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A Sonnet for my Sonnar

Zeiss is so nice….

'Couv' Camera

Several months back I bought a Zeiss 180/2.8 Sonnar in Y/C mount to use on my EOS SLRs and my M5. The lens is a bit on the chunky side and doesn’t have internal focus like its contemporary competitors, Nikon and Canon did. But it does have the magic, mystery, and quality of Carl Zeiss and that is nothing to scoff at.

You can find these Zeiss 180s for $300ish and they are well worth the cash. If you are patient you might find one online or at PhotoFair even less than that. I have heard of them selling under $200 every now and then. I think it is a fabulous lens. It is well made, and razor-sharp. I have heard some reports that suggest the Leica Elmarit 180/2.8 is better. That may be true, but you will not find one of those under $300 unless it is awful ugly…

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Fidgeting with Focal Length

New life and speed for old glass and new glass too….

'Couv' Camera

Last time I mentioned focal reducers and I thought I would go over them in detail this time round. Focal reducers are in essence the opposite of a tele-converter. Rather than increasing the effective focal length of a lens they decrease the effective focal length of the lens. How do they work and are they any good? Let’s find out.

First I want to start with tele-converters as they have been around in photography much longer. These are often referred to as “doublers” because the most common ones effectively doubled the focal length. I call it ‘effective’ because the lens focal length does not physically change. With a tele-converter the way the focal length is “doubled” is by having a lens assembly that crops away 75% of the image and then projects the remaining 25% in the center across the entire sensor or film. Because 75% is cropped away, the…

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I love those old Zeiss Lenses!

PhotoFair is a great place to find amazing old school glass that can be easily adapted to many of our modern digital cameras. Of course you can always should them with film too! I shot this pic of my wife’s dog Maggie, recently with my Zeiss Biotar in Exakta mount. I have an adapter for both my EOS SLRs (digital and film) as well as my M5 mirorless. That 65 year old lens still delivers some charm and character. Portland is coming up in September, on the 29th at the Jackson Armory and the Fall PhotoFair in Newark at the Pavilion is November 10th.

Sometimes these old lenses are really inexpensive, sometimes not, but this Zeiss Biotar is a lens that can be found for under a $100 in mid-grade condition. I actually got mine from Pacific Rim Camera who will be at the next PhotoFair in Portland!