Musician Tom Dibb playing an acoustic set of his album Sun Child in Leighton Buzzard. Photograph by 4toconvert

Take a punt!

As a photographer, one thing that makes a difference in what we do is to take a punt.

Taking a punt is risky. It is going with the unknown and somehow willing it to work. It is a gamble – calculated or un-calculated. And when it does work, it supersedes all our expectations.

No doubt, we have all taken a punt somewhere along the photographic route and things turned out as if they were scripted or fated to be the way they turned out to be.

I guess taking a punt is part of the creative formula. Maybe the subconscious had always known the answer long before we even contemplated it or formulated the question.

Well, a few months ago, I took a punt. I stumbled upon some vintage lenses in a charity shop. They only cost between £5 and £10 each: I bought four.

Mind you, at this point I didn’t even have a camera to use them on. So in a way, it was like buying spare wheels for a car I didn’t own or had the money to purchase.

At that point I knew deep down in my heart, that one day, I would buy that camera and was going to use those lens. Buying those lens was my commitment to see my dream through.

Well, I finally bought the DSLR. I am now the proud owner of a Canon 700D. I purchased some M42 adaptors to mount the lens on the camera.

Alas, they didn’t work. Some of the lens were Pentax mounts so I got that wrong. Only one of the lens had an M42 mount.

However, it was not quite the right one or so I thought. It didn’t depress the pin on the mount so I couldn’t change the aperture while the lens was mounted on the camera or so I thought.

But I could shoot with it. And I love this Auto Chinon 55mm F1.7 lens. I was thinking of selling it but I changed my mind after witnessing what it can and could do.

It was only after a while and taking the pictures therein with the aperture wide open that I realised I couldn’t change the aperture because I hadn’t changed the switch on top of the lens from M to A.

Tom Dibb - Sepia - 4toconvert

How daft is that. It always pays to master your equipment before you use it. It is never the camera or the tools fault. The blame rests squarely on the photographer because you didn’t take the time to practise and master your tools.

I am guilty.

Anyway, I took a punt. I heard some music in the local High Street. I had my camera with my Auto Chinon 55mm – f1.7 lens mounted.

I came across an incredible artist on the street belting out some fresh tunes. I asked him if I could take some pictures and he was happy to oblige.


In one stroke, I was able to put my lens to the test and witness what it can do practically.

Secondly, my street photography portfolio is growing.

Thirdly, I am going to introduce you to a brand new artist on the rise. His name is Tom Dibb.

Musician Tom Dibb playing an acoustic set of his album Sun Child in Leighton Buzzard. Photograph by 4toconvert
Tom Dibb belting out some of his tunes in the Leighton Buzzard High Street from his album Sun Child.


Now, I may not have got all my shots in sharp focus but I captured the moment and that is what really matters. It is a learning curve. I have a long way to go before I really master this lens.

It is the reason why you should practice and get to know your tools so well that when you get to use them, your reactions are almost instinctive.

I have to shoulder the blame for not getting the most out of this lens. It has great potential.

It is beautiful. The bokeh and the out of focus backgrounds are sumptuous as illustrated in the images below.

Musician Tom Dibb playing an acoustic set of his album Sun Child in Leighton Buzzard. Photograph by 4toconvert
Tom Dibb in action in Leighton Buzzard.

The lens is sharp if you disregard my abuse of it. Its colour rendering is beautiful. For a film lens dating back to the late seventies and early eighties, the images are stunning.

Musician Tom Dibb playing an acoustic set of his album Sun Child in Leighton Buzzard. Photograph by 4toconvert

I was pleasantly surprised. There are disadvantages to using a lens like the Auto Chinon 55mm F1.7 lens. You don’t have auto focus. You don’t have image stabilisation.

You have to manually focus and this means you need to know the hell what you are doing.

Tom Dibb III - 4toconvert


When the aperture is stepped down, the LCD screen may darken and cause a problem trying to manually focus. But we are creative spirits and we have the will power and brains and creativity to circumvent challenges and come out on top.

For all its disadvantages, the quality of the images and the aesthetics you get from this lens, it is worth every penny.

Musician Tom Dibb playing an acoustic set of his album Sun Child in Leighton Buzzard. Photograph by 4toconvert

The image quality is just as beautiful if not better than most modern lenses; especially, the kit lenses. It would be almost impossible to achieve the same sumptuous out of focus backgrounds as you can with the Auto Chinon.

Tom dibb 9 4toconvert

Take a punt and you will be richly rewarded. It is the perfect opportunity to take your creativity to another level. It provides you with creative tools and alternatives without breaking the bank.


Taking a punt like I did gives you the ultimate creative control. You are in total control of the creative process.

The camera becomes a mere tool in the hands of the craftsmen as you have to do everything: determining the ISO, aperture, shutter speed, manual focus, etc.

You do not leave the camera with algorithms to use to determine the outcome of your work.

Tom Dibb 7 4toconvert

I will review the Auto Chinon 55mm – F1.7 lens in more detail and present you with more sample images. Maybe you too may want to take a punt on this awesome lens.

Take a punt. Do something different photographically and push your potential; expand the horizons of your work and abandon monotony or repetition.

Take a punt and check out Tom Dibb’s album Sun Child and his site to learn more about this incredible artist, hear his music and watch his videos, plus you can get a free music download.

Tom Dibb II - 4toconvert

I will be bringing you more about this artist and the other pictures I took with the kit lens and you can compare and contrast. Till then, take a punt.


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