The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for August 3rd, 2021

once revolved

with 2 comments

je m’appelle Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has reactivated a formerly inactive and semi retired lens back into service. I won’t bore you with the technical details revolving around the camera, instead I’ll just say that this particular lens never performed terribly well on my old camera and it fell out of active rotation in favor of other devices. Saying that, it’s complimentary to the newer camera I’m now using so there you are.

These shots were gathered while hanging around Astoria, carousing and watching the other Queensicans go about their business. This is a telephoto lens, which allows me to get “up close and personal” from about a block away. Its biggest flaw on the RF system is that it’s a fairly “dark” lens, with a variable aperture.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “variable aperture” bit means that as you zoom in or out, its internal settings change. It’s f4-6.3 over the range, if you’re curious. One vastly prefers lenses which don’t do this, and the rest of my current kit doesn’t do variable, but that’s where they get you on price. At the moment, I don’t have any financial impetus to upgrade to a better lens for this particular function. Also, maybe it’s just me, but if you’re zoomed out to 300mm you really want to be working the image at narrow apertures to ensure sharpness.

For those of you who aren’t camera nerds – lenses with wide apertures like f1.8-f4 produce images with narrow focal planes but allow a lot of light into the camera. Think about portrait shots with blurry backgrounds for what that looks like. Narrower apertures produce more edge to edge sharpness, but restrict the amount of light entering the camera, necessitating longer exposure times and or higher ISO settings. Photographers, myself included, drool over bright lenses. Lens manufacturers price their wares accordingly, and – generally speaking – the brighter a lens is, the more expensive it is.

Telephoto lenses with wide apertures are ludicrously expensive, which is why you generally see them employed by Paparazzi, Sports, or Wedding photographers. I take pictures of junk yards and tugboats, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Where that narrow aperture really bites you in the tuchas is at night, or in any situation which isn’t “outside during the day.” The rest of my lens kit is very capable in low light conditions, and even at f1.8 I’ve been hitting tack sharp infinity focus with them. The 70-300 I’ve brought out of retirement isn’t really in the same league as these more modern lenses, and its color rendering requires a bit of adjustment and attention that the newer ones don’t need. Saying that, it’s already paid for, so win.

Speaking of winning… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 3, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria, Queens

Tagged with , , ,

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