Vintage track day
Allez Dada!, Peugeot 205 Rallye (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

Vintage track day

The monthly track day at Lohéac has become my playground where, like the drives, I practice. So when I want to try a new thing I like to do it first at Lohéac, on my “home course”.

Legends Car (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

Last weekend was actually a big test. Thus, I was not only using the camera I am the less familiar with, I was also using vintage lenses. But what would you do this to yourself? why giving up on autofocus and automation?

Toyota GT86
Toyota GT86 (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

To be honest I will not stop using autofocus and still let the camera figures out some of the settings. But sometimes the camera is overwhelmed and you need to take over. And on those occasions you are happy to have some practice.

Ford Focus ST (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

In addition, shooting in full manual makes you slow down, focus and help you to test the limit of your equipment. So in Porsche’s terms: even if the PDK is more efficient, some time it is better to use a clutch pedal.

Team Breiz Atak BMW (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

Where to start?

Even if we are using Canon cameras we recently bought a Sony Alpha 7. We were looking a for a compact system to carry around and the mirrorless camera coupled with a Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 seems to be a nifty package.

Renault Megane (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

Until now this kit proved to be small, versatile and perform really well. The only limitations are the autonomy and the ergonomy. However thus drawbacks are mainly cause by the small size of the camera and can be mitigated by some practice and carrying extra batteries. Yet, some reading and the need for something more open the pandora box and change the game.

Peugeot 106
Peugeot 106 (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

Actually, in the early days of mirrorless camera the lack of dedicated lens create the resurgence of vintage manual lens. Ironically the hype did not go away with the deepening of lens portfolios. So you will find on the internet plenty of guide on how to pick vintage glass and make of the best of their attitude.

Alfa Roméo Giulia
Alfa Roméo Giulia (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

Still, the real tricks with using vintage lens and and even some modern manual ones are the price and diversity. Thus, for the price of one modern quick prime lens you can buy plenty of nice old glass and cover all your needs. Added bonus, the imperfections and flaws of older lenses give some flair and artistic opportunities.

Funyo
Funyo (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

However, by trade I like to have the best tool for the job so I was a bit reluctant to screw an old piece of a metal on to a recent digital camera. A friend of mine tried to convince me that manual focus was the way but it did not work.

Legends Car
Legends Car (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

Some autofocus mishap, a day in aquarium where the camera’s brain melted time and time on the internet made me change my mind. So let’s, practice, explore and be creative.

Alfa Roméo Giula (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

The Helios 44

Most of the books, websites, YouTube channels on photography will insist that you need a quick 50mm lens in your quick. Not only those lenses are cheap, light, great in low light situations they are great all-rounders. So why not started with a Helios 44?

Helios 44-2 58mm 2.0 Soviet lens mounted a Sony a7 camera

Ok, it is an easy choice as those early Russian made lens are trendy and available. Those lens are great for portraits,

Renault Clio 3 RS
Renault Clio 3 RS (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019
BMW M2
BMW M2 (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019
Legends Car
Legends Car (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

… candid shots,

Funyo
Funyo (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019
Toyota GT86
Toyota GT86 (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019
Team Breiz Atak BMW
Team Breiz Atak BMW (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

… and even landscapes when you can back off a little.

Citroën Saxo (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

Consequently, there is a new nifty fifty in our arsenal.

The rabbit hole

But why limiting yourself to one lens or one focal length? Besides there are some lenses that look good and are shiny. Take a look at this Jupiter-11:

Jupiter-11 135mm 4.0 Soviet lens mounted a Sony a7 camera

Like the Helios 44 the Jupiter-11 is a copy of a Zeiss design, it is also largely available and relatively cheap. Although not bad for portraits…

Toyota GT86
Toyota GT86, (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019
Quadrifoglio verde (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

… this telephoto lens shine in panning shots,

Renault Megane RS (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019
Peugeot 206 (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

… and to steal some instant like a Paparazzi.

Funyo (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019
Legends (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

What is next?

All pictures from this track day were taken using those two old lenses. Although the edit is hiding the vintage look the result is better than expect. Therefore the Pandora box is utterly opened and there is already a second version of the Helios 44 on our desk.

Funyo
Funyo (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

So in addition to the car focused content already planned, tests of photo equipment will be posted on the blog and as expected more…

Renault Megane RS (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019
Renault Megane (Jupiter-11), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019
Renault Megane (Helios 44-2), Journée Echappement, Lohéac, 28/04/2019

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