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Thursday, 1 April 2010

Bits and Bobs

I was thinking the other day how I don't get around to making posts as often as I would like so in an effort to combat that I will begin making entries to document all the smaller photography goings on in my life that do not warrant an entire entry (at least not yet).

Recently I have purchased lots of bits and bobs from ebay (as usual) as well as two cameras! A new camera is quite a significant event to me so to have two new arrivals inside a month is an exciting thing indeed!


Some recent purchases have been:


Vivitar 200mm F/3.5: This lens is massive for what it is and is in a style I do not recognise it is mostly black with a large silver band towards the base, my initial tests show it is quite good but unfortunately the aperture mechanism has become disengaged somehow, typical! it survives 30 years then crumbles in my hands after 5 minutes! It should be easy enough to fix :)

A Kodak "gear" 78-215mm F/4.5-5.6 zoom lens in Canon EF mount: This is a re badge Tamron lens and is really an 80-210mm and is also sold under the Tiffen brand. I got this lens purely because it was dirt cheap and I was curious. The presentation of this lens is excellent, it comes complete with a well made a storage pouch/bag and actually has a better grip on the zoom ring than the Tamron version. Optically it seems quite good, I haven't tested it extensively but it seems to be a pretty decent performer considering how much it's worth.

50 bags of silica gel: These were just a bag of gel pouches like you get in packaging and new shoes, I bought them just to put into lens pouches and my camera bag and other places I store lenses just to keep moisture (and hopefully fungus and mould) at bay.

A knock off version of the Canon ES-62 lens hood for the 50mm F/1.8: This is really great quality and easily up to the standard of the official canon one at a fraction of the price, it even has the bayonet ring which you screw into the filter thread and then just twist the hood on and off, some cheaper ones just screw straight in and then you can't put the lens cap on again. I have bought a few copied lens hoods recently and they have all been excellent.

A Yashica ML zoom 42-75mm F/3.5-4.5: I got this for two reason, firstly it was cheap and secondly it is a less common focal length and I was curious. I haven't tried it yet.

A 10 piece Tian Ya graduated filter set: This is a cheap set of filters that are compatible with the Cokin P series and appear to offer substantial value for money. It was after reading this encouraging post that I decided to try them out and although I haven't used them a great deal yet they seem to be great for the money, you can't really used them for too many situations because they will make things look too unnatural but for intensifying sunsets and sun rises etc they should prove an interesting addition to the kit bag.

LOTS of lens caps: Just a bulk buy of front and rear caps for various lenses, they were a bargain and the front caps were all centre pinch which of course makes putting a lens cap on with a hood fitted much less infuriating!

A 3 axis hotshoe mounted spirit level: I am nearly as bad as holding a camera straight as I am holding it steady so this is a handy little accessory. I already had one but it was inferior and had a machining mark right across where the bubble sat so it was hard to read properly.

A Ricoh Rikenon 50mm F/2: I have bought and sold a few of these in the past and it's a great lens, very sharp and nice bokeh too, I got it because it was too cheap to pass up!

A Casio Exilim EX-Z77: Yes ok I got 3 cameras recently but this one doesn't really count as it was 99p and described as faulty. It turned out that just the battery was dud so I got another one for £2! Unfortunately it's not as good a performer as I had hoped, edge sharpness is poor through most of the focal range as is purple fringing control and the entire frame becomes noticeably soft through diffraction if the lens stops down and with no way of controlling it manually half of the shots comes out muddy looking. I wasn't expecting too much but I was hoping the lens might have been a bit more consistent, only the very best point and shoots are genuinely sharp at the pixel level but I was at least hoping I could get some decent A4 prints from it's 7 mega pixels (my 4 mega pixel Canon G3 manages that just fine) I'll probably put it back on ebay but I'll try cleaning the lens first just in case it makes a difference.

Miranda 28mm M42 lens: Dirt cheap, haven't tried it yet.

Vivitar 75-205mm F/3.8 2 touch: The one that's made by Kiron, been through a few of these and they are excellent for an older zoom. Unfortunately this lens has some oil stains inside which I may or may not be able to clean as zoom lenses are impossibly complex to disassemble. The seller is not interested because they claim to have been unaware of the problem at the time of sale, I tried to explain that a shop would not be able to shrug off responsibility that way but they were still unwilling to help so I left them a negative feedback, bollocks to em'!

A Samsung GX-1S DSLR: CHEAP! The first DSLR Samsung ever made, this was listed as faulty because the mode dial wasn't activating all the settings, I'm pretty sure I will be able to fix this as it's normally just dirt and/or corrosion on the contacts underneath the dial. The camera is in perfect shape otherwise and came complete with both the 18-50mm and 55-200mm kit lenses. I was impressed by the quality of the kit lenses, non rotating front elements and hoods with removable cut outs to make the use of rotating filters possible with the hood still attached, much better than Canon and Nikon kit lenses for quality of finish! The only gripe I have so far is that I can't open the raw files in capture one, it's annoying because the files are all but identical to the equivalent Pentax model so it must just be the headers that capture one is getting upset about, I read about a piece of software that can fix this but have been unable to track it down. I don't know if I'm going to keep this camera or fix it and sell it on for a profit but it's already growing on me, I'll post a review of it soon either way.

A Tamron 103a 80-210mm Adaptall lens: This was 99p, I already have one but I couldn't let it go at that price, it's a great lens, I'll review it at some point.

A Panasonic DMC-G1!!!! An EVIL (Electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens) camera! I have bought this to replace my Olympus E-410, using magnified live view is by far my preferred method of focusing manual lenses but trying to make out what's on the LCD in daylight is next to impossible. The Panasonic G1 has an electronic viewfinder and it's probably the best one ever fitted to a camera so now I can use live view even with the sun behind me! Other advantages over the (admittedly already versatile) E-410 are the ability to use pretty much any lens with the right adapter (Canon FD, Leica M39, C-mount, Olympus Pen, Pentax 110, Minolta MD, Deckel and so on and so on) and the excellent rotating rear LCD, how I have dreamt of an interchangeable lens camera with the same excellent feature of my trusty old Canon G3! Hopefully the camera has better noise control too, when you turn the detail killing noise filter off on the E-410 even ISO 100 shots have noise visible. Expect more about this camera soon!

An Olympus 4/3 to Micro 4/3 adapter: This will allow me to use all the adapters I have already invested in for the E-410

A C-mount to Micro 4/3 adapter: So I can try out all sorts of weird and wonderful Tv and Cine lenses!

A Canon FD to Micro 4/3: Because I already have a few FD lenses laying around.

A sun 28-80mm Macro zoom: Dirt cheap and I have a soft spot for Sun lenses, Haven't tried it yet.

A Canon conversion lens adapter LA-DC58C: This is for my Canon PowerShot Pro1 and allows filters and wide angle converters etc to be used and also has a tripod mount. I got it mainly because it only cost 99p!

A Canon Wide Converter WC-DC58N: This is for my Canon PowerShot G3 and takes the wide angle from 35mm to 24mm in 35mm equivalent terms. This was also bought mainly because it was very cheap and I always lusted after one when my G3 was new but could never afford it!

And finally a Kamasa 30 piece precision screwdriver set so I can stop mashing the screws of lenses up by using those cheapy pound shop "jewellers screwdrivers" hopefully I will be able to repair more lenses now instead of ruining the screws and rendering the lens un repairable.


Whew! that's about it I think! I'm currently waiting on my lens adapters for my new G1 and in the meantime will be selling my E-410 and a few lenses most probably. I shall no doubt post some more lens reviews etc soon!