« It's Complicated! (Please Read) | Main | Happy 100th Birthday Pentax! »

Wednesday, 27 November 2019


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

That's not a big camera actually. Want big medium format, look at the Fuji GX680. I wonder what you'd say about it in your review - it came to market a few years later.
I used to shoot Pentacon Six, which was the original from which Exacta 66 was blatantly copied, and which used the same breechlock mount. My pick for the best lens for these systems would be Sonnar 180 2.8 though. It's THE best portrait lens ever made, bar none. Sharp, but not clinically sharp in the way of modern portrait lenses. And smooth, but not too smooth focus falloff, with none of that crazy bokeh thingies. Oldskool mojo.

I have a 4x5 Cooke adapted to the Hasselblad 203FE. I also have a new Petzval/Petzvar lens for the camera. It's a killer portrait lens if you like the swirl. At mid distance, it's like a Holga-on-steroids. Unfortunately, the image circle really does not cover at infinity.

The Whistler - Wilde story is perhaps best known to my generation from its incorporation wholesale into a Monty Python routine (with the parts given to characters called by those names, though, so acknowledging the source). (The one that ends with "I merely meant, your majesty that you stand out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark"; arriving there via a rather off-color path.)

Does the diaphragm stay open until you press the shutter, as in regular cameras, or it a less than ideal situation where you have to close down the aperture yourself? I haven't expressed that very well. Sorry.

By the way, those Schneiders go for a king's ransom on eBay these days.

Damn, just got some GX9 GAS. Thanks a lot.

: )

Happy Thanksgiving Mike!

"How is Frank to shoot with? Well, does anyone really want to know?"

Are you kidding? Young Mike Johnston's white whale, captured at last? Who wouldn't want to know?

Your linked B&H price for the GX9 is tempting! I really don't need another one—but the one I've got now will wear out sometime right? I bought mine 16 months ago and immediately sold the mandatory kit lens to MPB.com for $170. I've hardly used my Canon 5D4 since I got it. The GX9 really is a camera to love. It is pretty (people often think I'm toting a film Leica) and the digital files are superb (I just made a 24"x 24" print!!). No, I don't need another one, but . . .

You're going to need a BIG tripod!

I had heard it as, "be careful of what you wish for, for you will surely get it."

I see there is also, "be careful of what you wish for, lest it come true."

Ain't idioms . . . idiomatic?

Photography as an exercise program. Bench press that ten times a day and you'll standing in line for a Phase 1. 😄

It never rains in southern California—except when it does 8-) We have more rain predicted for tonight and tomorrow!

iPhone Xs 4.25mm, f/1.8 at 1/121
Have a Happy Black/Cyber days.

There is something fundamentally satisfying about being able to use the lens(es) you want on the body you want, isn't there?

Especially when the resulting FrankenKamera* performs even better than you imagined, as is proving to be the case with my recently finished FrankenKamera No. 5:

It's presently setup to use vintage Contax / Yashica lenses and a Sony A7R body and it provides 10 mm of geared rear fall and 22 mm of rear rise, which is more than sufficient for my purposes.

It was built around the rear standard of a Toyo VX23D medium-format view camera and -- incredibly -- weighs a mere 1 lb., 5.9 ounces as it appears in the photo above.

Best of all, none of the modifications I made are permanent, so I can readily strip all the custom bits I fabricated off the standard and reassemble the VX23D in its original form in ~20 minutes.

For grins and giggles, here's a link to the first photo I took with this camera: http://www.canyonero.com/files/1574149221.jpg

*Credit for this name belongs to Dick Boone, not me. He coined it when I sent around an email a few years ago announcing my first hybrid camera and I borrowed it from him and have been using it ever since because I can't think of a better name for these camera projects. (Oh, and so you know, you can't patent a name, but you can trademark it.)

Wow, a used 645Z is still shockingly high, so I'll not recommend that beastie:) The 645N is a beaut, and 120 film is easier to develop at home than 35, so not a deal breaker. I'm going to avoid looking to see if that adapter is available for Pentax 67 - for a man who just wrote about an end to GAS, you're trying to get it started in folks again!


This is a wonderful reminder that it is sometimes inconvenient when an old dream comes true, with unintended ramifications we need not follow up on.

But the ruse of using classic 35mm lenses with an adapter on a modern DSLR or mirrorless ILC camera has the advantage of easy usability most of the time. Currently I'm shooting color digital with a Takumar 85mm short telephoto lens on a Pentax, and the look of out of focus backgrounds it provides is quite compelling in landscapes, which I particularly like it for. The colors are great too, as I work them up in Lightroom.

Even what may seem like a disadvantage, like using a Helios 58mm lens that only shoots wide-open due to an aperture pin meant for the Russian Zenit film camera it was originally paired with, can be an exercise in exploring that end of the aperture dial. Sticking with it for several months in different photo-situations, I was pleasantly surprised at how often its limitation of moderately or intensely shallow depth of field (depending on how close you get to the subject) worked just fine to clarify subjects that I wanted to focus on and minimize unnecessary details in the background.

Going back to my famous Tak, as I share my pics in currently approved Facebook mode, it is fun to see comments from others who seem perhaps to be only familiar with small-sensor cellphone imagery where everything is in focus and nothing in the frame is singled out by the photographer as particularly worthy of attention except by accident. After years of quietude, the Takumar 85mm is winning new converts, whether they know what it is and who made it or not!

Once again, there might be software simulations of shallow depth of field that can be applied in computer-heavy, a fake is as good as a wink to a blind bat modern-era cameras, but they are naturally rather different from using a camera lens that has aperture settings and the inherent effects that come from that.

And as we celebrate 100 years of Asahi Optical and its long and continuing line of well-regarded Pentax line of cameras, now borne up by Ricoh, the paterfamilias company Asahi might be worth a callout for those many brilliantly designed Takumar lenses. How many photographers are finding out for themselves that Taks work just fine on their 35mm digital? Might be worth a follow-up post.

Speaking of great lens-makers, is this a good time to have a look at the contrasting history of Carl Zeiss lenses? Now there's a company where the lenses took and continue to take center stage, as opposed to the cameras Zeiss used to make.

Meanwhile, thanks for your continued writing efforts and for persisting through medical challenges that might silence a lesser writer.

Jeff Clevenger

"like a shaft of gold when all around is dark" is unfortunately embargoed everywhere that I looked for copyright disrespect. But the text is available.

The Panasonic kit lenses are crazy good. Give it a try, you will be happy you did.

Long story I'll try to make short: I do a lot of "volunteer" photography in Redwood National park, taking pictures of the nature of trails but also, more seriously, the unique changes that have occurred in certain places over a 50+ year span. Which I can do because I was an activist for the park's creation in 1968 and expansion in 1978 and have a 5,000+ image collection donated to the park regarding those efforts. Most images were taken with a Hasselblad 500C camera. I also have a Nikon 8000 scanner that has allowed me to make close to 24" x 36" prints from a few of my favorite Ektachrome images.

But here is my new story - somehow I commented to a few park folks that my Fujifilm X- Pro 1 was showing signs of failing and I was wanting to get a new high resolution camera and one of them relayed that to a local retiring pro portrait photographer. It was relayed back to me she wanted to pass along a medium format camera. I started drooling since I thought "digital" :-)

Well, I now have a mint condition Pentax 645N sitting next to me, along with a ton of unfrozen ISO 400 Fujifilm NPH Professional film with expire dates from 2004 to 2009 (Humboldt County CA weather doesn't get extreme temps). The lens is a SMC Pentax FA 645 150mm F2.8 (IF).

I have stuffed 6 lithium batteries into her and everything seems to function (again the camera looks fresh out-of-box). I had an old generic RRS L-Plate that I attached to it so I can mount on my tripod and choose either orientation.

I have a few questions I'm looking for answers for:

1) Is it worth using any of this old film? And being C-41 process, can it go to anyone still doing that? Any recommendations as to best developer? I am pretty good with Photoshop & ACR so color imbalances can be tackled hopefully. Don't know about grain, etc.

2) Obviously for me, a wide angle shooter, favoring the 24mm - 35mm range (35mm equivalent), a 100mm equivalent lens is not very ideal! Would the 55mm Pentax lens be good to try? But I do intend to try the existing lens for grins...

3) Last, but obviously I need to experiment, any guess as to shutter vibration issues with this camera, with likely 1/10 to 1 sec exposures. My tripod is a good one but not real weighty.

Given that I seem equipped to make prints as large as I need, even from film, I'm looking forward to trying this camera out to see how good it is. It feels like I'm in a time machine :-)

@ Scott Kirkpatrick:

Try this link. 8^)

To digress, I like that kit lens. I have a Gx85 with that 12-60 lens on there 99% of the time with the panny 20mm for low light. I have owned a lot of kit lenses and that one is the best I have encountered. Just saying....

Regarding getting what you wish for...

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

H. L. Mencken

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007