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07-29-2011, 04:41 PM   #1
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a curious lens acquisition

I've been winning fairly low bids on off-brand PK lenses recently, and the last two were Rikenon XRs. The 50/1.4 has a Sears label, but this latest one is all Ricoh all the time. I had to look it up online to learn more before I bid, as it's not in the database (yet) - and as the new owner, I'm still learning!

It's the XR 70-150 f/4, apparently made in the '80s (according to the Unofficial Guide). It definitely is a transition lens - unlike most of its time it's a two-ring zoom, has a fixed f/4 aperture and is compact if not entirely light. I owned an XR 135/2.8 a year ago that felt similar to this, and it was very good. The 70-150 weighs in at 440g with front cap, and has a built-in lens hood like many SMC-M telephotos of the day. I have a Rikenon-P 28-100 f/4 also with two rings and fixed f/4, but it's a very worn copy and over 600g to boot.. not my kind of walkaround lens.

This lens has done some very impressive work in 36 hours! I bike to/from work with a daily lens, shooting the flowers as I stop for breath. This means I'm seldom at rest or breathing easily, so many images have suffered. Despite this I have several keepers from today, the one above perhaps the best of them. In gentle lighting this lens has great contrast, very accurate color and sharpness / bokeh are plenty good enough.
Most shots were at f/5.6 but some were wide open. These are jpg using Natural color mode on my k-x, with a bit of cropping only.

Let's face it, today's ride had some great flowers to shoot - but the lens definitely did not let me down. I had fun with its "macro" mode (only about .16x, but it was in use for a few of these shots which enhances the bokeh).

Then I found the usual weakness - strong backlighting that wrecks contrast. A few shots at lunchtime looked like I was shooting in fog! So many lenses from the early days suffer from this.. it's sad to see. I still am surprised that nobody runs a recoating shop- send us your classics, we'll put a modern coating on the exposed elements! No it wouldn't solve every problem, but certainly better than what they have now.

Still thinking about my lens review to come.. but I sure had fun testing!

BTW not much chromatism in early tests..

These and a few more images can be seen at my Picasa site.

07-29-2011, 04:45 PM   #2
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Yes, interesting (and looks promising.)

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