the center (not true outer edges of course, due to the crop sensor of the NEX-6), but the 19mm Sigma has an adge in the middle, which is very sharp at f2.8. I think the bokeh is also nicer on the Sigma at wide open. Over all, I enjoy using the Canon FD 20mm f2.8 lens. It's nicely build and focuses very smoothly, and optically very good.

Bokeh - NEX-6 & Canon FD 20mm f2.8. Click for larger.

Waiting - NEX-6 & Canon FD 20mm f2.8 @ f2.8. Click for larger.

Taxis - NEX-6 & Canon FD 20mm f2.8.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sigma E-Mount 19mm f2.8 - Photo Set

The Sigma 19mm f2.8 is a versatile lens. With an equivalent focal length of 28.5mm on the NEX cameras, it's wide enough for most shooting situations, but not so wide that it's hard to control. I have been shooting with it in the last few days, and I quite like it. The only thing that pulls it back is its corners, when compared to the 30mm f2.8. It's not as sharp and the distortion is slightly worse. Nevertheless, this is all forgiven due tot he low price. It's a nice bargain indeed.

Yellow School Bus - NEX-6 & Sigma 19mm f2.8. Click for larger.

The (seemingly) abandoned building - NEX-6 & Sigma 19mm f2.8. Click for larger.

The Lock - NEX-6 & Sigma 19mm f2.8. Click for larger.

Old & New - NEX-6 & Sigma 19mm f2.8