Category Archives: Teaching point

Follow-up to “Film Photographers Rejoice!”: The Plustek 120 Pro is here!

 

Hooray!!! Thanks to Alex, I have a happy update (see the comments section of the post from January 2, 2019).

Edit:  Here is the direct link to Plustek.

↑ Image courtesy of Plustek.

 

Here is a link to the video:

—Peter.

Affordable Replacement for Voigtlander Lens Hood.

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.

Doomo Light Meter on Leica M2-R.

Very pleased with this purchase.

—Peter.

The Great Basil Experiment.

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.

 

 

Kodak Tri-X… and Miles

Screenshot from the documentary, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, showing Miles on Tri-X.

How cool is that?

—Peter.

Nikon Z 24-200mm vs Z 24-70mm F4S – Ricci’s comparison.

Ricci‘s comparison of these two lenses:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7AkjAP1IMM

Very impressive, that 24-200mm… and I’m a prime lens shooter!

—Peter.

 

 

Garden, 3 (re-processed).

I’ve re-processed my image Garden, 3, using similar techniques I used to use when processing my M9 files.

So…. I’m still experimenting.  Wondering what people think (I’m looking at you jh).

—Peter.

↑Nikon Z7 + Nikon 50mm f/1.8S.

As a point of comparison…

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.

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).

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).

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.

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.

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.

Don’t ask [updated for the holidays!].

An update to that little conundrum involving a man and his lens.

—Peter.

Don’t ask.

Lens testing, run amuck.

UPDATE: December 19, 2019.

Another copy (a.k.a. Lens #2) of the same lens:

Proving that even the pro-level zooms are not immune from sample variation.

—Peter.

Some thoughts on Nikon’s Z7.

I’ve long avoided switching into mirrorless but I’m now photographing primarily with the Nikon Z7 (though I’ve kept the D500 for my baseball work).

The reluctance to go into mirrorless was consequent to a few things:

  1. EVFs.  I prefer optical viewfinders.
  2. Ergonomics (or lack thereof). The camera-as-computer feel of most of the mirrorless offerings seemed to get in the way of taking photos.
  3. Speed (also lacking).  Most of the early mirrorless cameras were very laggy in operation.

So what’s changed?

Well, I warmed up a little to EVFs after using the Fuji GFX earlier this year, and obviously mirrorless cameras have been progressively evolving with respect to both their ergonomics and speed.  Though what really won me over was Nikon entering the market with the Z6 and Z7.

For the first time, a mirrorless camera felt like I a real camera (to me).  Ergonomics — check.

And I don’t know the resolution or refresh rate of Nikon’s EVF, but in use it feels more natural than the others I’ve tried (including some of the “best in class”).  I still prefer the window of an optical rangefinder, but I have little to criticize in the Z7‘s EVF.

The Z mount has also been a positive and significant development.  It has freed up Nikon’s engineers to design truly outstanding lenses while balancing size and cost.  Win, win, win.

Lastly — and this has simply been a revelation to me — though the tracking ability of the AF has been much maligned (and is overblown), the precision and accuracy of focus on stationary subjects have been noticeably improved over DSLRs.  Whether using a single focus point or the “eye-tracking” function, critical focus on a person’s eyes at wide apertures is easily achieved.  Critical focus at wide apertures was one of the reasons I preferred rangefinders over DSLRs, but now mirrorless has improved upon even that.

Mirrorless? 

I’m in.

—Peter.

 

 

Ken Rockwell.

I’ve teased Ken Rockwell before, but I’ve mostly agreed with him on his assessment of gear.

And I’m now loving Ken’s YouTube channel.  Check it out if you haven’t, just so that you can hear his enthusiasm.

—Peter.

Update: Voigtländer 40mm Nokton f/1.4 Review.

I just updated my Voigtländer 40mm Nokton Review.

Enjoy!

[EDIT: images added]

[EDIT #2: more images added]

—Peter.