Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Contax Zeiss 135mm F2.8

Contax Zeiss 135 F2.8

This little guy (a euphemism, i assure you) has found his way into my life. While I have only done one test shot with this beautiful (and rather heavy) lens, it managed to do something that I was unaware of being possible. It made the top of my fridge (which is home to various cooking/baking things) look amazing. Seriously. No colour correction... pure AWB and BAM! A box of Saran Wrap and a steel mixing bowl looks like artwork.

I have to say though... this little gift imparted on me on the weekend was totally unexpected. I had talked to my friend Scott about the Leitz Elmarit R 135 that I was spying on Ebay. We had discusses how the 135mm length has seemingly produced many great lenses through out the years. Leica, Zeiss, Takumar, Canon, Nikkor, Pentacon...etc... etc... Many have compared them over the years, and because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the results of those comparisons has been usually suspect and left mostly to personal impression and influence.

What makes this Lens so great? Well... if you clicked that last link, you'd know. If you didn't... well... The reason that makes this lens so great is how it renders out-of-focus (oof) blur. It's the blur and Bokeh (amount and shape of blur, imparted by the lens' iris/aperture) that makes it awesome. The bokeh is more often than not, pleasing with this lens. More spectacular is that it renders really nice Bokeh through a good range of its F-stops (which start at 2.8 and end at 22).
Supposedly, this particular lens, while marked with the usual F-stop range, supposedly can do 1/2 stops in between those marked F-stops. That means, instead of doing 2.8 and then having 4.0 next, you can have something in the approximate range of F/3.2 (i think... it might be 3.4 or 3.5 - i dunno.)

Outside of the amazing bokeh/blur, the lens has a nice large grip and decently layed out markings on the barrel. It has a built-in hood and the standard threading for what appears to be 55mm filters. All in all... it's a definite throw-back in feel and what not. Reminds you of when Men were Men, Women were Women and Decent Focal Lengths demanded respect.

The downsides to this fantastic lens...
1) It's heavy
2) It's not a native EOS mount - I know these adapters are supposed to preserve Infinity focus, but I am still skeptical in that realm.
3) 135mm on a crop body (Rebel series) becomes an effective 216mm (thanks to the 1.6x). I don't really buy that whole magnification nonsense, but it does seem to be somewhat true. In other words, what should be a great portrait lens, is not.

Suffice to say... I'm looking forward to playing with this lens. I'll revisit this topic when i have some examples to show off.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


You know... this whole blogging thing is supposed to be real easy, right?

Well... It's apparently not so. At least, for me, it is not. I can't be bothered to do regular updates.

Hell, I can't even get my act together to keep my apartment clean longer than 2 days. I'm gonna remedy that though, by sticking myself with a schedule. I can't decide if i want to make it every 1st and 15th or Every 2nd wednesday. The former should be easier to keep track of. But, every 2nd wednesday would mean that i'd have my gear together for the weekends, and increase the potential of having a clean place for when my girlfriend spends the weekend here.

In other realms... Since my last update I've acquired a Canon 70-200 F4L and a Yashica YUS 28mm 2.8. Both are fantastic lenses, to say the least. The 70-200 gives me what has been out of my reach for far too long... TELEPHOTO!

The 28mm Yashica was an experimentation (albeit a totally unintentional one) with the world of Manual Focus. The Yashica is as old as I am. Or maybe not. I don't know because info on it is scarce. What i do know is this...

Focal length: 28mm
Nearest focus: 35cm
Aperture blades:6
Aperture stops: 2.8 - 4.0 - 5.6 - 8.0 - 11 - 16

Weight: 260g

Filter diameter: 55mm
Angle of view:

Max. magnification:
Source: Yashica.org

Another source has this to say...
 4.1.  What's the difference between Yashica DSB and Yashica ML lenses?

Yashica DSB lenses are single coated, ML lenses are multi coated (ML
stands for Multi Layer). As usual, a marketing department messed
things thoroughly up by introducing another designator, MC for Multi
Coated, for later multi coated lenses. Contrary to the quality jump
from DSB to ML, there is no distinguishable quality difference between
ML and MC lenses. For quite some time, Yashica offered both DSB and ML
lenses; later on, DSB lenses were sold in package deals with bodies
(like the FX-D Quartz SE and the FX-7).

That not withstanding, with a little off-camera flashing, I've obtained a few amazing shots with it. I can't say that I'm overly pleased with outside of that application, but then again I haven't shot much with it. So, I'm really at a disadvantage. Some non-chalante comments have put this at a fantastically sharp lens, particularly when considering its cost (second hand) which averages around $20CDN Here's an off-camera flash example taken approx a month ago. [Wow... I've just realized that I haven't really shot much in the last month.]

As you can see, the
DJ in this picture is quite sharp and the backdrop is slightly blurry, giving the lens a nice quality. I haven't used it in a way that would reveal its bokeh better, yet... but i will eventually.

As for the 70-200 F4L... there's plenty of stuff on Flickr demo'ing that guy. I don't have much to say that pics taken with it, posted on Flickr can't show.
Anyhow... so concludes yet another sporadic posting by yours truly. See you in another month and half. :P