Monday, 27 December 2010

Pentacon Prakticar lenses (Part 2: 70-210mm f/4-5.6)

This is the second of my Prakticar lenses, it is a pretty good, little telezoom.
It's a push/pull zoom-type, meaning that you grab the front of the lens and push or pull it away or towards the camera and focus by turning the same ring, this makes it very easy to zoom very quickly and allows you to zoom and focus simultaneously.

It is reasonably fast for the focal length, which makes it a little easier to get a sharp picture with little or no camera shake, even without a tripod.
I do prefer to use a tripod though as this completely eliminates the camera shake.
As the flange focal distance (More info) of a Praktica PB mount camera is 44.60mm and the distance of my Canon EF(S) mount is 44.00mm, it isn't possible to get an adapter that is thin enough to focus to infinity.

Praktica PB to Canon EF adapter

Praktica PB to Canon EF adapter.
This means that this lens will only focus to a couple of hundred meters at F70 and a few kilometers at F210, this can be counter measured to some extent, by changing the aperture to f/22 to increase the depth of field, but this isn't great for action shots or handheld shots.
This is a general problem with Prakticar lenses on a Canon camera, but if you can live with it and work around it, you can get really cheap lenses that have a rather good optical quality.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Late Night Photography

So how do you get a great photo when there isn't enough light to see with the naked eye?
Slow shutter speed!
It takes a lot of patience and determination to snap photos at night, it can take as long as 20 minutes just to snap one picture, and you have no way of knowing how it's turned out until after the camera is done processing.
But if you can take a night out of your schedule, you can get some very different shots, compared to taking pictures in the daylight.
Shot with Canon EOS 1000D with a Canon EF 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

 Although it was not completely dark when I snapped this shot, it still required a pretty long exposure time of 10 seconds and an aperture of f/8.
I did make a mistake on this photo, I had the ISO-speed set on 'Auto' and this meant that the camera snapped the photo at ISO 400, it should have been ISO 100, this would have given a slightly sharper image.

Canon EOS 1000D with Canon EF 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6



This photo was quite difficult to get right and took a few tries. It was almost completely dark, which meant the auto focus wouldn't work and the manual focus on my Canon lens isn't all that great.
But after about 4 failed shots I finally got one that was acceptable, it isn't quite perfect, but since it's my first attempt at night shots, it worked out pretty good.
Picture specs:
Aperture: f/10
Shutter speed: 226 seconds
ISO-Speed: ISO 100

As mentioned this was my first attempt, I will post some better shots when I get better at night shots.
So it was really cold tonight and I went out with the camera and tried another nightshot, I regret that; I ended up being there for an hour, and i couldn't feel any part of my body when I got home, but I got a pretty good shot of Viborg Domkirke (cathedral).
Canon EOS 1000D with Canon EF 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Picture Specs:
Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 120 seconds
ISO-speed: ISO 100  

Monday, 20 December 2010

Pentacon Prakticar lenses (Part 1: 50mm f/1.8)

Recently I purchased a couple of lenses of eBay, these are lenses from the old German Democratic Republic (DDR).
Some people might be sceptical towards this, as the lenses are between 20 and 30 years old, but I figured I'd give it a try, since the lenses weren't that expensive and I've heard good things about optics from the DDR.
And so far I've been quite impressed by the performance of the kit, obviously they don't support autofocus on a modern DSLR (in my case a Canon EOS 1000D), but they are pretty nifty if you know how to focus manually, besides the focusing is much nicer than on my Canon kit-lens, as the focus-ring is very loose on the Canon.
My favourite of the three I've bought is the Pentacon Prakticar 50mm f/1.8:
It gives really nice and crisp images, and the aperture of the lens makes it really easy to be artistic with the camera.
Prakticar 50mm f/1.8

 I love using all-manual lenses, it's real back-to-basics shooting, with all the modern technology in cameras nowadays, people tend to forget to take a moment to think before they pull the trigger.
Working with all-manual lenses, you can't go around taking point-and-shoot pictures, it takes more thought and consideration with regards to the composition of the image, and ultimately I think it gives a greater quality photo.

In the upcoming weeks I will be posting reviews of the other Prakticar lenses aswel as some pictures taken with them.

Water Droplets

I have been trying out my new Pentacon Prakticar 50mm lens, and since it's a really fast lens, I figured I'd try some shots of water droplets.
I also did some photos with my Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens, just to try both.
It was much more difficult with the Canon lens as the manual focus ring on it isn't all that great.


It's a matter of taste, if you like the very crisp and clear picture taken with the Canon or the more artistic picture taken with the Prakticar, but that's the reason I have more than one lens.