Caught In Camera

The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! – Zenitar 85mm f/1.4 Lens Evaluate

Pardon my stealing my title from a really humorous film from method again in 1966, however hey, I felt it was becoming.

When you Google my identify, you may discover I am in all probability recognized extra for photographing ladies’s our bodies. Which might be true, but it could even be considerably missing accuracy.

Hooked up to these attractive our bodies have been additionally extraordinarily enticing faces; faces I additionally photographed with as a lot consideration to element as every thing else in these images.

The truth is, since my very starting in pictures, I’ve at all times been fascinated with photographing magnificence, that being lovely faces. So for me, I spent as a lot effort and time in growing my magnificence work, possibly much more, than for these our bodies.

Ranging from a movie background, it was at all times a problem to get the suitable gentle and angle on a face so as to seize it properly. Add to that, the tools you used was then the following most necessary ingredient. At this time, with nearly every thing we see being photographed digitally, we should keep in mind the very fact the chip that data all that info being transmitted by a lens to it’s so good at recording that data, each portion of a face is recorded in minute element . All the way down to the tiny hairs or pores within the pores and skin.

So for me, discovering a lens that delivers, sure, a pointy picture however nonetheless leaves one thing much less in the way in which of a few of that element, could be to me, a beautiful portrait lens.

Samy requested me to take only a few images utilizing a lens he has imported from Russia (thus the title for this piece). The lens is known as the Zenitar 85mm f/1.4. Yeah, that is proper f/1.4, very quick for an 85mm.

Zenitar 1 4 85 Nikon 1024x1024@2x
Photograph: Zenit

Now earlier than you pre-judge this piece of glass as one thing being of lesser high quality on account of its dwelling nation, let me simply say this. If you first open the field, it has a magnetic seal, which is simply tremendous cool and is a pleasant contact. As you attain in to select it up, the burden of the lens instantly causes you to take a pause. This factor has some main glass inside with an all-metal case that is simply that, all-metal. No plastic used right here bub.

After I see related pace lenses being produced by just about all of the producers at present within the 1.4 or 1.8 space of ​​pace, to me, that small quantity simply begs for these lenses for use at that widest aperture would not you suppose? I do.

I imply, they’re clearly designed for use in very low gentle situations, which I really feel is the place they’d grow to be your lens of alternative, not just for the pace but in addition the look they provide you in a ultimate picture on account of that large , extensive lens opening.

It is the lens that will get the decision when your f/4 lens would fail you. The added reality it creates a really out of focus background isn’t solely a perk however simply what the physician ordered (nicely, the portrait shooter). Particularly when wishing to actually separate your topic from the background. It creates what I consider they now name ‘a really good bokeh’.

Samy advised me this firm truly makes two lenses on this quick fashion, which I assume are each 85mm. The one I examined, then there’s a second one he says has a ‘higher bokeh’. Hmmm, okay, I assume I am going to want to attend and take a look at that one different time. For now, although, this one does a pleasant job of actually providing you with one thing smooth and fairly as a portrait lens.

I simply accomplished one among my photograph workshops right here in Las Vegas (I am doing one other the 1St weekend of this coming December in case anybody is ) and whereas there, I took one among my fashions apart, Christine Nguyen, and requested if she would enable me to do just a few images of her utilizing the Zenitar lens on my 5D Mk IV digital camera physique. She graciously agreed.

We solely did just a few photographs, all executed pure gentle (since that is additionally the trend) in order that I would take a look at out this lens as to what it’d supply an individual in a portrait setting. The primary merchandise on the listing that makes this lens enticing is its worth, it is practically half that of most identify manufacturers, even third-party lenses. However that is additionally in all probability due in no small half, it solely is available in guide focus. Oh yeah, I needed to truly focus the lens, no auto-focus right here of us. Old skool all the way in which, which for me was kinda enjoyable for a change.

I can not inform you how lengthy it has been since I manually centered a lens on my digital camera. I caught myself a number of instances pushing the shutter button and pondering, why is that this factor not focusing? Rapidly remembering, hey David, the lens is a guide focus buddy, be a photographer, flip the main focus ring, now take the image!

Fortunately, after just a few of these miscues, I started to ‘really feel the power’, then shortly focus the lens whereas directing Christine to look this fashion or that. It began flooding again, the way it was when movie was ‘the way in which’ and we needed to focus our lenses in addition to use a light-weight meter to find out the most effective publicity to your topic (which I nonetheless do btw).

I began on the f/1.4 opening for the primary few images, then one click on right down to f/2.0 for just a few extra. I didn’t shoot at any increased f/stops similar to f/4 or 5.6. Sure, I do know that is the place the lens could be thought of sharpest, as with most all glass on the market at present, these numbers are in all probability the candy spot for sharpness and backbone. I needed to check it at its zenith, or widest opening. What I needed was to see how nicely the lens carried out at that wide-open aperture. If it is a 1.4, present me what you are able to do at 1.4, that is proper, present me what you bought my good friend, carry it on.

Photograph: David Mecey

I used to be impressed. Though as I felt is perhaps the case, at f/1.4 the sting sharpness was not as a lot as what I noticed at f/2. But for me, that is not a trigger for alarm because it provides you one thing to work with when doing portraits, a barely softer edge which for a face is an efficient factor.

I additionally purposely didn’t use any sharpening instruments after I made these photographs to dimension in Photoshop. No Unsharp Masks or Sensible Sharpen. What I received in-camera for sharpness is what you are seeing. I am going to enlarge one of many f/1.4 photographs in addition to one at f/2. To me, both works and if you are going to be stopping the lens right down to f/4 and even 5.6 I do know you may be very pleased with the ensuing photographs you obtain. Simply remember to show that focus ring although! It isn’t gonna auto-focus for you!

The colour was additionally good, principally on account of how the Canon chip is barely in direction of the nice and cozy aspect, no less than in my Mk IV and pleasingly so. Not too crimson which suggests once more, one thing softer within the ultimate {photograph}, no harshness.

F 1.4
Photograph: David Mecey
F 1.4 Close
Photograph: David Mecey

When you discover in her hair, it is properly delineated, which means good resolving energy, even at its widest aperture, one other constructive. Now about that bokeh.

For me, something smooth and out of focus behind your topic is an efficient factor so long as you are fascinated about how that out of focus goes to look when ‘it’s’ out of focus. By that, noting and protecting away any deep black blobs, or blown out white blobs which may distract out of your topic’s face.

So observe to self. Even whenever you’re wanting by way of your lens at your lovely topic, do not let your self get so caught up in that fairly face to the purpose you are not trying out what’s behind it. In any other case, you may find yourself with portraits that may require much more submit work in Photoshop. One thing I am simply not a giant fan. I might a lot fairly be photographing somebody than retouching them on a pc all afternoon.

Photograph: David Mecey

My ultimate evaluation of this glass? I prefer it. The actual fact it is a guide focus, nicely, that was my whole profession for a lot of, a few years, so for me, no biggy. Heck, I nonetheless drive a automobile with a guide transmission, so for me, it is simply one other approach to dangle on to one thing I really feel is particular and will get you again to doing it the way in which it was executed earlier than. Which might be on you, the photographer.

Now I am simply gonna wait to see if Samy will enable me the chance to check out that different lens by this identical Russian firm with its ‘particular’ bokeh.

Yep, the Russians are coming, however this time not in a humorous ’60s period film.

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