Google Analytics

Monday, 11 July 2022

Lenses and Tubes

I’ve been in the loft again. This time it was old photographic stuff.

The lens on my present digital camera (a 7.1 megamixels Canon Digital Ixus 70 bought in 2007 for £170) has a 3x optical zoom and a 12x digital zoom if one is happy with loss of image quality. That, of course, is nowhere near as good as more recent digital cameras where 20 megapixels and a 25x optical zoom (or more) would not be uncommon, and even many camera phones would now better it. Even so, I still find it adequate for everyday purposes (note to family: it may be time I had a new one).

But in the old days of film cameras, lenses were usually of fixed focal length. You could get zoom but they tended to be expensive, so people usually used interchangeable fixed lenses, typically a standard lens, a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens.

My Zenith E came with a standard 58mm lens which was a little long, a bit like always being on 1.2x zoom. It also had quite a narrow field of view, so I bought a 35mm wide-angle lens for indoor shots, and also a 135mm lens for distance. My understanding is that the 135mm lens is equivalent to 2.7x zoom. For 4x zoom I would have needed a 200mm lens, and for 8x zoom a 400mm lens. As well as being  expensive, they would have been very heavy to carry around when out walking.

Here, captured from mid-auditorium by the 135mm lens, is my brother receiving his degree at the University of Bradford from “that old man with a dirty hanky” as my aunt put it (he was younger than I am now). I stood up to take the picture, the Zenith gave off its customary loud “clunk”, and I managed to sit down again before people on the rows in front turned round to see what the noise was.

But what did we do for close-ups? My digital camera has quite a useful close-up ‘macro’ feature, but lenses were not so straightforward. They could be near-focused to some  extent, but true close-ups required a set of extension tubes (sometimes called extension rings) which screwed between the lens and camera body.

I had a set of three tubes of 7mm, 14mm and 28mm, which, in combination, gave seven different levels of magnification. They screwed together with such satisfying precision. I took this close-up of Southern Iceland from a map of Scandinavia in an atlas in 1977.

Here are the lenses and tubes down from the loft. They are destined for the charity shop, although whether they are worth anything when these days you can pick up top of the range Leica, Canon and Nikon stuff for next to nothing, I don’t know.

 
 
 

And for the true nerds, here is the instruction leaflet for the extension tubes.

22 comments:

  1. I have a 100-400mm zoom for my Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and it IS heavy. But I haul it around anyway and it's gotten me some great shots.

    I wound up donating my previous digital camera and its lenses to our school photography program. I had no use for them and I think any resale value would be minimal given that, as you say, cameras can do so much these days and are more than adequate for most people.

    Having said that, there are camera shops that will buy old lenses, so you might have a look around and see if you can get anything for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PHONE cameras, I meant, in that second paragraph.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I wouldn't have wanted to be walking over mountain passes in Switzerland with lots of lenses in my rucksack. It was heavy enough as it was.
      One of my main considerations at the moment is to reduce years of accumulated clutter, so the idea of trudging around camera shops with them in return for just a few pounds doesn't really appeal. It might be easier in London but we live in the Yorkshire countryside so it would mean a special trip to somewhere like Leeds.

      Delete
  2. Sorry - cameras tend to be a mystyery to me - I am of the point and click brigade.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As is spelling by the look of my comment - sorrry I meant mystery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Point and click has a lot going for it with modern cameras, which produce high-quality images while making it difficult to go wrong.

      Delete
  4. Try emailing Ffordes Photographic. They'll make an offer and collect if they are interested. Maybe PX for a newer used camera.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, that's a good tip, Adrian, and I've just spent an interesting half-hour looking at their website. They seem to prefer high-end brands such as the ones I mentioned. But, you know, basically, I'm simply wanting to get rid of the clutter and I can't really be bothered with messing about in return for what essentially amounts to peanuts. There was a time when I would have put it up for sale on ebay, and eventually it might have all gone, but the time you spend packing up parcels and posting them off is a pain. I have recently acquired some sympathy with those who say their time is of value too and they won't do anything unless it saves, say £50 an hour. Of course, it's different if it's spending time on something you enjoy, but de-cluttering a loft is not one of those things for me.

      Delete
  5. What an honour to receive one's degree from Harold Wilson. As for cameras, I am quite happy with my Sony bridge camera. It pretty much does everything I want it to do and the zoom range is fantastic compared with its non-digital ancestors. I guess that there are many attics that contain defunct camera equipment and I further guess that Mr Wilson was right about "the white heat of technology".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a deft link I hadn't thought of. HW had a good ear for the memorable phrase. He was VC of Bradford for many years. I got my degree from Lord Wilberforce. Who presented your - was it Robbie Burns?

      Delete
    2. I chose not to attend my degree ceremony but looking back, I wish I had gone. I worked hard for my joint honours degree and my Diploma in Education.

      Delete
  6. F has a friend who, while doing her art degree in photography picked up all sorts of camera equipment like yours at charity shops and used them experimentally to try and create surprising effects. F regarded it as unfathomable but guesses she had fun doing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Understanding and using photographic equipment such as lenses and extension tubes will become another one of those skills that will gradually be lost. At one time it was a common topic of conversation, especially between men,

      Delete
  7. If you sell them on ebay you might make a few dollars. Or pounds. Or is it Euros where you are?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've just read the other comments, so ignore what I said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me? Ignore? !!! I guess I've sold around £3,000 of stuff in dribs and drabs on ebay in the past 20 years, but stopped 5 or 6 years ago after things being "lost in the post" and other issues. Too much like work.

      Delete
  9. I have one of those Canons. It used to be good...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was never serious enough about photography to want a top end camera.

      Delete
  10. I still have a couple of small lenses for sentimental value. Believe it or not, I am grateful for a stroke twenty years ago that wiped out a lot of language and memory, and what I was not committed to relearning, I donated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are nice objects to have. Having one or two as ornaments might be interesting.

      Delete
  11. Dear Tasker, I had/have but don't use it anymore a very powerful Minolta (is in Berlin now, I must look up which) and remember distinctly two things:
    - the big bag in which I had it and its many, many lenses (Macro, Teles etc) was VERY heavy (for me).
    - It often appeared like a combat with men (most women didn't have such equipment) - I took out the camera, added the lens - the man looked, did the same, but topped it -- I fumbled in my huge photo bag and took out a bigger one, hahaha.

    Now I own two very good little Lumix - the one I still use, a Lumix Iota, has a Leica objective DC Vario 1:3:3 - 6.4/4.3 - 129 ASPH. - but I seldom use them - my cellphone is lighter, always there, and I can send the photos instantly via Whatsapp (I know that the Lumix has also such a function - but then I still have to transport my cellphone as telephone).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll put together a post about cameras rather than lenses.
      It sounds as if you had the full gear. It was indeed mostly a man thing in the circles I moved in. A woman with all the kit would have terrified them, especially if she knew what she was talking about. A lot of men didn't.

      Delete

I welcome comments and usually respond the same day (unless it looks like you are trying to advertise something).