Nothing, nothing, nothing....
Sort of mucks up the old folk song, doesn't it? And up until this last weekend, I thought it mucked up photography as well. I think I was wrong.
The business of turning a ring to alter the aperture in a photographic lens has been with us for well over a hundred years. Ever since Mr Waterhouse and his removable stops was put in the shade by the iris diaphragm, we have been twisting the day and night away to produce a variety of little holes in the center of our lenses. We started out with a number of competing numerical systems for aperture stops - and they can still catch the unwary on old historical shutters - but eventually settled to the f:stops that we know.
By and large, we also got click settings at those f:stops to let us feel and hear the things as they ground into place. If you could not see what stop you were dialling in, you could count forward from the widest aperture and get to the one you wanted by feel.
Some of the cheaper camera and lens makers did not bother with the click stop, and their products were a less accurate and more difficult proposition. But they had an especial attraction for one class of photographer - the motion picture type.
A click-stop makes a sound as it engages, and a lens being closed down or opened up could be faintly heard on a sensitive body mic. It could also operate in a jerky fashion through the stops, giving a rough look to a fade in or out. The old smooth apertures were far better.
Plus, they could be readily recalibrated for the T stop system, if stop is the right word. These markings are a different arithmetical assessment and presentation of the light coming into the lens and are favoured by film makers.
Okay. I don't take videos. My subjects sit still, if they know what's good for them. But my new el-cheapo 25mm no-name Ebay lens has no aperture detents...and the numbers somewhat engraved on the aperture ring have a wistful and imaginative look to them - I expected the results to be poor.
Boy, was I wrong. If you are asking the Fujifilm X-T10
to operate in automatic shutter speed mode it delivers a good exposure even if the aperture ring is somewhere vaguely between f:8 and Manangatang. Likewise if you are shooting with the Fujifilm EF-X500 flash
and it is doing a TTL autoquench, you get a good shot as well. You'll never be able to count the clicks that don't exist, but the sensor doesn't know it.
Note: the focusing ring has a scale on it that has numbers, but not where they should be. Again, just focus with the Peak Assistance mode on and it all works in the end.
Final Note: Or you could just go ahead and buy a Fujifilm 23mm or 27mm lens and have done with this footling about. They work perfectly too, albeit at a higher price. If you need exactly 25mm to ward off an ancient family curse, get one of the zoom lenses. And Fujifilm are now making extremely large, extremely expensive 18-55 zooms specifically for video work with the smooth aperture feature.
Technical Note: Frogs and Fujifilm cameras operate perfectly at 12º in Baldivis at night. Photographers do not. Roll on summer.