Today I stopped besides a field of grass waiting to be mowed for maybe the last time this year. I wanted to catch some of the “grass feeling” but because the Industar is a decent macro lens I got caught up by the small details.
This is one of the Russian lenses and though it is not as sturdy as the Rikenon it still feels good. I’m not a big fan of the clickless aperture ring but it is stiff enough to prevent it being moved to easy.
I love the out of focus parts of the picture, both with details close by and far away. I also get used to focusing with this lens and it might not be super sharp it is still impressive for a 50,- US Dollar lens.
I have a third 50(ish)mm lens I am trying out now that I really like. Maybe I have three 50mm lenses in my bag on my next vacation.
Today I got a new package with something in it that I wanted since I started taking pictures in the 80s, a bellow used for macro photography. It’s something about the mechanical nature of it, the wheels that move the lens and the idea that you can get really close. So as every child does I ripped it out of the package, mounted my new Industar 50mm lens on it and went outside to try it out. But I first had to slow myself down and find a solution to get enough light so far from the flash mount on the camera and close to the front of the lens. I choose to use the little flash (EF-X8) that came with the X-T1 and use it as a commander together with the Yongnuo flash in slave mode. For now I have nothing to mount it so I used it handheld and pointed the flash in the right direction when needed. There was almost no wind so I decided to use my tripod, I wanted to take pictures of little bugs and plans and not from some fixed objects. But as most of the time when hunting for little bugs the tripod is a nuisance and there was almost no wind but there was still some movement and when you get so close the bugs move from one side of the viewfinder to the other, a tripod is useless in these circumstances. So I shot handheld and with my left hand I also held the flash in such a way that it illuminated the subject. It is not an ideal situation but parts of the pictures are sharp so it’s more a matter of finding the right angels so that the (really shallow) depth of field is used as best as possible. I had the aperture set at f5.6 with the shutter at the flash sync speed of 180/s, the ISO was set at 400 and the flash strength between 1/4 and 1/16 but holding the flash at the right distance was more important than the flash strength.
Today i used my Fujinon 55-220mm lens in combination with two autofocus extension tubes. I have normal extension tubes for macro photography but they cannot pass through signals and power to the lens for autofocus, the electronic aperture ring and image stabilization. Some of the new lenses for the Fujifilm X-mount have no manual aperture ring, you can only use it electronically and as far as I know all the lenses have a motor build in to adjust the focus, the focus ring is not connected to any lens elements that works great ass long as you use the right macro extension tubes. This means that I need a “smart” extension tube, Fuji makes them and here in Norway they cost around 90 US Dollars for one ring so a 180 for both. That is not a bad price but I tried E-bay and there you can buy cheaper version for between 15 and 40 US Dollars for both. I don’t think there is much difference between the cheapest and the more expensive ones on E-bay, I bought them for 23 US Dollars. The reviews where mixed but it’s not the first time that I buy something from E-bay so took the gamble. They arrived today and I tried them with my Fujinon lenses and it all seems to work. They feel a little bit light so they are probably the same as the originals only made with cheaper and thinner materials. I will see how long they last, I will treat them with more care than I normally do .
I have to try them out more but with the 55-200mm I got much closer when I combined the two rings (10mm and 16mm). At 55mm I came closer that with 200mm, without the rings that is the other way around. As with most Fujinon lenses the image quality is very good. I shot all the pictures handheld with the image stabilizer on, I did not pay much attention the ISO and aperture setting the camera chose for me so that will be a surprise for me to. The weather was nice, no direct sun an lightly overcast. All the pictures are sharpened in Lightroom together with some basic editing, nothing fancy besides the two black and white pictures.
Today I took pictures with an other lens from Russia the MC Industar 61 LZ 50mm f2.8. I bought this lens on E-bay for 65 US dollars from a Russian seller. It’s a nice little lens, I bought it because you can focus relatively close, around 25 cm. According to Camerapedia this lens ” is possibly the most highly regarded lens for Ukrainian Leica copies apart from the 35mm Jupiter-12. In an L/D or L/Z version of this lens, the L indicates that the lens has Lanthanum – which is not radioactive – in it, and D indicates M39 mount while Z indicates M42 mount. Most examples are multi-coated and are marked as such with MC. Some Industar 61 L/Z bear the logo of LZOS, probably having been made by that company.” . You can read more on Camerapedia and Pentax forum
I took it out today for a walk through my garden and greenhouse and so far I like the results. There was a lot of sun but it was also windy so most of the pictures are shot with ISO 400, the aperture ring has no “clicks”, so the aperture values are estimates. In the greenhouse there was no wind but it was a little darker and I forgot to adjust the ISO accordingly so the shutter times are a little low for handheld shots. Most of the pictures are shot at the minimum focusing distance. The pictures are edited in Lightroom, I used the auto setting for all the pictures and did some sharpening.
Today I used my 300mm Nikon lens on my X-t1 to try out manual focus with this kind of lens. The X-t1 has this focus aid that shows you a small zoomed in part of the screen besides the main screen and this works great. All the pictures are taken hand held with a shutter time of 500. The pictures of the flower give a nice mood and because of the aperture of f4 only a small sliver is sharp. The picture of Darth, our cat, shows a good sharpness in the eyes and the bridge is sharp to, at least part of it because the aperture was also f4. The butterfly was more difficult to get sharp but that was because of the wind, I shot a burst of pictures and prayed for the best, something a normally never do. Overall manual focusing works fine with this kind of lens.When I use this lens, made between 1987 and 2000, on my Nikon D7100 you can use the autofocus but it is slow, there is no motor in the lens like you have with modern lenses, it’s all mechanical and you notice, and hear it. As long as the subject is not moving to mush and you are not in a hurry it works great. .
Today I used the Nikon 50mm and reversed it with a special adapter you screw on the lens where you normally screw on a filter. you can buy these kind of adapters for different camera mounts, in this case I used one for Nikon F-mount. There is off course no auto focus and you have to set your aperture manual. Today it was overcast and i set my ISO at 200, the shutter on 1∕180s and the aperture of f2.8. I didn’t change these settings and let the environment decide what the mood of the picture would be. The pictures are JPEG’s straight from the RAW file without any changes, only the one with the insect is slightly sharpened. I personally like the effect of the low depth of field and the lack of sharpness. I shot these pictures handheld and there was some wind, I will test this setup an other day in better conditions whit a tripod to see how sharp the 50mm is reversed.
Today i replaced the 36mm extension tube for a 12mm one and a flash for the LED ring light. The flash i use is a Yongnuo speedlite YN560 , a relatively cheap flash that works really good. On the Fuji i use it in manual mode whereby you can sett the strength relatively easy. You can also manually zoom it if you want, I put it in the widest setting and pointed it up and attache a peace of A4 paper as a reflector. I need to do this because I want to shoot close to the front of the lens and the flash can not be pointed that low. But reflecting the light via a peace of white paper also disperse the light more and can crate the effect of a sunny overcast.
The shutter was set to 1/250s because i like to shoot without tripod and with the 50mm lens you don’t have to worry to mush. I like to use the view finder and push it against my eye to stabilize the camera even more, your eyes is then like a third arm. If I use the back screen i I like to use the strep from the camera that hangs around my neck as a stabilizer by stretching my arms and put tension on it. I played a little withe the aperture settings, I used settings between 1.8 and 5.6 and I also changed the strength of the flash, most of the time the flash was at its weakest (1∕128) setting.
Today I wanted to try out a cheap ring led light I bought last year on eBay. First I had to find 2 double a batteries and see if it was still working, it did. The weather outside was OK with some sun but mostly overcast. In this condition and close to the ground and my subject I turned the ring light on and of to see on the light meter a difference of no more than half a stop. Not mush in these circumstances but on my screen I could see that the darker parts in the flower where more lit, I will try it some more the coming day’s to find out if its worth finding batteries for it next time.
I used my 5 year old Fujifilm X-e1 with an adapter so I could use my 50mm 1.8 Nikon lens that I already had in the film days. Because I wanted to take pictures of flowers and insects I used a 36mm extension tube, a little long I know but I want to try it. I have not calculated it, wouldn’t know how to do it, but the magnification is not 1 to 1 like with my dedicated 105mm macro lenses. But I could get close and with an aperture of 2.8 there is only a little area in focus but the background is so smooth that it is almost monotone.