Japanese Koi and Russian Industar 61L/Z 50mm F/2.8 lens

Koi is the Japanese word for carp fish. However in English the word Koi normally refers to "nishikigoi" the domesticated colourful ornamental carp fish that originated from Japan. Nishikigoi (錦鯉) literally means brocaded carp fish.

Japanese koi or brocaded carp fish
This large aquarium illuminated with overhead spot-lights that enhance the metallic colour of the koi and add interesting sparkle to the ripple on the water surface. -- Camera: Olympus Pen E-P1, Lens: Zenit Industar 61L/Z 50mm F/2.8, set at F/5.6 and 1/250 second at ISO 800.

Koi fish is a very popular decorative fish especially in the Far East. To the Japanese Koi fish symbolises perseverance, endurance and the strength to overcome difficulties in life. The word Koi also pronounced the same as another Japanese word meaning love and friendship.

The Chinese character for fish is pronounced the same as the word for 'surplus' or 'abundance' and symbolises profit, gain and good fortune. Carp fish is a popular theme in Chinese paintings. Colourful or red carp fish in Chinese painting is considered an auspicious sign. It comes as no surprise why many homes and businesses in the Far East love to keep ornamental fish and especially the colourful Nishikigoi (錦鯉) fish in their premises.

Purachina Ogon or White Metallic Koi
Close-up of two white metallic Koi or Platinum Ogon together with other Nishikigoi. The white metallic skin colour make the white Koi easily spoted in this dark aqurium with cloudy water. -- Camera: Olympus Pen E-P1, Lens: Zenit Industar 61L/Z 50mm F/2.8 set at F/4, 1/125 seconds and ISO 800.

Koi or  Nishikigoi (錦鯉) fish is not a tropical fish and prefers cooler water temperatures. The water temperature here under direct sunlight can get too warm for Koi fish to live in. So most of the Koi ponds over here are either indoor or in a heavily shaded area so that the water temperature remains at a comfortable level to keep the Koi fish happy.

For photography the swift movements of the koi fish requires a shutter speed of 1/125 or above at close range. A wide aperture fast lens can help in the shaded darker condition of this large Koi aquarium where I photographed these Nishikigoi (錦鯉) fish. This series of photos were taken with a manual focus Zenit Industar 61L/Z 50mm F/2.8 lens mounted on my trusty Olympus Pen E-P1 via an M42 to Micro Four Third adapter.

lively and playful Nishikigoi or Japanese Koi fidh
Nishikigoi or Japanese Koi are lively and playful fish always actively swimming and moving around in all direction. -- Camera: Olympus Pen E-P1, Lens: Zenit Industar 61L/Z 50mm F/2.8 Lens set at F/4 and 1/30 seconds with ISO 800.

I wanted to include some movement blurs to express the swift movement and liveliness of this group of Koi fish. The shutter speed is intentionally dropped lower than 1/125 seconds in some shots. Thanks to the Image stabilisation of the Olympus Pen E-P1 camera I was able to get good images handheld at shutter speed as low as 1/30 second with the Industar 61L/Z 50mm F/2.8 lens

To photograph the Nishikigoi fish you need patience as they are unpredictable with their movements.  Using manual focus lens designed for 35mm film camera like the Zenit Industar 61L/Z on subjects with unpredictable movements was never easy. It requires practice, concentration, and anticipation on where the subject is likely to appear.  But once you got it all right and look at the fine results taken with manual focus lenses it always gives you a sense of achievement and control.

Colourful Nishikigoi or Japanese Koi
Colourful Nishikigoi or Japanese Koi scampering to the water surface expecting food from visitors. -- Camera: Olympus Pen E-P1, Lens; Zenit Industar 61L/Z 50mm F/2.8 set at F/4, 1/60 second and ISO 800.

The Zenit Industar 61L/Z 50mm F/2,8 Russian made lens is easy to manual focus and an enjoyable lens to use mounted on the Pen E-P1. I was pleasantly surprised with the results from this Industar 61L/Z which is a Russian copy of the legendary Zeiss Tessar lens.

The Zenit Industar 61L/Z 50mm F/2.8 is a sharp lens with strong contrast and good saturation. The Zeiss Tessar lens design is also well-known for its low chromatic aberration. The Industar 61L/Z with the aperture set at F/4 chromatic aberration is very well controlled. No noticeable CA was found with this series of images which were all taken at F/4.

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