Camera's internal B&W interpretation in Jpeg.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... Just kidding around. But, in my usual, mysterious and painfully endearing way I did manage to buy two different 50mm lenses for my new Pentax K-1 camera. Sit back down and mitigate your excitement; neither lens is the new, super Pentax HD Pentax D FA 50mm 1.4 SDM AW that sells for $1,000 USD. That's just not going to happen.
The "normal" 50mm f1.4 lenses I did splash out for are both well used and were quite reasonable, considering that the glass on both is pristine. The one that came first, on Wednesday, was an earlier AF lens with the screwdriver focusing cam that makes a pleasant whirring sound as it autofocuses. Its body design is kind of round-y and it has a window on the lens barrel so you can see the distance scale. The seller supplied a generic, but nice, metal lens hood and, of course, front and rear caps. I played with it for while and walked around the house focusing on stuff with the lens wide open and then kept hitting the review button to see if the camera and lens combo was any good at nailing focus. They did quite well and now I trust the auto focusing on the system. At least for now.
The second lens came on Thursday, right before my lunch with Paul. I caught the mailman just as he was about to pull away from my mailbox and mis-pitch my package somewhere else. I went back to my office, tore open the box and popped the newest lens (but oldest, chronologically) onto the K-1, put the assemblage over my shoulder and headed out for sushi at Whole Foods at Lamar Blvd. and 6th St. Paul and I have both owned Pentax medium format film systems and the styling of the 50mm f1.4 SMC manual focus lens was an instant reminder of Pentax 645 and 6X7 system lenses; just in miniature.
I've done busy work all week long and I was anxious to get out for a walk with a camera today. I headed for downtown straight after the family lunch (a Saturday tradition from back when Ben was in high school....) with the K-1 and the older, 50mm manual focus lens, and not even a spare battery in my pocket.
The MF lens is hefty and dense and the focusing ring is like butter. So much better than the run of the mill, fly-by-wire manual focusing implementation we seem to get on most AF lenses these days...
I did my research and knew that I could use the lens in aperture mode and the camera would give me wide open viewing for focusing, and would take care of stopping down the lens automatically, if I put the external aperture ring in the locked "A" setting. Set up this way one can use one of the control wheels on the camera body to control the aperture setting. Pretty decent backward compatibility.
With MF lenses I'm prone to taking more chances with composition because once I know that focus and depth of field are in the ballpark I seem to move the frame around much more, and instinctively place more of each scene off to one side or the other. I'm not sure of the psychology involved but knowing that the camera and lens won't move focus around seems to be a big part of that. If I were a fan of "back button" focusing perhaps I'd manage all this differently but I'm resistant to changes like that. Changes in camera operation.
In the three hours I spent shooting lens I careened around the aperture ring from f2.0 to around f7.1; all depending on the subject matter. I found the lens to be very neutral and well behaved. There's a bit of uncorrected chromatic aberration that manifests itself as colored lines adjacent to high contrast intersections but it's manageable and only is really obvious if I sharpen too much in post.
For far less than $100 dollars I'll chalk up the purchase of a nice, clean MF 50mm lens, that works well with the K-1 body, as a win. Next week I'm going to make a little trip to San Antonio and spend some time with the camera and the other new lens; the 50mm FA f1.4 AF, and see if the optics are any different from the manual version. The front and back lens elements sure seem to be the same. Maybe the coatings are different or something.
Below are samples and some have captions to note special news.
Downtown was awash with groups of young women on tour.
There was also a big convention of people; mostly women,
who sell scented oils and waxes.
Even Austin is plagued by "crumbling infrastructure."
Where did all those "shovels on the ground" get off to?
See the middle scooter? Look at the right hand grip. Now look at the image just
below. It's a big crop of that small handle and it shows the detail possible
with this 50mm even though the lens aperture was nearly wide open (f2.5)
And there it is. At least a 100% crop. The focus was right where I expected it to be and
(I hate to say it) the bokeh is very nice.
A box used to protect a vendor's cart's electrical connections and also a target for my
"OMG! Look at my crop just below!!!"
It's just a little cross section of wires but I think you can see
that the camera and lens do a nice job of getting stuff in focus and delivering details.
One more set of "looky-looky!!!!!" photos.
See the telephone pole in the image just above?
The image below is a detail shot of the lower part of the pole.
I think my ability to manual focus is still pretty good but I
will confess to using the focusing indicator in the viewfinder
to confirm good focus. It's pretty accurate.
I've always felt like Range Rover ownership was a basic cry for help.
One in this color is more an admission of sociopathy.
And I'm pretty much over the style of all black wheels.
And, of course: My Homage to William Eggleston.