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05-11-2008, 04:13 PM   #1
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very strange lens! but are there two of them?

Looking for something else I recently ended up buying a very strange lens for almost nothing just because it was odd. It is not a zoom, but yet have three adjustable rings! Besides the focus and aperture rings, there is a macro ring in the front marked "macro 1:7, 1:6 and 1:4.5". This is a Makinon 135/2.8 "macro".



This lens is built by Makina Optical Co., Ltd. (own by Doi ?) in Japan. Some are marked KR others KM, versions are built with Minolta, Olympus, Rollei, Canon and Pentax M42 mounts. Makinon presumably used the concept with a separate ring to adjust "macro" on several lenses, but I have not seen them. Obviously the macro mode is reached by turning the front ring clockwise and thereby moving one or several of the lenses in the first lens group. In the macro mode it does not focus on infinity. Makinon built Vivitar lenses, but not this lens, the Vivitar 135/2.8 macro is a totally different lens. Makinon have a bad reputation. Searching the net for this lens I found these general statements: “Et makinon, c'est tout juste de jolis presse papier...” and “Stones make better doorsteps”. Still I bought it.

There were preciously little information available on the Makinon lens at the web, but while looking for it, I found much more hits on another strange lens. The Sears 128/2.8 macro. “It has a three step macro function (1:7, 1:6, 1:5).” “The macro feature is operated like this. Turn the main focus ring until the minimum focus distance is attained. Then turn the objective lens end clockwise (as when pointing the camera). It will turn in three steps, each attaining a decreasing focus distance until the minimum of about two feet is reached.” Does it sound familiar? Does it look familiar?



The Sears lens is supposedly built by Samyang Optical Industrial Co. Ltd., Korea. To me it appear very unlikely that two different manufacturers would develop such a strange optical solution independently. This must be the same lens within. I have however not been able to find any link between the Makina and Samyang or Makinon and Sears. Would be interesting to know the real story behind this. If one of them constructed this, what made the other one think they needed it on license? Any Sear owners want to comment this? Am I completely lost in my assumption. Anyone owning both lenses?

Back to my copy of the Makinon version. Full open it lives up to the bad reputation of Makinon, and becomes extremely soft, enough to destroy the photo, unless used as an effect.



But closed down two steps it is quite OK.



Here is a sample of the flowers on our plum tree, still at f=5.6. Not so bad, right?



And if cropped by 200%, looking at the corner of the picture, it is still sharp.



So I think my end conclusion is that if one is aware of the week sides of the lens and avoid them, it is possible to take at least technically OK pictures with it. Don't know yet what I will do with it, how much I will use it, or sell it again, but I won't use it as a doorstep or paperweight.



05-11-2008, 04:27 PM   #2
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That's a pretty decent lens (the Sears one). I hda one of those for a while. The dreamy effect works well for portraits and it's pretty sharp when stopped down....
05-11-2008, 05:17 PM   #3
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Maxwell1295, I was thinking the same thing. Interesting lens for portrait work. The center still has a bit of sharpness when wide open but the rest of the image is like shooting through a frosted window. Why spend $300++ for an 85mm soft when you could get one of these cheap.

Great write up Douglas.
05-11-2008, 05:53 PM   #4
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Thanks Peter. Yes, I will try it out as a portrait lens too and see if I can controle that "frosted window". It seams very dependent on the light conditions, perhaps its angle. f4 may offer an intermediate and less extreme softness that suits portraits better.

But does anyone know what is the relationship between the Makinon and the Sears lenses???
Any Japanese of Korean forum members with a clue?

05-11-2008, 08:08 PM   #5
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Can't tell you much about the manufacturing of these lenses, but I do have a Sears 2.8 135mm macro I use on and off and it's quite an interesting lens to say the least. This adjustable macro system really gives you some added flexibility.

I was lucky to get mine in "unused" condition (and it looked it too - as if it never left the box) for $30 bucks on ebay. I need more auctions that end at 3AM EST!

Edit: These are not rebadged Pentax lenses, like some stores would carry. Per the history I've read out on the net, Sears had OEM manufacturers (like Samyang) create lenses to their specs. At some level, this might explain the similarity, though I'm not sure if Sears had anything to do with Makinon at some point.

Last edited by George Lama; 05-11-2008 at 08:23 PM.
02-03-2013, 01:40 PM   #6
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135 f/2.8

I just bought this lens, but the non-macro version. I was surprised by this lens's sharpness. I don't see any of that softness that you described in my lens. So I guess that softness is just observed in the macro version...
02-03-2013, 02:09 PM   #7
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say hello to my beautiful...
Makinon 135 f/2.8

02-03-2013, 03:14 PM   #8
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My 2 Maks.
Taken as I am learning about High Speed (FP) flash sync, here the lenses appeared black against the snow outside.

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02-03-2013, 04:26 PM   #9
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can you explain more about these lenses? What are they? And a quick review would be nice too!
02-03-2013, 05:19 PM   #10
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OK, Amp,
The one on the right in post #8 is an "Auto Makinon MC 1: 4.5 200 mm" which as I recall I got for $5 plus shipping. It was my first 200 mm and i used it a while for T-Ball ( kid's baseball)
It unfortunately has swirl marks on front coating due to aggressive rubbing by some previous owner.
( Well, my friend at the same games had a new Canon with a kit lens and after each shot she gave her lens a good polish with a dry handerchief !!)

So I got a Pentax-M 1:4 200mm in good condition and a while ago I posted a comparison on this forum between the scratched Makinon and the Pentax.
I recently have added the larger and older SMC Pentax 1:4 200 mm , in top condition but apart from a test shot, I have never used it.

The lens on the left is the "Auto Makinon MC Zoom 1 (space) 3.5 f= 28~80mm"
It is in good condition and the glass is clear with a little dust. It is impressive with heavy ( 655 gram ) weight, excellently smooth rings, and its 72mm filter thread . 72mm filter. I don't use it so don't know about it but I can run some test shots on Pentax MX in comparison to the aps-c 18~ 55 kit and post.

Note: these old metal zoom lenses can be "tuned" ( in this case it is a Magnon, not a Makinon) that I built from 2 dead ones and "tuned" in August 2012. It took a whole afternoon!
Before:
https://www.box.com/s/98e8559cccbd0d0e83a4
Tuning by extremely careful grinding and shimming:- The aim is to get best side -to-side sharpness by adjusting the register to the sensor
https://www.box.com/s/edb6960a3a2a8ae738f2
After:
https://www.box.com/s/8bd668f7368a02e3dc68

Last edited by wombat2go; 02-03-2013 at 05:26 PM.
02-03-2013, 11:54 PM   #11
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dear wombat, as you explain more, I become more confused!
Would you please explain more about this "tuning"?
02-04-2013, 09:57 AM   #12
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Amp, I have a few old low value zooms, when the weather warms up I will see if I can "tune" another one , maybe the above Makinon,
and post step by step shots of how i do it. As shown in the above shots it is possible to sharpen an old zoom.
02-04-2013, 11:27 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by amparisay Quote
I just bought this lens, but the non-macro version. I was surprised by this lens's sharpness. I don't see any of that softness that you described in my lens. So I guess that softness is just observed in the macro version...
If that IS the same as the Sears 135/2.8 (non macro) its basically the same as the macro version without whatever fiddling Tokina (I think) did to make it macro and cause the bloom effect.

I have both versions (actually, the non-macro, the macro, another macro, and a macro-A. They kept falling in my lap last year as I bought other stuff).

The non-macro lens (at least my copy) is fun, I just find the length awkward and rarely have need for it. Stopped down a bit its sharp as anything.











02-04-2013, 11:43 AM   #14
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I don't have my Sears 135 f2.8 macro in front of me, but from memory, they look the same from the focus ring down. I bought it on purpose as it is quite a bizarre lens. I treat it almost like a fisheye.
02-04-2013, 03:55 PM   #15
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It looks very similar to a Sigma 135 with a macro fine tuning ring that I had in Canon FD fit maybe 25 years ago, possibly the worst lens I've ever had? ( maybe the kit EOS lens was worse! )
From what I can remember, instead of 'fine tuning' the macro focus the extra ring just seemed to adjust the amount of blur from bad to worse! It was a stinker.
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