Portrait of a Young Man

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Mike Farley
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Joined: Tue 11 Sep 2012, 16:38

Portrait of a Young Man

Postby Mike Farley » Sun 23 Jun 2019, 11:05

I went on a photo walk yesterday and this young man was happy to pose. He was very much into tattoos and he showed me one which extended from his neck onto the top of his head. Something I have not seen before. Nor have any wish to emulate, it must be said.

Portrait of a Young Man.jpg
Portrait of a Young Man
Portrait of a Young Man.jpg (88.71 KiB) Viewed 164 times

Other than sharing an image, there are two reasons to show this shot here. In the past, I would have played with the Lightroom Clarity slider when bringing out the details of his face. As I demonstrated in my talk at last Wednesday's club meeting, this is not necessarily the best option as it is a sharpening tool and consequently affects contrast. Applying Texture using the function introduced with the last iteration of Lightroom in May gave a much better result.

The other point of interest is the lens which I used. It is a Carl Zeiss Ultron 50 f/1.8 for the Icarex camera system and is around 50 years old. Amongst afficionados of vintage lenses, it has a cult status. It has an unusual design in that the front element is concave rather than convex. It is very sharp, even wide open, and offers smooth graduation to the out of focus areas. Whether that is due to the front element, I would not know. Some claim that it does.

Zeiss introduced the Icarex system to counter the growing threat from the various camera systems which were emanating from Japan at the time. The perspective of history allows us to see how that turned out. While there are residual vestiges, the previously dominant German camera industry could not compete with the Japanese newcomers. The Icarex cameras were never competitive, but the system had a number of excellent lenses with the Ultron being the best of them all. Since the cameras never sold well, the lenses are comparatively rare nowadays. Originally the system utilised a breech lock bayonet mount, but later Zeiss introduced the M42 screw mount. Ultron lenses are very much sought after, with eBay vendors often demanding £stupid prices for the screw mount ones in particular. Mine is the bayonet version and it took a while to find one which which cost a more reasonable amount. This shot demonstrates what it can do at its maximum aperture.

The Ultron name continues to this day and is associated with the Voigtlander brand. In terms of lens design, they do not share anything with their predecessor. Especially that unusual front element.

Mike Farley
(Visit my website and blog - www.mikefarley.net)

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