Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Leaving Medium Format

 If there is one camera I regret selling it is hands-down the Leica M9. 

I remembered the sheer joy of using it.  I had used rangefinders in the past however that was many years before the M9 came into my photographic life. The closest camera matching the M9 was a Hasselblad X-Pan as both cameras were of similar size as to with the lenses. One was film-based the other digital 18-megapixel.

The one drawback I had with the M9 was the print size I was using a Phase One medium format system at the same time as I had the M9 and was not pleased with the print size differences. Part of the issue was the difference in sensor size the other was my own bias. One day I decided the M9 just wasn’t for me and began as a sole practitioner of medium format. As much as I enjoyed shooting medium format, first with Phase One then Fujifilm the M9 was never far from my thoughts.

I recently had a huge health scare which also caused a life-altering effect. While I won’t go into details, I will share a conversation Sandy & I had about returning to a simpler way.  Sandy shared how she missed shooting her Sony A7r which prompted me to admit how much I missed the M9.

Camera manufacturers never stand still. We started doing research and quickly found that Sony now offers their A7r lineup in 60-megapixels. I also found Leica was offering a 60-megapixel M11. Cutting to the chase, we have sold/traded every piece of Fuji GFX equipment we owned and have ordered a Sony Ar7 with what we both agree is the best focal length, a FE24-70. I now have a M11 with a stable of lenses ranging from 15mm to 135mm. And we are happy.

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.