Mamiya-Sekor 55mm f/1.8 First Shots at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

This afternoon, on the way to a weekend visit to my parents', we stopped into the antique boat show at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. I thought it would be a great opportunity to try out a lens that's been in the family since it was new ... in 1968 or so. I'd actuallly been contemplating something like this for a while, and so early in the week, I ordered the appropriate adapter to mount M42 thread-mount lenses to my Fujifilm X-E1 camera. I think the total cost with tax for the adapter was about $12. The lens in question is a Mamiya-Sekor 55mm f/1.8, which works out to the "equivalent" of an 82.5mm f/2.5 on the Fuji's APS-C sensor. My thought, based on seeing some results from another old screw-mount lens, was that this would be an excellent portrait lens.

I didn't shoot any portraits with the lens today, but I did try a variety of other shots, some of which are shown here. There's minimal processing here, since I'm interested in showing the capabilities of the lens/camera combination. About all I've done is crop and make the most basic of exposure adjustments, all within the Photos app on my iPad Air 2.

I really enjoyed shooting with this setup today. Focus, of course, is all manual. Two things contribut to achieving sharp focus with relative ease. First, the Fuji has very good manual focusing tools -- a 10x zoom on the EVF, and bright focus-peaking, which in most conditions makes it almost impossible to miss the mark.

Exposure can be either full-manual or aperture-preferred automatic, and is also quite easy to control. The Fuji EVF can be set to automatically compensate for the change in aperture, and correct the brightness to display something very close to the final image -- including depth of field. The EVF even looks good when the ISO is pushed up for working in fairly dark conditions, though it does get a little laggy in low-light, high ISO conditions.

Of course, all this fun and enjoyment becomes merely an acedemic exercise if the image quality isn't acceptible, and I'm very happy to say that I'm very happy with the results. The lens is amazing, especially considering its age -- somewhere in the neighborhood of 46 years old! It's sharp, and relatively free of flare. The bokeh is lovely. The contrast is nice, and the colors are good. There is some blooming when very bright objects are against very dark backgrounds, but it's not objectionable. As I mentioned above, my thought going in was that this would be a great portrait combination, and I'm really looking forward to trying it out for that.

For those interested, full-size images may be seen in this album on my Flickr stream.