Yoshizen's Blog

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.)

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—– 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.)

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

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

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(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 ? )

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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. )

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Kodak Vest Pocket Camera

K-Vi-014Probably 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.  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 have 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, there is no screw to fix, hence the Insert will 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 focas. (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.

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Brilliant London by the same Mag Lens

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

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

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

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

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

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Gloomy London = Seen by Mag Lens

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

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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 ?    😀 )

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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.)   😀

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Zeiss Ikonta is this ?

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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.) 

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

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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)

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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 !

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(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.   😀

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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.

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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”

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(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.    😀

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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.   😀 ) 

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(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 !

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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)

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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,

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(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)   😀   

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(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 ? )

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(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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Kodak Brownie camera and 620 Film (B)

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At last, I got 620 film from the Net and some more 120 film to play with Brownie camera.  😀

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And I perfected the knack to use 120 film on the Brownie camera (by enlarge the holes of 120 film spool, etc.    With much annoyance of the purists over there.  I guess.

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And now I’m ready to do a dark-room work since I got the chemicals, thermometer etc.   I wish I’m still maintaining the skill to wind the film on to a developing reel without leaving my finger-print on the film, in a total darkness.

Though, the room temperature these days are 27, 28 degree = rather hard to keep the developer’s temperature in the tank to 20 degree constant —– on a dry-run test, start with the developer which has been kept in a fridge and 18 degree (after 9, 10 minuets process, it would end-up to 23 degree) may be acceptable. — (have a water-bath with ice-cube, is the another approach though I’m a lazy man and I don’t have ice-cube tray — as they have been used to keep elec’ components.)

So, to see the images in a developed film (color transparency needs to go to a lab) would be a fun.    😀

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Kodak Brownie Camera and 620 Film (A)

Brownie(1)-A09A8156I got THE famous Kodak Brownie camera. In fact my friend found it in a junk shop and brought it to me. I’ve been testing the lenses of many antic cameras, such as Ensign  or other camera.  In most of the case I just tested those lenses mounted on a DSLR’s body = regardless whether the camera’s original format was much larger 6×9 or even larger (such as Kodak Folding No.1A which takes post-card size picture) than DSLR’s 35mm format. Theoretically, by cutting a 4”x5”film to test Kodak Folding camera and take picture, is possible though, its gone too far. (I’m not such crazy) In fact, the film for this Kodak Brownie camera is still available (in certain extent) = In such situation, just test the lens on 35mm DSLR would be a bit of the lost opportunity.    I decided to take silver film photo with this camera.

Brownie(2)-A09A8158Kodak Brownie box camera use 620 size film and takes eight 6×9 (55mm x 85mm exact) photos. The film itself is the same as 120 film but only on much thinner metal film spool. (which mean, 120 film can be re-wound on 620 film spool in the total darkness. (if we could manage = if you google, you may find a Tutorial viz “How to re-wind 620 film”) 

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(Photo from left: 120’s Spool is a bit longer. Second : The pin to hold Spool’s base is 5.4mm so that the hole of 120 film needs to make larger = third photoLast photo showed the frame number = 1 on the back of the camera = while wind the film, the number has to be watched.)

Yet still, as the physical size of the 120 film is about the same (though 120 film’s spool is 1.5mm longer), in practice we can use the 120 film on the Brownie camera. (the hole of the 120 film spool may need to make a bit larger.— Fuji film’s spool seems to run much smoother.) In my cabinet, I found old 120 films, so I’m going to test this Brownie camera with Ilford and Fuji film. —– But before that, I need to know a lot more about this camera.

The situation is as such unclear. The brightness of the lens was not yet known. Even worse, the shutter on the camera, which says 1/80, 1/40 and B setting = we only know B will be B, but who knows how accurate 1/80 or 1/40 was ?

The focal length of the Lens was found to be about 90mm. (90mm lens to 6×9 picture would give nearly 60 degree angle of view = rather wide-angle)

Brownie(4)-5-001Then, I tested to see how bright this lens is. —– (It may seem rather scamp approach though, in such uncertainty, it may work and good enough. = To deal with antic Brownie may not need a rocket science) —– So, the Sony mirrorless A7R body was pressed against the back of Brownie of which shutter was fully opened, and with such and such ISO, see which “Shutter speed” was recommended by Sony ?    Then 90mm lens was mounted on the same A7R with the same ISO, and see which F-aperture of the 90mm lens makes the same shutter speed on A7R ? = With this test, the Brownie Lens was found to be F11. (fixed = no iris control but having so-called “filter”(ND filter ? — but it’s not grey. still makes one stop darker) was built-in)

Now the last question IS, how the Brownie’s 1/80 and 1/40 shutter could perform now ? Again, I used Sony A7R body to measure its exposure level. (Aperture is the size of the supply, say a water pipe, which allow how much amount of water you can get in each moment. And the shutter speed is, how long you open the tap = total amount is the multiply of both)

= While the shutter of A7R was set to 2 second, and its body was pressed against the Brownie’s back, then Brownie’s shutter (either 1/80 or 1/40 setting) was clicked while A7R’s shutter was open (its mean, while 2 second shutter open, 1/80 amount of exposure was given) —–Result of each exposure was compared against the photos taken by the 90mm lens at F11 with A7R’s 1/80 and 1/40 shutter = Amazingly results were quite consistent.   Its mean, on a bright day, Brownie camera could make pretty acceptable picture (I mean, in its exposure level — how pretty would depend on the subject) —– (but only in a bright place = straight under the sun — shadowy corner, cloudy days may need to use higher ISO film = like ISO 400 and even push development) Having only two shutter speed (with the additional effect of “Filter” it’s would be + 1/160 ) seems very restrictive though, think about, to have even the slower speed = 1/20, 1/10, 1/5 would only be the possibility (quick push on B setting may work as ½)  But such as the needs of 1/5 could be substituted by the use of 1/40 with ISO 800 film (one stop push development of ISO 400 film) —– Is it too barbaric approach ? —– Don’t be too serious.   It’s mere Brownie !   Lets make a joke.

Brownie(5)-5On the end, I actually tested this camera with Ilford HP5 B/W film.  (Though, in order to develop this film, re-start to use dark room after 10, 15 years gap needed to workout a lot, not only to get new chemicals, but also to find many small things = where the Temperature-meter has gone ? etc.)  = Fun continues. 

But, in reality, it was found to be not a fun at all.   In order to get hold the B/W film processing things — 120 films, Chemicals, Temperature meter etc, I was asking around many shops who supposed to deal with,—– though Silver Print has gone, either Park Camera or Jessops are no longer dealing with B/W process, and the shop they recommended = Aperture also stopped.   Another possibility is, either Process Surplies in Mountpresent or Parallax of Fusion in Brixton. unless otherwise, get everything from the Net.  (I don’t like)

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Short Walk (B)

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Those photos were another product of the same Short Walk (A), hence using the same homemade lenses Helicoid (A) and (B) on the Sony A7R.     While walking through the park, finding which flower is really a chance encounter, and how to capture it, while seeing the character of the optics and the shape of the flower, how to compose it, in which angle and the distance IS what all about the Photography.  In certain extent, it is a game or the match between the two personalities.  In Zen Buddhist term, we are living on the moment to moment life.   And to deal with the Person (subject just encountered) as if there is nothing else exists and nothing else to do is, so-called Mindfulness, and in this mind-set, there is no Ego.   So, this situation is a proof of the No-self or Anatman.   Yet still, in other stance, to see a subject as a subject might be seen as yet another Ego, therefore not aim the subject but to see everything as the everything may be a right view.   Though, in practice, the image of an ultra-wide angle lens clicked random is just a mess —– so, the question is, whether the Zen needs a nice answer ?    Or such answer itself is not Zen ? ? ?  —– Good question.   What a nice day ! —– Ha ha ha,  😀  

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Helicoid (A) lens happen to have an Iris, so that, by the depth of field control, flower showed a bit more details, still, take the image of Helicoid (B) (photo right) is a matter of the taste.

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Both (A) and (B) lenses, its center of close-up images are amazingly good.

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Those two pictures were given a shake when the shutter was opened. (Don’t ask me what for — it’s only for a fun)

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I realized that I don’t have many photos of the Blue Bell.  May be their flower is too common, yet only in a short period.  Still, why it makes the difference to the Cherry ? —– M m m ?  —– I might have an unconscious notion, that the Cherry is the Japanese but the Blue Bell is English.   But why ? ? ? —– May be because, I didn’t grow up with Blue Bell but with Cherry.   As the photography is a way of the Self expression, it became a kind of a biography.

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Short Walk (A)

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In deed, I haven’t have done a photo-walk a while. —– without a reason = IS a problem = just getting lazy.   So, bashing myself and went out with a camera and two lenses. (still, all in one pocket = that’s a beauty of the small homemade lenses. = Helicoid (A) and (B) lenses with Sony A7R)

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You may wonder what was a point to have those two lenses.   Ha ha ha, you are right.  Both of them are equally fuzzy lenses.  The differences were, —– if the fuzzy surrounding has Coma bokeh, it was the (A) lens.  And if it was with Astigmatism bokeh, it was the (B) lens.   Both for the sake of painterly effect which I like very much.

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