Blog topics this morning:

Not much to say about Mickey's hostile takeover of Kermit, really. I just hope that Miss Piggy isn't starstruck with affection for that uber-powerful mouse. Dang mice, taking all our good, decent pigs!

* * *

Cameras. Photography.

I guess you could say I've got a fetish here more than a hobby. I love photography, but I'm one of those photogs who's pretty-much as into his photo equipment as his pictures. I've got several lenses that exist just b/c I though they were neat. I have two basic systems: One uses a lensmount from the 1960's, the other from the 1930's. Yes, I'm a luddite when it comes to equipment.

My SLR (Single Lens Reflex) system is based around good, old Pentax glass, made by Ashai optics in Japan. Back in the day, Pentax was THE hobby brand to have, but the auto-focus, auto-everything revolution seems to have hit them very hard, as they didn't have the technical resources of Minolta, Cannon, or Nikon to develop auto-focus hardware. They're still trailing in this arena, as well as in computerized metering.

But the glass is still good, and as I have only manual-focus Pentax cameras, their poor autofocus performance isn't an issue. My system:

  • 28mm f/2.8 Every photog should have one of these primes, mines from the 1970's and its the old, solid "brass and glass" construction

  • 40mm f/2.8 This is the famous 'pancake' lens, which is so thin front-to-back that it barely has room for the camera

  • 50mm f/1.7 Great lens, if a bit light and platicky. Fast & excellent for interior available-light shots, and pin-sharp when stopped down to f/4.

  • 70-210mm f/4-5.6 Sigma Lens is total plastic crap, but it's all I've got to cover the long end of the spectrum from back in High School when I had a PZ-1 pentax that autofocsed. Sigma lenses are *okay*, but you def. get what you pay for. Go on eBay and find what you want, don't pay retail for this garbage

My real darling these days is my Voigtlander series Bessa R rangefinder

I LOVE THIS CAMERA! Got interested in Rangefinders on a lark a couple of years ago, but the only ones available were Leicas, and while the Swiss watch of cameras, they were $2500 for a new body alone, and each lens ran $800-$2000. Rangefinders handle and work differently than SLRs. Not better, just different. The lenses are itty-bitty, and the lensmount is the 39mm Leica Thread Mount (LTM) first invented in the 1930's. So, you can mount lenses from about 8 different decades on this camera w/o problems.

Lenses for this system:

  • 15mm f/2.5 That's right, 15mm...this is one REALLY wide-angle lens, and I'm still experimenting to get its full potential. Not a fisheye or anything--this is full frame.

  • 35mm f/3.5 Lens came with the camera, and I enjoy it, though I'd like a 24mm, too.

  • 50mm f/1.8 This is an old Cannon camera. It's older than my parents, but works like an absolute jewel. It's not multi-coated so you have to be careful when using it in bright sunlight (lots of in-lens flare!)

  • 135 f/2.8 Great portrait lens or medium telephoto. A long telephoto w/a Rangefinder is kinda pointless (since you use the viewfinder instead of looking through the lens as with an SLR), so this is probably as long as I'll go w/my lens system

So, that's about it. A modest system on both accounts, but for the stuff I like shooting: Landscapes, interiors, people, it works just great. And slide film just ROCKS!

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