That’s Heath Robinson to British readers
Having written about the complexities of getting my old Leitz 200mm f/4 Telyt to work on the Canon EOS 5D, I took the Rube Goldberg collection of lens, adapters and digital body combination for a spin yesterday, in that wonderful afternoon light you get right before a storm. Ergonomically the outfit handles unbelievably well and, mercifully, there is no wobble despite all those adapter rings.
I had the 5D set on ‘Av’, meaning I set the aperture (the lens is manual so you have no choice in the matter) and the camera sets the shutter speed. Anyway, at ISO 200 and f/5.6 the camera said 1/750 so I pressed the button. Here is the result:
I checked the screen preview on the 5D’s LCD and it looked two stops overexposed, so I took another at f/11. Now this did not smell right. Years with manual cameras have done a decent job of calibrating the exposure meter in my brain, and f/5.6 looked about right to me.
Getting home I dropped the snaps in iPhoto and, sure enough, the original at f/5.6 was right, the other two stops underexposed. What gives? Well, I had cranked up the brightness of the Canon’s screen to maximum in a vain attempt to make the thing visible in daylight. As a result, everything looks over exposed. So I have now reset the screen to the factory default.
The picture above is about half the original, yet is wonderfully well defined on a 13x enlargement. So those magicians at Leitz Wetzlar had it all right some forty years ago when this lens was first sold. A 40 year old lens on a 4 week old camera…. OK, so it’s not auto-anything, but I mostly use long lenses on landscapes, which tend to be fairly stationary beasts. I’ll leave sports photography to those far more expert than I will ever be. Or want to be, in that genre.
As for that LCD screen, I have adopted a one hundred year old technology to solve the problem. Diving into my 4″x5″Crown Graphic kit, I borrow the well worn black T shirt which I use to see the focusing screen on that behemoth and stick it over my head and the camera. This actually makes the LCD screen visible. Some things never change.
On the way home I spotted this gaggle of $1mm homes perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. Anywhere else these would be slum dwellings but here in California these are considered luxury weekend getaways. Right dead on the San Andreas fault.
Whatever you think of the architecture, you may agree that this old lens still does the job.
Here’s the center section at a 30x magnification ratio: