Grainy shots with a new wide angle lens

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Lee Howard, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. Lee Howard

    Lee Howard Guest

    Hi all-

    My mother just passed down her 25 y/o Minolta SRT201 and I've become a
    film shooting fool. I've been shooting with my various digitals for
    several years now and it's benefited me a lot in terms of composition
    and the like, but this camera just blows a lot of my digi end results
    out of the water. I'm just also shooting B&W for now...

    The camera came with a md-rokkor x 45mm f2 lens. It's great.

    After doing some reading I decided I'd also like to experiment with a
    wide angle lens, so I went to a local camera shop and checked out
    their used Minolta lenses. I ended up buying a mc w.rokkor-sg 28mm
    f3.5 lens. I noticed in the store that looking through the viewfinder
    seemed kind of grainy all of a sudden (as opposed to viewing through
    my 45mm lens), but thought the lack of light and perceived "grain" in
    the viewfinder would be better in proper light.

    To make a long story short, it's always grainy when looking through
    the viewfinder and I just got back my first sets of prints and their
    all kind of grainy (not film grain either...just sort of washed out)
    and sort of under exposed looking. The prints shot through my 45mm
    lens (on the same role) are nice and rich and the results with this
    wide angle lens are rather disappointing so far to say the least. I'm
    also finding it extremely hard to focus through the viewfinder as a
    result of the lack of light and the extra grainy look which is also
    somewhat discouraging.

    My question would be, is it simply that I made a bad choice of lens?
    Is this something to expect with wide angle lenses? Is it a sign of
    cheap glass perhaps? Is it just that this lens is a f4 and as a
    result, dark is what I should expect? Do I need to approach all of
    this differently?

    I'd very much appreciate any feedback. I've only had the lens a week
    and could probably return it for credit and get something else if
    that's the way to go. I'm sort of a newbie at film and exchanging
    lenses though, so I have a lot to learn.

    Thanks in advance.

    Lee Howard, Jan 24, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Lee Howard

    M&M Guest

    Its a sign that something must be wrong with _your_ lens. Shine a light
    through the lens while looking through the rear element. Do you see
    anything nasty?
    M&M, Jan 24, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. Lee Howard

    MikeWhy Guest

    This is pretty common with microprism and split prism focusing aids when the
    aperture is too small. You should see the same effect with your old lens
    when you stop down to preview the depth of field. Write back if that's not
    what you're seeing.

    The washed out look might indicate better coatings on your normal lens. It
    could also be normal lens flare from pointing too close to a strong light
    source. A lens shade would help the latter. Write again if you think you
    wide angle lens has good anti-glare coating.
    MikeWhy, Jan 24, 2004
  4. Lee Howard

    The Yowie Guest

    Take the lens back.
    It's been subject to humidity and dry air in very quick succession too many
    times. It needs to be cleaned to remove the gunk the inside glass.

    The Yowie
    The Yowie, Jan 24, 2004
  5. Is the lens metering properly? I.e., if you meter a large, evenly lit
    area, does the 28 give the same results as the 45?

    The "grain" in the viewfinder could well be normal for that camera with
    a 3.5 lens (try stopping the 45 down to f/4.0 and compare), but not on
    the film!
    Chris Loffredo, Jan 24, 2004
  6. I was skeptical when reading your message. Reading the replies did give
    me some ideas however and they were all good responses, however I believe
    Chris is on the most likely track. Under exposure will cause grain to show
    quickly and to wash out colors.

    The other suggestions are also possible and all seem to rely on the same
    idea, something is causing a loss of contrast and/or focus all of which will
    create a soft image in which grain is more aparent.

    Good Luck
    Joseph Meehan, Jan 24, 2004
  7. Lee Howard

    Bob Hickey Guest

    Just a wild guess here, But your meter may be getting too much input from
    the sky w/ the 28. If the correct exposure is, say, f8 @ 1/125, your meter
    might be saying 1/125 w/ the 45 and 1/250 w/ the 28. Nothing will kill
    colors and bring out grain like underexposure. Overexpose a few shots w/ the
    28 before you condemn the lens.
    Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Jan 24, 2004
  8. Lee Howard

    Lee Howard Guest

    Thanks very much to all who responded. I'm going to take the lens,
    the prints and the negs into Gassers and take a look with them. I
    explained it to a sales rep on the phone a second ago and he sounded
    open to negotiation one way or another.

    Thanks for all the different explanations of what might be the cause.
    The metering idea was an interesting one. The metering in my camera
    has kind of been amazing me with the 45mm lens. I half expected it to
    be a little off, but I love the exposures I've gotten with the TTL
    metering so far. It didn't even occur to me that the lens might not
    be caliberated correctly and so is skewing my results even when the
    metering appears to be set correctly...

    Thanks again. You guys are great.

    Lee Howard, Jan 24, 2004
  9. Lee Howard

    Lee Howard Guest

    Hi Bob-

    I think you're probably right for the most part. I got back another
    roll that had a few more wide angle shots and some were more properly
    exposed. It seems though that 80% of the shots are either under or
    over exposed, so it was just a bit frustrating on the whole.

    I decided though to take the lens back and get store credit and
    consider it all a lesson learned. What I learned was that a lens at
    f3.5 is just not going to give me sufficient light for my (not so
    great) eyes to do what I need them to do, ie: focus and compose with
    the ability to see detail. I just couldn't get my head around the
    viewfinder and the lack of light. From now on I'll just buy lenses
    around f2 or so and just save the extra $$$ to make that possible.

    Out of curiosity, is there any functional reason to buy slower lenses?
    Is it all about saving a little $$$?

    Thanks again for all the help. I've got more specific Minolta srt201
    lens questions, but I think I may start a new thread to ask them...

    Be well-

    Lee Howard, Jan 25, 2004
  10. Lee Howard

    Jeremy Guest

    Slower lenses typically have less distortion, because there are fewer
    optical compromises made by the designers.

    Erwin Puts, in one of his columns on Leica designs, has indicated that
    aberrations increase from f/4 to f/1.4 by a factor of NINE! The irony is
    that the faster lens costs much more than the slower--but less
    distorted--lens does.

    The better approach, if it possible to incorporate it into your style of
    photography--is to use a tripod and use the slower lens. Also remember that
    film has improved to the point that ISO 200 is typically as sharp as was ISO
    100 film a decade ago, so you might be able to get away with a faster film,
    to partially compensate for the slower lens.

    I typically shoot static subjects--landscapes, cityscapes, architecture,
    etc--so I have great success with the slow lens and tripod arrangement. Not
    everyone requires the latest
    autofocus/super-duper-TTL-metering/quick-changing bayonet mount/superfast
    lens arrangement.
    Jeremy, Jan 25, 2004
  11. Lee Howard

    Bob Hickey Guest

    In general, finders have gotten brighter as time goes by. I bought a fixer
    XG-m on E-bay and when I got it running I was surprised how much brighter it
    was than the SRTs. I never shoot wide open, so I wouldn't know if the extra
    money is well spent or not. I just go for the really heavy ones.
    Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Jan 25, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.