Tag Archives: Contax RTS

Some more images with the Yashica ML Macro 55mm 1:4

Here is a quick follow up to my last entry about the Yashica 55mm/4 macro lens. This time I was shooting Fomapan 400 with a bit of grain. The film was developed in Kodak HC110 at 24C to shorten the developing time. As for the previous post, no extra sharpening was applied to the images after scanning. I adjusted contrast, highlights and shadows only.

I can still not believe how sharp the lens is. These images are taken with a wide open aperture and are still spot on. I also like the angle covered by the 55mm lens. I used to have a Nikkor 90/2.8 and I always found the view to tight and restricted.

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How I feel about macro lenses – Yashica ML Macro 55mm 1:4

in the old days of film I went out there with my Nikkor 90mm/2.8 macro to shoot flowers and bugs. The slides are sitting now in the basement where they went from the unreachable top of the shelf and I always tell myself one of these days I will scan these beautiful slides. Although I guess I never will. I sold the Nikkor lens and honestly I never missed it. I could even argue to myself that a macro lens is pretty stupid.

Recently, I was thinking about getting a macro lens again because I wanted to get close and personal. The next step was choosing the camera system and the Contax RTS made the most sense. I have two RTS and a Yashica bodies with a couple of lenses going with it. Of course I was looking for a Carl Zeiss lens fitting the Contax mount but had to settle for the Yashica. I admit I’m a skeptic and would prefer to go for the “original”. However, the ratings for the Yashica 55mm/4 were very good and of course the cost is easier to digest than the price of a similar Carl Zeiss lens.

So I found a lens in beautiful condition with a sustainable price tag on ebay.de. The feeling of the lens built is quite nice. It’s all metal and makes a very solid impression. The focus ring runs really smooth while the aperture ring is quite “defined” and not loose at all. Maybe the maximum opening of 4 is a bit limiting but how much sense does shooting with an aperture of 2.8 really make. The ratings the lens gets drop down a bit at aperture 4 but are pretty much excellent thereafter. 

I mostly shoot anyway with an aperture of 4 or maybe 5.6 but hardly any more stepping down. I want to feel that small depth of field and really focus on the one feature. Only than getting close and personal makes sense to me as the two examples here show. I also tried taking portraits with a macro lens but I’m still failing just catching the essential and the images come out messy instead of very focused. I keep trying and maybe concentrating on just one feature is the answer.

The images here are taken on Kodak Portraits 160 rated at nominal speed. They are not sharpened for screen or anything else. What is shown is the scan with only minor modifications of color, contrast and brightness in LR. I think that’s really amazing for a 35mm film. Also since Portra is certainly not the sharpest kid on the block.

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India – the first roll

I came back from my trip to India with twenty two medium format and seven 35mm rolls of film shot with a Mamiya 645Pro and a Contax RTS. These are a maximum of five hundred eighty two images to scan, edit and select for presentation. I guess that doesn’t mean much when shooting digital but it’s a hell of a lot using film. Since the moment I touched down back home I’ve been thinking how to sort, condense and write about all the impressions I collected as images as well as thoughts during the sixteen days of my visit to Rajasthan, Agra and Delhi.

201506_India_MF1_Delta400_Mamiya645_002-Edita mughal time well in a village close to jhunjhunu, Ilford Delta 400, Mamiya 645Pro

The straight forward approach had seemed to do a couple of chronological blog entries with the places I visited as titles. I decided against it since it doesn’t really help to focus on the quintessence. I visited so many places, met so many people and took so many shots that there is more confusion than clearness in my thoughts. In addition, India’s stark differences don’t make traveling always easy for the stomach as well as one’s patience.

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201506_India_MF1_Delta400_Mamiya645_003-Edit30m deep mertani baori (stepwell) in jhunjhunu built in 1783, Ilford Delta 400, Mamiya 645Pro

Here is the plan. I’ll do four blog entries trying to concentrate or even just to find my message:

  1. the first roll – introduction and some the images from the very first roll
  2. the places – two images and two sentences with my personal impression in order of my preference
  3. the people – top ten portraits
  4. the urban and rural life – in the end I’m not sure if there was a difference

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201506_India_MF1_Delta400_Mamiya645_006-Editwalking through churi ajitghar village, Ilford Delta 400, Mamiya 645Pro

I’m in the middle of showing the images of the first roll already. The images were shot on the way from Delhi to Mandawa and in Churi Ajitghar village during the first two days of my visit. It wasn’t easy to shoot the first film as it isn’t easy to start this series of blog entries.

I find my first images rather dull and mediocre, a forced trial to find a way inside. Some images were out of focus and it took some frames getting used to the Mamiya’s waist level finder. I did miss my Hasselblad and the square frame. The gray sky of the first days didn’t encourage to take a lot of photos, either. The weather got better and worse again and somehow I think my photography took the same route.

201506_India_MF1_Delta400_Mamiya645_007-Editjohnny in churi ajitghar village, Ilford Delta 400, Mamiya 645Pro

During my trip I shot ten medium format and two 35mm rolls of Kodak Portra 160 for the film’s natural color, eight medium format  rolls of Ilford Delta 400 for its versatile ISO range as well as the rich gray, tones, four medium format Rollei RPX100 as my favorite ISO100 film right now, three 35mm rolls of Fomapan 400 and two 35mm rolls Agfa APX100.

I’ll start working now in parallel on the three (maybe four) remaining entries. From here on it’s all about choosing the right images …

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