Friday, January 7, 2011

Panasonic GF1 Lens Adapter

A while ago, I picked up a cheap lens in a thriftshop with the intention of adapting it to my Panasonic GF-1. Because I am a cheapskate and the lowest priced vendor happened to be in China, it took almost a month to arrive. Then came Christmas, and I'm only now getting around to testing the lens/adapter combination.

Here it is all together; GF1, Adapter, 12mm Elgeet f/1.2

The first thing I noticed about this lens is that it is quite heavy, in fact it weighs more than the camera body itself, so the whole thing is terribly out of balance. The second this is that doesn't actually cover the chip in the Panasonic, in fact it vignettes like crazy:

1/4000 sec f/1.2 ISO 100
That being said it does have a wonderful look; like someone grafted a fisheye to a tilt/shift lens. Focusing is iffy at best, but if you stop it down to f/4 and hit the MF button, you can get close to in-focus. It helps if you have a pinpoint light source to focus on (but don't try it with the sun).

But frankly, I don't really care if my shots are in focus (wait, did he just say that?). Yes, it's true. If all I wanted was sharp photos in the first place, I wouldn't be melding with wacky gear from the 1950's with modern digital, I'd be shooting with the 14-45mm zoom. All I want is for the image to move someone; like a Voigt-Kampff test, I want an emotional response.

Anyway, I kept playing with the lens and finally found its sweet spot:

1/1000 sec f/1.2 ISO 100

If you're going to try this, just look for images where the vignette looks natural, and no one will notice that your lens doesn't cover. Here's another example where it works:

1/30 sec f/1.2 ISO 100

What I'm really going after here is a way to bypass the thinking side of my brain and access the feeling part of it. I used to have it 20 years ago, and somehow I feel I've lost the rawness. Maybe this is one way that will help me find it again.

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