Friday, 30 April 2021
Gear Simplification - The Never Ending Quest.
Monday, 19 April 2021
The F2 is Complete, and a Return to PanF+
Sunday, 11 April 2021
And a Couple Film Milestones Too
That reminds me that I do miss my Maxxum 7's. I had 3 of them, originally a very beat up one with an equally beat up 24-105D, then later a NOS one and a spare, plus a single VC-7 grip with a decent selection of lenses (17-35D, 24-105, 24/2.8, Sony 50/1.4 D, Sony 85/2.8 SAM). Think I even still have the remote release for them. If I was to get back into AF film shooting, I'd really be tempted by another Maxxum 7 even though an F100 would make FAR more sense as I already have a great selection of Nikon glass, and all but 3 of my Nikon lenses work on the F100 (two of course aren't in F mount, the Nikkor-S.C 5cm f1.4 LTM and the Z 24-50 f4-6.3, and my 24/2.8 K is not AI Converted so can't mount on the F100). A mount glass is getting cheap these days as well.
With regards to the Maxxum 7, I liked the smaller size and lower weight of the body, without giving up too much performance compared to the F100. The F80 for me was always a fun body, but without AI compatibility it can only use two lenses I own, both 50mm (the 50/1.8D and 50/1.8G), that's fine as a near-P&S, but not for serious shooting. Nikon never really did anything comparable to the Maxxum 7 and that's a pity, it sits perfectly between the F80 and F100 in capability.
Frankly, I've also been wanting to get something to shoot my M42 lenses on film, and just remembered the Maxxum 7 does very well with that and I still have an adapter handy. Hmm, that's a two birds with one stone kinda solution. Beats buying a cheap Cosina SLR in K mount and then tracking down an M42 adapter for K mount.
That said, there's some gaps in my lens kit that need filling before I add any new bodies or mounts. A 20mm (to replace the 20/2.8 AF I sold), probably the f3.5 AI-S version as it's good, tiny and has a 52mm filter thread like most of my other Nikkors. I also want an 85/90mm and a 135mm to gap fill, right now I only have the 105mm in the 55mm to 200mm gap. I also need to get a lens wrench so I can tear down my 200/4 and properly clean the oil off the aperture blades. It's got a really sticky aperture. I'm thinking the 85/90 and the 135 are priorities here.
Further out, I'd like to add the 35 and 100mm Series E lenses as compact & lightweight alternatives to my current options at those focal lengths. A 200/4 Micro would be good as well for bugging. Probably should see my eye out for either the AI ring for my current 24/2.8 or an AI or AI-S version so I'm not as limited in what cameras I can use the 24 on and the 28/2.8 AI-S would pair nicely with my old 28/3.5 to give a couple options at a favourite focal length.
Long term, Zeiss ZF and ZF.2 primes are on my radar, they're getting cheap enough to consider now and while larger & heavier than the Nikkors, they bring some quality gains I'd like. Might even start with the 25/2.8 as an alternative to getting another Nikkor 24. The 25/2.8 is generally tied with the 50/1.4 as the cheapest ZF series lens and its excellent close focus performance is well suited to my style.
Finally on the 35mm side, I'd love to use my Nikkor-S.C 5cm f1.4 on film again. That means I'd need to acquire an LTM or M mount rangefinder. I've got a soft spot for the Bessa R, but I've always wanted a Canadian-made M4-2 or M4-P (my real dream is to own one of the few late M4's made in Canada, but that's extremely unlikely for me to find or be able to afford, these are the only really collectible Midland M's). Maybe a Christmas present for myself, but given the Bessa R was only an occasional shooter the last time around, I'm not going to put a lot of budget into getting one.
I've also found the MF bug hitting me again. I do just love those big negs and smooth tones. I've been working on printing a Dora Goodman Zone 2.0, a 3D printed 6x6/6x7 camera that uses Mamiya Press lenses or LF lenses in a helical and either RB67 Pro S backs or a printed 6x6 back, and can be focused either by zone focusing or a nifty little groundless back (actually it uses either mylar sheet or tracing paper instead of glass). Here I think I'll spring for a cheap Press lens, 110mm or 127mm likely and an RB back, then see how it works out for me. If I dig it, I might parlay that into an RB setup paired with the Zone for a heavy/light system. Not sure I want to go back to 645, a TLR or the Zone will do light MF better and as a better than 35mm landscape setup 6x6+ or digital makes sense.
Tuesday, 6 April 2021
The Battle of Two Instagrams
I've had my second Instagram account now for 9 days, I've posted 9 images to it. I'm averaging over 20 likes per post, double what my main IG gets, and am up to 29 followers already (vs my main which has been sitting at 149 followers for weeks)
It seems pretty clear so far that the IG community likes my B&W film found item & cityscape work better than my nature and landscape work on digital.
I think there's several reasons for this.
First off is simple consistency. My Filmic IG is very consistent in the sort of work that gets posted. In fact it's all Ilford HP5+ on Nikon film bodies right now, and heavy on the found items. My main IG is much more diverse and probably pays a price for that.
Second is the sort of accounts I follow. My main mostly follows big name landscape shooters and youtube personalities. I've only really got one big name on my follow list for the Filmic IG (Matt Day).
Also by extension, I don't engage much with the accounts I follow on my main beyond likes. So far I've engaged much more on the Filmic IG than with the main IG, because I'm largely interacting with smaller accounts where I'm one of just a few commenters, so I don't feel like my comment is just lost in the chaff.
Where does that leave me? Well it means that for now I am going to continue to put effort into the Filmic IG. I'll keep posting to my main IG of course, but I suspect it's never going to really grow unless I decide to get disciplined about both regular posting and subject matter.
I am halfway tempted to start an IG account just for the X-T1+UFO lens combo though.
Monday, 5 April 2021
Walking with the X-T1
As such, I mostly just leave the camera in a variant of B&W+R with boosted contrast, although occasionally I will change up and shoot either Velvia when I have a really colourful scene or Classic Chrome when I just want colour. Classic Chrome I find really pairs well with these Chinese lenses and their somewhat muted colour due to limited coating.
So the X-T1 is now a point & shoot for me, ideally suited for walkabout.
I do have to admit that an X-Pro1 would be an even better choice with the 18mm UFO if I can get 18mm framelines active in the OVF. I've been keeping my eye out for a cheap X-Pro1 anyways and I think the 18 would be the perfect combination with the X-Pro1 as it pretty much eliminates all of the X-Pro1's real weaknesses, namely lousy AF and lousy MF assists.
Saturday, 3 April 2021
X-T1 Hits a Milestone
I missed it a couple weeks ago, but my X-T1 has hit a rather rare milestone. The X-T1 is now one of the few digital bodies I've owned for more than one year. I bought it at the beginning of March 2020 and have now owned it for 13 months.
That really shouldn't be a big deal, but I can count on one hand the number of digital bodies that have achieved that and only one of them (my last D300) was at all recent.
I've long known I need to settle down the gear churn and quit chasing the dragon, and I think I might actually be getting there finally with the two X-T bodies and the Z5. The Z5 covers my needs & desires for shooting landscape & nature, especially when hiking, as well as for a platform for adapting classic 35mm lenses while the two Fuji's cover my needs for a good handling almost-P&S in the X-T1 with the 18/6.3 UFO, and a general purpose body that does everything reasonably well without being too large or heavy in the X-T2.
The X-T1 for me is somewhat limited in its utility as my copy has issues with its control dials and the focus peaking implementation is somewhat weak. But it's great paired with the 18/6.3 UFO where focus peaking is irrelevant as the lens is fixed focus, and I just leave it in B&W mode with a red filter applied and boosted contrast and get great stuff. It does alright with other manual focus lenses mounted but my only current Fuji AF lens is an issue because the XC35 doesn't have an aperture ring and that means it relies on the wonky rear control dial for setting aperture. So I pretty much just leave the 18/6.3 UFO mounted and use it as a light walk around body as it's still noticeably lighter than the X-T2.