Review: Fujifilm Venus 800

Hello, everybody! I was listening to an Eagles tribute band (one of hundreds!) and they’re so good that I thought I was listening to the real band. I was searching in YouTube for the song “Best of My Love” but the only thing I could find was from this tribute band. I was a bit upset when I found out that it’s just a tribute band but I gave them another minute. It was worth it because it satisfied the damn earworm that’s ringing for the past few days! I stopped the video and thanked the opportunity to listen to them and also for the lesson I that learned on giving something or somebody another try. Today, I am going to tell you a story about how I used to hate a certain film stock but grew to love it as I gave it another chance and learned more about its nuance and quirks.

Introduction:

Fujifilm Venus 800 is one of those films that make some people scratch their head because of its odd speed. It was made to be sold together with the disposable plastic cameras and with the lower-end of the Japanese film market in mind (mainly aunties) who don’t want or own a fancy setup or film and all they cared about are nice vacation photos. This was probably the reason for its feminine name because it was mainly aimed for this market. Fujifilm probably wanted to give the impression that it takes good photos of people and it does according to the official Japanese catalog. Many people mistake this to be the same film as the Fujifilm Superia 800 but there are small differences according to the catalog. It probably is so insignificant that you can treat them both as the same film in most cases. I am sure that the subtle differences will only show in controlled conditions or when these 2 stocks were shot side-by-side to compare the resulting prints or scans. Its official name is called the Fujicolor Superia Venus 800 just to make it clear to all that it’s a Superia with different formulation. If you want to be technical about it and if you read Japanese then I will just lead you to this official PDF and let you decide if the differences matter to you or not, you can’t get more official than that since it’s Fujifilm who wrote that film guide. You may also want to see this detailed datasheet for the Fujifilm Venus 800 (Japanese only).

IMG_1176Many people outside the Far-East haven’t heard of this film because it wasn’t sold outside of the region through official channels but it’s available through importers and these can be bought easily online these days. Some people treat this as a novelty film because of its “rarity” but more and more people are getting to know and love this film lately. It used to be hard to find information about this film just a few years back on the English-speaking web but you can now find plenty of sample photos online these days thanks to those who like to share their photos like yours truly.

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Repair: Nikkor-H 50mm f/2 Auto

Hello, everybody! I was listening to the Air Supply this afternoon. While I liked the duo in my younger years I got tired of listening to them after buying their “Goodbye” album. It’s an OK album with a catchy song in it but it was played-to-death by DJs so you could hear the song everywhere you went. It got so annoying that listening to somebody singing in a falsetto voice made me want to act violent. After some 27 years after “Goodbye”,  I finally decided to make my peace with Air Supply and began to enjoy their music again. It looks like I just need some time-off from them in order to re-kindle my love for their music. It’s now fun again to listen to their music and re-live your younger days when you dedicated a song to a girl that you liked and had the DJ play it. Today, I am going to show you a lens that was so popular that people began to treat it as a mere lens cap despite the fact that it is a nice lens with more-than-decent performance.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-H 50mm f/2 Auto is probably Nikon’s most prolific 50/2 lens and it’s certainly the most successful if you consider the longevity of its optical design. It was sold in 1964 as the Nikkor-H 5cm f/2 Auto and it was revised as the lens in this article and later as the multi-coated Nikkor-H•C 50mm f/2 Auto. A huge re-design effort by Nikon in the 1970s or the late 1960s turned it into the New-Nikkor 50mm f/2 and the lens arrived at its last form as the Nikkor 50mm f/2 Ai in the late 1970s. All of the lenses that I mentioned above used the same basic lens formula and was modified in small ways to improve its performance or to give it a new feature such as the ability to focus a bit closer. The reason why it was so successful is because its performance is great for its time and so the need to develop a better design wasn’t so urgent. This earned a lot of money for Nikon as the same design was used for almost 15 years spanning several model changes! This is the dream of many accountants and the optical designer must’ve been really proud of his work! The key to it is the simplicity of the design which makes manufacturing easier and cheaper. Lenses of this type are usually sold together with cameras as “kit-lenses” as they will be called later in the new millennium and they should have a more-than-decent degree of performance and they should also be able to be manufactured cheaply. This lens fulfilled them all and so it became one of Nikon’s most successful “kit-lenses” of all time.

IMG_8382Many consider this to be amongst Nikon’s best 50mm lens designs that can still compete with many modern lenses. This lens was so successful that it stayed in production until 1979 (from 1964) in the form of the Nikkor 50mm f/2 Ai which is simply the New-Nikkor 50mm f/2 with a few modifications. It’s a very good lens if you ask me but it’s also why I don’t like it as much as the Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto because I like lenses with quirks.

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