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02-12-2007, 04:19 PM   #1
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What's your favorite JUNK lens?

We all love our limited lenses and fast zooms, but what are your favorite under-appreciated lenses? I'm talking about cheap lenses that most people criticize as being worthless but that you absolutely love.

For me, there are three "junk" lenses that I love:

1) Jupiter-9 85mm f/2. This lens is a little Russian gem that I bring almost everywhere if I think there's even a slight chance that I'll be shooting portraits. Bokeh on this lens is second to none and it's plenty sharp and produces strong results (particularly if you use a hood since it lacks optical coating). I can't complain about a lens that cost me less than $40 (that's including the cost of shipping from Russia).

2) Takumar (Bayonet) 135mm f/2.5. Talk about an under-appreciated lens! Like the Jupiter-9 the Tak 135 2.5 needs a hood due to the lack of coating, but it is just as strong as any 135mm f/2.8 prime I've ever used.

3) Sigma 70-210mm UC f/4-5.6. Not the UCII, I'm talking about the original UC (the metal push-pull zoom with autofocus). Certainly not the best lens in its category, but even wide open I've found this lens to be a pleasant surprise (purchased for less than $50 at a used camera store on vacation when my more expensive telephoto zoom was damaged). When I need to travel light but want a telephoto zoom this is the lens I reach for and it serves that purpose well. Rugged and cheap with good results. I find this lens even more useful now that I have SR with the K10D to counter the slow apertures of this lens.

02-12-2007, 04:26 PM   #2
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SMC 55/2
Gemini 135/2.8 macro

Both lenses were originally used with a K1000 and have been graciously loaned to me from a friend of mine. I don't consider these two lenses junk at all. In fact I've been picking them up more often in situations that don't require flash as long as I have enough room to step back and get the shot.

Working on getting a SMC 28/2.8 and a SMC 50/2 before I return those two little gems.
02-12-2007, 04:29 PM   #3
roy
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JJ,
the 135 tak has 2 versions - a coated one and a non. i had the non for awhile and found it made a good paper weight..
02-12-2007, 04:41 PM   #4
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by roy Quote
JJ,
the 135 tak has 2 versions - a coated one and a non. i had the non for awhile and found it made a good paper weight..
There is a Pentax SMC-K 135mm f2.5 (the coated version) and the Pentax Takumar (Bayonet) 135mm f/2.5 (the non-coated version). Both lenses have a different optical design, so there's more to the difference than just the coating.

Did you try the Takumar with a lens hood? I use the non-coated lens all the time ... as a lens, not a paper weight.

Here are a couple of samples from the non-coated "paper weight" ... both wide open at f/2.5.

http://cincyjacksonfam.smugmug.com/photos/111135132-L.jpg

http://cincyjacksonfam.smugmug.com/photos/90747718-L.jpg

02-12-2007, 05:03 PM   #5
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I actually like my old Sears MC 135 f2.8, specially with extension tubes for some closups, it was dirt cheap from Ebay before lens happy prices went up:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/1741-some-winter-colors-va.html

Regards,
D
02-12-2007, 05:43 PM   #6
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I like my SMC Pentax-M 1:1.4 50mm a lot.

I picked up a Rokunar 2x converter today for $17. Haven't had a chance yet to determine how junky it is, but for 17 bucks, I'm not gonna lose any sleep over it.
02-12-2007, 05:50 PM   #7
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What do they say about "one man's junk..."

I guess I like two that are less-highly sought.
The stellar Sears Auto 55mm f/1.4:

(More from the Sears here.)

And the plain old Super-Takumar 50/1.4:

(More from the much-maligned 50 here.)
02-12-2007, 06:43 PM   #8
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Carpents, great colors on the first shot. and sharp on the second. Junk

02-12-2007, 06:47 PM   #9
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What? SMC-M and SMC Takumar 50/f1,4 are junk lenses? The Pentaxes 50/f1,4's are among the very best lenses ever made for the 35mm format. Even my Leica friends who are probably more loyal to Leica than to their wives will admit to the greatness of the Pentax 50/f1,4's.

I'm thinking, but mostly day-dreaming, of getting a Jupiter-9 myself. Anybody here ever try the Soviet Helios-40 85/f1,5 monster?

As for Pentaxes, I don't have any off-brand "junk lenses" at the moment unless I count the Soligor 500/f8 mirror lens that I never use. I have a Belorussian 8mm/f3,5 Peleng on the way so I'll wait and see.

Soviet quality control is non-existent so occasionally you'll get a dog. However, I've been lucky to know a few people that are able to turn these dogs into jewels. Most of them were, after all, based on Zeiss designs and used Zeiss tooling confiscated after the war. Early Jupiters even used original Zeiss glass. My favourite "junk lens" is my Jupiter-3 50/f1,5, which is a copy of the great Pre-war Zeiss 50/f1,5 Sonnar made for the Zeiss-Ikon Contax camera. This lens has a very unique signature wide open. It's bokeh goes from a machine-like quality to a buttery smooth Some people like it, some people don't. I love it. It's a rangefinder lens and not a SLR so I'm not sure if it will count. When I got it, it was an absolute dog. Focus was off 30cm at 1m and 1m at 5m. This made the lens unusable with larger apertures than f2.8. The focus ring was also so stiff that turning it would cause the lens to start unscrewing from the mount. After the first test-roll I got cramps in my hands. I sent the lens off to Brian Sweeney, who is a guru at culminating Soviet lenses. When I got it back, it was a night and day difference. This lens is now one of my favourites. Here's some photos taken with it.


Wide-open, hand-held at 1/15th about 2.5-3 metres away.


f2,8, hand-held, about 4-4.5 metres away


f8

Sorry for the non-Pentax content. Please let me know if I was out of line.

Last edited by Nando; 02-12-2007 at 07:33 PM.
02-12-2007, 07:13 PM   #10
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Whoa there!!!

QuoteOriginally posted by Nando Quote
What? ...SMC Takumar 50/f1,4 are junk lenses?
Super-Takumar 50!!! You're right - I love my SMC Tak 50/1.4! (And any iteration up to and including the FA50/1.4 is OK in my book, too.)

I believe one experienced member of this forum said the Super-Takumar 50/1.4 was like 'smeared Vaseline over the front of it'...
02-12-2007, 07:31 PM   #11
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My favourite, so-called 'junk' lens is an old k-mount Chinon 50/1.7 that I picked up from eBay for 1 ukp. I like it so much I got another for 2.50

Both lenses came with 49mm Hoya Sylight 1A filters so they were worth it just for that alone. The lens is really sharp and has nice DOF. Bokeh is just ok.

Can't complain for the money.
02-12-2007, 07:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by roy Quote
JJ,
the 135 tak has 2 versions - a coated one and a non. i had the non for awhile and found it made a good paper weight..
135 tak a paperweight? Wanna donate it (to me?)
02-12-2007, 07:44 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=Nando;26316]As for Pentaxes, I don't have any off-brand "junk lenses" at the moment unless I count the Soligor 500/f8 mirror lens that I never use. QUOTE]

How much you want for it?
02-12-2007, 07:50 PM   #14
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Sigma 28-135mm (1:3.8-5.6) Macro Aspherical. Under $150.00US most places. Not a bad lens, just not a good one! Yet somehow it works and keeps finding it's way into my bag of 'just in case' items.
02-12-2007, 08:14 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alvin Quote
135 tak a paperweight? Wanna donate it (to me?)
Keep in mind he's talking about the unloved 135 from when the Takumar name was revived which is, as I understand it, a totally different beast and generally considered not worthy of the name "Takumar".

That being said, I have one of those "paperweight" 135s and I love it. You have to shoot within its limitations, and get used to having half a ton of steel and glass hanging off the front of your camera, but it does a good job. Mine spends more time on the camera than off.
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