Carl Zeiss Jena, this magical company of incredible camera lenses in the middle of Germany, surrounded by beautiful forests and touched by the arty spirit of Weimar, where Geothe, Schiller, Liszt and Bauhaus had their home. Their lenses must be magic.
And they are. One of the very famous camera lenses made by Carl Zeiss is the famous Planar 50mm f/0.7, used by Stanley Kubrick in Barry Lyndon, designed by Dr. Erhard Glatzel. Dr. Glatzel passed away and his grandson inherited his camera bag, with a content no camera bag in the world has and with a big surprise.
There where suddenly two lenses that nobody knew about, the Distagon 25mm f/1.4 and the Distagon 18mm f/2.8. They are prototypes and never went into production. Example images can be seen on the original forum post and images of more lenses are available via PetaPixel.
Well, the lenses are not very practical on photo safari, but it would be just amazing to work with them during photography courses to see their magnificent qualities in the challenging light of the bush. Maybe one day the grandson will take them there to give it a try, who knows.
Anyway, its great that there are still surprises in camera gear and special lenses evolve from somewhere.
Keep enjoying photography and maybe have a look into old boxes on the attic, a surprise could be waiting there for you.
What are you? An early adapter or rather waiting and see what happens? It is easy to be carried away on the hype over a new camera model or fantastic new gadgets of camera gear. Photography offers so many opportunities to play and one just wants to have the thing everybody is raving about. But does that make sense? Or rather doesn’t that hurt your wallet?
Have a look on what Roger Cicala has put into a graph about the worth of camera gear during its lifetime:
“For several years now, my occupation has been to basically read everything written about new equipment. In order to help everyone save time, and to save the Internet millions of electrons, I have developed a concise method to summarize all such discussions for all newly introduced imaging equipment. I modestly call this Roger’s Law of New Product Introduction and have summarized it in the graph above. You will notice there are two possible paths a new product may follow. To date, these two paths accurately describe every introduced product.
It is possible, depending upon which forums you visit, that a product follows both paths simultaneously – for example a new Canon camera will often follow path A on a Canon board, while following path B on a Nikon board. I suggest we refer to this as The Fanboy Uncertainty Principle.” (via PetaPixel)
So, maybe next time something exciting new comes out we wait a bit. It will give a better idea what the new camera can do and will be friendlier for our wallet. And if you are desperate to take it with you to the next photography course or on photographic safari, check if you can rent one and decide later.
“The camera obscura is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen.” (via Wikipedia) It is thought that old masters like the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer used it to create their paintings. British artist and art historian David Hockney did intensive research on the subject and concludes that the great masterpieces were created with the help of optics and lenses. (read the article on PetaPixel)
Knowing this doesn’t make their work less amazing. One can use optics and lenses and still doesn’t know anything about composition and light. One needs to be able to see first and that explains even more why a photographer can learn composition from looking at their masterpieces. They used photography tools the same way photographers are creating their compositions nowadays. So, going to a museum and looking at the old masters is a great photography lesson. Do the Louvre and you have a whole photography course, add a photographic safari and an intensive course in natural light will finish it up. And as a result your photographs are paintings with light, maybe even masterpieces of light and composition. You actually learned from old masters.
Surprising? Check it out. You can also visit the Louvre online. Here the link: Louvre.
“The best way to clean a lens is to use a piece of lint free lens cleaning tissue and a small amount of Lens Cleaning solution. Do not use anything containing abrasives or solvents, only use Lens Cleaning Solution. First we recommend taking a small blower brush to blow off or brush away loose dust or debris. Next, place a drop or two of cleaner on the tissue (never directly onto the lens) and then wipe the lens in a circular motion, beginning in the center and working your way outward, removing any marks or smear. If the above supplies are not available a clean, dry, soft, lint free cloth can be used to clean the lens. Do not breathe on the lens to fog it for cleaning. There are harmful acids in breath that can damage lens coatings. Just use the blower bulb, then brush, and wipe the lens in a circular spiral from the center outward.”
I remember hearing that advice from photographers of the old days and admit that I didn’t take it very serious, but obviously they were right. Maybe they didn’t know about the acid, but in essence it was valuable advice.
Wisdom seems always to come in combination with the word “old” and it does no harm to listen. And sometimes wisdom has the name Nikon