Camera and Lens and Accessories Reviews

I just decided to make this portfolio page. Too often, I scour reviews mostly out of curiosity, sometimes to gain insight on gear I own, and when considering a purchase. My reviews will be based on use without being beholden to anyone. Honestly, for cameras and lenses the images do most of the talking. I don’t care about coma or softness in the corners or similar things, and frankly once a review goes down that rabbit hole I hit the escape key.

I’ll post my “version” of camera and lens reviews here. My interest is on how a camera or lens makes pictures, how it feels in the hands, how it will stand the test of time, and its ease of use.

Regarding accessories, I tend to accessorize every system to the point of ridiculousness. Being absent minded, I cannot find most of the small accessories after using them. They get lost in the bottom of one of a bag until I pick the bag up again – meaning I should never have purchased the damned thing in the first place! There are some I try hard not to lose track of and use regularly, and those are ones I’ll discuss here.

Lastly, the endless search for the camera bag that suits me. For a bag to work for me, it must be good looking, durable, functional and most important it must be comfortable to sling on my shoulders.

Nikon 105mm F 1.4 Imagery and Discussion

August 27, 2021

I just acquired this lens second hand in excellent condition. My early impressions are these after my first time shooting with the lens:

  1. Heft. This is one honking lens. It is heavy and robust and I won’t be carrying the camera without supporting the lens with my hand. Regardless of the weight, the lens balances well on the D 850. The Nikon kit I am carrying in my overstuffed backpack is quite a load, with an F6 and D 850, a 70 – 200, a few 35mm lenses and a small 28mm AIS lens. This kit is a back-breaker!
  2. Autofocus, Manual Focus. Autofocus is snappy and accurate. The manual focus ring is smooth and fills the hand.
  3. Colors. The lens produces beautiful lifelike colors, deeply and richly.
  4. Bokeh. I have never experienced such creamy bokeh. The D850 gave me the luxury of shooting at F 1.6 in late day sun (shutter speed 8,000). Technology yields flexible creativity. This lens is a go to for beautiful portraiture.
  5. Sharpness. It is silly sharp, one of the sharpest lenses I have ever experienced. One would hesitate to have such sharpness for portraits, but the lens still renders beautifully with subject separation from the background.
  6. Without further adieu, here are some images from my first experience with this beautiful lens

Rolling Review of the FujiFilm X100V

I owned a motorcycle and wanted a lighter kit for touring. I changed my gear to Fuji interchangeable for weight savings. I had already owned the original X100. I stayed with the Fuji system for about 5 years. I have since stopped motorcycling and returned to Nikon DSLR. I have owned every model of the […]

View Project

Homage to the Leica M3

      I love vintage analogue cameras and admit to a fascination with gathering models considered master works from renowned manufacturers. Examples in my collection are the Nikon F3, Minolta XD 11, Spotmatic F, Hasselblad 503cx, Pentax 67 and the Contax G2. I have two other Leicas, an M6 and an M240, each of […]

Ricoh GR III Rolling Review

I will supplement this review over time with imagery and thoughts. I have shot this collection of bottles in the window at Angelina’s Cafe many times with many different cameras. **Ongoing Thoughts +++++ It is a great camera and very fun to use. The image quality is superb from the 28mm (in full frame equivalent) […]

Review, Kaza Case for Fuji X100V

Why I use camera cases. I have always used Kaza brand cases with my Fuji X100 models. Some scorn using camera cases but for rangefinder style cameras that normally don’t have an ergonomic grip I prefer using one. I often have a few cameras and multiple lenses and other things in my chaotically stuffed camera […]

Zeiss Lenses

I am a huge fan of Zeiss Lenses. I use them on my Rollei TLR, my Hasselblad, my Leica and Nikon cameras. I’ll post images here using the different lenses. General Thoughts on Superb Lenses I have shot many fine lenses. Pentax Takumar and Leica lenses are absolutely great. I do have a quibble with […]

Leica M10 Planar 50
Leica M10, Planar 50
Nikon D850/Zeiss 35/1.4 F 1.4@ISO 6400
Nikon D850, Zeiss 35mm F 1.4 @ 2.8

Zeiss 35mm F 1.4 Vignetting

This lens vignettes in the top right and left corners. Maybe I am doing something wrong.

Zeiss 35mm F 1.4, Nikon D 850
Lobster House, Vignette Removed (almost), Processed with Capture One Petra Preset. The 35 F 1.4 renders beautiful colors natively as shown by the preceding image. Its focus damping is silky smooth. This lens is a true pleasure to use aside from the vignette!

FILM SCANNING HOLDERS AND COMPARISON SILVERFAST 9 AND EPSON SCAN SOFTWARE; LOMOGRAPHY VERSUS EPSON FILM HOLDERS

This first set is an incomplete test since the scans in the Epson holder were made with the stock Epson Scan software from my V 800 scanner and those made from the Lomography holder were scanned with Silverfast 9.

I always struggle to get the film flat in the Epson holders. The only way to lay it flat is to wrestle the film under the extrusions on both sides of the plate. But doing so is impossible and risks damaging the negatives (bending), so I just rest the film on top of them. If Epson would only open up the slot between these fingers and the plate flatness would be much easier.

The Lomography holder fits the entire sheet of film easily allowing me to scan the edges with film date, especially handy for the Pentax 645NII film imprints.

The film used here, Kodak TriX, dried very flat. The experience with curled film is still in doubt for the Lomography holder, but one of the variables from the Lomography scans, be it the holder or the software, obviously leads to much better scans – and it is not even close.

Sorry for the inconsistent orientation.

Silverfast automatically performed a few different actions on the negatives including multiple exposure and some sharpening. With Silverfast I was able to designate the film stock and film speed. I suppose I could have added these adjustments in Epson Scan before scanning, but Silverfast was much easier and the results left me with more tonal range to work with in post processing.

The Epson holders have a glass plate in them and the Lomography holder has nothing between the film and the scanner bed.

EPSON SCAN, EPSON HOLDER

Pentax 645@200

SILVERFAST 9 SOFTWARE, LOMOGRAPHY HOLDER. Not a great image by any means, but there is much better tonal range and the sharpness is enhanced.

EP

EPSON SCAN SOFTWARE, EPSON FIM HOLDER

Pentax 645@200

SILVERFAST 9 SCAN LOMOGRAPHY 120 HOLDER There is better sharpness and more detail in the bulb and the frame bolts and the T electrical connector. There is more to work with in post processing here, and the differences are more apparent.

TOUCHLESS CURE FOR LENS STIFFNESS

I have had this old Nikon macro lens hanging around for a long time. To turn the lens barrel I have considered bring a pipe wrench in my bag. I can’t recall when or how it happened, or even if I bought the lens this way. Originally it was a bit taut, but I am sure the grease dried from inattention leading to rigor mortis. I took the lens into my mortician for an autopsy, but he recommended I retire the lens to the the ethereal. I could not bear to do this to such a fine piece of glass. It is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used. This led me down the path to take the lens apart. Unfortunately, the tiny screws are frozen in place. I have since learned I can free the screws with a cotton swab and naphtha, and a retry of the surgical procedure was on the list to happen someday (probably never). I figured even if I ruined the lens it would be cool to see its internal organs. I was meandering around the web and came across a post suggesting to put a lens with rheumatism into an airtight container with a cotton ball soaked in naphtha (lighter fluid). According to the author, the fumes from the naptha soften the old grease. Not having much to lose, I tried it. It is a miracle. The lens is smooth as the day it left the Nikon factory. I am not sure if this will last, or if the inners are smattered with oil, but as of now, the blades look clean and the glass looks fine. I left the lens caps on during the process. I used a Tupperware tub and some makeup removing pads and left the lens in the tub for 5 or 6 hours. If you have an old lens that is stiff, it might be worth a try.M

lasousa2015

Husband, dad, photographer, old camera lover, lawyer.

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