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09-09-2007, 03:28 PM   #1
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M42 Ultra wide primes that are sharp and contrasty

I'm trying to shop for an ultra wide but can't seem to find the right one. Are there any M42 prime lenses (in the 10 to 24mm range) that are sharp and contrasty? I

EDIT: Include fish eyes please.

Thanks,
-imt


Last edited by imadethis; 09-10-2007 at 01:33 PM.
09-09-2007, 04:10 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by imadethis Quote
I'm trying to shop for an ultra wide but can't seem to find the right one. Are there any M42 prime lenses (in the 10 to 24mm range) that are sharp and contrasty? I'd prefer to stay away from fish-eyes, so please list ultra wides.
Except for the Zenitar, (but you said no fish-eyes) I find old ultrawides generally lacking contrast. The problem is with the coatings. Those lenses usually have more than 10 elements. You need really good coatings to keep the contrast with 20 air-glass surfaces and this is where I find the old lenses lacking. The 18-55 kit zoom has better contrast at 18mm than any vintage 17 or 20mm lens.

Cheers!

Abbazz
09-09-2007, 04:42 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by imadethis Quote
I'm trying to shop for an ultra wide but can't seem to find the right one. Are there any M42 prime lenses (in the 10 to 24mm range) that are sharp and contrasty? I'd prefer to stay away from fish-eyes, so please list ultra wides.

Thanks,
-imt
The Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 24/3.5 is contrasty but not sharp. (It has more CA than the rest of the S-M-C Takumars, too.) I've heard mediocre reports from the Takumar 20/4.5 lenses as well.

You might find one of the Zeiss Flektogons work for you, but I've never had one.

(For the record and the fishy fans out there, the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 17/4 FishEye is sharp and contrasty, IMO more so than even the Zenitar 16/2.8.)
09-10-2007, 01:43 PM   #4
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From the limited photos I've seen online, I had a misconception about fish eyes where I'd thought fish eyes would produce extreme vingnetting, but after seeing sample photos from the Zenitar, the image quality is great. I've decided on purchasing one off of Ebay.

Thanks for the great info all,
-imt

09-10-2007, 06:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by imadethis Quote
From the limited photos I've seen online, I had a misconception about fish eyes where I'd thought fish eyes would produce extreme vingnetting, but after seeing sample photos from the Zenitar, the image quality is great. I've decided on purchasing one off of Ebay.
I think it's a wise decision. You won't find a better superwide lens for the price. You didn't say whether you were going to use it on a film camera or on a small sensor digital camera.

On a digital camera, the Zenitar is a bit soft at f/2.8 and becomes very sharp over the whole field starting at f/4.0. The fisheye effect is not very pronounced, so it is very easy to straighten the images digitally.

On a film camera, the Zenitar is a real fisheye with almost 180 degrees of diagonal field of view. The effect is much more pronounced than on digital and it is quite difficult to get rid of it without cropping significantly the image. The extreme corners are not so sharp until f/8-11.

Notice that the field of view of a fisheye lens is much wider than the field of view of a rectilinear lens with the same focal length. For example, a 16mm rectilinear lens has a diagonal field of view of 107 degrees on a film camera and 83 degrees on a digital camera equipped with an APS-C sensor, while a 16mm fisheye lens has a diagonal field of view of 170 degrees on a film camera and 105 degrees on a digital camera equipped with an APS-C sensor. Even if you straighten and crop the images taken with your Zenitar, the field of view of the resulting images will be wider than pictures taken with a rectilinear lens.

Cheers!
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