Lucas Test Shot

This capture of Lucas the Spider (one of my favorite plushies) was done with the Nikon D800E and a Voigtlander 90mm f/2.8 Skopar at f/8. I did some light processing with DXO Photolab 7.

This little Lucas the Spider plushie is a favorite test subject for lenses. If I shoot at night, then I have some light sources in the background and I can get a sense for how the out of focus areas are represented by the lens.

I shot this with my Nikon D800E (ancient at this time) and a Voigtlander 90mm f/2.8 APO-Skopar lens I bought earlier this year. I really prefer legacy glass to modern glass for the older lenses’ character, including their flaws. They often render more interesting images in everything from color, to sharpness (or lack thereof), to background blur (bokeh in photo parlance). Their optical imperfections produce interesting effects that I often like.

The Voigtlander lenses are proving quite interesting and have a modern adaptation. They have a microchip interface to the digital cameras (my Nikons) that enables the camera’s CPU to read the lens settings and incorporate that data into exposure control and fill in the EXIF data in the image file.

I like the Voigtlander lenses enough that I think I will add to my collection of them. I suspect they will become commonly used on my Nikon film bodies.

Daily Image: Johnson and Roberts, 03 April 2024

Shot with the Nikon F2AS and a Voigtlander 90mm f/2.8 lens on Ilford XP2.

This is another frame from a cemetery walk a month ago. The film sat in the camera for a while until I finished the roll. Then it sat in the camera bag for a week until I had time to get it to the processor.

It will be interesting to scan some frames for myself using either a digital camera of the film scanner I have at home.

Although it was cold, the sun was shining. The Girl wanted out to chase squirrels, but dog are expressly forbidden. That is most likely because too many people do not police up after their dogs. So, those who do pay the penalty.

Although the sun was warm, the wind had a bite to it. Older Son and I finished before too long because of the cold.

Still, it was a good day. Life is good.

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.