Anything in the Nikon system to compete with the Vectis lenses?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Ian Rance, May 20, 2009.

  1. My Father has just returned from a week long photographic holiday along the UK coast. Yesterday he showed me his photos and they were just great. He travelled with his Minolta Vectis system and the complimentary lenses in a tough matching Minolta day bag with a carbon fibre tripod for stability. He was able to get shots with that gear that I have never thought possible - even though I too have been with my camera to the area.
    The strength of the Vectis lens system is that it offers a huge range of focal lengths whilst keeping the quality up and allowing an easy carry for long walks (you can you tell I am more than a bit envious).
    For the wide end I think I have a good selection, but with the longer lenses he was able to get some compressed land/seascapes with a look that I am not able to get with what I have. The lenses that gave this effect were the:
    80-240mm APO Zoom and the 400mm AF Mirror.
    The 80-240mm is compact and gave really good colour and contrast - even at the long end. My 70-210 is much bigger and not as good a performer (loss of contrast at the long end). The 400mm mirror lens results were just as nice. I saw no fringing or edge falloff that is usual with these lenses....and it had AF....
    So, sorry for the rambling but I have been looking for similar lenses to use on my Pronea. The 400 mirror is out of the question, but I did find a 70-300mm ED zoom lens (not the VR one) that looked on paper to almost cover what both of the Vectis long lenses give. Anyone here use this lens? What do you think of it? If used with a converter is 400mm possible?
    Lastly, perhaps there are lenses from other manufacturers that would fit my Pronea but give me what I am after - light lenses with good results from 200-400mm?
    I know many look at Canon with some envy, but I am slightly envious of the V system!
    Thank you for any ideas. Ian
  2. He was able to get shots with that gear that I have never thought possible - even though I too have been with my camera to the area.​
    The weakest link in your system is the Pronea... For landscape photography the larger the format you use the better quality the results will be.
  3. Cheers Anthony, but the Vectis does employ the same APS film as the Pronea.
  4. My father taught me a lot about photography. At the beginning I'd just get the exposure right and put the subject in the middle of the frame. I'd try to go too wide or too long without thinking much about the overall composition. My father was a much better photographer than I was.
    Not to be rude but I'd say your father is a better photographer than you. Perhaps he has a better eye for interesting photos and compositions. Ask him what he was thinking and how he did it so you can learn from him.
  5. Let's not debate APS with Ian again, he enjoys the format.
    I'd say that the 70-300 ED would give you what you're after, although, again, the eye is the most important thing. If indeed your father is a better photog than you, that's not something to be upset about as much as be grateful you have someone better than you to hang around with. There is no magic "more image compression" that he can get with the 80-240 that you can't get with the 70-300. BUT... I'd avoid any teleconverter on that. You'll degrade image like crazy, lose light (and probably have no AF), and just basically make the image useless.
    But... although I'm not going to try and talk you out of APS, when you start adding a big long lens to it, aren't you kinda defeating the purpose of small and portable? Why not shoot that stuff with your 35mm gear (I seem to recal you have an F6)? You will, as I'm sure you know, get a better image.
  6. Cheers for the thoughts.
    Walt, yes you may have something there. His shots were fascinating to me. However, I also was very enthused by his clever use of compression by utilising long lenses. I have nothing over 200mm and I thought it would be great to try some similar shots.
    Peter, if you had seen the Vectis kitbag he took with him filled with the V system lenses - it was light to carry all day and the lenses gave good quality results. A real marvel. I hoped that there may be some similar lenses I could use to build up a similar light, high quality kit (better I.Q than the IX Nikkors) based around my Pronea S, but I get the feeling that there is nothing quite like it available.
  7. I have a Vectis S-1 with a 28-56 and a 50 macro. I find the Vectis a little more awkward to use than the Pronea cameras. My two Proneas are the S and the 6i. The 6i seems to have a battery drain of some kind even when the camera is turned off. For this reason I have used the S more. My favorite ix Nikkor is the 20-60. It seems sharp at every distance setting and every f/stop. The other ix lenses I have are a 30-60, a 24-70 and a 60-180. The 24-70 is probably the best all around lens if you don't need anything wider. With a 20-60 and a 60-180 you can cover a lot of ground. There were two versions of the 60-180 with the second one being slightly slower. The Fuji 800 speed color print film is no longer available even in Japan so I would stay away from the slower 60-180. Nikon never made a 400 or a zoom as long as 80-240. While it is not safe to mount ix Nikkors on regular F mount cameras, you can use pre-AI, AI amd AIS lenses on Pronea cameras. The Pronea cameras have no AI tab but they do have the same auto diaphragm lever as all of the Nikon SLRs. You will have to take the Pronea off of the regular Auto setting to use any of the manual focus lenses. The regular (not AF-S) AF Nikkors work on the Pronea cameras too. There are many of these lenses around so your choice of compatible lenses for the Pronea cameras is much better than that of the Minolta Vectis cameras. Minolta did make an adapter for using A mount lenses with vectic cameras but from what I understand, they don't work very well. There was a problem of light leaks. I have used 55mm Micro Nikkors with the Pronea S with good results. I wish Kodak would make Ektar 100 available in APS size.
  8. Ian writes [I hoped that there may be some similar lenses I could use to build up a similar light, high quality kit (better I.Q than the IX Nikkors) based around my Pronea S, but I get the feeling that there is nothing quite like it available.] And not likely to be, since, let's be honest, the APS format wasn't quite the hit Kodak wanted it to be.
  9. I did try a light 100-300mm variable aperture Sigma (ended up around f6.3 at 300mm) and the IQ was horrible. Even my D&P shop commented. I have the faster 60-180mm IX Nikkor, but whilst it is usable, it is not as good as tyhe Vectis APO. Do Tamron make (or did make) anything suitable?
    Jeff, the MF lens idea is a good one, and they would work on my 35mm gear as well. Have you tried the Kodak High Definition 100 film? I used a roll on Saturday and there is hardly any grain - better than 200 speed 35mm film anyway. It is not Ektar, but it is nice.
  10. I've never even seen a Vectis system. I was intrigued by the Nikon APS system when it first came out, but I've always been a fan of small cameras and miniature format for casual, candid photography. Olympus was still making the Pen half-frame series when I was a kid first getting into photography and I thought those little things were the bees knees. The APS system had that potential, and more, but was just a victim of bad timing, coming right at the start of the digital era.
    While I wouldn't want anyone to jump ship, I'm betting Ian is one of those photographers who'd really enjoy the Olympus OM-system. There really is nothing else like it among full frame 35mm SLRs. My FM2N and 52mm filter thread mount Nikkors are just a little too large, a little too heavy, to fit in the same small bags that once held my entire OM-system kit with 49mm filter thread mount Zuikos.
  11. Ian, looks like you need to look outside the IX lenses for a solution - and then Peter's argument becomes valid - with lenses getting larger and heavier, it appears that the size and weight advantage of the Pronea isn't there anymore - besides, a F55/60/65 isn't all that much larger and heavier.
    Attaching a TC to a variable-aperture zoom is never a good idea - no exceptions. I never owned the 70-300 ED but it was said to be a tad better than the 75-300 that I did own - likely due to the use of ED glass (mechanically, it wasn't a match to the older lens though). BTW, the Nikon 70-300 ED is said to be identical to the Tamron zoom - same optical formula.
  12. Lex, you mention the OM's. Well, as a lad I always liked the look of the OM system and told myself that when I got an SLR it would be one of those, but I was given a Nikon as a special gift so I am down that road now. I can still see the appeal though. I may just have to look at them again...
  13. The APS SLR "system" cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Minolta were beautifully made and optical superb. They always struck me as a solution looking for a problem, though. Limited film choice and, now, limited access to processing have all but orphaned them--sadly. I see OM series gear going for very little but can't rationalize(even with advanced rationalization abilities)adding to my 35mm shelf weight. Get a Vectis kit, Ian.
  14. Gary, sadly whilst the Vectis SLR's are cheap and readily available, the two lenses that I speak of are very scarse - it took my Dad 2 years to find his copies - and they were expensive still.
    I am also making efforts to buy no more film cameras - I have too many.
  15. i'm gonna second the idea that your dad would make great photographs with your camera bag as well. don't look at his equipment. google chase jarvis and see his portfolio with his iphone. go shoot with your dad and see how he sets up, composes and chooses his subjects. then your pictures will improve--for free and with a little quality time with the old pops to boot.
  16. the 70-300 ED is ok. it's not a magic bullet. stopped down to f/8-f/11 it can be really sharp. perhaps it's sharper on film than digital. but it sound to me like your father's secret is a long lens technique he's made his own, something one learns over a long time working with the same gear.
  17. Do what I did, Ian. Start buying medium format gear--huge value quotient on a $/kilo basis. But then again, maybe you shouldn't...
  18. Thank you for the help. Yes, pops does know a few tricks and his macro work is certainly better than mine (lighting methods). However both he and I enjoy cycling very much and despite trying the D40 and D50, I don't think Nikon has made a 'bike friendly' SLR as good as the Pronea S yet. Over my shoulder it does not make a pain of itself and unlike being in a carry bag, it is a moment away. He takes his Vectis, but that is not so easy for grab shots as the Nikon.
    I took this photo from my bike around 2 seconds before the grey skies and rain came down. The camera was on for the whole ride and does not shut down or conk out like a digi compact. Shame it does not have MF quality Gary, but is does keep racking up the photos for me.
  19. Lovely shot, Ian--whatever the format. a few years back was almost giving away "refurb" Pronea gear--a face-saving way of dealing with new returned dealer stock. Always sorry I didn't just buy a kit for fun. A good friend still shoots the Canon EOS IX system--tiny, light, great results. Again, inexpensive, convenient APS processing seems to be drying up in my area.

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