Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover .....

In my last post I talked about my "ugly" Quantaray zoom lens which came with a Canon Elan SLR film camera I bought off ebay. There was definitely no "love at first sight". With the signature green lettering at the rear end of the push pull lens barrel, this CN-Tech (Quantaray, made for Samy's Camera?) 75-300mm zoom lens has a max f-stop of 4, a deal breaker in low light. This lens is old, manufactured ages ago! I did not expect much. When I first tested it without film, the focus seemed fast, albeit a little noisy but the noise is not any louder than the Canon EF 70-210 f/4 lens. The lens is light, made mostly of plastic. The push pull zoom barrel is slightly stiff but works nonetheless. The only way to judge the lens is to shoot with it. Armed with a fresh roll of Neopan 400 film in the Elan with the rather unconventional looking lens I set out on foot to the harbor at 4pm yesterday. The harbor was picture perfect as always. There were many sailboats, power boats and a dozen very salty looking fishing trawlers. This is a place of my daily evening stroll except that this time it was 4pm and the sun was a long way from setting. The 400 ISO film was an over-kill but it was the only film I had left. There were a few kayakers and paddle boarders in the water, a group of school kids and their parents with puppies in tow having some family fun. The sea surface sparkled and danced in the gleaming sun.

"Three kayaks at the Rent A Kayak Center, Neopan 400, Adonal, Elan, Quantaray CN Tech 10 75-300mm f/4-5.6"

It was easy to finish 36 shots on the Neopan 400. I could always find photo ops, even the most mundane objects. I am a sucker for lines and shapes, hard shadows. Give me anything and I will find an interesting angle to make a photo out of it. As soon as I got back to the office, I developed the negative (Adonal 1:50, 11 minutes) and was pleasantly surprised. Nearly all the images from this roll were fantastic (if they were not it was my fault entirely). Focus spot on, images sharp. In black and white film, the inferior Quantaray glass almost did not matter. The 300mm focal length was definitely very handy.

"ABOVE - Giant shovels used by harbor fishermen"

An interesting side note on these giant shovels. These huge shovels have a 16 x 12 inch pan size and measure almost 5 ft long with the handle. Fishermen use them to quickly move buckets of shaved ice into 5 ft x 5 ft x 5 ft blue plastic tumblers as hundreds of freshly caught squids come off the conveyor belt into these tumblers. The tumblers of shaved ice and squids mix are then loaded into a 20 ft container, hauled to Long Beach Harbor and shipped to China for processing!! The squids, cleaned, cut, sorted and packaged in some port city in China would then make their way back to the US supermarkets. This sounds crazy but true

And below is my Elan and Quantaray CN-Tech 10 telephoto lens that could produce such respectable results. One thing to note. This is a film only lens, it does not work with Canon dSLR

This Quantaray zoom lens cost me almost nothing, $25 to be exact. It is now a keeper. Work with the limitations of one's gears, one shall be rewarded with good results!!