eXtensions - Thursday 17 January 2019


Cassandra - Update on Lens Acquisitions: Working with Old Friends

By Graham K. Rogers


A couple of lenses that I had ordered online arrived this week: a Nikkor 50mm lens to replace one I had just lost, and an older Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens for the 35mm Mamiya/Sekor I recently acquired.

A few days ago, I put some notes online about the film cameras I have been using recently and the lenses they use. That included some comment about a mini disaster I had when a recently-acquired Nikon FM10 and a long-owned Nikkor 50mm lens sank into the depths of the Tha Chin River at Mahachai. Perhaps more than that Nikon, I was annoyed with myself for the loss of the 50mm lens that I had owned for more than 15 years as far as I can estimate.

Nikkor 50mm lens Nikon FM10

Old Nikkor 50mm lens, and Nikon Fm10 camera

After I had downloaded and edited the images from the Nikon D850 (the film rolls are being developed now), I had a look online for the 50mm lens and was surprised to see this still available on several sites. The best price was on the local Lazada site for about half what I had originally paid.

Early next morning, using the Lazada app on the iPhone, I had another look, took a deep breath and clicked, Buy. As my details are already entered in the app, all I had to do was type in the credit card security number and the order was placed. A notification a couple of hours later showed me that it was on its way.

I was out of the office on Tuesday, but when I went in on Wednesday morning, not only was the Nikkor lens waiting for me, but the Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens I had ordered for the Mamiya/Sekor 35mm camera from eBay a week or so ago. When I had a flat table to work on, I opened the box and removed the 80-200 telephoto lens from the Mamiya/Sekor and screwed the Zeiss lens on to the camera body.

Several lenses had been available to me and I had selected one that was priced in the mid-range: just over 5,000 baht (€149). Images produced using the telephoto lens were clear and sharp, but its weight was a little more than I was expecting (not as much as the Sigma 100-400 telephoto I use with the D850) and I thought the 35mm lens would be more suitable for street work. The lens has one or two blemishes on the barrel, but focus and aperture rings turns smoothly. I might prefer a touch more friction to the movement.

Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens

Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens

It felt nicely balanced although the aperture settings were at the front of the lens, while the focus ring was closer to the camera body. On the 50mm Nikkor lens (and that older telephoto), these are the other way round, with the focus ring nearest to the front of the lens. The Sigma does not have an aperture ring and the focus ring is closer to the camera because of the lens length. An 85mm Nikkor lens I have, likewise has no aperture adjustment (all in-camera), but the focus ring is near the front of the lens.

Mamiya/Sekor camera and Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens
Mamiya/Sekor 100 DTL camera and Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens

I have taken a couple of rolls of Ilford film (ISO 100 and 125) using the Flektagon lens and will see how these turn out. I may need to make adjustments although I am not expecting any major problems. The Mamiya/Sekor was quite cheap and in operation has a satisfying click when the shutter operates. It is less easy to use at night as the light meter indicator is almost invisible. I was worried when it arrived because of dents in the top. The light seals are fine and output so far has been quite acceptable, although I am still experimenting.

Mamiya/Sekor camera and Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens
Mamiya/Sekor 100 DTL camera and Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens

The photographs of the Zeiss Flektagon 35mm lens here were taken using the Nikon D850 and the newly arrived Nikkor 50mm lens: like working with an old friend.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)



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