A newly acquired lens

I decided I needed an ultrawide lens for my Fuji cameras. It’s a Fuji XF 10-24mm f4 R OIS (the earlier version rather than the later version that among other things improved the weather sealing that many complained about the lack of, something that’s not all that important to me.

There’s a useful review of it on Optical Limits. The conclusion reads:

If you read our analysis so far, you may have noticed a few negative findings but this has to be seen in a context. Ultra-wide lenses are never flawless and the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS is actually one of the best representative of its species. It is very sharp in the image center and the border- and corner quality is very decent. Lateral chromatic aberrations are also low. Yes, image distortion and vignetting can be very noticeable at the extreme wide end but most users will probably take advantage of image auto-correction here anyway. In terms of build quality, we are highly impressed. Fujinon lenses are better than most here anyway but Fujifilm has reached a new level here. However, even so it is a bit disappointing that they didn’t provide weather sealing. While it isn’t something unusual anymore, we certainly appreciate the image stabilizer which actually lifts the low light capabilities of this zoom lens beyond the two ultra-wide prime lenses (Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 and Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R) of the system. If you are still not convinced by now … the author will keep the lens in his private stock. Consequently … highly recommended!

I’d agree. To me it feels relatively light, sturdy, well balanced and very comfortable to use. I can see it staying on my Fuji X-E3 for quite a while.

Taken with a Sony A7IV and Venus Optics Laowa 85mm f5.6

Trying out my newly acquired Pentax K10

After charging the battery I decided to take my newly acquired Pentax to nearby Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY to confirm that it was working and see how it handled.

So how did things go. Well, the pictures weren’t bad for essentially quick snapshots. I even quite like a few of them. It was a very dull day and the camera/lens combination was not the best for those conditions: old sensor (2006 vintage) that’s not good in low light combined with a old, slow zoom lens (18-55mm SMC Pentax DA f3.5-f5.6). Added to that I made a stupid mistake: of course the camera was used and in my enthusiasm to try it out I forgot to check out how the previous owner had set it up. Turns out he’d set it up in a way that practically guaranteed slow shutter speeds. I thought they were ok for hand holding, but it seems that they weren’t and this led to soft and in some cases, blurry pictures. Still I enjoyed the 1 1/2 hour walk, the camera was fun to use and I learned a lot about it. I’ll do better next time.

Taken with a Pentax K10 and 18-55mm SMC Pentax DA f3.5-f5.6

Sleepy Hollow Rescue Hose Company No. 1

According to the Sleepy Hollow Fire Department‘s website:

The Sleepy Hollow Fire Department consists of five individual fire companies. The council of the Fire Department consists of the three chiefs and two wardens from each of the five companies. This council is the governing body of the department and sets all policy. The board of fire wardens answers to the Village Board of Trustees.

Sleepy Hollow Fire Patrol

Sleepy Hollow’s fire patrol and emergency rescue squad was organized on May 26, 1876; it is the oldest company in the department. Originally chartered as a company for the protection of property at a fire, the company is now charged with the protection of life. Fire patrol is used on auto accidents and carries a Hurst tool for the extraction of victims. The company also carries as part of their equipment air-bags which are used to raise an object to free trapped victims. Today the company operates a 1992 International rescue vehicle, fully equipped for any emergency.

Pocantico Hook and Ladder Company Co. No. 1- The Big “6”

An act of the Westchester County Court organized Pocantico Hook and Ladder company on September 24, 1878. Pocantico Hook and Ladder’s main responsibilities at an alarm are search, rescue and ventilation.

Rescue Hose Company No. 1

Rescue Hose, the third oldest company and the first hose company, was organized on November 8, 1887. Rescue Hose was originally located in the Beekman Ave firehouse along with Pocantico and Fire Patrol. On December 27, 1929, Rescue moved into its present quarters on Lawrence Avenue.

Union Hose Engine Company No. 2

The second hose company was organized on December 15, 1887 in the quarters of Pocantico Hook and Ladder. The company moved to a building on the corner of Valley and College Avenue and then in 1928 moved to their present quarters on Cortlandt Street.

Columbia Hose Company No. 3

Columbia Hose Company No. 3 was organized on May 22, 1899 as Sleepy Hollow Company, changing a few months later to the present name. The company was formed to protect the uphill section of the Village known as Briggsville. The first company quarters was located on Webber Avenue. The company has had several quarters since then, moving from Webber Avenue to Broadway, to Valley Street, and then in 1940 after the completion of the municipal building on Beekman Avenue, the company was moved to its present quarters in this building. Today Columbia Hose carries a second Hurst Tool for extraction of trapped victims.

Taken with a Pentax K10 and 18-55mm SMC Pentax DA f3.5-f5.6

A New Lens: Laowa 85mm f5.6

I recently acquired a new lens. It’s a Laowa 85mm f5.6. I already have two lenses, so why not use one of them. Well, I have been using them and they don’t really meet my need.

My first macro lens was a 7Artisans 60mm f2.8. There’s a review of it here. Note that a newer version now available. Review here. I bought it because it was inexpensive, reputed to be quite sharp, and well made. I was just getting started with macro photography and didn’t to spend a lot in case I didn’t like it (as it turned out I did). I bought it to use with my then newly acquired Sony A6000. Unfortunately this combination didn’t work for me. The lens was everything I thought it would be, but it was also something I stupidly had not thought about: it’s heavy. Or at least it’s too heavy for me. It’s also very front heavy on the A6000. I should say that I have quite weak arms so this may not be a problem for others.

My second macro lens is an old Minolta Maxxum AF 50mm f2.8 macro. I like this lens a lot and use it mostly in manual focus mode. It’s quite small and light. There’s a review here. I enjoyed using it. So what’s the problem. Actually there are two: first it’s 50mm focal length means that I have to get very close to take a picture. Second it only works on my Sony A-mount (and of course Minolta film cameras) cameras. Nowadays I mostly use Sony E-mount cameras including the Sony A-6000 and my fairly recently acquired Sony A7IV. While writing the above I realize that I actually could use it with an adapter on the E-mount cameras. I’d lose the shot metadata and would have manual focus, but since usually use manual focus for macros that would be no great loss. You live and learn.

Anyway I bought the Laowa 85mm f5.6. It’s well made, smaller and lighter than the 7artisans and has a longer focal length than either of them allowing me to stand father back from my subjects. It also has something that neither of the other lenses has: a 2:1 magnification ratio rather than the 1:1 ration of the other two. You might think that the f5.6 minimum aperture is a limitation, but since I’m usually shooting around f8 with flash it really isn’t. I haven’t used it much yet, but so far I like it. There’s a review of it here.

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II

A new (to me) lens: Canon 50mm f1.4 LTM

In an earlier post (See: Struggling with Manual Focus Lenses) I mentioned that I had started using manual focus lenses again. This was one of them.

It’s a well regarded lens. According to Casualphotophile:

The Leica Thread Mount Canon 50mm f/1.4 is widely referred to as the Japanese Summilux. This is both deserved praise and a disservice. Praise because it speaks to its optical quality, and a disservice because it subtly implies that the Canon was nothing more than a Japanese copy of the German original. However, Canon’s 50mm predates Leica’s venerable lens by about two years.

Leica`s first version Summilux was made for just three years, from 1959 to 1961. Its re-engineered second version was produced in 1961 and continued until 2004. One could argue that Leica`s desire to re-engineer their 50mm f/1.4 Summilux so soon after it debuted was a direct result of the increasing quality of Japanese lenses.

Canon introduced Type I of its lens in 1957 and its production ran until the following year (serial numbers 10000-29390). Type II was introduced in 1959 and was produced until 1972 (serial numbers 29681-120705). After 1972, Canon would abandon the production of rangefinders and focus almost exclusively on SLRs.

Type I and Type II lenses use the same optical formula – six elements in four groups, based on the Planar design developed by Paul Rudolph at Carl Zeiss. The only difference between the two Types appears to be cosmetic. On the Type I lens, the distance scale is represented in meters only, while on the Type II the distance scale is represented in both meters and feet.

For some pictures taken with this lens see here.

For another good review see: Canon 50mm f/1.4 ltm lens Review – An impressive classic gem on 35mmc.com

Once I’d gotten the knack of manual focus I found I liked this lens. I certainly liked the results.

Taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M10 and Panasonic Lumix 20mm f1.7