A Woodland Walk with Porst Color Reflex

Woodland Light

I believe that… my first successes in my out-of-focus pictures were a fluke. That is to say, that when focusing and coming to something which, to my eye, was very beautiful, I stopped there instead of screwing on the lens to the more definite focus which all other photographers insist upon…

Julia Margaret Cameron

In the past I used to be obsessed with sharpness, and was not happy until an image was "pin sharp". Soon I realised that photography for me is not about sharpness or any other technical aspect, but about capturing emotions, atmosphere, a story, something special which shows the world through my eyes, in my own way. Modern digital technology allows us to produce perfect imagery. Sometimes the images can be too perfect and non distinctive, lacking the real life, a certain "je ne sais quoi". Nothing in the real world is perfect, we are not perfect. Dare I  say we are all perfectly imperfect. That is the beauty of the world and the way each of us sees it.

So I started to discover the world of weird and wonderful vintage lenses. Mainly for their unique and distinctive image rendering and slight imperfections, which gives the images a certain charm that is missing from digital photography. There are hundreds old lenses available on today's market, and finding the one that is right for me turned out to be very confusing. I didn't even scratch the surface of what is out there. In the end I decided to take a leap of faith and chose Porst Color Reflex 1.2 50mm UMC X-M G.

I understand it is not one of the most popular and most known vintage lenses, but after seeing a few sample pictures I decided that it would be a good one to start with. It is actually a re-branded Fujinon EBC 50/1.2 lens. Therefore it is only available in the original Fujica FF X-mount, not the current Fujifilm APS-C X-mount, so an appropriate adapter ring is necessary. I am not going to go to any more technical details, you can find some specifications here. I just would like to share a few thoughts on this beautiful lens and the first few pictures I took on my recent woodland walk. So far I have only used it wide open at aperture f1.2 because that is when it creates its distinctive, beautifully soft and creamy bokeh I love so much. It also lets so much light in that I was able to use it without the tripod in most situations. However because of such shallow depth of field it is very easy to get the focus wrong. Any slight movement will shift the focus where you don't intend it, so I would still recommend using the tripod. It is slightly soft at this aperture, but I think it gives the images their dreamy look. When using it I remembered Julia Cameron's words, and turned the focus ring until what I saw looked beautiful. And everything I saw through the lens that day certainly looked beautiful.

I have a feeling that this lens is here to stay with me for quite a while.

What is focus and who has the right to say what focus is the legitimate focus?

Julia Margaret Cameron

Beauty, you’re under arrest. I have a camera, and I’m not afraid to use it.

Julia Margaret Cameron
Walk On The Wild Side

I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me, and at length the longing has been satisfied.

Julia Margaret Cameron
Broken Wings

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  1. I’ve just bought an adapter so that I can use my 35mm camera lenses on my digital SLR. I have a few prime lenses and although the use is limited you have inspired me to go out for a wander and experiment. Thank you x

    1. Hi Jenny. I am so glad that you feel inspired. I am sure you will enjoy experimenting with your old lenses. It is like getting new eyes again. Do let me know how you got on, please. I would love to see the results. Have lots of fun. xxx

  2. I love these. What a fabulous idea. I wouldn’t even know where to start looking at old lenses. Beautiful photos.

    1. Thank you so much, Anna. Really glad you like the photos. It is really difficult as there are so many choices, so many models, and each one has its own characteristics. I am still looking and wondering if I made the right choice. But it is fun to experiment and hopefully at the end of it I will find the look I am looking for. Wishing you lots of luck.

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