Monthly Archives: August 2008

Juke Joint Jupiter June

And now, for Juke Joint Jupiter a certain 19th of June 2008 at Laundry Bar!

With Lady With Wings (with Andrea, Kingsley‘s ol’ bandmate.)

Rock, soul and a powerful voice.

Then came a band with an all-too-familiar lineup…

Prema Yin!

She is as always a Fitness First program on stage.

Joined by Eddy the organizer on blues harp.

And me? Joined by four Sony Alpha users! At the average gig, you’d see one Canon user, one Nikon user, and two Sony users (of which one is me, and the other is some guy I’d lend my Minolta 50mm F1.4 to.)

Julian Mokhtar! The otai blues shredder, licksman for The Blues Gang if you remember them. Various members of The Blues Gang have appeared on Juke Joint Jupiter but never together. What a bummer, eh?

At least Ito sings Apo Nak Dikato.

Obligatory drum shot.

Obligatory bassist shot.

The keyboardist shows us how to boogie!

Julian shows us how to lick some licks.

Ending the set was the Russell Curtis Quartet, who decided it was Stevie Wonder Tribute Night and so he belted powerful covers of Higher Ground, Signed Sealed Delivered, Lately, Goodbye, You Haven’t Done Nothin’ and I Wish.

Obligatory saxophone shot.

Hearing the musicality of Stevie made me realize how awesome he was. Some songs were familiar, and I didn’t know were by the funky Wonder which led me to investigate the song names.

17 to 35

Filler with the Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX.

It has good separation but poor rendition of contrasty out-of-focus highlights especially with trees.

Good color, albeit with traces of Sigma yellow. (And this is at 2500K mind you.) Patrick took this picture!

50cm minimum focus distance can be annoyingly far, but this lens harked back to film days. The later Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX DG was fixed for digital sensors and didn’t produce internal flare. Then again, internal flare is a rare occurence to me and where I shoot.



With a 2x teleconverter to make 70mm F8.0. I like the stippled bokeh effect.

This is, unfortunately, the only zoom lens I have in the ‘standard’ range – the other is the Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8. The 17-35mm, being a ultra wide-angle lens on full-frame, is chunky and rather big to be a everyday lens.

Many a time I wished I had a APS-C lens like the Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 DT or the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8. Of course, my cash is prioritized to other ranges so this won’t get replaced all too soon. Kinda like how I had the Sony 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 DT kit lens for a very long time, since it wasn’t in a critical range – I’d want something wide to normal and normal to tele instead. Based on this philosophy, my ideal APS-C range would have the Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5, Sony 35mm F1.4G and Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 EX DG II HSM or Sony 24-105mm F3.5-4.5. I could shoot with just one lens each day and not feel like I wish I brought the other lens!

Oh and Alphanatics is up! I should mention it since the Sony Alpha 9th August 2008 seminar… which also launched the site, of which I am one of the site admins.

West Side TT

Now, for more shots from that Kg. Pandan Teh Tarik session to welcome East Sider kysham!

Testing his Tokina 28-70mm F2.8 at 50mm F2.8. Amazingly sharp!

Same lens, 70mm F2.8.

However, nothing was as beautiful as his handsome Vivitar 135mm F2.8 M42 lens.

Crisp as heck.

Then came a special hotshoe attachment…

An add-on torchlight with the White Torchlight (or more commonly known as the Minolta 200mm F2.8G HS APO.)

Passport mana?

And then, on to the lens that I previously asked you guys to guess.

Scorchingly sharp wide open and surprisingly free of spherical aberration.

That’s right – the Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm F1.2.

It Don’t Matter If You’re Black Or White

Shots from the Minolta Dynax 7, with Kodak BW 400 CN C-41 black-and-white film. None edited for levels or anything!

Gotta love the subtle tonality. 17mm F2.8 on full-frame!

Same, 17mm F2.8 also. Keeps a fair bit of tone despite the high contrast!

Vivitar 24mm F2.0 DIY Tilt-Shift.

Sony 20mm F2.8.

Sony 28mm F2.8.

8 multiple exposures… should’ve kept it at 4 for simplicity.

And we cut to the teh tarik session for East Sider kysham!

17mm F8. Click for big version.

Minolta 24-85mm F3.5-4.5 at 50mm F4.5. Yes, that’s the Minolta 200mm F2.8G HS APO “White Torchlight” in the picture.

Tokina 20-35mm F3.5-4.5 at 20mm F3.5.

And this, this was from a most beautiful lens indeed.

No prizes for guessing since so many people were there to see it heh.

Gotta love how the light falloff happens! It’s amazingly sharp at the point of focus even wide open. Click for big version.

It’s A Zeiss!

And now, to document my latest addition – the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm F2.4 MC M42 lens!

It only has the DDR coating, but I pimped it with a Sony Carl Zeiss T* MC Protector 49mm filter.

This makes my primes a whopping quintet.

From left, back row: Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye in M42, Vivitar 24mm F2.0 DIY Tilt-Shift, Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm F2.4, Industar 61L/Z 50mm F2.8 in M42, Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original.

From left, front row: Tamron 1.4x teleconverter, Kenko 1.5x teleconverter, Kenko 2x teleconverter, Tamron 2x teleconverter (with broken screw-drive, that aids manual focusing.)

That makes this a possibility: Tamron 200-400mm F5.6, Tamron 2x, Kenko 1.5x, Kenko 2x, Minolta Dynax 7. The Kenko 2x and Tamron 1.4x are strangely particular as they have a notch in front which disallows teleconverters from being put in front, which is why only one of them can be behind the lens. This combination makes a 400mm + 2x + 1.5x + 2x = 2400mm F32 lens, or 3600mm-like view in APS-C.

Oh yes, and my zoom lineup from left to right: Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX, Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8, Sigma 70-210mm F4-5.6, Cosina 70-210mm F2.8-4 1:2.5x Macro, Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan, Tamron 200-400mm F5.6.

The Sony CZ MC Protector has sweet packaging!

Complete with a spring-loaded case.

And now, for some flare tests. Left to right: Toshiba Skylight SL-1A, Hoya HMC UV(N) (cheapo one), Sony Carl Zeiss T* MC Protector, all in 49mm filter thread size.

The Toshiba fares worst, with ghosting and flare; the Hoya does well with ghosting (reduced green inverted image of the flash) but keeps some flare; the CZ is examplary with flare and keeping contrast but keeps some ghosting. All tested with the flare-ful Minolta 50mm F1.4.

I also tried once against the Hoya Pro1D but that wasn’t conclusive as it was a 55mm one whenever I held the filter in front of the lens, the angle I was holding it at, changed quite a bit… and that little change can introduce flare. So to be fair I’d have to test again with a tripod!

Anyway, what I like about the Flektogon, as I’ll now refer to it, is how close you can get to anything! A record-breaking 19cm! That’s something no auto-focus lens does.

All the Carl Zeiss Flektogons were noted for close-range focus. Heck, Carl Zeiss is still doing close focus in fashion – the Sony Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8 ZA for Sony/Minolta mount does 72cm close!

The Canon 135mm F2.0L USM does only 90cm close. Their 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM also does 1.5 meters close (and so does the Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 VR) while the Minolta and Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM does 1.2 meters close! The Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan does 1.1 meters close, while the Tamron and Sony 55-200mm F4-5.6 DT do 95cm close.

Why does the minimum focus distance matter when none are any substitute for a true macro lens?

Because you can use it in really tight spaces. 1.2 meters means you don’t have to get out of your seat to shoot somebody sitting at the same small table. 1.5 meters forces you to.

Maximum magnification is 2.29x (55mm/24mm APS-C frame size). These tests should be shot wide open.

Speaking of which, I got the Flektogon for real cheap because it had a broken aperture ring which was loose and didn’t change the aperture. The M/A switch was also loose, and so was the pin.

One of my very first shots, with Eiraku, who was buying a Volna-9 50mm F2.8 from the same seller. Note the blue fringing, which is the only optical weakness of this lens.

35mm on APS-C is like the lovely 50mm on full-frame – neither wide nor tele, and very natural to our eyes.

You could just point at anything you see and the 35mm would frame it nicely.

Another plus or minus point of the Flektogon was that it was typical Zeiss – overcontrasty, with a tendency to burn mids and overexpose highlights in out-of-focus areas. Note the white shirt.

And now, for some comparisons of close-up range power…

…and more.

Yes, the last example came out of this whopper. The extension tubes in the middle made it easy to hold like some sort of lightsaber.

50mm primes from left to right: Volna-9 50mm F2.8, Industar 61L/Z 50mm F2.8, Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original, Minolta 50mm F1.7 Re-Styled.

The Volna-9 and Industar 61L/Z share the same star-shaped iris between F5.6-8.

And one more, from the front.

My favorite shot from the Flektogon. There’s just a certain 3D-ness about it, and it renders flare very pleasingly (this was without a filter when I just got it.)

Click here for a large, large version. Click already, dammit!