MONTERREY — I have shot tightly framed portraits of people since I began taking photos at age ten or eleven. A certain style of naturalistic headshot, the subject fully aware and looking straight into the lens, has been a major element of my work for my entire photographic life. I still have almost every negative I ever shot and though I hope I have learned a thing or two along the way, I am still rather happy with many of the portraits I took of my classmates, teachers, and family back in Junior High and High School.
This weekend, right in Jeeps hometown where the legend is created, was the Toledo Jeep Fest. Thousands of Jeeps show up for 3 days of celebration of all things Jeep. From the Friday night headliner (this year it was KC & The Sunshine Band) to the collectible and historic Jeep show at the Seagate center and the parade with over 1600 Jeeps. The Toledo Jeep Fest is widely regarded as one of, if not the best, Jeep show in the nation. Saturday I got in my own Jeep, headed north and took the newly rereleased Leica 28/ƒ5.6 Summaron lens with the M10 along for the ride.
Go wide! Go wider!! Go as wide as you can without going too wide!!! This is how I think about the 20mm lens and, to be specific, the classic 20mm f/2.8 Nikkor in both auto and manual focus. In my long experience with this lens — I have used it in its MF and AF versions as one of my primary working optics since around 2000 — I have found it to be a special lens in particular and generally as wide an angle as one can get without entering the realm of special effects. Lenses wider than 20mm can come in handy for unique perspectives and situations, but rarely for every day use.
When I bought a digital Leica I wanted a new lens to go with it. There was no question that this lens would be 50mm. I use other focal lengths (and have nothing against buying used optics) but, in this case, I wanted a new lens for the new camera. When I bought a Leica M6ttl in 2001, I briefly used an antique 50mm f/2 Summar, but was soon able to acquire well-used 50mm f/2 Summicron from the 1970s. I bought the Summar for $150 from an acquaintance and the second hand Summicron for $500 at the now sadly deceased F-Stop Camera in Akron, Ohio. That lens has served me well but, when I decided to buy the digital M-P 240, the Summicron was in for repairs. Anyway, I wanted a new lens for my new Leica and the M6 would be lonely and jealous if I confiscated its friend Summicron. I like to maintain harmony in my stable of cameras after all. Continue reading “ZEISS PLANAR ZM 50mm ƒ/2”
The Nikon LTM glass, classic by any standard. But how good have they held up? This is what I set out to discover as I collected good examples of these lenses and got to work. Testing for the 35mm and 28mm was conducted on the Leica M9-Monochrome and Leica SL with Leica adaptors. I was let down by the 50/f1.4, finding it to be very soft wide open and what’s the point in having fast glass if you can’t shoot it wide open?
Get ready, there’s a lot of images in this one! Continue reading “NIKON LTM 35mm ƒ3.5 & 28mm ƒ3.5”
Monday: I stopped by World of photography and saw for the first time in person, the Nikon Z7.
Tuesday: I walked in with a D5 and walked out with the Z7 system.
I’m standing here holding the new Nikon Z7, and it feels great! A camera that I had no plans to own. I wasn’t expecting even to be able to see the camera till after Christmas. It’s widely sold out, with a waiting list at most major retailers. But here I am at my friend Gary’s shop, using it for the first time. It feels wonderful, just like a mini Nikon DSLR, the EVF is big and bright, sharp as a tack and the color is outstanding. I found myself coming back the next day and walking out with a Z7. The D5 is an incredible camera, but it’s big bulky and ill-suited for 98% of the work I do. The Z7 is small, light, fast and frankly almost as good as the D5. I’m not going to bury the lead here; the Nikon Z7 is very possibly the best mirrorless camera I have ever used.
The 50mm is still and always has been a staple of mine. Over 20+ years, I’ve never been without a decently fast 50mm. To say I was excited getting my hands on a mint Nikon LTM 50mm f1.4 without any flaws or dust, fungus etc in the glass, well excited would be an understatement. Continue reading “NIKON LTM 50mm ƒF1.4”