Jan 14, 2009

Photo gear


Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM

Every now and then, I will post some thoughts about photo gear. Nothing fancy or too much technical, I am not that kind of guy, just feelings about old and new equipment. Maybe even only some photographs of cameras and lenses. I might sometimes write from a professional point-of-view, other times just about the pleasure of creating images.

We, photographers, tend to be very gear-oriented people, we have a very physical relationship with our cameras, we touch them, we carry them, we smell them, we put them to our faces and noses.
I dare to say, that very often I find myself caressing my Leicas for instance, for I do love to grip that round shape with my fingers. It senses a little bit like "home". Am I silly? Well, I guess... But if you imagine that I am already doing it for over thirty years now... Kind of good old friends, me and my Leicas...

I start by posting my three last acquisitions (I choose to leave my Leicas for a later date).

The lens depicted above, I bought used in Leica Shop in Wien, Austria. They have a phantastic catalogue on line, and I was very pleased with their service. If I had some more money, I would certainly order a couple of things more from them. If you also love or need photo gear, take a look a their site. I think that you won't find it a waste of time.
I haven't tried yet this lens very seriously, but it surely focus fast, at least for a 5.6! It is relatively compact and light (for a 400mm, that is...), and is, in terms of L optics, still affordable. If you should need a long lens, and like me, don't need or can't afford f/2.8, take this one in consideration. Very good optical quality!

(By the way: the images of the two other cameras, were shot with the 400mm and a 30D).

Yashica IC Lynx 5000E

This camera actually belonged to my father. A couple of months ago, my mother asked me if I wanted to keep it. At first I showed no interest, but then I thought that it might be a good souvenir.
I must admit that I was wrong: the camera seems to be better than I thought. The lens is a six-element (Planar type?), and the Copal leaf-shutter is very quiet. Furthermore, it is mechanical, the batteries are only needed for the light-meter. No Leica, but solidly built anyway!
I think that I will keep it behind the seat of my Land Rover pick-up. Just need to find a lens-shade and a yellow-filter...

(IC should mean Integrated Circuit. Must have been the world's first camera to use such a thing. So he says: I mean the Yashica Guy! He surely knows better than me!).

Carl Zeiss Flektogon 2.8 / 35mm

I think that I am giving up beeing a snob... I started to enjoy using my Varex IIb!
After many years of staying in the cupboard, I decided to give it a try. I must say that it keeps me awaken, it makes me think even more than shooting a 4x5 inches... The finder is dark, the shape is certainly odd to say the least, the slow shutter-speeds are hard to set, the shutter-release is maybe good for left-handers...
But where else do you get a twelve-second mechanicaly-timed exposure? So cheap?

So I decided that I should start looking for a nice selection of lenses for this "freak"...

I already had a 2.8/35mm Schneider Curtagon from the sixties, but I wanted to compare it with a 2.8/35mm Flektogon (Zeiss east german equivalent to Zeiss west german Distagon).
Outstanding in this optic, is the short-focusing distance of only 18cm (less than 8 inches!), for sure unusual for this focal length. Some people call it the Macro-Flektogon!

I haven't tried the beast yet, the postman brought it a couple of days ago, but I bet that I won't have the need to use a post-processing program to correct the optical quality...

(I ordered this specimen from Foto Krüger in Dresden, Germany. Looks nice and feels nice, with a nice leather case. It left the VEB Carl Zeiss Jena in 1976. I love classic stuff!).

Nice close-focusing distance, but not that small...

(If you like Exaktas, or got interested, take a look here on Captain Jack's. You won't regrett it!).


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