Posts Tagged ‘Canon’

Trying out some vintage Leica, Canon, Minolta and SMC lenses on Sony a7R

A while ago I decided to do a comparison shoot with four different vintage lenses. The aim was not to make excellent photos, but just to shoot the same thing with same settings and compare the results. The lenses used were:

All of these lenses were shot wide open at F1.4 except the Summicron, which was at F2.0. This is because all vintage lenses look more or less the same at F5.6 or F8.0 which I should have used on the street scene if I were shooting the street and not just comparing the lenses. Old lenses tend to show their flaws aperture wide open, so I did not see any point in comparing these in any other setting since they’d look the same. I have a large collection of lenses, and these were chosen because of relatively low price and good quality. I have better lenses, but comparing affordable lenses is more interesting. I tried to shoot the same scene with a less affordable combination as well so you can do a little bit of comparison between very affordable lenses and not so affordable one.

The camera I used was a Sony a7R with adapters for each lens. I did not do any colour correction after shooting these lenses, so you can see the lesser quality of Sony cameras compared to Leica or Fujifilm just by looking at the white balance. If I need good quality photos from the Sony a7R, I need to change the white balance manually for each photo. That is something I don’t have to do with any of my Fujifilm or Leica cameras. I don’t know what Sony is thinking, but all photos taken on a Sony camera are brown. A photo taken of my grey cat looked brown enough that a friend of mine asked if it’s my cat since it looks brown.

I also made a couple of comparison shots with Leica M9 and Leica Summilux-M 50 mm F1.5 ASPH. at F1.4. These are just to show that there is a difference both in cameras and in lenses when you go up the price scale. But the truth is that you can take very good photos with lenses that cost less than 100€. When I bought these lenses, they cost less than 50€ each apart from the Summilux which was over 200€. I bought the Canon FD 50 mm F1.4 from Amsterdam, and it came with Canon T70 camera and camera bag all for 40€. It once belonged to an old man who was enthusiastic about film photography, and the widow was delighted to know that the lens was going into real use like his husband would, not into a dusty collection or museum.

Why a cold street and not some nature?

There are places like this in the centre of Jyväskylä if you just look.

Less than 3 km away from the centre of Jyväskylä the view totally changes.

It is currently winter in Finland and these were taken at the end of January. There is nothing that is green around and believe me when I say that there isn’t a lot of nice places to see at this time of the year. When the moment is right and you’re in the correct location you can get nice shots, but when there is little to no snow and everything is brown and grey, looking for something nice is challenging. It was +3 degrees celcius when we were taking these shots and Sony depleted its full battery in less than 45 minutes. I don’t know what Sony is thinking when two batteries in a battery grip last only 12 minutes in -10 celcius. My Leica M240 can shoot whole weekend with one battery and Fujifilm is no slouch either, although not nearly as nice as the Leica M240.

First comparison

This scene was shot at walking district in the centre of Jyväskylä, Finland. I focused all lenses to a pole in the centre of the photo. Sadly the last shot with Leica M9 is not shot in the same direction as the tripod must have moved, and I did not see that in the optical viewfinder of my Leica M9. I have an adapter for M-mount lenses for Sony a7R, but the results are often so disappointing due to sensor differences that I don’t think it’s worth it using any Leica M-mount lenses on a Sony camera, it just looks wrong. Leica has a thinner layer of glass over the sensor and microlens structure to combat colour cast and vignetting. In my opinion, the Leica M240 is even better with all Leica M lenses including wide angles, so Leica has made improvements in that respect. On the other hand, Sony sensor is not designed at all for non-Sony lenses that are very close to the sensor, causing the outer edges of the image to be blurry. For example, the Summilux I used on my M9 during this test shooting is very blurry on the Sony a7R.

Canon FD 50 mm F1.4

Canon FD 50 mm F1.4


Minolta MC Rokkor-X PG 50 mm F1.4

Minolta MC Rokkor-X PG 50 mm F1.4


SMC Takumar 50 mm F1.4

SMC Takumar 50 mm F1.4


Leica Summicron-R 50 mm F2.0

Leica Summicron-R 50 mm F2.0


Leica Summilux-M 50 mm F1.4 ASPH. with Leica M9

Leica Summilux-M 50 mm F1.4 ASPH. with Leica M9

Second comparison

This second scene if very near the first one to the same direction. The red granite spheres are called “Kahden kesken” and are made by Matti Peltokangas in 2003. In fact this second set was shot before the first one because of sunlight.

Canon FD 50 mm F1.4

Canon FD 50 mm F1.4


Minolta MC Rokkor-X PG 50 mm F1.4

Minolta MC Rokkor-X PG 50 mm F1.4


SMC Takumar 50 mm F1.4

SMC Takumar 50 mm F1.4


Leica Summicron-R 50 mm F2.0

Leica Summicron-R 50 mm F2.0


Leica M9 and Leica Summilux-M 50 mm F1.4 ASPH.

Leica M9 and Leica Summilux-M 50 mm F1.4 ASPH.

What did we learn?

For me it’s obvious that all these lenses are different. I can’t show the exact differences using the same scene but instead, I would have to look for a specific situation for each lens and shoot it with all lenses to show the difference. That would be too much work for something that you’ll eventually see if you purchase any of these lenses.

What was interesting is that price does not always guarantee excellent results. A high-end lens like the Leica Summilux-M 50 mm F1.5 ASPH. demands some practice because of field curvature and other features of the lens. Without particular situation where an individual lens excels, all these are very capable tools. I could have changed the captions for the lenses, and you would never know I did that. The Leica Summilux-R 50 mm F2.0 looks slightly better to my eye, but so would each of the other lenses if they were shot at F2.0 instead.

Camera differences

I have several Fujifilm cameras, but as these all have crop sensors, I decided to use a full frame camera for 50 mm lenses. Since my Leica M240 is still in Solms, Germany, I had to use my Leica M9 for comparison shots. Whenever I go taking photos, I have noticed that everything I shoot with Sony cameras is brown or somehow sad looking. I really like the more true colour balance I get from Fujifilm cameras. Leica M9 is far from neutral, but it has its own charm by having a bit of a Kodak film look, which is not a surprise since the sensor is designed and made by Kodak. Sony a7R is good for adapting different vintage lenses, but it is not capable of using Leica M mount lenses properly because of the short flange focal distance. I know that some lenses look good, but most do not and I hate it when someone is comparing Leica lenses to Sony lenses using a Sony camera when there is a big difference in quality when you use a real Leica. Leica M240 has more neutral look compared to the M9, but sometimes the old CCD look of the M9 is just what I need.

Canon Selphy CP1200 Wireless Compact Photo Printer Review

I have been photographing semi-seriously for quite a while, but one thing has been missing. Of all the photos I take, only a tiny minority has ended up as a real physical photograph. That, in my mind, is a shame as pictures on my computer are not equal to actual photos. There is a world of difference between backlit image and a real paper photo you’re holding in your hand.

During recent years I have ordered photos online, have had them made at a local camera store and even printed them myself using an Epson inkjet printer. Of all these, the online option was the cheapest, but of questionable quality. The local camera store wasn’t a lot better since they had real issues with dynamic range, i.e. 10-20% of the dark end was black and nothing else. I scanned the negatives in question myself and printed them with my Epson, and there wasn’t any problem with the dynamic range of the photos, it’s just that they weren’t printed right on whatever they’re using. My Epson was cheap, meaning that it wasn’t exactly capable of producing high quality no matter how much you adjusted your settings and used proper paper. The Epson was very practical in a sense that I could print a photo or two instead of having to collect a larger amount of them just because there was a base cost of few euros with every order. That’s what also killed the printer because the nozzles eventually dried up and even an Inkjet First Aid Kit they sell on Ebay was not capable of opening the clogged nozzles. Since Epson does not have replaceable nozzles like HP does, that was the end of the printer.

Having learned my lesson with inkjets now twice and never going that route again, I was looking at the possible alternatives. I concluded that for making standard 10×15 cm prints a Canon sublimation printer might be a good choice and for larger prints it’s more cost effective to order online instead of buying an expensive inkjet and worry about it getting clogged again. Inkjet ink is more expensive than finest wines or human blood, so that also was taken into consideration.

I bought myself a Canon Selphy CP1200 Wireless Compact Photo Printer from Amazon.de, since they had a huge discount on the white model for an unknown reason. Since I don’t judge printers nor people by their appearance, I chose the cheap white design.

Canon printer does not come with a USB cable, but that’s the norm nowadays, and I noticed that Canon printers are not supported anymore under Mac with USB cable anyway, so the missing cable was not a problem. If you need the cable connection (for God knows why), you’ll need to be on Windows. Wireless printing is fast enough for small amounts of photos and if you need large enough amount for the speed to be a problem, it’s cheaper to order them online. The printer itself is tiny, but once fully operational it will need some space around it.

Installing the printer is easy, but at least I had to read the small manual once. You’ll have to install one “ink cartridge” as Canon calls them and paper to the tray. I ordered three packs of 108 pcs photo paper from Canon and these packs always come with the “ink” needed to print them, so you’ll never have to worry about clogged nozzles, stripes on photos, smeared ink, missing waterproofing or other issues with inkjets. It also makes it very easy to calculate the cost of printing, which for me was 31,25 € divided by 108, making a single photo cost around 0,29 €. Canon claims the photos will last 100 years which is excellent if true. Some of my childhood colour photos are completely ruined and they are 40 years old at most. Black and white photos are fine no matter the age, even the ones from my grandparents are good as new.

My first prints were done from my iPad and Lightroom Mobile since the Canon was showing my wireless base station twice and one of those works for printing and the other does not. I’m not sure if that is because of 2,4 and 5 GHz networks I have or the fact that my ISP had enabled the once disabled 2,4 GHz wireless again using the same name I’m using on my Apple Airport Extreme. The joys of remote management. Once I got the network issue sorted out, I could also print from Adobe Lightroom on my Mac, which recognised the printer as AirPrint printer, meaning that I didn’t need drivers from Canon and hopefully never do, as Canon is one of the worst companies ever considering what comes to drivers. They’ll never support any old products, and while this printer was the latest model and brand new, even that was discontinued. Same happened once with a Canon scanner I had, meaning that selecting my next brand of scanner was a lot easier, ending up with Epson.

Taking a photo of a printed photo does not make sense, so you’ll have to imagine what I describe verbally. I was surprised by the quality I got from Canon Selphy SP1200 even without any adjustment. The shadows on the photos are slightly darker than on the screen but other than that it looks more or less the same. I have iMac 5k with sRGB screen and separate 100% Adobe RGB calibrated screen, and neither of these produces the same result as the photo is, but the main difference is in how computer screens and photo paper differ from each other. I was not disappointed with colour reproduction as it was accurate enough for skin tones, gradients on the sky, bright coloured company logos, green nature, etc. I still have one issue with the printer and that is the positioning of the image on the photo. The result is borderless unless you select it to have white borders, but borderless photos tend to cut slight amount from both top and bottom. It’s not usually noticeable, but if the image was already cropped tightly, you might end up with a partial picture. I’m not sure if I can adjust Adobe Lightroom’s Print module to leave somehow the photo zoomed a bit less, but so far I haven’t had the time nor the patience to try.

If you’re looking for a 10×15 cm photo printer for home use, I cannot recommend the Canon Selphy SP1200 more. It’s ideal in design as I do love the fact that I don’t have to worry about dried ink nor other issues I mentioned earlier. Compared to other non-inkjet photo printers on the market (Fujifilm Instax or Polaroid) I’d choose the Canon any day. Others are a lot more expensive to operate and produce smaller prints, not standard 10×15 cm photos your parents used to have.