Lens Spotlight: M100 - Jason Doss

Lens Spotlight

smc Pentax-M 100mm f/2.8

Welcome to Episode 4 of this exploratory journey into the realm of digital photography with manual focus lenses. The goal is to highlight a technique, lens, camera, film, or subject in three frames. I have a lot of lenses, probably too many, so I'm going to focus in the short term on cycling thru my collection and maybe discuss a little about my photography habits along the way.

This time, we look again at the short telephoto The Pentax M100 f2.8 is a portrait lens from the late 70s and early 80s. The M-series was supposed to stand for "miniature" since most of the Ms are small compared to contemporaries, and very very small compared to their modern equivalents. This, like the M50f1.4 from Episode 3, was one of the first manual focus lenses I bought, intended for use on adapters with the Sony NEX system. 

Like all M-series lenses, handling is excellent due to the small size and rubberized focus ring and an aperture ring without an A setting. The lens has a 49mm filter ring and weighs 225g (0.5#), which is ridiculously small and light for this focal length.  100mm is a short telephoto focal length intended primarily for tight portraits, like head shots and that sort of thing.

These are photos from the Jasper Labor Day Parade.  All photos were taken from the front stair step of the Newton County Courthouse with the lens (I think) set at f/8.  Although the lens operates normally on the camera, the camera cannot record the aperture, so unless I remember it or write it down I have to guess.

Jasper Labor Day Parade

The Parade was about five minutes long, and contained what you see here plus a couple of trucks with canoes on top, the local fire engine, the senior center labor day parade queen (but not the king), and a couple of police cars.  There was one float, but a disproportional amount of candy.  I think I scored quite a few Tootsie Rolls and suckers, but sadly, no Werther's Originals.

The lone float of the parade rolls by, pulled by one of two tractors.  Candy was flying through the air at a furious rate.  The weather as you see here was sunny but not too hot, and the crowd did in fact turn out to see the very very small town event.

Jasper Labor Day Parade
Jasper Labor Day Parade

The lens did a good job of catching what I wanted to catch here.  I could typically get the whole vehicle/float if I wanted to, and tighter shots of the drivers or participants could have been done if I was willing to dodge flying candy treats.  The focal length isn't exactly special, as the most popular macro lenses are at or around 100mm, and I have two. 

The special charm of this lens is its small size.  In the day and age of lenses that weigh 2 or more pounds, having such a small lens at the ready in a small shoulder sling for occasions like this have advantages that can't be measured.  Not only does small size mean portability and ease of use, it means not scaring the living shit out of whoever you are photographing. And the small size doesn't appear to have exacted a price in image quality.  As shown here, there's plenty of sharp detail and color in these modestly processed shots.

That's all I have until next time. Thanks for looking!

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