Friday, December 30, 2016

A Vintage Japanese Telephoto Lens

This blog has been a long time coming.  I got a 135mm f / 2.8 Vivitar lens back in September and have been using it quite a bit ever since.  The lens is a vintage (35 year old) Japanese telephoto lens and it’s something special.

I’ve really enjoyed using vintage lenses on my modern Fuji X-T1 mirrorless camera these past 8 months.  I now own three of them but that’s for another blog.

I enjoy them because they each have a very unique character to them.  A lot of vintage lenses lack contrast found in many modern multicoated lenses.  This is great for black and whites because you have more room to play with during post processing.  In the photo above, of one of our dogs, I simply boosted the clarity slider up a bit in Lightroom to give some micro contrast to the image.  It’s not particularly sharp but it has a lot of character that I don’t find in modern lenses.  

The Vivitar tends to give a cooler (more blue) color cast to it, which gives an almost metallic tint to many subjects.

The lens came with a 2x teleconverter, which when attached, gives the equivalent field of view of a 270mm f / 5.6 lens.  But I’m using a 1.52 APSC crop sensor on my Fuji.  So the actual field of view is more like a 410mm lens.  This basically means I can get closer to the subject without actually getting closer to the subject…

…an important roll for a telephoto lens at times.

Sometimes it’s useful to keep a distance from your subject so it isn’t spooked away.

Or take advantage of some magnification when a super moon is scheduled.

A 200mm-ish lens makes a great head and shoulders portrait lens.  They allow the photographer to step back, in order to give your client some breathing room.

No matter what size that client may be.

My sister came to visit at the beginning of this month.  She brought some gifts with her including a Mitikon Lens Turbo II focal reducer.  It’s basically the reverse of a teleconverter, which reverses the crop factor of smaller APSC sized sensors.  Below is a mix of my favorite photos using the lens, + 2x teleconverter, or + focal reducer.



- Joel