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A man of the cloth and the steel he wields

Fun with manual focus lenses of extreme power

I finally got my Nikon F to Canon EF adapter, and it works wonderfully. I played around with it a bit yesterday, learning the ins and outs of the two Nikon lenses I picked up and the macro adapter that came with them:

The 75-150mm lens is simply awesome. It’s a short range for telephoto, and a bit long for average situations (works out to 120-240mm in full-frame terms on this camera), but it is absolutely perfect for intimate “across the yard” shots of things that are outside of your “threat zone” like skittish animals. The push-pull focal length/focus ring is easy to work quickly to zoom in and focus – and I suspect with just a little practice I’ll be manually zoom-focusing just as fast as the auto-lenses can. It “feels right” to me, right off the bat, and with the camera locked in Av (aperture priority) mode, the camera lets me manually set the f-stops on the lens and automagically figures out the exposure time to match what the lens is set at when I push the shutter – no need to do stop-down metering:

IMG_0898 IMG_08982

The above shows two shots quickly squeezed off with me twisting the f-stop ring from full closed to full open between shots. The camera intelligently figured out the exposure time and gave two shots that only differ in depth of field focus. This is using the el-cheapo adapter that *does not* have the contacts and chipset that supposedly fools the camera into thinking that it has a compatible lens attached. I’m impressed!

What’s more impressive is what the 2x Macro adapter does with this particular 75-150mm lens. I actually have two “2x” adapters which I thought did the same thing, but the one marked “macro” actually does what it says: it magnifies the lens output by 2x, but also pulls the focus point much closer to the lens – from about 1 foot minimum down to 4-6 inches, for some pretty good close-up work:

Outside, natural light.

Outside, natural light.

Inside, with flash (it's a necktie)

Inside, with flash (it’s a necktie)

Inside, with a desk lamp, Swissa logo.

Inside, with a desk lamp, Swissa logo.

and that makes me very happy.

Unfortunately, when I moved the F-EF adapter over to the 500mm lens, I found out too late that the 500mm is actually an M42 mount lens with a Nikon adapter already on it. that M42-Nikon F adapter has a tiny locking pin that locked the F-EF adapter to it like a vise, and I can’t get them separated now. So I guess my F-EF adapter is now an M42-EF adapter, and I have to go order another F-EF adapter :P

But that’s OK. Using the bazooka-like 500mm lens is something that’s going to take a great deal of practice. Here’s a couple bad examples of what I was able to do with it:

Southwest plane, handheld shot with 500mm

Southwest plane, handheld shot with 500mm

Same plane, shot at a focal length that should help show how far away it is.

Same plane, shot at a focal length that should help show how far away it is.

a blurry, over-exposed pic of the moon. The camera doesn't guess exposure time right with high-contrast scenes, so I'll have to figure out how to force the exposure time setting, and probably pick up a remote shutter release dealy.

a blurry, over-exposed pic of the moon. The camera doesn’t guess exposure time right with high-contrast scenes, so I’ll have to figure out how to force the exposure time setting, and probably pick up a remote shutter release dealy if I want to take pics of stuff this far away.

So, after an hour or so of fiddling, I’m not taking really great pics with these two Nikon manual lenses and the macro adapter yet, but I’m learning a bit what they *can* do, and what I still need to learn. The extreme range of what these lenses will probably be able to do is quite exciting!

These lenses also show up the fact that my camera’s sensor is fairly dirty, showing as slightly darker blobs that are in the same places no matter what lens I use. That means I’ll have to visit an actual camera store to get it cleaned, which in turn means I’ll get exposed to the temptation of *accessories*. Lord help me.

Thrifting Report: I visited a thrift store that I rarely go to, the “Mesa Thrift” on Main Street, and found that they have a *whole shelf* of photography gear. 6 or 7 lenses, 2 full manual camera sets and miscellaneous filters and flashes. I bought out the few 52mm filters they had, including a weird “vari-color” filter that shifts from green to red depending on how you twist the setting ring, but the lens prices were a tad high, and they seemed to have mostly Canon “FD” mount lenses, which are weirdly one of the very few lenses that are difficult to adapt to the Canon EF-mount system. I passed ’em up.

Updated: June 18, 2013 — 11:20 am

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  1. Those are some impressive closeups and zooms.

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