On a re­cent cold and damp (but not ac­tu­al­ly rainy) evening I was in­vit­ed on a Fujifilm-sponsored pho­towalk on Vancouver’s Granville Is­land. The day be­fore, I’d re­ceived the fruits of a whim­si­cal Kick­starter splashout from months and months back: a Da­guer­rotype Achro­mat 2.9/64 Art Lens from Lo­mog­ra­phy. It was great fun among the sparkles in the dark.

The lens looks like this:

Daguerrotype Achromat lens by Lomography on a Fujifilm XT-1

It has a Pen­tax K-mount, fas­tened here to my Fu­ji XT-1 us­ing a Fo­to­di­ox adapter. Look at the fan­cy writ­ing on the nar­row part of the lens, then look a lit­tle fur­ther away from the cam­era body, above the writ­ing, and you see a black slot in the top of the lens. It doesn’t have an aper­ture di­al, so if you want to change the F-stop, you in­sert “Waterhouse aper­ture plates”.

Waterhouse aperture plates for Achromat lens

(Pho­to stolen from Lo­mog­ra­phy.­com, hope that’s OK.)

The top row are straight­for­ward­ly marked with their aper­ture, F2.9 through F16. The oth­ers in­tro­duce var­i­ous spark­lies and squig­glies to your pic­tures. I got more aper­ture plates than in the pic­ture, there were a whole bunch of them, some marked “experimental”, what­ev­er that means in this con­tex­t.

In fac­t, I got a lot more than that. The lens came in a love­ly lit­tle box with a beau­ti­ful­ly print­ed book full of his­to­ry and dreamy over-artistical shot­s. This kind of lens was used, in 1838, to take the first known pho­to­graph that in­clud­ed a hu­man. Even­tu­al­ly, the Achro­mat de­sign was suc­ceed­ed by the Pet­z­val, which among oth­er things is more com­pact. Take a look at that first pic­ture above and you can see why; small­er isn’t al­ways bet­ter, but this is a beast by any mea­sure.

Enough pream­ble: Here are a cou­ple of Achro­mat pic­tures of a bare tree wrapped in christ­mas light­s.

Achromat lens take on light-wrapped tree
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Achromat lens take on light-wrapped tree

The first is way out of fo­cus, the sec­ond as sharp as I could man­age; since the Fu­ji is WYSIWYG, all the spark­lies made fo­cus­ing hard. I found us­ing the screen worked bet­ter than the viewfind­er, for some rea­son. I have to say they made me smile. You re­al­ly might want to click on that sec­ond pic­ture for full ef­fec­t.

It’s worth not­ing that if you want to mon­key around with funky manual-focus lens­es, the Fu­ji­film X-cams are a good choice, be­cause of the su­perb focus-assist fea­tures.

At the mar­ket there were light-studded spheres hang­ing over­head.

Overhead lights via Achromat lens
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Overhead lights via Achromat lens

I for­get ex­act­ly which of the aper­ture plates I used, by this point they were in a messy tan­gle at the bot­tom of a camera-bag side-pocket and re­mem­ber, it was dark.

It can’t al­ways be sparkles and tin­gles, in Lo­mog­ra­phy as in life, so I wres­tled the brass beast in­to shots that I might have tried with more nor­mal gear. It was a super-moon evening.

Super-moon through bare branches via Achromat

And then, fi­nal­ly, peo­ple. The face treat­ment is, uh, unique, and the back­ground sur­pris­ing.

Faces at the Fujifilm photowalk, via Achromat

Every pic­ture has been quite ex­ten­sive­ly pro­cessed. I think that’s the right way to pro­ceed in this pho­to­graph­ic space; ob­vi­ous­ly one is shoot­ing for ef­fec­t, not for truth.


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From: Eric D Hanchrow (Nov 18 2016, at 17:49)



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November 18, 2016
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