Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Samsung 85mm f/1.4 ED SSA

This 85mm f/1.4 ED SSA (Super Sonic Actuator) is a professional prime lens from Samsung Electronic, made for their NX-mount line of cameras including the NX1.   It is a very sharp lens with fully automatic electronic functionality with the NX1 via firmware.   The only drawback with this lens is the automatic focusing which can be clunky at time - hunting for the right focus especially when light is poor or when you add a Neutral Density (ND) filter.  

The photographs below are presented 'as-photographed'.  These photographs show the exceptional imaging quality of the Samsung NX1 camera with its back-lit 28-megapixel APS-C sensor.

Note: With sensor crop factor, this lens images at 35mm focal length equivalent of 130mm

f2.8  /  1/1000sec  /  ISO100  /  0EV 

f2.8  /  1/1000sec  /  ISO100  /  0EV 

 f1.8  /  1/320sec  /  ISO100  /  0EV

 f7.1  /  1/1000sec  /  ISO100  /  0EV 

 f3.2  /  1/1600sec  /  ISO125  /  0EV 

f4  /  1/1600sec  /  ISO100  /  0EV 

Tele-Astranar 400mm f6.3 Lens Test

Found this Tele-Astranar 400mm f6.3 lens in a thrift store for $15.  The thread mount looked like a M42, and although the diameter was about right, the threads on the Astranar looked dense (finer) than the M42 mount adapter I have for my NX1.   

Then after doing some research I found that threads where for a T-mount (or T2-mount) so I ordered T2-to-NX adapter online.

The Astranar is a 'preset' lens meaning There is a second ring which lets you control where the other aperture ring stops (the one that actually closes the aperture down). So if you recompose an image you can quickly turn the aperture all the way open so the viewfinder is bright, then stop back down to your shooting stop without taking your eye away from the viewfinder (below).

Below are test photographs. All images are at f-stop 6.3 (open).  All images below are 'as-photographed'

 f 6.3  /  1/500s  /  ISO100  /  EV 0.3 

f 6.3  /  1/500s  /  ISO100  /  EV -0.3 

f 6.3  /  1/200s  /  ISO100  /  EV 0.0 

Close-up showing resolution

 f 6.3  /  1/125s  /  ISO100  /  EV 0.0

f 6.3  /  1/125s  /  ISO100  /  EV 0.0 

f 6.3  /  1/125s  /  ISO100  /  EV 0.0

Overall I really like this lens even though the it is not that sharp and lacks in contrast and color saturation.  However, the photo above shows this lens has some inherent artistic potential.

I will have to try next taking some RAW format photographs and try to improve in some of the lens's shortcomings in post. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Olympus ZUIKO Auto-W 28mm f2.8 - VIDEO TEST

This is a 4K video test of a vintage Olympus ZUIKO Auto-W 28mm f2.8 adapted to a Samsung NX1.  I'm impressed with this Olympus lens. Nice and sharp.  I will add some still images and lens specifications at a later date.

There are two parts to this video: As recorded and fast grade using Film Convert.  Skip to 2:47 to begin the 'graded' part of video.
[Please note that the point of this test is for the video only. The camera-recorded sound is poor due to acoustics of the setting and crowd noise.]  

Friday, March 30, 2018

Very Nice - A Vintage CHINON Lens (28mm / f2.8)

Not sure where I picked-up this CHINON 28mm f2.8 Multi-Coated Lens (Olympus Mount).  It is speculated Chinon lenses was made by Tamron in Japan; but my initial search for information turned-up a paucity of background information.  It's a solid looking and well-built to the touch.  A smooth focusing ring and a half-stop aperture.  

Mounted to the NX1, the whole set-up looks snazzy.  I used a Fotsay Olympus (OM) to NX mount adapter.  Then I went out on the streets of downtown Phoenix, Arizona to try the lens out.

Right off the bat I know I had a nice 28mm in my hands.  I like to photograph architectural styles. This first photograph stuck me with its warmth in a clean image.

f5.6    1/60sec     ISO100     0EV 

Next I opened the aperture to f2.8 and used the protruding flower to expose the len's Bokeh.  

f2 8    1/320sec    ISO100    0EV 

I like how the camera's sensor along with this lens elegantly captured the light and shadow of this pre-sunset photograph.  

 Half-Stop Between f5.6  & f8      1/125sec     ISO100   0EV

In this photograph below, I had an opportunity to give the 28mm CHINON Lens a chance to visually express the attributes of the 28mm angle lens (42mm equiv on the NX1), with foreground and background subjects.

 f5.6    1/60sec   _ISO100      0EV

Just at sunset I park light went on and I used it as an opportunity to see how an artificial and natural lighting can work together in the composition.  I set the focus on the pole-light, the f5.6 aperture setting softened the background a bit.

f5.6    1/60sec   ISO100     0EV 

Another architectural statement.

f5.6    1-40sec     ISO200     +0.3EV

This photograph really put the hook in me that this is a lens I'm going put aside for future use.  There is 'clarity' along with rich yet comfortable texture.

f5.6    1/40sec      ISO200      +0.3EV

The last two photographs were taken on a different day at 12-noon, with a hazy sky.   I wanted to get a couple of people images in order to get a sense of the look.   From the 'March for Our Lives" rally downtown Phoenix (March 24th, 2018).

f5.6    1/500sec    ISO100     0EV

 f11    1/200sec    ISO100    0EV

My thoughts reviewing these images was that the CHINON 28mm f2.8 is a quality lens delivering the essence of the analog camera era with images nicely saturated color, sharp, yet providing warmth.  I'm going to hold onto this one.

             Chinon   f2.8  ISO6400   0.3EV   1-60sec

I opened the aperture full to f2.8 for this night shot (hand-held).  Diffused Bokeh and the indirect light from a single lamp add nicely to the photograph.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Russian INDUSTAR-50 First Photographs

So I decided to plunge into the genre of vintage Russian lenses from the 'Soviet' era.  I was curious about the optical properties.  In this post is featured a INDUSTAR-50mm,  f3.5-f16 SN6885394

A tiny lens that is awkward to operate.  The aperture ring is at the front of the camera and provides resistance when trying to adjust.  The aperture ring is attached to the focus ring, so you have to hold the focus ring firm while adjusting the aperture, then adjust the focus.  Appropriately, but strangely, when you adjust the focus ring, the aperture ring also rotates but does not change its setting.  But the opposite is not true when changing the aperture.  You'll have to refocus with any aperture adjust.

The first photograph came out beautiful. Here are the camera and lens setting for the picture:

ISO6400  /  0EV  /  f3.5  / 1/180-sec

Monday, December 25, 2017

Promaster 200mm f3.3 - Test Photographs

I found this Promaster 200mm f3.3 prime lens at a pawn shop for $10  (300mm equivalent on the NX1). I was curious about a fast f3.3 lens at 200mm.  Usually that focal length in vintage lenses you see f4 or greater. 

This ProMaster has a built-in lens hood that slides forward, and a large focus ring surface at mid-barrel.  F-stops go from f3.3 to f16.  This particular lens had a Konica mount, adapted to the NX1.

The following photographs were taken downtown  Phoenix, Arizona hand-held, manual-mode and manual focus.  All photographs are 'as-taken' except where indicated.  Light: late afternoon just before sunset.

               f16  / 1/60-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV -0.3

               f16  / 1/60-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV -0.3 
                (reduced brightness & added contrast)
Note appearance of some lens fungus at top-quarter of photograph. Not noticeable in other images.

f11  / 1/60-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV -0.3
                   (reduced brightness in post) 

                f3.3 / 1/60-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV 0   

(with lens wide open it was difficult to get the subjects in focus.
Focus-peaking on the NX1 didn't show any 'in-focus' points - so subjects are soft. Notice bokeh which provides a 'painterly-effect' in the background.)

                f5.6 / 1/125-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV 0

                 f5.6  / 1/40-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV 0
              (manipulated brightness & contrast in post)

                 f5.6  / 1/40-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV 0  
(street cat appeared - tried to get focus right, but difficult
 with moving subject; so I applied heavy contrast in post in 
 attempt to salvage the photograph by accentuating both subject
 and background)

                f5.6  / 1/40-sec  /  ISO-400  /  EV +0.3
               (manipulated brightness & contrast in post)

f11  / 1/40-sec  /  ISO-200  /  EV +0.3

First Impressions:  I need a few more outings with the Promaster 200mm f3.3 lens to get a better sense of whether it will be a keeper or not. I seemed to need extra time focusing at times even with the NX1's 'focus-peaking' capability.  The one image I took at f3.3 came out soft.   However some of the images at f5.6 or above look nice and sharp.

Lens Manufacturing Info:  This lens is strikingly similar to a Hanimex label, this 200mm f/3.3 lens.  The manufacturer, date and other 'branding' information is sparse.  There is a discussion on the Internet at Photo.net here:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Quantaray 28-90mm F3.5-5.6 Lens - A Surprise

I picked-up this Quantaray 28-90mm F3.5-5.6 Lens at a record store in Phoenix, Arizona that also sells used music equipment and some electronics.  The QUANTARAY name was unfamiliar to me and normally I collect lenses from the 1970's and 80's, yet this one looked like it was from the 90's of early 2000's with a hard plastic material; so I was hesitant to buy at first.  

But I was curious and I liked the sweet-spot focal length range of 28-90mm (42-135mm equivalent on the Samsung NX1). The price at $25 wasn't bad, the lens was made in Japan, easily adaptable Pentax mount and overall the lens was in really good shape.  So I picked-it-up.  

An Internet search reveals very little about this lens.  But it appears that the lens is manufactured by SIGMA and distributed exclusively by Ritz Camera (.com) at that time.   I went to ritzcamera.com and it look like they still sell (new) Quantaray lenses.

Above: Quantaray 28-90mm f3.5-5.6 lens mounted with readily-available Pentax (PK) to Samsun (NX) mount.   

The photos posted below were 'as-taken': No post editing or effects.  Note that after taking these photographs I went back into the in-camera settings and notice I had the 'VIVID' picture effect turned 'on'.  This had the effect of increasing saturation and contrast.  Sorry I didn't write the f-stop setting for these photographs.  Camera was in manual shooting mode and with the lens adapter, the f-stop setting is not recorded to the NX1's meta-data file.

The above picture was taken with house lights only at an ISO of 6400 - Impressive

I took this photograph for an artist who wanted a quick-photo inventory of her stained-glass work.  I used it as an opportunity to play with the Quantaray.  In order to avoid a street scene and buildings in the background, I got on the floor and shot-up at the glass pieces attached to the store's window.  The plywood in the background is looking-up at the porch overhang.

Nice shot of translucent calcite cylinders illuminated by indirect light.  Notice the smooth background bokeh.  Sorry,I did not record the f-stop.

Other notes: Despite the lack of information on this lens online, I did come across a forum discussing this lens.  I think this lens is fantastic and thus was surprised to see postings that it was a good lens at $30 but would be disappointed at a higher price: Or, that people considered it a beginner's lens.  

Also,  This Quantaray's focus ring at at the front of the lens.  I noticed during my test shots that the len's optimum focus point was tight (in other words you are either spot-on or you fall-off.  Thus, thank goodness for 'focus peaking' on the NX1 to nail it.