Bokeh


The Kitstar 200mm is a lens that I acquired very cheaply on Ebay last year – it was an impulse purchase, really, since I knew very little about the lens other than it had a OM mount, and I was intrigued by its unusual maximum aperture. My intention was to compare it with my much smaller and lighter Olympus OM 200 f/4 prime lens, which I absolutely love. I had used this lens on a OM body last spring, and then put it away, meaning to get back to it sometime.

The Kitstar 200mm is a distinctive lens, easy to recognize. It’s all metal and the rubber covering of the focusing rings is reticulated, instead of being checkered as is usual. Kitstar was the in-house brand of Kit’s Camera and they had their lenses made on contract by various manufacturers, so its hard to tell who the original maker is. The lens is solidly built and comes with a built in hood.

I don’t know of any lens makers such as Sigma, Tokina or Tamron who made a f/3.3 200mm prime lens, so who knows? Maybe its a f/3.5 rebadged as f/3.3. Kits Cameras was bought by Ritz Camera, and is part of their family of stores. Since Ritz has it’s own in-house camera brand (Quantaray), the Kitstar lenses are no more.

On the Sony Alpha 700, the 200mm f/3.3 lens becomes equivalent to a 300mm f/3.3 lens – that is really fast for a 300mm, and considering the price I paid for it, about $25 or so, it is a bargain. The weight of the lens makes it tricky to handhold, compared with the Sony 18-200mm (also equivalent to 27-300mm, but much slower, since it only goes to f/6.3 at the 200mm focal length).

Anyway, I could easily mount the lens on the Sony Alpha 700 with the Bower-made Minolta AF to OM adapter and took the lens for a spin. Here are the results. The Alpha 700’s anti-shake capabilites makes hand-holding easier, but it was still a challenge to avoid blurring. The Kitstar 200mm (apparent 300mm lens) has nice bokeh.


Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm

Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm
Kitstar 200mm

Photographed with a Sony Alpha 700 camera body and Kitstar 200mm f/3.3 OM Mount lens- I used a Bower Minolta AF-OM adapter and 72mm Polarizer (67-72mm step-up ring)


Creative Commons License
olympus/zuiko by Ajoy Muralidhar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
text and images © 2008 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners. thank you for visiting olympus/zuiko.

I mounted the Soligor 500mm mirror on the Sony A700 using the Minolta AF-Olympus OM Bower adapter. The Soligor is a T-mount lens, but I’ve been using it with an Olympus T-mount for so long, the ring is hard to get off. I just mounted the Minolta AF mount adapter right on to the lens and then mounted it on the A700.

The light was poor, and since I was shooting in Manual Mode, I was using ISO 200. The slow shutter speed I was using was no help. Even though the image stabilization helps out, I’d recommend that with the 500mm lens, a shutter speed of at least 1/250, even with the anti-shake.

The bokeh from the lens did not show the characteristic mirror lens “donut” shape, but that’s probably because the diffuse light from the overcast sky did not cause any bright spots or highlights.

The pictures aren’t great, but I hope to do better the next time. Keeping in mind that the Soligor C/D 500mm behaves like an apparent 750mm lens, the possibility of being able to hand-hold the camera is in itself pretty remarkable.


Backyard Critters- Soligor/Sony A700
Backyard Critters – Soligor/Sony A700
Backyard Critters- Soligor/Sony A700
Backyard Critters – Soligor/Sony A700
Backyard Critters- Soligor/Sony A700
Backyard Critters- Soligor/Sony A700
Backyard Critters- Soligor/Sony A700

Photographed with a Sony Alpha 700 dSLR and Soligor C/D 500mm f/8 mirror lens 1/80 at f/8, ISO 200m White Balance at Cloudy.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners. Thank you for visiting olympuszuiko.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Just a few macro shots I took a few weeks ago in an open field close to my workplace. I walked out into the field during my lunch break, when the sun was right overhead.
Normally, it’s usually the worst time of the day to take pictures since the light is bright and flat, with no shadows to provide relief or modeling of the subject.. on the other hand, mid-day light is usually good for macro photography since one doesn’t have to worry about shading the subject with the lens when really up close, and since it’s so bright, it’s possible to stop down quite a bit in to achieve some depth of field.
I was using the OM-1 with the Kino Precision made Panagor 90mm f/2.8, possibly the best choice of macro lens for photographing flowers and flying insects.

Macro Panagor 90mm at about 3 feet
Macro Panagor 90mm at 9 inches
Macro Panagor 90mm at about 3 feet
Macro Panagor 90mm at 9 inches
Macro Panagor 90mm: Thistle close-up
Macro Panagor 90mm at about 3 feet

Photographed with an OM-1, and Panagor 90mm f/2.8, with Fuji Super HQ 200 film. I used a polarizer. Exposure was at 1/250 at f/11 at about 8 inches distance


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

I never cease to be surprised at what I run into on the lonely country roads in Carroll County. I was on Rte 31 from Westminster to New Windsor, when I came across this little road that had a sign saying there was a historic Methodist church. It’s mostly farmland and dairy country out here, with a few orchards thrown in for character, so naturally I was curious.

I took this little road deep into the countryside, and came upon a perfectly preserved house and meeting room, with a collection of barns and sheds, and get this – life size statue of a minister called Robert Strawbridge.

Apparently, that was the site of the first Methodist church in the United States, dating back to the 1760’s. The sign says it all. It was late in the evening and I shot a few pictures with my OM-1 and a plain-jane Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 with Kodak 200 film. The setting sun made the scene pre-dominantly gold and yellow.

I decided to return there early in the morning sometime for better lighting with the sun at a different angle – never got around to it. Then it was winter, and the roads get pretty icy out in the Country. Anyway, to make a long story short, I managed to get back over there this Spring – this time with an OM-2N, a Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 and an Zuiko 200mm f/4 (Don’t ask – I just felt like having the 200mm that day).

If you’ve never used a 200mm lens, it’s a treat… the perspective at 200mm is very interesting – the background gets pulled in, making it look bigger than it is, leaving the foreground pretty much the same. It doesn’t distort, but definitely flattens. The Zuiko 200mm f/4 is one of Olympus Opticals best lenses, tack sharp and feels solid in the hands. One of the legendary ‘perfect lenses’, and a must have.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to BUY one to experience it, since no Olympus owner will ever LEND you their 200mm f/4. Other lenses perhaps.. but not the 200mm. No owner wants it out of their hands and sight. Trust me on this. The Zuiko 200mm f/4 also has magnificent bokeh, which is a plus point when using it wide open (perfect for birding).

The sign says it all, there’s not much else out there explaining what it was like out there in the 1750’s and 1760’s when the minister took up residence there. I looked up Robert Strawbridge, and here’s what I found . Not much in Wikipedia either. However, I found a bit of interesting Robert Strawbridge history here. The house and meeting place are a museum, and there is a person who lives in the house next door that provides a little more information and interprets the site on request.

In any case, I’m glad I visited. The Strawbridge site has a very peaceful atmosphere, I can understand why the Reverend decided to build his church there.

Update Jan 2008: Here are some pictures from a recent visit – they’ve added a statue of Elizabeth Strawbridge at the shrine.

Robert Strawbridge House
Robert Strawbridge House
Robert Strawbridge House

Photographed with an OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Kodak 200 Gold film

Robert Strawbridge House
Robert Strawbridge House
Robert Strawbridge House
Robert Strawbridge House
Robert Strawbridge House

Photographed with an OM-2N, Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 and Zuiko 200mm f/4 and Fujicolor HQ Super 200 film. i used a graduated ND filter for the last picture in the series.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Late Spring is a great time to drive around with a camera in the car, you never know what floral treasures you may find by the roadside. I spotted these on the way to work one morning – I had been delayed that day, and the sun was much higher in the sky than it usually is so these poppies blooming at the edge of the woodland were illuminated perfectly.

I had my Minolta Dynax 800si with me, with a Maxxum 35-105 zoom, loaded with Fuji 200 film. The Maxxum 35-105mm lens is a little wonder, and although it’s a tad slow at f/4.5 – f/5.6, it’s perfect for the outdoors under sunny conditions.

I also had something unusual – I had recently purchased a Bower adapter to mount Olympus Zuiko lenses on a Minolta Maxxum camera that I really wanted to try out. I had been carrying it around for a few days along with my Zuiko 200mm f/4 lens, so I took the opportunity to test it.

A 200 mm lens is perfect for taking pictures without getting out of the car, since the focal length is just right to fill the frame from about 18-20 feet. The Bower adapter has a glass element to compensate for the infinity setting, so its really a weak teleconverter. Of course, when mounted on the Minolta, the lens needs to be focused manually, and needs to be stopped down manually as well. Focusing is done with the aperture wide open, and then stopped down before taking the shot. The Minolta Maxxum’s metering works great with the manual lens though.

I had been looking for a way to use all my Zuiko, Kiron and Vivitar lenses from my OM cameras on my Minolta, and it seemed to fit the bill. I’m happy to say it works perfectly, and I’m kicking myself for not getting one sooner. Since it works with the Maxxum, it will also work with the Sony Alpha.

Maxxum 35-105mm
Maxxum 35-105mm
Maxxum 35-105mm
Zuiko 200mm Dynax 800si with Bower Adapter
Zuiko 200mm on Dynax 800si with Bower Adapter

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si and Maxxum 35-105 f/4.5- 5.6 medium zoom. The Zuiko 200mm f/4 lens was mounted on the Minolta with a Bower Adapter, Fuji Super 200 film. I used a polarizing filter for both lenses.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

A few weeks ago, Sunayana and I took a picnic lunch to Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg – It’s close to the heart of Gaithersburg, on Rte 355 (Frederick Road).

The park is very busy at all times of the year, yet provides a refuge for many kinds of wildlife because of the way it is laid out. The public, more frequented parts of the park are concentrated towards the front, bordering the ponds, while the back of the ponds is mostly open area with a wooded border. This allows the wildlife areas to be partially isolated from the rest of the park, except for the occasional couple walking around the ponds.

The pond supports a variety of ducks and geese, deer, turtles and lots of birds, fairly typical for the region, but still a welcome sight. The park is large enough so that one doesnt hear the incessant roar of traffic from 355 and yet easy to get to from anywhere.

I used an OM-2N with a Zuiko 70-150mm f/4 lens. The Zuiko 70-150mm f/4 is a venerable zoom, available cheaply on eBay and elsewhere – for some reason, people tend to overlook the fine qualities of this particular zoom – it was the first zoom introduced in the OM system, originally released with the OM-1 camera. Lots of people purchased this lens as their primary zoom back then, and that probably accounts for so many lenses being available, and like everything else, familiarity breeds contempt – in this case, very undeserved.

The Zuiko 70-150 is a superb optic in every way – sharp and true colors. It may not be as fast as some later zooms, but then, who needs anything faster than f/4 for outdoors photography? A quick search on eBay will usually show a dozen of these lenses being sold for anything between $40-$75, a pittance for such a fine piece of glass.

It’s a great portrait lens as well – open it wide to f/4, set the focal length to approximately to 100-110 mm, focus and shoot. It will give good results every time – with pleasant bokeh.

Sunny
Pondside reeds
cattail reeds
Ducks in a row?
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park

Photographed with an Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko 70-150mm, Fuji Superia 400 film

More pictures that I clicked over the past couple of months in Carroll and Montgomery Counties in Maryland. I was out almost every weekend, and when possible, early in the mornings and sometimes in the evenings. The progression of plants coming into leaf or flower, breaking the dormancy of a long cold winter is truly a miracle. There’s no real theme here, just my own enjoyment of Spring reflected in these few pictures. The cameras and lenses I used are listed in the photo captions.


OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-2N, Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, Polarizer
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm

OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-2N, Panagor 90mm f/2.8
OM-2N, Panagor 90mm f/2.8
OM-2N, 50mm with Vivitar2x Macro Teleconverter
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
OM-1, Zuiko 200mm f/4
OM-1, Zuiko 200mm f/4
OM-1, Zuiko 200mm f/4

text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Next Page »