What am I doing wrong in these daylight photos?

dav305z

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I am new to photography and to this forum—so this is hello. I've purchased an old Mamiya SLR 35 mm camera (yes, film). Everything is set manually save for aperture, which the camera can set in accordance with shutter speed. I figure this will provide a good, cheap platform to learn what goes into a good photograph.

Anyway, on to my question: I've noticed that several of my photos—all shot in daylight—have a certain glare. It almost looks like there's a fog between the lens and the subjects. Like this:

$2112258-R2-013-5.jpg

or this:

$024_24A copy copy.jpg


Both those were shot with a 50 mm lens, set to shutter priority. I'm seeing this across different kinds of film but not on every frame. For instance, when I shot the George Washington impersonator with my telephoto from just about the same spot but with my 135 mm lens:

$026_26A copy copy.jpg

and here's the Porsche in a different location:

$2112258-R1-036-16A.jpg

My question is, what am I doing wrong in those shots that have the glare/fog? Was I simply catching the sun at a bad angle? If so, what angles produce this effect? I already know shooting into the sun is a no-no.


Thanks for any insight.

P.S. If someone believes this belongs in the film forum, feel free to move it. But I believe my issue here is technique, not the medium.
 

Derrel

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I would definitely check to make sure that the rear element, and the front element of the lens, are CLEAN. It's pretty bad veiling glare. A multicoated lens made in the mid-1970's, back when Mamiya/Sekor was offering 35mm systems, ought NOT to have so big a problem in backlighting scenarios of that type. You ARE shooting as they say "into the light", but in the first, the light is mostly shielded by trees...so the lens ought not to have such an issue, not nearly to that extreme degree.

The lens might be suffering from some internal hazing, possibly due to lubricants in the lens having vaporized, and then self-deposited on the lens's elements, inside. A proper lens hood could help, but my experience makes me think that this is caused by a big smudge, or internal hazing. Sometimes, a thin film of haze develops on old filters, or on lenses; it is usually so thin, and so uniform, that it can be difficult to see--until you wipe the lens with a good cleaning cloth, and remove some of the uniform "grunge".

Yes, you WERE shooting toward the light; but, again, I think most lenses of that era ought to handle this better. I suspect lens cleanliness/hazing is the culprit.
 

DarkShadow

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Don't shot midday.
 

Scatterbrained

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As Derrel pointed out, check to make sure the glass is clean and clear. You can hold it up at odd angles relative to the light, to get the light to hit the glass at oblique angles, which would help you see any haze or fogginess in the glass. As was mentioned, condensation could also play a part if you're taking these shortly after removing the camera from an air conditioned space. Of course, a hood always helps too.
 
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dav305z

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Hmmm. Can't see any hazing, smudging, or fungus in the lens. Could light leakage be a culprit? I know the foam seals on the film door have degraded.
 

Derrel

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Hmmm. Can't see any hazing, smudging, or fungus in the lens. Could light leakage be a culprit? I know the foam seals on the film door have degraded.

No, this is not light leakage. Light leakage would be very severe...these images have veiling glare...and the shot made with the 135mm lens seems perfectly fine. I suppose that the 50mm lens is just really POOR when shot towards bright light sources. "some" lenses are very weak when shot toward bright light sources; I had a Sigma zoom, and a Tokina zoom, both of which earned themselves the nickname "Der Flaremeister", due to how utterly awful they were when shot toward the sun. another very poor lens is one I still own, which came with my second 35mm SLR; it is a dreadful Russian-made 58mm f/2 lens in m42 mount, off of a Zenit-built, rebranded 35mm SlR sold as the Cosmorex SE. Wow...true USSR-made junk. The lens shoots a lot like yours when pointed toward the light--with a big, broad, diffuse glare over much of the image area.
 

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Looks like some lens flair. Do you have a hood on your lens?
 

Tailgunner

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Bad angle of the sun & no lens hood?
 

vintagesnaps

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I rarely use a lens hood and haven't had this type look in photos - I've gotten lens flare on occasion but usually if the sun's hitting at an angle and it doesn't look foggy like this. I would have thought this was from a smudge or the lens was fogging up etc.

It doesn't look like typical leaks and if it's just with one lens and not the other I wouldn't think it was the camera. I suppose the deteriorating light seals could affect one lens more than another - maybe this effect wouldn't be as pronounced or show up at all with some lenses but shows up with this one. I suppose you could try replacing the seals and/or try a lens hood but I don't know if that will do the trick or not, I'm not sure what else to suggest.
 
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dav305z

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I do have a hood but honesty cannot recall if I was using it in the affected shots. I definitely was using one in the unaffected shots (and the 135 mm has a built-in hood).
 

Tailgunner

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I do have a hood but honesty cannot recall if I was using it in the affected shots. I definitely was using one in the unaffected shots (and the 135 mm has a built-in hood).

I'm really thinking this is a case of daytime shooting without a lens hood. Also, how long from the time you left your vehicle/home before you actually started shooting? 5mins, an hour? When I shot pictures on our Florida vacation, I had to leave my camera on the balcony 15-20 mins before I went out shooting in order for the camera to get acclimated to the humidity. The camera, lens and view finder would fog up instantly and produce similar results.
 

Gavjenks

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It's just a quality of some cheapo (or sometimes not cheap but still bad) lenses. Could be due to anything from poor coatings, to unfortunate combinations of angles that happen to funnel stray light toward the sensor more often than not, to a bad job of making the inside tubes of the lens light-absorbing (for example, just slapping on internal flat black paint, instead of baffles).

The best you can do is utilize a lens hood that comes as close as possible to vignetting your image without actually vignetting it. You can search for one for that lens (may be hard for an old one), or a generic one that works on filter threads, or make your own. Regardless, it will work even better if the inside of the aforementioned lens hood has something black and fuzzy/textured (like velvet or black muslin), or perhaps heavily scuffed up black plastic (with sandpaper). Done well, this should remove the vast majority of flaring for any photo where the sun is not literally in the shot.

$hood.jpg

Making it go out sideways further than forward even further as well will add yet more protection, but will also be bulkier and more annoying. Must find a good balance point.
 
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