Snapshot Voyager is about my own personal photography journey. I am always looking to try something new, inquisitive as to how it works, and to the end results I might achieve.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Hawk's Factory Adapter - the painful reality

My Hawk's factory adapter is really starting to drive me bananas.  I like the idea of this adapter (the ability to focus closer than the far off minimum focus distance of rangefinder lenses is awesome), and it can generate some good images, but it is now becoming a pain in the butt.  There are three things that are now driving me up the wall.

Firstly, as I mentioned in a previous post, the helicoid has a bit of play.

Secondly, there is no lock on the standard position, so when focusing with a lens that has slightly stiffer focus than normal, it starts to adjust the helicoid.  Very annoying.

Thirdly, and by far the most annoying is that the tolerances on the M mount are a little off, and now my LTM to M adapter is jammed on.  As it is a thin adapter, it is very difficult to move.  No matter what I did, it wouldn't budge (and yes I released the lens lock first).

Given I paid $140 used for it, I am pretty ticked off about this purchase.

Sony NEX 5n with Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Super Wide Heliar and Hawks Factory NEX to M mount adapter

Monday, 29 October 2012

Nikon D600 - Two dimensional looking images

There's two things I don't like about the Nikon D600's images:

1) Some details, especially facial tones, can look smeary and fake.  Almost like there is far too much make up.

2) When used with a flash, forefront objects that are primarily lit by the flash can render the object or person in a very two dimensional manner.  Like a cardboard cut out.

Both these things can be seen from the below wedding photo I shot recently.  The bride is rendered very unnaturally.  You will notice that the brother of the bride is rendered quite well.

This image was shot with the D600, Nikon 24-85mm f2.8-4 and a Nikon SB800 flash.  It was used on aperture priority at f6.3 at approx 50mm, colours set to vivid and flash set to +1/3 of a stop over on bounce flash with 9ft ceilings.  

Anyone have any ideas as to why this might be the case?  Is it the mix of flash and tungsten lighting?  The veil?  I am not sure.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Wedding Shots with the D600 (et al)

This wedding I have been gearing up for ended up going well.  As I wasn't the main photographer, it gives me lots of latitude to experiment and have some fun.  My main responsibility was to get some shots of the guys getting ready, so not too difficult.

As usual, the way I used my gear at the wedding didn't really go according to plan.  I took the Nikon 24-85mm f2.8-4 AF-D, the Nikon 85mm f1.8 AF, Nikon 50mm f1.4 AF-D and the Nikon 20mm f4 Ai; but only the zoom got used.  The space ended up being quite tight inside the house where they were getting ready, so most of the time I kept it on the wide end of the zoom.  This changed to mostly long end for a few shots I took inside the church.

Groom to be checking his bow tie   Nikon D600 with Nikon 24-85mm f2.8-4 AF-D abd Nikon SB800 flash

Bride about to walk down the aisle - Nikon D600 with Nikon 24-85mm f2.8-4 AF-D abd Nikon SB800 flash
What got a lot of use was the NEX5n.  I took both the two old Leica lenses (50mm f3.5 Elmar and the 50mm f2 Summitar) and also threw in the Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Super Wide Heliar as a last minute thought.

Groomsmen  - Sony NEX 5n with Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Super Wide Heliar
Due to the tight confines of the house, I ended up attaching the Voigtlander 15mm, setting the camera to Black and White with some added contrast, and snapped away. As this lens is wide and slow, scale focusing is easy.  Setting the focus at 1.5m when wide open will get everything in focus from 0.8m to just short of infinity, very useful for this short of shooting.

Groomsmen in mirror  - Sony NEX 5n with Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Super Wide Heliar
In the church I continued to use the NEX, and attached the Leica 50mm Summitar.  This lens is really quite capable, and adding a little sharpness and contrast to the camera settings cures a lot of the lens's softness when wide open.  The Elmar wasn't used in the end.  The Hawks Factory adapter actually proved to be a pain in the butt.  It would move off position when focusing and my LTM to M adapter is very difficult to get off it.
Bridal party and parents at the church - Sony NEX 5n with Leica 50mm Summitar

The Happy couple with friends - Sony NEX 5n with Leica 50mm Summitar

At the reception, I dumped all the above gear and just took the Fuji X100.  My wife wanted me around as a date, so I wanted something small and unobtrusive for a few shots here and there.  I needed good low light performance and the Fuji's excellent auto white balance and fill in flash performance is great for this environment.  This generally worked well, and there were some great shots for some memories.

With bridesmaids at the reception - Fuji X100

Friday, 26 October 2012

Tomorrow's wedding

Reader's would have noted from a previous post that I will be shooting a wedding tomorrow, and I decided to run with my idea for the Nikon lenses, being the Nikon 24-85mm f2.8-4, the Nikon 85mm f1.8 and the 50mm f1.4.  I am still undecided with the 20mm.

However I have decided to do an experiment.  I will bring along the NEX 5n with the Sigma 30mm f2.8 for use later on at the reception, and also bring one of the old Leica lenses, either the 50mm f3.5 Elmar or the 50mm f2 Summitar for an 'old' look to the photos.  Once before I brought along just the NEX3 and the 50mm Summicron, and that proved to be a bit of a disaster as I could focus on anything quick enough.  The Sigma will fix this problem, and the old lens will get some use on still subjects.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Nikkor 135mm f2 Ai-S

One  major difference between this lens and the Nikon 105mm f1.8 Ai-S I also have, is sharpness at max aperture.  Wide open the the 135mm remains very sharp, while contrast and edge performance drops off on the 105mm at f1.8.

Even on the D600, this lens can still out-resolve the sensor at f2, which is a pretty amazing feat.
My copy is perfect optically, but cosmetically its quite rough, with engravings, missing hood and lots of wear.