Made in the USSR: Soviet-era lenses on a modern digital camera

A few years ago, I saw a Linus Tech Tips video talking about the Helios 44-2 58mm lens. It intrigued me a bit at the time, but I never really gave it much thought. The b-roll shots that they used to show off the lens were interesting, but not Earth shattering. I did a little research at the time on them but didn’t take the plunge. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I was browsing Kai Wong’s video backlog (Kai is of DigitalRevTV fame) and he had a video titled “5 Best 50mm Lenses under $100” Once again, the Helios 44 came up and I finally decided to take a serious look at them.

So what does 20+ year old lens from the Soviet Union do that modern glass can’t? With all of the advances in optics, coatings, and electronics, why would I use something that’s older than I am?

Continue reading “Made in the USSR: Soviet-era lenses on a modern digital camera”

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FATEd encounter: Matou Sakura & the first doll meet (Doll Profile #4)

When I first started in the doll hobby, I had very little knowledge of how to actually get dolls from Volks. Up until now, the two dolls I had purchased new came from Volks USA. Rin was from a lottery entry while Haruka was made up of off-the-shelf parts. I had no idea that Volks Japan also ran a lottery and sold dolls to the international marketplace. When Sakura was announced, I decided I would branch out and try to get her from Volks Japan!

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My first custom Dollfie Dream: Amami Haruka (Doll Profile #3)

Almost a year after I got Yoko, I decided to take a stab at doing a custom DD. I’m a pretty big fan of IdolM@ster, so when I saw the Cherry Milk doll outfit for Haruka, I decided that I wanted to have her made. Now, before anyone tries to call me out on the fact that Haruka already exists, I started down the path of my Haruka in 2010, 2 years before the Volks Haruka was released. I even wrote about my plans on July 16, 2010. Take that, Volks!

That being said, most of Haruka’s beginnings are pretty well documented with pictures, so I won’t go too much into that…

Part 1

Part 2

Finished!

What I’ll try to cover are some stories that happened after she was made…

Continue reading “My first custom Dollfie Dream: Amami Haruka (Doll Profile #3)”

The first from Mandarake: Yoko Littner (Doll Profile #2)

In the fall of 2009 I made my very first trip to Japan. Since I had never been, I never really knew what to expect. There was so much to see, so many things to experience, and most of all, SO MANY THINGS TO BUY! I didn’t have any expectations of going doll shopping or bringing one home, so what happened next was completely unplanned. After picking up a fair amount of figures from various stores, I made my way to Nakano Broadway, where my second doll was waiting for me.

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Where it all began: Tohsaka Rin (Doll Profile #1)

Way back in 2008, I was just starting to Follow Danny Choo’s personal blog, where he largely posted pictures of figures and wrote about Japan. One day, he started posting pictures and stories about something radically different and unique: a curious object made by a company called Volks. It was bigger than any figure I had ever seen, was fully poseable, and featured various clothes and accessories. I’m talking, of course, about Dollfie Dreams: Volks’s line of 1/3 scale vinyl dolls created to bring in a new audience. Danny’s first DD was an original Saber (Artoria Pendrangon), complete with armor and sword. He published all of the details about her, including how he got her and how much she cost. At the time, the conversion rates had her value at just over $1000 and I laughed that I’d never spend that much on a single item. After all, the figures I was buying at the time were barely cracking $100!

Continue reading “Where it all began: Tohsaka Rin (Doll Profile #1)”