Jump to content

The Official Head-Case Photography Thread.


Recommended Posts

Fair warning: This is gonna be a long walk and it's going to make increasingly less sense as it goes along. 

This is the original Canon EF 50mm F/1.8:


It is was only made for a short time between 1987 and 1990.  It is, in my estimation, still the best 50mm for the EF system.  The Mark II is the same optically, but it's got toylike build quality and a plastic mount.  The EF 50mm F/1.4 (a lens I have used extensively since 2006) is ...fine.  It's not as sharp, has more distortion, and a bigger PITA about focusing.  The exotic EF 50mm F/1.0L is a collector's bauble that is astronomically expensive on the used market.  It might as well be a Ferrari.  The current EF 50mm F/1.2L is better than the 1.0, but still entirely too expensive, large and heavy.  In case I'm not being clear, the 1.4, 1.2 and 1.0 fifties are optically inferior to the humble 1.8. 

I was fortunate to get my Mk I 50/1.8 from a friend who had just broken his EOS camera and gone back to film.  I've jealously guarded it since '08 or so.  I will be buried with it.  The problem is, I don't have a lens hood for it.  Now that I'm shooting full frame full time, I need a hood.  Canon lens hoods are a dark science.  After much searching, I'm more or less positive I need an ES-65 hood, in either Mk I, II, III iteration.  The problem is that there's the new mirrorless 50mm F/1.8 STM that users an ES-65B hood.  That damn thing (and Chinesium knock-offs) are everywhere.  Finding a real McCoy ES-65 in decent shape and at an okay price has been a PITA.  I found a couple reputable sellers on the 'Bay and I'm going to pick one up this weekend.



This is a Janpol 55mm F/5.6 enlarger lens I got over the summer.  It uses the M42 mount.  The problem is that it doesn't focus, so I need an M42 helicoid adapter.  Guessing what mm range I need is a shot in the dark.  I actually DGAF if I can't hit infinity focus on the Janpol, but I'd prefer to have a workable focus range.



This is Tamron "Adapt-a-matic" manual focus 135mm F/2.8 from the 1970s, photographed here with my 85mm F/1.8 (I was feeling lazy and used a modern lens for once.)  This Tameron is part of their line of lenses that predated the their Adaptall series.  The mount adapter is removable and different ones could be swapped in.  The problem is that I have a ...Konika or something mount and I need Nikon F or M42.  These adapters unimaginably rare these days.  What I've read is the trick is to find an old lens with an adapter you want.  I've seen a few on the 'Bay in various focal lengths (28mm and 200mm seem popular) and pick one up soonish.  No, I have no idea how many 135mm primes I own at this point.  They just fall in my lap.


This is the Canon EF 600mm F/4L USM:


It has been the industry standard wildlife photographer lens since 1988.  There are a number of versions.  The fist lacked image stabilization.  The IS version arrived in '99.  The IS Mk II came out in 2011, and the still-in-production III came out in 2018.  It'll set you back a cool $13,000. 

Like most such super-teles, the Can 600mm is a fancy telescope to which one attaches a camera:



If the 600 F/4 is not sufficiently insane, there's also the EF 800mm F/5.6L:


(Bald guy not included.)  It's a stop slower, but is the same bargain price of 13 grand.  I have only recently begun to think of 800mm as anything other than silly, but it's really nice for moon photos and especially small critters.  Also I went on a bender looking at photos taken with the old FD 800 and saw a lot of cool stuff.

Lest one thing we've hit the limit for irrationality, there is also the Canon 1200mm. 


No, I don't mean the exotic 1200mm F/5.6.  There's like 20 of those in total, and it's such a big deal when one comes up for sale the normie press covers it.  Also they cost as much as a house.  Even if I could magically afford one, I have an aversion to lenses that need to be manned by a crew like a mortar emplacement.  No, what I'm talking about is the comparatively diminutive 1200mm F/8L:


It's only available in the mirrorless RF mount, and costs a paltry $20,000 (roughly the rental cost of a weekend with the EF 1200mm I imagine.)  I will admit, even for me the RF 1200 seems too much.  Any critter that far away is no longer of interest to me.  There's also the issue that the 1200, along with the 600 and 800 (not to mention the 400 and 500) are completely out of my budget and always will be.  So why am I dedicating so much time and space to these things?  Well... I now live full time right next to a pond.  Since 2005 I've been photographing it:


Taken with a PowerShot S60, 2005.



Taken with an EOS 30D and EF-S 17-85mm, 2006.



Taken with a dollar store camera and Kodak Gold 200, 2007.



Taken with an EOS Rebel G, 35mm F/2, and Kodak Gold 200, 2007.



Taken with Kodak BW400CN and a 17-40 in 2008.



Taken with Velvia 50 and a 17-40L, 2008.  I sometimes wonder, did I peak in '08?



Taken with an IR-modified PowerShot G2 in 2009.



Taken with an IR modified 5D classic and a 17-40L, 2013.



Taken with a fricken iPhone, this past January.



Taken with my 5D IV, which I've taken to calling "the 5D4" and one of my many silly manual lenses.  In this case it was the Asahi Super Takumar 50/1.4.  I don't actually like this photo too much, but it's been weirdly popular on Flickr. 

The point of all this is I live next to a mini nature preserve.  I see ducks of the common mallard persuasion, as well as more exotic ones like hooded mergansers.  I see black skimmers, who are the Blue Angels of the water bird world.  They are so graceful as they fly over the pond it's amazing.  I see "common" green herons, who are amazing birds only outclassed because they have to share space with a couple larger iterations.  Chief among those is a solitary great blue heron who shows up every once in a while.  He's such an animal I could probably write several paragraphs about him.  I've also seen two white egrets, who are stunning for entirely different reasons (BRIGHT WHITE.  HUGE.) 

So far, with the rarest exception, I have failed to photograph any of the above avians, as well as any of the ground based fauna.  There's a host of reasons for this.  I don't put in enough effort.  I'm not attentive enough in watching the pond.  I'm old, slow and clumsy by the standards of humans (and we we are a clumsy species as far as wildlife is concerned).  Also I am completely lacking the right glass for the job.  I do own two manual focus 300mms and a crappy 75-300mm autofocus lens.  They are NOT up to the task of dealing with birds.  As I mentioned paragraphs ago, I cannot afford any of the exotic Can L super-teles, now or ever.  So where TF is this going?  Full Retard, where else.


This is the Canon RF600mm F/11 STM.  It's $800.



This the Canon RF 800mm F/11 STM, it's under $1000.

These are not "normal" lenses at all.  First off F/11 is comically slow, or was until we entered the high ISO mirrorless era.  Also they lack apertures.  At all.  You cannot stop them down further than F/11.  They are, as the kids say, weird AF.  They're also the most economical way to get to the field of view necessary to capture small and easily spooked animals.  Also they're all within my long term reach in a way that big stonking L glass never will be.  I'm not saying I'm planning out a Canon R5 purchase next year with a 600 and 800mm side order, but I'm sure thinking about it.  I'm thinking about it a lot.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Couple of 800/11 + R5 except the cat was taken with the R6

















All JPEGs, maybe I won't never get to editing these. (probably have some better shots, I just don't know where they are...)
I would say f/11 is least of the worries. (With the AI noise reduction I probably wouldn't need to be nearly as careful with that anymore.)
A lot of standing still and waiting involved in this (with occasional silent cursing).
As it is either not the most interesting species to photograph, or the background is busy (not a fan of organising a scene but that's what professionals tend to do), or the lighting is not there (you can see, same bird getting close because the nest was in the shed I was photographing from, few days apart yet completely different lighting), the animal is far too intelligent to spot me from far away, subject is hard to find as the FOV is so tight, etc. But worst is when I do get lucky by getting close but I hit the minimum focusing distance of 6m (19.7 feet) and can't take a shot, zooms don't have this issue. 

Nevertheless, it is fun to use with animal eye-tracking, although limited AF area, had it twice, might buy it again for around 600$ used it is hard to ignore. Very good for video, too (preferably on a stable tripod, which I don't really have...)
The 200-800/6.3-9 will push more of these on the used market, the 100-500/4.5-7.1 as well which is even more versatile for close-ups and landscapes (sold that as well).

R8 with its more advanced AF with a bigger area and even lighter weight is actually better match for it than the R5 (and the Black Friday price of 1300$ for this body seems very attractive, I know I will try one eventually).

Edited by padam
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, dsavitsk said:


What Is Photography? (No Need to Answer That.)

Two exhibitions by Japanese artists raise deep questions about the medium, and — refreshingly — leave them hanging.



For those in SF, there’s also a Sugimoto exhibit at the Fraenkel through next month. 



  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a Richard Misrach/Meghann Riepenhoff show on now at one of the better Atlanta galleries. 


We have a piece by the latter (the big blue one that used to be in the family room in Marin) and she's going to come and see it in the new house at Christmas, when she's visiting her parents in Atlanta. Says she is always interested in how they change over time, given the direct exposure of the medium to the elements.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Visited my Mother for Thanksgiving. She had saved a camera for me that she wanted me to have. I'm not much of a photographer, and an expensive camera would be wasted on me. But I'm completely ignorant to what I have here. Is this just junk, or will it be a decent camera that I should hold onto?






  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pentaxians are a loyal and vocal group. 12 MP is all you need, good sized sensor and focal lengths covered. Enjoy! It also came in other colors. 

Sample images: https://alvinalexander.com/gadgets/pentax-k-x-sample-photos-gallery-examples/


Edited by blessingx
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In late November I found a Tamron Auto 135mm F/2.8 "Adapt-A-Matic" from the 1970s at the local second hand shop.  It had a *mumble* mount on the end of it.  In spite of the fact that I own more manual focus 135mm primes than I can count (it's nearing 10), I of course bought it. 


As seen here photographed with my 85mm F/1.8 (I do use autofocus lenses upon occasion.)  I spent some time searching for an M42 Adapt-A-Matic on eBay and found precious few.  One guy had a 200mm lens that did not work with an m42 mount, but his price plus shipping was laughable.  Eventually I found a seller of an Adapt-A-Matic Nikon F mount (no lens) for ...several times what I paid for my 135mm.  It arrived earlier this week.  I was then tasked with wrestling with my Nikon F to Canon EF adapter, which I genuinely hate.  It's one of the least forgiving adapters I've used in my life.



The object d'art in question is a wood carving of a hand giving the middle finger.  Fun fact: This little statuette used to sit on the shelf above my grandmother's kitchen sink in the 1980s.  One day I asked her for it.  She said "Sure.  That means some nasty thing or other."  I told a childhood friend (I use the term very loosely) about it, and he flat out did not believe me.  In fact he loudly mocked me to his parents for making such a claim.  When, some weeks later, he saw the statue sitting on my desk at home he sheepishly asked if "that was the statue."  I'd like to dedicate these photos to him.



A green bottle that will be familiar to anyone who has seen my previous work.  It's a handy subject when I want to test out a lens.  All of these shots were taken at F/8 or F/11.  The Tamron displays remarkably good bokeh and decent color transmission.  It's not the most contrasty thing in the word (few 70s lenses are) but that is easily corrected with some quick work in Photoshop.  What is not evident in this photos is the really odd feel of the focus ring.  It's oil damped, but very uncommunicative.  I'm well versed in operating manual lenses.  I can adapt muscle memory to how a lens focuses pretty quickly.  This Tamron is speaking Japanese ot me.  I never felt like my hand movements were translating to the change in focus I wanted.  It's just downright weird. 

All of this said, I had some fun with the lens.  Tamron is an "also ran" Japanese lens maker, but they're still a Japanese lens maker.  The lighting conditions in the afternoon on MV in December are quite something.  It's a fairly fleeting window, but in that time everything has a magic glow to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was out ambling around the neighborhood when Jernegan pond played host to a great blue heron and a rather large otter.  A visit from either would be an event, but both at the same time was something special indeed.  Of course, I utterly failed to capture the moment.


The only frame where I managed to capture both critters.  The light was not good and I was using a very not good lens (75-300mm).  I spent considerable time processing the image in Luminar 4 and Photoshop.  I ended up with "yep, that's a bird" and "it appears to be an otter" so I'll mark it as a win.



The otter, breaking the surface.  He appeared to be doing quite well.  He had a fish in his mouth about every other time he surfaced.   The speed at which he consumed them was impressive.



The otter spent most of his time in the middle of the pond while the heron stayed near the edge.  The sun was low enough that capturing the bird at all was not exactly easy.  Also 300mm on full frame is about the beginning of the useful focal length for bird photography.



I fared a bit better when the heron elected to land on the other side of the pond, which was still getting some indirect sunlight.



Catching a bird in flight, even a giant one, is nontrivial with a slow economy lens like the 75-300mm. 



The heron buzzed over me on his way out.  I got a couple frames where he was in-focus.  I've got a bunch more photos, but these are an absolute PITA to edit due to the light and lens.  It'll be a minute.



  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/3/2014 at 12:30 PM, en480c4 said:

18.5mm/1.8 for my Nikon V1. Much better better performance than the kit zoom lens. A fast 50mm-equivalent prime addresses the issues I was having so I should end up using the V1 a lot more.

Not sure if you still shoot the system nearly a decade later, but someone is... 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

That video drove me nuts.  They clearly shot on a full frame DSLR with a longish zoom.  The camera's AF system was fighting and uphill battle and lost more than it didn't.  They really should have used an APS-C body and a wider zoom.  Not everything requires a narrow depth of field.  More often than not, it's a good idea to have the majority of a frame in-focus. 

Also yesterday I went to Chicken Alley, the second hand store where I found the Leica, Marantz and many other baubles.  I got this neat case for a ten spot:


That's a bunch of my smaller manual focus lenses, plus some adapters and filters.  They fit amazingly well.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did something silly.  There was a Kenko fisheye adapter listed on the 'Bay.  It mounts to the front of a conventional lens with a 58mm filter thread.  The seller had it up for $40 + $18 shipping + Taxachusetts.  I adjusted an offer until I got shipping and tax to bring the total to exactly $50.  The guy accepted it within half an hour.





  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.