Notes From The Top Left Corner

Discussion in 'Competitions, Themes & Blogs' started by Chris Bennett, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    If not, you'll have some slightly more dramatic skies in you B&W shots from now on! ;)
  2. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

  3. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Much of my renewed interest in photography over the last year or so has been fuelled by exploring old manual lenses on my Canon DSLR. This is a pastime which, despite my extreme lack of financial commitment has yielded lots of fun and self education through shameless opportunism! As I mentioned above, I have since bought a Sony mirrorless camera too, for taking on cabin-baggage-only trips.

    Three recently arrived lenses are vying for my attention at the moment. Firstly, I wanted a good, solid lens in the 28 or 35 to 70 or 80mm region. I love the old Pentax and Takumars and I already own an A 35-70 and my wife has an M 40-80, which I have fiddled with in the past.

    The Pentax lenses didn't really do it for me for some reason, so I did a bit of research and it seemed as though the Minolta 35-70 mm (constant f/3.5) might be worth a look at. The going-rate price is a bit more than I wanted to pay (I did say that part of my MO is minimal financial commitment, so £35 was way more than I was willing to spend!)

    Another avenue to explore seemed to be the Canon FD 35-70mm (constant f/4), which doesn't have quite the buzz about it on the internet. This idea was also attractive to me because I haven't been able to try any FD lenses on my Canon camera and having an Alpha NEX meant that this would be opened up to me (a similar situation to the Minolta lenses, as these both need adapters with optical correction on an EOS camera).

    A search of Ebay turned up quite a few with a wide range of prices and described conditions. I spotted one with a low starting price being sold by a bricks and mortar camera shop with what seemed like an honest description. A bid placed with 9 seconds to go secured it for me for under 20 quid - whoopee!!

    When it arrived, it turned out that it had been mis-described as this was the plasticy f/3.5-4.5 model. Checking the photos again, & there it was, plain as day on the front ring of the lens - 3.5-4.5. How did I miss that? Anyway, it went straight back and the seller was good about it, very apologetic and quick to refund.

    Another quick look and I spotted one that had just been listed for £1 less than the previous one. It was clearly the correct model this time! Whoopee some more!!

    On the day that arrived, I was poking around in a charity shop looking for books and CDs, when I found a nice Yashica 50mm f/1.9 on a ropey looking SLR. Alongside this there was a UV filter in it's case for £4.50. This seemed quite good value but I didn't buy it, as there was another identical one on the lens. The silly part is that the camera and lens (with filter) were only £8.50! I put a fair bit more cash into the tin on the shop counter before I left, as I felt a bit like I was stealing it!

    A few days later, not intending to buy anything at all, I was just spending a few minutes looking on Ebay at sales with just a few minutes to go. There was a lens listed and described extremely badly, as a Minolta Hoya Skylight lens - no bids so far. This seller's mistake is one that I have benefited from a couple of times in the past. A close look at the photos and I worked out it was a 50-135mm. Minimum aperture was indiscernible from the evidence though. A bit of hasty research and I realised that it might be the sister lens to the Rokkor 35-70 that I had shied away from, this one also, with a constant f/3.5. I realised that, coupled with the Canon, this pair could make quite a good set for travelling light with. The research also stated that there was an inferior 3.5-4.5 version, just as there had been with the Canon! The auction had only a minute of so to go. Waiting for my usual 9 second sniping position, I placed a bid of under £20 and got it for the starting price of £7.50. Thrice Whoopee!!!

    The Rokkor arrived this morning and, sure enough, my gamble paid off because it's the f/3.5 version. It's pretty much immaculate and it came in a rather nice Lowepro case that is probably worth a good few quid on it's own.

    I'll post a few images taken with each of the lenses in the next couple of days.
  4. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Here's one taken with the Canon FD 35-70 f/4 on the NEX 5

    Captured Truck.JPG
  5. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Interesting write up, Chris and a fine shot of the unusual garden feature! Looking forward to seeing what you get from the Minolta lens.
  6. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    It feels a little like the Minolta and I are going to have a long, meaningful relationship Pete. A few shots fired off willy-nilly this afternoon look to be very promising indeed. As stated above, the condition is utterly superb and there is no creep on the zoom mechanism. Colours look good and the ergonomics feel 'right'.
  7. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I'm just back from spending a week in Kefalonia with the FD lens and I have to say that I like it a lot. It feels solid and natural to operate. All of the things I have read about it say that it is weird because of the way the front element retracts into the outer body as you move up through the focal lengths. It's different, but so what? I think it would be great on my 50D but backwards compatibility was, apparently beyond the grasp of the Canon designers when they developed the EOS mount. That's one of the reasons I love the Pentax stuff!
    Pete Askew likes this.
  8. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    The Minolta was on the camera for a while last weekend. A quick visit to a local landmark, The Ashton Memorial, which has a fascinating spiral staircase.

    Ashton Spiral2.JPG

    Ashton Spiral.JPG

    Ashton Spiral3.JPG
  9. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    The FD 35-70mm f/4.0

    Canon FD 35-70.jpg

    ...and the Rokkor 50-135mm f/3.5

    Rokkor 70-135 lens.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  10. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I've also been playing with an SLR that's been in the house for years but never really used. It's a Pentax P30 and I'm not actually sure how we have come to own it.

    Pentax P-30.JPG

    I may have bought it for myself as a stop gap camera to use after I gave my daughter my Pentax ME Super to use when she was studying photography.
    It's obviously constructed down to a price and, as such, it's a bit lightly built for my taste. Using Pentax A-series lenses, it will act as a manual focus camera with automatic exposure, or it will work fully manually. We have a lot of things that will attach to it, so I played with a few over the course of a roll of film.

    I wanted to see if it performed OK and so I set myself a little project - Circles.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
    Rob MacKillop likes this.
  11. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    A Meyer-Optik Oreston arrived today. It's a 50mm f/1.8, the faster and sharper brother of the Domiplan that was on my father's old Praktica.

    First shot - straight off the camera, no fiddling about!

    Meyer Oreston Chives.JPG
  12. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Blimey, there's nothing wrong with that. Nice image too.
  13. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Perfect lens.
  14. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Probably not Rob, but how about if I try to replicate that shot with a Domiplan and we will see how far from perfect we can go!
    Rob MacKillop and Pete Askew like this.
  15. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Here we go...

    Meyer Domiplan Chives 5.6.JPG

    Again, no fiddling except for a crop because the minimum focusing distance is a lot further on the Domiplan.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  16. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Perfect lens :)
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  17. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Interesting comparison. Not as 3-dimensional.
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  18. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I went for a walk in a local woodland this afternoon. I took a camera with me, as I was looking for good examples of Ash trees with Ash Dieback disease to photograph for something I am involved in at work. As trees are the thing that I get out of bed for every morning, it was all very depressing, as the epdemic is really taking hold of our nation's beautiful Ashes.
    I took a few photos of more cheery subjects though, and this is my favourite.

    River bed.JPG
  19. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Out for a stroll this evening and I realised that, although I have lived in this northern Lancastrian village for exactly ten years now, I still feel like a stranger.
    You want proof?
    Well, first there's the local dialect.

    Four Kin Un T'sbonly.JPG

    What on earth does Four Kin Un T'sbonly mean?

    Now, I discover that my postman is a scarecrow.

  20. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Little Britain exists. Here's the proof.

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