The Pandemic Portrait.

2021, Favourite, Film, Inspiration, Kodak Portra 400, Leica M2, Leica M2-R, Portrait, Q&A, Scanner - Plustek 8200i, Teaching point, Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1.5 Aspherical, Within 200 feet of My House™

…or “The Forgotten Film Portrait“.

This is from a roll of film that I started back in the winter.  It’s been sitting in my camera for months, so today I decided to develop and scan it.  The chemicals were prepared back in August (it’s the same chemistry I’ve been using all along), and the lens was untested up until this point.  Given all of this, I wasn’t expecting much.

This is the first frame from the roll. 

Damn.

Honestly, I don’t know why I bother shooting with anything else.

Don’t get me wrong, I could give you plenty of reasons why not to shoot with film:

  • prices have nearly doubled over the past year
  • having the chemicals delivered is not as straightforward as it used to be
  • shooting is less spontaneous compared to digital
  • results (and errors) are not known until well after the moment has passed
  • etc, etc, etc…

And yet, let me repeat:

Damn.

First frame of the roll and I’m DONE.

—Peter.

The Pandemic Portrait - Prosophos - Leica M2-R - Voigtlander 50mm Nokton 1.5 - Kodak Portra 400

Leica M2-R, Voigtländer 50mm Nokton f/1.5 ASPH, Kodak Portra 400, and Plustek 8200i.

By way of comparison…

2021, Favourite, Fujifilm GFX 100S, Inspiration, Q&A, Teaching point

The dimensions of the newly-announced Fujifilm GFX 100S, as compared to the Nikon D850 (images courtesy of the comparison site camerasize.com).  The Fuji of course is a mirrorless camera with a larger sensor, and the Nikon a DSLR with a smaller sensor.

Each has their pros and cons and this is an apples-to-oranges comparison, but I did it for my own purposes and thought I would share.

—Peter.

A few colourful observations.

2021, Inspiration, Q&A, Teaching point

As is well known by now, I loved the colours coming out of the M9/M9P/M-E (and M8) series of Leica cameras.

I disliked the colours from the M240 (note: I am being polite with my language).

I found the colours of the M10/M10P to be a significant improvement over the M240, but still short of the M9 and M8.

The colours coming out the new M10-R are a step down from the M10/M10-P.  Something weird is going on there.

Interestingly, I find the colours from the Leica SL line of cameras to be superior to their M counterparts, and also to the Nikon Z line of cameras I’ve previously owned.

I’m telling you this because I have nothing else to share, photographically speaking.  We’re in another Covid-19 lock-down and in my M2-R sits a roll of Portra 400 that I started a month ago.

—Peter.

Affordable Replacement for Voigtlander Lens Hood.

2020, Favourite, Inspiration, Q&A, Teaching point, Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4

For those of you looking for a more affordable replacement for the Voigtländer LH-6 (or even LH-8) bayonet-mount hood for your Nokton 40/1.4 (or 40/1.2) lens, here it is.

Most third party manufacturers produce hoods that screw into the filter, but this is the only third party solution I am aware of that mounts directly on to the lens, just like the OEM Voigtländer.

And it’s half the cost.  Highly recommended.

—Peter.

The Great Basil Experiment.

2020, Favourite, Film, Inspiration, Kodak Tri-X 400, Leica M2, Leica M2-R, Print, Q&A, Scanner - Plustek 8200i, Teaching point, Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4, Within 200 feet of My House™

This was taken with that first test roll of film from a few posts back, but I’m posting it today because we had an official tasting of my son’s basil (the varieties grown include Lemon, Thai, Sweet, and Green Globe—which is spicy).

Don’t tell the cops.

—Peter.

Leica M2-R, Voigtländer 40mm Nokton f/1.4, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.

 

 

As a point of comparison…

2020, Beyond 200 feet of My House™, Favourite, Inspiration, Nikon, Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8S, Nikon Z7, Portrait, Q&A, Teaching point

In follow up to the Voigtlander 40/1.4 post, where I evaluate central sharpness on the Nikon Z7 at various lens apertures, here’s what the Nikon 50/1.8S lens does wide open @ f/1.8:

Clearly, this lens is operating on another optical level (the advantages of newer lens design and manufacturing, software trickery, as well as a larger size).

—Peter.

 

 

Test Shots: Nikon Z + Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4.

2020, Favourite, Inspiration, Nikon, Nikon Z7, Q&A, Teaching point, Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4, Within 200 feet of My House™

These are some test images I made for my own purposes.  I was specifically looking at central sharpness of the Voigtlander 40mm Nokton 1.4 at various large apertures when mounted on the Nikon Z7.

I took two series of test shots, one at close-ish distance and the other at mid-far distance.

As you can see, @ f/1.4 there is a definite softness and “glow”, but resolution is actually quite good.  By f/2, the lens takes on a more modern contrasty look, which improves @ f/2.5, and then very slightly again @ f/2.8.

Depending on the look I’d want, I could see myself shooting at each of these apertures, but for a general-purpose look f/2 is probably the best compromise; @ f/2.5, the sharpness is already beyond anything I’d need for portraiture.

—Peter.

Scene 1:

(focus is on the number “30”)

Scene 2:

(focus is on the word “LIFETIME”)

As “dreamy” as the shots @ f/1.4 appear, they can easily be made to approximate the ones @ f/2, if contrast and sharpness are added during post processing:

(as stated in the introduction, the resolution is all there)

Transforming the “LIFETIME” image @ f/1.4 to a more modern rendering is a little more tricky, because there is more “glow” present, but — again — adding contrast and sharpness helps.

BY THE WAY, the Voigtlander 40/1.4 Nokton I have is the single-coated (SC) version.  The multi-coated (MC) version may behave differently, as it is purported to render with more contrast, have less propensity to flare, etc.  However, having owned it in the past I can’t recall seeing a difference, though admittedly I’ve never done a side-by-side comparison.

I hope you found this useful.

—Peter.

Selective Focus (1 and 2).

2020, Favourite, Inspiration, Nikon, Nikon Z7, Portrait, Prosophos Custom Lightroom Presets, Teaching point, Undisclosed Magical Mystery Lens, Within 200 feet of My House™

These represent the first photos that have been processed with my new Lightroom presets.

I’ve been developing them over the last few months and this is the sort of look you can expect from the finalized  presets (to see a before-and-after comparison, see the link above).

As a bonus, I’ve tried the presets on files from different digital cameras, and they seem to play nicely with all of them.

Hope you like them.

—Peter.

↑Nikon Z7 + Undisclosed Magical Mystery Lens.

Magical Mystery Lens (test examples).

2020, Favourite, Inspiration, Nikon, Nikon Z7, Print, Q&A, Teaching point, Undisclosed Magical Mystery Lens, Within 200 feet of My House™

Here’s an example of what the MML performs like wide open:

And here’s the 100 % central crop:

↑Nikon Z7 + Undisclosed Magical Mystery Lens (100% central crop).

Here’s another example of the MML lens performance wide open (with some bonus bokeh):

And here’s the 100 % central crop:

↑Nikon Z7 + Undisclosed Magical Mystery Lens (100% central crop).

I’ll leave it to you to decide if you’d be happy with this level of central performance + bokeh.

I really like it.

A few of you have purchased the identity of Magical Mystery Lens from my site — thank you.  For those of you who are tempted to, I’ll let you know that until 11:59 PM tonight (Eastern Standard Time), this lens is on sale at one major retailer.

—Peter.

Nikon Firmware 3.0.

Inspiration, Nikon, Nikon Z7, Q&A, Teaching point

For those of you photographing with Nikon Z cameras, update your firmware to 3.0 if you haven’t already done so.  There are major autofocus improvements — with respect to both implementation (ease of choosing a subject) and efficacy (ability to “hold on” to a subject).

This update is making me question why I’m holding on to my Nikon D500 for sports… the improvements are that significant.

Well done Nikon!

—Peter.

Nikon 50mm 1.8 E vs. S.

2020, Favourite, Inspiration, Nikon 50mm f/1.8 series E AIS, Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8S, Q&A, Teaching point

Like the title says, I’m comparing the 40 year old Nikon 50/1.8 Series E AIS lens with the new Nikon 50mm 1.8S lens.

Wide open, there’s no contest: the 50/1.8S trounces the E (you’ll have to take my word for it).

At f/2.8, however, the differences are less obvious.

WARNINGThis is not a scientific comparison.  This is me sharing something with you for free that might be worth absolutely nothing to you.  Or it may change your life.  We can only say with certainty in retrospect.

Below you will find two similar but uninteresting images taken under horrible lighting.

Technical:

  • f/2.8
  • 1/125
  • ISO 1250
  • Camera used: Nikon Z7

Nikon 50mm 1.8E:

 

Nikon 50mm 1.8S:

And now the crops (click on each image to enlarge)…

Center:

Left Edge:

Upper Left:

Right Edge:

The 50/1.8S is technically the better lens, for 10x the price.  The 50/1.8E is easier to carry around.

Thanks for looking.

—Peter.