TTartisan 50mm f1.4 first impressions

In todays blogpost we talk about the TTartisan 50mm 1.4
The TTartisan is a full manual lens but as you probably know that doesn’t mean you have to manual focus on most Sony cameras 🙂

As you can see here I have a adaptor between the lens and my camera.
In this case I’m using a FotoDiox adaptor (Techart makes a similar/same version) which is one of my favourite “gadgets” for my camera. On the adaptor you can mount a Leica M lens and by moving the lens back and forward you get a lens that works very well as an AutoFocus lens. I’m still using the old version of the adaptor. Recently a new version has been released which is supposed to be a lot faster but I don’t have that one so my review is based on the old adaptor, and lets be honest it doesn’t really matter for the performance of the lens at all.

If you want to use the lens as an AF lens it’s important to order the right version.
Normally you would of course chose the mount of the camera you are using, in my case the E-mount for Sony. But because the adaptor is using the Leica M mount (flange distance) I’m testing that version.

Now don’t worry, if you order the E-mount version or Canon/Nikon/Fuji mount the performance should be the same.
Ok let’s go.

Primes that are fast
Now let me start right away with the notion that I mostly use the Sony Gmaster 24-70 f2.8 which I absolutely love, but I also love old vintage lenses, this is also why I got the adaptor, I have a few convertors that I can use with that adaptor so I can use Leica R/M, M42, Minolta etc. lenses and believe it or not those lenses can give modern lenses a run for their money on character. Don’t get me wrong the Sony lens is awesome but it’s also very clean, and sometimes you want something with a bit more character and “faults”.

A 50mm is a very nice lens to use as a walk around lens.
The first few minutes it’s a bit getting used to if you normally use a zoom lens, but it’s a very easy and fast process, and before you know it you are thinking in 50mm 😀

For me one of the main benefits of using a prime lens is the wide aperture, and in most cases you can get sharper results with less budget. Now let me start right away with something that might sound weird… I don’t really care about ultra sharpness. Of course I hate lenses that are soft, but I also don’t zoom in 400% to see if there is a pixel sharper yes or no. When I zoom to 100% and I can see the little hairs on someones face I’m happy. (and that really means a lens is pretty sharp)

Now you might wonder….”Frank… didn’t you forget something?”
Yep, I know what you mean, we will get to that later.

Build quality
The TTartisan 50mm f1.4 is build like a tank.
Oh and I really have to add that I just love the way the lens is presented in a beautiful case. Personally I would have appreciated it even more if the lens was packed in a nice pouch also, but that’s not a big deal (for me), but the case really adds to the feeling you are working with something special (even if it isn’t).

The ring for the aperture has a really nice click feel, for video I would prefer a stepless design but for photography this is perfect. Now with a manual focus lens I always put very high demands on the focus ring, and man did they hit the nail on the head. The focus ring has a nice holder and operates silky smooth, sometimes I just felt so comfortable focussing manually that I forgot I used the FotoDiox.

Now you might wonder why I use the focus ring when I have an AF adaptor. Well one of the many advantages is that when you normally use the adaptor you set the lens to infinity and it just works (make sure to set the camera to the max wide open aperture otherwise all your images will be overexposed) but when you change the focus you can actually focus much closer than the lens normally allows, I’ve taken some shots on 15cm distance which turned out very nice and sharp, so you also get a sort of added macro option.

Some test shots
I was really in doubt if I would post these images.
As you all know I’m mostly shooting people/models and although I love streetphotography it’s just my hobby, and the following images were all shot during a short walk with our LabraDoodle Chewie at the Waterloopbos in our area. But I think they do give a nice idea what you can achieve with very little effort, of course I’ll also be using the lens during the next workshops and update the review with new parts.

But for now let’s take a look at the images..
“Frank, did you not forget something?”

There we go.

One of the things I love it backlighting, and every lens does this differently, personally it’s one of the first things I test and I have to be honest, I really like the glow the TTartisan has, it’s incredibly subtle which is the way that I like it, often this also means the lens has some lens flare issues… which again in my opinion is not a bad thing, I actually use these kind of lenses because of the character, so lens flare and glows are 100% part of this. When a lens does this right it can be awesome, but when it doesn’t… well its not a lens I would use.

The TTartisan does it very nicely.
Lensflare can be called up pretty easy, but also eliminated pretty fast. I do would have preferred a sunhood to be honest.

Aiming the camera slightly down eliminated the lensflare, but as I mentioned before I actually love the effect the lens flare gives in some images, being able to play with it is a big plus for me.

But now the thing I “forgot”
Some people don’t know how to pronounce it right (including me), some people don’t know what it is, but…. we all know it when it’s bad, and we surely know it when it’s great.

In short, Bokeh is the way the out of focus areas of your image looks. And don’t underestimate this, it can really mess up a normally great shot.

Over the years I’ve used loads of lenses and bokeh for me is always a deal breaker, or a reason I keep going back to the lens. For example I have 2 copies of the famous Helios lens and that one is unique for it’s rough/almost so ugly it’s nice bokeh, but it’s not my choice for serious work.

The TTartisan has for my eye a silky smooth bokeh which I absolutely love.
The main advance of shooting wide open with this lens and the silky smooth Bokeh makes it really easy to draw the attention of the viewer to the area of the frame you want. And the background just eases the viewer into the subject instead of dragging him/her out.

Now as mentioned before I was in doubt posting these images because they are not really spectacular, but they do show very nicely what the lens can do with bokeh. Most of the following images were shot wide open.

As you can see the Bokeh is very pleasing.
But let’s be honest these are shots that are very obvious and not something I would actually use the lens for.
I love to use the wide open apertures to draw the attention to a certain area in the scene, and that doesn’t always mean something standing out.

Take for example the following examples and you probably see what I mean.

In these shots you don’t really see the effect as obvious but it does give a real sense of depth and 3D feel to the images. And this I really love and made me actually decide to post the images anyway.

Here one shot on f8 and one wide open.

And of course I could not resist my two favourite friends 😀

Now in all honesty taking a supersharp image of Chewie was a bit of a hassle with the adaptor and I was actually faster on manual mode, but with most subjects the adaptor does it work like a charm

Conclusion for now
As mentioned before this is my first impression piece.
I’ll add more information in the next blog post as soon as I shot some more images with the lens.
Hope you enjoyed it so far.

Finally solved the iPad corrupt files issue

Solved my corrupting files issue on the iPad pro. And does make me worry for the future

Apple claims the iPad pro is a laptop “killer” and indeed you can do a lot on it. But apple…. Most people also want to get the stuff off their iPad into other machines. And no cloud doesn’t work in a hotel with 20-50gb per day. Also in the field without WiFi it just doesn’t work to make backups.

We need external drives.
After months of testing and getting way too many corrupt files I got a tip to try file browser for biz. Now I already have that app for batch renaming (also something apple doesn’t support)

So I tried it.
Copied everything via files and indeed corrupted video, half images etc. About 10% is corrupted. And this is repeatable. Also copying takes about 25 minutes.

After dropping the folder into file biz and connecting the USB drive copying was done in a staggering 10 minutes (excuse me) and…. Drum roll….. 100% correct. No corrupted files. No problems it just works….

Come on apple.
If you want people to spend such an amount of money on pro gear get your act together. My Android devices copy files back and forth without any corruption. And I can batch rename.

Well…. At least it’s solved now.


The story continues
So this morning I found the solution to slow copying and getting corrupt files. And the solution was actually not using “apple files” but a third party app (filebrowser biz).

So I thought “let’s create a video about this”
And after trying 8 times to upload I never got further than 20-25%. Tried chrome and safari even in mobile version.

You know the solution?
You’re not going to believe this.
Don’t use load from files but first copy the video to the filmrol and from there it’s now uploading and rendering on YT.

Apple what the heck is going on with files ?
It copies slow and corrupts files and I can’t upload to YT with it.

All problems seem to be pointing towards files
And seeing this is like the main component in iOS……

Anyway if you also run into that issue. Upload from filmrol instead of files.


Special lenses

Using different more creative lenses can be a real addition to your Arsenal of looks.

Personally I love #lensbaby lenses and also use a lot of old vintage glass that are really sensitive to flares.

What’s your favorite different lens?

This image was shot against our new #clickpropbackdrops during a recent workshop and here I’m using the lensbaby tilt solution in the form of a composer 2 with 35mm.

Love that combo.

Some shots from Urk and info on the Helios 44-2

At the moment I’m testing some vintage lenses with the Techart module on the Sony A7RIII, there were several updates and I have to be honest I’m beginning to like working with those vintage lenses more and more. You might wonder why?

Well first of all they look cool of course, but that’s not it.
Working with a vintage lens, means you’re thinking more about the process, instead of just pressing the shutter you have to think about setting the aperture correctly, manual focusing (or AF with the Techart) and the whole process is just slower, but also a lot of fun, and that’s I think the most important thing, you’re having loads of fun. Plus it sometimes makes great conversation pieces with people on the street, which makes it easier to photograph them.

In this blogpost some quick shots I took on Urk with the Helios 44-2.
Now the Helios 44-2 is a very special lens, it’s a russian “version” of the Carl Zeiss Biotar which has a really cool swirly bokeh (the out of focus areas look very funky and swirly). The cool thing about this lens is that it’s literally razor sharp, build like a tank and has not chromatic aberration, one could say that if you buy it now new for app $400.00 you actually get what you pay for. Seeing these lenses can sometimes be bought online for less than $50.00 it’s an amazing value for money. In fact it’s one of my favorite lenses at the moment.

The only thing some first time users will run into is the confusing aperture.
The lens has two rings.
One is a preset ring that is pretty stiff, this is where you set the smallest aperture you want to use. The other aperture ring is very smooth and is step-less (great for video), this is used to turn the aperture wide open for focusing and composition and as soon as you have focus you just turn it all the way to the end (preset on the aperture you wanted to use) and press the shutter (or release the shutter with AF). Do remember that AF on a lens works best with the maximum amount of light hitting the sensor so working with a so called preset lens is absolutely awesome.

A modern lens will always focus on wide open aperture and will close down as soon as you press the shutter, vintage lenses will mostly be set to an aperture (for example f8) and you have to focus with f8 which for some cameras can be a real task and will result in hunting in most cases or very slow AF, when you focus wide open it’s actually very fast, it will surprise you have fast the Techart for example nails the focus on the a7RIII when you shoot a lens wide open. Loads of negative reviews online are I believe due to people shooting these lenses on f16 or f11 and wondering why the focus is slow… well try to focus a modern lens with a 5 stop ND filter and see how fast/slow your lens performs.

Anyway long story short, the Helios is a real must buy if you’re into vintage lenses.
So let’s take a look at some of the shots. This was a very short visit so don’t expect anything spectacular but I did wanted to show them in connection to the Helios story.
All tinting was done with one of the vintage presets from my brand new (released yesterday) Lightroom preset pack, you can get it here