Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lenses, cameras, and photo equipment 2

[Continued from Part 1.]


Nikon D700, 3:2 aspect ratio,: {WARNING: NEVER MOUNT OR USE AN OLD ELECTRONIC FLASH DIRECTLY ON A DIGITAL CAMERA - these were for manual cameras that just had a mechanical switch to trigger the flash and use high voltage flash triggering that will fry transistors - (but there is a Wein SSH Safe-Sync Voltage Regulator to make this use safe for the digital camera that for example is needed with the Novatron studio flash units)}; Announced July 1, 2008, a big hit, the #1 best-loved camera of the digital era, "one of the best cameras Nikon ever released", Nikon end of life July 2013 (NPS lifespan, i.e. date no longer to be recognized by Nikon Professional Services), the ideal camera for manual focus lens aficionados!, "The much-beloved 2008-2011 Nikon D700", the photojournalist's dream tool, introduced in 2008 based on the 2007 D3 technology and still has Nikon's top-of-the-line Multi-CAM 3500 AF module, prefer the Nikon colors over Canon, a camera with special rendering - fat pixels and great colors, the D700 is still king for nailing the shot with both AF speed/accuracy and frame-rate whereas the D610/D800 only gives you one or the other, the best DSLR for manual focus, in real world use there is no way in heaven or hell that the D800 is a replacement for the D700, "all the real pros are out shooting their crusty old D700's", 12 megapixel files are plenty for the vast majority of us, reliability and quality, the best skin tones, D700 vs. D600 - comparing a Porsche to a VW - handling the D600 felt like a toy against predecessor D700, the color is better than the D810 which lets more light through its sensor's color filter array at the expense of loosing color differentiation, you need to go beyond about 30 print size to see the advantage of the D800E over the D700, the D700 has strong anti-aliasing filtering making it a lot more problematic to determine exact manual focus than on the D810 or D7100 for example, the D810 has a similar control layout while the D610/D7200 does not, great for high iso, wide angle, and shallow depth of field, an SLR is not really suitable for street photography - too big, heavy and noisy, Sony NC81338L sensor size is 35mm (24 x 36mm) - which used to be called "miniature" when it was a film format, and 12.1 megapixels, a fantastic camera with all the megapixels you'll ever need in the real world, photo sites are about 8.45, flash sync at 1/320s, a sweet spot of sufficiency with forgivingness in technique and lenses, menu option [d9] called "Exposure delay mode" that works in normal viewfinder mode as well as in liveview that has the mirror flip up immediately with the shutter firing after a 1 second delay, chipped lenses are capable of trap focus (but not on D800), for action photography the D700 is much better than the D800, the D700 does not give the inconsistent autofocus that's been in the D800.

Nikon DR-5 21mm thread Right Angle Finder 1x, 2x for F4, D700, will fit all Nikon SLR film cameras with a rectangular viewing eyepiece and the Nikon D700 and Nikon D2-series and Nikon D3-series; always turn it clockwise when changing orientation so it doesn't unscrew and fall off - don't turn anything counterclockwise until it's time to take it off the camera.

Zacuto Z-Finder 3x Optical Viewfinder (Schneider optics) for 3" LCD, use magnified live view and a magnifier loupe when manual focusing - if you don't do that it won't really make a difference how much you spend on lenses {CAUTION: - Remember to close the viewfinder eyepiece shutter when you mount the Z-Finder to use live view!}

Metabones Nikon F Lens to Sony NEX E mount Adapter II extension tube, Black, made of brass so heavier than Novoflex adapter, a great choice. As the first fullframe mirrorless cameras, Sony's A7 and A7R are the only cameras that allow you to use virtually every make of 35mm lenses with the full angle of view for which those lenses were designed, Sony FE mount uses a 18mm flange distance to sensor, The E-mount throat is actually 2mm larger in inner diameter than the Nikon F-mount and the Leica M-mount, Sony clearly had the A7r in mind for 'adapter adopters', Both camera-side and lens-side of the adapter are made of brass, precision-machined and plated with chromium. Satin surface finish - just like your OEM lens and camera mounts. Precise fit and solid connection - lens has no play, gap or wiggling when mounted on adapter and no adjustments are required to fit your lens. Designed to reach infinity focus while maintaining the correct registration distance required to maintain optical quality of CRC lenses or lenses with floating elements, Inside is a matte-black finish that effectively keeps internal reflections to a minimum. Weight 5.6oz. {adaptors can degrade image quality by introducing two more mount surfaces with possible skew and planarity issues - would stick to reputable brands - Novoflex and Metabones have proven reasonably consistent so far - test the lens and body combination to ensure there are no strange effects - lens can sing on its native body but be very soft using an adapter} {Sony E has 18mm flange distance, Nikon 46.5mm, thus an adapter should be 28.5mm long, Most adapters are 28mm which is 0.5mm too short to ensure infinity focus is possible but bad for floating element lenses and causes the marked focus distance on the lens to be wrong increasingly so the more wide angle the lens, except for the Kipon adapters that are the correct 28.5mm length.}

Voigtlander Kontur Finder for 6x6cm square format with case, intended for the 6x6 medium format with 75-80mm lenses on folding 120 cameras.
Voigtlander Kontur Finder 335/82 from 1952 for 6x9cm (2 1/4" x 3 3/4") format for the medium format Bessa I and II.
Voigtlnder Kontur [50mm focal length] View Finder 24x36 35mm (refers to 35mm format, not lens focal length), Kontursucher Model 335/23, originally intended for the 35mm Voigtlnder cameras from the 1950's (like Vitessa, Prominent, Vito, etc.), also works with a normal lens with 6x9cm medium format, eye-level framing device, the bright line seen by one eye seems to float inside the image viewed by the other eye, an accessory viewfinder for the camera's accessory shoe - Sight the subject with both eyes open, quicker sighting of moving subjects and clearer presentation of pictorial scenes, its field of view is equivalent to a 50mm (i.e. "normal") lens on the 35mm film format, excellent in use, works much better than one would expect, outstanding in low light, favorite, love it, works well, neat little piece of equipment, works just as well as conventional accessory viewfinders, can't live without my kontur finder - best even in low light conditions, very unusual brightline sports finder used with both eyes open which shows the superimposed 50mm frameline for a 50mm lens instead of the image with virtually unlimited peripheral vision, focus nondominant eye on the reticle, reticle has a small alignment dot in the center to induce your eye to focus on it, your brain will superimpose framelines with the image your other eye sees (so it is 1:1 finder), extremely useful for following moving subjects, framelines are quite bright and remain visible well past the point at which you can comfortably handhold a camera, works equally well whether the subject is in brilliant sunshine or in deep shadow, particularly suitable for spectacle wearers, huge amount of eye relief - about an inch from your glasses, the Kontur is simply a black slide with frosted translucent framelines in it on the front, and a convex lens (loupe) for your eye to focus on it - it's just a little box with a slide and a magnifier, with some experience you should be able to use the Kontur to frame almost any focal length by mentally adjusting for the smaller or larger field of view, if used on a camera with 1.5x crop its field of view will correspond to 50 mm/1.5=33 mm actual focal length, can be used as a work-around when an infrared-pass filter that is opaque to visible light prevents through the lens viewing; Excerpt of a Voigtlnder brochure about the Kontur:
"Keep both eyes open while sighting the subject. The eye watching the subject directly will see it in its natural size and brightness, while the eye looking into the finder sees the frame outlining the picture area. You will see the two separate impressions as one single picture in your normal field of view. A dotted line indicates the parallax error with close-ups from 3.3 to 6.6 feet. Caution: never allow direct sunlight to reach the eye-piece of the finder." - BINOCA CO. made an "Aim No. 1" metal body version of this viewfinder.

Voigtlander Double-Shoe adapter for mounting accessories such as finders and meters, Rare & as a result, very expensive ... very, very hard to find now. [Type A double shoe with 4mm rise for Bessa, Leica M and Leica Screw Mount cameras; Type B with 7 mm rise, works
with the Bessa T or Nikon Rangefinders etc. but will also work well with flat topped cameras like the Leica screw mounts and the Leica M's, Bessa R, R2, R2S, R2C; Type C with 10mm rise]; Voigtlnder doppelschuh Double Accessory Shoe "A" (4mm rise for Leica), 51 mm long by 20 mm wide, no hot shoes, [The mount height of the B & C shoes is 7 & 10mm respectively.]

Nikon D7000 DSLR Dx Camera: {6 clicks to get to 100% enlargement, or all the way with 8 clicks to 400% then minify 2 clicks} {WARNING: A long and heavy lens must always be supported to prevent its torque from ripping the lens mount right off this camera where the metal lens mount is screwed into the plastic camera body front.} - {TIP: - The D7000's phase autofocus module is overly sensitive to IR so may backfocus especially with incandescent or very red light (WB temperatures below 3500K) and when using a lens with significant longitudinal chromatic aberration such as a fast short prime, A visual bandpass lens front filter that blocks infrared may prevent the backfocus.} - {TIP: excellent autofocus provided spot AF-C and lock-on A3 normal or shorter; Center single-point with AF-C dynamic mode - see D7000 manual page 95.} - {TIP: - To achieve more reliable autofocus: Set AF mode to AF-C; a1 AF-C priority set to Focus (this is very important!); a3 Set to OFF; a6 Number of focus points = 39; f5 Assign AEL/AFL button to AF lock only; use 1 point for static objects, 9 points for slow or predictable direction moving subjects, and 21 points for erratic moving subjects (like hummingbirds) that only fill a small portion of the scene - With this AF set-up keep your shutter button half pressed so the lens continuously adjusts focus until you actually fully depress the shutter - Focus and re-compose is accomplished by pushing and holding down the AFL button after subject focus is achieved.} - Nikon's Best DX Camera hands down, lots of complaints about problematic autofocus - mis-focusing (completely unusable or unreliable AF; "NEVER satisfied with the autofocus - lots of back and front focus problems - totally unstable - Nikon never managed to fix it"; hit rate below 50%; inconsistency - the variation in focus is alarming) with others finding AF to be reliable if not as good as Nikon D300s or D700, autofocus is rubbish, sensor size is APS-C (23.6 x 15.7mm), and 16.2MP, photo sites are about 4.8, to obtain all the gain that such a high resolution sensor implies requires lenses that resolve somewhere near 100 lp/mm, a magnificent camera - the best camera for DX ever made, clearly Nikon's best-handling DSLR of all time, light fall-off, distortion and corner sharpness will be less problematic when the lenses are used on DX format cameras, the dynamic range of the D7000 at base ISO (together with that of the Pentax K-5) trumps every other digital camera on the market whatever the format (1 2/3rd stop DR advantage over the D700 at base ISO), an excellent macro and landscape detail camera when used at ISO 100 on a tripod at the optimal aperture of the lens and focused using live view the results are fabulous, at ISO 100 I love it - it's fantastic - but wouldn't want to shoot anything with it at higher than ISO 400, D7000 with higher megapixel count needs better glass and faster shutter speeds - remember shutter ranges for mirror slap - remember to turn off VR when shutter speed exceeds 1/500 - expose to the right - post process out blown red channel - shoot in RAW - use a grey card for WB - and hold the camera very steady or use a tripod, has a strong tendency to pick background elements as targets for focus so you have to be especially careful where you put the AF area, smaller pixels shows camera-shake better so handholding is more challenging unless using an extra stop of shutter speed, Q (quiet mode) almost eliminates mirror slap.

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster Large, Black, AA1900.

Visible Dust BriteVue Sensor Loupe 7x.

Nikon Lens Pen Cleaner, 7072, synthetic bristle brush and chamois pad impregnated with carbon black.

Kinetronics KSSGL SpeckGRABBER with Light Pro Kit - kit containing tools and products for capturing dust and dirt cleaning optics, plastics CCDs - AAA battery - Speck GRABBER Tips x3 - Supplies needed for Cleaning the Tips (One-ounce Spray Bottle of Precision Cleaning Solution and a 10" x 18" Anti-Static MPC-BP Panther Cloth) with Sturdy Storage Box.

3M Microfiber Electronics Cloth gray 12.5x14in. used to clean, remove dust and protect equipment from getting scratched in camera bags - machine wash separately as needed - hot water safe - chlorine bleach safe - dryer safe through hundreds of uses - {WARNING: DO NOT USE DRYER SHEETS.}

HOZAN JIS Screwdriver Set (4 drivers: D-130-75 (JIS +00), D-140-100 (JIS +0), D-150-100 (JIS +1) and D-155-100 (JIS +2)), Japanese Industrial Standard Philips tips are slightly different than those typically found in the U.S., the Hozan D-140-100 is the larger driver needed most commonly for Nikon lens mount crosspoint screws.

"Why settle for a Camera, when you can have a Nikon?"
Nikon D40 6.1 Megapixel Digital SLR Camera, model 25420B [UV capable without modification; can shoot Infrared with no mods with only a filter], introduced November 2006, the colors coming out of that CCD sensor still wins over the newer CMOS sensors, works off the shelf unmodified for #ultraviolet photography.

Nikon D3200 black, introduced 2012, 24MP DX high resolution CMOS sensor without optical low-pass filter, ISO 100-6400, 3" LCD screen, Full HD 1080p30 video, Live View, 11 point autofocus, 4 fps continuous shooting, EN-EL14 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, MH-24 Quick Charger.

Fujifilm IS Pro multispectral digital camera Body Only with Pro Body Kit, 6.17 Megapixels (12.3 MP dual diode for exceptional extended dynamic range) Digital SLR UVIR (#Ultraviolet/Infrared/Visible CCD - approx. 380nm-1000nm) Camera with Nikon F Lens Mount, introduced July 2007 based on the FinePix S5 Pro DSLR - the king of dynamic range - which is itself based on rugged Nikon D200 mechanicals, effectively a Nikon D200 with different sensor tech, the ultimate forensic system, gorgeous color reproduction - the now classic Fuji S5 Pro with their own unique sensor had the best Fuji color ever - the best skin colors out of all cameras - probably the most film like color rendering - awesome colors and dynamic range, Fuji's color palettes are strongly optimized for people at the expense of colors for photos of things, Fuji S5 Pro is a cameras with special rendering - a Nikon D200 body with a beautiful Fuji sensor - puts out perfect JPEGs with amazing color, the colors using a UV/IR cut filter are really something unique compared to the D200, use it with a UV/IR cut filter for casual shooting - lovely skin tones and colors from this CCD sensor - the unusual pixel array probably delivers the equivalent of an 8MP sensor, SuperCCD sensor (regular CCD's are notoriously dynamic range limited sensor tech) has two sizes of cells with both types of cells giving 6 mpix 14-bit output so sensor is theoretical 12 mpix but in reality its much better to take it as a high dynamic range 6 mpix APS-C camera - RAW file actually contains two RAWs one from each cell type with different exposures that Adobe Camera Raw knows how to process so you can expect pretty good dynamic range in final file, can blow the highlights up to 5-6 stops and still made an acceptable recovery in postprocessing, lifting shadows is a problem due to noise but you can simply expose for what you want exposed and not worry about easily recovered highlights, unsurpassed on highlights and mid tones - wonderful smoothness and subtelty in tones and hues - differenciates color hues better than most modern CMOS cameras, most modern cameras have big reserves in the shadows (are ISOless) whereas the Fuji has it only in the highlights, a whole set of 6 MP is 2EV less sensitive, and it only contributes to the light parts of the image and can be blended in gradually from zero to full. The results have an incredible malleable highlight curve and a smoothness that no other digital camera shows, useful S5 ISO is 100-800, used S5 Pro all the time at up to ISO1600 without issue, at base ISO to 400 much prefer color over the Nikon D700 - the colors are without compare, the S5 is the best DSLR (maybe even today [2014]) for color reproduction and most pleasing out of camera JPEGs, the S5 has an undeniable cult status today, a great camera - its white balance is way better than the Nikon D800, exceptional dynamic range with better ability to recover highlights from overexposure than the Nikon D800E, prefer S5 to Nikon D7000, the S5 colors are without compare, the standard for reflected UV and near-infrared imaging with a Digital SLR camera, iTTL flash compatible, has LiveView with a 30sec limit, "hardware" HDR, dynamic range is really incredible, older CCD technology has color renditions that some prefer - for example older and now-discontinued Fuji DSLR bodies with Nikon lenses have a cult following, to frame and manually focus use the Live View feature - half-press the shutter to wake up the camera then press and hold DISP/BACK, remember that the longer wavelengths mean that diffraction effects start at wider apertures than visible light so not worth stopping down below about f/8 for IR because the loss of sharpness offsets the increased depth of field, Mfr. Part #600006595, Fujifilm tech support is 800/800-3854, Fujifilm Factory Service: Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. , 1100 King George Post Rd., Edison, NJ 08837, Attn.: Repair Dept., (800) 659-3854 (x3461), Fax: (732) 857-3471 or (732) 857-3472. Fuji has a fantastic live help line at 800/659-3854; The human eye can actually see dimly out to ~800nm or so, Infrared photography properly begins around 715nm, with the range of 715-760nm affording "false color": the R/G/B photosites respond differently to infrared light (differential transmission). Starting around 760nm, all of the R/G/B photosites go transparent to infrared, thus the image becomes pure monochrome (the photosites all see the same luminance).

Baader CCD "Venus II" Ultraviolet-pass (visible/infrared block) Interference Filter 2" BPU2 #2458291: {FILTER GLASS HAS BEEN REVERSED IN ITS MOUNT SO IT IS NOW CORRECTLY CONFIGURED FOR USE SCREWED INTO THE FRONT OF A PHOTOGRAPHIC LENS, i.e. now just like any other typical camera filter, and no longer oriented backwards like a telescope filter which is how it was originally manufactured} passes UV 320-400nm, a UV-A only filter (near-UV), with a peak transmission of 80%, completely blocks the rest of 200-1500nm using a complex 20 layer dielectric coating stack on top of a special optically polished UG-11 substrate, ultraviolet bandpass 320-390nm and will effectively block all else spanning 200-1120 nm with highly efficient rejection of about -3 f-stops that improves contrast, improved transmission peaking with 85% transmission at 350nm with a 70nm bandwidth and with a 5 stop reduction in the IR portion of the spectrum, an excellent UV-Pass filter having a transmission range between 330-400nm with a peak around 350nm with a very tiny amount of visible violet leak and miniscule IR leakage, a Schott UG11 absorptive substrate with dichroic (interference) coatings, available mounted in 2" and 1.25" sizes, the filter is marked 329-365nm, intended for imaging cloud structures on Venus, also for solar imaging of flare structures on the solar disk or edges using the calcium K-line, the most effective ultraviolet-pass filter on the market, strong suppression of infrared although there is a small blip near 1150nm, for UV photography the UV-A band (300 - 400nm) is the interesting one - be prepared to expose 8-10 stops more than normal - usual setting on an sunny to overcast day is 2-4" @ f/8-f/11 ISO200 - UV is strongest 90 degrees to the sun where the sky is the bluest - avoid shooting in bright midday sun due to high IR content present (although no longer a big problem with the Baader 2" U-Filter, but still IR leakage may happen) - set camera white balance to 2500 degrees Kelvin to avoid a blown red channel on Nikon cameras or use UNI white balance. {Since it is designed for telescopes, the Baader U-Filter works best when the pink side faces out, This can be achieved two ways on an SLR: - First, the filter retainer can be removed with a spanner wrench and the glass can be flipped around. The filter is then mounted with its threads pointing toward the camera. This is how I used to use my filter. Alternatively, the entire filter can be mounted in reverse. This works beautifully with a Nikon AF-1 holder. Two step rings are required, a 52-48mm step down ring and a 62-52mm (or 60-52) step down ring. Attach the Baader to the 52-48mm ring, then stick this combo - Baader first - into the front face of the AF-1. Next, screw the 62-52mm ring onto both the front face of the AF-1 and the threading of the 52-48mm ring. Prefer alternate method since it mimimizes vignetting and better shields the Baader from impacts.}, filter orientation - the dark gold mirror surface faces the camera sensor and the deep green colored mirror faces away, made with a disc of high grade Schott UG-11 optical filter glass with forty layer micron-thin vacuum deposition coatings of various elements in a precise order and thicknesses, housed in a machined aluminum cell retained by a machined thread-in ring, the filter name, size and part number are in silver, and this mirror like print when combined with its small size make this information difficult to read under dim red lighting, furnished in a machined cell of 2 inch (50.8 mm) diameter so that it may be threaded onto most common 48mm female threaded hardware, when viewed parallel to the eye from the female threaded (or field) side the filter element appears like a dark gold mirror, when looking from the male threaded (instrument) end then the filter element appears like a deep green colored mirror, for UV imaging with digital cameras it is possible to unthread the retaining ring and reverse the orientation of the filter element in the cell so that the gold surface faces the camera sensor, 48.

Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight Flash, GN 45ft (14m) at ISO 100, only tilts so cannot be aimed at ceiling in portrait orientation, shines for casual indoor candids because of the ability to bounce off the ceiling, can bounce off walls or other things in portrait mode, about 1.4 stops stronger than internal flash but does not run the camera battery down, menu is in the camera so can only operate attached to the camera hot shoe, not CLS, compatible with DSLR's but definitely not compatible with any film camera except the F6, 128g.

Nikon F: produced 13 years, 1959-1972, even the original Nikon F has considerable automation: the shutter cocks when you advance the film; accidental double exposure is impossible; the iris closes to the preset aperture just before exposure; the iris reopens itself immediately after exposure; the mirror returns to viewing position immediately after exposure; the film advances itself if you add the motor unit; the meter reads at full open aperture when you use a Photomic finder; the shutter is one of the most smooth in Nikon cameras (certainly much more smooth and quiet than the shutter on the F2 that does a loud vulgar "clack" with a faint "ping" afterwards) - lock the mirror up and it sounds like a Nikon rangefinder - Why? - Because Nikon used the very same shutter; you do not have to insert a darkslide to protect the film when winding the focal plane shutter, the Leica M3 was the pinnacle of watchmaker quality with Nikon S and F not far behind, Nikon AS-1 flash shoe adapter for F and F2; TN pentaprism metering finder with cap {TIP: Can substitute for discontinued mercury batteries, two MR-9 Mercury Battery Adapters each containing a silver-oxide 386 battery
www.cris-store.com/servlet/the-14/MR9-Mercury-Battery-Adapter/Detail. C.R.I.S. Camera Services adapter substitutes a more standard Silver Oxide battery using micro-circuitry built into the adapter that reduces the voltage to original specs - have heard great things about them! Same CRIS MR-9 adapter and silver oxide 386 battery used in Canon F-1 body}; {Best photography advice: Make sure the rewind crank is spinning when you wind your film.}

Nikon F2AS black camera with Photomic metered prism for AI/AIS lenses: The Nikon F2 camera was produced between autumn 1971 and January 1980, The finest mechanical 35mm camera ever made, A dream to use, The last all mechanical cameras, As close to mechanical perfection as you can get, You can't do better than the classic Nikon F2, The pinnacle of manual mechanical SLRs, A Nikon F2 with the plain prism is a beauty to see, The last fully mechanical pro Nikon body - as reliable as it gets, Nothing can beat F2AS! - Absolute Beauty! - "The last adult Nikon." - The mechanical shutter can be in need of timing adjustment, Finest fit and finish camera in the 35mm category. The Nikon F2 will always be the finest Nikon, A plain prism Nikon F2 and a Pre-AI lens or two is a real 'class act', As close to mechanical perfection as you can get, Them things be heavy, Every bit the superb mechanical quality of a Leica M rangefinder camera, Nikon F2AS top-of-the line camera in June 1977 with Nikon's announcement of automatic-indexing (AI) lenses, The 'AS' in the F2AS name designated the last and most sensitive metering head - the DP12 that incorporated LEDs instead of the match needle metering, The DP-12 can be upgraded to the lifetime warranty ring resistor that Sover Wong sells, The F2AS uses the DP-12 with its Silicon Blue cell which is the best F2 viewfinder for use in the dark (much more sensitive in low lighting situations than any CdS metering cell in the other Nikon metering prisms) and is for AI lenses, DP-12 is the best prism of the F2 era, The finder that handles the pre-AI lenses also works fine with AI lenses too, so it is MORE compatible than the later finder, The F2 was the professional standard of news gathering for over a decade, Can snap away without people worrying about who I am or why I'm taking pictures with my chrome stealth camera because it doesn't look like everything else, i.e., a big black digital camera, The last, best, most advanced and most durable mechanical camera ever made by Nikon, It might be the best ever made by anyone, Highly collectible, especially in black, because it's the best Nikon has ever made, It's getting more valuable with time, F2 is still my favorite, At the time the only shutter tested for 150,000 clicks which was the highest standard, Legendary, The F2AS is regarded by many Nikon fans and collectors alike as being the most collectible among all regular production Nikon SLR models, Unique mechanical shutter with infinitely variable exposure speed, Has slow shutter speeds up to 10 seconds using the self timer mechanism, Often called the "Leica of Nikons," the F2 is the last of the hand assembled Nikons and the very last fully mechanical professional Nikon camera. A joy to look at, fabulous to hold and use - the F2 is almost jewel-like in fit and finish. You can choose from a variety of finders for the F2, all the way up to the incredible DP-12 which makes the F2 an F2AS - the most collectable and valuable of all of the F2 bodies, The best mechanical camera if weight is not an issue, Extraordinary viewfinder with no distortion, Classic manual cameras remain popular for some of the same reasons why manual wind watches, fountain pens and vacuumn tube electronics remain popular: Mechanical simplicity - Quality of build - Aesthetics - Ergonomics - Nostalgia, Power switch is the film advance lever - push it in to turn off to avoid draining battery, Push up the little tab by "AS" to use non-AI lenses, The AS Photomic is the only F2 metered finder to use modern LED readouts and silicon photodiodes, Super-sensitive meter rated to read down to negative 4 EV at ISO 100 with f/1.4 lens that is more sensitive than any other Nikon ever made, A little red dot lights up on the top center of the meter housing when the correct exposure is set, Uses one 3V lithium CR-1/3N battery (S-76 size) as does the Nikon F3 and FA; lithium Energizer 2L76 batteries are easy to find, Sover Wong recommends using the CR 1/3N lithium-manganese 3 volt cell in the F2 bodies because they doesn't sweat, so no chance of corrosion, The F2 requires a pair of 1.5- or 1.55-volt silver-oxide "button" batteries such as the Duracell MS76, Eveready EPX76, Kodak KS76, etc, A single 3-volt lithium battery such as the Duracell DL1/3N, Eveready 2L76, or Kodak K58L can be substituted for the two silver-oxide cells. These batteries are also used in the FA, FM, FE, FE2, and more recent cameras such as the FM3A, FM2N, and F3, so they are still widely available from camera stores and electronics stores, {If you want to be able to use the camera at any shutter speed without batteries, your choices are: - Nikon FM3A, Nikon FM2T, FM2n/FM2, Nikon FM, Nikon FM-10 and the various models of F2's, F's, and Nikkormats.} - Weight 29.4oz (834.5g).

Nikon F3HP: {SN >16xxxxx has exposure lock button that doesn't loosen and fall off} produced for 20 years, 1980-2000, longer than any other professional 35mm camera body, over 751,000 F3's were produced through September 1992, {Date of manufacture: Release your F3's back, you can find four characters printed at the place where hidden by the hinge. First character is the month (1-9 or O:Oct N:Nov D:Dec) and second is the least digit of year your F3 produced.}, styled by Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro (who also designed Ferrari's) with his signature red stripe, perhaps the finest 35mm manual SLR ever built, a miracle of engineering, it's the last "real" camera Nikon made, fabulous - superb craftsmanship - a delight in the hand and to the eye, a miracle of engineering, accepts non-AI lenses {WARNING: release and flip up the AI coupling tab before mounting a non-AI lens}, the film advance is so smooth it's like my thumb is in love, there is nothing as smooth as cocking an F3, love the action of the film advance lever and the sound of the shutter, what an amazing camera, probably the best film SLR ever made, the most reliable Nikon ever made, F3 is so much lighter than F2, speed-wise the quartz-timed titanium foil shutter is either on or off, a beautiful rugged camera, last of the great F cameras - manual focus Pro grade cameras, the F3 has an almost spot or 'partial' meter so it is very easy to get correctly exposed slides with it, use the compensation dial to add 1 stop if your subject is very light or subtract 1 stop if your subject is very dark, first auto-exposure pro model with aperture-priority 80%/20% centerweighted metering in the body so will meter with all finders, when I feel like a manual focus Nikon SLR it tends to be the F3 - largely because of the aperture priority metering, have a higher percentage of correctly-exposed slides with the Nikon F3 than with other cameras and it may have something to do with the heavier center-weighted meter pattern of 80/20 versus 60/40 for most other cameras of the era, 100% Viewfinder accuracy, can leave power switch on all the time without draining battery, TTL flash metering for macro, {Caution: If you see a hole on the bottom of the camera showing multiple gold pins - the camera is missing its motor terminal cap having been connected to an MD-4 - without this cap the camera will not be light-tight}, 1/80 flash sync speed, 1/2000 top shutter speed, a 250 exposure magazine back MF-4 is available, 760g, came with two A76 batteries, uses 3V lithium battery CR-1/3N type, two 1.55V silver-oxide batteries SR-44 type, or two 1.5V alkaline batteries LR-44 type with DE-2 slightly higher magnification regular finder 0.80x which takes 19mm round eyepieces, 100% frame coverage, Contrary to popular belief, this original non HP finder is probably a better choice if you don't wear glasses since it gives you a larger image size, {F3 Quirks: - There is a black button on the front for locking the meter reading. It sometimes comes loose and falls out, There should be a screw in rubber surround around the eyepiece. Quite often they are missing. The meter doesn't work until you get to the first frame on the counter. It should read 80 until you've wound and fired about two shots. The auto exposure doesn't work when the mirror is locked up, Make sure the battery compartment is not corroded or cracked, There are two caps on the bottom of the camera body - one for the batteries, and one for the motor rewind shaft. Be certain that the camera has both of these caps. If you're buying a body with the motor attached, the motor drive cover may be inside the small slot, designed to hold it, in the motor drive battery tray. If the motor drive cover is missing, the camera can leak light and fog the film if the motor is not attached, Problems to look for on the F3: a. Button for AE lock falls down and gets lost; b. Bottom caps get lost; c. Slow operating shutter mechanism (i.e. you press the shutter button but it does not immediately fire); d. Meter does not operate (i.e. it stays always at "-" indication on the LCD display); e. LCD display faded too much; f. FRE resistor broken - this is meter failure, because the aperture of the lens would not be transmitted correctly to the camera body - look for damage around the collar where the flash shoe is mounted - sort of a design flaw - if the flash is knocked strongly, this would then knock the flash accesory mounting collar (around the top of the rewind knob), and below this is the FRE resistor disc which would get damage; g. Double exposure lever mechanism stuck or not operating correctly, due to wrong assembly or corrosion; h. LED illuminator light does not work anymore.}

Nikon F4: introduced 1988 and replaced by the F5 in 1996. More than 240,000 F4 bodies have been manufactured. "Of all the Nikon Pro bodies, the F4 is by far the most magical" B. Moose Peterson; the best platform ever for manual focus Nikon lenses and one of Nikon's best designs, the most advanced Nikon with traditional controls (no displays or menu's), Nikon's only pro camera to offer matrix metering with AI and AIS lenses (if matrix metering for AI lenses is what you want, the Nikon F4 is about 100 times the camera of a Nikon FA), the first professional autofocus camera, a pretty cool looking boat anchor but won't do VR. {IMPORTANT: Without film and with the ASA set to auto 'DX' will get you a blinking red light - nothing is wrong but you can't 'dry' fire the camera without film in this error condition without manually setting a numerical ASA}; with glasses you have to move your eye to view the top and bottom read-outs in the viewfinder; with DP-20 viewfinder, high eyepoint with 22mm relief (Built-in metering system with three different exposure metering modes (to be set by an external switch on the side): center-weighted, matrix-metering and spot-metering, Matrix metering works really well (not available with Nikon F3), In fact this viewfinder is a little computer, having 4 integrated circuits (IC), including an 8-bit microcomputer. It has a diopter adjustment (-5 - +4) and some electrical contacts for flash photography when a flash is placed on the hot shoe on top. If focusing screens are used with a different transparency the exposure meter can be corrected via a screw on the right front side. This viewfinder came with a special screwdriver for this adjustment. The adjustment can be viewed in a little window next to the screw.)

Nikon FA: {ALERT: Has an interlock that sets the shutter speed at 1/250 sec. until the frame counter gets to frame 1, so shutter speeds will seem broken if you try to test "dry fire" without film.}, probably the most sophisticated manual-focus SLR ever made, offers matrix metering with AI or AIS lenses, a beautiful camera years ahead of its time, one of the quietest SLR's that Nikon ever produced. "The FA has a closed-loop exposure system. [Also N2020, FG-20, F-301, and F-501] This means that while displaying the exposure any time the meter is on, the FA measures the actual exposure after the lens stops down to its taking aperture, just an instant before the actual exposure. This way the FA corrects for any errors in the lens' diaphragm mechanism, so I get exposures more consistent from lens to lens than on newer cameras, Some lenses have diaphragms which are calibrated so that they may over or under expose a little, but on an FA, they all expose perfectly." - The electronic circuitry is prone to fail in time and it is very difficult or almost impossible to repair, The flexible circuit board is a known weak point and there is no practical source of spares, Launched with an experimental honeycomb pattern foil shutter, which proved unreliable early on and was changed for a non-honeycomb one on later models, Light meter unbeatable, right on all the time, When new was almost as expensive as a Nikon F3, Nikon created AI-s lenses for introduction of the phenomenal Nikon FA in 1983, which is one of the very few cameras that take advantage of linear diaphragm control with manual focus lenses, Ultra-thin titanium shutter curtain with a pressed honeycomb strengthening pattern, Later releases of the FA were fitted with a non-honeycomb patterned shutter which was apparently much more reliable, The FA's weak spot has proven not to be the polycarbonate body parts, but the flexible circuit board, and the only source of spare parts is cannibalization, Nikon's first matrix metering - lots of bugs - lots of overexposed slides! - Uses same batteries as Nikon F2 and F3.

EL Nikkormat: aperture priority exposure, focus screen has a small central circular spot of microprisms but no split prism, chief virtue is that it is an auto-exposure camera that can take pre-Ai and Ai lenses, Nikon's first camera with an electronic shutter, heavier than most of cameras that succeeded it {Uses PX28LB battery located below reflex mirror with flip up cover, same battery as used by Hasselblad} DG-2 2x flip up eyepiece magnifier.

Nikon DR-3 19mm thread Right Angle Finder for EL Nikkormat, DK-7 19mm thread to 21mm thread eyepiece adapter for DR-3, DG-2 to F4, F100, D700

Nikon F100, c. 2000: {2-button reset of all Custom Functions by holding the Mode and CSM (green dots) buttons down for a few seconds}, discontinued 2006, size and weight are just perfect, you are in for a treat, a very sweet camera, a true joy to use, very powerful, a nice shape, looks and feels very similar to the Nikon D300, incredible durability - water-sealed, is a joy to use, best modern 35mm camera ever made, the bargain of the century, the best 35mm film SLR camera built by Nikon or anyone else, the best film camera that Nikon built, the shutter is electronically timed and accurate which makes a big difference as cameras age, no mirror lock-up, uses film TTL flash (not digital TTL) so works with recommended SB-28 or SB-30 (or anything from a SB-20 up to the final SB-80DX) flash and SB-600 flash (fully functional) but not iTTL only SB-400, think of it as the "F5 lite", supports VR lenses, a fantastic camera - you can't go wrong with the F100 - [compared with a manual Nikon body] I feel like I am cheating with the F100, Nikon service can can custom program leader out rewind, Uses easily lost separate viewfinder cover DK-8, {"All 35mm cameras are socially acceptable. The Nikon F-100 is a good choice. If the people around you at social settings are too self conscious to tolerate 35mm camera, then you have the wrong friends. Get new friends, not a new camera."}

Leitz Tiltall Tripod, Polished Aluminum or Black: "Of all the expensive tripods I've ever seen there's nothing better than a hundred dollar Tiltall."; 6.5 lbs. "My sharpest lens is a sturdy tripod."

Gitzo Studex Gilux Tripod with 2 section 1.25" legs, rapid center post {WARNING: Keep fingers away - hinge at the top of each leg makes a perfect pair of pincers that pinch.}, 350 Cine pan/tilt head

Manfrotto 114 ART Cine/Video Deluxe Dolly.

Arca-Swiss C1 Cube Geared Head with Arca-Type Flip-Lock Quick Release: - {EXTREME COLD WARNING: do not let wet lips or any part of tongue contact tripod head while peering through viewfinder} Ultimate tripod head, a.k.a The Magic Box, a joy to use - the very best portable geared head, build quality is superb - a mechanical work of art, all-time favorite tripod head, So precise, easy to position, and rigid - makes my work a breeze, Impossible to live without once youve used it for any duration, There is no easier or more precise way to control your composition and camera positioning, Great tripod head for architecture, macro, and astronomical work, as well as larger format cameras. Arca-Swiss quick release plate (with 1/4" Screw, 40mm, and Rubber Surface) included, Designed for a realm where functionality trumps all concerns, the Arca-Swiss C1 Cube simultaneously achieves mastery of control with an appearance approaching the status of jewelry, The head allows users to place their heavy cameras with a degree of accuracy they could never have had before except in exchange for a large increase in weight, There are still plenty of shooters around wishing to actually travel with their best stuff, and no geared head seemed practical to endure on one's person before the C1 arrived, The C1 Cube has finely calibrated ungeared panning adjustments under and above 28 x-y geared axes with adjustable tension, Why two panoramic axes? - So that you can first center the Cube's controls to your position with the bottom axis, then readjust the camera to point dead ahead with the upper axis, The gears' knobs have a little scrap of rubber running around them, to give pinpoint control while wearing gloves without being broad enough to obstruct the head's movements, On the bottom of it all, there's a third (ungeared) hinge which allows 62 of tilt so that any camera can reach the 90 vertical position, On top of the C1 you'll find 2 sensitive bubble levels and an Arca-Swiss flip-lock quick release clamp which has its own advantages in compactness and security, Given all that's going on here, the weight's astonishingly low; just 2.03 lbs (925g), as light as could be imagined and considerably more compact than other geared heads, The C1's ultimate advantage lies in the world of macro shooting, where its design allows far fewer focusing readjustments while creating images, You see, all other geared heads (and all other 3-way pan/tilt heads for that matter) execute movements upon circular axes which are centered far below the actual camera-your gear moves along the outside of a sphere, The C1 Cube, however, places the camera inside of a sphere, It is almost as if the x/y axes meet at a point upon the image plane itself, with all the camera rotating around a stationary image plane, This remarkably difficult engineering feat was chosen to minimize movements of the optical system's entrance pupil during composing, making for speedier field work free of perpetual height and focus adjustments, Sophisticated engineering, beginning with a single hunk of metal, Designed in Switzerland and manufactured in France, Geared x-y axes with adjustable gear tension and 28 of motion, Third 62 tilt-only axis underneath geared adjustments, Rubberized knobs easily manipulated in cold & with gloves, Two-stage flip lock quick release lever, Movements allow camera's image plane to stay relatively stationary, easing macro work, The open design is perfect for a rocket blower to get in and clean out sand or grit if needed, Rod Klukas, US Representative, Arca-Swiss International, 480-755-3364, rod.klukas@arca-swiss.com; Precision Camera Works in Niles, Illinois may be able to change the quick release clamp which is now difficult to detach; Robert Watkins at precisioncameraworks.com does repairs to the Cube.
Really Right Stuff screw knob clamp B2-Pro II with Metric 6 screw (B2-Pro-II-M6) replacement for Arca-Swiss Lever Clamp, one awesome clamp - a beauty with its laser engraved markings

{Warning: DO NOT USE original RRS LEVER CLAMPS with Arca Swiss type plates from various manufacturers. Acratech plates slip in the RRS Lever Clamp - not compatible, ... A general warning on the RRS site that says that only RRS and Wimberley plates are recommended, ... Kirk L-bracket when pushed a bit, while tight, still slip, Acratech and Arca Swiss have lever clamps that are adjustable, Really Right Stuff says that their second generation LR II model clamps are adjustable and fix this problem.}

Bencher Majestic Model 1005 Tripod Gear Head, base with 3/8"-16 tripod screw hole, part #810-05, with, part #805-05, 3" x 3-5/8" Platform, weight 4.5 lbs., provides smooth movement and positive control of cameras weighing up to 35 pounds, geared for precise adjustment, heavy duty aluminum castings and smooth mesh worm gears hold the camera securely in any position with positive gear-driven forward & backwards tilt from 90 forward to 30 back with an oversized, self-locking crank, side to side leveling range of 15 left and right tilts with solid brass leveling bearings, and 360 horizontal swivel, full size locking knobs, interchangeable solid aluminum platforms [$33] accomodate a wide selection of cameras easily using just a screwdriver, can adjust the end play in the gear that tilts the head forward - a real simple adjustment - just remove the handle and adjust it underneath where the handle goes, world's most versatile tripod head for more than 60 years, one of the best heads for large format photography, heads lock down very solid, highly recommended, professional gear built to last a lifetime of heavy use, for both field and studio use the Majestic can never be beaten, the Majestic head could mount the Titanic securely if it had to ...

ByChrome 32" x 40" Vacuum Easel System with ByChrome 32" x 40" vacuum easel; ByChrome vacuum pump Model 71581 complete with a factory wired foot switch, and; 5' long hose with coupling fittings, most of the vacuum is sent to the center to hold down smaller pieces, never needs masking of the area around the paper, may require many minutes to draw down large sheet sufficiently flat.

Gitzo GT3541XLS Series-3 Systematic, 6X carbon fiber 4 section tripod legs, no center column, extra long tripod, leg angle adjustment to 24, 52, or 85, 4.3 pounds (1.97 kg), height 78" (6.5'; 198cm) - over head (2m) ideal for weddings, concerts, architectural and sport events, a joy to use and more importantly nearly "dead" carbon fiber with only a little ringing which soon dies down, not all the Gitzo series get the good reviews that their Mountaineer and Systematic do, minimum height 3.9" (10 cm), folded length 27.6" (70cm), outstanding torsional rigidity, load capacity 39.6 lbs.; Unfortunately there is no way to do stability properly on the cheap - its one of the few areas of photography where the hardware really does matter and the skill of the photographer cannot make up for deficits.

Rainer Burzynski Pro-Tec Tripod Ball Head II, Great piece of engineering, simple in design, strong, durable, wondrous, only five parts plus the bolts, the most solid piece of photography-related engineering, the two knobs have the same function - you loosen both then tighten one to set friction, position the camera, then tighten the other knob to lock all dimensions including panning, enormous torsional locking power, with regards to 3D movements the design is different than regular ballheads - the two sides apply pressure to two opposing points on the ball rather than around the entire ball - this means that one dimension (sideways leveling) is more locked than the other dimension (tilt) so you can set the camera to be level, then pan and tilt while keeping the leveling - very clever, unlike other ballheads it does not slightly move camera as orientation locks are tightened, 70mm base, 60mm ball, 92mm height lowered to 78mm when clamped replacing the top plate on Gitzo Series 3 tripod, weighs 1,030g, can support 40-50kg (110 lbs), tremendous quality, favorite ballhead for its rock-solid stability - no other ballhead comes close to its tank-quality sturdiness - capable of supporting anything by virtue of its robust and simple design, the exciting Burzynski ball head sets a new performance standard, completely lacks the typical vibration-prone long stem of most ball heads, truly massive metal sleeve within which an aluminium ball rides on a nylon bushing, very stiff, tension is controlled by two protruding and separate handles, unprecedented rigidity, "dead solid", action is silky-smooth no matter the ambient temperature level, 45 maximum tilt so use with rotating tripod collar or camera "L" bracket for portrait orientation, the only downside is that the head cannot be flipped more than 45 to the side - that's not an issue if you use an L-bracket on your DSLR as is smart practice in any case.

Studio Titan Heavy Duty Camera Stand, about 5 1/2 ft tall, manufacturer is Aurora, ball bearing crossbar and counter-weighted center column, lacks locking rubber feet of current model, professional fully adjustable camera stand, 55 inch max camera height (stand height is 68 inches), designed for portrait and studio photographers, sturdy non-tip base, smooth counterweighted vertical arm movement and dual camera mounting platforms, the heavyweight construction is ideal for the largest of DSLR camera setups as well as accessory trays or brackets for laptops and studio displays, counterweighted for ease of operation, large locking knobs for precise adjustment, lacks 2 spring loaded individual base locks, 3" wheels, dual camera mounting platforms (3/8"euro thread), height 68", lateral crossarm movement 2 ft. from center post, crossarm length 28", base 40" footprint, weight: 64 lbs.

Bencher M2 Copy Stand, like current VP400 Copysystem (Halogen Floor Illuma model 500-70) with 900-00 Column & Carriage, 080-14 quad quartz halogen 3200K copylights (Bulb Ushio #1000896 - JCD120V-300WC) 300 watts x 4 mounted on two 980-00 copymate sidelight arms and built-in base illuminator with Illuma system light control

Gitzo Monopod with Kirk MPA-1 (Bogen/Manfrotto 234/2323 Swivel Tilt Monopod Head with Kirk Arca-Type Quick Release Clamp) - Supports 5.5 lbs (2.5kg).

TC-16A AIS 1.6x autofocusing Teleconverter: - unmodified for Nikon F4 compatibility; can be modified/rewired by David Llad at Leitax for Nikon D700 digital camera compatibility, optical quality is close to superb, brings life to old MF lenses, effective aperture decreases by 1 1/3 f/stops, set aperture to f/1.8 or smaller to prevent incorrect exposure, or in M mode only use -1/3 stop compensation for f/1.4, quite sharp in the center and somewhat soft at the edges with possible vignetting with some lenses so stopping down a stop or two should help, Compatible with Nikon F4 and D2H and after rewiring with the Nikon D700 and D7000, Autofocus image quality with Leica-R lenses is surprising good - exceeding expectations, Ruins sharpness of Voigtlander 40/2 on Nikon D7000, Though it works don't think it is a very high quality converter - the images are sharp but are missing the fine details and they have a bit of a glow to them, On a D800 it is so bad as to be a real problem for optics - the combination just doesn't keep up with the sensor unless you stop down until you're diffraction limited.


Hasselblad 203FE Camera Body Chrome (F system) 10561: - {WARNING: ALWAYS COCK SHUTTER BEFORE ATTACHING FILM BACK to avoid wasting first frame by winding past it}; - {FILM LOADS WITH BLACK SIDE OF PAPER OUT - Wrong: if the black side of the paper is touching the magazine insert's pressure plate it is loaded backwards because the film is on the black side of the paper, The spool must be inserted so that the backing paper comes off FROM UNDERNEATH.}; {TIP: - Trip the shutter and then DO NOT wind the film if changing a film back. That way, whenever switching backs, you just have to wind it to the next frame each time you mount the film back.}; {DAMAGE WARNING: - NEVER EVER ATTEMPT TO MOUNT FINDERS OR PRISMS THAT LACK A CUTOUT FOR THE LCD, Forcing the wrong older style viewfinder onto this camera will DAMAGE the finder electronic display! - The chromed bottom of the waist level finder or prism MUST HAVE ONLY THREE SIDES leaving room for the LCD, not a four sided complete square.}; - {WARNING: - Don't try to roll Fuji 120 film onto a Kodak spool. The Kodak is not wide enough and it crimps the Fuji paper. Kodak: 63.01mm; Ilford: 63.04mm; Fuji 63.22mm}; {HOLDING: There are various ways of holding the camera. The basic method is to carry the camera on its strap-which should be passed round the back' of the neck. Hold the camera in the left hand with the index finger of the left hand on the release button. The right hand remain, free far transporting the film, setting shutter speed, aperture and focus. Pulling the camera down against its strap will help considerably to steady it at the time of exposure, When the magnifying hood is used, press the eye against the eyepiece. Insert both hands from below through the carrying strap (adjust its length to suit); this provides additional steadying support, Virtually the same holding position can be adapted when using the camera at eye-level with either the sports frame finder or the pentaprism. Focal Press Hasselblad Guide}; {When using F lenses lacking aperture electronics instead FE lenses: - You push the button and the 203 will tell you what speed to use. This speed must be aligned to the maximum aperture value of the lens, So if the speed shown by the 203 is 1/250 with your 100mm 3.5 lens, then you syncronize the speed ring with aperture at 3.5 to 1/250 and then you may turn the 2 rings together.; Alternatively use non CFE and non FE lenses stopped down with wide open metering, Just need to compensate with the iso dial.}; - Sixten Sason, who in 1949 along with Victor Hassleblad designed the original 1600F Hasselblad, also designed the first SAAB car, among other things, Descendant of the cameras that went to the moon, (Victor Hassleblad lived to see his cameras on the Moon.) - The 203FE was Hasselblad's best selling 200 series camera body, certainly a wonderful camera, introduced in 1994, Focal Plane shutter. 1994-2004, One of the ultimate film cameras, "In a league of its own. ... Seeing the world through 'God's viewfinder.'" - "We all know that square is the perfect format." - "Big square format - bigger than any digital sensor." - "The most well designed system - it's a piece of art!" - "Welcome to the upper league where it is allowed to be in love with your equipment." - "A friend of mine used to say Victor Hasselblad started with a block of stainless steel and removed everything that didn't look like a Hasselblad." John Koehrer, "Hasselblad advertised for years that 'Square is the perfect format.' How can one argue against that?" - "Hasselblad. Was there ever a question? Bodies, lenses, parts and service are readily available. Why not get the best? You deserve it. And all the smart people and popular kids have them. Square is the perfect format according to the Hasselblad ads for decades." - Built in auto exposure metering. A modern electronic Hasselblad body. A photographer's dream camera. Pro Workhorse, "The Hassy V till remains one of the most enjoyable cameras to shoot - if only they'd do a full 66 [digital] back for it." - "Hasselblad cameras have been the cameras to which every professional photographer has aspired ever since the 1960's, and that continues today. Everyone wishes they had a real Hasselblad, and today, new Hasselblads still can cost more than a new Mercedes. Ansel Adams shot the Hasselblad since at least 1951 until the day he died. ... Ever since DSLR's made it to 24MP I haven't shot any 35mm film; I shoot 120 in my Hasselblad." Ken Rockwell - A Hasselblad is the camera that you dreamed of but never dreamed you could have one, Will last a lifetime, Hasselblad bodies are manufactured as a casting which is machined, A familiar site in the studios of top pros, "If I want sharp, then I use the Hasselblad. All the serious stuff is done with a Hasselblad." - A 203FE was used by NASA in October 2001 on the Space Shuttle Discovery, The meat of the Hasselblad system has always been the stunning Zeiss optics. Time to join the big time, Like the Packard advertisements said, "Ask the man that owns one." - "Hasselblad is the only complete [6x6] system. Further there are new and used parts easily available. Service is available and easily accessed. None other compare. End of story." - Hasselblad was the Rolls Royce of cameras, Hasselblad classic V series of medium format film cameras have always been the gold standard for MF shooting, There really is nothing quite like a medium format negative - gorgeous, rich, full of texture, full of soul and life, "Medium format slides are so amazing, those vibrant colors, the depth and sharpness are truly a sight to behold. Unbelievably great." - Do yourself a favor and buy the 203FE and 110/2 - they are probably the best combination in medium format. The 203FE is hasselblad's best camera, and the 110/2 is the best lens in medium format, "The best medium format digital solution is: shoot film and scan well ... wow. I mean WOWa 66 negative scanned well has an AWESOME amount of detail in it; a 66 positive is out of this world." - "The main thing is you buy a Hasselblad because you want square." - "If you need a sleek and light camera I would rather recommend a Rolleiflex TLR or Hasselblad." - "I'd go Hasselblad. Much more modular. Now affordable." - "If you want to invest in a system there is only one and that's Hasselblad - if you get hooked onto medium format film then you'll likely end up with a 'blad sooner or later." - "In their heyday the Hassy was used a lot by wedding pros in the field on jobs." - "A Hasselblad is a great icebreaker." - The jump in quality from 35mm to Medium Format is a significant one ... but the step-up in quality from Medium Format to 4x5 is hardly visible, The shutter will wake the dead, The 203 has a focal-plane shutter (1/2000th max), and aperture-priority autoexposure. Features gliding mirror for full view using longer lenses, flash sensor that reads the film surface for dedicated flash units, electronic timer and autobracketing. With shutter set to C, the camera operates as a traditional Hasselblad, requiring no battery. Grab the body with your right hand, put your left hand on the lens, and you'll notice your index finger naturally falls over the shutter release, your fingertips gravitate toward the focus ring, the thumb of your left hand perfectly positioned to change exposure values, "I have used a few cameras over the years, and none of them feel as natural to me as the Hasselblad. Soul mates, you could say ... " - "Each hand has two purposes. The left hand cradles the camera and fires the shutter as noted. The right hand winds the film and focuses." - "You simply need to hold this extremely user-friendly Hasselblad SLR and the shutter release, the focus ring, and the exposure ring fall perfectly under the index finger, fingertips, and the thumb of your left hand respectively." - The Hassy really needs a tripod to sing, though it can be used handheld just fine, "To get the best out of a 'blad you do need a tripod." - "A Hasselblad body has a concentrated mass which makes it a perfect defensive throwing object with which to ward of an attacking bear or wolverine and to be used as a weight to hold down the topo maps from being blown away." - A 6x6 Hasselblad has a film area of about 5.6 cm square, Care needs to be taken with mirror alignment to assure that the camera body correctly focuses on-plane - what Hasselblad calls "check to spec." - Fully backward compatible. Older leaf-shutter lenses, from ancient chrome lenses to the latest CB, CF, or CFi Zeiss glass, can be used with the 203FE. With the latest databus connection enabled FE and CFE lenses the 203FE is capable of totally automated exposure, With the FE or CFE lenses you can meter wide open (as opposed to having to stop down to meter with the F or CF lenses), and the accuracy of the automatic exposure is truly impressive, The body can still trigger a leaf shutter lens even if the battery runs out, In aperture priority mode you have the choice of "A," "Ab," or "D" modes. "A" mode is straight aperture priorityset the f/stop and the camera chooses a shutter speed. "Ab" mode is the motorized auto-bracketing mode--the camera will automatically fire through repeated exposures set for 1/3, 2/3, or 1 EV-step bracket increments. (When used with an optional auto film winder) "D" mode is differential - this is great for finding out the contrast range of a subject. Take an exposure reading of the highlight of the subject, lock it in, and then continue metering about the rest of the subject - the camera will display the contrast difference between the two areas.

Hasselblad 202FA: Made in Sweden: {FILM LOADS WITH BLACK SIDE OF PAPER OUT - Wrong: if the black side of the paper is touching the magazine insert's pressure plate it is loaded backwards because the film is on the black side of the paper.}; {DAMAGE WARNING: - NEVER EVER ATTEMPT TO MOUNT FINDERS OR PRISMS THAT LACK A CUTOUT FOR THE LCD, Forcing the wrong older style viewfinder onto this camera will DAMAGE the finder electronic display! - The chromed bottom of the waist level finder or prism MUST HAVE ONLY THREE SIDES leaving room for the LCD, not a four sided complete square.} {WARNING: always COCK SHUTTER BEFORE ATTACHING FILM BACK to avoid wasting first frame by winding past it} With your left hand you support the camera and your finger is on the shutter release - with your right hand you focus and work the film advance, cradle the camera in your left hand with right hand around the lens and using your left index finger by pivoting the proximal interphalangeal joint as the only motion to push the shutter release - that is a good way to fire the shutter with little hand movement, Focal Plane shutter. 1998-2002. Similiar to 203 FE using the same wonderful metering, shutter to 1/1000, no manual mode, cannot use C-Planar or CB lenses, no shutter speed ring (can use in manual mode controlling the shutter speed with the blue 'up/down' buttons on the side of the camera), no auto bracketing, Original Swedish Hasselblad (named after Victor Hasselblad) was designed by Sixten Sason. Hasselblad V series cameras are simple, robust, rugged, and have great finders, The 200 series cameras were phased out in 2004, The mechanism to trip leaf shutters is not included in this focal plane shutter only model (1/1,000 second maximum speed) so it is not for C or CB lenses, uses fast F and FE lenses, also works with CF lenses, can use CF, CFi and CFE lenses in a limited way by setting them to the "F" position (cannot use the great, quiet, fast flash synch, and low vibration leaf shutters), has a very large longer instant return reflex gliding/floating mirror so there is no viewfinder vignetting or blackout after exposure, Hasselblad 200 series cameras do not blackout the viewfinder after triggering the shutter like the Hasselblad 500 series cameras, center weighted ~20% built-in light meter in body, {WARNING: Fabric light baffle - strip (between the mirror and the camera body at the base of the mirror hinge attached with double stick tape) often cracks along its length and larger portion breaks off and starts floating around inside the camera body, especially on the earlier 200 series - material later changed to the more flexible shutter curtain material to prevent cracking (you can safely shoot without this baffle which primarily prevents light coming in from the viewscreen and lens getting in behind the mirror and affecting the meter readings); a piece of tape used to repair the shutter curtain but which has come loose can look similar. http://photo.net/medium-format-photography-forum/00dvSa - http://www.apug.org/forum/index.php?threads/hasselblad-heartbreak.128814/page-2}, stopdown metering with F lenses which is not an issue when shooting wide-open, can be modified to accept Hasselblad digital backs - for example the 1.5x crop factor square format 36mm x 36mm Hasselblad CFV-16 II - a magical combination that matches 9 micron pixels with the Zeiss optics to produce image quality that's visually stunning - while it might be "only 16MP" the files are unbelievable especially with the Zeiss glass - very rich indeed - there's magic in those fat pixels! - favorite digital camera output (even the Leica M9) - or the 36mm x 36mm square or 36mm x 48mm (twice the area of 35mm full frame) rectangular CFV-39 Digital Back (202FA, 203FE, and 205FCC are fully supported) - the CFV backs are the ONLY digital backs that work on a 200 series focal plane V camera and F lenses with full functionality, Phase One digital backs will work on a Hasselbad 200 series body only when using a CF lens and the focal plane shutter is locked open, A V series Hasselblad camera with CFV 39 digital back and selected lenses like the 40 IF, the 100mm CFi and the 120 CFE/CFi will beat any 35 mm based camera as far as image quality is concerned, For those really big prints the Hassy is unmatched - the pleasure and results from a slower method of working is not to be ignored - the CFV50 does as well or better than my 4x5 Linhoff with much more flexibility, Who ever says get something else than the 'Blad either has not owned one or has no clue. LOL They are work horses, keep their value and are in demand, Hasselblads are magnificent machines, Space versions of Hasselblad cameras stripped to make them light weight once went to the moon, The square format just seems to suit head shots and head and shoulder portraits better, "If I was only allowed to keep one camera it would be the Hasselblad." - "The Zeiss Planar 110/2 is seen by many to be the optic that complements this new camera better than any other lens." - "There simply is NOTHING to compare with those big 6x6 slides ... 'you ain't seen nothin' till you've seen a 6x6 slide show!!!!" - The sweetspot with medium format is 6x6, as a large percentage of the 6x7 or wider cameras end up being bulkier than a 4x5 large format camera, A Hasselblad can do anything in an unrestricted manner - it's small enough to hike with, good for landscapes, good for portraits, great with a flash, great on a tripod, and easy to hand hold, The Hasselblad is barely (if at all) hand holdable and pretty loud in use, Hasselblads are great if you get 2 assistants to help you change magazines, change film, lenses, viewfinders and then carry the heavy camera case around, Use a tripod as this may help you more than anything else, When working on a tripod, the pre-release function is always used to eliminate camera shake - it releases the mirror and then the lens shutter is released via cable, But a tripod is not needed in the studio with a strobe, But a tripod is the best tool on earth (short of a studio camera stand) for stabilizing your composition and having hands free for focusing, etc, The ability to move between different emulsions mid roll is a huge feature, Hasselblads hold their value remarkably well - if I change my mind and sell them, I'll probably be out very little money, Put the Hasselblad on a tripod and lock up the mirror prior to triggering the shutter to ensure the absolute best resolution, Because film is bent over rollers flatness suffers if more than 5 minutes elapse between exposures.

Hasselblad 201F, Victor Hasselblad AB, Made in Sweden: {RESET TO CLEAR A JAM: with good PX28L lithium or alkaline battery in place, press the center button down and rotate the manual winder crank as if you were going to do a multiple exposure, that little center button is the cure for all ills} {CAUTION: The 201F will drain your battery within about half a year, Dead battery can simulate a jammed mirror, Remove battery or insert darkslide in front of film when not in use to avoid draining battery.}, The simplest of the 200-series, Focal Plane shutter. 1994-1998. TTL flash system but no exposure metering, "The blads are the best cameras ever." - Hasselblad V system (over 500,000 V systems sold), model introduced 1994, highly recommend the sturdy and practical 201F, a high spec 'Blad, a great camera, preferred Hasselblad camera of Zeiss' Dr. Kornelius J. Fleischer [who loves the 201F] - I'd immediately choose this camera again - no doubt about that, recommended by an executive of Hasselblad Sweden for reliability who remarked that "Seems we have discontinued the wrong camera...", the best Hasselblad bodies ever made, attracted to the 200 series for the ability to use faster F and FE lenses and Zeiss luminars for close ups, also allows use of CF lens leaf shutters and does not require a cable release, Zeiss lenses are the reason to use a Hasselblad, the most common three lens set for 6x6 medium format is 50mm (close to the angle of view of a 28mm-33mm wide angle lens on a 35mm camera), 80mm (close to the angle of view of a 50mm-53mm normal lens on a 35mm camera, or the diagonal equivalent to 0.56x or 44mm), and the 150mm, compact, well made, instant return mirror with no vignetting (which plagues 500 series Hasselblads and longer focal length lenses), you will use a tripod for nearly everything - otherwise all that (film) real estate and lens quality is wasted, David Arkin says "The best Hasselblad body - My cherished Hasselblad 201F - It is in my opinion the best Hasselblad body as it covers both the C and F system in a single camera without being totally dependent on batteries like some of the other F bodies, A very reliable camera - a purely mechanical camera except for the electronic shutter control - no electronic contacts - can use any CFV digital back with C-Type lenses using a flash sync input cable. It is basically a 503CW that also has a focal plane shutter allowing use of the fantastic and fast F series lenses. I went through a 500, 501 and a 503 while building my Hassy system back in the day and eventually settled on this perfect Hasselblad. It's the best kept secret in the entire V system.", with the 80mm Planar you can hand-hold the 'Blad at 1/125s perfectly well and at 1/60s too if you are careful, Hasselblads are great if you get 2 assistants to help you change magazines, change film, lenses, viewfinders and then carry the heavy camera case around, the Hassy is basically a tripod beast, almost none of the medium format cameras can be shot handheld unless you've got astronomically high shutter speeds or hands of stone because the mirror slap is enormous - if you really want to make the most of the large negative you'll need a sturdy tripod and low-ISO film - then prepare to be surprised by the tonality and detail of the negatives, use mirror lockup and a cable release while hanging a weight under the tripod and pressing down with your hand on the prism all to control vibration caused by the large mirror and the focal plane shutter, it is a myth that you can't hand-hold a Hasselblad, the Hasselblad is easily handheld, surprisingly easy to carry over a shoulder, designed for convenient use hand-held at waist level with a waist level finder but put a prism finder on top and they get heavy and awkward, handholding works better with a 50mm or 80mm than with a 150mm focal length lens, like to be at about 1/250 second to safely handhold without noticeable shake, even down around 1/30 second still get an image from my Hassalblad that I'm happy with - maybe not as sharp as it would be from a tripod but that's OK, 66 is absolutely magnificent, beautifully engineered objects, without doubt Hasselblad film cameras are mechanical masterpieces and reliable workhorses, holding and shooting a Hasselblad feels solid and timeless, hands down the best camera system to ever come down the pike - the best balance of film size, flexibility, build quality, optics, portability and ease of handling, there's something extremely satisfying about the mechanics and solidity of it all, it's easier to use a Hasselblad than figure out the menus on some of the modern cameras, pretty amazing that you can buy a camera of this quality at little more than the price of a consumer DSLR kit - and you can be sure that the 'Blad will outlast you and probably your children, such cool cameras, slides are expensive but why buy lenses and cameras for thousands of dollars and then skimp on proper films, Victor Hasselblad was big on taking hand held photographs himself, hand-held medium format gets better results than hand-held smaller formats and a tripod aids results especially at slow shutter speeds regardless of format, the mirror can be raised prior (known as pre-release) to pressing the shutter release - this feature plus using a tripod will give maximum sharpness, Hasselblads are anachronistic - absolutely no features beyond film loading, shutter speed, aperture, focusing via the viewfinder, and mirror lockup, some with metering - wonderful to operate, have some great Zeiss lenses, and have a satisfying clunk when you shoot - perfect - great for handholding, - the noise of the mirror/shutter stampeded some horses I was trying to photograph, don't try to use a medium format rangefinder for portraits as they won't focus close enough, Hasselblad cameras are great for everything your Mamiya 6/7 can't do: close ups and super long portrait lenses, "The Hasselblad with its ZEISS lenses has captured many of the most significant images of mankind. The pictures of NASA's landings on the moon are probably the most famous of them. The image quality made possible by this photographic system is legendary.", The rest are a let down after using a Hasselblad V Series, 201F with 110mm f/2 F lens - what a dream combination - the fast lens makes focusing so easy compared to the struggle of the 503CW in a dark studio ... and that 110mm lens wow!, the Blad is a film camera (suits me fine), hand-holding the camera is quite viable for obtaining crisp results, nothing quite replaces the beauty and Hasselblad shooting style, hold the camera in your left palm with left index finger on the shutter and focus with the right hand, medium format film shooting is one of the great joys of life, can get in tight with any lens and so much easier to focus than Mamiya 7 rangefinder, get a split prism focus screen if you actually want in focus shots, the winder which goes with the 201F is very uncomfortable - not made for the human hand, latest A-series film magazine back [A-12 (III) aka A-12N] with built-in darkslide holder, fixed film holder and no ASA reminder was introduced 1997, electronic shutter, battery lasts for years, can used without battery only with leaf shutter lenses when the shutter speed ring is set to C, longer instant return mirror that does not vignette, 1/1000s max shutter speed, F lenses are simple, economical, fast and razor sharp, 1/90s flash sync when using the focal plane shutter vs. 1/500s when using leaf shutter lenses, love combo with PME 51 for metering needs, {if you plan on using a prism anyway I would just get a PME 45 or PME 90, 45 prisms tend to have higher magnification than 90 prisms and they can also be used comfortably from (nearly) eye level to ground level without doing contortions while a 90 prism is mainly used for eye level shooting with a grip like at events and weddings - it's hard to see the entire screen with a waist level finder - too small and dim without the magnifier and hard to see the corners with the magnifier at eye level but has higher magnification which makes it much easier to focus and deserves a place in a travel kit but takes a little practice to follow a moving subject with the image reversed left to right}, prism weight will changing the camera handling significantly, 45 prism is easier for hand held and "street" photography (3x magnification) but prefer waist level finder for still life and portraits or when copying documents (5x magnification), 201F can use any focusing screens, viewfinder or accessory that fits the 500 series cameras (this is not true of the 202, 203 or 205 because they need a cut out on the bottom plate of the viewfinder for the raised lip of the LCD at the front of the ground glass), the older non-Acute Matte screens although dimmer are easier to focus, not prone to jamming like some of the 500 series bodies, lacks the failure prone circuit boards of the 203 and 205, only serviced by official Hasselblad service centers, use a Nikon 35mm for action/snaps and the medium format for controlled environments/stationary people/sleeping child/landscapes etc. or at least until the Hasselblad experience is second nature to you.

Rolleiflex 2.8 E2, 80mm f/2.8 Zeiss Planar (Bayonet III) Twin Lens Reflex Manual Focus Fixed Lens Camera, MX EV, Franke & Heidecke Model K7E2 Rollei Twin Lens Reflex with removable hood/finder, Carl Zeiss f/2.8 taking lens, Heidosmat viewing lens, with optional built-in uncoupled Gossen light meter:
"120 film loading is a rip-roaring fumblefest."
{Warning: Learn how to correctly load the film - Remember to thread the film through (UNDER) the first roller, or you will waste the roll.} -
{DAMAGE WARNING: DO NOT CHANGE SHUTTER SPEED TO 1/500 AFTER SHUTTER IS COCKED as this action will break the 1/500 speed.}
{Warning: ALWAYS RELEASE SHUTTER BEFORE LOADING FILM as otherwise first image on the roll may require a double exposure (can do a dummy shot with lens cap attached with maximum shutter speed and stopped down so first image is saved) before advancing film due to interlock on some models that prevents forward winding with already cocked shutter}
{Warning: always travel with the camera with the bellows compressed in so the front plate cannot get knocked out of alignment, i.e., focus at infinity}
{CAUTION: Unlike 35mm film, 120 film once you tear the paper tape to start load it into the camera to attach to the empty take-up spool WILL UNROLL ITSELF ruining the film UNLESS YOU HOLD IT tight onto its spool while loading}
{CAUTION: When you have taken the last shot, do not wind it on until you are going to unload the camera other wise the film will get loose and you will get light damage.}
{Caution: - This is not an apochromatic lens, so it is possible that using a deep red filter to increase black and white contrast will throw off the focus just like infrared does; possibly bad backfocus; may need to compensate somehow if red filtration is to be used.} - -
Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke both were Voigtlander employees who came up with the TLR concept and founded Rolleiflex after Voigtlander rejected their TLR invention, The first Rolleiflex was introduced in 1929, From 1945 until 1960, there was no newspaper or magazine that did not have some Rolleiflex photos, Between the 'Cord and 'Flex they took 80% of press pictures from the 1940's to the '60's, More than 1 million Rolleiflex TLR's have been manufactured, Famous Rolleiflex photographers include Irving Penn, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Imogen Cunningham, Fritz Henle, Robert Doisneau, John Gutmann, Fritz Henle, Eduard Boubat, Lennart Nilsson, Werner Bischof, Bruce Davidson, Philippe Halsman, Arthur Rothstein, Andreas Feininger, Joseph Breitenbach, Alfred Eisenstadt, Gene Smith, Vivian Maier, Robert Frank, Lee Miller, Eudora Welty, Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, Bert Stern, Marilyn Monroe, and Sammy Davis Jr, The Life admonition: "If it moves, shoot it with a Leica, and if it doesn't, shoot it with a Rollei." - Shoot film for romance, beauty, and soul - much more soul with the medium format rig over any 35mm rig, "The Rolleiflex is a love affair - sturdy, relatively light, a joy to use and it takes incredible pictures." - "Among the best film cameras ever made." - "Get a Rolleiflex ... few photographers ever regret this choice." - "Buy, beg, borrow or steal a Rolleiflex and learn how to use it! - They're chick magnets!" - "Go up to medium format - if you're going to shoot film sparingly, you might as well go big." - "Probably the most coveted camera ever made." - "A TLR gives me Hassy composition and above-Leica inconspicuousness." - "If I had to use but one camera, it would be a Rolleiflex. 'nough said." - "Find the incredible sharpness/resolution of the Mamiya 7 lenses to be unsettling and get more of a film look with my Rolleiflexes which is what I often prefer." - Coolest medium format camera, "Rolleiflexes are the TLR gold standard." - A classic - a camera for life, "This is not a camera! It is a piece of jewelry. Walk around town with a Rolleiflex around your neck is like driving a Rolls Royce Phantom Convertible. It commands respect and admiration from fellow photographers. ... Holding the Rolleiflex in my hand is like cradling a piece of sculpture by Rodin. It's a magical experience." - "The best thing about the Rolleiflex is no one sees you lining a picture up and no one can hear you take it. That's quite an advantage." - "Rollei tlr's seem to be very socially acceptable." - "Rolleiflex cameras are works of art, and when they work well, are nearly divine!" - "Be proud to be square!" - "Square imaging ... the most efficient use of an image circle." - "TLRs are the most portable and stealthy of the medium format cameras ... They're unobtrusive, hang well around a neck and can be carried in a large-ish hand. Shooting through the chimney finder is often not noticed by others, and the shutter is so quiet that no-one notices." - "Hand made and we will never see this kind of craftsmanship ever again." - "Build quality on these cameras is awesome." - "Beautiful cameras, just beautiful. Extremely high image quality in a small package." - "Every photographer has to have a Rolleiflex some time." - "There are a lot of disadvantages with TLRs - parallax, size, non-interchangeable lenses, potential alignment/ calibration issues - and only one advantage: almost no shutter vibration thanks to leaf shutters and no moving mirrors/ focal plane shutters, which means that the cameras are hand-holdable to very low shutter speeds." - "TLR has one major advantage over Hasselblad - can take a fairly sharp picture at 1/8sec. handheld. Hassie's flapping mirror won't let me go longer than 1/60sec." - "Also have a Hasselblad, but the Rollei is my 'walk around' choice." - "TLRs are nice for black & white photography because its no fun to stare through color filters in front of an SLR lens." - "Tip for handholding: use the self-timer so you can steady the camera with both hands." - "I can't afford 50 grand on a Hasselblad H4 but I can almost get there with a scanned Rollei transparency!" - Jewel-like, Light weight, near-silent operation, non-threatening use (especially with waist-level finder) and superb results (no mirror slap), One of the all time great cameras, Use of scale-focusing and depth of field, and pre-focusing in predicting where your subjects will likely fall in distance, actually works really well, Default to film and shoot digital when low light requires it, Rolleiflex 2.8E or F is the best camera you can buy for the types of shooting a TLR is good for and the optics are of course second to none, Would look for an E2 instead of an F - it's cheaper, lighter (F is built like a tank), offers the same easily replaceable focus screen feature (takes 20 seconds to replace the screen!), and with a Planar lens is capable of stunning images, An E2 with a Planar delivers images that are in a different league than a Tessar, Zeiss Planar lens models were about $50 pricier than Schneider Xenotar models, The Planar front glass is a doublet that suffers from cement failure occasionally which does not occur with Xenotar lenses - if it is needed polishing and re-coating a Xenotar is much less complicated than the 80mm Planar and the front lens element of a Xenotar will never separate, A Rolleiflex E2 or E3 TLR will have an iron sulfide meter that will most likely still be working and be accurate - Rollei meters are like tanks ... they still work! - With B&W film really much prefer the rendering of the Tessar 75/3.5 but for color film fork out the money and grab a 2.8 Planar model, The f/2.8 lens type is much heavier than f/3.5 and does not have good balance because of the heavy glass in front, The 2.8 Planar is sharpest at f/8, where it is significantly sharper than f/2.8-f/5.6, {Center Middle Edge (l/mm) f-stop; 68 68 42 f/2.8; 76 96 68 f/4; 68 76 68 f/5.6; 96 96 76 f/8; 96 85 68 f/11; 68 76 60 f/16; 54 60 48 f/22; hevanet.com/cperez/MF_testing.html} - "Where the Planar really shines is with color." - "Produces images which are virtually indistinguishable from a modern Zeiss Planar for a Hasselblad." - "The Rolleiflex is almost too beautiful for the average eyes." - "It's just that the cameras themselves are so damn cool! - Post-war Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex cameras are as good as cameras get." - "The Rolleiflex is expensive but it exudes craftsmanship and quality like Leica." - "An 80mm lens on 6x6 is a dream combination." - "Rollei made a true professionals' camera with Planar/Xenotar lens." - "ALL Rolleis are really beautiful." - "Wind, meter, focus, shoot. Repeat x 11. Have a good time." - For quiet shooting as an alternative to an SLR with Jacobson hard case sound blimp use a Rolleiflex - "Cannot hear the shutter." - Generally better made than anything else of similar vintage, Overall winner is the Rolleiflex f/2.8 Planar, A very smooth lens, The Rolleiflex 80mm f/2.8 (E or F) is the smoothest Planar while the Hasselblad 100/3.5 is the sharpest, Rolleiflexes have dead-even frame spacing, A Rolleiflex with f/2.8 Planar achieves 110 lp/mm on high resolution Provia 100F color reversal film, The f/2.8 Planar is little less contrasty than the f/3.5 Planar - like this better for B&W, The f/2.8 is the king of portraits, 6x6 is primarily for centrally located subjects, Square doesn't look wide enough for landscapes, "With a Hasselblad, the actual moment you click the shutter, you are blinded by the mirror. Did the subject blink? Who knows? With the TLR you can watch exactly what happens during the shutter click. It's a huge deal." - The f/2.8's are noticeably heavier cameras, A very quiet shutter, compared with all medium format SLRs, Has that cool factor that puts people at ease, In the old days newspapers tended to use the f/2.8's, wedding studios the f/3.5's, most amateurs used the Tessar/Xenar lens cameras, Prefer the f/3.5 camera for travel/landscape and color, and the f/2.8 for portraits and B&W, Any f/2.8 Rolleiflex is a pretty sweet thing, For environmental portraits they are perfect, It's surprising the magic one half stop of DOF and an addition 5mm of magnification can bring to an image (the f/2.8 lenses are 80mm and the f/3.5 lenses are 75mm), Today the f/2.8 is the more desirable collector's camera, It's not easy to focus a wide-open f/2.8 taking lens with a f/2.8 viewing lens, Wonderful cameras to work with - simple, robust, easy to use. And the optics? FABULOUS!!! The Rollei optics are only single coated. However, the resolution is equal and the flare control better than more modern multicoated 80mm Hasselblad Zeiss CT* Planar optics, A well-kept Rolleiflex with 80mm Planar lens produces sharpness at least as good as the Hasselblad, "To be a true TLR person you can't crop." - They are wonderful cameras, "Everyone needs a Rolleiflex." - TLRs are great for pets (or children) portraits, because you can shoot comfortably at dog level without having to crawl in the dirt, Rollei is appealing as quite discrete when shot from waist (a very non-intimidating posture), Ultra quiet shutter, very little vibration and stable even at 1/10s, Rolls Royce of cameras ... that aura of old-world quality, In comparison to the Rollieflex the Hassy is like firing a bazooka! - For handholding, compared with a Hasselblad, the Rollei wins hands down due to its lack of moving mirror, You can shoot at 1/30s with the Rollei which you will never manage with the 'Blad and the 80mm Planar, No moving mirror is a big advantage! ... and no dark slide to mess with ... but no interchangeability ... a lovely beast, provided you don't mind just having the one focal length, Very sturdily built cameras meant for professional use, A good TLR in the right situation can't be beat, Prefer Rolleiflex for street - the Hasselblad mirror slap is too loud for candids, Rolleis, including the Tele, can be used handheld without any problem, both because of the lack of mirror slap and because the focusing is easier than a Hasselblad, With a waist level finder people on the street usually will find you less aggressive than with a camera at eye level, One of the most enjoyable cameras - So light and small, so quiet, no batteries - felt I could carry it everywhere, People either didn't notice it or thought it was interesting and didn't mind their picture being taken, Superb lens and sharp images, Love it! - The leaf shutter makes TLR's very quiet - a Rolleiflex is quieter than a Leica M, A leaf shutter instead of focal plane shutter and no moving mirror allows slower speeds when handheld than an SLR or camera with focal plane shutter, like 1/15s or 1/8s, "The negative it produces will blow you away, The Xenotar and Planar lenses are the best of the best, Single coated Zeiss 2.8 Planar from the 1950's can produce large prints that show as much fine resolution and detail as the best modern multicoated lens, There is also something magical about the perspective when you shoot from the hip using the waist level finder." - When there isn't a camera between the photographer's face and the subject the atmosphere is much more relaxed for everyone, There's a 'grandeur' about an image taken on a Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, or similar - somehow the 120 is more permanent - it's not a resolution issue rather a presence, Mechanical Rolleis were professional cameras built to last, hardly ever wear out, but need service once in a while, The Rolleiflex was the first TLR, Rolleiflex cameras are expensive because: 1) collector value; 2) always considered "the best" (top of the line is always most expensive, you pay a lot for the name, and they lose value slower than other brands); 3) very high quality, durability, precision, great design, excellent lenses, excellent images, For medium format, like TLRs the best as they are easy to use handheld, Shooting weddings in the late 1960's all we used were Rolliflexes, The 2.8 Planar lens TLR is basically a studio camera! - Owning a Rolleiflex is great, Although they look rather antiquated, the Rollei's, with a good screen, are about as close to shooting perfection as you will find - surprisingly fast, and super quiet - genius machines, A good working 2.8 is a gem of a camera, A pleasure to use, and there's no mistaking the negatives that come of Rolleiflex, They shine, The Rolleiflex has some intangible appeal as an object, but above all, it is an incredible tool for B&W photography - particularly the 2.8 models, because the lens is less contrasty, and has better bokeh - there is scarcely a better tool for B&W, For when you wish to use medium format, but at the same time wish to keep a low profile, You'll get much more attention with a Rolleiflex than with a Hasselblad, People either don't notice it or think it is interesting and don't mind their picture being taken, Rolleis seem very hot now thanks to Vivian Maier, For shooting model portfolios, they think the camera looks cute and a little antiquey, but are usually totally blown away by the end results, probably because it seems less imposing to be shot with a Rollei and so they're more at ease, "I always thought the Rolleiflex TLR was way overrated until I borrowed one ... The pictures were outstanding; far beyond what I ever expected. When I showed the pictures to my wife she first paused to catch her breath and then she quickly said 'let's buy that camera today.'" - For handholding, the Rollei wins hands down over a Hasselblad V due to its lack of moving mirror, You can shoot at 1/30s with the Rollei which you will never manage with the 'Blad and the 80mm Planar, No moving mirror and no dark slide to have to mess with are big advantages! - Both cameras (Rollei and 'Blad) are curious, irrelevant relics from the past, which makes them a lot of fun to own and use, People find TLR's cute, disarming, interesting, Two plusses are quiet shutters and complete forgiveness by most of the general public when shooting, TLR's are useful for photographing people staring at them ... with a bemused expression that is priceless ... Or a curious half-frown, half-raised lip miming "huh?", while you shout "hold that pose!" - Rolleiflex Classic Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) Camera first introduced in 1929, created by Paul Franke & Reinhold Heidecke in Brunswick (Braunschweig), Germany (firm went bankrupt in 2009 - DHW Fototechnik, a firm resurrected from the ashes of Franke & Heidecke by former employees continues the good work albeit on a reduced scale), Rolleiflex E2, August 1959 - June 1960, 7000 manufactured, from the late 1950s right up to the early 1970'sabout 12 yearsthe Rolleiflex was the "issue" press camera for more than 500 daily newspaper in the U.S., in the 60's the Rollei was the "Cadillac" of the new "press" camera, "A Rollei! The famous reporters' camera!", Rollei TLRs - the granddad of them all, almost all professional photo-reporters in the fifties worked with one or several Rollei TLR cameras, Walker Evans travelled on his shoots for Fortune magazine with a Halliburton full of two each of the Rolleiflex Wide, Normal, and Tele cameras - Pretty slick - Likewise Avedon and Penn had multiple bodies and had assistants feed them loaded cameras through out a shoot, the Caddy of cameras, every photographer should at least try a Rolleiflex 2.8 - it's an experience, beautiful and different, hand-made during a time when folks expected to be able to take apart and service well-made machinery, the greatest all-around camera ever made, Rolleis are great to collect but they remain the ultimate user camera, normally people cringe when you point a camera at them - they jump into the frame when they see a TLR, E2 is the nicest Rollei of them all, luxury Rollei, 10 blade 2.8C aperture gives round circles in the bokeh (no pentagons like the D, E, F or later), to produce mid-century-style long scale prints, Rollei has always been the standard against which all other TLRs are measured, icons of design and functional beauty, great optical performance AND solid construction, Rollei's f/2.8 Planar lens is at least as good as the Hasselblad's, the Rolleiflex handles better than the 'Blad and is quiet and provides constant viewing, the perfect compliment to 35mm for shooting on a larger negative without the time-prohibitive setup of large format, wide open bad with Rollei - f/8 about right, "You don't need one, but they make life better ... ", "How often do people get to do something so special in life?", a Rolleiflex TLR has a film area of 5.9cm square which is slightly larger than a Hasselblad 5.6cm square image, interchangeable focusing screen & finder loupe, the legendary folding hood of the most recent Rolleiflex models was invented by Mr. Richard Wei and introduced on the market in 1958, (all the Rollei TLRs with interchangeable hoods (prior to the GX) take the same size screen of 64 mm x 68 mm - these are the Rolleiflex models E2, E3, F, F12/24, T, Wide Angle Rollei, Tele-Rollei, RolleiMagic, and the Rolleicord Vb), if you focus first and then use the sportsfinder you can follow fast moving action, if stray sunlight making it hard to focus is still problem wear a brimmed hat, scissor-clips for the neck-strap were also introduced in 1958, Exposure Value Scale (EVS) denotes a geared interlock system of shutter/f-stop thumbwheels used in the 1950's, E2 EVS coupling override: the aperture-dial hub provides the locking mechanism - acting as sort of a key if the indicator marks on the hub align with the marks on the dial the EV system is locked together - to release it, and leave it released, just push in on the hub slightly and turn it so that the marks aren't aligned, the distance between the lenses is 42mm for the E2 (not 45mm), there was a transition period when Rollei went from E to F - not everyone was happy with losing the EV system of coupling f-stops with shutter speeds and they concurrently produced the E2, E3 and F for a short while - the E2 and 3 had the new removable hood but where otherwise like the older E - the E2 came with a meter and the E3 came without - there weren't very many E2's or E3's made before they were discontinued, built in parallax correction, the Rolleimeter rangefinder attachment cannot be used with the Rolleiflex E2 or any model with a detachable hood, the front element of a 2.8 Planar is a cemented doublet, "dual range" meter: if a switch located atop the camera to one side shows red (black is for regular/normal light conditions) it is for lower ambient light conditions - you then use the EV numbers in the red frame on the meter (left side of camera) to set the EV setting dials, while the Selenium cell metered Rolleiflexes look better than the ones without a light-meter you have to be prepared that a fifty odd years old light-meter may not be linear and therefore has limited prospects for actual use - replacement Selenium cells are very rare and far worse they are old too - many Rollei Selenium meters are still fine but you must be willing to accept that exposure is different - the light-meter might be a bit off - the metering angle is quite wide in comparison with modern cameras possibly wider than the angle of view of the Rolleiflex lens - you can be metering more than you see in the finder - pointing down for metering to leave out most of the sky may help - a hand held meter is a fine instrument in classic TLR Rolleigraphy - Rolleigraphy is a very relaxed way of photography, for landscape or stationary subject where you most likely would use a tripod prefer a Hassy but if you like to shoot street scenes with moving targets the Rolleiflex is a better camera and much more discrete, the Rolleiflex is not too large but is more fragile than a Hassy, to help keep the camera upright and square attach a monopod directly to the base of the camera without a ball head or pano head and just let the weight of the monopod pull the camera vertical, there is a prism attachment which weighs about as much as a paving brick, optional prism corrects left/right reversal of waist level finder but has less magnification so harder to focus, prism raises camera to eye level which is better for avoiding camera pointing upwards distorting architecture and interiors (but flipping down the front mirror of the waist level finder by 45 degrees instantly converts it to a dual eye level finder with both reflex viewing and direct sports viewing ports), strongly recommend prism for child photography, prism adds size and weight but transforms the camera, use pistol grip in right hand with prism swinging the camera down and to the left to wind, the downside is that the Rollei prism turns one of the prettiest cameras in the world into one of the most ugly, parallax control, shutter is Synchro Compur MXV, 1 - 1/500 sec., B, X-sync., self timer, 120 film for 12 exp. 6x6, and 35mm with adapter Rolleikin 2 - amazing bonus of being able to transform into a marvelous 35mm candid street portrait shooter!, film winding lever with auto stop on first exposure, exposure counter for exposures 1-12, blank film pressure plate, removable hood for easy mirror and screen cleaning, the 2.8 Planar front element is a bonded pair so separation can occur, 11.2 x 10.5 x 14.8cm, 1250g.

Franke & Heidecke Rolleidoscop Reflex Stereo Film Camera: - The first Franke and Heidecke cameras were #stereo. The Stereo Rolleidoscop [Rolleidoscope / Rolleidoskop / Rolleidoskope] Analoge Mittelformatkamera Medium Format Stereo Camera was the successor to the earlier Heidoscop, (The key difference between Heidoscop and Rolleidoscop is the former was designed for interchangable plate backs, or roll film backs. The latter was a roll film camera only.) - Rolleidoscop Stereo-Spiegelreflex-Kamera manufactured by Franke and Heidecke, Braunschweig, 1926-1941, has been described as the 'Rolls Royce' of stereo cameras, [The non-stereo Rolleiflex was introduced two years later in 1928.] - A joy to use, "One of the finest cameras ever made." - "A roll film reflex camera of world renown." - Results are incomparable, "The thrill of shooting with a camera older than you." - "When people ask, I describe it this way: 'I shoot 35mm stereo because it's cheap. I shoot 120 stereo because it's beautiful.' John Thurston, Juneau, Alaska" - "If you think medium format prints outdo digital, wait until you see a pair of medium format stereo transparencies in a nice viewer. It totally blows people's minds when they first see them!" - "No modern digital imaging system available for less than $25,000 can capture the detail and resolution that the Rolleidoscop's 3-element Tessar lenses can produce on 2 1/2" film. ... There is no digital image reproduction system capable of delivering the realism and detail of a 3D medium format slide when viewed in a stereo slide viewer. ... A camera manufactured 80 years ago produces results superior to all those high-tech digital wonder-cameras." - This camera No. 124120 c. 1926 is the highly sought after 120 roll film version which takes five stunning 6x9cm stereo photograph pairs per roll of film, {DISCREPANCY: Makes stereo pairs of 66 cm images; five pairs on 120 size roll film, Lens serial numbers suggest much later than c. 1926.} - It comes with the all important instruction leaflet without which I defy anyone to operate the camera. The lenses are paired Carl Zeiss, Jena Tessar 75mm f/4.5 primaries numbers 1249525 & 12492526 (four elements in three groups; the front element is positive, bi-convex (with the rear almost flat), the central a negative bi-concave and, following an aperture, at the rear is a cemented doublet of plano-concave and a bi-convex elements) and a Carl Zeiss, Jena Sucher Triplet 75mm f/4.2 viewfinder lens No. 1339889, (Tessar invented in 1902, Zeiss called the Tessar their Eagle eyed lens.) - The shutter is a stereo Compound, with speeds 1 to 1/300 second, plus 'B' and 'T' ('M' and 'Z'), Hinged lens cap that covers the taking and viewing lenses (and doubles as a sun-shade). The viewfinder has a flip up focus lens and believe it or not a sprit level in the screen, The viewfinder hood has a focusing loupe, and a mirror that allows it to be used as an eye-level reflex finder, The paired primary shutters and iris diaphragms are clean and smooth but uncalibrated, The knob on the side of the front is for focusing. All three lenses are coupled for focusing and they each "turn" as distinct from being on a telescopic panel, The plush lining fitted case is in good condition but without a strap, This is a museum quality camera for the stereo enthusiast or serious collector, To put this into perspective: Other auctions on eBay list the camera at nearly $2,000 and the case separately at an additional $250. In both instances my camera & case are in better condition, One of the finest cameras ever made, (Another copy which was modified to accept removable Rolleiflex finders and modern focus screen is described as originally for 117 roll film and has been converted to 120 film.)

Voigtlander Bessa II with 105mm Color Heliar lens, coupled double image rangefinder, Compur-Rapid shutter, c. 1951, Voigtlander Braunshweig Germany, some Bessa II lenses have a serial number on the edge where the filter pushes on: {WARNING: Before you can fold-up the cover you have to adjust the knob/focus to infinity and remove the push-on filter.} - {WARNING: Absolutely don't change the shutter speeds after you've cocked the shutter, If you find that the speed is set incorrectly after you have cocked the shutter, simply hold your hand tightly over the lens and fire it to reset it again, That way you won't lose a frame on the roll.} - {TIP - Film flatness: one trick to getting sharp shots is to advance the film to the next number after every shot, but don't quite get it centered in the red window. Then, when you are ready to take your next shot, open the camera (if it were closed) and slowly nudge the film advance to get the number centered. This will hold the film taut and give you sharper images. Opening the bellows will pull the film away from the pressure plate by suction action, so you want to let things settle for a spell if you already have the film number centered when you open the camera.} - Vintage folding medium format 120 film camera with coupled rangefinder, ultimate 6x9 folding rangefinder, 34,500 Bessa II's were made from 1950 to 1956, the king of folder cameras, the ultimate development of the box camera, simply the crme de la crme of 69 folders - it has beauty, style, superb optics, a built-in rangefinder, vaunted Voigtlnder quality - this is good stuff - deserving of the reputation that they have - a bit pricy, but you get commensurate quality, built-in rangefinder, and superb optics in the bargain, a Bessa II in good condition is hard to beat, most beautiful camera with wonderful lines, quite stunning, best all round performing 6x9cm folder (actually 56x84mm ?56x82mm; 100mm diagonal), (2.25" x 3.25", 6x9 is a lousy metric approximation), 6x9 slides are just gorgeous, truly in the category of "they don't make 'em like that anymore" - wonderful build quality and you can prefocus the lens with the camera folded up! - pretty amazing design, if you love the tonality - small negs cannot touch big negs, the most renowned of the cameras with the "Bessa" name, among the best 6x9 folding cameras for color work due to engineering and optical quality, an exceptional camera, one of the best 6x9 cameras ever made in terms of build quailty, favorite 6x9 - folds up small enough to fit in the back pocket of some jeans - nice silent leaf shutter, equivalent angle of view to 66mm focal length for full frame 35mm film with same 3:2 aspect ratio, deserving of the reputation that they have - a bit pricy but you get commensurate quality with a built-in rangefinder and superb optics, favorite composition is the environmental portrait including the subject and surroundings shot mostly in 6x9 horizontal aspect, considered the best of the German folding 120 cameras - the Zeiss Super Ikonta series (the chief rival) has front element focus as opposed to the full unit focusing on the Bessa II, 120 film, Compur-Rapid or Synchro-Compur shutter, lenses are 4 element Color-Skopar, 5 element in 3 group Color-Heliar or the extremely rare 6 element APO-Lanthar (some radioactive, not very sharp wide open, very warm like 81B filter, over hyped collector frenzy), the Bessa I came with a 3 element Vaskar, the excellent Heliar type lens was invented in 1900 by Dr. Hans Harting for Voigtlnder, the Heliar has a sort of "glowing" softness about it wide open but does sharpen up around f/8, the "best" lens? - that's the Heliar, only the last model (1956) had the mask for also shooting 64.5 [with 105mm f/3.5 Color-Skopar $500; with 105mm f/3.5 Color-Heliar $750+; with 105mm f/3.5 APO-Lanthar $1,500-$3,500+ (Very rare! - estimate only 300 ever made; fakes - if f/3.5 is shown on the meter scale and the lens is the Apo-Lanthar the lens has been swapped as they were not that expensive in Linhof mount)], the Voigtlander Heliar and APO-Lanthar (much less so the Skopar, although it certainly has it devotees) is the epitome of the great 1950's German lens - very high resolution, but coupled with relatively low contrast (poor coating "helped" in this regard) - the result was that odd, to some ultra-appealing, creamy smoothness in even tone areas, and seemless, long tonality - the Voigtlander Heliar exhibits these unusual and beguiling qualities to a greater degree than even the Leica and Zeiss products, very nice color, in 1949 A.W. Tronnier of Voigtlander tweaked and recalculated the f/3.5 Heliar and created the 105mm f/3.5 Heliar with coated lenses (US Patent 2645156) - called the "Color-Heliar" which would live its most famous days mounted to the 6x9 cm Voigtlander Bessa II Rangefinder camera, there were changes to the Heliar lens during the production history of the Bessa II: the early Heliar made prior to the mid-1950's had the defect of the curvature of field forcing you to close the very wide aperture to achieve sharpness from the center to the edges making it almost indispensable to close to f/16 or f/22 - the later revised Heliar design after the mid-1950's reduced the curvature of field allowing sharpness extended center to edge at f/8 and f/6.3, especially like the quality of the lens in the close range - framing is a bit difficult in the close range because the finder is tiny (besides being not very precise) and there is no parallax correction so you have to guess - can use the 6x9 Kontur finder but the early Bessa II lacks the accessory shoe and requires one of the clip on accessory shoes for the Bessa that are hard to come by and quite expensive, the Heliars consistently sell for 25% to 30% more than Color Skopars, simply the crme de la crme of 6x9 folders - has beauty, style, superb optics, a built-in rangefinder, vaunted Voigtlnder quality - this is good stuff - early models did not have an accessory shoe - only the last model (1956) had the mask for also shooting 6x4.5 - Bessa II's usually come with either the Color-Skopar or Color-Heliar 105mm f/3.5 lenses or more rarely with the APO-Lanthar lens that is so rare that if you see one it will surely cost a king's ransom - focusing is by turning a focus wheel with your left hand on the top left - the whole lens / shutter assembly moves to focus like a view camera - only a handful of folders focus this way which seems to be a tad more precise while most simply (like the Zeiss cameras) rotated the front lens element to achieve focus - the Bessa optics are first rate - all newer Bessa II cameras made after 1951 have two rectangular rangefinder windows on the camera front - {WARNING: 120 film has a problem with not staying flat across the focal plane so it's important that you wind the film just before you make the picture - if you wind it then wait for a while (even as little as 10 minutes) the film will take a "set" and unless you stop down to f/22 there may be areas out of focus because of the un-flat film, film flatness is a serious problem on 6x9 negatives - prefer a Rollei TLR for anything important.} One advantage the folders have over anything modern is their size, and compact nature when folded. Nothing on the market today can match it. Best resolution of the lens is probably between f/8 and f/11, a camera about 50 years old, with bellows, using 120 film, in 6x9cm format size with high quality lenses. It uses the little red window for frame counting, manual cocking of the shutter, no double exposure prevention, no internal meter, and a very tiny viewfinder/rangefinder system, tiny peepholes, the tiny finders on these old cameras makes composition tricky, Lucky to find the Kontur finder 6x9 version for fast framing, Color-Skopar and Color-Heliar have soft lens surfaces, be real careful when you are cleaning them. Both the filter and lenshade for the Bessa are difficult to find. It is a beautifully made camera. A joy to behold just sitting on your desk!, the desirable postwar Bessa "II", the "Leica of folders" is the Voigtlander Bessa II with Heliar lens. One in good working order is about the finest quality folder that you can get, both in terms of performance and finish., If I were to get a 6x9cm folder, a Bessa II would be the one. Voigtlander made some great lenses, and there aren't too many folders out there with coupled rangefinders like the Bessa II., A mechanical fully manual operation camera is the zenith of medium format photography and the Bessa is the quintessential pre-SLR to do so., 34,500 Bessa II's made from 1950 to 1956. The Bessas II were fitted with a Color-Skopar 3.5/10.5 cm, or a Color-Heliar 3.5/10.5 cm or from 1954, the rare and sought-after Apo-Lanthar 4.5/10.5 cm. The Compur-Rapid shutter fitted on the earlier models was replaced by the Synchro-Compur shutter from 1951, The Synchro Compur shutter is ber reliable, Shutters on a Bessa II are always either a Compur-Rapid or the Synchro-Compur. On this camera the C-R shutter goes to 1/400th while the S-C goes to 1/500th sec. The other difference is that the S-C shutter has a switch to choose whether youre using flash bulbs or electronic flash. The C-R is simply synched for whatever you attach to the PC post. After 50 years NO Synchro-Compur or Compur-Rapid has a top speed of 1/400th or 1/500th sec, EVERY single one tested out at a little better that 1/350th sec, Even the best folding cameras - and Voigtlnders were always among the best - can never be as rigid as a rigid-bodied camera, {Ought to be among the leaders in top-quality rollfilm cameras for use by classic camera enthusiasts, but the truth is that, for all its impressive specification, the Bessa II is inadequately engineered, and rarely proves to have a satisfactorily rigid lens standard for successful photography, This is a great shame, for this camera ... might be expected to yield top quality results.} - On repairman Mark Hansen's short list of worst [and most expensive] cameras to work on, {Some instead believe the Zeiss Super Ikonta C 6x9 folder to be "undoubtedly the best camera of its class" due to superior engineering, but that camera has a folding albada viewfinder on top of its rangefinder that with age is like "looking through yellow wax paper" needing modification of the camera to replace the deteriorated Zeiss viewfinder with a non-folding Leica one.} - The accessory shoe appears only from 1954, a precision instrument - the Voigtlander wins hands down - it's the Rolex of 6x9 folders, Galilei View Finder, can be damaged to produce a wobbly front standard or bent tongs, dimensions folded 165mm x 100mm x 48mm (6.5" x 4" x 2"), 860g, uses 37mm push on filters.

Zeiss Super Ikonta IV: Pinnacle of Zeiss Folder design, 66, 120 film, terrific built-in coupled rangefinder, fitted with excellent 75mm f/3.5 Zeiss Tessars, almost always Synchro-Compur shutter, light meter, need 2" to 2.5" of extra paper around the takeup spool to avoid image overlap with today's thinner film, film advance mechanism that prevents double exposure often broken by being forced.

Sekonic L-508 Zoom Master (Ambient/Flash) Light Meter, moon dome diffuser is termed an "invercone", External meters won't give you the correct exposure when using a circular polarizer. {Exposure compensation when using filters with an external light meter: add a stop for yellow, two for orange and three for a red filter. (set one-half, one-quarter or one-eighth the rated ISO). Add 1/3 stop for an 81A, 2/3 for an 85C and 2 stops for an 80A. A polarizer usually needs two extra stops.} - Sekonics give you a direct EV value which can be set on the Hasselblad lens EV marking.

Leica III-C (Oskar Barnack): {WARNING: Will only load properly with film which has the long old-style film leader tongue so the film is narrow with half of the film width missing and with only one side of 20 perforations for the first 10cm, Modern film has a shorter leader tongue which must be cut longer for proper loading to avoid damage to film and camera. http://www.jay.fedka.com/index_files/Page345.htm } manufactured 1933-39, same as the Model II but with slow speeds added, without the 1/1000 speed of the IIIa, with collapsable 5cm f/3.5 Elmar (not only one of the best simple optical designs ever made but also has Zen status), the first 50mm ever made for an interchangeable 35mm camera, the best looking and most iconic camera Leica ever made with the best fit and finish and feels best in the hand, the view and range finder were separated so there were fewer instances of taking the picture with the range finder and not framing it correctly, fine camera that is extremely well made and is simple to work on (better than much more complicated III-F which has a 1/1000 shutter speed - a shutter speed to 1/500 which made things a lot less complex on the bottom of the camera as the higher speed made necessary a curtain break and a bounce back clutch which the III-C lacks), a 'Barnack' Leica attracts almost as much attention from other photographers as a twin lens reflex, it's a pig to load (even after 50 years practice), viewfinder is appalling so use an auxiliary finder, accessory finders are a pain, have to use accessory finders for any lens other than 50mm but this is not a problem since the best photographers use nothing but a 50mm lens anyway; most difficult 35mm camera to load the film.

Canon T90 Manual Focus FD Camera Body: - Considered one of the finest manual focus 35mm SLR constructed, the T90 (in Japan affectionately referred to the tank), offers outstanding durability with a host of pro-pleasing features!!; This sensuously curved creation was a beautiful experience to use, compared to all of the the sharp, boxy "classic" cameras that came before it; Unfortunately the aperture ring can't be used and must be set to "A" and the aperture setting instead set on the camera for full aperture metering with aperture priority automatic exposure (same limitation on the Canon F-1 new camera body used with its AE prism for aperture priority exposure automation) or otherwise must use stopdown metering to use aperture ring; Canon series A and T get old very badly; Aperture & shutter-priority, program AE (8 modes including stopped down AE and flash AE) & manual exposure modes; Center-weighted, partial & spot metering options; Shutter speeds: 30s ~ 1/4000, plus B; self-timer; Film advance: up to 4.5 fps; Full information digital viewfinder readout; Auto DX coding with manual override (ISO range 6 - 6400); Depth Of Field preview; Multi exposure capability; Interchangeable focusing screens.

Canon F-1 35MM CAMERA BODY SLR: - {Alert: If the self timer lever is partially rotated, the camera will seem to be jammed, so either fully engage the self timer or not at all.} - Great cameras - maybe the best Canon has made, One of the best 35mm cameras ever made, Professional SLR with motor capability and auto exposure. Uses Canon FD lenses, FL lenses will work without open lens metering. No shoe, can be purchased and slipped over the rewind knob, Shutter+mirror vibration is exemplary, Really like the way it meters a scene - just the central 12% or so of the scene is metered indicated by a rectangle visible through the viewfinder - nothing outside that rectangle is recorded by the meter - this selective area focusing system is very useful for critical exposure especially when shooting slides, The meter on the original F-1 has no problems with dirty ring resistors or jumpy needles, and it is a partial (like a bigger "spot") meter so in easier to rely on than a centerweighted meter, Only had a lightmeter with CdS cells that was outperformed in term of reactivity and low light capabilities by the Nikon DP3 and DP12, Measures approximately 5.75 x 3.9 x 1.9 inches; Focus: Manual; Lens Mount: FD-BL; Metering: TTL; Manual Metering: Yes; - Shutter Priority AE: Yes; Center Weighted: Yes; Metering Display: Needle; PC Sync: Yes; Shutter Speed Range: 1s-1/2000; High Sync. Speed: 1/60; B or T Setting: B; Self-timer: Yes; ISO/DX Range: 25-2000; ISO/DX Setting: Manual; Film Advance: Manual; Film Rewind: Manual; Interchangeable Prism: Yes; Interchangeable Screens: Yes; Release Socket: Mechanical; Viewfinder Image: 97%; Battery: 1-PX625; Weight: 29oz; Shutter Priority AE with Servo EE finder.

Agfa Rondinax 60 Daylight 120 Film Daylight Developing Tank (Model 8605), introduced c. 1937, very easy to develop with.
Agfa Rondinax 35 U Daylight 35mm Film Daylight Developing Tank.
Rondix 35, smaller Daylight 35mm Film Daylight Developing Tank that works without a plastic spiral but is more likely to scratch film so winding and unwinding needs to be very gentle - {CAUTION: don't pull film tight}.

Univex Mercury II viewfinder camera, Universal Camera Corp. USA, introduced 1945, 35mm film half frame, not really half frame - it's 6/11 frame - takes 11 exposures on the amount of 35mm film a full-frame camera would use for 6 frames, Galilean type optical Viewfinder, Available Lenses: Tricor f/2.7 35mm (coated), Tricor f/3.5 35mm (non coated), Hexar f/2, others: 75mm, 125mm, Rotary metal focal plane shutter with speeds T, B, 1/20 - 1/1000sec plus F hot synch, Dimensions: 145x95x60mm, Weight: 600g, [Universal' s Mercury - II was modified to accept 35 mm cartridges instead of a proprietary #200 roll film of the same film length used by the original Mercury - it grew 1/4" taller and wider, and had to add all the mechanisms (weight/complexity) in order to rewind it back into the cartridge.]

Pentax beamsplitter stereo adapter (49mm or 52mm rear thread) with caps.
Carl Zeiss Jena stereo attachment (49mm), f=50/2 m=infinity, glass prism beamsplitter, for Pancolar, Biogon etc., cast aluminium housing, chrome plated brass front cap.

"You're not really a serious photographer unless you have a closet full of bags you've decided don't quite work for you."

Domke J-1 Journalist Weather Resistant Camera Bag, - black ballistic nylon, 18"W x 9.5"D x 11.5"H, main compartment 14"W x 6.5"D x 11"H, 4 lb 2 oz.

Dual Mode Slide Duplicator, Charles Beseler Co. Model 4100: for color negatives add blue (like a tungsten-to-daylight conversion blue filter) to your light source and do a white balance on the negative and then make it positive, VueScan software provides a large range of color negative film profiles - remove the orange cast from negative color films by processing camera RAW files; the ColorPerfect plugin for Photoshop also will remove the orange cast. {Model 4102 catalog description: Beseler's Dual-Mode Slide Duplicators incorporate both a quartz-halogen continuous light source and a built-in electronic flash. Ideal for producing duplicates, inter-negatives, inter-positives, title slides and special effects. Both models feature fade-free, continuously variable Dichroic color filtration. The deluxe model offers increased flash power and voltage stabilization for slide production at increased speeds. The fast-recycling flash can be calibrated to match the quartz-halogen light's output, allowing TTL metering and exposure control with either mode. Variable contrast control allows dial-in contrast control and a continuously variable Dichroic color filtration control that can change the YMC balance from 0-200 units. Flash output is related to the output of the continuous light source, making through-the-lens metering possible in both modes. Accepts up to 6x7cm formats directly onto the calibrated film stage. An accessory 4x5" Diffusion Illumination Chamber expands the format capabilities. Special effect compounds and other image enhancing accessories from many photographic, graphics arts and AV sources. Both duplicators include a mounted slide carrier, 35mm strip carrier, magnification slide kit, MacBeth color checker slide, flash sync cord, quartz halogen lamp and flashtube, voltage stabilized continuous tungsten light source. Comes with bellows assembly and Beseler's unique 12-step Variable Contrast Control Assembly. A camera, T-mount and high quality flat field lens are all that's needed to complete the unit.}

Konica Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 II 35mm Scanner: - one of the best scanners of all time, likely the best 35mm scanner available - even better than the more expensive and lower resolution Nikon 5000.
Film type: 35mm film (color / black & white, negative / positive)
Image sensor: 3-line color CCD, 5340 pixels per line, primary-color filter
Scan method: Moving film, fixed sensor, single-pass scan
Optical resolution: 5400 dpi
Scan size (max.): 25.06 x 37.25 mm (35mm Film Holder scan area: 24 x 36 mm)
No. of pixel input (max.): 5328 x 7920 pixels
A/D conversion: 16 bit per color channel
Output: 8 bit and 16 bit per color channel
Dynamic range: 4.8 (computed value)
Light source: White LED
Focus: Autofocus and Manual focus (motor drive / manual), Center / Spot focus area
Interface: USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)
Power requirements: North America, Taiwan and Japan: 100g Volts AC, 50 / 60 Hz; Continental Europe, Oceania, Asia (except Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and China): 200240 Volts AC, 50 / 60 Hz; UK, Hong Kong and China: 200240 Volts AC, 50 Hz
Power consumption: Max. 20 W
Dimensions (W x H x D): 70 mm x 165 mm x 345 mm / 2.8 in. x 6.5 in. x 13.6 in.
Weight: Approx. 1.5 kg / 3.3 lb.
Standard accessories: 35mm Film Holder FH-M20, Slide Mount Holder SH-M20, USB Cable UC-2 USB 2.0 compatible, AC Adapter (AC-U26 for North America, Taiwan and Japan / AC-U27 for Continental Europe and Singapore / AC-U28 for UK and Hong Kong / AC-U29 for China / AC-U30 for Australia), Reset Tool RT-M10, CD-ROM for DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 II, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0
Operating temperature: 10 - 35 centigrade
Operating humidity: 15 - 85% humidity without condensation


Pinhole Art 42mm f/168 Pinhole Lens 025 in Nikon body cap, red, 0.25mm pinhole size, rectilinear projection, the only distortionless lens you'll find is a pinhole! (The focal length of a pinhole ("camera obscura") is the actual distance between pinhole and film surface.)

Hasselblad 75mm Zone Plate Aperture body cap: - {A zone plate diffracts light - consequently zone plates are closely related to a pinhole, Zone plates render soft-focus imagery, yet they are not like soft-focus lens imagery, and their look is not at all like pinhole imagery. The beauty within a zone plate image is the recognizable halo or glow that surrounds any strong-contrast edge .., A zone plate consists of a serious of concentric rings, with each ring alternating between transparent and opaque, A zone plate is different from a pinhole for it renders soft-focus imagery and allows more light to get to the film, i.e. allowing a shorter exposure time. The more the zones in a plate increases the glow effect, and decreases the required shutter speed, Highlights are emphasized and appear with a glowing halo-effect, while darker areas seem to be pushed into the background.}

Olympus Zuiko 28mm f/3.5 Auto-W [OM bayonet; 49] sharp corner to corner at all apertures, superb, absolutely beautiful, excellent lens, nice colors, love the "egg tempera" way the Oly captures color like late medieval/early Renaissance paintings, the color of Raphael and Fra Angelico, performs at a level that's as good or better than equivalents costing 10 times as much, a little gem that over delivers for its size/price, great glass, very very good indeed, designed by Yoshihisa Maitani, smallest lens available in this class, high contrast and clear and faithful color reproduction, just seems to get better with more sensor resolution (Sony A7r) and is tiny and has great character, has a legendary reputation in Japan, for 1/20th the price of the Leica 28/2.8 you get 98% of the performance and 1/3rd the size and weight, stellar performance rivals that of Zeiss!, seems to handle infinity better than 28/2.8 AIS, contrast is on the low side as expected from an old design and there is some barrel distortion and small vestiges of CA as well but the resolution of fine detail when the lens is used up close really sets it apart from the crowd using its close-focus capability to make "micro landscapes", no match for the Contax 28/2.8, great lens, best of the Zuiko 28's and one of the sharpest corner-to-corner WA's you'll find, functions better on the full frame Sony A7 than with a smaller sensor m4/3rds camera, at f/11 the Zuiko 28/3.5 is fantastic, has slightly better edge and corner resolution, less distortion, less falloff, sharpness is incredible from corner to corner - it is basically CA-free and it performs equally well at infinity and close up, no #infrared hot spot throughout aperture range, while an excellent value and quite nice seems too sterile to me, not very flare resistant, a bit of a problem with flare, slight CA at high contrast edges, rendition really similar to the Voigtlander 20/3.5 SLII, 7 elements in 7 groups, 0.3m minimum focus, 180g, 31mm length, 58mm diameter, 49.

Asahi Pentax Takumar SMC 28mm f/3.5 M42, sharp, gorgeous color, modern multicoating dates from around 1967 when it was developed by Carl Zeiss and initially first used by Asahi Pentax as SMC, splendid at landscape distances especially at f/8 and f/11, doesn't like flat things that are close up where corners and edges are terrible and don't become usable until f/11, some copies are flatter field and some have more field curvature, 49.

Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 lens for Nikon (Komine), lots of flare wide-open, gone 2 stops down, consistent results - tack sharp, extremely close focusing, and great colors and contrast, CA is very manageable, very small and performs well for architectural and landscaping shots, 49.

Asahi SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 ["AUTO"], 7 element version (much more common and slightly better than the earlier 8 element radioactive version that contained Thorium-232, an alpha emitter), 8 aperture blades, classic Planar design, same optical formula as the Zeiss planar 50/1.4, legendary imaging quality, cult status, a "six star lens" (near perfect - best of the best lenses you used in your lifetime), amazing performer, never disappoints, last of the M2 screwmount versions, for portraiture it's dreamy beyond belief, breathtaking bokeh, the best walk around 50mm lens ever built for an SLR, performs at a level that's as good or better than equivalents costing 10 times as much, something about the images that this lens produces that's just amazing - super sharp stopped down and so dreamy wide open, where most makers have economized by making the surfaces between the fourth and fifth elements flat, Pentax has always stuck with the original design and used cemented spherical surfaces there - aside from being more expensive to manufacture, this results in a lens that is slightly less sharp at infinity in the plane of focus but that has better off-axis aberration correction and thus better bokeh or blur, nice but Leica Summicron-R 50 is way nicer, about as good as it gets for a 50/1.4, favorite lenses - its results can be simply gorgeous, has great color, gives a yellow shift to everything that sticks even after white balance, best bokeh, has really nice bokeh, bokeh is buttery smooth, interesting painterly bokeh, rather busy defocused background bokeh, corner coma wide-open, never liked Pentax bokeh, able to handle flare very well, sample variation, sharp - crisp - lively - both the resolution and the contrast are high, simply beautiful, fantastic wide-open, very sharp, lower contrast wide-open, really sharp wide-open with beautiful colors and bokeh, flares a bit, wouldn't call it sharp at f/1.4 but pleasing and a pleasure to use yes, ridiculously soft wide-open [? sample variation or defective], really shines from f2.8 onward with great sharpness across the frame, better than the legendary Zeiss - amazing contrast and punch, focusing is so smooth - better than most $1,000 lenses!, Takumar lenses' direction of focus rotation is the same way as Nikkors, especially like the legendary 8-element 50mm f/1.4 earlier Super Takumar [8-element says A, while 7-element says AUTO next to the switch near the rear mount; first "Super" version introduced 1964], the 8 element version was meant to compete against Planars but was expensive to make and so was redesigned with the Thorium glass, later 7 element version is slightly higher rated (all - versions subsequent to 1964 including K, M, F and FA versions have 7 elements), the "newer" version is visibly better, an engineer at a Japanese camera company says that if this lens were manufactured and marketed today it would likely sell for $1,200 to $1,500, later SMC versions not radioactive like the earlier SMC and Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 which yellowed with age (thorium and lanthanum were used extensively by many manufacturers to increase the index of refraction of some glass lens elements), 49, rear element protudes, hits Canon 5D mirror even without focussing to infinity (workaround might be to use the SMC A 50/1.4 - in Pk mount; SMC Tak 1.4/50 on the 5D was no problem. When you mount the Tak on the adapter and turn the focus ring to the infinity position, you can see whether the rear element significantly protrudes or not - about 1 mm is quite OK, at something like 1.5 mm the mirror on my 5D hits the rear element at about half way through); [First, there are some (but little) difference in mirror clearance between different 5Ds. For my 5D, I have no issues with anything less then 11mm from tip of rear element to flange of the M42 lens. The mirror will hit if it is 12mm for sure].

Meyer-Optik Oreston 50mm f/1.8: fantastic bokeh, sharpness and colors, requires careful sharpening and contrast in post production and then produces stellar results - don't just take a few snaps and give up on this lens: it's a real sleeper - needs far more sharpening and contrast adjustment in post production than other lenses - where the same amount of sharpening/tweaking makes images taken with other optics become edgy with vulgar ringing and other unaesthetic effects, the Oreston images gradually begin to pop and bloom, you can't go wrong with the venerable Meyer Oreston 50/1.8, as sharp as any contemporary Takumar; - #bubble bokeh - outlined circular disk; a nice balance of fun bokeh combined with good sharpness wide open - has nearly the bokeh of the better known 100 Trioplan. M42, 49.

Helios 44-2 58mm f/2, [M42, 49] a very special lens, a surprisingly good lens, dreamy, beautiful bokeh, swirly bokeh, absolute bokeh king, best swirly bokeh, a very similar look to the original Petzval, for the swirls, love those lenses with swirl!, a lot of character, love such not perfect lenses, pictorial colors, best tonal rendition, almost pastel-like color rendering, very soft wide-open, too funky for frequent use, first choice for a portrait lens, for when I want to funk it up, quite special 'normal' lens - sharp and contrasty with swirly background, dreamy looking type of lenses - optics with character - very nice wide open, great lens for portraits on 1.6x crops, best vintage lens for portraiture under $100, sharpens up nicely at f/4 and beyond, lots of flare, a clone of the Zeiss Biotar 58/2, a good copy of Helios performs exactly as the Biotar (or better), Soviet copy of the legendary Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2 design with more modern coatings, the Biotar 2/58 designed 1936 for the Exakta and later Contax S and sold well into the 50's (upon Pancolar) was a 6 elements/ 4 groups design like the classical Planar, one lovely lens, most versions hit Canon 5D mirror (but Helios 44 58/2 (1980) auto is OK, i.e., called Helios 44 M, came with a Zenit Olympia version from 1980, it is an "AUTO" lens with the switch A/M and without any number after the M), amazing, truly - the epitomy of lens character.

Jupiter9, 85mm f/2, black, [Post WW II Russian copy of pre-war Carl Zeiss Sonnar, clone of the Contax Sonnar 85mm f/2, M42; M49x0.5], rather soft wide-open, a really dreamy lens - lots of glow wide-open, an excellent portrait lens with beautiful skin tones, a bit risky choice because many copies are lemons (significant soft glow visible even on downsampled image or/and uneven sharpness), a good copy is not soft - it's certainly sharp enough in the center from wide open, much as the Sonnar but with less contrast and pop; it's well known for being supersoft at f/2 and sharpening right up beyond f/4 - that middling aperture range can produce a Sonnar-type look which is hard to pin down in terms of adjectives and can only be described as 3-D again; vry soft wide open - f/2.8 increased the detail enormously without compromising the bokeh; a beautifully soft mood; has a lovely focus fall off for portraits and is sharp enough for most things - the roughish bokeh at f/2 provides nice character that is replaced by smoothness by f/2.8 - the negatives are build, flare resistance, and corner sharpness/contrast for landscape. Good copy can be better than Helios-40. The older model, the lower chance to get a lemon, Same exact Sonnar lens design as the classic Nikkor 8.5cm f/2 LTM rangefinder lens - the lens that photojournalist David Douglas Duncan was shown in Tokyo as the Korean War began that put Nikon on the map - almost a solid block of glass and metal as there are very few air gaps between the optical elements! - Exotic Russian marvel - can create a wonderful pretty unique mood - a soft lens with less dynamic range and micro contrast than modern Zeiss glass, The 15 blade aperture provides a very beautiful out of focus rendering and smooth bokeh even stopped down, With the Jupiter-9 you can buy the pre-WW2 mood in a lens that is manufactured in the fifties, sixties or even seventies, Very compact when compared to more modern 85mm lenses, Jupiter has perfectly smooth bokeh if the background isn't busy (lights or distracting background creates bokeh full of circles), #bubble bokeh, Reasonably sharp wide open but with busy bokeh, "The Jupiter-9 is a snap to modify. The whole optical block (i.e. everything that has lenses) can be screwed out easily, revealing two spacer metal rings. Remove them and -voila- you'll reach infinity on your Nikon. Little chance to damage anything." None of the black M42 Jupiter-9 lenses appear to be coated or multicoated including the uncoated MC Jupiter-9, but some of the silver M39 Jupiter-9 lenses for Leica appear to be coated, Not MC. Great portrait lens, but strong yellow cast. At f/5.6 - f/8 it's sharp like a knife.

Asahi Opt. Co. Japan, Super-Multi-Coated, Takumar, 135mm f/3.5, excellent, beautiful tonal quality and balanced sharpness, over-corrected for spherical aberration and renders harsher than the Sonnar or Jupiter but a bit sharper wide-open though, with more CA, S-M-C versions have better colors and contrast than MC Jupiter-37. [Pentax M42; 49];
Smaller non-super Takumar, 135mm f/3.5, 46.

MC Jupiter37AM 135mm f/3.5 [M42x1 or Nikon with KP-A/N adapter; filter M58x0.75], incredible concentration of sharpness and natural, rich, smooth skin tones, great performer, 12 blades, very soft bokeh, coating is prone to scratches, first two digits of serial number is year of manufacture, relatively rare, Zeiss 135/3.5 Sonnar clone as is the early (non-AI) Nikkor 135/3.5, this particular Zeiss design is famous for its sharpness, Nikkors, Jupiters and alike are just as sharp, later 135/3.5 Nikkors (AI and AIS) use a slightly different (Ernostar) optical formula, which is even sharper and more contrasty wide-open.

Jupiter21M 200mm f/4, big and heavy but a great performer, rare and expensive, definitely underrated [Zenit M42, M58]

VPK (Vest Pocket Kodak) Meniscus Achromat 80mm f/6.5, stop made larger, uncoated, remounted on aluminum M42 front lens cap, c. 1914-1915, produces just magical photos, dreamy images, most wonderful, most pictorial lens - just forget sharpness and contrast, add lots of #spherical aberration - "glow lenses" to get a surreal glow with a simple lens shot "too open" (enlarging or removing the lens stop) - insane flare, can focus using an 17-32mm M42 focusing helicoid, this meniscus lens is SOFT and it flares like crazy - I love the character, vintage look - perhaps also romantic, looks like "Leica Glow" taken to the extreme, lens was also used in a WW I version of the camera called the Kodak Vest Pocket Autograph often used by the troops which allowed writing with a stylus onto the negative, a 100 year old lens on a digital camera makes a nice story.

Places to look for information about photographic equipment:

diglloyd Blog
Ken Rockwell's Updates
Thom Hogan's Nikon Field Guide and Nikon Flash Guide
>Ming Thein | Photographer
>Steve Huff Photo
>The Online Photographer
>Alternative Gear & Lenses - FM Forums
>Analog Photography Users Group
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>LensTip.com - lens review, lenses reviews, lens specification - Lenstip.com
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"Its always the glass."
"Old glass rocks."
"So many lenses, so little time ... "
"The man with the most toys wins."
"I'm a total gear head; too much gear - too few pics."
Leica: "the most beautiful mechanical objects in the world" ... "some of the finest lenses ever made" ... "modern Leica lenses (M and R) are the best ever made for 35mm photography" ... "fine precision, silky smooth movements, and fantastic images make the equipment a joy to use" ... "some of the greatest lenses in the world" ... "optics the best made in 35mm" ... "Leica sure knows how to design handsome-looking lenses that performs well." ... "lens lust at its best"
"Leica APO lenses are world-class! ... All are world-class performers and deliver astonishing results ... " Lloyd Chambers
"Leica [R lenses] is simply best you can buy."
"The usual requirement at Leica is a mechanical tolerance of 0.01mm." —Erwin Puts
"You see, the problem is that one can end up wanting every single Leica R lens, So, be careful."
"When the weight of the lenses makes the camera bag so heavy that you cannot stand up and walk with the bag, you probably have enough lenses."
"All tests are just shortcuts. The way to really get to know a camera is to use it for a year." apocryphal admonition of the old Leica lens designer
"Enter that beautiful world of manual focus legacy lenses, our slice of heaven."
"Leica has focusing the opposite direction to Nikon (and Pentax). Focusing direction has much to do with Nikon copying Zeiss Ikon and Canon copying Leica."
"I really couldn't care less which direction my lenses focus."
"With Leica gear I never say 'mint' because there are a lot of Leica enthusiasts who could take an item straight off the production line and say 'this isn't mint.'"
"a PhD camera (push here dummy)"
"APO correction is worth its weight in gold (especially at current prices) ... "
"Videographers have thinned the supply and prices have surged on the best Leica R [lenses]."
"Because of video and cameras like the 5DII and RED" ... "one well-known NYC dealer reports that the cream of the R's are spoken for by videographers before they hit the display case."
"Like all Zeiss, it is reliable and never disappoints."
"I like Zeiss because of the consistency: I get the same microcontrast and color across all of the systems I use, and that makes my life much easier. Can't really say to a client 'sorry, the photos look different because I used different lenses' - " —Ming Thein
"Get the Zeiss. You will never know if you never try, but once you try, you never go back."
"I bought one Zeiss lens and then another, Apparently it was a breeding pair and now the lil' f*ckers are all over the house."
"Worse addiction would be Leica, Speaking from experience."
"You won't loose money on Leica glass."
"Buy into the system with the lenses you want, not the bodies."
"If you want a Hasselblad-quality camera, there is little substitute for actually getting a Hasselblad."
"Shoot what you have as good as you can."
Aperture priority: "Adjust the aperture ring ... to control depth of field and let the camera control the rest. Makes life easier :)"
"Anything more than 'metal and glass' is unreliable at best and disposable at worst."
"Keep your gear in top condition and put - quality UV filters on your glass as soon as you purchase it, This way youll be able to get top dollar when selling you lenses." —Marc Weisberg
"The best cure for wanting new stuff [is] using what's already on hand."
"How you identify a terminal gear fanatic?: NOTHING'S good enough for them." —Michael C. Johnston
"If it says Zeiss and the camera is aligned and working well, it will give you very good images." —Dan Daniel
"When it comes to APO, Leica underestimates and over-delivers (at a price of course)."
To avoid very bothersome LoCA: "APO lenses - the silly money glass."
"If you can get any Leica APO lens for a reasonable price and condition you should buy it."
"If you really want to improve your photography buy the best glass you can afford."
"Selecting different lenses can be like using different paint brushes." —Gordon Moat
"Worst mistake: - All the cheap stuff trying to get there without paying the price."
"Worst mistake: - Spending money on many average priced items I don't use very often instead of saving that cash to buy big ticket items that would have delivered better real world value."
"It is my belief that the magic with Leica lies in their lenses. ... Leica makes THE BEST lenses in the world, and they are priced accordingly." —Steve Huff
"The real killer is typical Leica prices - the 'red dot tax'."
"A minimum of two bodies, with the two lenses expected to be used the most (usually a wide angle and normal)." Kit Laughlin ... "the fastest way to work, by far, and keeps dirt out of the bodies!"
"One camera and two fixed focal length lenses."
"U.S. Navy nuclear subs had a Nikon F mount on their periscopes! - I always thought that the periscope from a nuclear sub would be the ultimate Nikon accessory."
"If you follow this obsession of shooting 36MP (why? because you can!), and the obsession of zooming in to the pixel level, you're going to be unhappy with the majority of Nikon lenses." —JHern
"Too many 'gear heads' and not enough photographers ... "
"Leitaxing your way to Nirvana"
"It's just easier and more fun to shoot the Leicon (Leitax Nikon mount converted Leica R lens) on a Nikon film body than on a Leicaflex body - the focus confirmation light works, metering is perfect in aperture priority (and now I have spot, center weighted, and matrix), and the viewfinder is brighter, though not bigger."
"Owning Leicas is no substitute for talent."
"Gear ... will not add a 'Masterpiece' button."
"You can't buy happines, but you can buy photography equipment."
"I've got way too picky. These days my photographic wish list is short and everything on it is at best a small improvement on something I already have. I used to think that human wants, mine in particular, were insatiable. I may have to change my mind on that." —Dan Fromm
"No camera gear is going to make you a better photographer ... understanding how to use light is the only thing that makes you good."
"Modern autofocus zooms are made for pros who cannot predict what focal length they will need; they work only well in the centers (where the celebs and brides stand), really poor outer frames, DSLR's use horrible autofocus systems that only cover the middle of the frame so you can see that the image quality spread of the zoom lenses goes with the coverage of the autofocus system, a match made not in heaven! - They don't cut it for serious users."
"Many take enormous satisfaction using old technology."
"Usually, you only need one" ... "Famous last words."
"A true photographer [cannot] resist the feeling of dense brush metal of the [lens] against bare skin in a cold dark winter's night ... Not to mention the intense satisfaction of holding a lens the size and weight of a small water melon and the fascination of looking into the myriad glass reflection calling your soul to sink deeper and deeper into the abyss."
"I don't let my 'lens hobby' get in the way of my photographing."
"Lenses are not cars, where more mileage guarantees they will break down, Lenses can last many generations."
"Find unique locations, generate your own compelling style, and tell stories." —Thom Hogan
"Not much can go wrong on a fully manual lens."
"Every lens is by itself a compromise, best used only for certain situations." —A.E. Haas
"For Leica glass, I think you can probably narrow it down to the type of rendering you like first, either the classic (somewhat softer) Mandler design or the newer Peter Karbe design (super sharp ASPH lenses)."
"Zeiss is nice, but I like a Leica."
"Once you've done fifty, everything else is iffy." —Rick Knepper
"One part of me wants the technically perfect lens, but the other side leans towards unique, classic look that still has the bite and details."
"Amateurs worry about equipment, pros worry about money, masters worry about light."
"Every single film camera I own will still 'take pictures' even with no film loaded. I can shoot hundreds (thousands) of pictures without any film - it's an enjoyable experience ... just don't get to enjoy the results."
"I am completely and have always been uninterested in the photographic process. I like the smallest camera possible, not those huge reflex cameras with all sorts of gadgets. When I am working, I have an M3 because its quicker when Im concentrating () If you have little equipment, people dont notice you. You dont come like a show-off. It seems like an embarrassment, someone who comes with big equipment." —Henri Cartier-Bresson
Why the 50mm lens?: "It corresponds to a certain vision and at the same time has enough depth of focus, a thing you dont have in longer lenses. I worked with a 90. It cuts much of the foreground if you take a landscape, but if people are running at you, there is no depth of focus. The 35 is splendid when needed, but extremely difficult to use if you want precision in composition. There are too many elements, and something is always in the wrong place. It is a beautiful lens at times when needed by what you see. But very often it is used by people who want to shout. Because you have a distortion, you have somebody in the foreground and it gives an effect. But I dont like effects. There is something aggressive, and I dont like that. Because when you shout, it is usually because you are short of arguments." Henri Cartier-Bresson
"Leitz optics are, unlike just about any other lens line ... built to a precision with the full intention that they be used wide-open."
"Here is what spending extra money won't get you (these come with determination and hard work only): - Photographic Vision; Getting One Out of Bed for the Best Light; Understanding of How to Get the Most From a Good Tool; Post Processing Skills."
"Leica lenses are (for the most part) considered the best in the world."
"It's not ZEISS ... It's ZEI$$."
"I guess I'm a Zeiss-aholic. I just love the all metal build, the buttery smooth brass helicoids, the color rendition, the microcontrast, the 3D effect, the fact that they're built to last decades. And I love manual focus, it makes me feel more connected, more in control, more involved when I'm shooting." —Rick Hunter
"Camera gear addiction: ... Rather than treat this addiction, though, I think you should nurture it. ... Of all the addictions, yours is one that's nice, friendly, harmless, and, really, not even all that expensive ... all things considered." Mike Johnston advising Ned Bunnell, President of Pentax USA
"I rarely make good pictures with longer lenses; better pictures come from getting closer." —Ken Rockwell
"Leica APO lenses are world-class performers and deliver astonishing results on cameras like the Nikon D3x."
"Some of the R lenses have image quality so good that there is really no point in trying to make them any better, i.e., 280 f/4 APO, 180 f/2 APO, 180 f/2.8 APO, and 100 f/2.8 APO macro."
"Nikon seems to have the best rendering with the R lenses" .., "be careful! ... it is very difficult to stop!"
"A mixed marriage" - his Nikon and her Leica
"The Best Shots usually come with the camera that you'd like to pet a little before going to bed at night. ... what matters is that you love the camera. If you don't, it'll show in the pictures." —Mikko Kalavainen
"I may soon become a one-lens photographer and that one lens will be the [Leica R] 280mm f/4 APO." Doug Herr
"Before I buy a lens I list all the reasons I don't need it. Then I buy it." —Michael Erlewine
" ... film cameras ... all their major upgrades ... [over] 5-8 decades ... could be put down to through-the-lens metering, motor drives, and autofocus, 3 major new techs (and even motor drives aren't that important)." Dr Croubie
"In California, long tele-lenses are never quite sharp outdoors, as the air gets too hot in the summer - it 'simmers'."
"Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!"
"Hasselblads are like boats. 'If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it.'" —Jim Allison
"Coming back to Leica after long break is a very special experience, I always feel struck by how pure and deep are Leica colours, No other manufacturer is able to match that rendition."
"Will buy more Leica lenses if I will win a lottery."
About great glass: "If you don't get it, don't get it!"
"Better lenses are always worth lusting after." —Ming Thein
"Although many photographers believe that they could manage with much less equipment, or much simpler equipment than they currently have, almost none of them put it into practice." —Ming Thein
"How in the world can I justify getting a Z when I already have a perfectly good X and Y?" Michael C. Johnston
"Gear DOES NOT matter!!" —Norbert Wabnig; -
"I like photographic gear as much as photography. So it does matter to me." —BeBu Lamar
"For slides, Hasselblad, For everything else, Hasselblad. Like the Packard automobile advertisements said, 'Ask the man that owns one.' " —Steve (aka "Sirius Glass")
"It's great to be able to play with all this professional gear when there are almost no professionals left who want it ... "
"When you turn your camera on, does it return the favor?"
"taking pictures" ... "making photographs"
"Nothing beats a great piece of glass!"
"You can never spend too much money on a good lens."
"Zeiss is a disease, a wallet burning infection."
"Zeiss - We make it visible."
"Use Zeiss ZF glass on your [Nikon] F6 and the results will be every bit equal to the Leicas, and much cheaper too." —Ming Thein
"Nikon bodies can't use any other mounts and Nikon lenses can fit on lots of other bodies - both of these properties artificially increase prices for Nikon-mount lenses."
"I guess if anyone ever had a problem with too much money laying around, taking up photography as a hobby would be the perfect solution."
"If the kind of language used in wine columns is used to describe a lens, put your hand on your wallet and run."
"Lensaholism or genuine need??? ... Don't worry you're not too bad yet, it can get a lot worse. Trust me, .., Lensaholic anonymous meets at 2pm every Sunday afternoon, at 420 9th Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10001." [the address of B&H]
"It's not over till your pockets are empty."
"Old Leica R glass is gorgeous with huge image circles!"
"If you're asking 'Which lens is better?', you wouldn't understand the answer."
"Accepting that you like gear for the sake of the gear, to some extent. I have no problem with that; or at least that's what I use as the excuse for having three Hasselablads." —Ming Thein
"It just gets distracting if there are too many lenses to choose from in the bag."
"Leica ... lenses are almost uniformly excellent at large apertures ... " —Costas Dimitropoulos
"Leica M4-P: - The camera feels like there are angels covered in oil inside it making the parts move around."
"Tough mechanical cameras ... will survive the zombie apocalypse."
"Perfection - within reason." Max Berek, designer of the first Leica lenses in the 1920's and 1930's
"Thats the beauty of this hobby, there's a photographer for ever tool, and a tool for every photographer." Christopher Coy
"Leica owners ... You are either stinking rich, living in your mother's basement, or one lens purchase away from a divorce." Gordon Lewis
"It's never a mistake to buy awesome glass!"
"Different older coatings sometimes yield those different looks - I put that in the 'adorable flaw' category."
"One thing that is pretty hard to convey to many other photographers - the joy of using legacy glass on a mirrorless body. It's plain and simple fun!"
"Buy the largest sensor with the smallest lenses."
"Back in the 90's some folks from Leica Camera AG stated officially that the Leica R lenses were the best Leica lenses ever made and hinted that the reason simply was that there was more glass and a larger tolerance, relatively."
"The Leica R lenses are in general spectacular because their size allowed the Leitz engineers to solve many problems they'd long been working on for the smaller-diameter M lines."
"Remember, with Leica you don't loose money."
"Be selective - Junk will still be worthless in 10 years."
"One word of caution this is a slippery slope" ... "welcome to the empty wallet club." ... "A lot of us started with three lenses ... you will end up with a lot more, but will still only take three out the door." ... "BTW you will buy more bags than your wife buys shoes. LOL" ... "Anyone opting for a camera with exchangeable lenses is paying poker with the devil, Once you start it, there never will be an end."
"Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." —Ansel Adams
"There is nothing like a big sensor married to a sharp, prime lens."
"Leica lenses are the best you can get ... designed to be perfect even wide-open!!! "
"An old Leica adage: never sell any of your Leica stuff."
"The Leitax option is the Ferrari of adaption solutions ... "
"Now you are getting in trouble... What is better than a Zeiss? Yeah, more Zeiss! ... "
"I prefer to shoot ... the best Zeiss glass." —Lloyd Chambers
"With high end lenses you are paying largely for [what] you don't see in the image - CA, SA, coma, field curvature, etc. Absence of optical aberrations is what for the most part separates expensive from cheap lenses."
"Own as many lenses as you want at home, but take as few as you can with you for each shoot or trip." —Michael C. Johnston
"One thing that's becoming clear is that the way Nikon is updating primes, all those old manual focus AIS primes are getting more valuable ;~). " —Thom Hogan
"A good manual focuser can beat an autofocus system on a static target every time" —Thom Hogan
"I was running down the Zeiss road, until I stumbled upon a fork leading me to Leica. Now I am running down both roads at the same time - Zeiss is crisp, but Leica R is smoooooth, slightly better built and is equally sharp/contrasty."
"Make sure she understands this is habit-forming. And expensive."
"Never ask a camera collector to show you his photographs."
"I don't do minimalist [travel kit], what's the point of having great gear to only use at home?"
"My thing is longevity. I want metal and glass and nothing else. I want my lenses to work the same in 50 years as they do today." - —Lee Saxon
"A lens that still has an aperture ring and no electronics or motor to fail!"
"Camera bodies depreciate. Lenses, not so much."
"The results obtained with Leica R lenses on any digital camera one can fit them onto is notably better than any other lenses ... we're talking about a lens program where 90% or more of their lenses have outstanding performance." —Thorsten Overgaard
"The [Leica] R lens series is out of production since 2009."
"I consider Leica's four APO lenses to be stunning examples of the lens-maker's art, part of my long-term strategy of shooting the best." —Lloyd Chambers
"Leica R Tele APO's are traded like gemstones on eBay. Because that's what they really are."
"If I had unlimited funds, I would buy all the best wonder glass of today, but would still keep a deep inventory of older lenses for pleasure and variety."
"Focus at the taking aperture with mirrorless cameras is a great thing because it shows depth of field and avoids the focus shift many fast lenses have when stopping down."
"Much of Leica's historic success is due to lenses designed by Walter Mandler and his team ... I have read and seen interviews of the new designer about how much better his new asph lux designs are, but in reality, Mandler's older designs have less distortion, and smoother bokeh. The newer asph lenses have focus shifts, harsh transitions from focal point to OOF, and are all heavier and bulkier."
"Only specific photojournalism situations where moving is forbidden might really require zooms."
"The best lenses are manual focus at any given price point, for reasons obvious to most engineers."
"There is nothing like personal work during golden hour with manual focus Zeiss primes - nothing on earth."
"The joke is that most of the manual focus lens users are faster and more accurate than autofocus."
"'1x Optical Zoom' - meaning it's a fixed, single-focal-length lens."
"Many people want to use a 'Blad or a Leica or an Ebony, etc. because they are beautifully crafted quality objects. They are iconic for a reason. They may not take better photos (or even be expected to take better photos) than a Bronica or a Bessa or a Tachihara, but they look and feel better."
"I'm quite certain that I need the gear more than the pictures do!"
"Fortunately [Gear] Acquisition Syndrome is self limiting - once you can no longer think of any lenses to buy, the disease will have run its course."
"I never take images like that, but I should have that lens in case I want to."
"When we buy Leica lenses we pay for the wide aperture performance."
"Buying good glass is almost always a good investment."
"Lenses are a long-term investment, so don't screw around with a compromise lens." —Lloyd Chambers
"Leica Camera AG themself stated in the 1990's that Leica R lenses were the best optics around in the world (meaning better than M lenses)."
"Zeiss lenses grow on their users, because the results are lovely in myriad ways. ... the way it draws ... a particular style of rendition, Zeiss lenses are my 'preferred' lenses ... " —Lloyd Chambers
"Eye-grabbing visual impact ... Photographers buy Zeiss (or Leica) lenses - for that visual impact 'pop'." Lloyd Chambers
"I am spoiled by all those close focusing Zeisses ... "
"Amateurs are always trying to use telephoto lenses to compensate for not being able to get to ideal locations."
"For image quality at maximum aperture, nothing surpasses a Leica lens." —Peter Sanders
"The quality remains long after the price is forgotten." —Sir Henry Royce.
"Used Leica R equipment, which never held its value like the M cameras and lenses did, remains the best way for 35mm film enthusiasts to achieve Leica quality on a budget."
"Leica R lenses ... in the second hand market are now practically worthless." ... "I keep seeing Leica R glass used for ridiculously low prices" ... "all the R glass is so damn cheap comparatively" ... "It's a Turkish bazaar out there, pure capitalism."
"Bought the same Leica lens back (never sell a Leica lens)."
"Used prices climbing: Some of the last R equipment is showing similar if not greater price increases [as Leica M bodies and lenses], such as DMR and any APO glass." —Doug Herr
"Leica dealer told me that Leica told him that the R series have higher resolution compared to the M's, something related to size of the lens."
"The Nikon F with 1950's/1960's lenses can teach anybody to stop obsessing about lens performance in 35mm photography, Really, these lenses are better than most photographers (as are most lenses)."
"Nikon F's: The Harley Davidson of the Photo world"
"Videographers and cinematographers have been snapping up the very best of Leica R's, hence the recent rarity and astronomical prices. And to no small extent, because of the 3D-rendering characteristics."
"Zeiss or Leica? 'I Leica them both. :-) '"
"You should know that Zeiss lenses weren't originally German lenses, they are Greek lenses, They were made for the Gods on Mount Olympus."
"Love my Nikon AI and AIS glass. To my eye, the old school glass delivers images that look more 'film like,' and have a depth and dimension that I just don't see with the newer glass." ... "These vintage lenses are treasures ... the very best that Nikon could make in their day." - .., "The manual focus AI and AIS lenses sold at a premium in their day - and they were almost all professional lenses." - .., "My AIS glass has a depth and dimension that I do not see in newer glass. It is almost film like, some of my shots look like you could just walk right into the scene."
"Film lets me relax in the glory days of antiquity." —Brad Cloven
"stunning color contrast is the 'painterly' secret of the AI/AIS lenses"
"Since a long smooth focusing pull is required for accurate manual focusing on motion picture cameras, the Ais lenses work very well. I've been in the motion picture industry for 30 years and deep into photography for 40 years, and those AIs Nikkors deliver the goods, as well have captured thousands of the most memorable images National Geographic and a million other publications ever produced."
"It's very difficult to achieve critical focus with a wide MF prime - Live view on a tripod is the only way"
"None of the Zeiss [ZE/ZF] lenses are perfect, if you want perfect lenses you should rather look for Leica lenses."
"The lesson learned? Buy Leica in the first place and you won't have to bother 'what lens to get' for the rest of your life."
"Leica lenses are pieces of manufacturing artwork that will last a lifetime."
"The magic is in the wide open shots."
"No subject ever just happened to fall on one of the autofocus points, I'll use autofocus for an event if absolutely necessary, or as a way to acquire approximate focus, But I'll never use it for anything serious, It will kill your art."
"Leica lenses are ALL designed to be shot wide open. That is where the Character will be seen. Stopping them down makes them perform like any other lens, Shooting stopped down will be no different than shooting a Zeiss Planar or a Nikon lens."
"Not everyone gets to use a Leica lens."
"The way to get the classic Leica look is to shoot wide open, Shoot a Leica lens wide open and the character of that lens shines through and is easily distinguishable."
"Putting money into quality lenses is almost always the smart choice."
"But I'll say this: A year with a single Leica and a single lens, looking at light and ignoring color, will teach you as much about actually seeing photographs as three years in any photo school, and as much as ten or fifteen years (or more) of mucking about buying and selling and shopping for gear like the average hobbyist." Mike Johnston
Stop down metering approaches: - 1) Focus wide-open and then stop down to the shooting aperture; 2) Shoot wide-open; or, 3) Focus at the shooting/working aperture.
"Once you go Zeiss or Leica, it's hard to go back ... I've shot Zeiss and really like them (great bargains) but made the mistake of trying some Leica and that was it, stick a fork in my a**, I was cooked."
"Zeiss is nice"
"The biggest problem with Zeiss glass is that you'll want more of it, which quickly adds up!"
"You can have too many lenses but never enough."
"Never sell a good lens!"
"Glass is generally a good investment because value never goes to zero; especially for the really good stuff." —Ming Thein
"Most pros carry pretty much two of everything."
"I am completely against the giant sack of lenses mentality. Very few people can work that way and get anything done." —Parker Smith
"The search for the perfect lens only leads to 'Photophilia Nervosa'"
"Leica has a unique ability to render the nuances and subtleties, the fineness and softness of the colors of flowers and plants."
"Several good reasons to have Leica R: joy of use, beautiful craftsmanship, fine art of compromise between the look, price, size and optic performance."
"Leica lenses are made superbly to last far beyond any of our lifetimes and will be taking pictures longer than I will. Leica lenses really are heirloom-grade."
"In February 2009 Leica announced that they would stop the production of the traditional R-lenses as well as the Leica R9 film camera."
"A mint Nikon is pretty. A brassed up Nikon is lovely."
"Buying a Nikon D800 and a $2000 lens just to leave at home [when traveling because they're too heavy] is not smart shopping. Not at all."
"Do not accept 2nd best. Buying cheaper alternative lenses whilst lusting after Leica or Zeiss ends up costing more in the long term as you trade your way up to the inevitable big ticket item."
"If you've not felt anything lacking in your images, then I suggest you stop reading here and save yourself a lot of money, because chasing perfection isn't cheap - " —Ming Thein
"Buy the best and you only cry once."
"John Gossage had an interesting insight: that there existed not a single body of work in all of art photography taken with a super-telephoto lens."
"I went down the path of looking for a perfect portrait lens and collected a lot of lenses only to find out that there is no answer! So I've kept them all until I make up my mind."
"The Hasselblad Zeiss glass rendered a 'look' that always made me smile."
"Just buy it, if you want it and can afford it, ... most of my best images are made from 'outdated' equipment. Nothing is forever, at least on this plane of existence, So, buy the damned thing, use the blazing hell out of it, and sit back and laugh at those who marvel and wonder at how such spectacular images were made, But ... you have to be a great photographer ... or it doesn't matter what you buy."
"The solution to the lens-swapping issue is clear: Buy a camera body for every lens!"
"Best to buy quality, not quantity - generally only use my best lenses anyway."
"The answer is simple. ... Buy all versions."
"Turn your photo's and video's into pure amazing!" —animoto
"Most lenses are now just paperweights that will end up at some morbid estate sale as evidence of some eccentric person who had more money than sense."
"Zooms are especially useful for photojournalism and wedding/event work, but for just about everything else they involve too many compromises, Get better image quality, faster optical speed, and lighter weight with primes."
"Most gear-heads talk equipment, they don't take many pictures. Get the D700 and take great pictures!!" David Miller
"Of course this is just scratching the surface of lens designs."
"Absolutely love using R glass on Nikon cameras. It makes for a much more user friendly setup than on all the Leica R bodies I ever owned."
In-camera software corrections can fix distortion, vignetting, some lateral chromatic aberration, and to some extent, color optical aberrations, but cannot fixed resolving power, microcontrast, or tonal gradation.
Zeiss lenses have consistency of bite, are available in multiple mounts, and deliver a consistent look across the board, regardless of system, of resolution, color, and microcontrast.

To sum it up, Leica is like looking at a very beautiful painting, Zeiss is like opening the window and looking at the scene with the amazing clarity of being there.
Zeiss rendered like looking out a window and seeing the actual sight one photographed, while Leica rendered like a beautiful painting of it.
Zeiss is like looking out of a window and Leica is like looking at a fine painting.
Zeiss results are more life like and Leica adds some element of romance.
Leica design philosophy has always been about high resolution and a softer painterly look, while Zeiss philosophy was to create a realistic impression of high sharpness and clarity, even if at high magnifications the resolution is not on par with Leica.
Zeiss lenses have more contrast and a more transparent, realistic rendering with "interesting" bokeh, and the Leica lenses have beautiful painterly bokeh but a less realistic rendering. The Leicas have also been generally harder to focus.
Prefer Zeiss for capturing a nature-scape and Leica for everything else.
They both make some incredible glass!
Leica rendering is very balanced and relaxed with images that do not look stressed, The color is superb, Leica lenses have less 3D to them than say do Zeiss which is King in that area.
Compared with Contax C/Y, Leica R lenses are much prettier with more saturated colors, and deeper blacks. If thats your deal, then you will love Leica Rs. They also look more modern and clean, Contax lenses are more low-contrast, and more organic, Traditionally Leica lenses are designed for maximum resolving power, while Zeiss lenses are designed for maximum micro contrast, Zeisss philosophy is not to make things pretty, but to be true. The low-contrast Zeiss Contax coating does give you more latitude - about a stop extra in latitude compare with Leica R lenses. The Contax dont look vintage, but they also dont look modern.
Leica lenses are optimised for maximum contrast at 20 lp/mm and this will automatically give the best results for the higher spatial frequencies.
The Zeiss color, contrast, saturation, tonal range and the 3D look of makes it all worthwhile.
Leica's strongest suit: that color rendition.
The Zeiss aesthetic is to be more about transparent, life-like rendering, and the Leica aesthetic is to be more about beautiful rendering.
I prefer the smoother Leica aesthetic and the lenses are smaller than the Zeiss ZF lenses.
Usual Nikkor colors are a greenish cast that is hard to get rid of - still pretty good for 1977 standards.
Leica lenses are best for shadow detail & contrast.
Zeiss optics are optimized for contrast over resolution - the eye sees contrast as resolution.
Zeiss colors are lively but quite natural.
In Zeiss speak, Distagon means retro focal and Biogon means (nearly) symmetrical, for their wide angle lenses.
Have yet to use a Zeiss ZF lens that didn't make me smile.
The rendering of Zeiss lenses is very pleasing. They have strong contrast, bold, warm colors, extraordinary micro contrast and that legendary "3D pop" that is caused by the way the lens renders the transition from in-focus areas to out-of-focus areas.
It's easy to spot the Zeiss: just look at the micro-contrast in the foliage, and the way the transition of depth of field is much smoother and natural.
Leica lenses tend to have a bluish cast and Zeiss lenses tend to have a warmer (reddish) cast.
Zeiss glass is like looking at your subject through a saturated, high-contrast, warm-toned window pane. The clarity that is the hallmark of Leica glass tends to be missing.
Leica images look like an extremely high quality projection of the image on a flat plane which some find disconcerting - Leica images just don't look very life-like with everything squished flat.
Leica R lenses have more tolerance for focus error than Zeiss because of the focus transition character - the Leica in focus plane is not as strong defined as with Zeiss.
The Zeiss makes it look like the person or subject is facinating and detailed, the Leica makes it look like you are in love with it.
Zeiss lenses deliver believable rendering, Leica lenses deliver beautiful rendering.
When shooting forests, I prefer Zeiss. When shooting people, I prefer Leica, although I find Leica lenses harder to focus, something about the way contrast and sharpness transition. For most other subjects, moods rule.
Zeiss lenses are incredibly sharp and contrasty though a bit cold. Leica lenses are warm, beautiful contrasty, and have color like no other optics.
Leicas often out-resolve Zeiss lenses wide open, and stopped down a bit. This isn't a hard rule, though. But Zeiss photos often look sharper, due to higher micro-contrast. Pick your poison.
The reason I buy Zeiss ZF lenses is not for their overall optical performance. Each and every one of the lenses I own (21, 28, 35/1.4, 50, 50MP, 85, 100MP) has its own fairly serious optical shortcoming. The reason I buy them is for the look, that special look, which I rarely see from lenses other than Leica, Zeiss and Schneider-Kreuznach, The special property of the Zeiss lenses is that sense of being there, a special clarity and transparency, combined with interesting bokeh. Leica lenses don't have that, but they have gorgeous, painterly rendering, without sacrificing sharpness. Schneider lenses are somewhere in between.
When it comes to lenses, the name Carl Zeiss is synonymous with optical perfection or as they say around the Hallmark store, "when you care enough to shoot the very best." Joe Farace, Shutterbug
There's no question Leica lenses are special. Even the old screw mount lenses made before WW2 create a nice image. I noticed in the late 1980's that Leica transparencies jumped right up off the light table when surrounded by slides shot in Canon or Nikon cameras. ... The Leitz lenses were not always sharper than the Japanese glass but the edge acutance and color saturation was just somehow better.
If you really are a perfectionist then the [Zeiss] lenses are the way to go.
"When not testing other stuff, I shoot the Zeiss primes almost exclusively." Lloyd Chambers
Zeiss lenses are a productivity benefit, as so little post processing is required even for challenging light conditions, so the keeper rate stays very high.
While Leica's low contrast look is technically very good, it can often look a bit dull, flat, and unreal. A natural contrast response seems to get lost in the search for vague bokeh and low contrast detail.
Zeiss colors are rich, warm, and lush while Leica colors are cool, calm, and collected.
Cosina Voigtlander rendering is between the snap of Zeiss and the lusciousness of Leica.
Canon super-teles' unadjusted color rendition is dull as dishwater; "fixing" color in postprocessing doesn't restore tonal gradation - try a Leica APO.
Leica lenses render more subtly than Zeiss lenses. They take a while to warm up to, if you are used to the punch and rendering of Zeiss lenses.
Generally the Leica's are optimised for high cross-frame contrast and a very smooth transition to oof, while the Zeiss tends to have a harder transition to oof and lower contrast in oof areas (the famous '3D' look).
Seems that many Zeiss lenses have less contrast in out-of-focus areas than on the focal plane, and that quite desirable contrast differential increases the sense of 3D. Some Leica lenses have very high contrast in the out-of-focus areas, which flattens the image and makes it more pictorial than veridical [truthful/realism].
Stopping down to f/4-f/5.6 is needed to get the best 3D from Zeiss and other lenses.
Leica lenses do lovely things with skin tones, seeming to flatten tonal response even in challenging light - one reason people love them.
According to one mythology, Canon imitated the "feel" of Zeiss lenses while Nikon went for the feel of Leitz/Leica lenses.
The 35mm Zeiss lenses mostly show similar characteristics but higher contrast when compared to the Hasselblad medium format lenses for the "V" cameras.
If you like the 'Zeiss look' out of camera (strong saturation and deep contrast), only Zeiss T* glass (Z_, Hassy, Contax, etc.) will give it to you. Other glass, be they M645, Leica or CV, etc. WILL NOT. Period. Full stop. Ever. The 3D effect while more common in Zeiss glass can readily be seen in shots from any number of lenses among lines, but that T* coating look out-of-camera is unique to Zeiss-based lenses.
Some of the Zeiss lenses have better microcontrast (high resolving power for small detail), but the Leica's have better color saturation and bokeh.
Zeissaholism is due mainly to the fact that modern photographers tend to be fixated on two relatively basic aspects of photography, sharpness and contrast.
Nikkors give you what you see and the Zeiss give you something you never expected.
Each lens is not a focal length, its nearly every element of a picture, the framing, the way it manages light, the background, the OOF...the only constant I rely on between them is the color ... and only because I love the Zeiss color.
The new Zeiss lenses are certainly crisper (micro contrast) and very sharp while Leica lenses seem to have very saturated colors and more macro contrast.
As a general rule, Zeiss lenses deliver believable rendering, Leica lenses deliver beautiful rendering.
Many Zeiss lenses seem to have less contrast in out-of-focus areas than on the focal plane, and that contrast differential seems to me to be quite desirable as it increases the sense of 3D. Some Leica lenses have very high contrast in the o.o.f. areas, which seems to me to flatten the image and make it more pictorial - [definition: of or relating to a painter, a painting] than veridical [definition: truthful, not illusory, genuine].
Zeiss lens barrel shape has a lot to do with micro contrast - the narrow barrels enhance the contrast but the trade off is the vignetting at fully open aperture.
Zeiss photos are crisp and have 3D look - wonderful for scenics. For portraits, I prefer the Leica look - more natural and skin rendering is nicer.
"The new ZF lenses are improved in two ways over previous Contax RTS versions: better straylight suppression, leading to cleaner, crisper color, and improved aperture geometry, leading to more pleasing, more natural looking circular out-of-focus highlights." Kornelius Mueller, Zeiss
"The best lenses show high levels of closely parallel lines in MTF charts.
Examples: the Leica 90AA, 100/2.8 APO, 280/4 APO, many ZE/CY lenses also."
Part of the "Zeiss look", unfortunately, is deliberately overcorrected spherical aberration. That adds a "bright edge" to the out of focus circles of confusion, and causes a "nearly in focus" area behind the plane of focus to look a little sharper. So, the lens appears to have a slightly larger "zone of sharpness" than more conventionally corrected lens, at the expense of generally ugly bokeh. At least the 85mm f/1.4 isn't as bad as the 50mm f/1.4, Of course, Nikon and Canon are no better, they deliberately undercorrect their 85mm f/1.4 and 1.2, respectively. That gets the "creamy bokeh" look that people buy these lenses for, But whether the spherical aberration is overcorrected or undercorrected, not having it "correctly corrected" means that there will be a focus shift when stopping down.
"Leica lenses are optimised for maximum contrast at 20 lp/mm and this will automatically give the best results for the higher spatial frequencies." Erwin Puts, Leica Lens Compendum
There is a Leica look - mostly majestic and creamy; the Nikon look - mildly gritty and sharp ...
The Zeiss look seems to be that of extremely detailed micro contrast and sharp focus transitions that lends well to a three dimensional look, Leica has a signature softer creamier look ... a creamier smoother albeit not unsharp look. ... some lenses that have a perhaps unrivalled amount of "pop", such as the M Summicron 28 and Summilux 50. Also, Leica lenses are known for high color saturation and good tonal separation, better than Zeiss in some cases.
Hasselblad V series lenses are classic Zeiss.
It's odd how some people aspire to having the Leica glow whilst those who have it stop down to avoid it!
Traditionally Leicas are designed for maximum resolving power, while Zeiss are designed for maximum micro contrast.
The Leica lenses have amazing color; the Zeiss has a 3D quality. But as an after thought in digital you can modify the color but you cannot replicate the Zeiss 3D. Just as you cannot duplicate the high contrast of a Zeiss photo with one taken by a Nikon (maybe excluding the 24/1.4 and 200/2).
Leica lenses render a hard to define 'naturalness' or 'realness' in an understated way that I personally prefer over any '3D effect' when it comes to portraits.
Stereotypical leica 'wet' look.
One of the main characteristics of Zeiss lenses is that their blur circles are hard edged, in some cases outlined as well; this results in what most call 'busy'-ish bokeh. To me it means that high contrast areas (for instance lines) in the background or foreground become more visible and well defined, Leica blur circles are generally soft-edged. This leads to less of a well defined high contrast background.
The Leicas excel in smooth bokeh, color rendition and a smooth transition to oof areas. The Zeiss gives a more '3D' look with neutral bokeh with harder edges, neutral color and harder transitions to oof areas.
One thing different about Leica vs. Zeiss design is its transition from the sharpest point to the out of focus area. Leica's sharpness gradually faded to OOF area while the Zeiss's sharpness dramatically soften OOF area a lot more to create huge contrast. This is the only reason why I am attracted to Leica as it is able to maintain better image quality overall including color and contrast. To me, the Leica image always seems to create more realistic focused shots as I still see more layers of colors and micro contrast.
Zeiss lenses tend to show more 3D, whereas the Leica lenses tend to show more subject isolation at any given aperture. Something to do with how the bokeh increases with distance from the plane of focus, and how much "life" is left over in the bokeh. Zeiss lenses have really nice bokeh, but there is a lot more life left in it than in a Leica lens. The Leica bokeh looks smoother, in other words, but the Zeiss bokeh shows more of what is in the blurred region.
The blue and green colors are really distinctive of Zeiss lenses.
Just adore the colors and overall character of Zeiss lenses.
Generally speaking, Zeiss Planar lenses are sharp with high microcontrast, while Zeiss Sonnar lenses CAN be sharp, but the microcontrast tends to be lower, and the bokeh smoother, therefore Sonnar lenses are used preferably for portraits or soft rendering shots. .., Sonnar is "artistically" soft wide-open (due to undercorrected #spherical aberration) and sharp stopped down, .., most flare resistant - .., The Sonnar is a reissue of an old formula. It will not be very sharp until well stopped down and there are focus shift issues. It is to designed to mimic old fashioned pictures and does it well, .., does not deliver RAZOR sharpness or equivalent contrast, like a Planar/Summicron might deliver, .., The Sonnar design is used for longer focal lengths than the Planar as shorter Sonnar's don't clear the SLR mirror but are used in rangefinder lenses.
I don't think Zeiss has ever been known for creamy bokeh. It's always stopped down shooting and a "3D" effect.
In the Zeiss line, where the real juice is at is the 21, 28, 35 and 50/100 Makro Planar lenses, They're ALL really nice lenses. Though the 18, 50[f/1.4] & 85 have gotten slightly mixed reviews.
I would recommend the 35/2 as a first Zeiss if you are going to do street photography and portraits, Alternatively the 50/2 MP, I would not recommend the 50/1.4 or the 85/1.4 as a first lens as they are in a way special purpose lenses which are amazing in certain situations but not very good in others. The "safe" Zeiss glass - i.e the ones that are excellent at all apertures and distances are the 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 100/2 with the 21/2.8 and the 100/2 being the 'super stars' of the Z* glass.
While my Leica lenses are generally and objectively technically "better", I often like the look of my Zeiss lenses more.
The Zeiss 50mm f/2 and 100mm f/2 Makro Planars tend to emphasize sharpness more than the 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 non-Makro Planars. In return, the non-Makro Planars give a smoother, more gradual transition from in-focus to bokeh. This gives the Makro Planars a more clinical look, while the non-Makro Planars are more painterly and offer rather more 3D. All this is, of course, when not shooting at less than 10 feet, where the superiority of the Makro Planars is clear.
If by the term "painterly" you mean that the OOF areas turn quickly into unrecognizable mush, then the 50/2 MP's is not painterly. The 50/2 Makro Planar's bokeh, while nice and smooth retains some definition in the OOF - which I would say is generally preferable ... I prefer the 50/2 Makro Planar, such that my 50/1.4 Planar doesn't really get used anymore.
Optimum lens performance in terms of sharpness at all apertures and distances will be the Leicas without question.
Shooting true B&W film, it's the Zeiss lenses all the way. The contrast of the Zeiss optics makes B&W really sing.
There is nothing wrong with having at least one lens for bragging rights.
Rich color, lots of detail, and lower contrast seem to epitomise the look of the Leica lenses.
Some people like Leica's flat dreamy rich-colored look with no 3D effect. Others don't.
I used to use all Zeiss lenses but find the new ZF ones too contrasty so I switched to Leica R which are in my eyes of a much better formula and highly preferable if you shot mainly B&W like me.
Modern Leica lenses generally are sharp from wide-open, usually right into the corners. They have very low CA, often practically non-existent, and great, but relatively strongly blurred bokeh. They do not generally have 3D in the way that Zeiss lenses do. Leica lenses are often very fast (f/1, f/1,4, f/2). They exhibit great subject isolation, wide-open. They have very good micro-contrast, and many Leica lenses >50mm are APO designated. Leica has many patents on aspherical element manufacture, which helps give them their edge in this field. The colors are often very beautiful, but not necessarily always totally accurate. Even on digital there is such a thing as Leica colors.
Most movies are shot using Zeiss or Panavision lenses. The Panavision lenses use Leica glass, Cinematographers love the look that Zeiss and Panavision lenses give them and will use different brands depending on the creative palette/look of the film.
The current Zeiss ZF lenses, which I personally like for their slightly old-fashioned imaging characteristics more than Nikon's equivalent lenses, are not in the same league optically or mechanically with the best of Leica, M or R. Nikon seems to concentrate on the photojournalist and commercial/editorial customers, who are happy with a really high-performing varifocal lens(which Nikon labels a "zoom" lens).
A quick rule of thumb is probably 50mm and below, Leica M lenses are 'better', while above that, R lenses are. There are certainly some exceptions. The 75 Summicron M is an amazing lens, and the 90 APOs are the same formula. Only R lenses for focal lengths longer than 135mm and for macro, Since the M is a rangefinder, it lets the designers put elements closer to the film/sensor if they wish, which gives them some extra flexibility. Though some of that will probably go away now that the world is digital and there seem to be reasons for not having elements too close to the sensor, M lenses tend to be newer designs than R, especially now that the R has been discontinued.
The Leica objective is maximum sharpness, rather than the Zeiss orientation toward high contrast (and its accompanying higher apparent sharpness) coupled with excellent bokeh.
Leica lens colors tend to be very rich, balanced, and beautiful, and the bokeh is typically soft (too soft for my taste) and almost apochromatic (i.e. no LoCA). They are superb lenses in most measurable respects, I just don't find them very convincing at making photorealistic pictures because of the 3D issue.
More common with Leica is extreme subject isolation, at the cost of 3D.
I think it is only Leica who makes a great effort in optimizing the lenses for wide-open shooting, Canon and Nikon users would never dream of using a lens wide-open unless absolutely necessary.
I love fine tonal gradation and very high resolution in the bits of the image which are in focus, which is why I use Leica. If you consider that the bits of the image which are not in focus to be the most important part of the image, bokeh, then maybe Zeiss is your cup of tea.
Some Leica lenses have contrast in the bokeh at least as high as contrast on the focal plane, and this reduces 3D effect and draws attention away from the focussed subject. Many other lenses, especially Zeisses, manage to present high contrast in the focal plane, but less contrast off it, and that may be one source of the famous 3D effect.
Delivering very neutral color: Zeiss and Leica are about the closest to neutral color with the Zeiss' slight cast to the optics on the warm side (yellowish) and the Leica on the cool side (greenish).
Overall, the Zeiss look comes down to neutral but punchy color, high microcontrast, fast transition between in and out of focus areas, and lowered contrast in oof areas; the last 2 are the primary basis of the '3D' look. ... High micro-contrast (ability to render slightly different shades differently) is the major contribution to 3d'ness. ... The "Zeiss look" makes for great Black and White conversions because the contrasty rendering makes for great B&W images. ... It's not really about OOF areas. ... it's a combination of color rendering as well as a dedicated tonal 'separation,' especially in the shadows (3/4 tones to black), while keeping fine details and remaining smooth. An image having these attributes will look 3D, as in photography, space is created by light and shadows. If the tonal separation is flat, the image will look flat. ... the microcontrast in particular definitely delivers 3D. ... Bokeh-licious
Leica lenses are often designed to be shot wide-open, so the abilities of these unique lenses are without equal.
On Leica lenses the color rendition seems more "lively" and accurate.
Leica lenses are famous for extreme resolving power; why bother?: flare resistance, consistent color balance, smooth and pleasing bokeh, low vignetting when wide-open, low distortion for rectilinear ultra-wides, solid metal construction which retains its aperture and focus ring firmness after decades of use.
Dr. Mandler didn't correct for the blue spectrum of light. So, especially on B&W, the image seems to glow. I know a lot of people really love this. It just was never my taste. If I have to stop down to f/2 to get a sharp picture, what's the point?
Among the 19-21mm wide angles [prior to 14-24mm Nikkor], Leica and Zeiss rule the roost; whether your favour the Leica's nicer color rendering and lower distortion, or the Zeiss' superior contrast, resolution and 3D quality depends on your subject matter and personal preference.
The difference between Leica lenses and other lenses is contrast + color rendering - and not necessarily absolute sharpness. Leica often trades off ultimate resolution for better contrast; as edge definition and better MTF function gives the visual appearance of being sharper.
Leica does colors and tonality in a unique way - it really is better.
If sharpness is your prime consideration, there isn't much to choose between a Nikkor at f/8 and a Leica lens at f/8 (at least for a large proportion of the fixed lenses). There is a big difference in sharpness at wide apertures, however, and there is a huge difference in tonality and the way the lenses perform in difficult light conditions. The only caveat is in the case of zooms - the Leica f/4 zooms, although apparantly very sharp, do not seem to me to have the same tonality as the Leica primes and f/2.8 zooms. ... Tonality means the ability to render a particular shade of, for example, red as that same shade, to render subtle shades and nuances (like changing the setting on a monitor from thousands to millions of colors), and to capture detail in the extreme ranges of light and dark (a bit like dynamic range in a scanner or the gamut of an RGB device). ... Imagine a gently lit Italian hill side covered with painted houses and terracota roof tiles - the Leica glass records each of the different hues as different whereas with the Nikon picture you notice that the houses seem to have used the same paint a couple of times, High contrast slide film can lose tonality, as can Nikon enlarger lenses, while a Leica Super Colorplan projector lens preserves tonality as does National Geographic magazine's high quality printing. ... Leica lenses I get deeper shadows and brighter highlights. To get the equivalent blacks and whites with the Nikon lenses I have to stretch the tonal scale in Photoshop, equivalent to using a harder grade of paper under the enlarger. Stretching the tonal scale is what causes the loss of tonality. ... If you want the ultimate color fidelity and saturation in your slides, then Leica lenses are the way to go! ... Leica R lenses, in general offer better performance at full aperture and one or two stops down then their Nikon counterparts. ... There is a difference in tonality, bokeh, color saturation, and flare control. I prefer the Leica-R lenses for ALL these qualities. ... SLR applications not easily managed through an M rangefinder system: macro, longer teles, tilt & shift architectural pics. ... Leica glass has LESS macro-contrast than the norm today WITHOUT sacrificing micro-contrast - i.e., the lenses are slightly 'flatter' but still produce extremely sharp crisp edges - especially wide-open. ... Smooth tonalities help decent bokeh look even better.
Some of the Nikon lenses are built better than others, but in general the biggest failing of the Ai/Ais lenses is the poorer mechanical design than Leica or most Zeiss. The use of similar metals in the focusing helicoids of the Nikons should be of particular concern to one who thinks of lenses as "...for life."
One of the great things about the Leica lenses is that they reach their peaks between f/2.8-f/5.6...almost all of them made in the last 20 years anyway. I can put the lens on f/2.8 or f/2 and be confident in getting a superb technical photo.
Leica-R lenses have better tonality, bokeh, color saturation, and flare control than Nikon lenses.
Differences in the nuances of how lenses record the image, even where subtle, produce different emotional responses in the viewers.
Classic Leica images, rich reds and blacks ...
Zeiss being a bit warmer and the Leica being a bit cooler in color balance.
Beautifully rich color and bokeh, notwithstanding the lack of micro-contrast and 3D effect.
Colors with a slight cool cast is typical of Leica lenses.
Leica's nicer color rendering and lower distortion vs. the Zeiss' superior contrast, resolution and 3D quality.
Leica R lenses give cleaner and brighter colors, better detail in shadows, less flare and much better resolution at full aperture. Excellent performance at maximum aperture is, to me, one of the things sets Leica lenses apart from most others and this helps to focus accurately. They are also mechanically superior and very sturdy but the penalty for this, of course, is that they are large and heavy. ... in general, Leica lenses are much better.
What basically sets the Leica lenses apart are their performance wide-open. This is where they will excel over their Japanese counterparts.
Leica makes the best lenses for most purposes. Expert photographers can refinance their homes to gear up with these hand-made optical gems; almost every one is a masterpiece. They have a unique drawing style, with truer colors and finer details rendered but can you handle or afford them? Some photographers that can't afford a Leica turn to Zeiss, heavyweight independent lens-maker, which offers similar results without quite the same spiritual experience.
Nothing is beating, nothing has ever beaten and nothing will ever beat Leica prime fixed focal length lenses, That's not a joke, Leica glass blows other lenses away, especially wide-open, which is what I use most and where I find the added value of Leica. ... Portraiture is one good reason to use lenses wide-open. Low light photography is another. ... Some Leica lenses, being such great performers wide-open, actually show obvious deterioration in quality at small apertures, so I've relegated the lenses for low-light, or instances where I want control of depth of field. ... Keep in mind, manual focus can be annoying some time.
Would have saved a small fortune if I'd just bought Leica lenses (used of course) in the first instance, rather than buying and trying almost everything else and then ending up buying Leica anyway.
For the R Leicas, all the lenses are very good to fabulous. The fabulous ones are the 15mm f/3.5, the 19mm f/2.8, the 100mm f/2.8 APO and the 280mm f/4. The difference can only be seen when you blow them up, the larger the better. And when I scan them in, the photos taken with a Leica look more 'real' especially in the shadow areas where they have more detail. The Contax is better than the Nikon but not quite there with the Leica.
The 28 Elmarit looks fantastic and not clearly rivaled by anything. The 50 Summilux, the 90 AA Summicron, 180 APO Summicron and Elmarit, 280 Telyt all are pretty unique lenses with very high performance.
Among the wide angles, Leica and Zeiss rule the roost; whether you favor the Leica's nicer color rendering and lower distortion, or the Zeiss' superior contrast, resolution and 3D quality depends on your subject matter and personal preference.
Zeiss lenses also run magenta compared to Leica - faces in sunset light go very rosy with Zeiss while they go warm tan with the more green Leica glass (red light minus magenta = yellow). Also blue sky reflected in water tends to run purple with Zeiss, cyan with Leica.
Zeiss lenses, on the whole, tend to have more even sharpness across the frame wide-open - by comparison, Leica lenses, especially the pre-ASPH designs, tend to be very sharp at the center and fall off substantially towards the corners. Photodo rates them as equals, but in fact they have very different signatures, and it depends on whether you want the maximum possible sharpness in the middle (Leica), or better performance in the outer half of the picture (Zeiss).
So you better get used to viewing and shooting at working aperture.
Many insist the older formulas (R included) produce more pleasing OOF areas with unbeatable rich color saturation, The older German lenses have a way of imaging that some think is preferable to the newer glass.
For Leica, it is the Summicron lenses which are the stars ... and the Summilux are mostly just over engineered for incremental gain.
Beloved Contax 60/2.8: - Although the Leica 60/2.8 lens has some advantages I prefer the Zeiss 60 look. It is the Contax Zeiss 60 Planar AE 1:1 lens, converted by Leitax (the MM is much smaller). The Zeiss lens does not render out of focus point light sources as nice as the Leica (aperture shape) and has to be stopped down at infinity. All that aside, the Zeiss pops for close up shots in a way the Leica does not. The Zeiss 60 is my preferred "normal" lens despite the convenience of the Leica lens, which does it all well though with less character. Absolutely love the Zeiss 60! - (The Sony Alpha's M screen is awesome for manual focus and the sensor stabilization gains about two stops, In-body stabilization nets you 2-2.5 stops and has a hard floor around 1/8 to 1/4 second, pretty much identical performance to lens IS under 100mm or so. Lens IS works better than body IS for longer lenses and the longer you get, the bigger the difference.)
In my experience, all of my R lenses are better than any of the AI-S Nikkors I've owned including the latest 105 f/2.5, the Micro Nikkors, etc. How are they better? More contrast, more neutral color rendition, better bokeh, far more reliable.
Mechanically, the Leica R lenses are probably the best made SLR manual focus lenses ever made. Some of the old Nikon F era Nikkors were close in this respect.
Uncoupled lenses and different lens ergonomics between lenses interfere with my photographic habits, so I would rather change the system than put up with it.
Zeiss ZF.2 chipped lenses adhere to the Nikon AI-P standard and are not D lenses.
Fake Hasselblad look: square crop, and shot with a lens with a 5-bladed diaphragm.
Schneider lenses with similar Zeiss equivalents - Xenotar (Planar), Super Angulon (Biogon), and Xenar (Tessar).
Generally speaking the ZE lenses are better than the ZM lenses, especially at large apertures. In terms of image quality Zeiss ZE is comparable to the newer Leica M ASPH lenses, with some focal lengths being better with Zeiss and others with Leica. There are different design policies involved there. Zeiss typically focuses on getting the MTF curves as constant across the frame as possible while Leica focuses on limiting various optical aberrations. There is greater variation between individual Leica lenses (of the same generation) than between individual Zeiss lenses.
Zeiss/Sony ZA lenses render differently than either the ZF/ZE or Contax lines, The ZA rendering in particular tends to more Leica-like color. If you think of a cross between Mandler-era Leica R and Zeiss Contax rendering you'd be in the ballpark for how the ZA line renders. This appears to have been done to keep the look of the ZA lenses from differing excessively from traditional Minolta rendering (which is heavily Leica-inspired for historical reasons).
Leica R telephoto lenses don't have Zeiss look, but even "cheap" Leica 180/3.4 is really amazing lens with pretty awesome look. Tho it depends "which Zeiss look". Old C/Y is different from new ZE/ZF. Modern ZE/ZF is actually something between Zeiss and Leica. So Leica lens is quite close to it, I might be minority but I prefer old C/Y much more.
CZ fans have always received the short end of the stick for tele options. Even Hasselblad was stuck with the dreadful Tele-Apotessar 500/8. In C/Y mount, one had a couple of mirror optics, and the middling 200/3.5, 200/4 and 300/4 telephotos. Now, for a wheelbarrow of cash, CZ did offer the Aposonnar 200/2 C/Y, Tele-Apotessar 300/2.8 C/Y, Sonnar Superachromat 250/5.6, and Tele-Superachromat 350/5.6. The latter two in Hassy mount are available from KEH: got $7000 handy? - For only $25,000 you can have the Tele-Superachromat 300/2.8 and matched Apo-Mutar 1.7x. This was always special order, and is probably in the current catalog. Expensive, but you get phenomenal performance, 6x6 coverage, and a nice case. I own one of the above but, realistically, Leica R telephotos are much more attractive in price, availability and rendering.