Category Archives: Shop News

Bulletins on new products, special offers and other news in our web shops

MS Optical Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35 Mark II

We are pleased to announce the availability of a second run of this popular lens. It is available for order now in our web shop.

The MS Optical Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35 Mark II is optically identical to first version. In this revision, some minor changes were made:

  • Native Leica M mount, not LTM with adapter
  • More robust, thicker focussing lever
  • Minor changes of markings on barrel, aperture scale marks

 

As you well know, on Friday, March 11th 2011, a strong earthquake and tsunami struck the eastern coast of Japan. Apart from the shocking damages and casualties caused by these natural disasters, the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power station suffered a severe accident spreading radioactive materials over a vast area, a crisis which is still ongoing. Incidentally, the earthquake also caused some disruption to the production process of the Perar, spoiling a lot of about 50 optical lenses.

Following suggestions from our customers, we have therefore added a voluntary option to donate a modest amount to the Japanese Red Cross (or other charitable organisation) as part of your purchase. The initial amount is set to ¥5000 which you can increase or reduce as you see fit. Thank you.


The simplest optical design that is capable of correcting all of the seven Seidel aberrations over a wide field of view is the Cooke triplet, developed by H. Dennis Taylor in 1893. It is named after the optical company in York, England, for which Taylor worked at the time, Cooke and Sons (later to become Cooke, Troughton and Sims). Taylor’s designs, despite their antiquity, are close to optimum for the aperture and field he intended, given the glass types available in his day.

However, at around 1925 with the rise of the Tessar lens designed by Paul Rudolph of Zeiss the Cooke triplet was starting to be relegated to cheaper lenses such as those in compact cameras, due to its simple design affording low cost manufacturing.

Mr Miyazaki of MS Optical, a small independent manufacturer of lenses and camera accessories, believes that a well-designed triplet is superior to the Tessar. Only very few lenses in history exploited the full power of the formula, such as an early version of the Leitz Elmar 90/4 with three elements. He started researching and designing his own ideal triplet lens at the highest level possible, using 21st century materials and manufacturing techniques. The result is the MS Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35, which has just been released. (For those wondering about the origin of the lens name, in Japanese pera-pera means thin or flimsy.)

Despite it’s deceptively simple construction of three lens elements Miyazaki was able to design a lens of not only outstanding performance, but also with a very interesting form factor and at comparatively low cost.

Here are its key features:

  • Very high optical quality triplet formula lens
  • Ultra compact design, weight 75g, collapsible (4.2mm height when collapsed)
  • Premium quality Tantalum glass, superior to Trium and Lanthanum glass with best refractive qualities
  • Refined triplet design with two double thickness positive lenses, superior to Tessar design
  • Round aperture for smooth and pleasing bokeh (Edmund Optics, Made in USA)
  • Minimum focus distance 0.8m
  • ALL glass surfaces multicoated, 97% light transmission
  • Vivid, real and beautiful color reproduction, high contrast high resolution images
  • Second lot of 200 lenses (serial 201-400), designed, manufactured and hand-assembled in Japan by Mr Sadoyasu Miyazaki

The MS Optical Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35 Mark II is available now in our web shop.

Just like MS Optical’s lens conversions, please be aware that this lens is slightly different in operation from “normal” mass-manufactured lenses. For example, the aperture scale rotates with the whole lens barrel when the lens is focussed and there are no aperture click stops. This is not a lens for photographers who want all their lenses to function in the same way and cannot adjust to a different way of working. This is a design for the connoisseur with an appreciation for optics and their history.

Photos courtesy of Pieter Franken

I did quite some shooting yesterday with the lens [on the Leica M9 and MP] and had it compete with a 35mm Summilux aspherical lens. Obviously there are significant differences, but am quite impressed with what this little lens does. First of all the focus is perfect on the M9 and the view field is good. Bokeh is pleasant. The focussing is very smooth! I liked the hood and front and rear covers – nice detail and execution!

Pieter Franken, September 2010

There is no other independent maker of Leica M mount lenses that offers the same level of quality and creativity as MS Optical in the world today. The Perar is not just a lens, it is a celebration of the spirit of photography.

Web Shop on spring holidays (Update: we’re back)

Due to recent events in Japan, the Japan Exposures Web Shop will take a holiday starting March 20th, 2011 until the middle of April to take care of family matters. All orders placed on or after these dates will be processed and shipped upon our return in April. The same goes for all currently processing/unshipped orders. If you wish to cancel your pending order, please contact us.

Please note that replies to email inquiries might also be delayed accordingly. We apologise for any inconvenience.

The holiday will affect the web store and the following products and services, which will resume from mid-April:

Thank you for your understanding.

The Japan Exposures Book Shop will continue to operate as normal.

UPDATE: We’re back and catching up with the backlog quickly. Thank you for your patience.

Book Store Airmail shipments to U.S. to be temporarily delayed

Delayed graphicUpdate: We are happy to report that as of December 1st, Japan Post has started to once again allow Airmail packages bound for the U.S.

Due to tighter security measures related to cargo bound for the United States, which includes international mail, as of this Wednesday, November 17, Japan Post will for the foreseeable future not accept Airmail packages bound for the U.S. that weigh over 16 ounces (or 453 grams) from non-registered shippers. This effects all EMS, Standard Airmail, and Economy Airmail (SAL) shipments. As far as we understand, this does not affect Surface shipments. With the exception of a few titles, most books we sell in the bookstore weigh more than 16 ounces. Please note that these restrictions only apply to items bought from the bookstore and not from the Japan Exposures Shop, which is back to operating as normal after their autumn holidays.

We are doing our utmost to fulfill all outstanding bookstore orders bound for our U.S. customers before the cutoff, but for any orders received from the US from here on out, a temporary delay while we adjust our shipping methods will occur, so we ask for your understanding. You can of course still place orders and we will hold the books for you until such time as we can make the delivery, or choose Surface as your shipping method. If you are worried about securing titles with limited availability, or wish to inquire about the status of an existing order, or wish to reconfirm time frames prior to placing your order, please feel free to contact us.

We know that, with the Christmas shopping season upon us, these restrictions couldn’t have come at a worse time. Please understand that this situation is largely out of our hands but we are doing our best to find alternatives and to satisfy our customers as best as possible. We are confident that most orders intended for Christmas will reach you in time for the holidays.

Japan Exposures Now Carrying Super Labo Titles

Japan Exposures is pleased to add small Japanese publisher Super Labo’s books into the fold of publications being sold in the Japan Exposures bookstore. While we don’t shy away from established, mainstream publishers, what really tickles our book nook’s chin are the small publishers carrying on the tradition of the Japanese photobook.

Super Labo is not only doing that, but bringing a little bit of the Japanese photobook to established Western photographers also known for the craft and care they have brought to their photobooks — photographers like Alec Soth and Todd Hido.

Super Labo is the creation of Yasunori Hoki, an extremely nice and courteous man whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the recent Tokyo Photo Fair event this past September. Hoki used to run Gallery White Room on Tokyo’s ultra fashionable Omotesando Boulevard, bringing artists like Eikoh Hosoe and Joel Meyerowitz to the Tokyo high street. Hoki had to close the gallery in early 2009, but through the experience of publishing catalogs to accompany the exhibitions he put on he established Super Labo. In fact, it was through the relationship he had established with Meyerowitz during the creation of a special exhibition catalog that helped get Super Labo off the ground, and get other non-Japanese photographers interested in collaborating on these small, almost zine-like books.

While some photographers like Meyerowitz have used it as a platform to revisit in an abridged form work from the past (Redheads and Wild Flowers), or used it as a print outlet for a project originating in a different medium (Alec Soth’s Ash Wednesday), others like Todd Hido have conceived books specifically for Super Labo (and according to Hoki, Hido really got into the making of his book, Nymph Daughters). It’s perhaps no wonder that Nymph Daughters is the first of Super Labo’s books to go out of print, although Japan Exposures was able to secure a few copies before it did.

While the majority of Super Labo titles so far have featured non-Japanese photographers, books by Naoya Hatakeyama and Takashi Homma are on the horizon, and combined with already published titles like Osamu Kanemura’s Stravinsky Overdrive and Tomonori “Rip” Tanaka’s Night Riders, certainly Super Labo cannot be accused of ignoring Japanese photography.

Here’s a list of the Super Labo titles we’re currently carrying (those marked with a * indicate titles that won’t be restocked when the extremely few copies we have are sold):

Ash Wednesday, New Orleans, by Alec Soth*
Birds, by Stephen Gill
Coming to Grips, by Ed Templeton *
Night Riders, by Tomonori “Rip” Tanaka
Nymph Daughters, by Todd Hido *
Redheads, by Joel Meyerowitz
Stravinsky Overdrive, by Osamu Kanemura
Wild Flowers, by Joel Meyerowitz

Web Shop on autumn holidays (we’re back!)

The Japan Exposures Web Shop will take a holiday starting October 18th until the middle of November. The cut-off for Hirano hand-made camera cases is Friday, Oct 8th. Orders placed on or after these dates will be processed and shipped upon our return in November.

Orders for products that are currently backordered, for example the MS Optical Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35, might also be shipped in November. Please note that replies to email inquiries might also be delayed accordingly. We apologise for any inconvenience.

The holiday will affect the web store and the following products and services, which will resume from mid-November:

The Japan Exposures Book Shop will continue to operate as normal, so don’t hold yourself back.

UPDATE 14 Nov 2010: We’re back and busy fulfilling all pending orders – thank you for your patience.

MS Optical Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35

The lens is now sold out, please see here for details on the second production run.


The simplest optical design that is capable of correcting all of the seven Seidel aberrations over a wide field of view is the Cooke triplet, developed by H. Dennis Taylor in 1893. It is named after the optical company in York, England, for which Taylor worked at the time, Cooke and Sons (later to become Cooke, Troughton and Sims). Taylor’s designs, despite their antiquity, are close to optimum for the aperture and field he intended, given the glass types available in his day.

However, at around 1925 with the rise of the Tessar lens designed by Paul Rudolph of Zeiss the Cooke triplet was starting to be relegated to cheaper lenses such as those in compact cameras, due to its simple design affording low cost manufacturing.

Mr Miyazaki of MS Optical, a small independent manufacturer of lenses and camera accessories, believes that a well-designed triplet is superior to the Tessar. Only very few lenses in history exploited the full power of the formula, such as an early version of the Leitz Elmar 90/4 with three elements. He started researching and designing his own ideal triplet lens at the highest level possible, using 21st century materials and manufacturing techniques. The result is the MS Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35, which has just been released. (For those wondering about the origin of the lens name, in Japanese pera-pera means thin or flimsy.)

Despite it’s deceptively simple construction of three lens elements Miyazaki was able to design a lens of not only outstanding performance, but also with a very interesting form factor and at comparatively low cost.

Here are its key features:

  • Very high optical quality triplet formula lens
  • Ultra compact design, weight 75g, collapsible (4.2mm height when collapsed)
  • Premium quality Tantalum glass, superior to Trium and Lanthanum glass with best refractive qualities
  • Refined triplet design with two double thickness positive lenses, superior to Tessar design
  • Round aperture for smooth and pleasing bokeh (Edmund Optics, Made in USA)
  • Minimum focus distance 0.8m
  • ALL glass surfaces multicoated, 97% light transmission
  • Vivid, real and beautiful color reproduction, high contrast high resolution images
  • Lot of 200 lenses, designed, manufactured and hand-assembled in Japan by Mr Sadayasu Miyazaki

The MS Optical Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35 is available now in our web shop. Below you can see a sample selection of images taken with the lens using a Leica M8.

Just like MS Optical’s lens conversions, please be aware that this lens is slightly different in operation from “normal” mass-manufactured lenses. For example, the aperture scale rotates with the whole lens barrel when the lens is focussed and there are no aperture click stops. This is not a lens for photographers who want all their lenses to function in the same way and cannot adjust to a different way of working. This is a design for the connoisseur with an appreciation for optics and their history.

Photos courtesy of Pieter Franken

I did quite some shooting yesterday with the lens [on the Leica M9 and MP] and had it compete with a 35mm Summilux aspherical lens. Obviously there are significant differences, but am quite impressed with what this little lens does. First of all the focus is perfect on the M9 and the view field is good. Bokeh is pleasant. The focussing is very smooth! I liked the hood and front and rear covers – nice detail and execution!

Pieter Franken, September 2010

There is no other independent maker of Leica M mount lenses that offers the same level of quality and creativity as MS Optical in the world today. The Perar is not just a lens, it is a celebration of the spirit of photography.

Note: we sell the MS Optical Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35 in M mount. Actually, at the core the lens is screw mount, however its use on LTM bodies requires some additional technical calibration with the camera. Unless you send us your camera, for customers outside of Japan we only offer the M mount version. The L-M ring is semi-permanently fixed and could be removed if you really wanted to, but doing so may create focussing and other issues so it is not recommended.

UPDATE: We have created a stand-alone Automator application that sets the lens name, focal length and maximum aperture of your image to MS Super Triplet Perar 35mm f/3.5 in the file’s EXIF data. (Mac OS X only). [Download]

Summer Book Deals

condensationIt may be different where you are, but here in Japan it is positively sweltering and incredibly difficult to drag oneself outside into the heat unless absolutely necessary. Social life and environmental concerns be damned, here at the Japan Exposures we want to do nothing more than to stay inside, pour ourselves a cool beverage, crank up the air-conditioner, and flip through our photo book library. We suspect it may be the same for you.

To that end we have put a number of books on sale from now until August 31st — although the pessimist in us worries the heat may last longer! While not all titles can claim anything but a slim connection with summer, we did try to cater to vicariousness in our selection, so if you’re looking to experience summer from afar, you might be interested in some of these:

Taiji Matsue - CellCell, by Taiji Matsue ¥4,990 ¥4590. Truth be told, while there are no doubt shots in this 2008 AKAAKA-published book taken in summer, it’s the book’s cover featuring a swimming pool that gets us in the summer mood. Good thing then that this sampling shows that indeed, there are more pools to dive into.

Daido Moriyama - HawaiiHawaii, by Daido Moriyama ¥8,990 ¥7,990. What says “summer” more than Hawaii, where it is basically summer all year round? This large tome has plenty of suntan-oiled bodies and floral print wraparounds, not to mention plenty of sand, er, grain. Ample samples here (not all from “Hawaii” though). Bonus points for Moriyama’s high contrast b/w making the surf and sand seem cooler than it probably is.

Mitsugu Onishi - The Long VacationThe Long Vacation, by Mitsugu Onishi ¥3,990 ¥3,490. The English title of this work is somewhat misleading. A more accurate translation of the Japanese title might be “The Distant Summer”, and this book has a somewhat “Summer of ’42” feel to it although it is Tokyo in the 1990s, with enough summer festivals, embarrassing hairstyles and stonewashed jeans to have you glad we now live in 2010, although the heat has probably only gotten worse.

There are more deals from where these came from, and while we can’t claim all will cool you down, they might provide some small protection from this summer’s other burning topic, the strengthening yen.