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12-03-2010, 01:02 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I keep hearing about the Russian lenses and I'm interested in something <15mm so I may look there.
The widest Russian lens I tried was the Mir 1V 37/2.8, the longest was Jupiter 21M 200/4. I don't use wide angles much, so I never looked for the Zenitar 16 (which is a fisheye, btw). I saw a 20mm Mir that was interesting, but I didn't try it out. I expect there are very few good old manual lenses outside 24-200mm range. Most great lenses are in 50-135mm range.

If you want an extreme wide angle, get the DA 15mm. Or look at the Samyang 14mm. Forget the old glass.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
This is an interesting summary, and I would really love to hear exactly what lenses you have tried in total as several of your comments conflict directly with my own experience.
Well, Takumars are indeed the best M42 lenses mechanically. But frankly, they're too expensive for me to sample too many of them, and I don't have an unlimited budget. I could get the 50/1.4 and the 55/1.8 for a good price so I did. But once the price goes over other alternatives, I'd have to see something really amazing from a lens to want to try it out. Russian lenses are not as refined mechanically, but they are sturdier - I banged a Jupiter 11A on cement to get a stuck hood off it and it still works - how many lenses can withstand such treatment? Some have stiff focusing, but I ranked them highest based on the optical properties I mentioned. Btw, I distinguish between PF and LoCA by using these terms specifically. LoCA doesn't bother me and I see it in many modern lenses too, but PF is different and for these old lenses it's worse than the PF of the Tamron 70-300 purple monster - in old lenses it has a glowing effect that modern lenses don't have even if they suffer from PF.

I'm sure there are many good lenses I didn't try. I didn't try them because they're too expensive and I don't think they're worth the price. If I have to pay a similar price for a Takumar 85/1.8 as for a Samyang 85/1.4, I'll spend the money on the Samyang instead. I just don't see the point of getting an old lens for a price that is close to that of a used new lens. So, think of my description as applying to lenses that are still affordable.

Also, I should have mentioned that I haven't looked a lot at wide angles. I looked a bit. But then I realized that if you sum up the prices of decent, not even top notch, old manual lenses in these focal lengths: 18mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, then you will spend much more than on the modern Tamron SP 17-50/2.8. So I don't see the point. And I can't manual focus well with wide angles, so it's one area where I prefer an AF lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I want to point out that based on what you wrote, you haven't really tried a Meyer lens. The Domiplan is considered the worst lens ever made by Meyer and one of the worst German lenses ever. Plus, trying a fungus ridden lens and making a statement about its performance is not a fair assessment.
I didn't make any statement about the 50/1.8 other than saying that I couldn't find one without fungus - I just gave up trying to sample it. Actually, fungus doesn't affect IQ, but I just didn't use them to be able to make a statement - I returned two and I kept one for a partial refun - it's attached to a Pentacon camera and if anyone in the Seattle area has a good use for this combo, ping me and I'll give it to you for a pint of Mack&Jack.

As for the other two lenses, the Domiplan may be a dud in their lineup (although it's surprising how many people defend it if you say that), but what's the excuse of the Pentacon electric 135/2.8? The latter was soft wide open and prone to some strange CA - some reddish fringing, but not LoCA. I had to stop it down to f/8 to get some decent shots. In comparison, the Jupiter 37A is sharp wide open at f/3.5 and costed less.

I find the Russians and the adaptalls to be somewhat underpriced today, while many Pentax, Takumar, VS1 are overpriced. There are exceptions, of course, but this is my general assessment. The biggest surprise for me was PF, which few people talk about - but now when I see B&W images I always wonder if that's the reason

Here's a shot from the M135/3.5:

I think it's nice, hope you think so too. But it was almost ruined by PF - fortunately, because the scene is simple, I could desaturate the purple and it looks pretty neat. If you'd see this shot you'd think this is a great lens. But I didn't keep it. Long close focusing distance and this PF issue didn't make it very attractive for me. Great build and handling otherwise, no argument about it. Would work excellent on film, I'm sure.

You can get great shots with any lens if you are skilled, but the question is how many issues do you have to work around to do that. For me PF is very annoying because I don't like to spend time in post processing and it's hard to work around it.

12-03-2010, 01:38 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by unixrevolution Quote
I even love my Takumar Bayonet 135/2.5.
It's not that it's a bad lens, but then again I have the SMC 135F2.5 and SMC-Tak 135F3.5, along with a really nice Tele_Lentar 135F2.8 preset as references of really good 135's.

I have always maintained it is not so much that it is a terrible lens, it is just the worst out of an exceptional group of lenses pentax made.
12-03-2010, 02:04 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Of course, with a big enough inheritance, that could change. I could even go Red.
Your mom can only pass away once.
12-03-2010, 09:41 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Of course, with a big enough inheritance, that could change. I could even go Red.
Your mom can only pass away once.
I'm still trying to get Uncle Ray to drink my special lemonade. C'mon Unc, do you wanna live forever?

12-03-2010, 10:47 PM   #20

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QuoteOriginally posted by unixrevolution Quote
I even love my Takumar Bayonet 135/2.5.
Me too, over my STak 135/3.5, very good preset Kaliger 135/2.8 and ProSpec KA (sigma) 135.2.8

Last edited by ultraviolet; 02-06-2011 at 09:10 AM.

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