Maybe it’s the time of year getting to me, but I came across a couple of black and white competitions and decided to enter. I’m not usually one for competitions as experience has taught me that I never win them, but I this time I thought, ‘what the heck’. It’ll be an experience.
One of them happened to be Nikon’s Inframe webzine’s photo of the month competition and there was no limit to the number of pictures I could enter, as long as they were taken with a Nikon camera. So it was time to dust off my old negatives (or scans of old negatives) and submit some of my older stuff. What a surprise to learn that only images taken with a Nikon Digital SLR or Coolpix were eligible. I guess Nikon don’t think anyone uses their film cameras anymore. So that’s it then, everyone has gone digital. It’s official. Nikon say’s so!
Seems a shame for Nikon to exclude film photographers, especially since there is not shortage of buyers for Nikon SLR’s on ebay. Indeed, it would appear that despite what Nikon thinks, there are still plenty of togs shooting film.
I’ve contacted Nikon and it should be interesting to see what they say, if they respond! Until then, I’ve got a post Christmas project involving a couple of rolls of Tmax 3200 and an F301 that has been stood on my desk for far too long.
Come on Nikon. remember some of us still use film.
While Kodak moves ever further toward becoming a supplier of cheap Ink-jet printers (was that too harsh?) It’s sad to think how one of THE photographic innovators of the past has fallen so mightily. Then I went shopping for some T-Max 3200 for a Christmas project. With 3 photographic retailers near where I work, I thought I’d see what I could find. One of them doesn’t sell film at all. The second had film but only two rolls of Kodak film, neither of which where what I wanted. The last stocked only Fuji and mostly Ilford.
So why is it so hard to find Kodak film? Why isn’t Kodak taking the initiative, like Fuji, sponsoring websites and competitions, keeping people interested in film – their film? Surely a good place to start would be making sure you got your film where people could buy it?
Rule number 3: Photography is an expensive hobby
Rule number 4: but it doesn’t have to be.
Since digital SLR’s adopted the APS-C sized sensor, many film photographers converting to digital suddenly lost their wide angles. Like many, I liked my standard zoom to stretch to 24mm. Since manufacturers are a bit slow to catch up, the only other option is to buy an ultra wide angle zoom, but since they are rather expensive, (anyone else notice that lenses for a smaller sensor aren’t that smaller and are actually more expensive than they used to be for their 35mm equivalent?) I looked at a much cheaper option – Wide angle attachments.
The ones I went for were a package of wide angle and telephoto lens attachments in a 67mm thread. (Let’s face it. they’re really just filters that screw onto the front of a standard lens!) They’re available all over ebay and Amazon in a variety of filter sizes and prices.
The Neewer lenses are a pretty standard set and I imagine the same lenses will be offered under a number of different brands. They are boxed in a plain white box and each have a soft cloth case and front and rear caps, so not bad. They do weigh quite a bit and are fairly substantial.
Wide Angle Lens
Let’s start with the wide angle attachment. This is actually made up of two lenses, a wide angle one and a macro one. The macro lens can be used on its own, but the wide angle lens will only work in partnership with the macro lens.
This is where the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ comes in to play.
As you can see, there’s some serious vignetting and a real lack of sharpness at the edges. By the time you crop these out, you have less than what you would have had at 18mm. If you zoom in to remove the vignetting, you get to about 50mm and you end up with a strange zoom style motion blur that I really don’t find that pleasant.
I’ll be honest, If I wanted a blurry effect, I’d use a lensbaby.
OK. So the wide angle lens is a bust. What about the macro lens?
I’ll admit that I’ve never really done macro well, and I’ve only one other macro lens to compare it too, but the other lens (a Sigma Macro filter) was sharper.
That’s not a bad result, but look at the full size crops below and you’ll see some nasty colour fringing at the edges as well as loss of sharpness. it does pick out some remarkable detail in the centre though.
corner crop full size
I’d say the macro lens was an average one, and you’re likely to find much better close up filters for not much more.
I didn’t really want the telephoto lens, but it came free for the same price other’s were selling the wide angle lens alone for. This really is a hefty attachment though and I wouldn’t be keen to have this on my lens on a regular basis.
Actually, the results weren’t too bad. A little edge softness compared to 105mm without the attachment, but not at all bad.
I guess I could have done this review in a couple of choice words, but that’s not exactly helpful. So, does rule number 4 come into play here? Can you buy these and save some money, or is it worth spending (much) more? In this case, I’d have to blunt and conclude that these lenses suck. Save up your money and buy an ultra-wide angle lens. There are Sigma and Tokina lenses available for a couple of hundred quid and if you’re real lucky, you’ll find a second hand bargain. Just don’t waste your money on these.