Tag Archives: fujifilm

Upward Abstraction

BalconyPaint

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Landscapes of North Africa

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September 9, 2015 · 10:55

Africa Cars

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September 5, 2015 · 18:34

People of Morocco II

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September 3, 2015 · 18:36

People of Morocco

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September 2, 2015 · 15:27

Triangles

20150506-DSCF9310

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Industar-69 Russian Lens review

This is a short piece about the Industar-69 28mm f2.8 LTM lens from the land of Putin, or Chroesjtsjov more likely. For this review I’ve mounted it on my Fujifilm X-E1 using a 5 dollar m39 to Fujifilm X adapter from ebay. 
So this is not a lens you’ll buy for its sharpness and optical perfection. This is a lens you’ll buy because you are in desperate need of some cheaply bought street cred. And that’s what this gives you. When you’ve hung this lens onto your fashionable mirrorles camera of choice, you will look like someone who knows his stuff. Using this sophisticated looking Russian made Tessar copy makes your camera look like a rangefinder that will make Bresson turn his head. So it looks damn good, yes oh my it does. The image quality isn’t that great though… It’s horrible at modern standards really. This lens is not sharp, it’s so soft that focus peaking will hardly work and above all, this lens won’t work for you until you take it apart and make some minor modifications to its core construction.
     Let me explain the above. This lens was never made for Leica camera’s, it just happens to share the same m39 thread mount. It was made for some Russian halfframe rangefinder that has a flange distance miles away from that of the leica’s. That means that the m39 adapter (needed for putting this lens on your camera) is a couple of millimeters to thick. So you either have to grind down the adapter, or screw the lens block inside of the lens barrel a little closer to the sensor. There are some great hacks out there on the interweb that will show you how to do this easily (this one for instance: http://www.mu-43.com/threads/20259/). Allright so this lens is an absolute piece of poo  right?  Well no, it is not. In fact, I totally love this little lens. And I will tell you why after the picture down below:
Fujifilm & Industar
Allright So if you get a good copy (DDR quality control…you never know), like mine, you will find yourself the proud owner of a full metal, smooth operating and above all very tiny lens. Even with the small m39 adapter, this lens protrudes no more than 25mm from the front of its retro styled host. Which is the European way of saying you’ve got yourself a one inch bulge sticking out your jeans pocket. Because yes, this kit will make your fujifilm X, Sony NEX or M43 camera awkwardly pocketable. Though I do suggest large pockets. Furthermore, it gives you a 42mm equivalent focal length. Which is very close to the legendary ‘perfect’ focal length of 43mm. They say that that is the closest you can get to what the eyeball sees (this does not apply to micro fourthirds camera’s, it’s 56mm there). The f2.8 max aperture is good enough for indoor shooting and some background blur. Ah yes, I almost forgot the one reason I actually went to the Bay of E and bought it from war-torn Ukraine. It’s the price! The cheapest near 28mm f2.8 mirrorles lens you can buy is the Sigma 30mm f2.8 DN EX lens for Sony and m43 MILC’s. And this lens costs you just below 200 USD where this one, with an adapter will set you back about 40 bucks. Allright, the sigma is a better lens in every way (except size and awesomeness) but you can just buy this lens to have fun with wherethe Sigma is dangerously close to being an actual investment. Same goes for the Fuji option. The Fujinon XF27mm f2.8 costs somewhere around 350 bucks nowadays.
The industar has a unique way of rendering things. Like I said, the lens isn’t that sharp and the contrast coming out of it isn’t very contrasty. Also the colors seem somewhat flattened to me. This may not sound very good, but it actually gives your pictures a sort of vintage feel. They sort of are vintage because they were created through some very old glass. If you are to apply the VSCO film simulations in Lightroom, pictures made with this lens are absolutely film-like. And that’s kind of the charm of this type of lens. It looks cool and gives your photo’s a unique look. It doesn’t even make sense trying to pixel peep this thing. This is a lens that needs to be used creatively instead of technically.
    So if you are willing to give up on autofocus, modern coatings and image stabilisation, this lens might just be something for you. When you buy this lens you get an everyday walkabout lens that will do your street photography, your portraits and maybe a landscape here and there. The focal length makes it a good lens across the board and the f/2.8 aperture makes it usable in a wide variety of situations. The size helps it to never be in your way.
Sample images below:
 20150402-DSCF7252A little bit of VSCO film magic and the Industar at F5,6.
20150404-DSCF7262
Wide open at F2.8. This lens does some crazy stuff wide open. The cornes are all over the place and it only remains sharp in the center, but that works just fine for this shot really.
20150404-DSCF7287
This shot shows the crazy swirly bokeh this lens creates. Love it or hate it.
Shot at F2.8
F5.6
It’s definitely sharpest at F5.6

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Conwy Girl

DSCF3300

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August 10, 2014 · 12:41

On a budget II

Super old stuff on your super new camera

 Here’s another top tip, to help you get the most out of your money. So, last time I talked about getting yourself a used mirrorles camera. Now I’m going to talk about the biggest expenses you’ll be making as a photographer, lenses that is. Yes, lenses are expensive as hell. Those little pieces of glass cost the same as an old car. So here’s how to get great image quality for the price of a tank of gas.

Old manual lenses are very cheap, very, very ridiculously cheap. You can pick them up for like ten bucks. So that’s amazing value. Because these lenses are often great performers, with IQ rivalling expensive lenses nowadays. I’ve been using old pentax lenses for a while now, and I can definitely advise anyone to look into these little guys. Old pentax camera’s were often sold with a pair of standard lenses, the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 and the 28mm f/2.8. I’ve been using both these lenses for a while and I can tell you, they are worth a hell of a lot more than what I paid for them. I bought these lenses with an old Pentax Super ME camera body for twenty bucks. I also got an old Philips C38 flash with that.

 Now these lenses are fully manual, so you’ll have to use both the focusing and the aperture ring on these guys. I found that to be absolutely lovely, it’s like using an old SLR again, except the pictures are instantly ready. It will take some getting used to for some people, especially the ones who grew up in an age of autofocus and advanced light metering systems. But if you wrap your head around that slower process of picture making, you might just end up loving it. Here are some appropriately retro pictures I’ve made using instagram:

 SMC-M28mm with Philips 38CT

And here a a few sample shots:

Using the 28mm

Using the 50mm 1.7

Using the 50mm 1.7

Using the 28mm

And here are a few things to consider:

Pro’s

-Excellent image quality

-Very affordable for everyone

-Awesome looking vintage gear

-Low profile street equipment

-Slow you down, so you might just end up with a higher keeper rate

-Relatively fast manual focusing using focus peaking

-You can use this method on any mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system

Cons

-No AF or automatic functions (I find this to be a good thing, but it’ll take some getting used to

-Some old lenses might require some servicing, so look out for good copies:

  • Fungus might be a problem
  • Sometimes you’ll find specs of dust inside old lenses
  • Check for smooth action on the focusing and aperture rings

 Same goes for the old flashes, there’s no automatic TTL metering, you’ll have to set everything up manually. But the great photographers of the past managed just fine with these means, so we should be able to manage as well.

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My Gear

Some time ago someone asked me, what camera do you use as your main camera? Which was kind of a good question, because I didn’t really know. At that time I was using the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, with the Fujifilm X10 and the Olympus OM-D EM5 on the side (I sold my last DSLR last year). Now my X-pro got stolen and has since been replaced by an X-E1, which I now consider to be my main camera. But it got me thinking, because having all those camera’s isn’t really necessary at all is it?

I’m a big fan of the idea that a good photographer reaches their potential by having a keen eye, and vision you know? Not for having bunches of expensive gear. Digitalrev’s Protog cheap camera challenge series are a testament of this. So I sold my Olympus to a very nice bloke who will probably have a great time using it. Gave the X10 to my dad, who is very content with it indeed. And I kept the X-E1, for that camera meets all my requirements. And that is the important part I think, any camera that can help you realize your vision best, is the camera for you. For some people it’s all about the gear, and half of the time they’re not even out shooting. Just reading reviews and pixel peeping camera sensor data… I don’t think that’s what photography should be about. Don’t get me wrong, I sort of went down that same road, so I’m not judging. But I think if one camera does everything you want it to, stick to it. You don’t really have to replace it.

I chose the X-E1 because it’s very small and lightweight and I really love the output from the X-Trans sensor, the files are very rich and the colors are absolutely great. It’s a champ in low light and has more than enough mega-pixels to do some photoshopping and cropping. I use it with the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4, which is a massively sharp lens that produces great images for me. For all you pro’s out there, I do realize that having a couple of camera bodies is important to be able to quickly switch between focal lengths. But I don’t consider myself a pro, and when I sometimes do professional work I rent an extra camera body. But for my day to day shooting, it’s just the one camera and the one lens. As I explained in a previous post, I like to just use one lens with a single focal length because that helps me to visualize the picture before taking it. Instead of having to compose the picture whilst taking it, I think zoom can be a big distraction. Every photographer has is own style of shooting, but my advice to everyone who is starting to explore the world of amateur photography; try not to get caught up in the search for the best equipment too much. Explore photography, find your own style and just enjoy photography for the art that it is. Don’t buy a big DSLR because it makes you look all pro like, just buy a camera that feels right.

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