Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Palouse

Sony A7r FE 24-70 (38mm) f/11 1/500 ISO 64
Sony A7r FE 24-70 (122mm) f/8 1/200 ISO 50
Phase One DF/IQ 180 megapixel digital back Schneider LS 240mm f/6.3 1/160 ISO 35
Infrared Farmhouse
Sony A7r FE 24-70 (29mm) f/11 1/250 ISO 100
We returned to the Palouse in June spending the better part of a week traveling around visiting places we photographed before and visiting new locations.
Sony A7r FE 70-200 (200mm) f/8 1/640 ISO 50 (cropped)
Phase One DF/IQ180 45mm f/2.8 1/4000 ISO 35

This was our third visit to the Palouse and we found beautiful, breath taking green fields; wheat fields, and canola fields.  We found old barns, farmhouses, trucks and bar stools.  We were also been fortunate to see neat grain silos and crop dusters.

Phase One DF/IQ180 45mm f/5.6 1/800 ISO 35
Sony A7r FE24-70 (36mm) f/6.3 1/250 ISO 50
Sony A7r FE24-70 (24mm) f/11 1/500 ISO 64
Phase One DF/IQ180 45mm f/8 1/500 ISO 35
The Palouse offers a little of everything for a photographer as we hope we’ve proved with the images in this post.  You need to drive with your eyes open and not be in a rush to get somewhere you think you need to be; if you rush you’ll miss the little things that can turn out more beautiful than you imaged.
Olson Pond
Sony A7r FE 24-70 (34mm) f/13 1/400 ISO 50
Sony A7r FE 24-70 (70mm) f/11 1/160 ISO 50
Phase One DF/IQ180 45mm f/8 1/250 ISO 35
Phase One DF/IQ180 45mm f/8 1/200 ISO 35
Phase One DF/IQ180 Schneider LS 240mm f/6.3 1/200 ISO 35
We found the Palouse to be a magical place to visit with stunning landscape and friendly people.
Phase One DF/IQ180 45mm f/8 1/80 ISO 35
Steptoe Butte
Sony A7r FE 24-70 (92mm) f/ 9 1/400 ISO 50
On the outskirts of the Palouse in Idaho
Sony A7r FE 70-200 (93mm) f/8 1/250 ISO 50
While the majority of these images were captured off a paved road the remaining ones were captured off dirt roads.  Drive the area and you’ll see dirt roads that often have signs indicating that no road marking will be found on them.  These roads offer a treasure trove of interesting spots to view, breathtaking vistas as well as abandoned farmhouses.  Please respect the privacy of the hard working people in the area and take only photographs.
There are plenty of maps to choose from that give excellent information; what is also needed are GPS coordinates as some of the back roads can be extremely confusing.  We added some information below as an aid to finding some of the locations we visited and photographed.  These are named after what we thought best described them (at least to us).  Please use caution as we are not libel for any errors.

Steptoe Overlook (might not be The overlook but we liked it) 
N46° 55.078’ W 117° 10.432’
Old Barn & House
N46° 58.009’ W117° 07.004’
Wooden Grain Silo
N46° 54.838’ W117°29.149’
Inside Silo View (Not certain if this is being torn completely down, not even certain it’ll be there however we found it interesting)
N47°02.028’ W117°11.405’
Old Texaco Station (neat old place and well worth it)
N47°00.571’ W117°36.677’
Eckhart Road House
N47°07.088’ W117°16.346’
Crow Road House On Hill
N47°07.383’ W117°15.929’
Sunset Road House
N47°06.985’ W117°26.875’
Palouse Falls (added this so you’ll know how far it is)
N46°39.836’ W118°13.651’

Some of the images included here have appeared on Instagram.

Sandy & Don






Friday, July 10, 2015

Phase One 40-80 Zoom Lens Part-2

Cokin filter handheld, cropped to suit. Taken on Airport Mesa overlooking Sedona.
40mm f/4 1/125 ISO 35

The following are additional thoughts on the Schneider Kreuznach aka, Phase One 40-80mm LS f/4.0 zoom lens after using it recently in Sedona Arizona.  We spent the better part of 2-days visiting the Sedona area where I was able to get a better "real-life" feel of both the lens and the filter system shooting a combination of hand held and on tripod.

4-shot pano on tripod with Cokin filter 40mm f/6.3 1/25 ISO 35

What I've found is, this is as close to a "one-lens wonder" as I've ever had.  By that I mean this is one lens that I can pack in my bag to take a trip with knowing that it's an excellent lens both in image quality as well as choice of focal length(s); of course there's a trade off.  The lens, body (DF) and filter system weighs in at 8.6 pounds (3.9 kg) (as weighed on our bathroom scale). I can hear folks gasping, 8.6 pounds!  What you get is a system that is more than capable of producing stunning images.  

Handheld with Cokin filter, 40mm f/8 1/320 ISO 35

I'm writing more about the weight since I think it might put people off.  Yes it's weights a lot.  However it's so well balanced you don't notice the true weight when using it handheld.  We hiked out to several cliff dwellings walking several miles all with the camera around my neck and cradled in my arms.  Was it heavy? Yes but more than doable; so no more on the weight.

Handheld no filter, 40mm f/4 1/200 ISO 100

Lets talk about the Cokin X-Pro filter system.  I used the X-Pro in a combination of handheld shots as well as several on tripod where I shot multiple frames to stitch into a panorama later on.  Using a combination of Cokin and Singh-Ray filters I did not encounter any issues with either vignetting or colorcast.  In short, I highly recommend the Cokin X-Pro filter system.

Handheld no filter, 40mm f/5.6 1/80 ISO 100
Handheld no filter, 40mm f/5 1/60 ISO 200

Returning to Tucson I found the Singh Ray 5x5 Mor Slo ND-10 stop filter had been delivered.  This filter is very similar to the Lee Big Stopper and in a side by side comparison they look identical except for the size.  The following samples are all from the original test I did shortly after opening the package.  As with the previous filters I've used the Mor Slo worked flawlessly.

Once again I've included the basic shopping list from B&H to assist those who are interested.




I've also ordered a circular 105mm filter which I'll be using on trips where packing space is a premium and will report back on that experience.


Please let me know if you have any questions on either the Phase One 40-80 zoom lens or the Coin X-Pro filters.  I also highly recommend contacting Capture Integration in Atlanta Georgia for more information on the lens.


Until next time....



Saturday, July 4, 2015

Phase One 40-80 zoom lens

Do a Google on "Phase One 40-80"  and you'll see a PDF from June 2014 of the news release introducing the 40-80 mm leaf shutter lens from Schneider Kreuznach. 

Make no mistake, this lens is both beautiful and a beast; you can find the specs here.  There's several factors to think about when looking at this lens with the top two being price ($8,990 list) and weight (186g/65.6oz or a whopping 4.1 pounds).  Yes, you read the weight correctly, 4.1 pounds.  The filter size is 105mm and it has a detachable lens hood that by itself is massive in size measuring 2.5 inches at the longest petal but weighing only 4.0 oz.  Comparing this lens to the 240LS and you'll see it weights .57 pounds more (however that's before adding the 2x teleconverter). 

I've had the lens now for one week and in short love it.

Many years ago I felt that prime lens were the only way to go as zoom lens just didn't produce the same quality.  I'm pleased at admit that I'm now very wrong in that assessment.  I have used a combination of Mamiya and Phase One lens for several years with each lens being a prime.  This lens now replaces 3-that were in my camera bag; 45mm, 55mm LS and a 80mm.  The 40-80 not only physically replaces 3-lens it also adds more focal lengths between the 40 to 80.  The lens barrel is marked 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80; of course you can shoot anywhere in-between the numbers. 

The first thing I noticed in testing/getting used to the lens is that moving the zoom ring to each focal length marked was dead on the money which is something I like when I want to shoot a specific focal length say 50mm.  Speaking of focal lengths, the 40-80 is equal to 25-50mm in 35-mm terms due to the difference in sensor sizes.

Going into this I knew the lens was both very large and heavy.  The good news is that it is so well balanced you hardly notice the weight.  I can attest to this from spending time at the Saguaro National Park in Tucson AZ testing the lens and X-Pro filter system.  

Lets talk about the 105mm filter size.  And yes that's huge.  I had begun researching a proper 105mm filter system shortly after Phase One announced the new 35mm LS that also has a 105mm filter; in fact I placed my order the same time I ordered the new Phase One XF body.  Then I had a change of heart.  Not that the 35mm isn't a beautiful lens, rather the 40-80 began creeping into my brain and would not let go.  Make a long story short, a conversation with Dave Gallagherof Capture Integration and the order was changed from the 35mm to the 40-80.  The 3-lenses are gone and I now am the proud owner of the 40-80.  As of this writing I'm still waiting the XF body and will comment on that once I receive it.

 Cokin Filters appears to be the only company that's offering a 105mm adaptor ring (and in fact also offers a 112mm ring), unlike Lee filters (which I use on my Cambo WRS technical camera) that only offers a 95mm adaptor for their SW150 system.  Cokin offers a 130mm versus 150mm filters from Lee.  I was concerned that a 130mm filter might cause problems at the wide end of the 40-80 however I'm very pleased to note I was wrong.  The majority of my testing have been at 40mm using the Cokin X-Pro and so far I have yet to see any vignetting or loss of image quality.

The other benefit of using the Cokin X-Pro is the availability of Singh-Ray filters that offers filters not only in 130mm as well as 105mm screw on.

Cokin offers 2-seperate 105mm adaptor rings.  One ring which is noted as being in stock at B&H is thisone that has a 0.75mm thread.  I'm currently using this and have found it somewhat difficult to mount onto the lens.  I have thisone which is listed as a special order off B&H that is listed as having a 1.00mm thread.  I should have this second adaptor within a couple of days of writing this and will update on which is a better fit.  B&H stated a wait of between 2-4 weeks with mine coming in before the 2-week mark.  There's also a 1-cent difference between the two rings.  UPDATE - The special order 1.00 ring is the correct ring for the 40-80 and I suspect the 35LS. Mounting the ring shortly after I received it and it actually spun on which the other never did.

I'm including a shopping list for those who are interested.  Please note the linkto B&H at the bottom right of this page. 

105mmX-Pro Adaptor Ring (105mm Thread)  Special Order - current price as of July 2015 is $74.86 with a 2-4 week shipping time (I got mine just short of 2-weeks)

CokinX-Pro Filter Holder (Requires Adaptor Ring)      Current price as of July 2015 is $90.89

Here's a search result using "CokinX-Pro Filters"  This search gives a result of 171 items that includes various sizes of adaptor rings as well as Cokin, FotodioX (which I have no experience with) as well as Singh-Ray filters.

This is the first of at least 2-parts describing my experience using the Cokin X-Pro system on the 40-80 zoom so stay tuned for updates.

Please let me know if you have any questions on the above and I'll attempt to answer them.