I’ve always loved the concept of instant film like Polaroids or Fuji Instax, but never it’s really interested me enough to buy into it. But then I discovered the NONS SL42, which might finally win me over. It’s an M42 mount SLR that uses Fuji Instax Mini instant film to let you create instant prints with real lenses. It’s currently funding through Kickstarter, and it’s an intriguing looking bit of kit.
It’s not much of a secret that I’m a big fan of M42 lenses, especially for things like video or timelapse. I’ve got a few dozen of them that I use when I’m after a particular look and feel that would take a lot of work to achieve with more modern glass.
But occasionally I see a video or photos using an M42 lens that I haven’t come across before. In this case, it’s a Soligor 400mm f/6.3 lens. A lens that filmmaker Victor Bart managed to pick up for the princely sum of €2. In this video, he shows it off on the 2x crop Panasonic GH5, for an equivalent field of view to full frame 800mm.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of M42 and other older manual focus lenses. I’ve been using them for years with my DSLRs. They have imperfections, suffered from very random quality control, that give each one a slightly unique look and feel. They often have characteristics that can’t be reproduced with modern “perfect” glass and post production. So, whenever I see my favourite photographers also using them, I get interested.
This time, Texas based portrait photographer, Francisco Joel Hernandez has discovered the Russian-made Jupiter 9. Out of all the M42 lenses I own personally, this is tied with the Helios 44-2 as a favourite. We’ve featured the Jupiter 9 before, but Joel’s video shows a couple of neat tricks for working with this lens on location. The big one dealing with the flare this lens is often prone to.
Nowadays mirrorless cameras are becoming more and more popular. One thing people adore is its compact size and weight, other, the ability to adapt other system lenses via special adapters.
on the technical side, though, 18 mm flange focal distance allows Sony mirrorless system to adopt practically any other system lenses, like Canon EF, EF-S, Nikon S, F, M42 etc.
Looking native lens lineup at the moment, we see that there are no tilt-shift lenses for Sony. You can adapt other system tilt-shift lenses, but they are pricey, large and heavy. Another option is to thing is to look for workaround. That’s what I did.
I found a tilt M42 to Sony E mount adapter. Price wise it was ~30$, weights 130 grams, provide maximum 8 degree tilt – exactly thing I wanted, the ability to play with focal plane and bokeh. Though it does not have the shift part of a tilt-shift lens, it is good enough for what I need.
I’m Tito Ferradans and today we’re here to work on a few upgrades to the Helios 44-2 Extreme mod. You probably watched the original video, as it is the most popular one in the channel. After finishing the mod and doing it over and over to fulfill ebay orders, I started to wonder about some other components I handled repeatedly for the mod.
Namely the optics. Not everyone wants polishing – which I can understand, and I myself prefer the unpolished version – so I kept staring at this black coating that covered the sides of the biggest glass elements. I decided to give it a go and try to take it off. In order to do that, I used what I had at hand: nail polish remover.
Tito Ferradans here for a lengthy video involving some serious modding and unique looks. Summer is here and DIY projects are up. A few weeks ago I was blown away by a few photos posted by one Victor Danell with a modified Helios 44. His process was to “polish” the glass elements with a strong abrasive and sand the inside of the barrel in order to increase how light bounces around.
The resulting effect is a light and wonderful glow to the brighter areas of the frame. It’s an effect I was trying to re-create in post since forever and having the opportunity to do it in-camera was just too much to resist. Then I pushed the concept a bit further, painted some things inside the lens, replaced the aperture and added a flare filter inside the lens as well.
The Helios 44-2 is one of my favourite old lenses. This, along with the Jupiter-9 are my two most used manual focus lenses for stills and video. The Helios 44 line started in 1958. Its initial design is a copy of the Carl Zeiss Biotar 58mm f/2, and was produced by KMZ for the M42 mount. Since that first version, it’s been through several iterations as technology has advanced.
In this video from Manny Ortiz, we see the Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 lens in action on a Sony A7RII. When you see the looks that can be achieved by this lens it’s easy to see why this quickly becomes a favourite of all who own one. The fact that they can be picked up for as low as $10 just makes it one that should be in everybody’s bag.
Jupiter was a class of lens made by manufacturers of the former Soviet Union. There were quite a few different lenses in the Jupiter lineup, and in this set of videos from Mathieu Stern, we’re going to learn about four of them.
A lot of people tend to ignore older lenses, but I picked up a Jupiter-9 85mm f/2 lens last year, and it rapidly became one of my favourite portrait lenses, and it’s fantastic for video. After seeing these videos, I might have to add a couple more to my list.
When it comes to ridiculously cheap but very useful lenses, you’d be hard pushed to beat 40+ year old Russian technology, and this suggestion from Mathieu Stern is no exception.