Saturday, 4 April 2020

Adopted Camera - The Pentax K-5

Pentax K-5 with battery grip and Chinon 50mm f1.9

Perhaps a surprising choice or proposal for many ( especially since I have emphasized system cameras ) a Pentax K-5 DSLR - but it could also have been another Pentax model, such as the K-3 for example.

Why would you take a Pentax DSLR for "Manual Photography" and Vintage lenses?

No, the camera does not have a retro look,
no metal (not on the outside anyway)
no shutter dial, but plastic wheels.
The Pentax DSLR has virtually none of the "basics" I have suggested for choosing a "Manual Camera" except one, which is the Flange to Focus distance.

In the early years ( as early as 1949 ), and like many other brands, Pentax had an M42 mount.
Years later ( around 1975 ), after Pentax designed its own bayonet mount, they remained true to the original M42 FTF spacing, namely 45,46mm

That is a big advantage, because for Pentax there is an internal adapter, which comes flush with the camera flange, and thus makes it possible to use M42 lenses without "protrusion" as is the case on a system camera.
Old PK ( Pentax bayonet ) lenses can be used anyway without the use of an adapter.

That and the fact that the largest selection of vintage lenses are in the M42 and PK range, making the Pentax a tempting alternative.

It gets even better,
Pentax has a great "in camera" image / shake stabilization ( Fuji doesn't )
Optical viewfinder with focus confirmation - also on manual lenses !
Weatherproof housing ( Fuji X-T1 also )
Higher Iso then Fuji X-T1 ( 12800 - 6400 )
Higher shutter speed then Fuji X-T1 ( 1/8000 - 1/4000 )
Longer battery life ( aprox 980 - 350 )
But it weighs more and it's bigger !

Pentax K-5 with Chinon 50mm f8 Iso 200

I tried to take a picture with my phone through the viewfinder of the camera

The price will make up for it, the Pentax K-5 original can be found for as low as € 150 second hand - even with an 18/55mm weather sealed lens!

Maybe something to think about ?

When I took the above picture I was completely surprised, it was so long ago that I put a manual lens on a Pentax, and it was so easy, taking pictures and focusing through the super large and bright optical viewfinder . It was once again clear to me why a Pentax DSLR is such a great camera.


Adopted Camera - The Fujifilm X-E1

Fujifilm X-E1
One of my adopted cameras is the Fujifilm X-E1.
In Japan they say "the sexy one".
Sexy? I can not say.
Beautifull, it certainly is, at least if you like a retro rangefinder look.
Not a real rangefinder, because it doesn't have an optical viewfinder, but it does have an EVF, which is one of the requirements for a good "manual camera" for me.

First of all, why a mirrorless camera, and more specifically, in combination with old lenses (M42, PK, M39, ...)?
If you have knowledge of Flange to Focus, or have read my article about it, then you know that a camera with the smallest possible FTF is the best choice, and that is certainly not an DSLR.

If this is all new to you, be sure to read my article on "Adapted Camera Basics - Flange to Focus" and the "Adopted Camera - Best camera for vintage lenses" first :

Ok, that narrows it down a little bit.
But nowadays almost every brand has a system camera in the range.
Well, cameras without OVF or EVF are difficult to use, focusing becomes problematic ( a small screen at arm's length ), and lenses with focal lengths from 135mm and above become heavy and make the camera unstable
Holding the camera to your face, looking through the EVF, the camera in one hand, the other by the lens, makes a more stable whole, and feels more natural than holding the camera in front of you.
Makes sense, doesn't it ?

Why did I choose the Fuji X-E1 ?

Well, I myself grew up in the analogue era, the sixties - seventies.
Cameras were made of metal, at least SLRs.
An SLR of that time had a few basic elements to take pictures :
- the optical viewfinder
- aperture ring
- shutter dial
- iso dial
- light meter button
- film winding lever
- shutter release button

Is the Fujifilm X-E1 compatible with these basic elements ?
* Vintage / Retro look, partly metal ( top plate )
* The Fujifilm X-E1 has an electronic viewfinder - EVF
* The aperture ring is on your (manual) lens - not all lenses have an aperture ring, so you shouldn't          forget this when making your choice of lens.
* A real shutter dial is on the X-E1 , left of the shutter button, just like an old SLR, you have                   speeds from 1/4000 to 1/4, T and B.
* ISO and type or film are camera on board, and easily accessible via the Q menu or the FN button.
* Light meter and shutter button are combined in one button, and the film winding lever is                     unnecessary nowadays.

So the Fujifilm X-E1 has a lot that a manual camera has to meet.
The Fujifilm X-T1 is even better at it, but the camera is also a lot more expensive, count on a € 300 to € 400.
You will get something extra for that, weather seald camera, one of the best viewfinders there is (big!), X Trans II sensor, split image focusing, wireless, etc.
So definitely worth the extra € 150/250.
An X-E1 can already be found for as low as € 150 second-hand ( body only ) !
So, still an excellent choice for budget photographers, photography students, or as a dedicated manual camera when you already have a good DSLR, but not so vintage lens orientated.

Final conclusion:
If you really want that Retro / Analog era look and feel,
A real Shutter dial instead of PASM dial and plastic wheels,
A very similar "old fashion analog photography" experience,
Definitely look at Fujifilm,
especialy at the models X-E and X-T


In time, the newer models (X-E / T, 2, 3 and 4) will also become cheaper, and can take place of the X-E1 - X-T1.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

My Fuji and : a Meyer Optik Gorlitz Primagon 35mm f4.5

The Meyer Optik Gorlitz Primagon 35mm f4.5 is probably one, if not the most beautiful lens I own.

The Primagon 35mm was made from 1952 to 1964
The newer models have a "red V" on the filter ring, which indicates that the lens is coated, the older ones are also coated, but only internally.
As far as I know they are all silver colored.
Made entirely of aluminum, the shape of the lens is barrel-shaped.
My lens is M42, but there are some with other mounts, such as Exacta and Altix.
Max. aperture f4.5 to f22 - Aperture has 10 blades - the aperture ring turns clickless.
Filter diameter 49mm
Focusing manually from 0.40m
Lens weight is 155 grams - lens length 58mm

My lens has serial no. 2188324, and according to a list of serial numbers and years, made somewhere between 1955 and 1960, no more accurate information can be found.
Serial nr lookup :

As always and with everything you have supporters and opponents, also with this Primagon 35mm.
The biggest complaint is that the lens is "slow", and yes, f4.5 is not a racing monster, but do you only want to work with vintage lenses if they are fast?
These lenses can only be focused manually, so the F1 races may not be the best place to use this lens - although, on a sufficiently sunny day, and making good use of the depth of field scale on the lens, this lens would just might surprise you.
At f11 you can set the lens so that everything between 1.5m and infinity is sharp, even on f8 you can still set a very nice depth of field, this way you have an "old-fashioned auto focus lens", which can come in handy in some situations
But where the lens feels best is in low-motion situations, portraits, landscapes, architecture, flowers and also for street photography.

The only reason - besides budget or to be able to use your existing old lenses - is actually the color, the character, the bokeh, and knowing that you are capturing an image with glass that has seen a very different time.
This should be the real reason, and as a bonus, you will experience this twice! once when taking the picture and once when viewing the picture.
Below some links to other fans of this lens.
And some pictures that I took myself, more will be added later.

Taken @ f4.5 - look @ the sharpness detail window



Taken with backlight @ f16

In Camera Jpeg - film simulation standard - f8

RawTherapee - X Trans III Velvia simulation - f8

In Camera Jpeg - film simulation standard - f4.5

RawTherapee - X Trans III Velvia simulation - f4.5

RawTherapee - CreativePack TealMagentaGold - f4.5

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

RawTherapee Black & White Film Simulation Examples - Part I

To give you an impression of what you can do with HaldClut in RawTherapee, below I have a compilation of photos with various film simulations.
The camera used in this case was a Pentax K-3, personally I don't think this matters much, especially since simulations are no more than simulations, and thus only an approximation of the original film product.
The main thing is to see which atmosphere and character a certain HaldClut can create, so you can determine which one you prefer. You can then remove unused Haldcluts from your Haldclut folder, to make it easier to find your preferred film simulations in RT

Pentax K-3 Original Out of Camera Jpg 

RawTherapee Standaard B&W Desaturation

Rollei IR 400 (Pat David Compilation)

Rollei Ortho 25 (Pat David Compilation)

Rollei Retro 80s (Pat David Compilation)

Rollei Retro 100 Tonal (Pat David Compilation)

Fuji Acros XTrans III ( Stuart Sowerby )

Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ( Pat David compilation )

Ilford FP4 Plus 125 ( Pat David compilation )

Agfa APX 25 ( Pat David compilation )

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 ( Pat David Compilation )

Ilford Pan F Plus 50

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Film Simulation Recipes vs Film Emulation in RawTherapee vs Film Simulation Profiles

Interested in Film Simulation Recipes, Film Emulation or Film Simulation Profiles? I made a mini Workshop here, on where to find, how to install and how to use - but above all a lot of links to the largest collection of HaldCluts, Luts, Presets and Profiles you can think of.
Also, this is a work in progress, and will be further supplemented, updated and improved as time goes on.
Do you know any others? please contact me and i will be happy to add them.

When talking about film simulation, there are three options:

- Film simulation recipes are specific settings you can change on camera

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: -2
Color: +4
Sharpening: +1
Noise Reduction: -3
Grain: Strong
White Balance: Auto, +2 Red, -4 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: -1/3 to -1 (typically)

these can be found :

The simulations listed below are applied in RawTherapee.
When applying a simulation, be it a preset, profile or Lut, always reset the large processing drop down list to neutral - otherwise you will get a combination of different settings, and not the desired result.

Film Emulation / Simulation / HaldCluts or Luts are images in which a certain reference color profile is stored - the color profile can be applied to another image with one click

HaldClut or Lut

Stuart Sowerby has created a set of Fujifilm simulation LUT's for use in RawTherapee and other software, specificaly for Fuji X Trans sensor II and III - I've tested it here also on X Trans I, decide for yourself if you want to use it.    Thanks Stuart !
Note: The term profiles can be misleading, because, in RawTherapee we speak of "profiles" when using .pp3 script files that alter specific settings in RT.

Pat David has a very extensive collection here :   Super Pat !

But also here :

and here :  ( this is my own creation )

or here :

and more from Krzysiu batchHaldCLUT :

How to use them ?

Open RawTherapee -> go to left side - below - preferences icon -> click to open -> in the next screen -> top left - second tab - image processing -> second below -> directories -> HaldClut directory -> go to folder on your computer where your HaldCluts are placed -> select -> open
-> Restart RawTherapee !

Then, open Rawtherapee again -> double click a picture in file browser -> the editor opens

In editor -> third icon on the right side, color -> scroll down to film simulation -> select a film simulation from the drop down list

Activate the film simulation

Or watch our instruction video on YouTube :

In short :
"Go to a website to download Luts.
Save your download in the assigned folder, in this example : adapted camera workshop.
Extract the files in the folder.
When the files have been extracted, the HaldClut folder contains subfolders for color and black and white.
Start RawTherapee and open preferences by clicking the icon on the left side, second icon from below, kind of mixer icon.
In the preferences panel, click on theimage processing tab, top left, second tab from left - then click in directories - on Haldclut directory.
Go to the assigned folder - in this case : adapted camera workshop.
Select the extracted Haldclut folder and click open.
Close the preferences panel and close RawTherapee.
Restart RawTherapee double click on a picture to open in editor.
Click on the right side, top, third icon, color.
Scroll down to film simulation tab, activate by clicking the on/of icon.
Select a film simulation Lut from the drop down list.
Enjoy the applied film simulation ! Thanks for watching the Adapted Camera RawTherapee Film Simulation video."

- Film Simulation Profiles ( presets ) are scripts, text files (.pp3) that can be applied in RawTherapee on any image

Some can be found here : thanks to S├ębastien Guyader and Pat David

GLTR87 - RawTherapee-presets-Fuji-inspired : -> note from author :
"The presets were calibrated with a Sony A7 camera, but they give good results with Canon 5D and Olympus X-Z1 RAW files, and probably others."

My own collection together with HaldClut :

And I found an awesome collection of presets by Stefan Chirila here :  - realy tons of presets, awesome Stefan, thanks !

How to use :

Open Rawtherapee -> -> double click a picture in file browser -> the editor opens -> top right side, fourth icon from right -> click the folder icon - load a profile from file -> in the next screen - select default folder, or go to downloaded folder

select prefered script

Friday, 20 March 2020

The "Dark Room"

Dell Studio 1749

In the line of the "Adopted Camera" you could say that my "Dark Room" computer is also Adopted - although I once bought it new, it has been revived in the last 4 years.

My digital "dark room" consists of an 11 year old Dell Studio 1749 portable computer.
An almost 4kg weighing 17.3 "Intel Core I5 520M with 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM, an ATI Mobility Radeon HD5650 with 1GB, and original 2 Seagate hard disks of 500GB. Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
In 2016 (4 years ago) I revived this Dell, by replacing the hard disks with one 250GB Crucial SSD for a new operating system and one HGST hard disk of 1TB for data storage.
My first OS installation was then Ubuntu 14.04 and Xubuntu shortly after because it was even lighter on the system resources.
Over time I have had a few upgrades, and currently (2020) it is OS Kubuntu 18.04.4 LTS.

Disk Upgrade

I have to say that the first year from Windows to Linux took a little getting used to.
Especially in the way you do certain things in Windows and how to do it on Linux.
Also simpler things like installing a printer and card reader for passport was slightly more difficult than on Windows, at least on the 14.04 version of Ubuntu.
Since 18.04.4 LTS Kubuntu everything is much smoother, and there are actually no more problems,
and I can only recommend a switch to Linux.
If you are not really at home in computers and software, it is best to leave this to someone who is - which in the end is the same with Windows.

Developing software is as follows:
* Rapid Photo Downloader v.0.9.16
* RawTherapee v. 5.8
* gThumb
* Luminance HDR 2.6.0
Less used, but also: Gimp, Hugin, Digicam

Simply put, my current "workflow" consists of three programs:
For copying pictures - camera or SD to computer - Rapid Photo Downloader.

View and sort jpg and raw files - gThumb.

Developing RAW files - RawTherapee

Later on I will definitely come back to the used programs, a little explanation, where to find etc.

But at the moment you can also visit my other website where there is a bit more explanation about RawTherapee:

Adopted Camera - The Pentax K-5

Pentax K-5 with battery grip and Chinon 50mm f1.9 Perhaps a surprising choice or proposal for many ( especially since I have emphasiz...