Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Banks Lake - Summer 2014

I went to Banks Lake over Memorial Day weekend to get some fresh air. Sadly it's definitely summer here in Valdosta and it is hot. Also, yellow flies are abundant, as are of course the mosquitoes. Oh well. Anyway, I took a few photos, with my Linhof Master Technika and either 75mm f/4.5 Zeiss Biogon or 250mm f/5.6 Zeiss Sonnar. I wanted to test some T-Max 100 film that got water damaged when my refrigerator got turned off for a week last year. Only one of the damaged sheets showed obvious staining, while the rest seemed okay. So at least I can use the film for messing around and don't have to just trash it, as it was about 30 sheets.

Zeiss 75mm f/4.5 Biogon @f/16, T-Max 100, Acufine
Zeiss 250mm f/5.6 Sonnar @f/8, T-Max 100, Acufine (cropped due to water damage)
Zeiss 250mm f/5.6 Sonnar @f/16, T-Max 100, Acufine

In other news - the blog passed 30,000 views today! Pretty neat.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Summer 2014 is Here - Testing the Leica M9

And suddenly it's hot again in south Georgia. We had a couple good days of Spring, but mostly it rained. A lot. Now it's hot again with typical 90+ temperatures already.

Oh well, such is life in this area. Hopefully it won't be unbearably hot all summer. I'd like to get out and hike a fair bit if possible

This was the first weekend I didn't have to work one or both Saturday/Sunday. Meagan and I took some time to grill hamburgers! They were very good. I'm getting a little better at this grilling thing.

We took a late afternoon stroll out at Grand Bay afterwards. I have been fooling around with a new Leica M9 camera that I bought to pair with my Nikkor rangefinder lenses. I don't even own any Leica lenses but I have an Amadeo adapter to use my Nikon SP lenses on it. Sadly the 3.5cm f/1.8 won't work on it but pretty much everything else will, including my Voigtlander lenses after a bit of modification.

The camera is a gorgeous piece of engineering. It certainly is dated a bit from the technology/sensor standpoint but it still makes wonderful images. The picture to the left here I shot with my 50mm f/3.5 Voigtlander Heliar (NHS edition). This lens is infrequently used due to the slow speed but I always love its rendering and bokeh when I do. They are hard to find but definitely worth it, on film or digital (it is supposedly one of the sharpest 50mm lenses ever tested, or so I hear).

The Leica M9 also looks pretty good when converted properly to grayscale. I always hate digital black and white images - they always look pretty bland and washed out, without a lot of editing and massaging. The Leica images look pretty good straight out of the camera, or simply desaturated in Lightroom. I'll have to reserve final judgement though for when I print some of them. I haven't printed anything from the Leica yet, though I have to say that the per-pixel sharpness that I get from this camera and the lenses seems absolutely stellar.

There's of course some things I don't like. The age-old problem of sensor dust is one of them. I've already swabbed the sensor twice trying to get it nice and clean but it's almost impossible to get everything. But it's not the end of the world. I fix dust on film negatives all the time.

Other than that, I of course would love cleaner high ISO performance but it's not really that big of a deal in most situations. For the most part it's just a great camera to use. Small, powerful, and stripped down to just what you need, with no BS.

To the right is an image from the Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 Heliar. Now THAT is super-wide! A very fun lens. I'm enjoying using new and old lenses from a variety of manufacturers. I doubt I'll shoot any Leitz glass. I'm eyeing some Zeiss glass and other Voigtlanders but honestly none of the Leitz lenses seem worth the price. For me, anyway. And some of the Nikkor glass is absolutely fantastic.

One of the stand-out lenses is the Sonnar design 10.5cm f/2.5 Nikkor. This is of course one of the lenses that made Nikon famous. The rendering and OOF areas are simply fantastic. The only downside is the characteristic Sonnar focus-shift, which can be annoying. It's the only lens that sometimes can be clearly out of focus compared to the rangefinder. Or maybe it's just because I need a magnifier (I so much prefer my Nikon SP 1:1 viewfinder!). Either way, the sharpness, bokeh, and general look of the images is fantastic.

I'm sure I'll be continuing to learn the Leica and try new lenses and such. I'm glad I've finally gotten to shoot a Leica - though I definitely won't be selling my Nikon rangefinder anytime soon!

While not quite a true review, I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the M9.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Receding flood water at the Withlacoochee

The water levels at Langdale Park are finally getting back to normal, though the road is still washed out in some areas.

I went out earlier this week to see how things were going. I was surprised that the water went down so quick. I guess this spell of hot weather has helped.

I wanted to try a new camera I bought - a Leica M9. I've always wanted a digital rangefinder. I have the adapter that allows the usage of most of my Nikon rangefinder lenses on it. Furthermore, I was able to slightly modify my S-mount Voigtlander 21mm f/4 Skopar to work on the camera, which I will be using until I can pick up a Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Biogon. Anyway, I used the 21mm extensively out at Langdale. The colors and files are so much different from my Nikon cameras. Here are some photos: