All posts by Phillip Reeve

I like to be outside with my camera and I am also a gear head with a love for manual lenses.

The manual photographers series part 1: Dan Noland

In this series we interview amateur photographers just like us, who inspire us and who share our passion for photographing with manual lenses.

Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95
Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95, by Leonie Bellé

Hi Dan,
can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to use manual lenses?

D: I’m studying mechanical engineering at the RWTH Aachen. Besides my studies and my work as mechanical designer at a young high tech kickoff of the Fraunhofer ILT Aachen I take photos and make music.

I started with photography about 7 years ago. At this time I owned a Lumix FZ18 – a bridge cam. I was really annoyed by it after some time, it felt like the cam made the photos and not me. There was nothing left for me to do except framing, the auto focus just had its own will and the super zoom made it too easy. To take control of the image I used a lot of Photoshop.

At some point this did not satisfy me anymore. I wanted to create an image, to make the camera do what I wanted it to do. So about 5 years ago I bought a NEX 5N with the 18-55 kit lens. While this combination was no real change to my FZ18, I could also use some old FDs from my dad.

Using the Nex-5n with the old FDs was what I had wanted all along. No more pumping auto focus and no more miss focused images.
I started testing and collecting FDs and I do so til today. Legacy lenses were and are the best compromise between price and performance. Besides some of them do have real unique characteristics.

My 5N accompanied me about 2 or 3 years but I was complaining about bad image quality at low light situations a lot. So I decided that the best thing to do would be to buy an a7 and that’s what I did. It was indeed a boost in lowlight for several reasons.

First the sensor is bigger and therefore it is better at those situations by its own. Second my old FDs were made for fullframe and now I could use their full potential. I owned some f/1.2 and this light boost seemed pretty much insane to me. Til today I’m happy with my A7. I never anticipated to buy an AF lens and I think I never will. I shot a wedding, various model shootings, a band shooting and take everyday footage of my family… of young and wild kids.

Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95
Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95

I don’t miss any little helper besides the things my A7 already does and the only thing that a A7II could do for me would be the IBIS. Photography has becomea big part of my life and I hope to lift my hobby up to the next level in the future.

Can you give us a look into your camera bag and tell us a little about your gear?

Continue reading The manual photographers series part 1: Dan Noland

Review of the overhyped Meyer Trioplan 100mm 1:2.8

Meyer_Trioplan_100mmf2p8

The Meyer Trioplan 2.8/100 is one of the most hyped lenses of the moment and prices have exploded to absolutely crazy levels. But do you get anything special but that soap bubble bokeh for your money? Read on if you want to know.

Specifications

Diameter 64 mm
Length 36 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 150 g
Max. Magnification 0.15
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 1.2 m
Number of aperture blades 15
Elements/ Groups 3 / 3
Price (September 2016): $500 in good condition.
Check current prices at ebay.de or ebay.com (affiliate links).

Image Samples

DSC06299

DSC06087

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Continue reading Review of the overhyped Meyer Trioplan 100mm 1:2.8

The Guide to Canon FD lenses on the Sony a7 series

Canon FD lenses on digital cameras

Introduction

This guide was written to give you a good idea what to expect from Canon’s older FD lenses, many of which still perform very well on modern digital cameras.

All tests are performed with the 24MP full frame Sony a7/a7ii. Our ratings are always based on using the lenses with these cameras, the evaluation will be a different one on a smaller sensor. To learn more about using manual lenses on the Sony a7 check our beginners guide.

Most of these summaries are based on our own experience but we also decided to also include lenses we haven’t used ourselves to pool useful information we found on the net which we have summarized based on our experience with reviewing lenses. We would also be very happy if you shared your own experience with Canon FD lenses we don’t have any reliable information on yet. We are quite picky with the information we use though. That’s because 95% of the information we come across is unreliable: Everyone has different standards, Person A might rate the very same lens as a great performer while person B thinks it’s total junk. So we are mostly interested in full resolution images taken with a fullframe camera including information on the aperture used.

Of course the list isn’t complete, it is work in progress and we are working at extending it but this will take it’s time.

Wideangle lenses

 Canon (n)FD 4/17

Status: Used by Jannik for a short time in the past17mm_a

  • At f/4 the center is quite good but…
  • … I’d recommend to stop down to f/11 for usable sharpness across the frame although it never gets tack sharp, partially because of the very strong lateral CA.
  • Very low distortion (the biggest quality of this lens, especially in the film era), bad flare resistance and 6-bladed aperture.
  • Medium size, and average price/performance ratio.
  • The age of this legacy lenses shows clearly when it iscompared to modern options. Nevertheless, it is pretty usable if you give the files some love in the post processing (remove CA’s and sharpening).

360g + adapter | $200 | technical datasample images |  user reviews

buy from ebay  (affiliate link)

2016-08-23_08-10-56

Continue reading The Guide to Canon FD lenses on the Sony a7 series