Getting a new film system, User experience and opinions needed.

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by AustinDudley, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. What about the "special character or rendition" do you like?

    Remember that results on a computer screen of a scanned negative or transparency aren't representative of the lens...heck even a print may not give you a realistic idea. Scanning and electronic viewing both introduce their own artifacts to the image.

    An AI or AI-s 35mm 1.4 is 1/4 to 1/3 the price of the F mount Zeiss lens. Unless you're convinced of the magical Zeiss "glow"(of which I remain skeptical) it seems like that's a better option to me.
  2. The MF-Nikkor 35/1.4 is full of character, at least up close and fairly wide open it's rendering of the background is really special. Probably not fancy, but special ;-)
  3. heres the zeissiness i speak of from portra and tri-x from zeiss lenses

    Castello Sarriod de la Tour, Valle d'Aosta

    Kerry (35) 2nd jpeg

    Kangaroo point, Brisbane


    Two Girls on the Bus to Skyline


    I dont really find any of the above colors in the nikon lens AIS portra category. I understand that there could be manipulation, but the result for those colors are very common in zeiss lenses. The nikons are wonderful, but their colors seem subdued or darker or something that visibly shifts away from the zeiss colors.

    I guess the nikons take pictures very well, the zeiss does that and adds a bit of its character. With that said i have noticed that some of the new ziess lenses dont lend their zeiss character but are just very uniform in sharpness and contrast.

    With digital, it doesnt matter so much, because you have all the power to change every color to perfection in photoshop. With film, although you can go the route of photoshop as long as there is no "weak link in the chain before hand, but straight from camera to film to print, I feel that the money spent on the zeiss lens would cut out a few steps of digitizing then photoshop then print.
  4. I cant argue that, I do like its look, i just think i like the ziess's lens look more. Keyword of course being THINK lol
  5. Speaking of Zeiss Distagons (35/1.4) I think the most characterful version is the one for the long gone Rollei-35mm-system. If memory serves they were using just 3 aperture-blades, resulting in triangular shaped highlights if the lens was stopped down a bit. Never used one, a shame ;-)
  6. I regularly use both the Ais35.f1.4 and Zeiss lenses on my Nikons. Yesterday I used the Nikkor and today I used the Milvus 1.4/50. I know it is a different focal length. The Nikkor is a good lens but is a little soft compared to the Zeiss. The Zeiss is larger and heavier than the Ais as well a expensive. I personally like the look of the Zeiss.
  7. I still don't think that you can compare color rendition on ANY scanned color negative film.

    As for the Tri-X examples-I agree that there's a certain "creaminess" to them that I'm not used to seeing from Tri-X, but there are a LOT of variables that go into processing B&W film starting right at the developer. My go-to developer most of the time is D-76, and it gives Tri-X sort of a classic "gritty" look regardless of the glass I put in front of it. I've shot Tri-X through a LOT of different brands of glass, too-Off the top of my head Wollenstock, Kodak, Leitz, Zeiss, Schneider, Canon, Nikon, Minolta, and Zenzanon. The examples you show have a certain digital "sterile" quality to them that almost makes me think they were pretty heavily grain reduced in Photoshop, or if nothing else were developed in a fine grain developer.

    BTW, which F2 did you buy? As I said, if it's not an F2A or F2AS, you NEED the Nikkor if you want metering(unless there's a way to put a metering shoe on the Zeiss lenses-they certainly don't look like they're designed to take one).
    AustinDudley likes this.
  8. When the Zeiss lenses for Nikon were first introduced they had the tab. When they were chipped the tab disappeared but the older ones may be available used.
  9. Its the Eye level non metered, went for aesthetics over functionality :D
  10. I love taking night shots too and for that I prefer the Pentax LX which is the only camera - past or present by any brand, that can aperture priority autoexpose a scene for as long as it takes, all the while monitoring the scene for changes in lighting and adjusting exposure accordingly.

    This example using the Pentax LX in aperture priority mode with Kodak Ektar 100 was > 40 minutes exposure.

    I like taking ultra long exposures but it is a little inconvenient waiting for the exposure to expire - I try to look through the viewfinder to see if it has opened yet without disturbing the camera. So I devised a way to know when the exposure is done using an LED+battery connected to the LX's synch terminal. The LED goes off when it is done.


    These scenes are so dark but the LX's biggest and brightest viewfinders (most with built-in diopters) and screens make achieving critical focus uneventful.


    Even though it has the most selection of interchangeable viewfinders, it's size and weight is more inline with the non-interchangeable types.


    Now with regard to quality of lenses, I have tested quite a few fixed focal length manual lenses - all second hand previous use unknown, and they have all been outstanding particularly with regards to sharpness and resolution. For instance, I had noticed that my Pentax 50mm f4 macro lens produces particularly sharp results so I tested it using Kodak Techpan @ ISO25 processed in Kodak Technidol and scanned the results shown below using Pentax K20D 14.6MP DSLR, Coolscan 5000 and Nikon D800. Using my belows setup, I also optically magnified the area in question and clearly there is so much more real detail left unresolved by any of the methods above.


    I have tested most of my other lenses similarly and they are not likely to be the weakest link in your system when it comes to ability to resolve detail.
    AustinDudley likes this.
  11. That is quite an alluring write up, thank you.

    I have always admired pentax, the one thing that prohibited me from this camera was that i had heard the electronics were not the most reliable? perhaps internet hype?
  12. That's a great shot of Hoover Dam. I like those Pentaxes.
  13. Since these are no longer available brand new, you have to be sure to get one from a reliable source that offers some satisfaction guarantee. I bought one from KEH and picked up another really cheap due to "I don't know anything about it" and both have been issue free and completely accurate going on 8 years now. Fortunately, the LX has a hybrid shutter system and when batteries die, speeds from synch to top speed are still available.
  14. Thanks as I do get lucky sometimes . . . :)
  15. There are a lot of 70s and 80s cameras where the electronics can be questionable. You don't hear about rashes of failures of the New F-1, Canon A-series cameras, or Nikon F3. At the same time, many Canon T90s are sidelined by the flashing EEE and the Nikon FA doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation.

    For that matter, we have a thread going on the FD forum about the Canon EF, and it's another with "tricky" electronics with issues that can sometimes hide. I bought two to get a good one. When I got the second, I happened to be in the local camera shop when someone came in asking if it was worth bringing it in. The owner at first said no, but at my "signaling" he encouraged the guy to bring it in. I then gave a quick lesson-using a dead one in the shop-on what to look for and the one the guy brought in ended up being good.
  16. There's nothing wrong with the PP.

    Nikon "cleaned up" the metered prisms for the F2 quite a bit, and of course it helps them all considerably that they don't have to hold batteries(you probably know this, but the two batteries in the bottom of the camera are only for the meter-you don't need to install them with a PP).

    Even though they don't have the "weird growth" appearance of F meters, they still complicate the lines and style of the camera a fair bit. The F and F2 are both-to me-very attractive cameras but the meters do change them quite a bit. One thing I like about the F-1(original), which was contemporary to the F2, was that the meter is integrated into the body. Of course, that's a double edged sword as the F-1 was stuck with a CdS cell while you could put more advanced meters in the F2 as they came along. Fortunately, the FD mount standard contained maximum aperture coding from the start so there was never any need to change the meter coupling. At least the F2, also, always had at least semi-auto maximum aperture indexing(on the F Photomic T and Tn you have to manually set the maximum aperture).

    My only complaint about using an F or F2 without a meter is that there's no stop on the shutter speed dial, so it's more difficult to tell by feel. I think that the shutter speed display in the viewfinder is a function of the metered prism, so the only clue you have as to the shutter speed set is the coupling pin on the dial(located halfway between 1000 and 2000). With a metered prism, you know that turning CCW to the stop gives you B, while turning CW to the stop gives you 1/2000. The F-1 dial works the same way, although the directions are reversed). The F2 dial without a meter attached just keeps turning.
  17. ---------------------
    Totally agree. Of all the equipment that I've used, the Nikon is the most neutral. The lenses don't have special signatures to my eyes. The Rollei, all Pentax lenses, Leica, rangefinders of various sorts all seem to have "signatures". Nikons are "accurate" or "flat". When I want complete reliability and accuracy, I go to my Nikons, no question.
  18. I think it's extremely simplified to say Nikkors do not have special character or rendition, and other brands do. You can judge that on a per-lens base, not on a per-brand base.

    Sure there are Nikkors that may be somewhat neutral, there are some that are most definitely full of character. The above mentioned 35mm f/1.4 has too much character for most - not a lens for all, but if you look for a cinematic moody look, using that lens wide open is just the ticket. The AiS 50mm f/1.2 at the widest aperture shares some of this, though it cleans up faster. Another lens I particularly like (like many) is the 105mm f/2.5.
    I mainly use a pair of Leica R cameras these days, because of the lenses. Yet, some of those are not all that special either; in my view, for example, the Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm is a perfect performing lens. But character comes from imperfections rather than perfection, and it's a lens I never really warmed up to. Recently got an Elmar-R 180mm - looks a fine lens, doing nothing particular whatsoever. On the other hand, the Summicron-R 35mm and 90mm are (in my view) terrific and quite special lenses. But for pure cinematic looks - the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 does that better.

    So, rather than painting some broad strokes, check the specific lenses that really interest you, and go from there.

    As for silent operation - my R6 and R7 seems more silent than my Nikon bodies (FM2 and a F3 - especially the latter is loud).
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017 at 12:30 PM
  19. It is interesting what you have to give up in aesthetics in order to get built-in metering . . .


    . . . but not with the Pentax LX.

    I also appreciate the fact that Pentax used design queues from it's original Asahi Pentax in both style and size. They did get bigger over the years until the Olympus OM series came along.

  20. The F-1 as shown(with the pyramid prism) is metered. In addition, the New F-1 doesn't require the shown prism for metering-it only used to show the shutter speeds in aperture priority mode.

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