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05-31-2018, 06:56 AM - 3 Likes   #76
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... done, done, done... what a month...

a couple of key changes for me, photographically, this month: I replaced my failing K-50 with a used K-3 (thanks again, Adam), so I'm now able to use the same body no matter what lenses are being used... and I moved both bodies to back-button-focus (BBF) only... while that may not sound like a big deal, it was a dramatic shift in how I shoot (short version: I like it)...

all month with a 200mm prime.. whose genius idea was that?

the SMC A 200mm f4 is a beautiful lens; my copy was purchased used from eBay for $27 (it was listed incorrectly) and no bids when I bid on her.. she is near-mint with almost no signs of use except one nick in the edge of the built-in hood...

typically, the A200/4 is a joy to use: buttery-smooth focus helical, beautiful Pentax color rendering, pleasing bokeh, clarity and sharpness that you would expect of a Pentax film-era prime lens... then why the grousing?

only one downside to this lens: the 2-meter minimum focusing distance is an absolute gorilla to carry around... nothing else slowed me down with this lens, not the daily grind, not the occasional 'safety' shot, nothing.. but that MFD caused me to recompose all month long and that can really put the damper on the creative flow....

the occasional CA I encountered with this lens were minor and easily remedied in post...

anyways - this lens is dreamy when you can use it as intended: a longer telephoto with a decent aperture-range and a long-throw focus helical that requires you to slow down and think about subject/composition/light and become part of the process...

oh - and the photos she's capable of:

in summary - a wondrous lens, but not for daily consumption...

Last edited by pepperberry farm; 05-31-2018 at 07:03 AM.
05-31-2018, 06:23 PM - 5 Likes   #77
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smc PENTAX (K) 200mm f4

PF rates this lens 9.2/10 and while I don’t feel able to quantify my assessment, there’s no doubt it’s a fine legacy lens. I bought my copy for AUD$40 second-hand, taking a punt that I’d be able to remove quite a bit of fungus from its internal elements - it worked. For this month’s SI, it was coupled to my K1 (set to M mode).

The lens is comfortingly solid, heavy, and quite long physically (sometimes irritatingly so) even without the hood that it can share with the K135. My copy rotates very smoothly through its 270 degrees of focus travel, but picking focus is hard work. I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get the focus just right. Even presetting to say f11 doesn’t guarantee a good result. That means it's not the best quick response lens, for say wildlife. However, when you get it right, it’s delightfully sharp; previous bird shots for example, have demonstrated very acceptable resolution of feather detail. I found using LV with focus peaking essential, and it did become easier to find focus as the month progressed. A minimum focus of about two metres was a PITA at times, but “close-ups” taken wide open had a somewhat forgiving dof. Taking macros (with extension tubes) was quite fiddly, but the results were very pleasing.

Bokeh is smooth and highlights come up as nice bubbles wide open, with cat eyes away from the centre. Close down just one or two stops though and the "bubbles" take on an unpleasant ninja star character. Colour fringing doesn't seem to be an issue - I only got hints of it wide open in high contrast settings, but never felt the need to correct it. I found the colour rendering to be quite natural. This matches my preference, and so I rarely adjusted WB in post, but contrast sometimes needed a boost to bring colours up to reality. Flare resistance seemed good - only with the Sun near the edge of a frame could I generate weak flare hexagons. I found the six-point starbursts moderately attractive in night shots, but with the Sun, the flare spikes were less well defined (Sandy’s “flared trousers” description is apt) but having quite a nice impact all the same.

I had hoped to try for some night sky shots to test for star sharpness, colour and coma, but by the time I was ready to do so, the Moon had brightened too much to facilitate that.

All in all, a challenging but rewarding month with a relic from the mid 1970s. There’s an album of images on Flickr here.

Last edited by OzzRod; 05-31-2018 at 06:29 PM.
06-01-2018, 12:18 AM - 1 Like   #78

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I've had a good month with the Cosina 24mm, and like and am pleased with many of the photos I took. Thanks all for your interest and comments, I do take them on board, and I do think both my photography and processing have improved over the month. Of course there is always room for more improvement . I also think I was lucky in coming across so many self-selecting subjects, as often as not while I had camera in hand. I am certainly getting to know this lens better.

I think this lens has a number of good qualities, not least its versatility. It was usually sharp enough, gave good natural color, capable of interesting and tasteful bokeh, and, as Sandy noted, good subject isolation through selective focus at wider apertures. The coatings did flare if you worked at angling it towards the sun, and it was fun trying to use that. The flare did catch me out a couple of times but I have found in the past a generic $5 aluminium hood will work. The wide angle was good for land or city-scape, architecture, and surprisingly, street photography. Close focusing ability was good, at 20 or less cm, and while the wider angle was wasted on a number of smaller subjects, even with close up filters, I was very happy with the greater apparent depth of field, and it did also help in environmental portraits. I found it a small and handy lens on the camera, with a focal throw that left me a little lost at times, but probably helped me find that finer focus at shorter distances that was such a feature of the lens. I was also surprised, though it should have made sense, at how easy it was to pan with a moving subject with the wider field of view.

---------- Post added 06-01-18 at 12:48 AM ----------

As Ismo said, thanks everyone else for keeping on and posting, it's been interesting to see what you're doing and the qualities of the lenses, and I really enjoyed the pictures. I looked that Venus up, and it was also interesting to see the three 200's lined up - each seemed to have its' own strengths. I'll think carefully before taking anything of that length on in this challenge though! I have also started, cautiously, looking at projector and enlarging lenses. Maybe one day.

I'll be trying the Cosina 50mm f2 in the June round, and hope I'm happier with it than you were with the M Ismo, as they play a similar role in their respective lens systems. I haven't yet used anything faster or fancier, so perhaps I will be. Too late to help with LBA though, I've already received a Yashica 50 1.7, and have a Cosina 50 1.8 on the way.... I'll just have to be disciplined and try not to peep too much till I'm done... .... knew I should've started with the 50 .....
06-01-2018, 01:10 AM - 2 Likes   #79
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QuoteOriginally posted by rjbrett Quote was also interesting to see the three 200's lined up - each seemed to have its' own strengths. I'll think carefully before taking anything of that length on in this challenge though!...
Just jump into the deep end. You'll learn something. My first single in month was with M*300

And, yes, my struggle with M50/2 was mainly due to knowing and loving M50/1.7. If you don't have similar burden, you'll do fine.

06-01-2018, 06:18 PM - 2 Likes   #80

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For some reason some Flicker pages aren't accessible. Click on an image in the challenge and sometimes I get a message "That page can't be accessed". Click on another image and the page opens right up. (That's my excuse for spotty commenting and I'm sticking to it.) So, the lens. I used the Super Takumar 200mm f4. It's heavy! That's not totally a bad thing. That weight means it's well built. Try to mug me for my camera gear and you'll get 200mm upside the head. I like the lens. I was pleased with the images it produced. The only downside I found to the lens is minimum focusing distance. It only goes to about 10 feet. Some of the subjects I was working with were too close and I had to move away to get it in focus. It isn't much of an indoor lens. F4 is going to require a flash indoors. Most things are going to be closer than the minimum focusing distance and at 200mm the FoV is really too narrow for anything but portraits indoors. And I don't do portraits. The FoV isn't good for landscapes although stitched panoramas are a way around that. I've been using cameras for a long time so manual focus and manual exposure aren't a problem. The Tak has a lever that opens the Iris for focusing and pushing the lever the other way stops the lens down. I just kept forgetting to put the lever back into auto so the lens would stop down. Guess the exposure. Chimp. Adjust. Chimp. Remember that I needed to return the lever to auto. Chimp. etc. The lens is plenty sharp. The jet image taken on the last day was about 100 feet up and I can read the lettering on the fuselage on the full size image. I picked up the lens in a thrift store for $20 bucks. I think it was worth it.
06-02-2018, 09:25 AM   #81
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This month was busy, coming back after six months away from home left less time for shooting, posting, and commenting than I'd hoped. Additionally, I am switching over to a new PC, and downloading or transferring photos and accounts, it has been slow going, especially because I had many higher priority activities occurring as well.

That said, the 18-135 WR is the lens I spent over 6 months with and it is a very versatile "walk-around" lens. There were few occasions I fell I needed some other lens, and any shortcomings in the quality of the resulting photos are due to my own failings, not the lens. Relatively compact, and lightweight, I can't recommend it highly enough.
06-03-2018, 11:12 PM   #82
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QuoteOriginally posted by Minimonster Quote
Personally speaking I find the feedback I receive very helpful...
Agreed! I've said before that I've appreciated every comment given on my shots. Especially as I find it sometimes very hard to give good comments. Maybe I'm overcritical on my work, as usually I find the comments very supportive, when I have posted some work I'm not happy with.

I try to comment as well as I can, but it takes time and some days there just ain't that time to give and as an uneducated hobbiest, I'm not the best give advise. But, if time and energy permits, I try to leave atleast some comment showing that I have viewed the photo and point what has cought my attention. But from time to time I get a vision of the shot where I would have done something different and try to share that to give an other perspektive to the shot.
06-04-2018, 03:23 AM - 2 Likes   #83
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Folks, I've been asked by @photolady95 to explain why she's been missing from the "Single in" challenge.

Shortly after her last post, she was taken ill and spent a week in hospital. Thankfully, she's home now and recovering, but it may be a little while before she's well enough to take part in forum activities.

She sends her wishes to all here, and I know you'll join me in wishing her a full and speedy recovery


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