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06-30-2013, 12:58 PM   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Normally, one might say, "Anything labeled Promaster or Quantaray"
Tamron & Sigma makes a lot of those, and some are quite good. The Promaster 100mm / 3.5 macro is downright superb.

QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
I generally avoid manual focus zooms (M series and below) when rooting through used stores for lenses because I've got the impression that technology sucked back then and thus almost all those lenses are crap (yes, there are probably a few exceptions to that).
The Pentax-A 35-105 / 3.5 and Tamron SP 23A 60-300 are a couple of those exceptions. They're both excellent performers.

06-30-2013, 02:11 PM   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naruto Quote
How did Ansel Adams, Cartier-Bresson or Helmut Newton manage to take pictures with such bad manual lenses with low technology construction?
Because their needs did not require it.

Adams was shooting relatively static outdoor scenes where speed and responsiveness was not needed over drop dead quality.
Newton was a studio photographer with much the same requirements as Adams.
Bresson who did need speed and responsiveness used a rangefinder precisely because the SLR's of his day were so clumsy and slow.
06-30-2013, 05:46 PM - 1 Like   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
"The overall effect of these factors was that for a very long time small bubbles in the glass of a lens were an indicator of the highest quality.
It is still such an indicator today for lenses which were made prior to around 1975."

From

The Zeiss Ikon Contax Camera Repair Website - Overhauling A Contax IIA/IIIA - Lenses
That's an odd quote. The company I work for processes high temperature plastics. Granted, plastic can very different than glass but having bubbles in our plastic is actually a sign of poor quality control. Bubbles will cause an inconsistency in factors such as thermal expansion and mechanical strength among other things. We get rid of them by putting the hot plastics under vacuum and the bubbles get sucked up to the top. It sort of looks like the plastic is boiling as the bubbles at the top pop. From there the plastic is ground, machined, etc. The plastic ends up being whole, solid, complete, and void-free.

I would wonder if the bubbles would cause shifts and jerks in the index of refraction as the light passes through the glass.

From my own experience I would avoid something where I could see bubbles.
06-30-2013, 06:16 PM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
Because their needs did not require it.

Adams was shooting relatively static outdoor scenes where speed and responsiveness was not needed over drop dead quality.
Newton was a studio photographer with much the same requirements as Adams.
Bresson who did need speed and responsiveness used a rangefinder precisely because the SLR's of his day were so clumsy and slow.
I agree with you that the needs of those photographers were met by the tools they used, but I don't know that any of them would use different tools today.

Cartier-Bresson (his full last name) used a rangefinder because it was (and in most ways still is) the best tool for the job. His original choice of the 35mm Leica was in preference over medium and large format gear. There were no 35mm SLRs at the time. During his long life (he died in 2004), he would have had opportunity to use several decidedly "un-clumsy" SLRs including many with full program automation, motor drives, and sophisticated auto-focus, but chose not to.

In regards to Newton (also died 2004), I believe this quote is relevant:

“Nothing has changed in my picture taking technique since I was a boy in the 1930s, I would work with daylight in the summer and in the winter I would light the portraits which I took of my girlfriends with a two-hundred-watt photo-flood. I don’t own a strobe light, rarely work in the studio-hire additional equipment and studio space whenever necessary. The ‘Big Nudes’ are the only body of work that have been taken consistently in a studio."

He used a wide variety of cameras in his work and would have had access to anything he wanted. One set of kit is pictured on the blog from which I lifted this quote (Photographic Advice From The Late, [Great], Helmut Newton). A little Google work will expose various press cameras, a Rolleiflex, Polaroids, and a Fuji GS645s (I think) MF rangefinder.

In regards to Adams, he was familiar with and used a wide range of equipment and was a champion of the photographer having control over the tools. He also shot his share of portraits, architectural, and still life subjects. Sadly, he apparently never dabbled in football or motorsports photography. Nuff' said there.

As for the any lens with A-contacts being a thing to avoid...I would suggest that would be reasonable advice to a noob, but for an experienced photographer, the suggestion is ludicrous.

Steve

06-30-2013, 06:25 PM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
I would wonder if the bubbles would cause shifts and jerks in the index of refraction as the light passes through the glass.

From my own experience I would avoid something where I could see bubbles.
Small bubbles are not unusual in vintage lenses, though I don't know that they were ever taken as an indication of quality. Strangely enough, none of my FSU (former Soviet Union) lenses have bubbles. Conventional wisdom is that they are not a matter of concern, though my preference is to not have them.


Steve
06-30-2013, 07:15 PM - 1 Like   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
The Pentax-A 35-105 / 3.5 and Tamron SP 23A 60-300 are a couple of those exceptions.
The SMC Pentax-M 75-150mm f/4 zoom is also excellent.

Chris
06-30-2013, 07:19 PM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
The SMC Pentax-M 75-150mm f/4 zoom is also excellent.

Chris
As are the manual focus Vivitar Series-1 zooms and numerous other zoom lenses from the late 70s through the early 80s.


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06-30-2013, 11:45 PM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
As are the manual focus Vivitar Series-1
speaking of which the vivtar zoom series after Series-1 might need to be on the list. I accidentally bought one when I first got into shooting thinking it was a series-1 because I didn't read enough about it first and it was (and is) crap. Bought it for $20 off ebay and have too much a conscience to resell it. I mean, if all my other lenses melted in a fire I guess I'd be happy to use it.. (Mine is a 70-210. Series 2 or 3 can't remember which)

07-01-2013, 05:45 AM - 1 Like   #69
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Regarding bubbles: I heard somewhere that there was one type of glass which was pretty advanced for its time but the manufacturers were unable to get rid of the bubbles well into the 50s. The advantage of using that glass type far outweighed the disadvantages of having bubbles there. That said, I have two Meyer Primoplans 58/1.9, both have bubbles and I do not think their image quality was affected (consider how much damage it takes to really alter the image quality of a lens).

On avoiding certain lenses: the worst one I have is probably Meyer Telemegor 180/5.5 . It has too long MFD, is not very sharp unless stopped down to F/11 and is a strange lens to work with. Nevertheless, I love the retro pictures it gives me and given the right opportunity, the results can be great.

I generally tend to avoid older zooms because 1) I don't really use zooms, 2) I would have to reset SR for every zoom action I would take 3) it is generally said newer zooms took massive strides in image quality.
07-01-2013, 05:53 AM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by atiratha Quote
Regarding bubbles:
!!!!
Hell she would look good through a pinhole.
Sometimes content makes gear irrelevant.
07-01-2013, 06:55 AM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Most lenses, especially modern ones, are good. Some are great. A few are excellent. How many are absolute stinkers out there? Are there some makes/models or combinations of focal length and ratio that should be avoided no matter what?
I own these and am not terribly impressed with them, but that doesn't mean it cannot take a good photo. I've coaxed decent images from all, but the percentage of keepers is always too low...
  • Vivitar A 19-35/3.5-4.5 Series 1 just simply cannot beat the Pentax Kit lens in the right hands.
  • Pentax M 40-80/2.8-4.0 other than being completely ugly and bulky to handle, images are pretty soft at 2.8 but improve mightily when stopped down. "Macro" function is relatively good. However, it's such an odd focal length that I would never get rid of it
  • Tokina A 28-70/2.8-4.3 images just don't seem to match current lens reviews. I think some are enamored with the 2.8 speed of this particular zoom. However, the "Macro" of this lens also comes in handy.
  • Pentax F 50/1.4 Too sensitive to auto focus errors. I rarely take this out because I know it will not focus accurately enough for my tastes and the 50mm focal length is somewhat limiting.

Plenty of others out there not worth the reviews or cost...
07-01-2013, 11:06 AM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
As for the any lens with A-contacts being a thing to avoid...I would suggest that would be reasonable advice to a noob, but for an experienced photographer, the suggestion is ludicrous.
Steve
Someone advised that to you?


For the bubbles in the glass, they certainly not help optical quality but those I have seen the bubbles are so small that their effect is negligible given other sources of imperfections. I suppose that in modern days buyers seeing bubbles in the glass will return the lens so manufacturer will better avoid selling them from the start.
07-01-2013, 01:51 PM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naruto Quote
Someone advised that to you?
Poorly worded, indeed!


Steve
07-01-2013, 02:08 PM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
Adams was shooting relatively static outdoor scenes where speed and responsiveness was not needed over drop dead quality. Newton was a studio photographer with much the same requirements as Adams. Bresson who did need speed and responsiveness used a rangefinder precisely because the SLR's of his day were so clumsy and slow
In this case it isn't so much the capability of the tool that changed but the demands of the market. The rise of Sports Illustrated in the 70's changed photography forever.
07-01-2013, 02:50 PM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Which lenses should be avoided no matter what?
Is ones that don't fit the camera bodies you own, the right answer?
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