Monday, October 2, 2023

Pentax-A* 645 600mm f/5.6 – Fuji GFX100s


First yes, I understand it’s been a while since our last blog. No excuse other than we just didn’t feel like sharing…

If that first sentence didn’t put you off here’s something I feel share-worthy. For some time, the longest lens we had for any of the GFXs we owned has been the beautiful GF250 and 1.4 extender. The 250 equates to approximately 200mm in 35mm terms and the 350 (with 1.4 extender added) to approximately 280mm. From here on I’ll be dropping “approximately”.

600 with 1.4 extender @10 yards No Crop

What can a lens that was built for film and hasn’t been in production for well over 23-years. Good question which I hope to answer shortly.

2x extender @37 yards no crop

A 600mm lens built for medium format equates to 480mm while a 600 plus 1.4 (840mm) will equate to 672mm. Going whole hog and adding a 2x extender (1200mm) will produce around 960mm in 35mm terms.

There are a few downsides to using this lens. It is heavy, very heavy. Manual focus for those who care. The possible weak point is the adaptor you choose; my choice was a KIPON. The upside is that there are several adaptors, both new and old available. Likewise, the extenders. Lastly, did I mention it is very heavy?

2x extender @284 yards no crop

What you should consider. A very sturdy tripod. While I feel it might be able to shoot reasonably well off a good ball head, I opted for a gimbal head. Once again, while there are many out there my own personal choice is a Wimberly WH200. The WH200 might be a bit of overkill with a weight rating of 100 pounds I like it. A lot.

I will not go into any great detail regarding the extenders other than they are available.

2x extender @8-yards slight crop

The weakest link might be a good adaptor and as of this writing my KIPON has worked well. I ordered a new on and also was able to pick up a good used one. The thinking at the time was to have one attached fulltime to the extender I use the most. I have since changed my thinking and have ordered another one directly from KIPON. I’ll keep one attached fulltime on each extender and have one on the lens when I don’t need extension. Overkill? Yes, however my way of thinking is that it’ll make for far less of any accidental issues when trying the make a fast change in the field.

Granted I haven’t the lens very long I have found it to be a superior lens. Manual focus is no more difficult than any other lens I’ve used. Pro tip – make certain that you switch your GFX to M mode. Yes, that makes sense however in the heat of the moment it could be overlooked.

2x extender top image cropped shot @8 yards

This is a very long lens measuring well over 16 inches with just the adaptor and body attached and 19" with the 1.4. The weight, overall length and focal length make for a combination of instability. Vibration is not your friend. What I’ve learned so far is to shoot as fast as I can with as high an ISO that I can. I also keep the GFX on burst mode. I’ve attached a wired remote and use it about 50% of the time.

Both shot @ 688 yards no crop no post processing

The images provided here are all from the first couple of days of owning the lens. I was primary interested in how well the lens, extensions and adaptor work.

One addition thought. This lens comes with an attached lens shade which I used on all the images posted here. There is no vignetting

I hope to post more soon.


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Our latest adventure…

We took this trip at the end of May and had every intention of posting this blog much sooner however life got in the way, thus the delay….

We’ve been sticking close to home lately and are pleased to say we finely took a trip in May. We traveled from the Tucson area of Arizona to visit Wall South Dakota and Badlands National Park.

Our drive took us close to the forest fires near Las Vegas NM; so close in fact that we had ash falling the morning we left for Cheyenne WY. Our route from Cheyenne took us into parts of Nebraska before entering South Dakota.

We left Badlands and headed for Cody Wyoming by way of Hulett Wyoming and Devils Tower National Monument. We traveled a slow meandering route from Hulett passing through Gillette, Buffalo, Ten Sleep, and Greybull before arriving in Cody.

We were in no hurry in case you couldn’t tell by the routing….

We visited the Little Bighorn National Monument while we were in Cody as well as the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. There is a stark difference between the two places. One is a legacy of a person who was hell-bent on making his mark in history and the process destroyed the lives of those he commanded. The other is a legacy of art.

After spending several days in Cody we entered Yellowstone National Park at the eastern entrance approximately 50 miles west of Cody headed for a stay in Jackson Wyoming before returning home.

This trip lasted approximately 3-weeks and close to 3,500 miles. The unusual aspect of the trip was that Sandy is now using her Fujifilm GFX100s 100-megapixel camera for the first time. We both now shoot the same camera system sharing the same lenses.

We’ve more trips planned for the future and will be visiting places such as Bryce Canyon, Palouse, Moab, and back to the Badlands so stay tuned.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

KASE Clip-in filters for the GFX


I have a love-hate relationship with filters. I love the look they give, yet hate the space they take up.  I’ve got lenses ranging from a Canon 24mm TSE to the GF250 and each lens needs a different size filter ring.

I’ve used screw-in filters when I first began and while they work well you need to be very careful when attaching them as if you don't, you end up stripping the threads risking damage to the filter (no big deal) and/or the lens (huge deal). I’ve had filters that felt as if they had been welded to the lens which isn’t a good feeling.

I stopped using screw-in filters several years ago and began to use square and rectangle ones.  These filters all need a special holder to place the filter on as well as a ring that screws onto the lens. While the ring still attaches to the lens like the screw-on filters, they are generally much larger and offer a better grip; so far, I’ve never had an issue with any ring.

Example of two different filter systems. The H&Y system in on the left, the KASE clip-in is in the plastic case (which hold 4-filters).

The system on the left allows for a single filter to fit on multiple lenses using the same adaptor. All you need is the proper sized ring. Six-lenses with different filter sizes require 6-seperate rings. The KASE clip-in system fits between the sensor and rear element of the lens; there's no requirement for different sizes to fit the front.

The bag on the left contains 6-filters, 6-rings, and 1-adaptor. The plastic case on the right is actually 2-cases. The top case holds 4-filters and the bottom holds 1.

I’ve lost track of the filter systems I’ve used; I have a large bag sitting in my closet that contains one system I stop using when I adapted to the H&Y system. The H&Y has proved the smallest (until now) and I can fit the filters, filter holder, and rings in a small bag that fits inside the roller I use for the GFX.

The KASE clip-in filters are slightly larger than a silver dollar and drop right into the space over the glass protecting the sensor. The lens is attached as you normally would with no effort. The widest lens I now have is the Canon 24mmTSE and there is no vignetting. 

The filter on the left is a (100x100mm)10-stop glass filter while the right is also a 10-stop glass filter, and there's the silver dollar for size comparison.

Clip-in filters are not new as they’ve been on my radar for some time. The concept is to place a filter between the sensor and lens. No special holder. No rings. No vignetting. And a very small filter kit.

It might be a little difficult to tell apart; the upper image shows the filter in place while the bottom image is without the filter.

KASE filters have been offering clip-in filters for various 35mm systems and I was just made aware that they are now offering them for the Fujifilm GFX systems. I liked the concept so much I ordered one to test and ended up ordering a complete set. 

There are some issues with sunspots of the image. The very first test I took using the 6-stop filter and the Canon 24mm TSE produced a spot that I could see in the viewfinder. Granted I was taking a shot almost directly facing the sun didn’t help.

I was able to do a fast fix in Photoshop

I tested the effectiveness of stacking filters using a combination of a KASE clip-in and the H&Y filter system.  Using a GF32-64, KASE clip-in 4-stop filter and an H&Y 15-stop filter.  The clip-in was placed beside the sensor at the rear of the lens and the 15-stop on the front using a 77mm filter ring, filter attachment, and a 100x100mm filter.  

My interest in this test was seeing what if any issues arise from using 2-filters; 1-at the rear and 1-on the lens front. 32mm f/4 2-minutes and ISO 200. It appears that there will be little to no issues if/when I decide to stack filters.

I have a trip coming up to Moab and plan to use the KASE system either by themselves or stacking with the H&Y.

Not finish yet....

We’ve had great skies the past couple of days allowing for a better test of the filter system. I used a 4-stop filter the entire time changing the front filter. The testing was done using a Fuji GFX100s and a combination of a GF32-64 and Canon 24mm TSE with a Kipon adaptor.  No processing was done other than to resize the image from 3786x2839 to 1000x750 then adding a black border making the overall image 1200x950.

Very slight vignette upper right & left corners but then again there were 3-filters used. 

I’m extremely pleased with the KASE Clip-in filter system for the GFX100s;  I can use the same filter on multiple lenses without the worry of having to change the front lens ring thus making for a compact system. I still plan on using the H&Y system to supplement my filter choices however I see the KASE quickly becoming my “go-to” system.