medium teles

aloha all !
from my last post, talking about standard focal length or 50mm we jump up to medium telephoto lenses. my favorite two are the Carl Zeiss Jena biotar 75mm f/1.5 and the venerable Nikkor AIS 105mm f/1.8

both feature compression and shallow depth of field. the former, Carl Zeiss Jena biotar (scalloped focus ring) features a very eclectic and ‘vintage’ view. the old coatings, glass and lens formulation gives me a very unique tool. i remember when this lens was fairly common and great value. quite recently, the prices have soared to over US$1000 ! yikes. this is a very unique lens, although very difficult to focus and prone to flare, this optic gem renders common scenes with a poetic stroke of the brush, rendering light in dreamy and surreal manner. enough said, its best seen in photographic examples.

i use all my lenses wide open. which means even during bright sunny days, i slap on a ND filter or use a slow ISO of 50 or ISO 100 to retain the aperture at f/1.5 or f/1.8.

below is an example of the Carl Zeiss Biotar freelensed. that is, lens removed and held manually in front of lens mount. a ‘handheld’ extension tube if you will !

humble thanks for swinging thru. for more visual updates featuring two current photo projects please follow me on twitter @lightmeister.


14 thoughts on “medium teles

  1. I’ve got to invest in some ND filters as well. One day I’ll get around to it.

    That Carl Zeiss Biotar 75mm sounds very interesting. I’m really coming to appreciate this focal length. I just bought a Nikkor 85mm f1.4D and had a good play on the weekend. I definitely agree with using them wide open – may as well use the full ability of the lens! I’ve not plucked up the courage to do the freelensing though. That is some crazy stuff. 🙂

    Some cool images there. I look forward to the next post.

    • craig. cheers. wow. cool

      maybe the ND filters can be bought at another time. shooting late afternoon alleviates this issue. LOL.. also its very challenging to focus

      the CZ jena is unique. the view very painterly. its difficult to describe.

      cheers !

      hehe.. .any suggestions for the next post ?

      i’m moving thru my inventory of lenses i like. LOL ! cheers ! thanks for taking the time !


      • For focal lengths, you mentioned above about 200mm, and I would like to see your thoughts on that as I don’t have that focal length covered yet.

        For other ideas, in a more general sense, you seem to do some crazy experimenting, with a huge variety of equipment. I wouldn’t mind knowing a bit more about how you go about that and whether you have a plan for certain types of images that you want and then get the gear together to make that. Or are you learning about what images you can take as you go?

      • its learning al the time sir.

        given, i have many years of experience w/ modern lenses and new to the vintage glass. its endless.

        new tools, new visions.

        life is such

        in the past, i was dealing w/ deadlines, of course we have the equipment, but we’re concentrating w/ a limited perspective. w/ the internet and people sharing, the end of the cold war brings us many optics that would have never been introduced to the west. LOL

        i’m serious though.

        the biotar is a fine example. the imperfection is the amazing point of the lens. many ‘modern ‘ lenses are over engineered without any sense of flavor or what we would call imperfections. they are engineered as ‘perfect’ without any ‘flavor.’. LOL

        thoughts ?

  2. Can you expand on the part about shooting everything wide open. I’ve been trying to shoot everything at the sweet spot of the lens.

    The only problem I might have is when I use flash. It tends to blowout the highlights whenever I shoot wide open. The creator I’m not sure if it is a problem with the TTL meter or maybe the power level can’t get low enough.
    I don’t really want to use an ND filter for everyday shooting.

    Talk to you later, my flight is boarding now.

    • hey mad marv. cheers. thanks for your questions. where is it blowing out, the subject where the flash is being pointed at ? i’d like to ask you what camera and what flash combo ? are you using your flash on camera or off camera ? what is the subject to flash distance ? TTL should take care of giving you a good exposure as long as your manual settings, i.e. shutter speed and aperture are set for a ‘good’ ambient exposure. cheers.

  3. “the biotar is a fine example. the imperfection is the amazing point of the lens. many ‘modern ‘ lenses are over engineered without any sense of flavor or what we would call imperfections. they are engineered as ‘perfect’ without any ‘flavor.’. LOL”

    Very interesting point about ‘imperfect’ lenses and the flavour they have. These days it seems to be all about numbers and having good MTF charts. Some people just treat the latest and greatest lenses as trophies. Just as digital cameras seem to be becoming all about how many pixels. That is why I love hearing about lenses like the CZ 75mm. Thank goodness for the internet and people sharing. 🙂

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