Tag Archives: Camera

…I was getting ready to post about…

I was getting ready to post about how I had decided from now on to take all my c41 to labs for dev and scan and just stick to b&w and e6 for home dev and scan in the future. Mainly after I had struggled to scan the first of the 7 rolls of the c41 I had dev’d the other night. I was worried when the negs had come out a bit dark, which is often the case for the first roll in the unicolor kits for me I find. For two nights I persisted, then during the day today I decided to skip that roll and move onto the next since all the rest of the rolls seemed fine. The next roll (kodak ultramax 800) came out perfect, as did the next, which turned out to be the test roll I had put through the Ricoh singlex TLS I had posted about earlier. The on which I had cleaned up, put new seals in etc. It is a fantastic M42 screw mount mechanical SLR with a built in light meter, that seems as of now to be in perfect working order.

Ricoh Singlex TLS with Riconen 50mm f1.7
Ricoh Singlex TLS with Riconen 50mm f1.7

Continue reading …I was getting ready to post about…

Camera swapmeet – July 28th 2013

Here in Perth we are lucky enough to have 3 camera swap meets a year organised by the Perth Camera Club and the Northern Exposure Photography group. I try to make sure I get down to each one as there is always bargain to be had and gems to be found.

Yesterday morning was no different, we got there around 8.20am just in time to cue up before the doors opened. I must admit the cue this time did seem a little longer than usual, it is always good to see the word getting out and more people coming down to support the event, which helps to ensure it’s survival.

I was keen to get inside and see what was up for grabs, I had nothing in particular I was looking for but did have a general mental list prepared of things I would keep an eye out for. Something that was high up on that list was a home film development tank, as I have been shooting more and more film lately. It only makes sense for me to start to take the steps to start to develop and scan my own film, getting a dev tank was required to start this process. Upon entering the Leaderville Town hall where the event is held what should be the first thing I view, but a beautiful jobo/patersons dev tank in good condition, so I quickly grabbed that up and paid. I then continued my circle around the hall perusing all the tables with nothing much more on my mind that was urgent to grab. I got three quarters around my first lap of the hall, looking at all the tables and logging away all the goodies on display, seeing if anything took my fancy when I spied a table of nicely laid out old fixed lens rangefinders, then as if out of nowhere I spied this Minolta Highmatic E. I had been about to buy one of these on eBay only the month prior, however someone else beat me to the punch. I inspected the camera, all seemed in good condition and the price was right so I snapped it up. Purchase number 2 out the way. haha

Continuing a little further around the hall, very close to completing my first lap, it occurred to me I should keep an eye out for lenses. I have plenty of old manual focus glass and don’t really need more, but I always like to keep and eye out for oddities that strike my fancy. I instantly turned to my left after the thought occurred to me and saw a bunch of people huddled around a table, as were people at most tables. I reached through a gap in the throng and just plucked a lens from that table and started to inspect it. Low and behold it turned out to be a Vivitar 17mm f3.5, the very lens I had been watching on ebay just that week as I was looking for a super-wide that did not poses too much distortion of lines. The price was right so I snapped that up too. What are the odds hey? haha

I then went about doing another circle of the hall to see if there was anything else that struck my fancy that perhaps I had missed the first time round. I was not really on the look out for much now as I had already made some great finds, however I knew I had been looking for a 62mm uv filter for my Minolta 21mm f2.8, so I kept an eye out on the stalls for filters. Low and behold a few tables around and I found exactly what I was looking for, so I grabbed that too. By now my funds were getting a little low so I got out of there, as much to prevent myself from making any more purchases as to save what money I had left. haha. Here are my fantastic purchases:

All in all it was yet another great morning, the photo market never seems to disappoint. I hope to get some reviews of this gear up in the future. If you are in Perth around one of the three times a year it is held, I genuinely advise that you check it out. You will not be disappointed… though your wallet may be a little thinner by the end of it. haha

Until next time, happy snapping.

Little Xmas score for my collection!

 

Hanimex 100

 

 

Just a quick post today, first one for the new year, 2013…

After all the presents were done, after all the food was eaten, at the very end of Christmas day 2012, Lisa’s grandmother turned to me towards the end of the Xmas festivities and proclaims ‘Oh yes, I almost forgot, I have an old camera I no longer use for you if you want?’
Of course being an avid collector of old lenses, film cameras etc. etc. I was very keen to see what she had for me. She disappeared for a minute going to her car and returned with this little brown case. I opened it and found this great little Hanimex 100 pocket camera.  I was in great condition. I remember having 2 of these, one Minolta and one Kodak, albeit more disposable, back when I was a kid in the ’80s.
The first thing I did was have a look through the veiw finder, and was amazed at how bright it was, so much more so than even the Minolta Dynax 500si SLR I had been shooting film on for Xmas.
I am keen to give it a test shoot, however I do note that I am unsure whether they produce the type of film it uses anymore. It does have a roll of Kodak in it, and it only labeled at being at shot 1. I intend to finish the roll, however I do not know how long it has been sitting in there… could have been years.
I love these random little finds and this will slot nicely into my camera collection, I love it’s retro styling. You have to love the gems that your elders have squirreled away.

Just a quick update…

We’ve been so busy lately, had a lot of opportunities thrown our way, a few spanners, a sick dog, a milestone birthday and made a lot of new friends so i apologise for not posting in a while.  There are a lot of articles in the works, music reviews, a lot of live photography as well as some camera reviews (yes i got some new toys!)… but here just a quick update about what we’ve been up to lately.

As you know we live for live heavy music so we’ve provided another promo opportunity for local bands to get their music out to the masses.  The local Artist Mix tape is a feature on our Metal For Fishes Facebook page that showcases tracks and videos for 10 WA bands and 1 interstate band ie. “Someone Else’s Local” for a whole month!  We’re always looking for local bands to be involved so let us know if you’re interested.

Check it out and find your new favourite band!

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We’ve also organised 2 new shows and have expanded to a new venue for the first time.

Next up we have Monsters In The Basement III with Blunt Force Trauma, Dawn Of Leviathan, BloodKlot, Dawn and Severtone on September 8th at the Swan Basement.

Then we have some Core at the Civic Den, it’s the first time we’ve booked a show at this venue but we felt we needed a change and a cheap one at that, they don’t charge too much to book the venue so the bands can still get paid 🙂

It’s one of our best lineups yet!! Storm The Shores, Severtone, Lakeside (From Bunbury), Remember The South and Alizarin Haze.  September 15th, Civic Den, Inglewood.

Some more coming soon… i promise…

 

Film: a growing addiction… to try lower iso films?

After having GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) in my many other hobbies, namely music and fish keeping, my newly found love of acquiring old manual lenses to go in front of my Nex5 quickly led to my newly re-found love of shooting film on my growing collection of film cameras. At first just wanting to get out and shoot and not really too fussed about the results, I just bought general purpose 400iso film. Being the junky for comparisons that I am, I bought 10 rolls each of fuji superia, kodak ultramax& agfa vist. Haha
Wanting to shoot some b&w, I also procured some kentmere 400 b&w.http://www.metalforfishes.com/images/film_stitches/Perth_city_kodak400film_7imgstitch_web.jpg

This is 7 shots taken on my Minolta 700si using the 35-70mm auto zoom lens on
Kodak Ultramax 400iso film, then stitched together. (click image for larger size)

Now, I had the cameras and I had some film all I needed now was somewhere to get my film processed. I did the ring-a-round and found a local place that would develop my c-41 (standard 35mm neg. colour developer) film for me. Unfortunately I realised too late the kentmere was not c-41, so I ordered some ilford xp2.

I have now shot a few rolls of my diff. 400iso colour films, with some great coloured sunsets in the evening low-light, but they were rather washed out in broad daylight. The fuji had the finest grain, but is a little colder in palette. The kodak is warmer with chunkier grain and the agfa is down the middle if not a little burnt looking.

Examples can be found in previous posts:
A day of shooting: Kings Park on film cameras, digital cameras, even our phones!
Minolta X700: Unexpected great old performer.
Canon Ex-1 Auto: First test roll
Film: Roll 2 comes back… Fuji vs Kodak
Film: A return to a long lost love!

So, I ordered some slide film, a couple of rolls of Fuji provia, a couple of Fuji velvia, a few of Kodak elite chrome and a few Agfa precisia, I look forward to their results. However, knowing my local developer only processes c-41, I knew I needed to sort out somewhere that would do slide and b&w as well. So on the weekend I went out and shots some more 400iso colour, which confirmed my suspicions about it washing out in full sun, but I also shot a roll of the kentmere to force myself to find somewhere that could process it, so I could test it. After looking around I found somewhere, they are however a fair distance away and charge $31 for developing and scan to disc, compared to the $12 I pay at my local for c-41 developing and scan to disc. I will still use my kentmere and slide films…just sparingly as the development is over twice what c-41 costs me.

I then remembered I had seen examples of kadak ektar which was very sharp, vibrant and had fine grain. So I started looking into higher grade c-41 films for shooting and getting better results…in the end I ordered 17 rolls of Kodak ektar 100, 10 of Fuji pro160s, 15 of kodak prophotoxl 100 and 10 rolls of Kodak portra and of course some more xp2!!

Now, hopefully I should get much nicer results in daylight…however I am also going to have half a fridge full of film! Haha

Is anyone else as bad as me? If so what is your favourite of these more professional grade c-41 films?

I will keep you all posted on my results.

Here are some of the shots I took on various 400iso colour film down on the river fore shore and in Perth on the w/e:

This is the second stitch I took on this day:

http://www.metalforfishes.com/images/film_stitches/Perth_city_agfa400film_7imgstitch_web.jpg
 This is 7 shots taken on my Minolta 700si using the 35-70mm auto zoom lens on
Agfa Vista Plus 400iso film, then stitched together. (click image for larger size)

This is the first roll of Kodak ultramax 400 I shot. The last pic is from at home after loading the film, the rest are from the southern foreshore of the Swan River. This roll was shot on my Minolta 700si with the 35-70mm auto zoom lens.

This is the second roll of Kodak ultramax 400 I shot. The last 6 pics are from at home after loading the film, the rest are from the southern foreshore of the Swan River. This roll was shot on my Minolta 500si with the 35-80mm auto zoom lens.

This is the 3rd roll I shot. It is Agfa Vista Plus 400. This film is impressing me more and more, the longer I review the images. It’s colour is excellent, as is it’s grain profile for 400 speed consumer grade film. This roll was shot on my Minolta 700si with the 35-70mm auto zoom lens.

 

This is the 3rd roll I shot. It is Fuji Superia Xtra 400. This film is quite impressive too for 400 speed consumer film. However, I find it’s palette to be much cooler. This roll was shot on my Minolta 500si with the 35-80mm auto zoom lens.

 

I also shot a roll on Kentmere B&W film in my 700si about town, but until I can find a good non c-41 film developer. Those images will have to be shown another day.

I feel from these you can see what I was talking about by the colours being ever so slightly washed out and the highlights are blown in many of these shots taken under our harsh Aussie sun. I am hoping by trying a few of the nice lower iso films I will correct these two issues and create even better images. Though the 400iso did perform well in the lower light scenarios. It makes me beg the question as to whether I should also have a camera loaded with 400iso as well as another loaded with a lower iso, just so I cover all my bases.

I will share my results with you guys and I welcome any thoughts on films to try.

Pentax K01: First hands on look!

Today I got to put my grubby little hands on one of the first Pentax K01’s to hit the shores here in Oz! So I took a few pics of this funky new piece of kit and thought I might share some of my first impressions of the camera with you all.

The first thing I noticed about this little beauty was that it felt very sturdy in my hand, that great Pentax build quality is there, no corners were cut as far as manufacturing was concerned. I must admit that it is quite fat, much fatter than I had anticipated in my head actually. This camera is not really any smaller than say a Pentax Kx, however the more streamlined design does make it feel smaller and compact in your hand. All the dials and switches clicked nicely and firmly, it generally had an all round nice hand feel.  The screen is fantastic, very high resolution and a good size, however I feel it was a mistake to not make the screen tilt-able. This aside it is a very good screen for checking focus. Which brings me to kit 40mm f2.8 lens. This lens is really small, it is only about 10-15mm high, in total! It is also a stellar performer, quite quick and silent to focus, while also being rather sharp. Not as sharp as the Pentax 40mm limited, but not far behind either. I personally think this lens would be nice in my kit 🙂  The addition of the built in popup flash is a nice bonus, and it seems adequate for most general tasks.

Unfortunately I was unable to take away any of the photos I took with it today, however the sensor does seem to render very nice output. The dials, controls and back panels all seem typical of a Pentax Dslr if not re-configured for this new mirror-less body.

All in all this is a very nice little camera, although I can’t help myself wondering if it is a little too late to the mirror-less party with it’s current feature list. Sure it is pretty much a mirror-less K5 with a few less features in a redesigned body with a great 40mm prime lens for $899au, but now that the K5 has come down in price you can have one of those bodies without a lens for around$896au online, plus you get all the extra pro features and the viewfinder. But I also can’t help but compare it to the Sony Nex5n which is currently around about $596au with the kit 16mm lens. You get the same 16mp sensor as in the K5 and the K01 one, you get a tilt-able screen that is just as high resolution as the K01, but no viewfinder like the K5. So to surmise the K5 is still the superior pro league camera in my eyes, but if you were going for a pro-sumer mirror-less the Nex5n still represents a larger ‘Bang for Buck’ figure to me. While I’m sure there are devoted Pentax lovers that will choose this mirror-less as their smaller alternative to carry all their Pentax auto glass, I am personally still afraid that at this price-point the K01 may just have missed the mark a little. However I look forward to future installments of this capable little camera system from Pentax.

(I had to laugh that the strap is exactly as was pictured in the promotional information that was released prior to the cameras debut)

Unexpected acquisition: Pentax Kx first look

It was quite a nice day on Sunday, so Lisa and I decided to go to ‘Kings Park’ and take some photos. We had not been there in years and I really wanted to shoot some stitches. I will cover this in more detail when my films are developed, hopefully tomorrow afternoon. As I eluded to in the previous sentence, I shot some film as well as digital, so after we were done we went to our local ‘Fuji’ booth to drop the films off for developing. While there I noticed there was a special sign in front of the Pentax Kx’s. I had been thinking about picking one up since I recieved a nice Pentax 30-80mm auto zoom which I had just taken to Max to be serviced. These normally retail for about $700-799, however not this week. Upon closer inspection of the special sign they were on special for this week at $360 with 18-55m zoom lens! How could I pass this up? I had to buy it.

Upon first inspection I am very happy with the build, it feels very sturdy in my hand. I however noticed that the LCD screen was unprotected, so the first thing I did was put one of those sticky Iphone screen protectors over it to protect it from scratching. I turned it on and flicked through the menu, set it to store in Raw plus Jpeg and went about test shooting wanting to see how it performed out the box, before I went and made all my customary settings changes. Right off the bat I was impressed with how quick the auto focus was. Having been shooting both my Minolta 500si and 700si film cameras all day along with my Sony Nex digital, I was craving the viewfinder of my film cameras. That was the first thing I fell in love with about the Pentax Kx, it felt more like shooting a film SLR. The lenses seemed sharp and contrasty and the sensor seemed to render very nicely. The LCD on this however, is nothing in comparison to that of the Nex, no contest. The Nex wins hands down. This is not the point of the screen on the Kx however, it is intended solely as a review screen to see if you captured the shot ok. You can shoot in live-view however this is very slow, again nothing in comparison with the Nex, but again this is not the intended usage of the Kx. Having knocked out just an initial test shoot around the house, I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of the shots, this is a very good camera.

This is not intended as a full review just now, more just a first look at how it performs out the box. Here are a few of my first test shots:


Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/100, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/60, Ap. F7.1, ISO 1600

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 23.1mm, Sh. Sp. 1/60, Ap. F5, ISO 1600

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 47.5mm, Sh. Sp. 1/800, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/1000, Ap. F8, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/2000, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 42.5mm, Sh. Sp. 1/1000, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/80, Ap. F7.1, ISO 1600

Shot using the 35-80mm @ 80mm, Sh. Sp. 1/160, Ap. F8, ISO 800

Shot using the 35-80mm @ 80mm, Sh. Sp. 1/800, Ap. F8, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/30, Ap. F5.6, ISO 1600

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/200, Ap. F6.3, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 40mm, Sh. Sp. 1/125, Ap. F4.5, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/100, Ap. F5.6, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/2500, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/200, Ap. F8, ISO 200

After this initial test shoot I am very happy with this camera and it will always be in my kit from now on. Stay posted for the full review in a few weeks when I have had a thorough test.

Here are the specs of the Pentax Kx:

Image Sensor
Sensor Type: CMOS
Sensor Manufacturer:
Total Megapixels: 12.9
Effective Megapixels: 12.4
Sensor Format: APS-C
Sensor Size (dia.): 1.11″
Focal Length Multiplier: 1.5
Color Filter Type: RGBG
Self-Cleaning: Yes
Sensor-shift Stabilized: Yes
Image Capture
Image Resolution: 4288 x 2848 (12.2 MP, 3:2),3936 x 2624 (10.3 MP, 3:2),3072 x 2048 (6.3 MP, 3:2),1728 x 1152 (2.0 MP, 3:2)
Image File Format: JPEG (EXIF 2.21), 12-bit RAW (.PEF, .DNG)
Video Capture
Movie Mode: Yes
Movie Resolution: 1280×720, 640×416
Movie Frame Rate: 24, 24
Movie Audio: Yes
Movie File Format: n/a
Optics
Lens Mount: PENTAX KAF2; KAF3/2, KAF, KA
Kit Lens: smc Pentax DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL
Focal Length (35mm equivalent): 27 – 84 mm
Zoom Ratio: 3.00x
Aperture Range: f/3.5 – 22 (W), f/5.6 – 38 (T)
Normal Focus Range:
Macro Focus Range:
Optical Image Stablization: No
Digital Zoom: No
Digital Zoom Values: n/a
Filter Thread: 52mm
Auto Focus
Auto Focus: Yes
Auto Focus Type: SAFOX VIII TTL phase-detect 11 point (9 cross) AF: 11 pt auto, 5 pt auto, AF pt select, center/spot
Face Detection: Yes
Auto Focus Assist Light? Yes
Manual Focus: Yes
Optical Viewfinder
Optical Viewfinder: Yes
Optical Viewfinder Type: SLR type; fixed eye-level pentamirror, 96% coverage, 0.85x mag., -2.5 to +1.5 diopter
Display
LCD Viewfinder: Yes
LCD Size (inches): 2.7
LCD Resolution (pixels):
Articulating LCD: No
Max Playback Zoom: 16.0x
Exposure
ISO Settings: Auto (200-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800
Auto ISO Mode: Yes
White Balance Settings: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent (D, N, W, L), Flash, Custom
Shutter Speed Range: 30 – 1/6000
Bulb Mode: Yes
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2.0EV in 0.3EV steps
Metering Modes: 16-segment Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Program AE: Yes
Aperture Priority: Yes
Shutter Priority: Yes
Full Manual Exposure: Yes
Creative Exposure Modes: Auto Picture (Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Action, Night Scene Portrait, Picture (Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Action, Night Scene Portrait, Standard Flash Off), Scene (Night Scene, Surf & Snow, Food, Sunset, Kids, Pet, Candlelight, Museum, Stage Lighting [JPG], Night Snap [JPG]), Sensitivity Priority
Self Timer: 2 or 12 seconds
Time Lapse:
Flash
Built-in Flash: Yes
Flash Modes: On, off, redeye, slow sync, slow sync w redeye, slow sync w trailing curtain, wireless
Flash Guide Number (ISO 100): 11 m / 37 ft.
Flash Range Description: Depends on lens
Max Flash Sync: 1/180
Flash Exp Compensation: -2 to +1 EV in 0.5EV steps
Ext Flash Connection: Hot Shoe
Image Storage
Usable Memory Types: SD / SDHC
Memory Included (MB):
File System: FAT32
DCF Compliant: Yes
Connectivity
Composite Video Out: Yes
NTSC/PAL Switchable: Yes
Video Usable as Viewfinder: No
HD Video Out: No
HD Video Connection:
Built-In Wi-fi: No
Computer/Printer: USB 2.0 High Speed
PictBridge Compliant: No
DPOF Compliant: Yes
Remote Control: Yes
Remote Control Type: Optional IR
Other Connection: AC adapter available
Power
Battery Form Factor: 4 x AA
Usable Battery Types: Lithium, Alkaline disposables; NiMH rechargeables
Batteries Included: 4 x AA Alkaline disposables
Battery Charger Included: No
CIPA Rating: 420
Software
Included Software: CD-ROM
OS Compatibility: Windows XP/Vista/7, MacOS-X 10.3+
Miscellaneous
Notes & Features: Sensor-shift shake reduction, 720p HD video capture, Live View with face detection. Available in black or white.

 

 

 

 

Neighbours from hell!

It has been since day dot, since the very moment we have moved in…
… we have had the neighbours from hell!
We have had everything from used needles thrown into our backyard, to being robbed by them and our car stolen, to having them up on their roof last Christmas at 3am throwing rocks and screaming abuse at us for hours!

Well this afternoon I was doing some changes on some of my fish tanks and stripping some females that were about to pop, when there was a knock on the door. It was 2 detectives wanting to gain access to our backyard to investigate something to do with the neighbours behind us. So I let them through and next thing you know they were gone, up over the fence.
So, figuring they were off doing their thing, I went back to what I was doing in the fishroom, when there was another knock on the door.
This time it was a guy from the neighbours across the road. He had decided at this very time to come and have a go at me for using my camera out the front of my house lately. I politely said it had nothing to do with him and that I was just performing test shots for my-page (here), I even gave him my business card.
That seemed to get him to go away for now. Next thing you know the two detectives are back at the front door saying they made arrests at the house behind us and to call if we have any problems.
‘Excellent’ I think to myself, ‘it’s over!’. However this is not the case, ’cause now here comes the drunk cretin from across the road, now with friends in tow…

…. I ended up diffusing it all reasonably peacefully in the end, but it is still something I would rather not have to deal with.
I am over living around here, with all it’s problems… One day, I will escape!

 

Sony Nex-5 = My advancement into interchangeable lens photography

I know that everyone on some level loves to take photos. You just have to take a quick peruse through any social medium, to see that digital photography and the sharing of photos on-line, is alive and well.
With the advent of the mobile phone with the digital camera, portability and the ability to capture that moment at any time became reality for most of us.
However there were always still those of us who chased the higher image quality and pixel resolution of a dedicated camera, compared to the grainy, colorless photos of our early 2-6mp digital phone cameras. I remember it was for this very reason that we purchased our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S650 7.2 Mega pixel digital camera, it took perfectly good photos for the day and was a great for our step out into a dedicated digital camera. I wanted to find the old thing for the purpose of this review, however it seem to have gone missing. Hmmm…
Not having the camera anymore means this image will have to suffice.

Having by this time become heavily into fish keeping and starting to get out more with the band again, we were starting to want something that could produce much higher quality photos under more demanding situations. Everyone we spoke to said we needed a DSLR, however looking around at the time proved them to be rather expensive so we put that idea to bed for a later day.

It was a few months later and I was collecting a Behringer  tube compressor I was trying out for the possible purchase for the studio. It turned out the guy that was selling it had previously been into music and was into photography, and now managed the camera store in town. In the end I decided I did not want the compressor (had a faulty left side) so I went to return it. Now, being that Lisa’s birthday was only a few weeks away and I knew she had been quite into photography in high school , I thought maybe it was time for the old camera upgrade. So upon returning the compressor I asked him what was a good camera in my price range that would give me the kind of results we wanted. His eyes then lit up as someone has obviously just asked him to talk about a topic he knows very well, he then reaches for the nearest camera catalogue, confidently flicks a few pages and says, ‘well I’m going to buy this!’ and points solidly at the brand new Sony Nex 3& 5 cameras. So I did the quick internet perusal on my phone to see if I could find out more about this camera, there seemed to be very little out there other than that this was brand new mirror-less DSLR technology that meant small camera with DSLR like image quality, since it had a sensor only one size down from the big full frame mirror DSLR cameras. A lot of this was over my head at the time, but being the gear nut that I am, that was enough for me and that was the one I suggested we get for Lisa’s birthday.

So I gave Lisa the money that I was going to spend on the compressor and a bit more, she pitched in the rest from her savings, and she went about searching for the best price while I was at work. We had decided that we wanted the Nex-5 over the Nex-3 mainly because it was made from a metal alloy body as opposed to the plastic of the 3 and the 5 also did full HD footage and had a slightly higher rated internal cpu. Being newer to photography we of course knew we wanted zoom, you know the old ‘well how much zoom has it got?’, so we decided to shell out the larger amount to get the body with the 2 kit lenses, both the 16mm prime and the 18-55mm zoom lenses. Lisa and her mum drove all over town and ended up right back at the store in town buying it of the bloke I had initially spoken to.  Would have been fantastic had Lisa not then returned home to find we had been broken into and robbed! So after we dealt with that, called the police, fixed the windows and got over the fact that we had been robbed, we then took a moment to unpack the camera and have a play, in fact I think the first photos we took with the camera was of the damage.

Here is our Nex-5 with the flash attachment on and the 16mm prime attached. (taken with Lisa’s I-phone, how far phone cameras have come!) Of course here you can see it is a little beat up from good love and wear and tear.

Right off the bat we were very happy with the images compared to our old camera (who wouldn’t be, the frame size jump along with a double in mega pixels to 14.2 is a rather significant leap) However upon up-loading to the web we were sometimes disappointed at our results compared to that of some of our peers. So that was it I was on a quest to discover why we could not achieve that same ‘pop’ I saw in others photos with cameras of similar specs. After hunting around the internet and doing a bunch of reading of peoples opinions, it seemed the general consensus was that the lenses were letting down this potentially phenomenal camera, after manual lens owner had used adapters to put some of these on the front of their Nex’s with stunning results. Being daunted at the time of the concept of manual lenses and adapters I decided to steer clear of this concept and instead put the matter to bed again for a month or 2, but once again being frustrated at not being able to achieve the exact results I wanted I again returned to hunting around the net, because surely some new lenses had been released by now.


This is the 16mm auto kit prime lens (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)

This is the 18-55mm auto kit zoom lens (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)

This is the 2 together to give an idea of size (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)
 

 

 

This new line of inquiry then led me to wiki, which on their page held the news that Sony had released the proprietary information for their Nex dedicated lens mounting system the E-mount and furthermore lens manufacturer Slr magic had now released two all new manual lenses native to the e-mount system. I was gobsmacked. Where had I been? This was fantastic news, so I started doing the old Google for the new Slr magic lenses wanting to know more about them, were they priced out of my range? were they any good? This in turn led me to Steve Huff’s blog where he had very recently done the preliminary reviews for these 2 brand new lenses. The news was good, if you were out for having a play with 2 great creative lenses, I must admit I also liked what I saw of the test shots, knowing they had come from my camera.

I continued to search and it lead me to 3 videos, one by a french cinematographer who had shot a lovely, upbeat sunset scene on a beautiful busy beach strip in France, it was beautiful, it invoked feelings of happiness, joviality, it made me yearn for warm summer nights and drinks with friends. The next was by a Japanese amateur film maker who filmed his trip to Greece with friends. He shot it all in black and white, and again it filled me with the feeling of good times, and yet this odd melancholic feeling, you got the sense he fancied a girl in the group as he followed her more than others. The final and third was the one that probably put the nail in the coffin, it was footage from a young fella from eastern Australia and his trip to Melbourne. He filmed his friends in the city heart, skateboarding and doing back flips and generally running a muck through the CBD. Like I said this was the nail in the coffin. I had been totally gobsmacked by the power of film. The insight into peoples lives, the power to tell a story, the power to make someone yearn for your way of life. This was a life changing moment and it effected me for weeks. I had always had a need to extract as much out of this life as I can before I bite the dust, but now I also yearned to capture it, to effect someone in the same way I had been effected.

Needless to say I then went to the Slr magic eBay page and promptly purchased both the 28mm and 35mm primes and adjustable focusing native e-mount macro tubes. For under $500 dollars I could get 2 reputedly ok lenses,  that was a chance I was willing to take… and not knowing manual lens photography, well that would be something I would figure out when the lenses got here. haha

This is the 35mm Slr Magic manual prime lens (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)
 
This is the 28mm Slr Magic manual prime lens (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)
Here is the 2 together to give an idea of size (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)

The lenses arrived rather promptly, within 2 weeks, which was good since they were a birthday present to myself. I was very keen to get in a play with them. I first threw on the 35mm lens and was amazed at how easy it was to pick up shooting manually on the Nex-5 with the aid of it’s focus peaking and manual focus assist (a 7x and 14x touch button finder zoom for checking if you have nailed the focus) while still being a little slower than shooting with an auto lens I quickly realised that when you nailed it manually, you really nailed it. The second thing I noticed was how much nicer these lenses rendered colours. It now takes slightly longer to shoot moving subjects such as my fish, however the satisfaction you get when you nail it and the results you get in the end make it feel so much more worthwhile. I very quickly fell in love with manual photography, I was now getting the results I had dreamed about.

I shot with these 2 lenses almost exclusively for 3 months, I got to know the 35 for being awesome artistically for portraits, having such soft corners. I found it particularly useful when shooting band shots for ‘From Isolation’, as the vignetting it has at the corners gives a slight swirling to the bokeh which gives a feeling of movement. The 28mm I struggled to fall in love with as much at first. It just did not give me the same enjoyment when out shooting that the 35mm did, however this always changed when I got back to my comp and loaded the full size shots up there, lens is actually quite sharp and renders colours very nicely.

Here is a shot of all 4 to give an idea of their relative sizes. (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)

Of course after all this testing I now wanted more again. I had remembered about using old manual lenses and adapting them to the Nex and this now peaked my curiosity as I had gained more knowledge and confidence with the camera. So I turned to e-bay and started googling the net for good lenses from the past and finding that due to the short flange size on the Nex I could adapt almost any lens I wanted from the past, I salivated at the thought. I first settled on lenses from Minolta as the mount adapter seemed readily available and the lenses were still reasonably priced. I then stretched out and bid on m42, l39, nikon, vivitar, sigma, tamron etc. etc. from manufacturers ranging from east Germany to Russia to USA to Japan and places in between. We still use the auto kit lenses, however mainly just for the applications where these excel, for low-light, action, such as live band photography. I intend to purchase the native Sony 50mm auto lens for the Nex as it is quite fast, with an aperture of f1.8 and as I have found in low-light, due to the native auto lenses having in built image stabilisation, this makes them almost twice as fast as the equivalent f aperture manual lens.
I now have a collection of manual lenses and adapters over 55 strong and growing! I have become completely addicted to manual lens shooting and now collecting and shooting with classic antique lenses adapted to the front of our Nex-5, it is just magic, this phenomenal little camera just translates whatever you put in front of it.

Over the coming weeks and months I hope to do some testing and reviews of some of my lenses for you, both old and new, so it may be of some help to fellow Nex users as to whether acquiring these lenses is a worthwhile enterprise. I have also come to learn there are also some settings you can tweak on your camera to get a little more punch out of your baby too.

Here are just a few of my favourite pics taken with the Slr Magic manual focus prime lenses:

This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 35mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 35mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 35mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 35mm prime lens
(These sample shots were all taken from camera Jpegs as there was no way to process the Nex Raw files at the time. this has since been rectified)
 

I hope you enjoyed this little run down on the Nex and the first native lenses I have had the pleasure of using. In summary I feel that the Nex series of cameras offer the perfect solution for amateur photo takers that want to step up to a higher quality small auto camera that can do great results, and for those that want to get a bit more serious and play with manual glass. This really is the perfect compromise between amateur user and pro-sumer.