Konica KM Hexanon 90MM F2.8 (05460023)

M6TTL, 90 Hex, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, 90 Hex, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

I don’t use this lens very often. Framing is a little fussy with the castrated 90mm framelines, but I could work around that if I only saw more 90mm pictures. I’ll be trying to use it more, so perhaps I’ll start seeing more 90mm shots. It does take a pretty picture, and it might be the sharpest lens I own. The above was shot at F4.

1pt4 Photography Goes to a Wedding

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
Of course, my mom has her eyes closed . . .
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY, Tmax Dev
M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, TMY (New TMax 400), TMax Dev

On the 4th of July, my cousin Brian got married on a veranda over looking Lake Michigan. The M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC and a couple of rolls of the new TMax 400 (TMY) performed admirably. Tents over looking lakes on bright sunny days make a lovely setting for a wedding, but all that backlighting can bedevil the flashless photographer. The new TMY seemed to handle the wide luminance range well, though. I’ve always liked TMY despite its reputation as a difficult film. It was the first film I developed on my own, so I’ve been using it off and on for 15 years. The new TMY seems to be just as forgiving as the old. Just give it generous exposure to keep the shadows healthy. It probably would have done even better pulled to 200, but these were my first rolls with the new film, so I didn’t want to experiment too much. For those who care, I shot the TMY at 400, developed in TMax Developer and followed Kodak’s new developing times. This worked out to 5.5 minutes at 75 degrees with a dilution of 1+4.

Apart from the disposable cameras on the tables, I was the only person shooting film. A couple of people commented on this with a mix of bewilderment and awe. The pro was shooting a D3 and a D300, but I was more interested in his foot gear, a pair of black reverse heel shoes. I’ve got to try those out.

Notes from the field, er street, er . . . alley: A Consideration of the Voigtlander 35 1.4 SC

hexar rf, 50 hex, Adox CHS 100 ART, Xtol
Yes, I do make a habit of looking into dumpsters. You never know where you will find something interesting.

After a couple of months on the shelf, I picked up the Biogon again this week. A couple of observations:

  • The focusing tab on the CV did indeed turn out to be addictive, but only for 35mm lenses. When I’m using the 50 Hex, my fingers naturally find the ring, but going to the Biogon, my fingers start searching for the tab. During my time with the CV a bit of muscle memory must have built up between the 35mm focal length and the focusing tab; eyes see 35mm frame lines, fingers go looking for tab. This wouldn’t be a problem if the Biogon also had a tab. Instead, it’s got something more like a nub, which my fingers don’t interpret as tab at all, but rather as something entirely unrelated to focusing. Stupid brain.
  • Before we leave the subject of focusing tabs for more interesting topics, it occurs to me that tabs in place of knurled rings make using the camera one handed nearly impossible. I can’t reach the tab with my right pinky no matter what I do, but on lenses that have them I can often reach and get enough purchase on the knurled focus ring with my index finger if I stretch, which greatly facilitates shooting without setting down your drink.
  • In another quirk of visual muscle memory, I find that knowing the Biogon is mounted changes the kind of pictures I shoot. With the Biogon on the camera – and I know it’s on the camera because my fingers can’t find the f$%*ing tab – I’m much more likely to square up all the straight lines in the photo. With the CV on the camera, I immediately step to off angle. This cockeyed approach is self-defense against the CV’s incredible barrel distortion; this lens can turn a federalist style post office into a Gehry. I’m not sure what this means for my style long term, but it’s got me thinking about the slightly askew compositions of fellow stills member akikana. I’m finding I have deeper appreciation for his compositions as a result.
  • Looking back through the blog, I’ve remembered that the small size of the CV was one of the reasons I plunked down the $600 for it. What I hadn’t expected was that this small size would become so integral to my appreciation of the lens. The CV really isn’t that much smaller than the Biogon, but the difference in size is enough to change the handling and carrying of the camera for the better. When Zeiss announced the more compact C Biogon, I snorted derisively just once before dismissing it altogether. Now I know better. Compact size can compensate for a variety of other shortcomings in a lens. Leica might be on to the same thing with the new Summarits.
  • Build quality: The CV is just better built than the Biogon, which is funny since the same company builds both lenses. My Biogon has a bit of wobble in the lens barrel and doesn’t mount quite as snuggly as the CV or any of my Hexanons. No big deal, but interesting.

What does all this mean for my future with these two lenses? It’s too soon to tell for sure, but the Biogon has gone back on the shelf for the time being. From a practical perspective, it’s a far superior lens. It’s sharper, more resistant to flare, has less distortion etc etc etc, but the CV just has more character and is more fun to use, and in the end, that’s what it’s all about.

Some sort of mind control ray. . . (04680015)

Hexar RF, CV 35 1.4 SC, TriX, Xtol

1point4photography brings you clear evidence of our robot overlord’s mind control device, the waves of which have been captured on film here, for the first time ever, through our exclusive Reveal-a-Ray-O-Vision. Stay tuned.

Er, clearly the CV has some flare control issues . . . This one is going in version 2.0 of the book for sure, though.

Its intended purpose; using the Voigtlander 35MM F1.4 SC in the dark.

Hexar RF, CV 35 F1.4 SC

For an eloquent articulation of why one might choose a fast lens over a technically more competent but slower lens, see Dante Stella’s The Legend of Lux-Do. Goofy, yes. Tongue in cheek, definitely, but then fast lenses are not serious things.

Hexar RF, CV 35 F1.4 SC

Despite all the folderol about photo-journalists needing them to get that crucial shot, most photo-journalists I’ve known are far more comfortable using a flash. The chances of successfully shooting in low light are far higher with a flash, but fast lenses aren’t about succeeding on the same terms that we normally use to judge photographs. No, fast lenses are about hubris, plain and simple. They are about knowing you can walk into that dingy bar, take the darkest booth in the back, and still be able to get a picture.

Hexar RF, CV 35 F1.4 SC

Ultimately, fast lenses are fun. Fast lens that also happen to be cheap and small, like my new CV 35 F1.4 SC, are particularly fun, despite their limitations. If you are worried about distortion, light fall off, resolution or pretty much anything other than being able to say, “but this one goes to 1.4,” don’t bother. Nothing to see here. Move along. There are a plenty of well lit bars near the mall.

Shooting Into the Sun (04550022/29)

Hexar RF, CV 35 1.4 SC, TriX, Xtol
Hexar RF, CV 35 1.4 SC, TriX, Xtol

One of the worries of a single coated lens is flare resistance. The CV 35 1.4 SC seems fine on this account. Although there is definitely evidence of flare here, it does seem to fill in the shadows as is often advertised for single coated lenses. Lower contrast is the result as is clearly shown in the second picture. I’ll need more experience with it before I can use it to effect, but it doesn’t seem likely to cause any insurmountable problems.

I should note that I do not own the hood for this lens, but I do have B+W MRC filter on the front of it.

Beer Bottle Bokeh and Other Optical Phenomenon

Zeiss ZM Biogon 35mm F2 versus Cosina Voigtlander Notkon Classic 35mm F1.4


Biogon @ F2

Biogon @ F2.8

Biogon @ F4

CV 35 1.4 SC @ 1.4

CV 35 1.4 SC @ 2

CV 35 1.4 SC @ 2.8

CV 35 1.4 SC @ 4

A few crops from the center. No sharpening applied.


Biogon @ F2

Biogon @ F2.8

Biogon @ F4

CV 35 1.4 SC @ 1.4

CV 35 1.4 SC @ 2

CV 35 1.4 SC @ 2.8

CV 35 1.4 SC @ 4

Methodology

  1. Drink beer
  2. Arrange bottles in triangle like shape
  3. Find tripod
  4. Set up tripod approximately 1 meter from foremost bottle
  5. Click button, manipulate aperture
  6. Switch lenses, lather, rinse, repeat

Conclusions

  • The Biogon is nearly free from distortion.
  • The CV is not.
  • Focus drift, at least at this distance, doesn’t seem to be problem for either lens.
  • Neither of these lenses gets that much sharper as you stop down – at least not at this distance – so you might as well shoot wide open.
  • I’d rather drink beer than test lenses, and that’s the only one of these conclusions that I’d fight over.

See another comparison here: CV SC versus Lux Asp versus UC Hexanon

A few from my new CV 35 F1.4 SC












Hexar RF, CV 35 F1.4 SC, TriX, Xtol 1+1

I’ve just finished scanning the first roll of shots from my new Cosina Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm F1.4 SC (worst name ever for a lens). It’s a tiny little thing, and the focus tab is going to take some getting used to, but it seems to work. What do you think?