Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f/2 Leica Mount

by Simon P M Johnson & Alex Bowler

image Simon P M Johnson | Voigtlander 28mm & Leica M9-P

Lets face it when it comes to photography, Voigtlander make some shit hot products. They really are a shinning jewel for so many of us who just cant justify or afford some of the big $$$$ required by Leica and the like when it comes to lens choice. I have had my share of Voigtlander lenses over the years and a couple hold pride of place within my 'M arsenal'. The Voigtlander Ultron 28 was a lens I had been waiting to try for some time so when the opportunity arose I & Alex jumped on it, I was eager to see if this lens was up to the chalenge, at such a great price point would it make the grade and perhaps complete my Holy Voigtlader Trinity lens collection ??

It must be said I have used both the Zeiss & Leica equivalent in the past and the bar had been set at a very high level so was keen to see how a 'budget' lens would stacked up. Alex threw the lens on his Zeiss Icon for a couple of days and ran a roll of color film through it. He just wanted to see how the lens suited his style of shooting and was a great alternative viewpoint to my digital Leica M. 

Alex's images above give a great example of how versatile the lens actually is. 28mm is a often overlooked focal length, I suggest those of you who often stick to the slightly longer 35 should definitely give the 28 a try. I made the switch some years ago for my street work and have never really looked back.

The Voigtlander has a lovely hefty feel not cheap at all. It's focusing is smooth and accurate with  nice fluid swing. In general I always hyper-focus when shooting with it on the street, however manual focus is a dream to use and very enjoyable on the digital Leica M & both Voigtlander & Icon film bodies. There was no trouble with any of these camera bodies when it came to coupling with their separate rangefinders.

Alex & I both came away very happy indeed, there really isn't anything not to like. Ken Rockwell has a more in depth tech review on his sight which I would recommend having a read. He goes much further into the lens and provides some  points you may wish to consider before purchasing. He also provides some great images exampling his findings.

So for me it's a winner at a budget price, if money isn't a issue then the Leica , 2.8 Elmerit-M or even the Carl Zeiss Biogon T f2.8 are the quality choice. For the rest of us the Voigtlander is definitely worth not only your time & money, but your respect ... Cheers Cosina

SHARPENING X-TRANS FILES IN ADOBE LIGHTROOM BY PETE BRIDGWOOD

We posted Mark Soon's great article a couple of weeks back regarding Adobe Lightroom's limitations when dealing with Fujifilms X-trans sensor files. Here Peter Bridgewood runs you through his X-trans imaging process when using Lightroom, enjoy.
image Simon Johnson iPhone 5

image Simon Johnson iPhone 5

Sharpening is one of the most taxing aspects of the digital process and consequently many photographers prefer to stick to safe and secure ways, either using presets, plug-ins, exporting to Photoshop or ultimately using JPEGs straight from camera. The X-Trans sensor produces wonderful JPEGs, and all the usual advice about always shooting in Raw doesn’t necessarily hold true anymore. There are now many professional photographers who happily shoot JPEG using X-Series cameras all the time and have no complaints.

JPEGs are very convenient, but for a landscape photographer like me, interested in the creative process and using post-processing as part of the digital alchemy, Raw files are so much more versatile. Sharpening Raw files from the X-Trans processor can be challenging for those of us who have grown familiar with more traditional Bayer array sensors; they demand a different approach and even experienced photographers will find there is a learning curve.

The sharpening controls in Adobe Lightroom have evolved to a degree of simplicity and perfection that eclipses much of the competition, including Photoshop. There were some initial teething troubles when sharpening X-trans files using earlier iterations of Lightroom; ‘waxing’ is one of the terms used to describe what can happen in images with high detail frequency (for example scenes with lots of fine detailed foliage). However, Adobe and Fujifilm have been working closely together to perfect the algorithms working behind the scenes. At the time of writing, I’m using Lightroom 5.6 to sharpen all my Fuji RAF files and creating exhibition prints up to A1 size without any significant problems.

This guide offers an introduction to perfect sharpening for Fujifilm X-Trans Raw files (.RAF files) in Lightroom 5

The processing of any digital image requires two essential and distinct types of sharpening: output sharpening and capture sharpening. Output sharpening is the final step in preparing an image for printing or display on screen. Because output sharpening always depends on known variables like printer model, paper type, and degree of enlargement, it is best performed automatically. In Lightroom, output sharpening is applied in the print module or for images intended for display on-screen it is applied on export. This guide relates only to sharpening that requires our human judgment, capture sharpening.

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Source (http://petebridgwood.com/)

INTERVIEW // John Carpenter's set photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker

Snake Plissken at home and down-time with The Fog: celebrating John Carpenter's most iconic movie moments with an exclusive preview of a new book

As the saying goes: behind every great man there's a great woman. In the case of American photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker, she was often behind the scenes of cult director John Carpenter’s original and thrilling films. From Halloween – arguably the first ever slasher film – to eerie classic The Fog, to cynical anti hero Snake Plissken’s performance in Escape From New York, Gottlieb-Walker was involved in documenting some of Carpenter’s most enduring work.

She began her life with photography taking 35mm stills during her freshman year at University of California, Berkeley, covering contemporary events such as the Free Speech Movement in 1964. After shooting a failed independent motion picture, her colleague on the project, Debra Hill, was drafted in to work Carpenter’s Halloween, or as it was initially titled “The Babysitter Murders.” Hill remembered Gottlieb-Walker’s good work, and brought her along, kickstarting an eclectic career that – alongside her Carpenter work – included diverse television shows such as Star TrekCheers, and even subjects such as Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley.

Gottlieb-Walker is set to release the book On Set With John Carpenter, which features many images giving invigorating insight into these trendsetting horror and sci-fi films from the 1970s and 80s. As Carpenter himself describes in the book’s dedication: “Kim’s behind the scene stills catch the fun we were having at the time. Her portraits and action shots are exquisite.”

What was your experience of your early career – attending UCLA film school and working as a grad student for Motion Picture production?

Kim Gottlieb-Walker: I loved the Motion Picture department at UCLA. My film school teacher, Bill Kerby, used to do interviews for the underground press and brought me along to shoot the stills - it's how I got to shoot portraits of Jimi Hendrix when I was 20 and he ran the light show when the Doors played locally - which I got to help with as well. I worked as a teaching assistant for students making their first films when I was in grad school. Working for the underground press helped me compile a portfolio full of fascinating musicians, politicians, authors and popular culture heroes in the late '60s.

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