by Jared Abrams | 16th October 2010
Cinematographer Alex Walker sent in this short film he shot with some intresting glass. He managed to pull this off with an older Pentax 50mm. He has also been playing around with M42 mount glass. Thanks for sending in the info. Here is the email from the man himself. I’m primarily a uni. student but I also shoot a lot of short films and take on some music video and other commercial work to help pay the bills so I am constantly looking for ways to achieve the best look with out spending a lot of money. A friend of mine’s grandfather was a photographer and had given him his old equipment including some old M42 glass. So I borrowed his Pentax 50mm f2.8 and haven’t looked back since. I’ve purchased 2 M42 mount lenses since then (a Helios 50mm f1.8 and a Soligar 80-200mm f3.5 w/macro) for less than $50 each. They may not have the same modern coatings on the glass but the look is just as great. Two things really set these lenses apart for me: First of all, the manual iris. I’m an all manual shooter even when shooting photos. I much prefer the connection that is created between you and your subject when you have to account for distance and focus manually over letting the camera do it for you. The same goes for the aperture. There’s something about dialing it in manually and seeing the diaphragms through the lens that really connects you with what you’re doing. Plus, there’s the option to de-click the iris for motion picture work, which I plan to do. Secondly, the focus throw is MUCH longer than modern still glass. For photography clearly this isn’t ideal, but combine the super long throw with a large diameter gear for a follow focus set up and you’ve got what feels like miles of smooth cine-style focus control. As for the look, the glass is generally a couple k warmer than say my other modern Canon lenses or my tamron 17-50, so you have to compensate a bit with white balance. The bokeh is also really interesting. It almost seems to swirl around your subject depending on the light conditions. So these lenses are great for low budget shooters or pros alike. You can easily out fit your camera with 3 lenses covering the 20-200 range for under a $150 plus the cost of the $9 adaptor. Only trouble is readers should really check over the ebay listings before purchasing. Goes with out saying that there should be several clear photos of both ends of the glass so you can see they aren’t marred or foggy. These lenses are metal and will most likely have some scratches but as long as the glass is ok you’re golden.Read more
We only send updates about our most relevant articles. No spam, guaranteed! And if you don't like our newsletter, you can unsubscribe with a single click. Read our full opt-out policy here.