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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Old Town - New Lens

I've been neglecting Victoria's downtown lately because my daily rambles have been taking me down the Westsong Walkway more often. However yesterday was such a beautiful clear, sunny day that I decided to try out a new (used) lens on Johnson Street. Above is lower Johnson Street, part of what is called "Old Town" because it is the area near Fort Victoria that was earliest settled. Most of this area was built in the 1860s.

One of the advantages of a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera that will accept legacy lenses is that one can try out many different types of lenses without spending a great deal of money. Today's three photos were taken with a lens that cost $23 and I am quite pleased with it. What I look for is how sharp the lens is - I love nice crisp images; how well it reproduces color and contrast, and how well it operates mechanically. This lens performs well in all these categories and is a nice mid-range zoom (28-70 mm f3.5) that will probably become a favorite in my camera bag.
Legacy Lenses: When I refer to "Legacy lenses" I mean lenses that were produced for older style cameras - film cameras or early digital cameras. My current camera is a Sony Alpha 550digital single lens reflex. It uses any of the Sony lenses and, since Sony bought Minolta, it will also accept any of the Minolta AF lenses or third party manufacturer lenses made for Minoltas. I also have an adapter that enables my camera to accept any lenses with M42 mounts - widely used, especially for Pentax film cameras. There are several advantages to using legacy lenses. They are often very well made lenses using high quality glass. They are now much reduced in price because the cameras for which they were originally made are no longer in use. An added advantage of Sony DSLR cameras is that the image stabilization mechanism is in the camera body rather than in the lenses as with Nikon and Canon cameras. This means one can use older lenses and still have the benefits of modern image stabilization (anti-shake) technology.


JoJo said...

Beautiful Johnson Street! It's the one that reminds me most of SF. I also find it really neat that Joseph Strauss engineered both the Golden Gate & Johnson Street Bridges.

B SQUARED said...

I have a Sony as well but wasn't aware of different lens possibilities;till now.

Dean Lewis said...

I haven't touched my old Pentax SLR in years and should see if any of the lenses interest you. They are all thread-mount.

That is remarkable to think that today's digital cams can have the anti-shake technology in them. I first saw it in early and large videocams.

Benjamin Madison said...

JoJo - you probably know more about Victoria than most Victorians.
B² - yes - check your local thrift stores for Minolta AF lenses - any of them will fit your Sony and will work just as well as newer Sony lenses for much lower prices. Third party manufacturer lenses are often a bargain too - the lens that took today's photos is a Sakar lens made to fit Minolta cameras.
Dean- anti-shake technology is pretty well standard now but where the mechanism is located makes a big difference in lens prices. If the mechanism is in the body (like Sony) then the lens can be much less expensive since individual lenses do not require the anti-shake mechanism. If the anti-vibration mechanism is in the lens (as with Canons and Nikons) then every lens must be equipped with the anti-shake mechanism, increasing the prices of individual lenses.

I have a whole range of Pentax screw mount lenses but the one I am most interested in obtaining is the little 50mm F1.4. It's often touted as the best portrait lens ever.... (one just sold on ebay for $135)

Dean Lewis said...

These shots today look great. The sharpness and focal lengths work well.
I'm surprised that a 50mm would be considered a good portrait lense, because I believed 80mm or so represented the normal, or least distortion in the 35mm format.
1.4 would be a very fast lense, offering maximum optical quality use. $135 sounds good.

Jabba said...

This is my favourite block in all of downtown Victoria and you have captured it beautifully as usual!