This post was originally composed about a week ago, but I never got around to finalizing and publishing it. Suffice to say, we are here now, ready to post. So, the following paragraphs will seem out of place after reading this and the previous paragraph. Confused? yes? well... shake it off an read on.
Now, topics aren't exactly difficult to come by when it comes to writing up stuff about photography, especially when it comes to non-review, stream-of-conscious type stuff. I'll be honest in saying that I do have this pretty cool write-up that i've been pecking at for a while now. It's one of those type deals that probably should end up on a bigger website. I won't give away the details right yet, but it's more or less a list of what one can learn from. I'm keeping that vague as possible, so as to ensure my creative originality here. ;)
Suffice to say, I did mention that I have a few items that I haven't talked about just yet. They are:
1) Minolta Rokkor 58mm F1.4 - Jim Buchanan EOS-converted
2) SMC Takumar 150/4 (Pentax m42 mount)
First off - the Rokkor.
I grew up occasionally using my dad's Minolta (now mine) and one thing that's for sure, one of the best lenses my dad had was a Prime Rokkor. I'm unsure of what he did with that lens, however he did have a Rokkor Zoom lens before he stopped shooting film. That lens, is okay, i guess. But, having experienced the beauty of a Rokkor prime in days gone by, and seeing examples across the web in recent times; I know I had to get one for myself.
Luck would have it that I ended up finding a EOS-converted example on eBay. It didn't cost me a whole lot, but then again, the 1.4 doesn't fetch much these days. It's bigger brother, the 1.2 still commands a hefty price tag of $200+. (the 1.4 can be had for anywhere between $50 and 150, depending on condition and vehicle of sale).
|MC Rokkor-PF||F/Length||max aperture||Element Formulae||Weight||min focus||Original Mount|
|58mm F/1.4||58mm||F/1.4||6 in 5 groups||280||2ft (.6m)||Minolta SR|
|Filter||min aperture||Angle of view||Size||Bokeh||Current Mount|
|55mm||f/16.0||41°||42L x 63w||Creamy||EOS|
|PROS||great contrast||CONS||prone to flare|
|great color||mirror-clearance issues on 5D|
|as sharp as Rokkor 58/1.2||not close-focusing|
I haven't much bad to say about this lens, except that it cannot be fully used on the 5D without a little mirror-shaving. I am loathe to do such a thing to my baby, but it does work so long as i keep the focus close, and the aperture wide. On a Rebel body, this lens kicks a lot of ass. I mean it. I suppose that's thanks to the more forgiving mirror clearance and rebel crop factor.
While I stated that the lens is prone to flare, it's actually not bad. It renders flare pretty much the same as bokeh: nice and creamy. Additionally, it's not overly difficult to control the flare with this lens either. I find it rather nice and predictable.
Now, where this lens becomes a lot of fun is when it's put on extension tubes, and use it as an almost-macro lens. This incidently enough, allows me to get around the mirror-clearance issue on the 5D. In this example, you can see how the bokeh renders extremely gradually, yet sharpness is still there in nice amounts. (editor's note: I don't have the steadiest of hands, so there is some motion blur)
Another bokeh example:
While I haven't used the lens in a while, I do love it and wish to use it more. With the flowers in bloom, I think I will. ;)
So... final conclusion: All the reports are true - this is a great lens. It's not exactly underrated, but it's abilities are definitely downplayed for sure.
For more info on Rokkors... go here
SMC TAKUMAR 150/4 (M42)
I picked up this lens on eBay as well, only because 1) it's a SMC Takumar and 2) It fits nicely within my existing zoom ranges, thus allowing me to have a small amount of redundancy between my Rebel and 5D. I say this, with respect to crop factor and such. If i put the SMC Takumar on the rebel, and use the Contax Zeiss on the 5D, I effectively have 2 cameras with the same field of view. (editor's note: crop factor does NOT modify focal length, only field width).
|SMC Takumar||F/Length||max aperture||Element Formulae||Weight||min focus||Original Mount|
|150mm F/4.0||150mm||F/4.0||5 in 5groups||325g||6ft (2m)||M42|
|Filter||min aperture||Angle of view||Size||Bokeh||Current Mount|
|49mm||f/22.0||17°||95L x 65w||chunky/creamy||m42-EOS adapter|
|good color||aperture ring is narrow|
|m42 mount||strange light fall-off|
I probably should assume that because of the lenses structure and size, a faster aperture would be impossible as the mechanics would be impossible. Suffice to say, if I was ever to come across a 150mm with an aperture wider that F/4.0, I would jump all over it like a fat kid on a Smartie. (no offence to fat kids... or Smarties). This is not because I find the lens to be deplorably slow, but rather that if faster were possible, I'd take faster, but keep this focal length. It's a great focal length, as a walk-around prime telephoto.
It was with this lens that I was able to capture one of my more particular favourite "wildlife" shots.
I've wanted to shoot swans in the past, but never been able to get close enough to one for a good shot. I lucked out a few weeks ago, as one was swimming underneath a bridge I crossed over.
This isn't the best example of what this lens can do, but it's a fair example. Notice the colour on the Swan's head. See it?
Well, how about the sky in this picture?
Yeah, yeah... big deal. YES, IT IS A BIG DEAL! Why? because I for the life of me, cannot shoot pictures with blue sky without the sky rendering into some bizarre off-white colour. This is no real thanks to AWB, which I rely on probably too much. I hate setting white balance and well... this lens does away with the need to do so very nicely.
Which brings me to color rendition - If anything is true, it's this. No one can ever say anything bad about the colour rendition of a SMC Takumar. I don't know what these lens were in terms of cost when they were new and original, but dollar for dollar in the second hand lens market, Takumar's are the best out there in terms of value. And as far as the 150mm goes... it's no slouch and adheres well to the high praise that all Takumar's get.
Verdict: I love this lens for what it is; A cheap, well-constructed, miniature workhorse. It renders beautifully all sorts of colours and it's got that awesome vintage factor. You know... that factor where lenses had knurled metallic focusing grips? Yeah... that. The Rokkor has it too, but because this badboy is a 150mm, it has a significantly longer body, which provides and equally lengthy metal grip.