Yoshizen's Blog

Mug shot (2)


Yet another collection of Mag lens images taken around the Oxford street, London.


Sony A7R’s AWB tend to give brownish adjustment when it has too much blue sky for alien lens.



Strangely this lens is pretty good to create 19thC townscape paintings like image.  May be Sony’s brownish AWB was contributing to this tendency too.







Only a trouble of this Mag lens is, its effect is sometime unpredictable.  😀


Mug shot (1)

I’m not having any project or mission with my Mag lens still, I’ve been carrying around this lens the most.  Because this one is probably the most typical of my fuzzy homemade lens, together with a good capability of close-up shot (since its used be a magnifier.)  And to explain what and why this lens, often I demonstrate the effect of the lens by taking picture of the person.   Naturally I got a collection of portrait of those people I met in the town.












The closer the subject, the better the image quality, still it keeps fuzziness.  So, where ever I click, the product showed my fingerprint. =  That’s I like. —– When people take picture, the result looks all same.  Since, shoot same subject and use more or less the same camera = inevitably the result became same.  That is not a kind I was born to do.  = If I make something, its got to be totally unique, and nobody ever conceived kind (so, it should come to the top of google list, such as “yoshi Zappa” “Art figure St.lucia” etc ) —– (Why people are eager to sell their name is, nothing other than the name makes the difference of the work.) —– it’s hard to be an artist.


Need lens ?

Cyriacus & Julitta church 11

(Photo above by Gordon Cooper, Church Window, July 2018)

My friend cinematographer Gordon sent me the Photos he took on his holiday in the Cornwall.

While lest of us has been barely surviving in this heatwave, what a lucky guy, Gordon.  He sent photos while saying “Who need the lens” = In deed the photos were taken by the Pinhole which I made for him. —– Yes, exactly like us living without cloths, the camera can take a photo naked = without the lens.  With Pinhole.  That’s true.  I’ve been forgotten the Pinhole —– so, take them out and took some photos around.


(What I don’t like Sony A7R is, their AWB / color balance fluctuates a lot)

I got enough variety of Pinhole = this one was even fuzzier “Concentric Double Density Pinhole” = a smaller Pinhole inside of the other pinhole = create a void inside of yet another void = how can we ?.  (This is a physical and the philosophical problem.   😀 )


Need lens(4)-DSC09903

The advantage of the Pinhole is, (as long as the camera can co-op) we can take photo without bothering the focus. (= in any distance, image would have the same fuzziness which depend on the size of the hole)



Need lens(7)-DSC09923




So, the Pinhole convert the image into a constant pattern, almost like a paper cut-out.




And this is the comparison.  Those three photos were not Pinhole but by the Mag lens. Lens will make one focus = other than this distance, the image will be out of focus, which effect gives a feeling of the depth / three dimension.


This Mag lens image has the strong effect of the aberration together with rather messy out of focus bokeh.


On this photo, right amount of out of focus bokeh is giving a nice softness —– if this one was by the Pinhole, it would become rather messy image. = Pinhole is not necessary suit for all the subject. (better suit for bold pattern and that kind of image = in other words, for the some subjects, optical lens would make better image.  Needs lens !

Vest Pocket image on the 6×7 camera

Vest'P6x7(1)-A09A8379In the previous post, you might have seen the Vest Pocket lens’ image captured by a 35mm full size digital camera.  Though, the original size of the Vest Pocket camera was 6×9 (43mm x 65mm exact) —– so that, the image only on the cropped center wouldn’t show the full character of this 100 years old lens. —– (Strangely to say, don’t you agree this picture above looks like 100 years, even 200 years old painting ?)  

—– The fact, you must be noted is, 100 years ago then, the user of Vest Pocket camera seeing their picture contact printed on 6×9, card size B/W print.  Today’s reader of this blog can see the picture’s detail / sharpness easily enlarged, though there was no such luxury in old days = people just accept the picture made by the camera (with no focus adjustment).  As long as the picture showed the face looks like your boy, it was a good picture ! 

A funny story was,— there was a Photo-club in Japan,  namely “Vest Pocket camera appreciation club” (Ves-tan Club”/ べス単クラブ — Ves-tan stands, Single lens Vest Pocket ) of which the photo enthusiasts of the photo image made by the Vest Pocket camera was associated together.  And among the members, there was a special practice = use the camera while lens’ front hood which restricts the aperture smaller was removed (— See the previous post =  Lens was originally F6.6 but with the front hood makes it to F11). So, they appreciated the images with soft bokeh by the spherical aberration, the most.  In today’s standard, they might be branded “Otaku”  (It was almost like a religion, same to prefer the images made by the Canon or Leica lens than the Nikon, saying that the Canon shows the atmosphere / or taste (aji / 味) more, but the Nikon lens pick-up just clinical flaw of the skin.  —– mind you, this was the story of 40, 50 years ago.   😀 )  

Vest'P6x7(2)--004I mounted the lens on the Pentax 6×7 body using a camera’s body cap and tested its image character.  (You may say, 6×7 is not 6×9 though, don’t be too fanatic = it wouldn’t kill you anyway) 


(In order to mount the Lens unit to the body cap, an aluminium ring was cut out.  Because the lens has to be very close to the camera body, there was no space to put a focusing mechanism.  So that, the close focused image was made by adding an extension ring. )

Vest'P6x7(4)-A09A8359So, I took some photos on the 15 years old,  Fuji, Provia  ISO400 film — but exposed as ISO160 as I anticipated the film’s loss of sensitivity in time. — (Since, the lens was set to maximum F-aperture (F6.6) the image was pretty fuzzy on the 6×7 Pentax view finder too = rather difficult to see the definitive image.)



(Since the 100 years old single grass lens has no coating, image has a lot of halation as well.)




(Fuzzyness was created by not only its out of focus bokeh but by its aberration too.)



(In here you can see a lot of bokeh by the spherical aberration.= unlike the intentionally created bokeh of Helicoid Lens (A) or (B) kind, Vest Pocket lens’ fuzzyness looks more natural.)


So the painterly effect of this Vest Pocket lens looks rather subtle and looks natural. And the image has more atmosphere which gives more depth to the image too.  A depth of its image was induced by the emotional resonence (something like = I’ve seen this long time ago), not from the detailed data which will talk to the intellectual brain —– in fact, too much data in the image distract an emotional response, exactly like a noise in the music.

(Which the members of the “Ves-tan Club” most appreciated.)


Vest Pocket Lens on A7R

Vest'P(1)-DSC09764On here, the images of Vest Pocket lens from the field test.  (Give a close eyes to this photo and see how the details and rich tones are there ! —– by the way, the image looks a bit more greenish on iPad screen.)


—– If the image looks fuzzy, the lens was fully open (F6.6).  (But mind you, the original Vest Pocket camera’s image was 6×9, therefore we are only seeing its cropped center here.)



(They are the sample)   Left = F6.6 / Right = F11) — Pantograph was fully extended for close up.



(Amazingly sharp image together with nice halation of spherical aberration from the F6.6 Vest Pocket lens ! )







(This photo above, look the cobbles and see their blurred pattern —– but, on the small contact print of card-size image, who would notice it ? )




Well, Vest Pocket lens on the Sony A7R was the camera who took those photos though, behind of those, there were many more minutely blurred photos, seemed to be caused by the wobbly lens structure.  Otherwise, some photos were amazingly sharp, considering that they came from such old single glass lens !  (And it would rise a very serious question, that is, the great effort the manufacturer spending to create 10, 20 elements lenses using ED glass etc, what sort of practical significance was made ? —– of course, unless otherwise, there couldn’t be such as 14mm F1.8 lens or 18mm~400mm Zoom etc etc still, —– ? )     In reality, often, those expensive technical samples were made for demonstration purpose and made only 100 or so to display in their showroom.  In contrast to the millions of  18~55mm plastic kit lens.  Funny fact was, even after the people was made to believe that “the Larger the Better” myth suddenly changed into iPhone camera. —– It indicates that, so-called fine sharp image might be just a formality nobody actually bother. )


Kodak Vest Pocket Camera


  (Photo left = Vest Pocket A-127 camera.    Photo middle = Insert + Lens unit was pushed out. The round cup on the front panel is the Hood ring removed from the lens front.  Photo right = the half of the Vest Pocket camera was attached on the Sony A7R body)

Probably the most iconic vintage camera must be the Kodak A-127 Vest Pocket Camera.  Among the thousands of cameras, this camera was designed on the almost revolutionary “Cut the corner” philosophy.  On the surface, you might think that this camera was a toy though, actually the camera was 6×9 medium format (43mm x 65mm exact).  In today’s sense, if the camera was a medium format, it could produce quit high-resolution high quality picture —– but, you were wrong.  Virtually all the user of this camera had only seen their picture on a tiny 6×9 size contact print.  Think, how much a name-card size tiny picture could show the details ?  Imagine, to make a picture of photo-booth instant print, how many pixel was needed ?  (I guess, Kodak must have had many consumer test and found “good enough” compromise.)  The size of the picture to carry in a wallet (to show his baby or give his picture) IS 6×9 = card size.  To make 6×9 photo, lens focal length got to be at least 80 mm, and the size of the lens should be about 10mm.  So, on this Vest Pocket camera, the single glass lens was 12mm diameter though, a ring or hood which is restricting the aperture to 7.3mm was placed on front of the lens. (It’s mean, the lens was F6.6 but with the ring, F11. —– with this rather small aperture, a kind of pan-focus = focus-free was created = a bit of out focus may not to be a matter in a small print. ( = hence camera has no focus control) 

So the structure was designed in the same minimalist approach.   The camera consists  1) Outer shell    2) Insert with film gate   3) Lens / Shutter unit and the bellows to connect  Lens unit to Insert and the supporting pantograph   4) Bottom cover —– other than in the Shutter unit, very few screw was used, hence the Insert will be slide out with a simple push  (photo above middle)  Technically, Lens unit and the Insert, connected by the bellows and the pantograph can be seen as the Lens with focusing mechanism = it’s mean, just place the Lens unit / Insert to the front of a digital camera, we can make the pictures of Kodak Vest Pocket Lens, (which I did) — provided,  pantograph should be press-down to the correct point to have an image in focus. (photo right)

K-vest  F'open /  F13 ?The test shot showed rather promising results. (But shoot with an extreme  care ! —– Photo above left = the iris of the lens (without front ring) was fully open = F6.6.    The next, with the front ring which makes F11  (Photo right ) —– F6.6 showed nice softness and when it was stopped down, the image became more solid ! —–  though, the field test showed the other trouble of this optics —– because of not very solid lens support structure, they are pretty susceptive to the vibration =  image get easy to blur = considering the shutter shock made by the small lens shutter (when it was on the Vest Pocket) and the Square shutter in the A7R’s body, the effect seemed to be completely different, especially if there was a funny resonance on the wobbly pantograph  frame. So, I’ll show you the field test shot on the next post.



Brilliant London by the same Mag Lens


When it was bright day, my Mag Lens (which got strongest halation among my homemade lens) would produce just like a blindingly bright image.



And I happen to encounter a kind of health campaign appearing to the pensioner.


Funny paradox was that the people coming out to shout were very healthy talkative people.



Funny character of  Mag Lens is, under certain condition, it produces rather solid image.



So, the difference = brilliant or gloomy was, which kind of the day, I go out.    😀


Gloomy London = Seen by Mag Lens

Some pictures of the London = According to the Mag Lens view.


When the image is murky and dark, it will be seen as Gloomy, and this is it.   And it happen to be quite close to my own view as well. (Zennists are not so optimists though they are not necessary having a gloomy life = simply it is just not funny.  —– I can’t understand why people excite about kicking the ball or the ball on the line ?  —– What that ball to do with the person ?   We are nothing to do with the ball, do we ?    😀 )










Mag Lens doesn’t necessary make the things gloomy.  The image was just murky = hence if it was dark days, it become awfully gloomy. (I’ll show you the opposite case in the next post.)   😀



Zeiss Ikonta is this ?

Ikonta mini(1)-004

After Brownie camera and its 90mm lens, Ebay sent me quite few Junk (they say vintage) camera’s AD = then,  £10  Zeiss Ikonta  caught my eyes. — When I was young and interested in to such as 6×9 format camera, I envied the Zeiss Super Ikonta 531/2 of which quite few professional photographer was using for their daily work. (such as taking picture of Kabuki dancer for their stage photo = because those old camera’s shutter makes almost no noise and unlike modern camera, no noise of moving mirror or even film winding noise = essential to the live theater environment)    So that, a second-hand 6×9 Super Ikonta was traded with the price much more than a Nikon F camera then. (No way I could afford.   I settled with an old Mamiya Press and modified it for macro work.) 

Ikonta mini(2)-002

So, I bought one of them from Ebay—– without knowing what I’ve actually bought.   😀    ( and it arrived in a large box)

Ikonta mini(3)

Then, with my utter amazement, what I got out of the box was —– a really tiny Zeiss camera !    Till this moment I didn’t anticipate to see such a tiny camera. (I found, it was nicknamed Baby-Ikonta)  Especially under the name of Zeiss Ikon.   (The funny things was, as I’ve found a description on the lens  ” Nover-Anastigmart  1:4.5  F5cm”  which suggests that the format (or the size) of the picture is about the 35mm image —– yet still I didn’t think of the 4×4 (in fact 4×3 on this camera) size, using 127 film —– which was not mentioned on the Ebay AD)

Ikonta mini(4)-A09A8290

This tiny camera was in a well used condition, and on top of that, the winding knob was missing. (see a cotton bud stick on the picture)  And the view-finder was not an original, etc = not possible to test this camera with a film = its mean, only a positive use could be, to test the lens on a 35mm DSLR for a fun !

Ikonta mini(5)-5

(Photo right = Top left, M42 extension ring, M42 to NEX adapter. Middle left, M42 to M39 adapter, ring to fix the lens bottom, a spacer, panel ring I made to mount the lens to M42 Extension ring, The bottom, the back of the lens = fixing was 18mm )

I took the lens, out of the old body and mounted it on the Sony A7R = while making a metal panel to screw the lens on, and mount the lens in the exact position by adjusting the minute shift of M42-M39 ring. = One rotation of this ring shift the lens 1mm forward or backward  (—– this lens has front focus design = only 1mm shift of the front lens makes Infinity to 1m adjustment, which makes the distance of the lens to censor very critical) —– It took me a while to find the exact position.   😀

Ikonta mini(6)- A7R

They are the test shot on far subject. And the enlarged center of F11 and F4.5 (right photo) —– Not so much difference between the F11 and F4.5.

Ikonta mini(7)-008

And they are on the minimum distance = 1m.    Left was at F4.5 and the right was F11.   F11 image is pretty good, and fully opened F4.5 image shows almost iconic Zeiss softness. Since the lens has no coating, the halation is inevitable, still the lens made 80, 90 years ago showed this quality IS remarkable. (Though, to get this quality needed to pay so much attention.  The focus needed to have A7R’s critical focus peeking and use heavier tripod with remote trigger )   There must be the hundreds of the Anastigmat lens design, yet still, the Carl Zeiss able to keep this “Softness character” over the years, there must be an established policy or philosophy behind. —– (of which, the rumor said that non of the Japanese lens could manage to copy)  That IS what we call “The Tradition”or even “German Spirit”

Ikonta mini(8)-007

(To make the point clear, I show you the comparison, the images made by the latest Zeiss lens for Sony E-mount = FE 1.8 / 55 ZA.  The photo above left was F1.8 and the right was F8 — at F1.8, the image showed slight chromatic aberration (blue edge) — still, this is the today’s standard of the image quality (away from the traditional softness). (Above photos may need to compare with Zeiss Planer 55mm   somewhere in the other post)

(What I found so far was, that this old lens still makes good images as long as the focus was correctly given and the camera was rocksteady.) —– Now I may need to go out for a  walk with this Lens.    😀


Kodak Brownie camera and its Images

To bring the analog B/W image to show, its needs to make a paper print (unless we use the scanner and upload straight)  Unlike a color process, B/W print-making is not a kind of automatic mechanical process (even just to choose which paper and one of 5 contrast grade of paper to start, then where to burn etc etc) = lots of interpretations and intentions could bend the original concept. = (if it was only to  check  the quality of the lens or the images, it can be done by just looking close into the Neg’ —- though, just develop the Neg’ = the half century old Ilford film has jumped around and self-scratched by their strong carl, which was made by their own fate =  tightly wound on the narrow spool such a long time ) —– so, I show you the contact print here and forget the individual print at a moment. ( Despite such awkwardness, the B/W test shot showed quite consistent results — made me amazed a bit = So, don’t misjudge the Brownie from its humble looks = once they were the Darling of the era like an iPhone camera now.   😀 ) 


(B/W contact print above = The film was 50 years old Ilford Selochrome ISO160 / Though, Exposure was given as ISO80 / developed by D-76, 1+1 / 11 min’ on 18°~23° )

Obviously, Brownie camera has no focus neither a good viewfinder (their aerial image finder needs to look-down from feet away = its mean, no eye-level shooting other than a blind-shot) so that, beyond the fun snapshot or memento pictures, it may not suite for critical “Creative” work. 

And this was the test shot by the 15 years old Fuji color film on Brownie camera — (400 ISO Fuji Provia seemed to retain only 200 ISO after 15 years) = still, looks pretty good aren’t they !


On a casual shot of the Nuns Head Pub, I realized that the notice board was almost legible (Photo right — Did you notice heavy chromatic aberration on the man’s head ?)

Brownie(C)(2)-A09A8225(do not ask the quality of the digital copy —– it was just a DSLR copy by a flash light behind the transparency.) (—– I’ll make more properly digitized photo = when I found white perspex board which  I used before)

Mag-BrowBrownie(C)(2B)-06-18 Folder

I show you the comparison, The same Brownie photo and the other by Sony A7R — It is obvious, the disadvantage of the blind-shot. (In fact, the Sony’s shot was made next day)

In this situation, not only to test the lens on 35mm DSLR,

Brownie(C)(3) -620 film

(Those photos here were Brownie lens on the Sony A7R.   Not too bad mean, not brilliant —– on the Bokeh test, this lens showed halo together with chromatic aberration = blue fog on the edge)

I mounted the Brownie lens on a 6×7 SLR (Pentax 6×7) with the additional focus control to see how this lens could perform. (Since, only the lens was taken out ( leaving the shutter mechanism behind, which has been acting as a smaller F-aperture as well)  now the lens is effectively F8 = As the peripheral of the lens which is not the good center part, the image became lot more foggier.)

Brownie(C)(3)-5-002—– This 6×7 body was a spare-body when Pentax 6×7 and  Hasselbrad was my main camera.  I’ve sold those mid’ format cameras when I had a Court battle.  ( I fought for 3 years battle without a lawyer, and in the Court of Appeal, stand against the President Judge who tried to white-wash the case) — It was my same stance “If Canon can do, I can do it too = If the English Lawyer can do, why not a Japanese” —– But, about the camera, nobody wanted to buy this body which has no viewfinder, so that it remained in my hand = still its works as a big camera.   😀  —– On this occasion, I made a waist level view finder using juice-cartoon ( = good to be a sculptor as well)   😀   


(So, those photos were a bit more properly digitized 6×7 images = Copied on a white perspex, with TTL flashlight behind.)

Brownie(C)Blu-5-005Those are the photos of Brownie lens on the 6×7 SLR. (for those macro shot, extension ring were added too)    (waist level finder was not easy to use = such as, to see reversed left and right in a vertical image ? — Where am I looking at ? )


(Brownie lens on the Pentax 6×7, shot on the 15 years old Fuji Provia film which were  Digitized by the Canon 5D Mk-3, like making a Copy )



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