A couple of days ago I bought a Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens. Since there are no ultra-fast ultra-wide angle lenses for either Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1, I wanted to try it out and see if it would work. What I wanted to use it for were nighttime landscapes with an emphasis on the sky. I always wanted to try out photographing the stars, Milky Way, etc. Of course, as is often the case with C-mount lenses, there was a chance that it wouldn’t work at all.
A rare lens
There is no mention of the Cosmicar 8mmm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens on either ebay US or ebay Germany – not even under completed listings. There is also very little info regarding the lens on the web. I found a thread on mu-43.com eventually, but this was after I bought the lens. There is a lot more info about Cosmicar 8mm f/1.5 and 8.5mm f/1.5 lenses, though, neither of which are able to illuminate the entire 4/3 sensor.
Since there seem to be a lot of similar lenses – at least with similar specs – I’ve included several images of my Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 down below.
About one and a half months ago Meike announced a 25mm F0.95 lens and three additional prime lenses for almost all mirrorless camera mounts – even Nikon 1. ePhotozine has posted a review of the of the micro 4/3 version of the 25mm F0.95 lens. The verdict reads as follows:
Of course, we have to accept that this is a manual focus lens, which will not be to everyone’s taste, but if we are prepared to live with that then we end up with a very desirable lens. It is sharp, albeit not at the edges until f/2, in the centre outstandingly sharp, there is no trace of flare, CA is well under control and the price very reasonable for what we are getting. We can add to that the creative possibilities for stills and movies of that f/0.95 aperture and it makes a good case for giving the Meike 25mm f/0.95 serious consideration.
Yesterday I recorded another damselfly video with me trying to pick one up with my finger from an aquatic plant and failing a couple of times, but succeeding in the end. This video was recorded with a Nikon 1 V1 and Nikon 1 Nikkor 10-30mmm f/3.5-5.6 and is therefore far better quality wise than the last one, which was filmed with a Ricoh GR Digital III in standard resolution (640*480 pixels).
Damselflies are many a macro photographer’s favorite subject. They are colorful, slim and elegant. When you look at their face, they often appear to be smiling. Described in one word, they are beautiful. They are also very active and wary, which makes them challenging to photograph for novice photographers. But if you are familiar with their behavior, there are ways to trick them into posing for the camera very patiently or even into sitting on your finger. And you don’t even have to get up at 5am, when all insects are slow due to lower temperatures.
Less than a week ago I finished making a macro diffuser for my Meike MK320. Unlike the first version of the diffuser (see here), which was intended to work with the built-in flash of my Olympus OM-D E-M10 and was made of paper – and was therefore fiddly and not very robust – this one is mostly made of cardboard. The inside is layered with aluminium foil, in order to reflect more light and therefore increase effective output and improve flash recycle time.
I’m not entirely sure that I have succeeded in making the setup more efficient, but I’m very satisfied with the look of the photos. The light doesn’t look hard, which is the most important aspect for me.
I love primes, primes are great. They offer a lot of advantages compared to zooms. But if they are fixed (as in non-interchangeable), they impose a limit on subject choice. This is the case with smartphones.
Usually phones have a fixed prime lens with a full frame equivalent focal length of 30mm to 35mm – a photojournalist’s of old favourite focal length. The “not too wide” wide-angle is a very flexible FL that allows you to shoot all kinds of subject. Some of the things you can’t shoot with it, however, are macro, landscapes with the super wide angle “look” and photos with a certain effect, like the circular fisheye effect.
This is where additional lenses come in. There are a number of such add-on lenses for your smartphone. Sometimes they even come in so called “kits”, consisting of three lenses – a super wide-angle, a fisheye and a macro lens. One of the cheaper kits is the TaoTronics Phone Camera Lens Clip Kit for 12 bucks. As you will see in course of my review, image quality isn’t always great, or even good, but there is a huge benefit in terms of flexibility.
Just to make things clear right from the start, this is a photography centric review of the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo. I will only be discussing the smartphone’s photo taking capabilities. If you are looking for a more general review, there are many such reviews to be found on the web. But if you want to find out how it fares as a camera, then read on.
Three weeks ago I bought a used Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lens for my Nikon 1 V1. It wasn’t exactly in pristine condition, but the price was too tempting to let the opportunity pass. As the luck would have it, my EN-EL15 battery died just several days before. The 30-110mm arrived sooner than my replacement battery from ChiliPower. Since going by its cosmetic condition I wasn’t sure that it would even work, I was biting my nails, waiting to test the lens out. And as you probably know, if you’ve bought enough used gear online, there are many conman out there. Luckily the 30-110mm turned out to be an excellent workhorse in disguise of an ugly duckling. 🙂
Note: I have already reviewed the 25mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens on my Nikon 1 V1 – you can read the review here. Because of borderline unusable image quality on my Olympus OM-D E-M10 I have decided to write this review, in course of which I will be analyzing its performance on Micro 4/3.
In the original review I have made the argument that this no-name 25mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens isn’t worth getting, unless you are a huge fan of swirly bokeh and other “Lo-Fi” effects usually associated with Lomo and Instagram. This is even more so when you use this lens on a micro 4/3 body. This is unusual, since its cousin, the no-name 50mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens, performed much better on the larger sensor of the E-M10.
Anyway, this review is more of a warning than anything else. Read on to find out why you shouldn’t get this lens.