Some recent photographs

Here are some photos we took since Friday – half of which were taken with my camera, the other half with Mitchie’s:

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Tulips, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

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Tuna diva, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

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Wolfgang, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018 – photographer: Mitchie

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Dying flowers and a bass guitar, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

Thanks for viewing.

Using film…

… so there’s nothing new to show at the moment. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I loaded the last roll of ISO 200 colour negative film into my camera which we had in our bookshelf since a while. It expired some three and a half years ago, so it’s about time to use it.

Today I took 7 photos with that so far: two outside (of wife and kid), two in school (of Zuleikha and classmates making music), and three indoors of the cat, at f/4 and using one of my studio strobes.

Later…

P.S.: ok, here’s one. Almost two years ago already, and also made using (Agfa APX 100 b&w) film. A “selfie” in the mirror of one of the company’s lifts, later “scanned” from the negative using my E-M10 and the Zuiko 50mm/2 macro lens together with a “slide copier” (basically a long extension tube with a film holder in front of it):

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Quite grainy for an ISO 100 film. But ok…

Thanks for viewing & reading.

The look of larger formats

As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m mostly using digital cameras in the ‘Micro Four Thirds’ format – which is exactly the same as ‘Four Thirds’, except that those ‘Micro’ cameras lost the mirror, so they’re more modern incarnations than their older DSLR brethren.

The format of both systems’ sensors is 13×17.3mm, which is bigger than the so-called “one inch”, but smaller than APS-C or “full frame” sensors which are as big as the old “Kleinbildfilm” – 24x36mm. Most portrait photographers nowadays use those “full frame” systems because of mainly two reasons: the lenses have to be twice longer for the same angle of view, so they give you another “look”, and the depth of field is much thinner with these longer lenses, so you are able to separate your subjects (models and other persons) from the background by blurring that background, which helps in getting rid of unwanted “distractions”.

Apart from that, the simple rule is that the bigger your medium – be it a digital sensor or film – the longer your lenses have to be for the same angles of view. And that gives your images a certain look which simply cannot be achieved with smaller formats.

Instead of further trying to describe this, have a look at Nick Carver taking some photos on route 66 with several different formats, from Polaroid and 4.5x6cm to 6x17cm which is pretty ‘cinematic’ as I would describe it. But also his 6×6 and 6x7cm photos from the Mamiya RZ67 cannot be replicated by anything smaller. Have a look:

So the takeaway from this is:

– yes, using film is a hassle (and he’s using Rollfilm which is quite easy to handle)
– yes, using film is expensive
– no, except with Polaroids, you won’t get instant results

But man oh man, how I love those renderings of larger formats, and the colours of both Kodak Portra (a colour negative film), and Fujifilm Velvia (a slide film, good for landscapes only).

Can’t get that with medium format digital – the biggest Sony sensors are still smaller than 4.5x6cm film, so you’d have to stitch several images after taking them with long lenses. Oh, and those sensors are not exactly mainstream yet, and so they still cost about the same as your typical middle class Mercedes limousine. The cheapest larger-than-full-frame digital camera you can buy at the moment is also one of those ‘cameras of the year’; that’d be the Fujifilm GFX. And yes, being a modern camera, it’s of course mirrorless, like the ones I’m using. Just with a slightly bigger sensor, and longer lenses.

Thanks for reading, and for watching – hope you enjoyed it.

The Best & Worst Photo/Video Gear of 2017

This is an interesting one from the Camera Store guys in Calgary, Canada – because they also asked other people’s opinions. And tho these other people are mostly Youtube ‘vloggers’, it can still be seen as a kind of industry overview – they all touch many more gear than you or I do. So if you’re interested and have the time (and understand English, but if you wouldn’t then you probably wouldn’t be reading here), here it is. Enjoy.

I agree with them in their choices of the three best cameras, tho one of them is a dinosaur – but they also make that a topic, so thumbs up for you guys!

My 50mm macro lens, used as a “normal” one

I once bought a used ZD 50mm/2 macro lens from the Four Thirds digital series, and I still love that one. Its autofocus is slow on CDAF machines like our small Pens and the E-M10, but the rendering of that lens is, in lack of another word, special. And yes, it’s very very good as a macro lens, but since I bought it I mostly used it for portraits and the likes – with an equivalent field of view like a 100mm lens on film, and with a max aperture of f/2 it’s just beautiful for everything. Here are 1 picture from this morning, and two from my lunch break:

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Arno, buying breakfast for us

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The view from the middle

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Selfie in the lift, fim simulation, toned

All three of these photos were made with the lens wide open at f/2, where it’s nice and sharp already. And if you stop it down one or two stops, it gets razor blade sharp. But that’s not the point of it – from all the lenses we have, and we do have some nice ones, this might still be the one with the most beautiful rendering of the image, and therefore, if you will, “the best”.

As always, thanks for viewing.

Some more digital monochromes

Here are a few more photos which I made with my camera set to black & white:

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Tuna the cat, November 2017 (Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 fully open at f/1.4)

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Tuna the cat, November 2017 (Olympus OM G.Zuiko 50mm/1.4 fully open at f/1.4)

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Tuna the cat, November 2017 (Olympus OM G.Zuiko 50mm/1.4 at f/2)

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Arno, November 2017 (Olympus OM Zuiko 135mm/2.8 at f/4)

Thanks for viewing.

135mm on (Micro) Four Thirds

So today I took another one of my Sunday walks. Or rather, two – I had to interrupt after 2647 steps to get some rain protection. For my electronic camera, not for me. So here are some pictures I made today:

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I used the lens wide open at f/2.8 whenever that was possible. Only when my camera complained that even 1/4000th and ISO 100 was still too bright, I stepped it down to f/8 if necessary.

Thanks for viewing..

First (test) photos taken with my new old lens

I’ve spent all my breaks and free minutes both yesterday and until noon today with my new old lens – on my film camera, where it belongs to. And again, which looks like this when paired:

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My new old lens again. I used it with film today.

I took this picture with my 45mm/1.8 Micro Four Thirds “portrait lens”, and with the modeling light of one of my studio flashes (with a socked beauty dish mounted to it). Didn’t use the flash since I didn’t want to kill the background light from the kitchen.

When I had filled my third roll of Tri-X at noon (approximately half of these using this new lens), I brought the films to the local drugstore for development, and mounted the lens to my digital E-M10 camera, using an OM/ยต43rds adapter. I took lots of photos already, but nothing serious or worth to be shown. What I can tell so far is that the lens is indeed sharp. It can show a bit of “fringing” when shot wide open against lights, which is to be expected – there’s no automatic correction since the camera doesn’t even “know” which lens is mounted to it. Otherwise, there’s no big difference between using it wide open and stopping it down, and it shouldn’t – on Micro Four Thirds, you’ll be using only the middle quarter of the area of film.

Here’s our bookshelf from a few minutes ago, with the lens wide open at f/2.8:

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And here’s the same two stops down at f/5.6:

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Really not much of a difference – even at 100% I can read the description on the pack of HP ink just fine, and everything else looks good as well. And it stays this way until at least f/11 – if you stop down any further, you’ll notice some beginning diffraction at f/16, and more of it at f/22.

I’ll use it more over the coming days, and show more photos as soon as I have some. But the real proof will of course be the films, which should be ready in 10-14 days. If I see some good results from those, I’ll scan the negatives and show them as well.

Thanks for reading and viewing.

A wide angle lunch walk, and a new old tele lens

Today during my lunch break, I walked what Arno and me call the “Autobahnrunde”. I had the Panasonic Lumix 14mm/2.5 lens on my camera, and the field next to the Deutsche Bank buildings was freshly cut, so I got a few rare and unhindered perspectives:

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When I was much younger, I had a Canon A1 camera, with a set of three lenses: a 28mm/2.8, a 50mm/1.4, and a 135mm/2.8. For my Olympus OM-2N I only had 50mm lenses until today, but when I saw a 135mm/2.8 Zuiko in excellent condition for a very good price at KEH, I decided to get it. It got picked up by FedEx on Monday, and made it here until today even with their “standard” shipping option.

So this is how it looks on the camera:

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And this is how it performs on the digital E-M10 camera (where the angle of view is more like from a 270mm lens on film) – this is wide open at f/2.8, and without any CA or other “corrections” applied:

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Of course I will test this lens extensively over the next few days on both the film and digital cameras, but what I can see so far is that this should be a nice “people” lens. Let’s see if I’m correct.

Thanks for reading and viewing.

Some crops from today, in black and white

Let’s talk gear a bit.

When Kirk Tuck lately mentioned “My lens of choice today was the older, Contax Y/C Zeiss 50mm f1.7 lens, with an adapter. I shot almost everything at f2.0.” (that was in his blog article I mentioned already), I thought of course of my old and manual OM Zuiko lenses, which are quite wonderful. Of course I thought of using them, but didn’t. Until today.

On my Olympus OM-2N camera I have the G.Zuiko Auto-S 1:1.4 f=50mm lens, and in the camera I have Kodak 400TX (“Tri-X”) black & white film. So my plan for today was to take and to use that camera and lens, but if I’d taken only that one, I wouldn’t have anything to show right now – film still needs some time for development and all.

So I decided to also use my second lens from the OM System, the Zuiko Auto-S 50mm 1:1.8 “made in Japan” lens, adapted to my digital OM-D E-M10 (so I would have something to show right now).

Like Kirk did with his Contax/Yashica/Zeiss lens, I let my 1.4 Zuiko on the film camera on f/2 most of the time, but you can’t use the 1.8 Zuiko at f/2 – so I used that one fully open (also most of the time, when I set one camera to f/8, so I did with the other as well).

And since I had black & white film in my film camera, I set the digital one to black & white as well, and also to a 3:2 aspect ratio, just like my 135-type film has (it’s “full frame” in modern terms, meaning it has the Kleinbildfilm format of 24x36mm – which is 2:3).

So – the title says “crops”, and that is what today’s images from the digital camera are. I framed (and “composed”) everything using the film camera, then using the digital one I took another image from the exact same position, only with f/1.8 instead of f/2. So from the digital camera I have a crop of that “full frame” of the film – the sensor of (Micro) Four Thirds cameras is ca. 13x17mm, which is about the quarter area you have on 135-type film. So the crop factor is about 1:2 (or the angle from the lens looks a bit like a 100mm lens would have on the film camera). Depth of field is almost identical using that technique of course (in fact my digital “crop” camera at f/1.8 has less depth of field that the “full framer” film camera at f/2), but the digital doesn’t show the full image – or the film shot is much wider. Name it as you will; this is what I did today.

So here are some of these “crops”:

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The next one was taken with the lenses at f/8:

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And this one was at f/2.8:

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Nice and sharp – like all Olympus lenses (the 1.4 version is a bit better than the 1.8 one). Back to f/1.8 (or “fully open”):

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And one last one which I took with the digital camera only, just to show you my camera of choice of today – the Olympus OM-2N, photographed using one of its own lenses:

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I’ll show you the film images as soon as I have those films developed.

Thanks for viewing.