Category Archives: photography

Rokinon 85mm f/1.4

This is the Samyang 85mm f/1.4. Throughout the years, Samyang lenses have been branded with various names among which are Rokinon and Bower. They are made by Samyang Optics from South Korea. The company have built affordable off-brand lenses since the 1970s. Samyang is one of the rare off-brand lens manufacturers that has consistently maintained above average build quality and performance. There are quite a few notable Samyang lenses that have performed well above expectations, not just in terms of for-the-price but in absolute terms of quality.

Rokinon 85mm f/1.4

This is the Nikon F-mount AE model that enables electronic communication with Nikon cameras. It’s a manual focus lens but has focus confirmation chip that triggers the in-focus indicator in the viewfinder. This model is supposed to trigger an audible in-focus beep as well, but for some reason it never worked. I decided not to make fuss over it. The viewfinder indicator light seemed enough for me. The build quality is quite nice as well. The focus and aperture ring are well dampened and operate with sense of dignity. Fit and finish is satisfyingly solid with absolutely no rattles or unintended movement. Only complaint is the lens cap that is total crap. But that’s nitpicking. Because it is a lot of glass for the money.

This lens works nicely on the micro four thirds camera as a sort of long-ish telephoto. Since the M4/3 system has 2.0x crop sensor, 85mm becomes 170mm. The LCD zoom focus assist really becomes helpful when trying to focus at aperture of 1.4. My Lumix GF2 becomes quite front heavy with this lens attached and is actually somewhat awkward to operate. But it doesn’t matter because it’s actually as much fun as it is weird.

Rokinon 85mm f/1.4

f/1.4, 1/125s, iso 1600
Rokinon 85mm f/1.4

Built like a tank. Shoots like a machine gun – Canon EOS 1D

The Canon EOS 1D is the latest addition to my humble photo gear collection. 1D Mark II, that is. Sorry to disappoint but hell, I have no plans to spend $7k or so on the EOS 1DX. Having said that, the second iteration of the EOS 1D series from 8 or so years ago is still one hell of a camera. I was lucky in that I was able to find a mint example at a very reasonable price.

The EOS 1D series cameras are typically used by serious professionals such as sports shooters, fashion photographers or journalists who are in the field day in and day out. Therefore, it is relatively difficult to find a used example that is free of battle scars. And most have racked up high shutter count during its lifetime. Luckily though, mine seems to have come from a photo hobbyist who hardly ever took the camera out. The shutter count is only 4300 (according to Adobe Bridge EXIF data). And the camera feels and looks to support that number in every way. The camera has no signs of use whatsoever. There are no marks or tripod scars underneath. The shutter release feels fresh and springy. It is absolutely mint.

Now, I do admit that I don’t own an EF lens that’s worthy of this machine. But I can have plenty fun adapting my Nikkors and even with the Canon EF 40mm 2.8. But honestly, I don’t think I’ll take the EOS 1D out much. It’s fun to tinker with but I just can’t justify carrying all that bulk and weight when my Nikon D90 or Canon 20D will do just fine for type of photography that I enjoy. However, I now have come to understand what makes a pro-level camera a pro-level. When you hold the 1D it feels dignifying and menacing at the same time. It is heavy (twice the weight of my Canon 20D), but it doesn’t bother you because it feels good in your hands. All of the frequently needed controls are never more than one button away. And it really sounds like a machine gun in burst mode. After holding the EOS 1D even for a few minutes, going back to your typical DSLR makes you feel like your are holding a kid’s toy, seriously.

After playing with the 1D for few days, not only have I developed a deep respect for such class of machines but more importantly, I have realized that professional cameras are not for me. Yes, duh. These cameras are purpose built, highly customizable tools of the trade that help pay the bills. I’ll probably tinker with it for a short while. I must say the sound of the 8.5 fps shutter is addicting.

Canon EOS 1D MK II
Canon EOS 1D MK II
Canon EOS 1D MK II
Canon EOS 1D MK II
Canon EOS 1D MK II
Canon EOS 1D MK II

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 60mm 2.8 G Micro

The Nikkor AF-S Micro 60mm 2.8 G is the latest addition to my Nikon side of gears. This is a macro lens (although Nikon calls it Micro) with fixed focal length. So you’d think it would have a constant aperture but it doesn’t. Depending on the focusing distance, it will push the f-stop to 4 or so. Not sure if that is typical of all macro lenses, however, I was little disappointed.

This is the “G” generation Nikkor lens which means it doesn’t have the physical aperture ring. The previous version of 60mm Micro, the “D” generation had the focus range limiter which prevents the lens from hunting for focus over the entire range. Nikon decided to ditch the limiter on the new AF-S G, so the lens hunts for focus quite a bit in some circumstances. But the new AF-S G has other features that was more important such as internal focusing (meaning the front of the lens stays fixed instead of moving in and out during focus), weather sealing, and internal focus motor (no more focus motor screw).

Other than the slow focus issue I am quite satisfied with the performance. The pictures are very sharp. It’s a decent performer when doing double duty as a medium tele portrait lens as well.

Nikkor 60mm Micro

Nikkor 60mm Micro

Nikkor 60mm Micro

Sample Shot:
Nikkor 60mm Micro sample shot

DIY Ghetto Microscope

These are the remains of my old point-and-shoot Canon A80 from years ago. The part creative and part goofiness in me just couldn’t let these go to waste. I had to do something with them. I recently read about people attaching Holga lenses to their DSLRs to have some good ‘ol Holga fun. It got me wondering what would happen if I mount a compact zoom lens on APS-C sensor cameras. I just had to find out.

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

This is the result of some fiddling around with Nikon body cap, a glue gun, and left over pieces of the Canon compact. Now that this little lens officially became a Nikon f-mount I can mount it on my Nikon or my Canon Xti with the EOS-Nikon adapter. It even zooms in and out. How sweet is that?

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

Here is the result.
It’s not looking terribly handsome. And one has to wonder why anyone would want to do such a thing.
SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

Here are the shots made with the silly frankenstein lens. The good news is that I can focus really close. I mean really close like 3/8 of an inch! It can almost serve as a cheap microscope. However, as you can see they aren’t terribly good looking. Also, at that focus distance you don’t get enough light between the subject and the front of the lens. So you’d need a tripod because you’ll be shooting really slow. Yes, the lens is crappy but fun. The same way go-carts are fun even if you drive a Bentley.
SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

The screw head on these are 2mm in diameter.
SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

SLR with Point and Shoot Lens!

Petri 4.5cm f/2.8… F-Mount!

Here’s another one of my goofy projects. I had couple of Petri 2.8 Color Corrected Super rangefinder cameras from the 1960s that I picked up for peanuts. One day, I had a strange urge to try and convert one of the lens from the Petri into a Nikon F-Mount.
The lens on this Petri rangefinder is fixed, by the way. So I had to perform a major surgery to the camera before I was able to separate the lens from the body. As much as I tried I wasn’t able to salvage the focusing mechanical bits. The shutter mechanism that’s built into the lens barrel had to be removed since I didn’t need it and it was in the way. I was surprised to find a 10-blade aperture diaphragm on this budget model. The glass wasn’t in great shape but shots came out clean and surprisingly sharp.



Petri 4.5cm f/2.8 converted to Nikon F-Mount (notice the 10-blade aperture diaphragm!)

Doesn’t look all that bad on the Nikon D90.



Petri 4.5cm f/2.8 on Nikon D90

Turn any lens into a Nikon F-Mount by using the Nikon body cap!



Petri 4.5cm f/2.8 converted using Nikon body cap

Sample shots with Petri lens (Samsung NX100 w/ F to NX adapter)



Sample shots with Petri lens (Nikon D90)



Konica AR Mount & Nikon F Mount

Here is the detailed look at both mounts; the Nikon F and the Konica AR. Bayonets on these are almost identical. Both have three tabs on the flange which are positioned almost exactly like the other. As a result, the AR-mount lens fits comfortably inside the Nikon F-mount. Once the flange sits nicely inside the camera mount, you need to turn the Konica AR lens in the opposite direction of how you’d normally mount a F-mount lens because of the way stoppers are situated.

The center top of the AR lens even ends up roughly in the center which is nice. You’re not going to hear the final ‘click’ as you mount. You somehow need to know instinctively when to stop turning. I stop as soon as I feel a hint of resistance. That’s when the top of the lens sits roughly in the center and the fit is firm enough to operate the lens and the camera. You DO NOT want to force rotate it more than you need to. You don’t want to find out what happens then.
Konica AR-mount on Nkion F-mount

Konica AR-mount on Nkion F-mount

And here it is on the Nikon D90. Of course, everything is manual and there is no focus to infinity. Also, unfortunately for the D90, there is no metering. But just look at that fit! And the Konica Hexanon is one darn good lens. Takes beautiful pictures and super crisp.
Konica AR-mount on Nkion F-mount

Example shot with Konica Hexanon 50mm monuted on Nikon D90
Konica AR-mount on Nkion F-mount

Another AR+F mount example: Vivitar MC 28mm Konica AR mount

*Please note: if you are attempting this fit, do it at your own risk. This particular combination has caused no damage to my Nikon but I’m not making any guarantees.