Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sample Images with Vivitar 90mm MC f/2.5 1:1 Macro Lens

Sample Images

I took a walk at the park yesterday evening to give this lens a go and get some fresh autumn air, that is before the chill sets in. As stated earlier, flare is big issue with this lens. So especially shooting around sunset, I suppose I was just setting myself up for challenges. In any case, I tried to use it to my advantage. The critters however, were certainly out in force, particularly the praying mantises. These are all post processed save for the crops. I included 2 100% crops to show sharpness of the lens. One is of a wheat stalk and the other is of one of those fuzzy weeds.


Someone posted some info in a dPreview forum.

Just googling this lens, as you have most likely done if you are looking for more info on this provides a lot of information about this lens however some confusion occurs since Vivitar, later released a newer, different formula in their Series 1 line, the 90mm f/2.5 macro lens. Although it only goes to 1:2 magnification on its own, an accompanying adapter for 1:1 was manufactured and sometimes sold with the lens. It was that version, also known as the "bokina" that has been hailed as one of the best macro lenses to date. Vivitar's 105mm f/2.5 (also Kiron, Dine) is also very notable.

More to come on this post...time to sleep!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Shot in the Dark

I am getting into astrophotography. But just a bit! I have always been fascinated with the moon. My dad makes a good point. It's tough to really want to get into astronomy, as far as telescopes and viewing go, when something as incredible as Hubble exists. You can't beat imagery that not only represents decades of engineering, but also surpasses atmospheric distortion. However, my father still cannot help but want more out of his telescope. I'm in it for the moon photos! This is one of my first shots using my D700, and a 4-inch Orion refracting telescope.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tokina 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro - A Performer

Tokina continues to impress. Among the third party lens manufacturers, I feel Tokina provides some of the best rival lenses on the market. In some cases, their optics even exceed the performance of the big manufacturers. Not only is the optical performance merit-worthy, but their industrial design is particularly appealing. Their "armalite" finish, also known as crinkle-finish, is among my favorite textures in the world. Tokina just seems to do many things right! The Tokina 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro is no exception.

I was first introduced to this lens while working at a mall portrait studio. My supervisor used it as his primary lens on a Fuji S3. I remember immediately being drawn to the physical "presence" of the piece, if you will. It was solid, hefty, and felt like a real tool. I even liked how the front element recessed so deeply as the lens zoomed. I already wanted it, and my knowledge of the lens was purely aesthetic.

At the time, I was shooting the Nikon AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8. Yeah, I know, that lens is no lightweight itself. After shooting bargain glass for a few years and feeling disappointed, I had decided to go out and pick up a couple of the best lenses available. I grabbed the 17-35mm and 28-70mm AF-S Nikkors. People always told me "you get what you pay for" so I payed.

My supervisor was no stranger to the tech side of things. One day while we were slow we decided to do a quick lens test. His Tokina vs. my "top-of-the-line" AF-S Nikon. If you have this lens or trolled the web for info on it, you'll find quite a few examples of this exact same comparison (thus I feel no real need to post ANOTHER). Needless to say, the Tokina did well...TOO well in fact. I was a little taken aback and even feeling suckered a bit. Here I had spent some time being thrifty with lenses, attempting to make due with what I had. Now, after finally biting the bullet and picking up the best I could get, I find I could have spent a third that cost and gotten similar quality. Later, I even did some lens testing and discovered the AF-S not to my liking in sharpness, at least not for $1000 lens. I sold the lens.


Focal length:
Max. aperture: f/2.8
Min. aperture: f/22
Elements/Groups: 16/15
Minimum focusing distance: 2.3' (0.7 m)
Filter size: 77mm
Aperture blades: 8
Dimensions: 4.25" x 3.30" (108mm x 84mm)
Weight: 1.6 lbs. (720 g)
Hood: Dedicated, BH-773

Price (As of October 2010)

These lenses run between $200-300 used, nearly one third the price of the Nikon AF-S equivalent and provide an excellent alternative.


As previously stated, Tokina uses what they call an "Armalite" finish, or crinkle-finish on the exterior of the lens to give it a rugged feel. I love it! The front lens element recesses inside the barrel of the lens as it is zoomed from 28mm to 70mm. Also the manual focus can be engaged via a clutch mechanism. The zoom ring must be turned to a certain point, however, to employ the clutch. Newer Tokina lenses can swiftly move from auto to manual focus no matter what the position of the zoom ring.

Model Variation

It seems there are a few variations of this lens floating around. All told there are 5 or 6 versions of this 28-70mm:

Tokina 28-70mm f/2.8 - I have seen this "first version" listed on a couple sites but I personally have no idea which model is being referred to here.

Tokina AT-X 28-70mm f/2.8 - This version has the Yellow ring and a smooth satin black exterior. You'll recognize this version as unlike later models, it has a much smaller focus ring, about 1"-1 1/2".

Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8 - (There may have been some labeled f/2.8 only. Some speculation states this denotes a Japanese sold version but it open to debate) - The image below is of this first version which can easily be identified as being the first to use the clutch feature. Also it has a satin finish and a thread-based hood (MH-773). Later models accepted a bayonet hood. This lens was somewhat of a beater I picked up for a great price in hopes of just shooting it against my Pro II model. This model is reportedly sharper and a little better optically. Unfortunately the lens I received was broken and although MF was still possible, I can't say I would trust the results. I quickly returned it.

Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8 Pro II - (Also a f/2.8 labeled version. I own this one. Possibly originally marketed in Japan). This model stands out as it possess the beautiful armalite finish, that crinkle metal. All the reviews I have seen rate this lens very well, just below the original AT-X Pro 28-70mm. Accepts BH-773 bayonet hood.

Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f/2.8 SV (Super Value) - ...If the lens is actually labeled "Super Value" one has to wonder. Needless to say this version was not the best of these lenses. Uses BH-776 bayonet hood.

Tokina AT-X Pro 28-80mm f/2.8 - Not sure if this lens came before the above version but it is a different focal length so I am listing it last. This version was also relatively less of a performer as far as I have read but have never used it.

I have been attempting to get in touch with someone from Tokina since I cannot seem to find any more than speculation on a few of these model variation questions. The model pictured here, is labeled f/2.8 and is the AT-X Pro. Interestingly enough, I have never seen another model like it. Every other version that looks identical to this, is labeled as an f/2.6-2.8 and sometimes with the designation "AT-X Pro II". From what I have found this lens design is actually from Angenieux, a famous french optical company. There is an AT-X f/2.8 model (no "Pro" designation), however this is the older, lighter-built version and does not have the armalite finish. Also, a newer 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro "SV" model exists but this version is claimed to possess a different optical formula (and from most reviews performs less favorably than the previous models). The SV model, while similar in build and size to the pictured model lacks the armalite coating. After these models, Tokina even sold a 28-80mm lens but from what I have heard, this len isn't optically as good as any of the 28-70's were.


Here is a great link recently posted on another blog regarding the Tokina 28-70mm lens variation! And this is the blog from whence that link came! A well done review!

Nelson Tan has a lens test geared more towards the Nikon AF-S 28-70mm but uses the Tokina as a comparison lens. Also results in a good show from the Tokina. His blog is here.

Photozone has an evaluation here with some good technical data including distortion as well as MTF curves.

It shouldn't be too hard to find a lot of examples of imagery from this lens as it is a well-known performer. I just wanted to add my two cents and I will indeed post some shots I have taken as well.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Enjoying the Afternoon: Some Tests with CHDK

Enjoying the Last Remnants of Summer from David Kovaluk on Vimeo.

So this afternoon was incredible outside. Having nothing pressing to do today, I decided to go out and give this CHDK intervalometer a go. It took some toying around and understanding how to get the setup to work without using the rear display (because that thing tears through batteries) but I think I got something to start with! I shot everything on the Canon G9 (shot through one of those auxiliary fisheyes!), using the CHDK intervalometer as medium jpegs. I then imported them to the computer via Nikon Transfer software (Its what happens to be on this computer). Then put all the jpegs into iMovie, set each frame time to a tenth of a second and saved...voila!

I'm going to skip all the technical jargon this evening and let things be as they are. I posted this videos on vimeo. Enjoy!

Sunrise Test using Canon G9 with CHDK Intervalometer from David Kovaluk on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spiratone 18mm Vs. Nikon AF-S 17-35mm Comparison

**I have performed a more recent and thorough comparison including the Tokina 17mm f/3.5 AT-X Pro.**

So I finally got around to it! Today was beautiful so I decided to go out in the back yard and put in some time with science.

To set things up: I wanted to just see a side-by-side of this Spiratone lens with something much know, just to see! Quite frankly, no big surprise here, a lens that was originally just about $200 vs. a lens that still sells for $1000 despite having been designed more than 10 years ago. Which did ya think was going to come out optically superior? Yerp...

Nevertheless, this little spiratone has one major advantage in my mind, over the 17-35mm. Size. Something about having a 17mm's worth field of view that doesn't weigh down the neck, nor turn the heads of curious passerby's is very exciting. I suppose I could crack and drop a couple hundred more for something like Tokina's AF 17mm AT-X Pro or go more extreme (which is only a matter of time right now...) and pick up a Tamron or Sigma made 14mm rectilinear.

On top of all that, for some instances, I really like the vignetting and tone this lens interprets. And, I like the solid metal feel, rather than new plastic garbage. Ok, so perhaps I simple like the way it looks, no big surpise there!

Let's get to it! The first image is just to show the overall images as a whole at each aperture side by side. Images were shot on a Nikon D700 @ ISO 200. I had to shoot them as .jpg so there is some manipulation (just whatever takes place in-camera) but it is equal across the whole set, so methodically speaking, no big deal.

First off, it seems the Spiratone has a slightly wider field of view as well as a bit different distortion than the Nikon. This can be seen in the bottom left where the field of view pulled in the railing of my deck just a bit whereas the Nikon did not. Go ahead and click on the images to get a better look.

Next, I took a three crops from each lens' image at each aperture.

Also here is a hastily-made sample of the light fall-off of the Spiratone.
As I stated earlier, the optical design of the Spiratone appears to give it a wider field of view than the Nikon 17-35mm so in the comparison there is a tad bit of the deck railing entering the frame on the 18mm unlike the other lens. All told including my experience with the Spiratone in other conditions it seems it: produces considerably softer images both at the center wide open as well as near the corners throughout the aperture range, has a lot less contrast, is prone to flare as well as ghosting when aimed very near or at a bright light source, demonstrates an increased amount of chromatic abberation around the edges of the frame, shows light fall-off severely at f/3.5 and subtly from there until about f/8, and definitely has some distortion issues. Wait, isn't that just about EVERY optical aberration? Yep. So why bother with this lens?

Again, I didn't expect this test to shock anyone. I wasn't attempting to reveal a sleeper lens (although if I did, that'd be pretty cool). Just curiosity. That being said, this lens isn't useless.

Obviously the Nikon AF-S dominates the Spiratone technically speaking, that much should be, given the vast price difference. But from this, you can see how much different. Is it enough to make that difference? Does the Spiratone perhaps meet your personal needs just fine? Are you shooting for something that necessitates corner to corner sharpness and little other aberrations? Or are you just walking around capturing, creating moments and can lend yourself to a more varied optical interpretation? If nothing else, the Spiratone provides a valuable introduction to shooting wide angle (especially on an FX sensor) for a relatively low price. I took a photo a couple posts back, the two chairs on the deck, with the Spiratone and I truly love the way it turned out!

There is no right or wrong with these lenses (unless you have specified requirements within a particular assignment). I say, if you see one of these little gems around in good condition (for $100 or less prob), and you have never shot a wide angle before pick it up! They tend to run about $100 depending on mount and condition so if it turns out its not for you, you will most likely be able to get what you paid for it back. They're especially fun on full-frame cameras!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New tricks for the Old Dog! A Look At CHDK

As a part of the technological world, photo equipment is hardly exempt from the "flavor-of-the-week", A.D.D. trend, responsible for the incalculable craigslist and eBay listings of the newest gear citing "upgrading" as the reason of sale. I am not coming out against this, however. On the contrary, I am certainly part of it. As a self proclaimed techy. it seems impossible not to be. Finance is literally the only limiting factor, and for some, even this is no object. Our knowledge of how things work, and how to make things better is growing exponentially. Inevitably, our technilogical capabilities explode just as rapidly, not to mention the whole commerce side of things!

These facts are no big secret, of course. I merely reiterate them because today I discovered just such an advancement. And what's even better, I don't have to go out and BUY IT! Put simply, it is new tricks for an old dog, my Canon G9.


Whats that you say!? According to CHDK wiki
it stands for Canon Hack Development Kit. Really quickly, just for fun I'd like to make a quick sidenote! (which I was directed to some time ago by a friend, Sarah Rusnak. THANKS!) is a forum that hosts daily pics, gifs, and links. It is informative, entertaining, and's arch nemesis. Anyway, today a link was posted on some MIT students who recently successfully executed their goal of sending a camera to subspace on a budget of $150. Better yet, they did so with no programming, soldering, or much of that stuff the average person is unfamiliar with. Thus, anyone can do it (and its legal!). The images are magnificent! In reading up on this, I reasserted my desire for a camera with an intervalometer. So I began googling for cameras equiped with such a function and low and behold I find CHDK. (You should definitely take a look at the MIT project "Icarus")

So back to CHDK. CHDK is another beautiful product of the "Hive mind". While the Canon G10 has been out for "some time", the G11 is now nipping at its heels. Despite this, programmers and hobbyists have been disregarding the customer support lines and suggestion boxes of the Canon corporation and in stead, diligently resolving their wants with a little old fashion DIY. CHDK provides new features to a variety of camera models. Better yet, it is free! After probably 30 minutes of research, I now have a camera with an adjustable intervalometer, not to mention, many more feature I never thought of! The possibilities are incredibly exciting.

You can find out more on CHDK and whether there has been any hacks written for your camera here,

In order to do all this, I will say, you have to be tech savvy. This independent Filmmaker, Steve Ellington provides an excellent step-by-step* on how to do this on a mac. The previous link to the wiki gives a good Windows explanation. It is good to note, ALL MODIFICATIONS ARE BOOTED FROM THE SD CARD AND WILL NOT ALTER YOUR CAMERA'S FIRMWARE IF PERFORMED

*One more thing to note, in the beginning, Ellington talks about "Creating a blank text file called ver.req". But it cannot have any extra extention such as .txt or .doc. Well, the programs Word and Text Edit both always want to add an extra suffix. The way I did this was to create the file "ver.req" saved as a .txt (ver.req.txt), then right click on the file and click "get info". From there, under the drop menu "name and extention" I deleted the ".txt" and clicked any other drop menu. A dialogue then will pop-up asking if you wish to change the file's extention, click "use .req"!

I will continue to work on this as well as hopefully post some results from the new capabilites! The Hive Mind can do some pretty amazing things and I look forward to the future as well as hope to become a little more adept at this whole programming bit.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another Amazing Individual You Never Heard Of

“There will always be some form of recording of light images. What shape it will take in the future has yet to be determined.” - Fred Spira, 2001

In searching for more information on a Spiratone lens, I discovered some general facts on the Mr. Spira as well as the Spiratone company in this obituary from the New York Times. Sounds like he was an incredible man. I enjoy finding new reasons to appreciate things even more. I initially found myself gravitating toward Spiratone brand items simply because of their robust build and retro nature. They have a sort of intrigue about them. It turns out, Mr. Spira has been noted as one of the pioneers in camera equipment distribution. Specifically, he is hailed as the Henry Ford of photography equipment. It was he who first began importing Japanese photo products into the states and making photography more accessible to the everyman. It is also claimed, it was he who made a more affordable fisheye lens available for the public. Even more impressive, he began this endeavor after fleeing his birthplace of Vienna (his father was Jewish), during World War II.

I especially found this quote on Spiratone products easy to relate to:

"Amateur and professional photographers awaited each gadget catalog as if they were children waiting for a Christmas toy catalog." (Dennis Hevesi, NY Times)

Take a look at the article and enjoy it. It certainly encourages me to continue in the world of photography and be myself. I am very appreciative of someone like Mr. Spira and for his attitude and desire to make things better for everyone as demonstrated through his contributions to the photographic art.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Auxiliary Fisheye Attachment Lenses

Fisheye lenses. Skaters love 'em, people hate 'em. I exaggerate, but I think most photographer's would agree that this unique lens has a time and place. Ever since I got into the world of photography I remember wanting to experiment with a fisheye lens. I liked that it provided a way of seeing I was unaccustomed to. Without the aid of such an optic, I would never be able to experience such a vast field of view, simultaneously. I also realized quickly, that such a unique capability came at a premium.
So if you're looking to buy a fisheye, but cannot bring yourself to drop the serious kind of money it would cost to get one manufactured by the top brands, or you just don't have the cash to begin with, this might be the perfect solution! The catch is, as this fisheye is an "attachment", you need a base lens. Below I will discuss what types of lenses work best (50mm-200mm. most 50mm's work very well and are among the cheapest lenses available). If you do not have any of these lenses, then indeed it may be easier/cheaper to purchase a true fisheye lens.
The solution to which I am refering is called an Auxiliary Fisheye Attachment. These lenses were made, from what I have found, back in the 70's. As in many other cases, only a few variations were manufactured, yet a barrage of names appeared around the ring near the top of the lens. Spiratone, Soligor, Accura, Makinon, Kenko, Panagor, Kalcor, Portertown, and Samigon are all I have come across thus far, but I am sure there are more. Peter Ganzel's site has an entire page dedicated to these units. Below, I have compiled a few examples from his site as well as a couple I took.
I have owned 3 versions of these units. Each was different! To the right, I have created a visual to demonstrate the basic components. They are as follows (from top to bottom):
1. Lens cap
2. Lens unit
3. Adapter Ring
4. Step Ring
5. Base Lens

The lower part of the lens unit (which has a large silver screw) also detaches but I am unsure exactly why this is. Ideally, the lens attaches to the front of a base lens via the filter thread. Depending perhaps on who made it and when, the adapter rings size is varied. Of the samples I have had, the adapter rings could be swapped to mount on any brand aux fisheye so it would seem the very small thread which connects the adapter to the lens unit might be universal among these fisheyes, but I cannot say for sure. In any case, the adapter rings vary in size on the filter side for sure. I have had a 52mm, 55mm, as well as a Series VII. Consequently, the next part of the assembly is a step ring. The size is completely dependent on your specific adapter ring size and the lens on which you wish to mount the fisheye. And the lens makes all the difference in the world.
So let's talk about choosing a lens. Each fisheye I have seen has a ring denoting various focal lengths. According the the directions for use, the user is to set this ring to the appropriate focal length lens. The focal lengths listed are typically between 45-200mm. Different focal length lenses will yield very different results. For the samples at the end of this post, I used a Nikon D200 with a 1.5x crop factor senor and a Nikon 50mm f1.8 Series E lens as my base unit. However, when I put the same lens assembly on my D700, because of the full frame sensor, I can see the whole circular image and there is much more negative space. Consequently, I tried the attachment on a Nikon 105mm f4 Micro lens. This yielded something much closer to a full frame fisheye, in which almost the entirety of the sensor was being used. So it really comes down to experimentation! Here are some things to consider:
- Faster is better. These attachments will take the lens down a couple stops. Starting with an f/5.6 is not only going t
o make composition and hand held shots tough, it will most likely yield poor results. Preferably something f2.8 or faster.

- Prominent front elements. It seems the nearer the optics of the base lens are to the attachment, the better. Some lenses, such as the Nikon AF 50mm have a recessed front element and in my experience, will
actually hinder the functionality of the fisheye.

- Heavy! These attachments are from the 70's. They are well-built with all metal constructions. Be sure to choose a lens with a durable front ring that can support the weight. Plastic lenses will struggle with these. I give the plastic Nikon 35-70mm f3.3-whatever a go. The rig sounded awful.


Simple, they used to have directions posted on the inside of the lens cap (image courtesy of Peter Ganzel)!

Now, in all honesty, these will not yield the edge-to-edge sharp images of a Nikkor lens. They won't necessarily prove convenient either. What they WILL do is give a true fisheye image. And with some ingenuity, prove a very versatile tool. These can be used on a number of cameras including medium format!

Here a just a few samples of some things I have done with these lenses. All were shot with the Nikon 50mm as the base lens on a Nikon D200. I also engineered a ringflash to accompany the fisheye for the portraits.


This guy took one of these fisheyes bungee jumping as an inexpensive alternative to a more costly lens. I'm thinkin however, if something went wrong the broken lens would be the least of his problems...

As previously stated, Peter Ganzel has a webpage with more examples of these fisheye converters.

I found a thread on in which members discussed these fisheye things a bit.

Fantastic! Scan of original user manual for the Spiratone Auxiliary Fisheye:

This page has more information and some neat original advertisements:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Iterations of the Spiratone 18mm

I thought it might be helpful to compile a few images of the aforementioned variations of this Spiratone 18mm. The images below are not my own, but simply ones I have found across the web from forums to eBay (I have asked permissions to use these).

Here is an image of the earlier Sigma-made version of the Spiratone 18mm (with Olympus OM mount). One of the most obvious differences between the new and older design is the full circular hood vs. the newer version's dual-petal design.

I also discovered this Vivitar 17mm, which does bear striking (and by striking I do mean exactly the same) resemblance to the Spiratone 18mm here on flickr (via google).

Here is the older sigma version branded Spiratone. Notice the fully circular hood as well as the Sigma logo beside the serial. The cap of this model also brandishes a Sigma logo.(with pentax mount)

Shown below is what appears to be another version of this lens branded Asanuma 17mm in Olympus OM mount.

I will continue to update this post with images as I come across new information and unique samples.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spiratone 18mm f/3.5 Ultra-Wide Angle

Here is the lens I was ranting about in my first post. I have my little routine of checking out the local camera shops every so often to see whats come in to the used section. I wasnt actually in to shop, rather I was dropping off some equipment for an employer when he called to me! $100 later it was sitting on my passenger seat, patiently awaiting it's new home.

The Spiratone 18mm f/3.5 Wide Angle (Nikon AI mount). It is in excellent condition and even came with the original metal cap. (I actually photographed the logo on the cap to use it in the images.)

Here's what I know thus far. According to an article posted on Manual Focus Forum, from Modern Photography, 1979, this specific Spiratone model is actually a 17mm Tokina! Specs are as follows:

Spiratone 18mm f/3.5

Mounts: Canon, Konica, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax Bayonet, Praktica Screw thread, Minolta MD
Filter: 72mm
Apertures: f/3.5-16
Min. Focus Dist.: 8 in. (20cm)
Features: Multi-coating
Serial No.: 7800166
Size: 3 1/4 in. diam., 2 3/16 in. long (83 x 55mm)
Weight: 13 oz. (364 g)
Price: $179.95

In reading about this lens, I discovered some very surprising as well as exciting news:

Spiratone's famous bargain 18mm f/ 3.2 (later renamed f/3.5) was a Sigma-manufactured optic. This new 18mm is actually made by Tokina (manufactureres for Soligor and Vivitar, among others) and in truth is really the Tokina 17mm f/3.5. Does this mean you are getting a 1 mm wider angle bonus compared to the older lens? An actual measurements of the focal length revealed it to be 17.54mm. We then measured our old Sigma-made Spiratone 18mm f 13.5. It came to 18.14. Given the allowed ± 5% manufacturer's tolerance, either lens could be labeled a 17 or 18mm. However, the new Tokina Spiratone, when compared in actual picture taking (and through the viewfinder), does show more picture area. Why should Spiratone elect to label the lens as an 18mm when they just as legitimately could have called and promoted it as a 17mm? We judge that Spiratone's older 18mm Sigma-made lens was so highly successful in sales that the importer wished to maintain the continuity of aperture and focal length in the new lens. Our conclusion: Enjoy the bonus. (Modern Photography, 1979)

Similar lenses (and in the Tokina's case, the same lens): Sigma 18mm f/3.2 and f/3.5, Tokina 17mm f/3.5, Soligor 17mm f/3.5, Asanuma 17mm f/3.5

The forum in which I found much of this information is here. Message me if you would like the article found in Modern Photography as I cannot seem to locate where I downloaded it but do still have the PDF. **FOUND IT**

Modern Photography, 1979

I found the PDF origin, which I then converted to jpg and visually edited to emphasize the information pertaining to the Spiratone 18mm, bumped up the contrast for easier reading, and so forth. A gentleman by the name of Ed Sawyer put this article up on his site along with a number of scans made of lens reviews in older publications. Definitely check his site out, especially if you are looking for more info on another older lens.

All images on this site were taken by me, unless otherwise noted.

See my Ultra-wide comparison to see why this lens only costs $100 (and that's probably more due to its intrinsic/vintage value!)

Scouring the Far Reaches of the Net

Just yesterday I purchased a "new" used lens from the local camera store. Like so many other instances, I was in the store for an entirely different reason when the little gem made itself very apparent to me from behind the display glass. I reasoned, I simply cannot pass up the opportunity! I raced home, googled the name in search of specs, a brief history, anything that would shed a little light on just where this lens had journeyed from.

Unsurprisingly, I was left with but morsels of clues scattered throughout a maze of forums and sites. In many cases, the existing conversation was mere hypothesis. The exact reason for the lack of information on this lens, aside from it's apparent "unremarkability", is unknown to me.

I am a photo equipment hound. Lenses, chiefly, are of incredible interest to me. I am enthralled with their complexity. The lens' contribution to the human legacy is no less than overwhelming. I like all types of lenses. From the most expensive out of reach to the sleepers covered in dust at the local garage sale. All provide a unique experience of seeing the world around us.

That said, I wish to compile data I have found on these more obscure lenses here. I wish to perform my own tests and observations. I want to provide samples. Though the technical capabilities of the lens can be universally compared and stated, it is still for the photographer to choose his or her tool.

"A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety." - Ansel Adams

So let us not cast our older, so-called "optically inferior" glass aside. For unlike any other technology, lenses provide us a veil through which we can visualize the world as it was done so in a different time. They provide us a "new", if not alternative means to experience our surroundings.

To begin this new blog, in searching for a title, I chose to draw from the words of one of the greatest photographers that ever lived.

"...the common term 'taking a picture' is more than just an idiom; it is a symbol of exploitation. 'Making a picture' implies a creative resonance which is essential to profound expression." - Ansel Adams