May 08 2013

My First Japanese

Category: UncategorizedRandall Kelley @ 23:21

Lens, that is. Kuroki Masana tea. Chrome gold. (Sung to the tune of The Beverly Hill Billies). Got a nice clean copy of the Canon Serenar 85mm f/2 lens today. Circa 1948-1951. They say this was designed by Kuroki Masana, and I must say, if it was him, he was definitely some sort of demented genius. This is not only the first Japanese lens I’ve used, but the first that is actually a better performer wide open than stopped down. I am posting a rather large set of test shots from this afternoon, well captioned to give an idea what I was looking at. Several of the pictures have separate “crops” posted after them so you don’t have to zoom in to see the results. However, all are posted at 100% size and if you want to have some photo nut fun, click on the “O” (for original” size) setting and look around. This lens is about the second cheapest lens I’ve bought. It is also about as good on bokeh as ANY I’ve bought. And it is way above competent on the sharpness front.

That said, there are issues that would keep it from ever being a favorite of mine. First, of course, is my tendency to shoot wides, not longs. Second is size and weight. And lastly there is the strange handling of the lens. The aperture ring rotates with the lens, and while I have other lenses that do this, this one takes almost a full rotation of the barrel to go from infinity to closest focus (about 3 feet). So as the aperture setting is on top at infinity, it is almost on bottom at close focus. In addition, there are no click stops to aperture, which is nice in some ways, but allows it to be “bumped” easily. It will definitely take some getting used to.

This set has none of the ideal test subjects for this lens, portraits. I’ll be toting it to Portland this weekend, and if I can get the grandkids to cooperate, I will get a chance to give that a go at that time. I’ll also give it a run in color on the M9-P to see how that shakes out at that time. In the mean time, if you aren’t a photo buff, you might want to skim these, I got some good flowers and did a bit better on the white birds as I was heavily chimping today. And if you ARE a photo phreak, have fun, zoom in for even more fun. The full set is POSTED HERE.

And a bit of flare!

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