Gig Shooting with Vintage Lenses

So I did go out last night.

Been a month since the last gig I shot, and the chance to cover Jack TV’s Boombox event again this year was tempting. Last year’s photos were not bad (see ’em here), and I’m sure to get good stage lighting.

Taken By Cars
Taken By Cars at Jack TV’s Boombox 2008 event

Also, I was itching to test the Takumar 200mm f/3.5 lens that Mari Arquiza (aka redsago) gave me, along with her high school camera, a Pentax Spotmatic with a Super Takumar 55mm/f1.8 lens. Both lenses come in the M42 mount, and I already have a lens adapter for my ancient EOS 350D DSLR camera, so these vintage babies did come to a more than willing daddy to adopt them.

And there goes the challenge: can I cover a multi-band gig fiddling with the focus ring from start to finish, since Auto-focus was absent in the test lenses?

The answer: Yep.

See, my 350D has a special contraption on its viewfinder. Its called a focusing screen, which makes the chore of manual focusing in this digital age easy. It became my savior at last night’s gig, but 30% of the time, the scene’s exposure setting was just too uncooperative to see the split-focus reference, I had to guesstimate.

The Takumar 200mm f/3.5 lens (produced 1959-1961), at 750 grams, was a difficult lens to use, but when the the subject is fairly stationary, and the focus and lighting is just right, the results are short of breathtaking, for a lens of this age:

Lala
Lala at Jack TV’s Boombox 2008 event

The Super Takumar 55mm/f1.8 lens (produced 1962-1971) -which as online text states, may be single-coated (!)- was easy to focus and a delight to use. How does it compare to the infamous Canon 50mm f/1.8 MKII? The results tend to lean towards the texture of film, and since it tends to overexpose (at AV mode), you get “brighter” photos, which seems like you’re actually using a faster lens.

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How was the gig? I’m glad to see Taken By Cars and Sino Sikat? again, and I had my one-song post-rock intro dose from Typecast again. Oh, and you can definitely call me a 90s kid, but it really would’ve made my night if Datu’s Tribe did their song Praning, since it was my first time to see them.

Sino Sikat?
Sino Sikat? at Jack TV’s Boombox 2008 event

View the full photoset here.

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