I've really lacked the motivation lately to do anything in regards to this blog. Kindof a bummer, but there's just been too much stuff going on with school lately, some personal stuff that's been beating me to shit, and just a general lack of anything idea-wise I suppose.
22 February 2010
I guess I need to do some recapping of my photographic life, starting with I guess long before Christmas.
I ended up buying the MB10 for my F100. I can't express enough how awesome it is to have and how balanced the camera feels now, especially with huge lenses. I could care less about the .5fps increase I got in sequence shooting, it's hardly relevant. Mostly, the vertical grip is the huge factor in this equation. I've been getting a much more stable feeling from the camera&grip combo than I have been from shooting without it. the integrated AF-On button is nice, but I shoot with manual primes so it's lost on me for the moment. The shutter lock switch is also nice, and not hard to use at all. There is one problem though, and that's that the grip takes six AAs. I would have much preferred 8, and now I have to keep track of my NiMHs that I put through the grip so I can keep them together and conditioned well when I charge them. I'm using 200mAH Eneloops but I think once I snag a better charger, I'll be switching to something with a bit more capacity. Amazon.com has a ton of options and the Strobist group on flickr is a gold mine of information regarding rechargeable AAs. I haven't been using any in my strobes since I haven't been using them much and the batteries in em are fresh enough. The MB10 is here to stay and it's definitely high on my list of recommendations for any camera that can accept a vertical grip.
I ordered the grip from KEH along with a power winder for my Pentax ME. The winder was an off brand, I think the P1, and it's a load of horse shit. very inconsistent winding. It also fucks with the metering in a big way. for shots under ~1/60s, the winder would trip the shutter and keep it open for about 10 seconds. definitely not good, and not a nice way to waste an entire roll of Velvia. I threw that shit away as soon as I got the Pentax replacement. The bummer is that the Pentax winder feels very plasticy and there's not much leatherette at all on the piece, but it winds consistently and doesn't fuck with the meter, and that's quite a bit more important to me. it feels solid and I don't think I'll be parting with it any time soon.
Also from KEH: the Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED Ai-S. That's a mouthful. and it's a fucking honkin' lens, too. BGN quality and for $150. a scratch on the front element and a few dings but it's in great shape otherwise, considering it's a lens a PJ was probably banging against everything else in his bag. The scratch doesn't affect image quality at all, at least not in any way I can discern from high res scans of slides. It's a problem when shooting into bright, direct light, but if you fiddle around with the camera angle you can control where the flare lands and can even completely hide it in details in the image. Not something I'm worried about, especially with the integrated sliding lens hood. The focusing ring goes past infinity, which was a PITA at first but now it's second nature for me to rack it back a few degrees of rotation to nail focus. I'm not normally shooting at infinity either, so I haven't found it to be an issue worth trying to find a replacement for. One more thing, this lens is HEAVY. At 880g, it's heavier than a D300, and its probably more than a foot long when focused at closest distance. the lens hood adds about 3" to the length too, but doesn't change how the weight is distributed. it balances decently well with the F100 + MB10 combo, but it will start to hurt the neck after a few hours of walking around. I don't mind it so much, but I know some people will.
The 180/2.8 ED is a SHARP lens. maybe the sharpest I own. I don't look at MTF charts, nor do I care what they have to say. I know my lens is sharp as hell and could give my Zuiko 35mm/3.5 Macro a run for it's money. Actually, I would have to say that my Zuiko would give this Nikkor a run for it's money, considering the Nikkor was about a grand brand new and the Zuiko is a $200 basic lens. But I digress. The point is, it's a sharp lens and you can check my flickr for examples. I should have a ton up in the coming days, all using this lens. Here's an example to keep you happy. More on the weirdness at the bottom in an upcoming post.
Overall, the Nikkor is an awesome lens. Would I trade it for a 70-200/2.8 VR II? fuck yes. in an instant, provided it was a straight trade. but for my purposes? the 180 can't be beat for the price.
I also picked up a Takumar bayonet 135mm f/2.5 for the ME while I was at it. for 50 bucks, I couldn't pass it up. I think the 135mm focal length is more ideal than the 180 for the bulk of the work that I do, but the 180 just sings so nice I'm definitely not ready to get rid of it. However, back to the Takumar. It's single coated I believe, so it's more prone to flare than the SMC versions of pentax lenses, which are also about $100 more for this lens. There's an integrated sliding lens hood so, again, I'm not worried. I really don't use my pentax enough and I really should since it's a sweet camera, especially with the working winder. I wish I had some samples with this lens but I don't think I've even gotten through a whole roll of film with it. I'm taking it out later today so hopefully I can burn some film and get some results soon. Will probably update my progress with it with a different post instead of updating this one.
KEH was awesome about shipping everything, and I hope that everyone helps keep them in business because I cannot stress enough how important the used gear market is to those of us who still shoot with film and old cameras.
New post again soon, I promise. A lot has happened photographically on my end and I'll be chronicling it if not for my own purposes but hopefully to get some traffic here. Might be updating this with another post as well for more in depth reviews of new gear.
adios for now.
Currently studying at SFSU as a Japanese Major/International Business Minor. I shoot Nikon/Fuji for film and Olympus/Electrons for digital. Drop me a line at flickr.com/photos/mathewm if you've got any questions. I am also @twitter. This blog © Mathew McGee