Repair: Cine-Nikkor 25mm f/1.4 (Early)

Hello, everybody! Have you seen the art of Chen Shu-Fen (陳淑芬) and Ping Fan (平凡)? They’re a couple from Taiwan, a country filled with many amazing artists and artisans. The couple are known for making amazing illustrations and the art they produce as a team are known for having a soft, dream-like quality thanks to the use of “mix-media”, it’s a term used in art circles to define something that was made using several different mediums. The art they make exhibits soft tonality that’s only possible with the use of watercolor, pastels or aquarels but the lines are bold so they juxtapose well with the softness. The lines were drawn with pencil or crayons which adds another interesting layer to the final result. I am a big fan of their work so I encourage you to check what they do. I will introduce to you something today that has the ability to render something with a painterly-look, it can both render soft and bold details quite well but it has some flaws so I won’t call it perfect. Whatever the case is this is still something interesting and I encourage you to read what I have to say about this little gem.

Introduction:

The Cine-Nikkor 25mm f/1.4 is presumed to be the first Nikkor made for the C-mount. I have no data as to when it was made but I assume that it’s around the later 1950s judging from the design of the barrel and its construction. This little lens was updated later with a larger barrel that’s more in-line with the rest of the Cine-Nikkors that were made for the standard 16mm format. The latter lens may have been made up until the late 1970s judging from the boxes that they came with. These lenses sort of function like “standard” lenses for the standard 16mm format akin to the 13mm lenses that were made for the smaller standard 8mm format which uses the D-mount.

It feels quite dense despite being the smallest C-mount Nikkor thanks to its brass barrel. It’s merely painted so you will have to be careful when cleaning it. It resembles the smaller D-mount Nikkors such as the Cine-Nikkor 13mm f/1.8 and you could accidentally look-past one because of the resemblance. If that’s not confusing enough there’s an even faster model called the Cine-Nikkor 25mm f/1.2 which is considered rare, that one looks nearly-identical to this lens except it has f/1.2 engraved on it. The differences are so subtle but an expert could tell them apart by looking at how the barrel looks because the slope of the rings look different.

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Repair: Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Hello, everybody! Do you like Japanese corn? I like Japanese corn a lot because of the sweetness and the larger kernels that goes great with butter and salt. The color is also deeper, suggesting a richness of flavor that is absent in pale ones that were grown elsewhere which seems best as fodder. Japanese corn is nutritious, it has high amounts of potassium, I am sure that it also rich in other stuff that is beneficial for our health. Foods that are yellowish are known to be high in potassium which keeps our muscles supple, without enough of it we’ll get cramps. Today, I’m going to show you a lens that’s known for its yellowish-hue but unlike Japanese corn there’s nothing nutritious about it because who eats lenses anyway?

Introduction:

This Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4 replaced the Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 in 1971 and its later variant was made until the mid-1970s. What’s notable about this one is it has a thorium-infused element which turns yellowish. It’s also known for being one of the sharpest Takumar of its time, creating a rivalry with the Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 for being the sharpest 50/1.4 from Asahi. There are many supporters of both camps and you could find heated discussions online.

Many people couldn’t distinguish this from the older Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 with an 8-elements design since they look rather similar. One sure way is to check the red-line in the depth-of-field scale, if it’s situated after f/4 then you are sure that what you have is the 7-elements version. Another way is to look at the rear-element but checking the where the red-line is situated will be the best way to determine which version you’re looking at.

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Repair: Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai

Hello, everybody! Do you know someone who looks normal from the outside but is actually rather special inside? That person may be talented or very intelligent to the extent that is not normally achievable by the majority. You can call the person a genius, gifted or any superlatives and they would all fit. I sometimes think that the root of all this is hard-work but maybe there’s more to this. Maybe they just process things differently so they could grasp something in a different manner and easily digest it mentally. Today, I will show you something that looks normal but is actually unconventional inside. You can’t call it a genius because it’s not a person but I am sure the person who made this is a genius.

Introduction:

The Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai debuted in 1978 and was sold until 1982 when this was replaced by the similar-looking Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4 Ai-S. It was hailed as one of Nikon’s most-advanced lenses and it opened-up new avenues for expressing creativity or research. Most macro-lenses at that time were limited to shorter focal-lengths but this one has a focal-length 200mm which was something that no other Micro-Nikkor have so this is its claim-to-fame.

It’s a very rugged lens, with a removable tripod-collar. It also has a built-in shade which I find quite useful. It’s smallest aperture is f/32 as typical with many Micro-Nikkors, this is a big-deal when shooting at higher magnifications but this is not ideal if sharpness is a concern because diffraction will certainly make your photos look terrible. I normally never use my Micro-Nikkors beyond f/16 since it’s common for them to lose sharpness just before that value.

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Repair: Asahi Super-Takumar 35mm f/3.5

Hello, everybody! I’m not someone who is concerned about eating healthy but I do stay away from really oily foods. It’s sad because I love to eat friend chicken, curries, stir-fried stuff and stews. However, I do treat myself occasionally and I will have a couple of juicy gyoza (pot-stickers) to satisfy my cravings. Today, I will show you something oily but it’s not something that you couldn’t correct. It’s common to find these with excessive oil and I will show you how to fix this.

Introduction:

The Asahi Super-Takumar 35mm f/3.5 is a rather popular lens that was produced from 1959 up until 1971 and it comes in several variants. The one we have here was made from 1966 until it was replaced in 1971 by an improved model. It’s worth noting that all variations of this lens have roughly the same optics, whether it was modified between models is something that we’ll never know.

The barrel is made from metal, it should be able to withstand abuse in the field. One interesting feature is the bulbous front element, it’s so curved that the curvature surpasses that of some fisheye lenses. Other than that the lens is rather standard-looking as far as Super-Takumars go.

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Repair: Ihagee Exa (Original)

Hello, everybody! I have a weak right wrist due to a training injury so it’s sometimes hard for me to grip with this. That makes it difficult when repairing cameras but thankfully my left wrist is still fine. I am not ambidextrous at all and I can not use my left hand as good as my dominant arm but it’s good-enough for a lot of things. Many things were made for right-handed people, I could imagine how hard it is for a leftie. Thankfully, there are some things that were made for a leftie and I will show you a camera that will be perfect for those of you who are married to your left hand.

Introduction:

The Ihagee Exa was introduced in 1951 and was made until 1962 as a cheaper alternative to the Ihagee Exakta. There’s a couple of variations and the one in this article is a later model from around the late 1950s. While there are later ones that were made many people don’t consider them to be true Ihagee Exas so these early versions were called “original”, the later ones don’t have the same charm and quality as these ones do.

It’s a very handsome camera, the chrome-trims look beautiful as the black leatherette contrasts with the shiny parts. It’s also charming thanks to the old-school design that looks like a jukebox. What’s unusual with this and most of Ihagee’s cameras is the left-handed ergonomics. The speed-selector and plunger are both situated on the left-side but the knob for film-advance is located at the right. If you’re a leftie I’m sure that you’ll appreciate using this camera. Rumor is that the designer for the original Ihagee Exakta is a leftie and that probably explains why this is the case.

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Report: Nikon Z fc

Hello, everybody! Do you remember the movie “Misery“? It’s Kathy Bate’s best performance in my opinion, a masterful portrayal of a psycho. Her ability to change her acting at-will is disturbing to watch because you don’t know which side of the character to expect in the next cut. It’s not an easy job, the only other actor I know of who could do this without any effort is Anthony Wong (黃秋生) in his several roles as a psycho. Today, I’ll show you something that’s able to shift its character at-will, is it a modern, high-performance camera or is it a hobby-camera for those who wants to shoot at their own pace? It’s both and it does either really well.

Introduction:

The Nikon Z fc was recently announced and the response was overwhelming in the sense that it’s mostly positive. Many people are expecting a replacement for the well-loved Nikon Df but we got something else instead, not quite like it but it’s close enough. It’s tiny since it’s based on the Nikon Z50 which is a tiny DX camera, the decision to go with DX is not something many people expected nor embraced but I guess there’s a reason for this. Its performance and looks turned most of its critics around and it looks like Nikon has another hit. In this article I will give you my impressions about this exciting camera and I will mostly focus on the context of shooting with it using manual lenses because this site centers around enjoying older equipment. This is not a review at all despite what the title says so don’t take all of my opinions as truth.

I like how this camera handles, the design-language is familiar to all who have used a Nikon so you it won’t take time before your fingers get familiar with its controls. I held it and I immediately got myself going, taking photos in no time at all. A Nikkor 24mm f/2 Ai-S is a nice partner for it as it offers you a field-of-view that’s similar to 36mm. Since it’s DX it works more like an f/3 lens with it.

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Repair: Asahi Super-Takumar 55mm f/1.8

Hello, everybody! I was enjoying some Vietnamese beers last weekend, the brands that I drank were light, smooth and refreshing. The beers were ice-cold and that helped make them taste a lot better. I love light beers, they won’t drown the taste of more-delicate flavors so they’re nice for pairing with seafood and vegetables or fruits. Just think of them as tasty palette-cleansers, preparing your tongue for the next bite. Today, I will show you something that’s just-as-smooth and like the Vietnamese beers I had they won’t cost you a lot and will definitely love you long time, too.

Introduction:

This version of the Super-Takumar 55mm f/1.8 was sold from 1965 to 1971 but this venerable lens family was sold from 1958 up to 1975 and were sold in under variations which makes them fun to collect. They’re quite popular so they have earned quite a following.

The barrel is all-metal which makes them tough, I’m sure they’ll survive some abuse in the field but they’re not sealed, I won’t recommend you using them in damp, rainy weather or anywhere dusty like the beach. The filter-size is 49mm, it’s the standard size for many Takumars and many M42 lenses at that time. It has a tab near the base so you can switch it from automatic to manual-aperture mode easily. It does have the tendency to be switched accidentally when you turn the aperture ring, resulting in inaccurate exposure.

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Review: NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8

Hello, everybody! Do you like Charles Bronson? I like his movies, he broke the stereotype that leading men in movies all should be handsome and flawless. He showed how a regular-looking man could also have the same impact and give a movie something special. He inspired a lot of “flawed” heroes in our current movies and showed everyone that you do not need to look perfect to do a great job. Today, I’ll show you something that’s not perfect but it could certainly do its job with no problems at all.

Introduction:

The new NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 was recently announced and it created a lot of interest, including mine. This is due to the fact that the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED is already long-in-the-tooth and its replacement is overdue by several years. I wasn’t expecting to see a 50mm Micro-Nikkor, the last one that has that focal length is the first version which is the venerable (and rare) Micro-Nikkor 5cm f/3.5 of 1956. That is a big deal because 50mm should be ideal for a lot of things like product photography compared to the slightly-longer 60mm that we’re now used to.

It’s a compact lens, I was expecting this to be sold under the “S” line but it seems that marketing thought that this one ought to be a tier lower compared to the premium lenses. I don’t know the reason behind this but it is what it is. This is not an issue for me because that means there might be a chance to see another one which has better performance and weather-sealing in the near future.

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Repair: Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 40mm f/4.5

Hello, everybody! Which Rocky movie is your favorite? I love the original one but part IV has a special place in my heart because Dolph Lundgren was there. It illustrated the rivalries between states during the Cold War, something my young readers won’t be able to comprehend. It was a nervous time even in the 1980s just before the former USSR collapsed. I recalled how weary I was because a nuclear war might happen anytime. I wasn’t born yet when it started in 1947 but I’ll introduce to you a witness to that. If this lens could only talk I would love to hear what it has to say about the stories it took just before the “Iron Curtain” went up. Let’s find out what this lens is all about.

Introduction:

The Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 40mm f/4.5 was made so that the Contax S and the Ihagee Exakta could have a lens that will go wider than 50mm. These predate Harry Zöllner and Rudolf Solisch’s Flektogon so Carl Zeiss Jena had to improvise a bit just to satisfy the need to get wider. If you’re an avid follower of this site you’d already know that it was difficult to design wider-lenses for 35mm SLR cameras back then so optical engineers had to resort to a few stop-gaps until there were suitable designs that could deliver what the market wanted which resulted in a few oddball lenses. This particular lens was made in the late 1940s and it represented that.

Construction is very good, the parts fit precisely and the level of machining is exceptional. The all-metal barrel is shiny with a thin coat of clear varnish. The iris could be stopped-down to f/22 which is not possible with the later version as far as I recall.

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Repair: Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/3.5

Hello, everybody! I always love a great burger, last weekend I went to Kichijoji with my family and we all had burgers for lunch and dinner. For lunch, we ate at the biggest burger restaurant chain in the world and for dinner we had some great burgers from a new company which is the talk-of-the-town in recent months. Their patties tastes great, there are no extenders and the seasoning is all-natural and light which means you could taste the beef for what they really are. I loved every bite as the taste is clean on the palate. I won’t get tired of eating this classic comfort-food. Today, I’ll show you another classic, something that I never get tired off despite shooting with it many times over. Read this article and you’ll see what I mean.

Introduction:

The Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/3.5 came in many variations through the years that it was made, we’re going to talk about the one that was made from around 1950 to 1954 in the M42 mount. I consider this to be the epitome of what a true Tessar should be in terms of characteristics: sharp, small and reasonably well-corrected. It won’t be as desirable as the Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8 or the Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2 which are both faster but it has something special about it which you’ll see later. This was made as the budget 50mm from Carl Zeiss Jena, I saw an old catalog for Ihagee Exaktas and these were sold nearly 2x cheaper than a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8 and the most expensive lens in the 50mm range is of course the Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2 which costs several tens of 1950s dollars more. There was a need for to ensure that every part of the market is represented and this one became the go-to lens for the professional or amateur who just don’t have enough money to buy the more expensive options.

It’s a beautiful lens and the build is solid. It was made during a time when consumer products were made to last. It has a lot of useful information engraved on its barrel to aid you in focusing with it. The front element is recessed so you’re not going to need to shoot this with a hood.

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