Cosmic Photo Challenge: Independent Lenses in Various States.

This is my contribution to the Cosmic Photo Challenge: A State of Independence.

My first thought was a selection of juvenile birds that were independent of the adults when the photos were taken. That idea was quickly followed by the fact that this is the Canada Day long weekend so I considered a Canada Day post.

Then I thought about an ongoing project, testing a variety of lenses on a modern mirrorless camera. Most of the lenses I have tested so far are (or were) made by independent lens makers. Companies that make lenses to fit other makers cameras.

Some of the lenses are in a bit of a state through heavy use or being designed to be almost disposable. Which is why I titled the post “Independent Lenses in Various States” as a rewording of the challenge.

To the lenses.

A Periwinkle flower photographed with a 35mm f/1.7 CCTV lens adapted to fit an Olympus mirrorless camera. Shot with the lens wide open at f/1.7.

This was the first CCTV lens I purchased and I found it interesting enough to purchase a couple more. They’re also known as C-mount lenses having a screw mount for attaching to CCTV cameras with the appropriate mount.

Some of these CCTV lens are very cheap. I wonder if they’re designed to be almost disposable, used where or when a lens could get damaged somehow. The lens was $38 CAD including shipping, the adapter to fit it to the camera and two extension tubes to go between the lens and the camera to allow it to focus on closer subjects.

A Single Blue Flower.

Ivy growing up a tree trunk with a 25mm f/1.4 CCTV lens. This is one of the lenses I ordered after experimenting with the 35mm CCTV lens used for the Periwinkle flower above.

Stopping the lens down from maximum aperture causes severe vignetting so this was shot with the lens wide open at f/1.4. Wide open the lens still vignettes a bit and as the image circle produced by the lens barely covers the sensor there’s some interesting swirling around the edges of the photo.

I have already had to repair the focusing mechanism on the lens after it first jammed and then stopped focussing on distant subjects. That probably explains why the lens cost $36 CAD including shipping and the adapter to fit it to the camera.

Swirling around the edges.

Last years seed pods and new leaves with a 50mm f/1.4 CCTV lens. Shot wide open at f/1.4. This was the other CCTV lens I ordered after experimenting with the 35mm CCTV lens.

Surprisingly good performance for $41 CAD including shipping and the adapter to fit it to the camera. So I’m finding it a bit disappointing so far.

Fresh growth and seed pods.

A Bracken frond taken with a Vivitar 35mm f/1.9 lens I purchased used in the 1970s. Shot wide open at f/1.9. At the time Vivitar were a U.S. brand who designed lenses that were then manufactured by various Japanese lens makers.

The same design was built with a variety of camera mounts allowing the lens to fit a wide range of camera bodies.

I have given this lens a hard life over the years and it now feels like it could fall apart each time I use it.

Bracken frond with an adapted lens from the 1970s.

Dandelion clocks (seed heads) with a “silvernose” Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 lens I purchased in 1976. As with the other shots this was taken with the lens wide open, in this case f/1.8.

I don’t know if it can be classed as an independent lens. It wasn’t designed for the camera being used and requires an adapter but both the lens and camera were made by Olympus.

The silvernose refers to a polished aluminium ring on the front of the lens and signifies that it is one of the early Olympus OM Zuiko lenses. This is another lens that has had a hard life. It has been dropped a few times and was once bounced along the gutter of Charing Cross Road while attached to my Olympus OM1 when it slipped from my shoulder as I ran for the last tube train of the night. A few years later it was being dried out in an oven after being submerged in Georgian Bay.

Dandelion seed heads.

An afternoon walk, 25th June.

Another afternoon walk after physiotherapy in the morning and another opportunity to test an old film camera lens adapted to fit a mirrorless digital camera.

This time it was a Vivitar 35mm f/1.9 lens I purchased used in the 1970s. The lens has had a hard life, in the late 1980s it spend several springs attached to the back of various nestboxes while I documented the nesting cycles of various bird species. As a result it feels as if it could fall apart each time I use it.

A Bracken frond with the lens wide open at f/1.9. The out of focus dirt and rocks under the frond have an interesting rendering with the wide open lens.

Bracken frond with an adapted lens from the 1970s.

Orange Lichen and green moss on a boulder with the lens wide open again I think. I tried to keep the aperture wide open as much as possible on the walk but as it’s an adapted lens there’s no communication with the camera so no lens settings are recorded.

Green moss and orange Lichen.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Flower.

I have recently been experimenting with adapting various lenses to a mirrorless camera. This isn’t the first time I have tested old film camera lenses on a modern digital camera. Six years ago I tested a Vivitar 35mm f/1.9 lens that I have owned since the late 1970s. It was used when I got it so I don’t know how old it actually is and it’s now so worn that it feels like it could fall apart each time I use it.

This is my contribution to the A Photo a Week Challenge: Flower. An Echinacea (Coneflower) flower photographed with the old Vivitar 35mm lens. I rather like the way the lens renders the out of focus flowers in the background.

Echinacea flower.

For comparison, a Coneflower photographed with a modern 50mm macro lens a couple of years ago.

Echinacea or Coneflower.

Coneflower.

A Coneflower, also known as Echinacea. A rather attractive flower that I overlooked in the past.

Taken 5 years ago with a (relatively) modern digital camera and a vintage lens. The lens is a Vivitar 35mm f/1.9 that I picked up used when I was a photography student in the late 1970s. Eventually I replaced it with a much smaller and lighter f/2.8 model.

The Vivitar 35mm didn’t get retired for a few more years. It was the lens I attached to the nest boxes I used to document the nesting cycle of various species in the mid and late 1980s. It was retired after that although I kept it around for a couple of reasons. Firstly as a backup should anything nasty happen to my f/2.8 model. Secondly, having purchased it used and with the rubber grip on the focusing ring having disappeared it wasn’t worth very much.

Five or six years ago I rounded up all my manual focus lenses from the film era to try them on a digital camera. I rather liked the way the ancient Vivitar renders backgrounds (sometimes, other times the backgrounds can be quite ugly) so it found a place in my manual focus prime lens kit. When I’m feeling particularly retro I leave the modern zoom lenses at home and take a small bag containing three or four manual focus prime lenses. Basically going back to the way I shot film as a student.

Echinacea flower.