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Product Review "Rokinon 24mm f2.8 AF Lens"

August 12, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

_MSP0280_MSP028014mm, 12mm, 24mm Hey everyone I just got a new lens to my kit the Rokinon 24mm f2.8 AF (Yes Auto Focus!) lens.  If you don't know the name Rokinon in lenses your in for a treat.  Made in Korea by the Samyang Optics company the Rokinon name is for lenses sold in the US everywhere else it name is Samyang.  I don't really know the reason for this but its the same lens.  I have used Rokinon in the past and they are known for their Inexpensiveness , Sharpness and Build Quality.  They are built like a tank.  The other thing that they are known for is that they are mostly a manual focus lenses and just in the last year have started putting _MSP0283_MSP0283 out AF lenses.  I have been pleased with the quality of the lenses that I have had in the past and when I saw this one I had to give it a try.  I own a 14mm f2.8 that I used when I had my full frame Nikon D800 and it was awesome! Used it for wide focus situations and night photography. A very sharp lens!  When I changed my camera set up to crop sensor Sony A6300 I got the 12mm f2.0 lens with the Sony mount.  Another very sharp lens and I use it mainly for astrophotography.  Both of these lenses are manual focus but with this wide of focal range the depth of field is very large and its easy to focus with a manual focus lens. 

_MSP0216_MSP0216 If you have been following me on Instagram or Flickr you know that recently I have been shooting a lot of street type photography.  I have been doing a lot of photo walks of different towns and city's.  Now I'm going to start talking about effective focal length of some lenses. Let me explain on a full frame camera the effective focal length of a 50mm lens is 50mm but on a crop sensor camera like mine the sensor size is 1-1/2 times smaller than a full frame sensor camera so you must multiply the focal length of the lens by 1.5 to give you the full frame equivalent size.  Sorry for the Photography Geekiness .  Now for my street Steel and ShadowsSteel and ShadowsSteel and Shadows taken between the Dillian and the Raleigh Union Station #MaxStansellPhotography #funwithphotography #getoutandshoot #awesomestuffisee #northcarolinaphotographer #northcarolinaliving #sonya6300 #alphashoote photography or photo walks  my kit is very small that I use for this and my main lens has been a Sony 35mm f1.8 lens (52mm effective focal length). This is a great lens but tends to get a little tight in certain situations the other lens that I carry with me is a Sony 10-18mm f4 lens (15-25mm effective focal length) which is great for architecture type photography but too wide for everything else.  So I started looking for something in the middle.  And couldn't find anything in the Sony line up that would give me approx. 35mm effective focal length which comes to about 23mm.  Then I came across the Rokinon 24mm f2.8 AF lens that has just came out a month or so ago.  I got on B&H photo website and found that they haven't even shipped yet in the States so I went and ordered one.  And by luck it shipped the next day. This lens gives me the focal length that I was looking for in-between my 10-18mm and the 35mm that I have and so far its the perfect focal length for street photowalk type photography.

Its a small lens which is great for my kit!  It keeps the weight down.  Its just a little bit smaller than my 35mm and its lightweight.  The autofocus is very snappy with little or no distortion that I can tell.  I took it to the Raleigh Union Station yesterday to try it out and it worked great just wide enough to capture the scene but not too wide.  I have some sample photo's here so you can see the sharpness of the lens and the difference between my 35mm (effective focal length 52) and the 24mm (effective focal length 36mm). So if your looking for an affordable alternative to the more expensive lenses I recommend the Rokinon line of lenses. So get out and keep shooting!

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Pentax MX 35mm Film Camera

July 30, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

_MSP9732_MSP9732 I started taking photographs with my mom's Kodak Brownie camera when I was a little boy and that really sparked something in me with photography.  I think we had a few other camera's in the house I remember a polaroid camera but my first real camera was a Pentax K1000 that I bought from Sears picking it out of the catalog.  They actually had a photography catalog.  I saved my money and for 99 dollars I got it.  And like any other teenager I took photo's of family and friends.  I kept that camera that I bought in the mid 70's until 1981 when I  sold it.  I replaced it with the Pentax MX an upgrade from the K1000.  It was produced from 1976 until 1985 and was Pentax's Flagship _MSP9733_MSP9733 Professional SLR until the introduction of the Pentax LX.  This is a fully mechanical camera and manual camera.  It has a button battery that operates the light meter only. This is a great student camera.  And it is built like a small tank.  Much smaller camera than Canon and Nikon cameras in 1976. I have a Canon Canonet 19 Rangefinder camera and the Pentax SLR is much smaller that it is and about the same size of my Sony A6300 mirrorless camera.

 Because I have started my film project this year I have started using it again and it works as well as it did when I first got it in 1982.  I did replace the light seals but mechanically it is very sound and the best of my film cameras to date. I have an assortment of lenses ranging from 28mm to 500mm but my favorite is the 50mm f1.7 and a 35-70mm push pull zoom I have for it.  This camera just makes shooting fun.  You can find them on Ebay now but they are not the most popular cameras around.  But you can find them fairly cheap.  Don't think I will ever part with mine.

_DSC0012-Edit-2_DSC0012-Edit-2 Old EyesOld Eyes


Argus Rangefinder

July 22, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

_MSP9722_MSP9722 Hey everyone !  A couple of weeks ago it was international camera day.  I was looking for a rangefinder type camera preferably one from the 1960's.  So I put a request in my camera clubs facebook page hoping one of the older members had one stuck in there closet hadn't used in a while and wanted to part with it.  I got one answer from one of the newer members saying he had picked some up in an estate sale but he didn't know anything about them.(he had two)  So he said that he would bring them to me at the next club event.  So when we had a scavenger hunt he brought out a shoe box with a whole bunch of camera stuff old lenses, meters, and the two cameras.  I must be honest I had _MSP9723_MSP9723 never seen cameras like this before.  They were heavy , square-ish , black , had gears on the out side of them.  So I told him I would have to do some research on them he said just take them and let me know what you find out.  He said he got them for 20 bucks.  So I started my research and found out that one of them was an 1942 Argus C3 Rangefinder and it had a 50mm lens on it.  The other one was even older it was a 1939 Argus C2 rangefinder that had a 100mm lens on it.  They shot 35mm film and had the nickname the "Brick".  Now I have just got back into film and these were 35mm camera's could I clean them up and they work?  I got online found operation manuals and learned all I could about them. These are some of the fun facts I found out.

-They were produced from 1938-1966 in Ann Arbor Michigan.

-They have interchangeable lenses (but they are a pain to change)

-They had 3 lenses a 35mm, 50mm and 100mm that you could buy for the camera.

-They cost 35 dollars originally which is over 600 dollars in todays money equivalent.

-They are made primarily of Bakelite Plastic and Metal Castings

-They have 2 viewfinders one to focus with and one to compose your shot with

-They have no metering system so you use an external meter or use the Sunny 16 rule to set exposure.


So I cleaned the best looking one out of the bunch the 1942 model and made sure everything worked by using a dummy roll of film that I have to practice loading and advancing the film and shooting the camera.  After I felt confident on the operation I loaded it up with fresh film and took it into the back yard.  I did find it difficult to get it into focus.  The focusing viewfinder and the composure viewfinder are small.  And while rewinding the film after I was thorough I only rewound 1/2 of the roll when I opened up the back (oops) and ruined half of the roll.  But I developed it anyway and got just a few in focus out of that half of a roll. Hey but it was a 76 year old camera and it worked! 1942 Argus C3 Test Shot1942 Argus C3 Test Shot  Now am I going to use the camera to take photo's?  No it will be a shelf decoration but I know it works and it was great fun finding out about it and its history. Oh by the way I asked my photo buddy what he wanted for the camera's and he said I could just keep them he only had 20 bucks in them.  Thanks John! So when you find an old camera that you want to put on your shelf for decoration find out all you can about it. Its great fun and you'll enjoy your decoration even more especially when someone ask about them.  Get out and Shoot!


1961 Canon Canonet 19

July 14, 2018  •  1 Comment

Bell & Howell /CannonBell & Howell /CannonHere is the new addition to my film cameras . 1961 Canon Canonet 19. The Canon Canonet 19 is a sleek retro looking camera with great lines and a non cluttered look. It was the first of the Canon Canonet line of cameras.  The Canonet line ran from 1961 through the mid 70's and was the first attempt at making cameras for the everyday man that wasn't a professional photographer.  Up until this camera Canon was making Leica copies with minor variations.  Canon wasn't the strong brand that it is today.  A rangefinder type camera Canon had only made one SLR to this point.  Rangefinders were still King.  This camera is a 35mm film camera with a auto function (shutter priority) and a light meter with no battery!  It has a 45mm f1.9 lens and a leaf shutter which makes this a quiet camera to use.  This camera is great for street photography and everyday photography with a bright and large viewfinder as rangefinders do.  As you can see by the Bell & Howell /Canon logo Canon partnered with Bell & Howell to make this camera.  Bell & Howell was a motion picture camera maker based in the United States.  But make no mistake this is all a Canon product.  This camera can be shot in manual although the meter doesn't work when in manual so you would either have to use the Sunny 16 rule or a external meter. Here are some of the features. _MSP9739_MSP9739

-35mm film and can shoot to ASA 200 in auto.  In 1961 ASA's didn't go very high but with a lens with a f1.9 aperture shooting in room light at 1/60 isn't a problem. In manual you can shoot any ASA you want.

-Slenium Photocell wraps around the lens element so any filter that is placed on the camera the photocell see's through it so no compensation is needed. Also no battery is needed.

-The camera in Auto will not let the shutter work if the exposure isn't right.  You can push on the shutter button but nothing happens.  So in auto you can't shoot under or over exposed.


-The viewfinder like most rangefinders is bright and large. Since your not looking through the lens frame lines are drawn to show what will be in the frame. Also the aperture setting is at the bottom of the viewfinder to let you know what aperture your at.

_MSP9738_MSP9738 - Self timer.  This camera has a self timer that is about 7 sec long

-The film advance lever is located at the bottom of the camera giving the top of the camera clean lines.  Its in a odd place and Canon moved it to the traditional top of the camera in later models.

This camera was touted as the poor man's Leica and sold off of the shelves.  You can still find these in yard sales for a great price and they are great lightweight walk around cameras.  These are the camera's that gave Canon its popularity from the common man.  Still getting used to mine but so far I love it.  Right now its a 57 year old camera that still takes great photo's and looks great doing it.  Get out and shoot!

My Film Project

June 05, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Old EyesOld Eyes I have started shooting film again. Why you ask? I began my photography obsession many years ago in the mid 70's is when I bought my first film SLR (Single Lens Reflex).  Of course back then there was really no choice just film.  So I shot like most teenagers do friends  and family and events.  I always had my camera near by.  I only knew enough about photography to get a good exposure and that was about it .  As I grew older joined the military and got married I started taking photo's again and got a little more serious.  In the mid 80's I was shooting color slide film and developing it at home.  I did that for a while.  Later in the late 90's and early 2000 I was shooting Black and White film developing and printing at home.  This was a big operation and labor intensive.  Especially when you make your one and only bathroom a darkroom.  When digital came out I jumped on it full bore and set my trusty Fully Manual SLR on the shelf and that's where it has stayed for 15 years.  I had been shooting manual for so long I had to learn how to shoot Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority and all of the fancy stuff that camera's were doing.  It was like I was learning all over again how to shoot a camera. I started with a point and shoot and worked my way to the biggest baddest camera Nikon had to offer and all of the lenses to go with them.  I had to learn how to process my photographs in Lightroom & Photoshop.  Slowly but surly I started to go away from the big full frame cameras and started shooting mirrorless crop sensor camera's.  And I loved the way they feel in your had like 35mm SLR's did.  And I just love my mirrorless camera and lenses. IMG_1114IMG_1114

But something was missing .  I can't put my finger on it but it was the sound that a mechanical camera makes.  The weight of the camera.  Rewinding the film.  The Analog process I was missing.  I listened to a podcast called the Digital Story by Derrick Story and he also has a blog the Analog Story.  I listened and started to get excited about film again. I wanted to crank that crank and manually focus and turn dials that clicked. I wanted to shoot film again.  I heard that shooting film will make you a better digital photographer.  It will slow you down. I don't want to go fully to film I will always be a digital photographer first but I do want to shoot some film when the occasion suits.  How to go about it now in the digital age when film is kind of scarce?

First I got my old trusty 35mm Pentax MX off of the shelf. Cleaned it up well.  I had to replace the light seals that go around the door. Those are the little felt or foam pieces that keep the light from ruining your film.  That was a chore and it took me a couple of times before I got it right but I did.  What about the light meter in the camera? Was it any good?  The only way to find out was to get a roll of film shoot it and get it professionally developed.  I went to my local Walmart and guess what ? Film was on sale! 4 rolls for 5 bucks! So I bought 2 ,8 rolls of film.  I shot a roll of film in a couple of days and took it to Walgreens to get developed.  Well things have changed in 15 years.  They have to send your film off so it takes a week to get it back . But not really because they don't give the negatives back you just get a CD with the scanned JPEGs on them. All for 15 bucks!  I  was not a happy camper over the price.  But when I got my photo's back they were all correctly exposed!  So Yay! Light meter works and is accurate!  Now I can't afford 15 bucks every time I shoot a roll of film So I had to come up with a way that I could develop them myself. I had never developed color negative film before but I had done black and white and color slides so I had all of the equipment I just had to get the chemicals and learn how.  So I did and I developed my first roll of film and it worked out great! I had color Negatives! 

                                                                                                   So now I have color negatives I need to get them scanned into my computer so _DSC0012-3_DSC0012-3 _DSC0012-Edit-2_DSC0012-Edit-2 I can get them into Lightroom and Photoshop and print.  But how I really don't have a scanner that can do a good job. I don't want to spend anymore than I have to.  So I decided to use my Mirrorless camera to scan the negatives to get them into the computer.  I used my iPad with a white background to produce the light that shines through the Negative I had a old film holder that I had from the B/W days to hold the film and I used my Sony A6300 and a adapted Nikon 60mm Macro lens that I have to focus Manually.  I have the camera Tethered to my laptop so I can look at the Negative larger to make sure its sharp. And it worked! I don't know If Ill keep using this system I would like something that autofocuses because my old eyes don't work like they used to.  But for now IMG_1118IMG_1118 this will do until I find a better way.

Now there in the computer but still a Negative so there is some processing that needs to be done.  The image must be inverted to make it a positive image. That can be done in photoshop.  The colors also need to be adjusted because Negative film is made to be projected onto film paper and the color cast are made for that.  The first couple of times I did all of this manually.  And there are Programs that will do this for you but of course they cost money and Im trying to do this on the cheap.  I did some research and found a free action that will color correct you photo's in photoshop.  It does a pretty good job better that I was doing manually.  Its good enough now that I can live with it later on I may want to upgrade to a Software that does a better job. So after I get everything into Lightroom its just like all my other photo's I can go through my regular work flow and can publish to Flickr, Facebook, Instagram or even print if I want.

It seems like a long process and it is.  But I really enjoy it.  Analog Photography is like listening to LP's on a record player maybe not as clear and it has pops and scratches but to me that's what makes it great.  Thats all for now Keep Shooting!