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”

Advertisements

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)”

Going Wide (Tokina 12-24 AT-X Pro)

It’s been quite awhile, hasn’t it! A couple weeks ago, I picked up a new lens to add to my collection. Introducing the Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0 wide angle!

DSC_0130

I’ve been lusting after a wide angle for some time now and I’d been considering this lens. At an MSRP of $399 for the initial AT-X Pro version ($499 for the AT-X Pro II) seemed a bargain compared to the $1000+ price tag of the Nikon equivalent. Even better, I got mine used from a local camera shop for less than that! A sucker for a good deal (and even nicer glass), I went ahead and picked it up. This would be my second piece of glass from Tokina, the first being the 100mm AT-X Pro Macro lens.

Continue reading “Going Wide (Tokina 12-24 AT-X Pro)”

Shooting in Macro

After almost a month of being on back order, my first macro lens arrived on my doorstep yesterday! This is also the first non-Nikkor lens I’ve purchased and instead is made by Tokina. After a lot of research and digging through reviews, I settled on a AT-X Pro D model featuring a 100mm focal length and f/2.8 maximum aperture (at full macro mode, it stops down to f/5.6).

DSC_8042

Nikon’s equivalent in this range is a 105mm f/2.8 with VR. Getting the first party lens comes at a price… The Nikkor cost over twice as much as the Tokina. While most reviews rate the Tokina a bit lower than the Nikkor (VR being the big differentiator), the difference in price makes the Tokina a much better bargain.

Continue reading “Shooting in Macro”

Yoko plays dress-up

I came home the other day to find a package in my mailbox from the UK. Finally, some more clothing for Yoko and Rin had arrived! The set was made by the wonderful webmaster over at Dark Dolllhouse. The set is called Candy Dots (for good reason, I think) and is the first “custom” outfit I bought!

IMG_4300

Since Rin has pretty much gotten all the attention lately in terms of fancy outfits, Yoko decided to steal the set for herself!

Continue reading “Yoko plays dress-up”

Dabbling in close-up photography

A couple weeks ago, I picked up a brand new Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens from Amazon to shoot with. Being used to various zooms, it was a bit of a change in shooting style going to a non-stabilized prime lens. Once I got used to it, I found that it produced far sharper images, wonderful background blur, and beautiful portraits. The somewhat short focal distance got me to thinking… how good would it be for doing close ups?

To find out, I signed up for a macro photography workshop at Daniel Stowe. The instructor walked us through some tips and showed us some (expensive) equipment that would help, then it was off to the field!

DSC_6451 DSC_6453

My first attempts showed how sharp the lens is. These were taken at f/5.0 (and cropped a bit). I’m sure if I worked at it, I could get my reflection in those water droplets… Just as a quick note, all of the photos in this post will display the full sized counterparts when clicked. 🙂

Continue reading “Dabbling in close-up photography”

A week in Hawaii

First, a bit of business. Apparently I hit the 100 post mark without even realizing it. It was a great 100th post too, featuring Rin at the garden. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate hitting a milestone than with pictures of Rin. Smile

Moving on now to the main event! A couple weeks ago, I made a trip to the gorgeous state of Hawaii. This was purely for vacation, so I tried to leave work mostly behind. A trip wouldn’t be complete without a ton of photos and I’m happy to provide!

Diamond Head 4

Starting with this wonderful wide angle panorama of the Waikiki area from the top of Diamond Head crater. The hike was about an hour in each direction and offered some of the most spectacular views of downtown Honolulu. For this trip, we limited ourselves to staying on Oahu. Even though it’s an island, there was plenty to explore!

Continue reading “A week in Hawaii”