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Old 12-09-2020, 12:03 PM
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Regulus (Trevor)
Regulus - Couer de Leon

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Old School

I recently bought a 60 year old Russian Pentacon 50mm f1.8 on a Praktica MTL3 film camera, which I adapted to the eos70D with an M42 adapter, and am loving it. It was remarkably clean throughout, (which was the deciding factor when I bought it). There was an old Zeiss 50fmm Pancolar there that needed some fungi cleaning from behind the front element, and I walked away to think about it. Went back to get it and it was gone. Probably one of the best lenses ever made prior to our modern optics, but I picked up this one instead, and I'm over grieving the Pancolar :-)

The colour and clarity of the images is beautiful, and using the old school focusing is really enjoyable in situations where I can relax and take my sweet time.
I've spent a few weeks just walking some of my favourite local spots with the lens to see how it performs for various subjects. Not unhappy with the $60 price tag so far.

Very similar to the Zeiss Planar 50f2 and new enough to be multi-coated. Everything is clean and smooth in the operation of the focusing and aperture blades, and so now I am going for a 35mm, a 135f2.8 and a 200f4 (f2.8 if I can). Just because, why not.
Hope you enjoy this eclectic collection from my first weeks with this wonderful old lens.



Trev
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  #2  
Old 20-09-2020, 10:02 PM
Mickoid (Michael)
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Looks like a keeper Trevor. It's great to be able to revitalize these old lenses to adapt to modern day digital cameras. You can appreciate how good they really were now that you can zoom in on a computer monitor and check out the resolution and sharpness.

I've adapted some of my old Pentax Spotmatic F M42 lenses to my Canon 550d and love using them again. When we used film, especially colour negative film, we never really knew how good these lenses were because of the processes involved in getting the final photo print. Unless you printed them yourself and used fine grained film, the lens resolving capabilities were compromised and you relied totally on the photo labs to do it right and sometimes they'd come back looking pretty bad. This may not have been the fault of the photographer or the lens!

I used Kodak Kodachrome quite often, so I had a pretty good idea how good the lenses were. This reversal film gave a much better representation of what the lens and photographer could do in one process. The transparencies you viewed was the film that was used in the camera, the colours were more vibrant. I have Kodachrome slides that still look good after more than 40 years. Having said that, digital photography has surpassed film now and I wouldn't want to go back! Enjoy your old lenses.

Last edited by Mickoid; 20-09-2020 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 20-09-2020, 11:04 PM
raymo
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Hi Michael, It is not correct to say that digital has surpassed film. It was only
this year that a consumer digital camera finally equalled the resolution of the best consumer film. Film is still superior to digital in some areas, until 2014 all studio movies were shot on 35mm, by 2017 about 20% were still shot on 35mm, and even now some still are. Most pro and semi pro landscape photographers use medium or large format film cameras, no digital camera can come anywhere close to sheet film. Many industries still use film in their technical departments. Digital images are what experts call too clean edged; they don't look as natural as high quality film images. I used to do weddings, portraits, and industrial photography, and without exception, in each of those fields, my best images are all on film. Portraits especially, highlight the difference.
The finest image of M31 I have ever seen was taken by Tony and Daphne Hallas many years ago, and Sarah Wager's film images in her early days were just stunning. Its the processing that puts digital in front in AP, not the medium.
I borrowed some of these details from a member who posted them in a recent thread. I can't remember who it was.
raymo

Last edited by raymo; 20-09-2020 at 11:07 PM. Reason: more text
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Old 20-09-2020, 11:10 PM
raymo
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Lovely pictures Trevor, takes me back.
raymo
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Old 21-09-2020, 04:00 AM
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bojan
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Beautiful pictures, Trevor..
I still have Praktica VLC3, with the same lens as yours (it is not as good in corner as Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 that I adapted for EOS), but still excellent (BTW, Pentacon is East German, not Russian). Some specimens (depending on manufacture date), however, are better in terms of resolution.
I was using it with slide film for colour photography, and bw film I processed myself..
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Old 22-09-2020, 05:13 PM
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Regulus (Trevor)
Regulus - Couer de Leon

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Thank you all for the kind and helpful comments. I'm finding I like this lens more and more.

Bojan; you are right of course, and I think I lazily tend to equate East German and Russian from that period as the same. I shouldn't. I think getting the multi coated version was probably a good thing. The colours are fantastic.

Michael: You are right in your assessment of the times in which we lived and it's effect on our assessment of these lenses when most of the pictures were 1hr lab jobs unless you were professionally set up. Add to that the ingrained prejudice of the masses over anything made on East Germany and Russia at the time, although personally I rather liked a lot of equipment that I saw from there when I worked in photo retail. The finish was not up to western standards, but often the mechanics and optics were. There were some lovely telescopes and lab quality microscopes that came across my counter that were very impressive. And it was insanely cheap.
Still though, I had some prejudice too and was locked into the Nikon/Canon mindset.
I'll be interested to see this lens' results when I upgrade to a higher resolution camera. Somewhere around the 30~32mp like the Canon R or EOS90D. So far though I am quite happy with it's output.
Definitely looking for a good Pentacon or Takumar 135 and 200mm now.

Raymo: I do notice some of the photographers I sub to on Youtube have recently bought medium format film cameras. So far they are all using the Hasselblad 500CM type with 80 and 150mm lenses. Some of these guys were barely into their teens when film 'died', so it's interesting watching them getting an education.
I would love a high quality film scanner, but that will have to wait until 'I'm rolling ion it' :-)
Again thanks for the feedback and kind words

Trevor
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