A week with ...... (random ramblings of a lens junkie)


pinholecam

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A week with the True Normal

There is a definition for the focal length of a normal lens in 35mm format.
This is about the length of the diagonal of the size of the format, and this measures to be about 43mm on the 35mm format.
It is on this basis that Pentax made the FA43/1.9 Limited lens as part of their limited series of lenses.
(Yes, its not an odd ball number that came from nowhere) :)

The basis being that the normal (43mm) on 35mm format would be an easier focal length to use as a normal lens, where some consider 50mm to be a bit long and 35mm to be a bit wide.



20141219-DSC07473-2400 by jenkwang, on Flickr


Lens wise :
43mm f1.9
7 elements 6 groups
8 aperture blades


20141225-DSC07550-2400 by jenkwang, on Flickr

Size wise, its a small lens of pancake design.
About the size of the Canon 40mm f2.8 lens (at f1.9 instead)
Well built all metal construction.

I just like it for the low encumbrance.


20141221-DSC07517-2400 by jenkwang, on Flickr



X marks the spot by jenkwang, on Flickr
 

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pinholecam

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A lot of new lens designs and reviews focus on the numerical results.
This numerical evaluation of the subject plane take precedence over how well that lens depicts (or renders) solid objects. (ie. flat plane chart over a dimensional real object)
It makes sense since its easy to measure up and easy for the reader to compare numbers and have an "Aha!" moment with this lens/review having better numbers than that lens.
Sort of like playing football cards in primary school.


By not giving a priority to resolution, MTF measurements, and other numerical evaluations, the limited lenses try to achieve a degree of aberration correction that enables it to produce images that leave a vivid impression on the mind.

Thats part of the design objectives of the Pentax limited lenses.


20141225-DSC07557-2400 by jenkwang, on Flickr



20141225-DSC07626-2400 by jenkwang, on Flickr



20141224-DSC07541-2400 by jenkwang, on Flickr



I used this lens a lot on aps-c.
43mm on apsc was like a 65mm lens and usage was more like a longish normal or shyish street/people/candid lens.
At 65mm equivalent, it also severed very well as a indoor portrait lens for half body shots.
It gets to very sharp levels from f2.5 onwards, so often, I need not stop down more than f4 on aps-c for indoor portraits.

On FF though, it has taken me a re-learn of this lens.
Its truly wider (43mm) as originally intended as a 'true normal' lens.
What had been shyish street shots would need to be 'in your face' near to get the same framing.
Indoors in my small house, portraits can see too much of my messy house since the FOV is wider now.
So not everything instantly gets better on FF (IMO).

But I'm happy that a week with this lens has again set me on the right steps of using it at 43mm focal length.
Still baby steps for now, so I do hope to use this lens more soon.
 

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ltsee

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Apr 13, 2012
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Very interesting APAD/APWP series with nice shots to accompany the read-up! :)
looking for more..
 

pinholecam

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Very interesting APAD/APWP series with nice shots to accompany the read-up! :)
looking for more..
Thanks.
Its the only way for a lens junkie like me to keep a picture thread going for a year. :D
 

Dura77

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Wah very poisonous thread! :bsmilie: :thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

pinholecam

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Doh!
I forgot that things get archived to a year folder.... and I only started the thread in Dec. :(

Anyway, I just continue with the thread and port it over if needed.


A week with an old Sun

Jupiter 3, aka J3, aka Russian copy of the Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5.
Sonnar being derived from the German word "Sonne", or Sun.

An old lens design dating back to 1929.
These were old days, fast meant f3.5, f2.8 and the Sonnar design allowed a f2, which was then reformulated to get a f1.5.
The Planar design (so common nowadays) being impractical at that point of time due to more lens to air surfaces (more flare/less contrast w/o the benefit of good coatings).

The J3, comes with a hallowed history.
The Zeiss factory in Jena, what was later East Germany fell to the Russians and the factory and contents/etc were transported to Russia as 'war repatriations'.
Some may curse the degrading of the Zeiss name to these lenses being made in Russia.
I can only thank it, since so many were made that the J3 (and its other Jupiter brethrens) are easily available and not costing the price of a original old Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 (questionable quality in some cases though) .


Russian LTM lenses are really some of the nicest lenses to play with, imho.
Metal build, small rangefinder designs, rounded apertures, mainly Zeiss optical designs (old designs).
All for very little money (esp when it comes to RF lenses)
Prices have been going up though over the years.


Lens wise :
7 elements; 3 groups
Rounded aperture.
1m min focus



20141228-DSC07804 by jenkwang, on Flickr

Due to the lack of coatings (or not too effective ones) the lens has low contrast.
I seldom seem to clip on the shadows and even highlights and brighter tones seem to look bright but not clip.
I played around it most of the shots during processing in LR and just clicked on the BnW option.
It does seem to shine on BnW IMHO.
However, my conflicting mind/option just always says to me "You saw it in color" , and I did up some color and BnW shots instead of going all BnW.



20141228-DSC07889-bw by jenkwang, on Flickr

To me, skin tones just seem 'lighter', esp in BnW.
 

pinholecam

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I had thought this lens was a 50mm version of a J9 (85/2).
But it does not seem to be.

Very obvious optical vignetting on the edges, gives it a 'swirly' look.
Sharpness is good in the center, but off center, it takes quite a bit of stopping down to get decent.
Do note that this comment on sharpness is wrt the Sony A7 with its thick sensor stack (well documented to be problematic with RF lenses).


20141229-DSC07954 by jenkwang, on Flickr
The circular OOF highlights start to clip off quite a bit at the edges, creating a 'swirly' look.
This sort of bokeh has 'character' but its not for everybody.
Those who want something just smooth, totally creamed off, may want to look at a Plain-lar design ;)
Interestingly, in BnW, the bokeh does look less offending in most cases I played with.
Perhaps its the removal of the distraction of color that makes it so.




20141228-DSC07814 by jenkwang, on Flickr
Smooth OOF rendering in the situation above.

Like all fast 50mm, I find that they give the best bokeh in some distances/bkgnds and fail in others.

Lack of close up ability is a major pain for my uses.
But this is made up with a helicoid adapter than works like a built in extension tube.
For me, I can't see myself surviving w/o one.
 

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pinholecam

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20141229-DSC08004 by jenkwang, on Flickr



20141231-DSC08032 by jenkwang, on Flickr



20141228-DSC07934 by jenkwang, on Flickr
Flare resistance is always a concern for old lenses, with old coatings, but in general, I find that with a hood, the J3 was ok if used with care.
It probably would not do too well if shot in the Sun, but its not a landscape lens for me (not on the A7 certainly, with the not too ideal edges)


Some personal impressions from the week.
BnW, this lens shines imho.
With the poorer edges on the A7, its not as all rounded as a walkabout lens.
Its Sonnar rendering, bokeh, lower contrast, its certainly a specialist lens picked up for use when its prefered/needed.
 

Nikonzen

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This lens illustrates the "classic" German rendering effect. You will find this sort of thing in old Leica lenses too.
 

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thegamer1907

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this thread makes me drool on all the bokehlicious pics.
By any chance do you have a Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm lens?
I have one lying in my dry box but im not the least motivated to use it, perhaps your shots can motivate me.
 

pinholecam

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Wah very poisonous thread! :bsmilie: :thumbsup::thumbsup:
Thanks.


This lens illustrates the "classic" German rendering effect. You will find this sort of thing in old Leica lenses too.
Odd thing is that I am not much of a Leica guy.
Just not the look I want for that sort of money.
'Look' as in low contrast, but sharp (perhaps some describe it as natural)


And I do think the cost part affects me as I do like the Canon ltms and lenses like this J3.



this thread makes me drool on all the bokehlicious pics.
By any chance do you have a Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm lens?
I have one lying in my dry box but im not the least motivated to use it, perhaps your shots can motivate me.
Thanks, I am glad the thread serves as a motivation.
Sorry I don't have any Oly lens.
But please do take out your Oly 50mm and use it :)
 

Nikonzen

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I'm with you on the price point of Leica for sure.

I've never had the pleasure of owning any CZJ lenses except for Contaflex but that is a whole different thing really. I have collected CZJ microscopes from back in the day still have one around here somewhere but I digress.

Unfortunately the old J3's that are premium copies are bringing premium dollars nowadays at least in my neck of the woods...when I first started this hobby they were dirt cheap. I can't complain though because I have made a very nice profit flipping the old German stuff that I did buy. Wish I would have prescient enough to have grabbed up some of those Jupiters and CZJ Sonnars too(which were also very cheap at the time).

Again I love this thread...thank you!