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01-31-2013, 04:55 AM - 2 Likes   #181
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I have really enjoyed this month. There have been some truly amazing shots produced. Congratulations to all.

What can I say about the FA31 that hasn't been said before? It is, quite simply, an amazing lens: fast, sharp, beautifully constructed, a joy to handle and laden with fabled FA limited pixie dust. Magical bokeh and 3D pop are almost embarrassingly easy to obtain.
What I wasn't expecting was how well it performed as a mid-tele macro when paired with the Q.

There is nothing not to like.

01-31-2013, 05:21 AM - 1 Like   #182
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I have really enjoyed this month. There have been some truly amazing shots produced. Congratulations to all.

What can I say about the FA31 that hasn't been said before?
...
There is nothing not to like.
Only the price.
01-31-2013, 05:45 AM - 1 Like   #183
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I still have some film negatives to scan and some comments to give but I'd better get my lens review in. I used the 17mm F4 Takumar fisheye. I had thought this lens would give me a lot of trouble but it turned out easier than I thought. I worked well on both the K-x and the K-01. The front element curves slightly outer wards and after a few days I replaced the original metal lens cap with a small neoprene bag to prevent scratches. I think the main problem with this lens is the price. I got this one cheap but for eBay prices you would be much better getting the DA10-17mm which is much more versatile and better at preventing flare.
01-31-2013, 05:53 AM - 1 Like   #184
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So all this month the Tokina 19-35, the so called 'plastic fantastic' has been strapped to my K20d and a few times to my K5. I've had it for 3 years and this is the most I've used it. I don't remember what I bought it for but It was in the neighborhood of about $50. I think it's biggest strengths are that it's full frame, auto focus, and fairly wide angle. On a film camera I think this lens is something to have, I'm not so sure about it being an asset for a DSLR. I've gotten some nice landscape images this month but when I look at them critically, they aren't that sharp, their good but not great. I've also had to typically bump up the contrast in post processing with my images from this lens. This could be attributed to a lot of other factors but, it seems like I've had to do more of this this month than usual. Surprisingly, the 19-35mm length is fairly versatile for a lot of shots but the fairly slow aperture range f3.5 to f4.5 keeps one more outside in strong light and makes you stay away from low light situations. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about this lens. I'm not blown away by it but I recognize that as I continue to shoot film, having this lens in the tool box is a plus. So, I think I'll keep it around but I won't go to this lens that often with my digital cameras as I have too many faster, wider lenses (like the DA 12-24 for example) that fill the bill for a UWA zoom.

01-31-2013, 07:28 AM   #185
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Vivitar Series I 90/2.5 macro, made by Tokina, AKA the "Bokina"
How to review a "legend"? Well, even a legendary lens is still just a photographic tool.

As a macro
On its own the lens only focuses down to 1:2. There is a matched 1:1 macro adapter and I think these always came as a pair, but these days the adapter is somewhat harder to find than the lens. It is mounted between lens and camera, like a TC. With the adapter in place the lens now focuses down to 1:1, but its longest focus is reduced all the way to 1:2, so this is not much different than using a lens on extension. This is an inconvenience with the macro subjects I typically shoot, as I often range back and forth across that 1:2 line.

The lens is sharp, as any macro should be. I also have the Sigma 70/2.8, renowned for its sharpness, and I'd say the Bokina is in the same league. I prefer the Bokina's color rendition -- it is warmer and less saturated than the Sigma, very natural looking. The quality of the bokeh is the reason for this lens's reputation and it does not disappoint.

As a general purpose lens
By specification and with its bokeh this should be a fine portrait lens, if you like sharp portraits, but I haven't really put it to the test here. It's a fine general-purpose lens but with one huge caveat -- it is massively prone to flare. I'm not talking about sun-in-the-frame shots, just shots with indirect backlighting where you wouldn't necessarily think to look for it, and which other lenses handle without a problem. The Bokina just fogs over. Even a deep hood isn't enough to prevent all such problems, and keep in mind that this is a macro lens, with a recessed front element. This is the lens's Achilles heel.

Build quality
Many lenses are described as "built like a tank". On that scale the Bokina is built like a nuclear bunker. It makes a Pentax K-series lens seem a bit flimsy by comparison. The barrel is massively thick, with a high-gloss finish. The lens weighs about 640g and the adapter another 250g or so. The adapter has a tripod ring, very sensible for such a heavy lens. The focusing action is smooth and strongly damped, with the long throw you'd expect from a macro lens.

Early in my ownership of the lens, I put a TC on it, and it got stuck. The aperture coupling levers got crossed up. In the process of getting it unstuck, I may have bent something; at any rate it is now all too easy for this to happen, especially with the 1:1 adapter. I'll have to see if this is fixable; for now I've stopped using the adapter, or anything with an aperture coupling. I'm certainly not going to attach the lens to an uncrippled mount camera; if that were to get stuck it could be a real problem.

Summary
The lens deserves its reputation as "legendary". It also has some significant quirks, at least my copy does. I expect I'll keep it forever, both for its qualities and also because I wouldn't get a great price selling it given its issues with the coupling.
01-31-2013, 07:44 AM   #186
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
Vivitar Series I 90/2.5 macro, made by Tokina, AKA the "Bokina"
How to review a "legend"? Well, even a legendary lens is still just a photographic tool. .
It took me a bit to realize that you were taking about the Vivitar 90. I was thinking this sounded like my Tamron Adaptall 2 90 macro lens. I wonder how those two actually compare. They sound very similar (minus the adaptall mount).

Ah, I just looked up their reviews, the Vivitar is rated at 9.5+ and the Tamron is 8.8+, both very good but the edge goes to the Vivitar. Odd because they have similar flaring issues due to a non-recessed front element.
01-31-2013, 08:11 AM   #187
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Not to put too fine a point on it, the aggregate lens ratings are nearly useless. The only info I see on these lenses respective optical formulae is that the Vivitar is 8/7 while the Tamron is 8/6. But from reading the reviews the performance characteristics do look very similar.
01-31-2013, 08:40 AM   #188
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
Not to put too fine a point on it, the aggregate lens ratings are nearly useless. The only info I see on these lenses respective optical formulae is that the Vivitar is 8/7 while the Tamron is 8/6. But from reading the reviews the performance characteristics do look very similar.
And the Tammy has a TC that get's it to 1:1 as you indicated that Viv has. Interesting. I'll take your remark on the usefulness of aggregate ratings into consideration. I don't often think about that and just kinda cherry pick reviews. Point taken. Thanks.

02-01-2013, 02:03 AM - 3 Likes   #189
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So, time to wrap it up.

I did this month with my A400/5.6 (super?)tele lens. Boy I must say that it was challenging for me. You really need to get out with it to give the circumstances this baby needs. Only problem with this lens seems to be me. It need work and work to get best out of it(camera shake, focus, ect problems), and a camera that handles high ISO well...but that is another story.

build and handling, just great! Feels sturdy and focus is long and damped nicelly, so even hand held shooting is fun. Monopod is good equipment to take along. or tripod with good head.

image quality. Just great, you can't really expect anything more from lens that costs this much. Sharp, contrasty, when just two clicks stopped down, so you can have nice shots arounf 6.7/7.1...but at high contrast situations you can have some PF, easy to correct and sometimes I just don't care so much about it.

All in all, great lens to get you to tele world. It is really world of it own, anyoone that has shooted above 300 mm knows this. I realised it during this month. This thing offers some unique possibilities for landscapes and details, that I like to shoot. If you are interested of this kind a shooting and don't have 1000 € to invest, this is really good alternative with good enough sharpness. Oh and Did I mention that is has 9 aperture blades to make nice smooth Oof...Now I'm waiting for spring to get more light and more birds around.

Thank you all for this month!

I will pass on February...it will be crazy for me. Lot of work, touring, workshops and good old deadlines...darn. So see you in March.
02-01-2013, 04:27 AM - 1 Like   #190
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January

I shot 6 rolls of 24 in December, and 4 rolls of 36 in January... And there you go... posting my photos for Jan right here

I think I'll be processing and scanning tonight/tomorrow. Stock is made up... ready to go... just need to find some time with no kids and a clear space.
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02-01-2013, 06:20 AM - 1 Like   #191
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Cool Matt. I've been catching up with my back log of film since last summer. I think I've processed 9 rolls since Monday (and 4 of them last night). I do have enough tankage to do doubles if I happen to shoot the same film but, I tend not to. I've got two more rolls to go and I'll be up to date. I'm planning a few hours in the dark room this weekend to print some contact sheets as these are a helpful guide to what I want to or don't want to scan.

This week, I think my new cologne is fixer...
02-01-2013, 05:57 PM   #192
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Just confirming that I'll be having a break through February and some travel planned for March may prove awkward too. Funny how these Challenges get to you - it's Feb 2 as I type and I already feel quite down having seen the February shots starting to come through and not being part of it. BUT, there's so much that's been neglected and I need to explore focus issues on a couple of lenses, edit travel pics that are months old and just get out to try more things without the daily demands of the challenge. So good luck everyone; I will be lurking as a viewer.
02-01-2013, 06:01 PM - 1 Like   #193
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QuoteOriginally posted by OzzRod Quote
Just confirming that I'll be having a break through February and some travel planned for March may prove awkward too. Funny how these Challenges get to you - it's Feb 2 as I type and I already feel quite down having seen the February shots starting to come through and not being part of it. BUT, there's so much that's been neglected and I need to explore focus issues on a couple of lenses, edit travel pics that are months old and just get out to try more things without the daily demands of the challenge. So good luck everyone; I will be lurking as a viewer.
Gonna really miss you mate.

Eric
02-01-2013, 09:13 PM - 1 Like   #194
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Sorry to hear that Rod! Come back soon
02-01-2013, 10:01 PM - 1 Like   #195
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QuoteOriginally posted by Corto-PA Quote
Gonna really miss you mate
+1
I have really valued your input. Come back soon.
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