They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me


Last week I went out in the sunshine and shot some pictures. This week I went out in the sunshine and shot some more. What a contrast.

It was 26°F today, getting ready to go to deep freeze this week and into March. More clouds today -- I was going to go this morning, but went late in the day to get more Sun and stronger shadows. The snow looked a lot worse today. We've had enough snow this winter, that mainly all the fields and even most of the piles have been brilliant white. Not today. Rotted snow is dirty and exposing the layers of dirt that got covered up the last couple of weeks.

Oh, and last week the Grand River was iced over at M-45. Clear today, though the Grand and the sloughs are still iced over at 68th Avenue in Eastmanville.

Last week I went lightweight and digital with the Nikon D100 and an incredibly lightweight 80-200mm f4.5-5.6D AF-NIKKOR.

This week I went old school. Wendy's Nikkormat FTn and a really heavy Vivitar 85-205mm f3.8 zoom. Shooting black and white -- Kodak BW400CN a black and white film that is C-41 process, so it can be developed with color film. Didn't quite finish the roll, can't show you anything today.

As for being spolied... When autofocus works, it's very handy. Back in the old days, I preferred single ring push-pull zooms, so you could zoom and focus at the same time. Not that I owned any zooms. With AF, two rings offers more control. The 85-205 is a two-ring zoom. Still easier to think of it as a multiple focal length lens, set it and then concentrate on focusing and composing.

Vivitar, like Sigma, was too cheap to make focusing match. So their lenses focus the wrong way for Nikon and Pentax, the two brands I grew up with. You'd think it wouldn't make a difference, but it is irritating. And the Nikkormat has a J screen -- central microprism for focusing. But at f3.8, or worse at f7.6 with the Nikon TC-1 2x teleconverter, it's dark and hard to use. Exposure is manual, too. Another reason to use the more forgiving black and white film when shooting. Most all of the shots today were at 1/500th f11 or 1/1000th f8, which is about right for bright sunshine and ISO 400 film.

And then there's the whole thing about third party lenses, even good ones. The 85-205 is forty years old and the aperture ring is stiff -- no doubt it's the grease -- and it doesn't have much ribbing to get torque with. The rubber on the zoom ring fell off years ago. I need to wrap it with something. In the cold, both are hard to work. I've got fifty year old NIKKORs that are still silky smooth. Buying top equipment isn't snobbery if you plan to use it forever.

Still, it's funny to use gear I used in the 70s. Familiar. And so very different.


Dr. Phil

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