Roses

One of my favorite testbeds, shot with the Fuji X-T1, a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, and the Metabones Turbo Booster.

One of my favorite testbeds is the hedgerow of rosebushes that bounds the old Carson Lumberyard flume and the vacant lot south from the DPS/DMV building. In the morning there is plenty of sunshine on the bushes and flowers and the Girl loves to play in this area. So she doesn’t mind if I spend a few minutes playing with the flowers.

I think the Fuji glass is very good. I’ve written about that before. In fact, the glass is the reason I abandoned the Sony cameras and moved to the Fuji platform.

However, the experimenter in me lives on. I have a deep affinity for the lenses I used to use on 35mm film cameras. Forty years ago, as a young man, I lusted after Nikon bodies and Nikkor glass. Many professionals carried a couple of F-series bodies and a pouchful of Nikkor lenses. I could not afford one then.

Now every thing is digital, except for a few diehards. I find digital images sterile. They are often technically perfect (or nearly so), but they feel dry to me. At least, many of them do. And those that are heavily processed might be very interesting as art, but there is something missing from an image that is assembled from a variety of parts. I find art in seeing the subject, determining that there is something interesting/moving about it, and then finding a way to capture that image in the camera. It is a different process than much of what I see and is definitely old school.

In playing with these old lenses on a digital body, I can recover some of what I looked for with film. It isn’t perfection; it is a mood conveyed by light, subject, and composition. The capture doesn’t have to be perfect (this one is not). The post-processing is limited to making minor adjustments in exposure, contrast (global and local), and a bit of sharpening. That’s about all I do. (The exception is conversion from color to monochrome.)

The Metabones adapter is interesting. It converts the lens to an equivalent angle of acceptance of a lens 0.62 times the focal length (which makes the angle of acceptance the same as the original on full frame). But it also adds a stop of additional light gathering power and I think it makes a commensurate change to the perceived depth of field.

I’m still working that out in my head. I have an article drafted that contains my analysis of the differences in sensor/film size, lens focal length, lens speed, and depth of field. I need to finish that one day and publish it here.

In any event, the legacy Nikkors are very good lenses. I like them a lot.

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