About a year ago my trusted Panasonic MiniDV camcorder died a little. Well, it didn’t really die, it just started eating all the cassettes I inserted into it whenever I wanted to start filming something, so it became very unreliable as a film-making companion – it has since retired and lives a happy life on my desk, working part time as a webcam.
Heavily influenced by all the design blogs I was reading at the time I decided to buy a DSLR and having been disappointed a little by Panasonic so recently (loved my camcorder, but it didn’t last that much longer than its warranty…) I chose the Canon 60D over the Panasonic GH2. I got it with a kit lens – the 18-55mm, f3,5-5.6 – and additionally bought the Canon 50mm, f1.8. Seeing that my wife is a Nikon with some excellent glass I also got a Nikon-EOS adapter (at that point Nikon was still catching up on the VDSLR stuff, so one of their cameras didn’t make sense for me).

 

I more or less immediately produced two commercial videos with the camera and ran headlong into the first issues, as I had to film a brick building from a distance that made the camera produce moiré like crazy. After Effects helped me out though and in the end I produced two nice little videos.

 

Ever since, however, the camera has been tending more towards leading the life of a home movie camera, which I want to change in the coming months and by doing so I also hope to educate myself in the all things film and all the equipment I have added to the camera in the meantime. Which brings me to the purpose of this first post – a 35mm, f1.4 AI Nikon lens I recently purchased on ebay. I had just read something about Nikon glass from the late seventies being a good deal, sharp and fast, saw the thing on ebay and bought it. On the evening of its arrival I took some pictures with the aperture wide open an noticed a curious thing – set to f 1.4 the lens produces a rather impressive soft glow and thus a look slightly reminiscent of  a 70s softcore porn movie filmed through gaze or a layer of vaseline on the lens.

 

Nikon, 35mm, left: f2.0, right: f1.4 – note the glare on the Apple icon and the softness around Lynn!

 

I took the camera home with me, filming all the way until we went to bed (which was pretty immediately, since it was fairly late already) and in the video the effect is not quite as apparent, except for the last three images set in our kitchen. I considered returning the lens, but the more I actually think of this effect the more I regard it as an asset. Every photographer reading this is probably cursing me or ridiculing me for my stupidity in not knowing about these things or not caring, but heck, I’m havin a good time, so there ya have it.

 

 

To be continued…