Video is there but the specs are no better than the 5D3 and the quality may be worse due to the super high mega pixel sensor. Some features have even been removed such as a headphone jack for monitoring audio and clean HDMI output for use with external recorders. Canon clearly have a defined market for these new cameras and unfortunately, that’s not me for a number of reasons…

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I did the tourist thing the other day and grabbed my 5D3 with a few old communist lenses…Helios 44-2 2/58, Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20 and Biometar 2.8/120. I intended to shoot some video but ended up enjoying the new focus screen so much I stuck to stills. The Helios remains my all round favourite due to size and vintage look. The Flektogon has amazingly little distortion compared to my Canon 17-40 (check out the straight lines on the image of Buckingham Palace). It’s a bit soft around the edges but that’s its character…

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The Wall 2.0

Last year I was approached by a group of high school students interested in starting up an after school tech club. How could I refuse? Just over 25 years ago my own interest in technology was sparked at the very same school, ACS Hillingdon, London. Back in my day, it was a tech savvy music teacher, Mr Hein, who became my Apple mentor. He showed me the marvel that was (is) the Macintosh and sent me home with back issues of MacUser magazine. He went above and beyond to share his passion for technology and it opened up a new world for me which ultimately led to a career…

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In my review of the Optix auto focus confirmation chip, I mentioned how most modern cameras use focus screens optimised for auto focus lenses and therefore lack some of the focussing aids found in older film cameras such as split prisms. I also said I was content using the focus auto confirm with my manual lenses but I’ve been growing more and more frustrated lately when the auto confirm fails to sound…

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Here’s a quick compilation of some footage I shot in the pouring rain last week. It’s really nothing that interesting but it was a fun day out getting to know the Sonnar a little better and dealing with the challenges of shooting in the rain…

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Probably the single biggest challenge using a manual focus lens on a modern DSLR camera is finding the sharpest focus point. The focus screen seen inside the viewfinder of modern cameras tends to be optimised for auto-focus lenses and therefore lacks some of the manual focus aids (like split prisms) found on camera bodies past…

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I finally got a free day with some dry weather to take my increasing collection of Jena primes out for a spin. This is the first time I’ve been able to shoot with them together for comparison so it’s a bit of test film more than anything else. Sorry it’s a familiar spot for me (Kensington Gardens) but since I’ve already shot this place to death with my Canon glass it made for a good location to test…

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Carl Zeiss (today reunified) have historically been pioneers in the field of optics with many innovations in design carrying through to this day. Zeiss glass has an almost legendary look and while many of the most highly regarded lenses came out of the West, the East German produced lenses should not be overlooked. I’ve been building a collection of vintage primes primarily for cinematography use and have chosen a specific range of Carl Zeiss Jena lenses from the mid 1960s that were originally made for a medium format camera system called the Pentacon Six…

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It’s paradoxical to have spent years in the pursuit of optical excellence, carefully choosing professional grade lenses based on performance to now be selecting glass based on character and imperfection. It’s human nature to long for the greener grass on the other side but for lower contrast grass that’s less sharp and covered with flares? LOL I’m loving it!

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I’ve discovered the charm and character (not to mention value) of vintage lenses. It started as a novelty having picked up a budget £20 Helios 44-2. I was looking for a lens that could better capture that filmic look particularly with regards to flares and light leaks which by design are hard to achieve with my Canon L glass. I was instantly intrigued with how a 30+ year old lens which cost less than a plastic Canon lens hood could resolve so well on a modern digital full frame sensor and produce such a signature, swirly look…

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