Folklore and Historical Museum of Larisa photos

Last month I had the privilege of taking some images at the Folklore and Historical Museum of Larisa, Greece. A wonderful museum with very interesting exhibits.

For the photo shoot, I used the Nikon D800E mainly with the Nikon 14-24mm f.2.8 and 16mm fisheye lens, for a few images I employed the 24-70mm. All photos were shot on a tripod in order to keep levels straight and distortion corrections were made in Adobe Lightroom. The 14-24mm is a fantastic lens, and for this kind of work proved to be the perfect match for the D800E.

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©2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Sony a7s with Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 lens

A7s with Nokton 50 1_5

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 is an great rangefinder lens. I have used it a lot on my Leica cameras and on the Sony A7s is a perfect match, due to its image quality and small size. My Nokton 50mm f/1.1 is a more specialised lens but it is a lot heavier and I find the image quality of the f/1.5 to be better. My version of this lens has been discontinued, Voightlander has released a new version.

Images below were taken with the Nokton 50mm f/1.5 lens.

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©2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Fuji GSW690iii for Sale

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I am listing for sale on Ebay my Fuji GSW690iii medium format camera. This is a wonderful 6×9 rangefinder camera with an amazing 65mm f/5.6 lens (28mm equivalent in 35mm format). I have tested it last week shooting two rolls of Fuji Velvia, you can see the images on my previous posts. I have removed the lens hood on the camera in order to have easier access to filters (the camera takes 67mm filters).

The reason for selling it, is that at the moment I have many film cameras which are really not used. I am upgrading my video equipment, so selling a camera that is rarely being used anymore is a good idea.

You can view the listing on Ebay here

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Fuji Velvia revisited (part 2)

This is the second part of my “Fuji Velvia revisited” article. All images were taken with the Plaubel Makina 67 camera using Fuji Velvia 50 film. The compact shape of the Makina combined with the fast f/2.8 aperture allows for handheld use even with a slow ISO film like Velvia.

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©2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Battery grip for Sony A7s

Sony A7s battery grip

The battery grip for my Sony A7s has just arrived. It really fits well the camera, gives me a much better grip and the buttons on it are very helpful. Of course the greatest advantage for me is having 2 batteries, the A7s is a very power hungry camera !. The whole combo is smaller than I imagined and it makes the camera more sturdy for handheld work. It is also easier for me to shoot video on my monopod or tripod, since the screen is easier to flip (without the grip, the bottom of the LCD screen is almost sitting on the baseplate). The lens is also much higher from the baseplate which makes it easier of me to change apertures and focus better.

You can check the grip here: Sony VGC1EM Vertical Camera Grip Accessory (Amazon.co.uk)

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Fuji Velvia revisited

It’s been over a year since my last roll of slide film. These days, I am shooting much less film than I used to. The convenience of digital and my heavy involvement with video have made me use less this wonderful medium. With a camera like the Nikon D800E, I have plenty of resolution for large prints. This camera also gives me the ability to easily create panoramic images by stitching shots. Stitching also makes it easier for me to create images with much higher resolution than my medium format or even my large format camera.

I still love shooting film, especially medium and large format, but my free time is limited, and film requires time both on the field and at home (developing, scanning).

About Fuji Velvia, I had a few rolls left on the fridge (expired one year ago, but no problem if they are leptin the freezer), so I thought it was time to go out and make some images. My choice of cameras were the Plaubel Makina 67 and Fuji GSW690iii.

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(Fuji GSW690iii, Fuji Velvia 50, aperture:f/16, speed: 1/2, polarizer filter)

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(Fuji GSW690iii, Fuji Velvia 50, aperture:f/16, speed: 1/4)

I used Fuji Velvia 50 which I consider it to be the best version of Velvia (other versions are 100 and 100F). The low ISO combined with a medium format cameras where apertures usually are f/11 and above means that a tripod is necessary. Add to that a polariser filter and you shoot near ISO 12. Far away from the crazy ISOs we are used to see today !

The most distinctive characteristic of Velvia 50 is it’s colour. Vivid with a wonderful rendering on green, yellow and red. There are ways to emulate it with presets using Photoshop, Lightroom or other software, but personally I find its palette unique and very very difficult to replicate, especially when looking at a large print. It’s a wonderful emulsion, and one I hope that will remain in the market for a few more years, it would really be a pity to see a film like this discontinued.

Sunrise at Kastoria
(Fuji GSW690iii, Fuji Velvia 50, aperture:f/16, speed: 1/30)

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(Fuji GSW690iii, Fuji Velvia 50)

Shooting with Velvia is quite tricky. This is a very demanding film and exposing it correctly is not easy. There is no room for error, even half a stop overexposure or underexposure can make a huge difference. I rated these rolls at ISO 40, and I found some of my images were a bit overexposed, so I’ll probably stick at ISO 50 when I calculate exposure.

In today’s world of HDR and heavily saturated images, the look of Velvia might not impress as it did a few years ago, but I find it a great landscape film, and I hope I will find some time soon to shoot a few sheets of 4×5 Velvia.

Enjoy the rest of the images.

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More images shot with Velvia will be uploaded tomorrow.

©2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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A great lens for the Sony A7s

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The Leica Summarit 35mm f/2.5 was on of my first rangefinder lenses. It was affordable (for a Leica lens) and it’s image quality is fantastic. The only issue was the f/2.5 aperture, not very fast, and on my Leica M8 this was a problem in low light conditions. So, eventually I also purchased the Voigtlander Nokton 35mf/m 1.4 lens, which was cheap and fast, but of course an inferior lens next to the Summarit (the Summilux 35mm was very very expensive). Despite their small size, after a while I didn’t feel like carrying two lenses which had the same focal length, and the Nokton was the one to carry (to be able to cope with low light shooting).

About one year ago, I was ready to sell my Summarit. I was using it so rarely that I couldn’t find a reason to keep it (my Fuji X100 with its 35mm equivalent focal length was the perfect all around camera, so no need for a 35mm on the M8). Fortunatelly, I kept it, and one year later the Summarit has emerged as a favourite lens for my Sony A7s.

As you can see on the picture above, its size fits perfectly the A7s (I have the hood on, without it its almost half the length). The f/2.5 aperture on the A7s is no problem at all with its stunning high ISO performance, and the image quality is what’s expected from a Leica lens. This is a great travel combo, both for video and stills.

Enjoy the images below, all shot with the Summarit 35mm.

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©2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Meteora in Black and White video

My latest video with the Sony A7s, a short clip shot at Meteora, Greece. I used the Sony A7s with my NEX lenses, the 18-55 and 55-210. These are not full frame lenses, so video was shot on APS-C mode. One very annoying thing I noticed, was that both these lenses have no stabilisation on the A7s body, which is strange since they are native e-mount lenses. To make things even more strange, my Sony SEL 50mm f/1.8 lens has stabilisation enabled on the same body !!! Let’s hope that a firmware update will deal with this issue, since one of my main reasons for using these lenses is image stabilisation.

I converted the video to black and white, using Filmconvert, which I recently purchased and I find it an excellent software for what it does (emulating film look).

Here is the video.

©2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Sony A7s with Leica Elmar f/4 lens

One of the reasons I purchased the Sony A7s was the ability to mount every single lens I own. My interest was mainly about rangefinder lenses, since they are very small and light, and that makes a very good combination with the small size of the camera.

One of my favorite lenses is the wonderful Nikon 135mm f/2 DC. I tried it on the a7s and the results were stunning. Wide open at f/2 it can produce wonderful video (and stills). My main concern is the size and weight. This lens really cannot balance well on the sony, and even when on a monopod or tripod you have to deal with an awkward combination.

So, while it still remains a favorite option, for those times when I don’t need the fast aperture for narrow DoF, I have employed the Leica Elmar 135mm f/4 lens. It’s two stops slower, but at the same time is very small and light for an 135mm lens. Very easy and comfortable to shoot with handheld or on a tripod/monopod.

I consider it a very good choice for the A7s, and it’s a lens that can be found at a good price (135mm rangefinder lenses are not very popular, so prices are affordable).

Images below were taken with the Leica 135mm.

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(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Scanning

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My scanning gear in action. It’s been over a year since I shot slide film and at the moment I am scanning 4 medium format rolls of Fuji Velvia 50. I will upload my first scans tomorrow.

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