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holymoly

Everything Analogue Photography

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The guys at b&tailor are photo enthusiasts, just like the Armoury guys. Here you see him with a Leica M3, collapsible Elmar, and Voigtlaender VC II meter.

 

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In the early 80's, the Americans fought the Soviets in, among other places, Afghanistan. A twelve-year old Afghan girl, Sharbat Gula, lost her parents to Soviet bombings. Along with her grandmother and siblings, she walked on foot over to Pakistan, to the Nasir Bagh refugee camp. There, Steve McCurry, now a legendary National Geographic photographer, took her iconic photo.

 

AfghanGirl1985.jpg

 

Last night, I saw an auction for the exact sort of lens used to shoot that photo. McCurry used a Nikon FM2 with the Nikkor 105/2.5 AIS. And there, on eBay, from Japan, was a mint 105/2.5 AI. For a very reasonable price. You have no idea how much I wanted to buy it. I came so close to buying it.

 

What ultimately stopped me was the focal length on a crop sensor body. It was too long. I already had the right portrait lens -- the Nikkor 50/1.8 AI. Today, I took it out for some shots to console myself that I really needn't have that 105mm. I am shocked by how good the 50mm is at portraits, even wide open.

 

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genting_zps600696eb.jpg

 

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I just felt like taking a picture of this.

pentaxk5014_zpsns2yyunn.jpg

 

I've owned 3 versions of this lens; in screw mount, in K mount, and in the M mount. The screw mounts are smaller, and completely of metal, but except for the final iteration, does not have multi coating. The M version has all extraneous height shaved off, not to mention contains plastics and a cheaper construction. For me, the K mount version pictured above from 1975 is the ultimate 50/1.4 from Pentax. Build quality is uncompromised; it has multi coating; it has a metal engraved front bezel; and it wasn't made too short like the M version which came after it. In person it is a very impressive piece of work.

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So I finally took the trouble to search out a suitable adapter to use the Pentax lens above on my Canon 70D. The adapter arrived today; it made me very excited and I rushed around to get camera, lens and adapter. I set the aperture ring to f2.0, and made my first shot with it.

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(Click for higher res.)

 

It is a camera-generated jpeg in Neutral picture style, Canon's flattest and least saturated. I stared at the LCD in disbelief at how sharp and contrasty it is.

 

Of the three 50mm made by Canon capable of shooting at f2.0, only one comes close to the performance of this Pentax. That would be the 50/1.2L. Both the 50/1.8 (even the latest STM version) and the 50/1.4 are barely usable at f2.0. In fact, this Pentax at f1.4 is about how the other two perform at f2.0.

 

I am just shocked at how good this 40-year old lens is.

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I bought this half a year ago but only got around to taking pics OF it. I can't really take pics WITH it because I bought the wrong model -- this one has no rangefinder; so only scale focussing. I can't shoot like that. But it is gorgeous. A piece of industrial art.

1-IMG_8021_zpspmevgk9c.jpg

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I bought a Leica. It arrived today. A Leica strap, that is. Article no. 14312.

 

It is so good, I immediately bought another one. You see, my two main problems with camera straps are bulk (too much of it) and it not staying put on the shoulder. This Leica strap no. 14312 solves both problems. It is thin and supple, and it remains glued on the shoulder. It is even made in Germany.

 

The design is really as intelligent and well-judged as people say it is. Everything about it is well thought-out. The rubber pad is similar in concept to the UPstrap (which unfortunately does not ship to Malaysia). The silicone rubber is cast on the nylon strap and is immovable. It is a thin pad -- it is very soft and flexible, not at all bulky and rigid. The underside of the pad is covered with many small nubs of a very deliberate design to have amazing grip on your shoulder. The nylon webbing is fairly generic, but the metal attachment to the camera's lugs is an inspired piece of genius. It goes on and off a camera much more easily than a generic split ring.

 

As I said, it's so good, I bought another one.

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