Today I took some random picture during my break at work. I used The Mir 37mm again. The four colorful pictures are edited more in a stile I like, colorful, punchy and no blue in the sky. I like these results and I don’t think I would be more satisfied if I had taken them with one of my modern lenses. There are of course all kinds of (technical) things wrong with it if you look closer, or even if you don’t but I had fun making them, manual focusing, making sure the aperture ring was set and finely editing them. I will remember the time and place of when I took these pictures when I see them again in the future and relive the moment in a small amount, what more do you want. I would use this lens for a paid assignment, they hire me for my style and not for my technical skills. The other picture of the museum I work for is almost straight out of the camera and it captures perfectly the mood of the day, misty, grey and silent. I had to put some contrast in it because that’s something this lens misses.
On E-bay you will find different version of this lens for around 60,- US Dollars. I bought mine here in Norway where I live now for a similar price. The quality of my particulate lens is not that great, there is some movement in the focus and aperture rings and is used quit a lot. Optically I looks fine but I have no other MIR-1 to compare it with, I don’t see fungus or dust inside the lens.
Today I used the Mir-1b with a 12mm extension tube to see how it goes as a macro lens. The first thing I have to say is that even with my smallest extension tube you get really close with this lens. This is no problem if you want to take pictures of small flowers, they can not be bigger than 5 or 6 cm if you want to fill the frame but taking pictures of insect is more of a challenge because you have to get so close. The quality of the pictures is not bad but it is not as sharp as my dedicated macro lenses. I like the flower pictures, but even with f11 there is not mush in focus, as expected.
I bought a cheap reflector for my large flash on E-bay. It focuses the light straight forward or down if you want to. There are three reflective surfaces to choose from, i choose the gold one. It was sunny and with the shutter on 180/s and the lens closed down to f8.0 or f11 I didn’t need a flash but It provided some subtle light. I have to use it more but for 6 dollar you can’t go wrong.
The pictures are edited in Dark table, I did some extra sharpening and some levels but not much more.
Today I took the Rikenon 55mm with me on a work trip. I wanted to try the lens out in a normal situation wherein I take a camera with me to take some casual pictures. I am more satisfied with the focusing, I only used the focus assist of the X-t1 and that worked fine, I guess I get used to it. The lens seems to give a 1960/70s kind of vibe with muted colors and low contrast but I want to take some comparison pictures in the future. I used Darktable to edit the RAW files. Besides the standard setting Darktable applies I did the black and white conversion with it and some curves.
Today I used for the first time a mirror lens. I always wanted to try out this kind of lens, specially because of the rings in the bokeh or background blur. The one I bought is a Rubinar 500mm f5.6, it was around a hundred dollars and that’s a good price compared to the prices at E-bay. Its Russian made, probably in the 1990s, its heavy and larger than I expected. The quality looks OK the only thing I noticed is that the numbers looked to be engraved by hand, not important, gives it kind of a charm.
The quality of the pictures is not that great if sharpness is important to you. If you focus further away the sharpness is not that bad but the closer you get to the minimum distance of two meters the softer the pictures get. I used a tripod for most of the pictures so I could use the focus assist on the X-t1 whereby you see a zoomed in center of the frame. If you try to do this handheld with this 500mm on a cropped sensor (750mm) you have to much shake. On the tripod the pictures stays nice and stable and you can clearly see that the pictures is not sharp though the focusing ring is nice and heavy and in principal good enough to get a good focus.
For now I am not unsatisfied, for me sharpness is not a necessity for creating an interesting image.
It was a nice and sunny day, I used relatively high ISO values so to get a decent shutter
time. The aperture is fixed at f5.6 as is normal with a mirror lens. I used Lightroom to see if I could some extra sharpens out of the RAW files. The colors and contrast of the pictures was not bad but I pumped them up in some of the pictures because that can sometimes help with the (perceived) sharpness.
Today I used an other manual lens, the Rico auto Rikenon 55mm f1.4. As far as I can tell the lens is from the 60th, it’s heavy and feels really good in the hand, the focusing ring is the best I ever felt. Today I used it meanly at an aperture of 1.4 to see the results. You cannot focus really close, around 45 cm from the sensor but at that distance there is not much depth of field. Tomorrow I will try it at other f-stops and from longer distances from the subject.
So far I like what I see, the colors are nice and the sharpens seems good even though it is hard to see on most of these pictures because of the shallow depth of field and the angle I have taken these pictures. I did some more work on these pictures in Lightroom, mainly some highlight work and basic sharpening and contrast, the sun was shining bright and it was the middle of the day so the light was not at it’s best, the colors where already great in my opinion, straight from the sensor.