One Last Ride – Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95 goes anamorphic

So I’m continuing to explore Berlin, it is a fascinating place. Along the River Spree is an old abandoned theme park. Shuttered in 2002 after going bankrupt, the owners fled to Peru and were later arrested for drug smuggling.

So the Spreepark has been deserted for nearly 10 years and is falling into a state of disrepair. A shame, since it was part of the East Berliner’s lifestyle since 1969. Lots of rotten wood around and I went through a few planks myself! The old rollacoaster is still relatively intact, all the rides look almost as they do the day they stopped forever.

Though someone has chopped the head off a dinosaur, graffitied the ‘English village’ and the whole place has a very strange but intoxicatingly tranquil feel to it. In the centre is an old monorail track made of concrete which leads to a grassy hill overlooking the old 1980′s ferris wheel, which still turns beautifully in the breeze and makes the occasional very unnerving loud metal grinding sound.

Oddly I saw a rope and noose hung in one of the old cafes next to the English village. There’s also an abandoned log flume and several warehouses, one of which has been burnt down. In the end security came and threw me out but I had a good 2 hours there. Ironically as I was going back to find the gap in the fence whilst being followed by a man with a large dog, another pair of photographers appeared! They were also thrown out.

I love modern ruins, they’re something we very rarely see and something new to the era we live in – so strange to see these places that you associate with activity and modern life suddenly abandoned and left to rot, as if they’re condemned. In the end I felt rather sorry for the place. It certainly still has a magic to it and it’d be nice to see the old beast powered up again.

I had an untested combo on the GH2 for this… F0.95 Nokton and Panasonic LA7200. I don’t think I’ll be pairing them again, they’re not good bedfellows. The LA7200 is soft at fast apertures, and the Nokton has a VERY fast aperture. The LA7200 is best at wide angles, like 14mm… The Nokton isn’t wide. The Nokton is best at shallow DOF and low light, LA7200 is out of it’s comfort zone in those circumstances without a diopter. The Nokton at F0.95 is not a very sharp lens especially in the corners – ditto the LA7200 so unlike Lennon and McCartney they don’t balance and compensate for each other’s weaknesses. They’re more like the Cheeky Girls. I ended up shooting almost everything at F8. Bye bye shallow depth of field.

The combo is incredibly soft below F2.8 and at F0.95 you can pretty much forget about it – better to crop. Unfortunately the 25mm focal length of the Voigtlander is too wide for an Iscorama or Kowa anamorphic lens too. I do wish I’d brought the LOMO anamorphic along with me, it would be have been better suited with it’s hazy and slightly low fi contrast but sharp image and shallow depth of field.

Still – it was great fun to explore the park without anyone there, just feeling the atmosphere and shooting this little location study film.

Enjoy it.

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