Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
12-06-2018, 12:36 PM - 4 Likes   #1
Pentaxian
cyberjunkie's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bologna, Amsterdam, Chiang Mai
Posts: 1,025
Is anybody interested in test pictures of vintage lenses?

I love to use vintage lenses. I always did, but after I bought the K-1 I'm appreciating them even more, cause I can finally use old optics on the same format they were designed for.
When I don't have the chance to photograph something more interesting, I like to play with old lenses and see if some of them have any practical worth as photographic tools, or just have some collector value.
Many times the result is just average, or worse, but there are times when I find that an old lens has a great practical value, either because it performs at the same level of a modern high quality zoom, or because its optical signature provides a kind of look that no modern lens would ever give.
I would love to find on this forum suggestions and examples posted by other members. It would help orient my purchases or make me stay away from hopeless lenses.
It would be even more useful to less experienced users who have just got involved with vintage glass.
Unfortunately most of the reviews are not very in depth nor very reliable, and often lack high definition examples of the kind of subjects that would highlight the strong points and the weaknesses of the various lenses.
I like to read well done comparative tests, but it takes time and a certain effort... so I haven't seen any of them recently, on pentaxforums.
Sample images would help, but most of the pictures posted here are shot with modern glass, and the relatively few taken using vintage lenses are either dramatically downsampled or represent subjects that (albeit nice to the eye) don't show the limits of the optic.
I'm not asking for newspapers or brick walls, just high res images of subjects that fill most of the frame and have a certain depth (to have at least some part of the image correctly in focus, in case of imprecise focusing).
I have no idea if other people would find it useful, or just plain boring. Personally I would like to see a thread dedicated to vintage lenses, with test pictures (and comments) that would help to understand what we can expect from such optics.
Recently I am shooting this kind of silly photos for myself, let's say it's a pastime to find out which of my old lenses is worth keeping in active use, and which are better kept stored as collector's items.
In the process, I'm finding that some old optics are really quite awful, while some others have impressed me beyond any expectation.
It doesn't take much: a correctly focused picture of a flower plant, or a bush, moderately post processed, and uploaded to a site that does not resize the jpg.

If any of you has done a comparative of various lenses for fun, for your own use, I encourage to post your findings.
I'm sure other users would find it interesting.
I understand a proper test would take time and a certain competence, so I'm also asking if there is any interest for a thread where commented test images of vintage lenses could be posted, with a more casual, less structured approach.

12-06-2018, 12:59 PM - 1 Like   #2
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 174
Try the forum here with the monthly single in challenge, older lenses used each day for a month, it really helps show what the oldies can do

PentaxForums.com → Social Groups → Pentax Photography Groups → Monthly Photo Challenges
12-06-2018, 02:46 PM - 1 Like   #3
Senior Member
runswithsizzers's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 177
Every photo is a test of the photographer's ability to find an interesting subject, a good composition, and good lighting. If the photo also demonstrates the capability of a lens, that's fine - but without a decent subject, composition and lighting, a "test" photo is not something I care about looking at.
12-06-2018, 04:37 PM   #4
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: North Wales
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,806
Well a large part of the fun is browsing around to figure out what's good and/or interesting, it's kind of a treasure hunt. It usually doesn't take much to find something, and often a lot on a lens, given how powerful search engines are.
A little tip: I often find that searching images of a lens finds links to good info.

12-06-2018, 04:43 PM - 1 Like   #5
amateur dirt farmer...
Loyal Site Supporter
pepperberry farm's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,277
QuoteOriginally posted by garywakeling Quote
Try the forum here with the monthly single in challenge, older lenses used each day for a month, it really helps show what the oldies can do

PentaxForums.com → Social Groups → Pentax Photography Groups → Monthly Photo Challenges


I concur with Gary here - I use the SIC as purely evaluative tool....

I have standard shots that I take with every lens I own, but that's for my own comparisons....
12-06-2018, 04:58 PM - 2 Likes   #6
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Durham, England
Posts: 10,497
QuoteOriginally posted by runswithsizzers Quote
Every photo is a test of the photographer's ability to find an interesting subject, a good composition, and good lighting. If the photo also demonstrates the capability of a lens, that's fine - but without a decent subject, composition and lighting, a "test" photo is not something I care about looking at.
Whilst I agree to some extent, simple test shots can give an indication of rendering character and performance if the test subjects are well chosen. It doesn't have to be a well composed shot in great lighting to show how centre vs border peformance compares, what the flare characteristics are, or the quality of out-of-focus rendering.

So, I'll gratefully accept test shots if they can demonstrate any or all of these - even though I might prefer "fully formed" photographs (assuming they demonstrate the same characteristics).

Last edited by BigMackCam; 12-06-2018 at 05:26 PM.
12-06-2018, 07:34 PM - 2 Likes   #7
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 31,326
I find the comparison threads to be tedious (they come up every once in awhile), mostly because the subjects are either not a good test of the lens' capabilities or the differences are not called out with any specificity, if at all, or because the comparison shots are done with low technical expertise (i.e. poor attention to focus, exposure, camera motion, etc.)*

What I have found helpful are the various lens club threads and the Lens Sample Photo Archive. Between the two, one can usually find a variety of subjects for a particular lens model as well as truly sterling examples of the lens at its best. There are currently 450 threads in the Lens Sample pool and 133 lens clubs, many of which are dedicated to particular lens "families". In the last few weeks, I have been filling adding some of my own shots to the sample pool, adding new threads where needed with the intent of providing photos showing what a particular lens can do without intent to show weakness or faults. Anyone can make a lens look bad, but it is very difficult to pull off technical magic with a lens that sucks.

Lens Clubs - PentaxForums.com

Lens Sample Photo Archive - PentaxForums.com

BTW...The index threads may be very out-of-date. I find it easier to do an alphabetical sort by thread name in the main sub-forum.

In case anyone is interested, I test new arrivals against the intended subjects I bought them for. I don't do corner vs. center or bokeh series or anything of the sort. If I can do good work with the lens, I use it a lot. If the effort required to do good work is overwhelming, I tend to use it less, regardless of results.** With a few exceptions, I have reviewed the lenses I own with a full critique of performance, build, ergonomics, suitability to task, and ease of use.


Steve

* How many photos of begonias in full sun with blown out reds does it take to show that this ain't working?

** A good example might be the Tamron 70-210/3.5 (19AH). It is a very fine lens and well-made to boot. However, it is significantly heavier than my Pentax-A 70-210/4 without a huge step up in performance. The Tamron seldom leave the shelf.
12-06-2018, 09:01 PM - 4 Likes   #8
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
buberfan's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 70
Some test pictures

I recently did a very unscientific shoot out on my K-1 of some of my lenses in the 50-ish range, mainly looking at centre sharpness and bokeh in the wide-open to f2.8 range. In all cases I used live view magnified to focus on the letter 'K' in the test model. The unscientific-ness of the test is that I moved the model camera a bit to compensate for different minimum focusing distances on the various lenses and also fine-tuning the aesthetics. So not a truly "apples vs apples" shoot out, but informative (to me) nevertheless.


The photos are here: Lens tests 50mm bokeh | Flickr


The lenses I shot were:

58mm lenses:

Helios 44m-7
Helios 44-3
Helios 44 (silver, 13-blade version)
Takumar 58mm f2 (Sonnar formula)
Takumar 58mm f2.4 (Heliar formula)
Meyer-Optik Primoplan 58
Cosina Voigtlander 58 f1.4

55mm lenses:
Super-Takumar 55 f1.8
Auto-Takumar 55 f2.2
DA*55 f1.4

50mm lenses:
Pentax K 50mm f1.2
Pentax A 50mm f1.4
Pentax A 50mm f2
Pentax-F Macro 50mm f2.8
Pentax-F 50mm f1.7
Auto Yashinon 5cm f2 (Tomioka)
Auto Rikenon 5cm f2
Meyer-Optik Trioplan 50mm f2.8
Volna 50mm f1.8

Others
Pentax FA Ltd 43mm f1.9
Cosina Voigtlander 40mm f2

Partly of the reason for doing this shoot out (apart from the fun of it) was that I need to divest myself of some lenses after a lengthy and protracted bout of LBA, and I now have a better idea of which ones I'm ready to let go and which ones to keep. I hope this is useful for someone else.

12-06-2018, 11:51 PM - 1 Like   #9
Junior Member




Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 39
@buberfan: What were your conclusions after all your testing?
12-07-2018, 06:28 AM - 1 Like   #10
Pentaxian
photoptimist's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2016
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,723
QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Whilst I agree to some extent, simple test shots can give an indication of rendering character and performance if the test subjects are well chosen. It doesn't have to be a well composed shot in great lighting to show how centre vs border peformance compares, what the flare characteristics are, or the quality of out-of-focus rendering.

So, I'll gratefully accept test shots if they can demonstrate any or all of these - even though I might prefer "fully formed" photographs (assuming they demonstrate the same characteristics).
Exactly!

Some images are tests of the photographer as runswithsizzers said, but others are meant to be tests of the equipment (i.e., lens or camera). The two types of test can have conflicting requirements.

For example, the classic rule-of-thirds can make for a nice composition but it's not good for test photographs. Similarly, the "good composition" rules about having a focal subject conflict the "test all the parts of the lens" rule for checking center/edge/corner sharpness and aberrations. Personally, I find most "test shots" published online to be poor quality as test shots even if they are nice images because there's too much non-uniformity of the subject matter.

Nothing beats the basic, boring brick-wall test photo for revealing the distortion pattern of the lens, vignetting, checking for center/edge/corner sharpness, and testing decentering. It's also a great test subject for checking field curvature although field curvature isn't easy to show in a single image.

Last edited by photoptimist; 12-07-2018 at 06:59 AM.
12-07-2018, 06:33 AM   #11
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 342
QuoteOriginally posted by buberfan Quote
I recently did a very unscientific shoot out on my K-1 of some of my lenses in the 50-ish range, mainly looking at centre sharpness and bokeh in the wide-open to f2.8 range. In all cases I used live view magnified to focus on the letter 'K' in the test model. The unscientific-ness of the test is that I moved the model camera a bit to compensate for different minimum focusing distances on the various lenses and also fine-tuning the aesthetics. So not a truly "apples vs apples" shoot out, but informative (to me) nevertheless.
Great effort there. I was not surprised that the FA43 and DA*55 would do well in this but was a little surprised at how much I liked the VL40 Ultron. Of course a different test, like a portrait, would probably show different results. Which lenses did you decide to keep?
12-07-2018, 09:33 AM - 1 Like   #12
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 31,326
QuoteOriginally posted by buberfan Quote
The unscientific-ness of the test is that I moved the model camera a bit to compensate for different minimum focusing distances on the various lenses and also fine-tuning the aesthetics. So not a truly "apples vs apples" shoot out, but informative (to me) nevertheless.
That sounds fine to me. Apples to apples would have involved varying distance to provide similar magnification to compensate for focal length. Your test paid an unintended dividend in that it highlights the variability of bokeh that is probably less a matter of lens design and more a matter of magnification and relative distances. I was also pleased to see that at least one characteristic often discussed in bokeh tests, the presence of cat's-eye highlights, is demonstrated for all the lenses tested. Some tests treat this as if it were a fault of some kind or unusual in some way.

BTW...I truly lust after your Praktina and would have loved to have seen the Biotar 58/2 included in the test alongside the Helios 44 variants.


Steve
12-07-2018, 09:37 AM   #13
Pentaxian
cyberjunkie's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bologna, Amsterdam, Chiang Mai
Posts: 1,025
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Breakfastographer Quote
@buberfan: What were your conclusions after all your testing?
Going through all the images is a lengthy process, I should have a look again more carefully.
At first sight I have been impressed by the sharpness of the DA* 55mm, but the seventh multicoated incarnation of the Helios 58mm comes almost close at a fraction of the price.
The SMC Pentax 1.2/50mm is not sharp wide open, but it recovers in a massive way by f/2. The biggest defect of this lens is the longitudinal chromatic aberration (bokeh fringing), that I personally find quite disturbing. The posted images don't show such problem, probably because the out of focus highlights were too close to the subject. Hence the circles of confusion without the strong blueish contour around them.
As expected, the Primoplan is not sharp at all, even stopping down a little. Though the bokeh is a wonder, even with a subject that does not fully show its potential. It is not the usual complex double gauss design, like the Biotar or the Planar, and it shows in both ways, good and bad.

I see that I am not the only one taking a few quick shot after I get a new (to me) vintage lens, to check if it's worth experimenting more, or if it's more a collector item than anything else.
Two examples, that are really eye opening.
The original has been resized to 50%, cursory processed in Lightroom, and posted to Imgur. Unfortunately the EXIF gets completely stripped, unlike on Flickr, but the new Flickr limit on the number of pictures available for free accounts suggests to use it only for nicer shots.

The first one was shot with a Sankyo Kohki Komura f/7 500mm in UNI mount. f/11 on tripod.
Not much fringing, manually removed in Lighroom. Not very sharp, isn't it? maybe it would be better at f/16.


The second one was shot with a Tamron SP f/5.6 300mm, handheld at f/11.
Despite having two little specks behind the rear glass, probably due to a cement problem, the sharpness is quite impressive for a rather old telephoto lens.


The first photo was shot with a K-01 APS-C, the second with a K-1 full frame.
If you right click and choose "open in another tab" you can see the picture in full size.
The difference is quite obvious. The Komura is a mechanical marvel and a beautiful lens, but it was too extreme for the optical technology of the time to achieve a decent amount of correction.
The Tamron, at least 15 years younger, holds its own against more modern lenses, and allows to get quite close to the subject. Definitely a very usable lens!

Last edited by cyberjunkie; 12-07-2018 at 09:51 AM.
12-07-2018, 09:49 AM - 1 Like   #14
Junior Member




Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 39
QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
[...] Nothing beats the basic, boring brick-wall test photo for revealing the distortion pattern of the lens, vignetting, checking for center/edge/corner sharpness, and testing decentering. It's also a great test subject for checking field curvature although field curvature isn't easy to show in a single image.
I wouldn't read much into one sample of a lens being decentered. Just saying. It's only really interesting as far as that one lens is concerned unless you can find other decentered samples of that model and establish that it's a general pattern. To that end, LensRentals in their testing tend to find huge sample variation from your typical "leading" Japanese brands, including some decentering in many samples. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

---------- Post added 12-07-18 at 09:57 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
[...] I was also pleased to see that at least one characteristic often discussed in bokeh tests, the presence of cat's-eye highlights, is demonstrated for all the lenses tested. Some tests treat this as if it were a fault of some kind or unusual in some way. [...]
I suspect that's mostly true, except for a few lenses like the Zeiss Otus that have been demonstrated to work for a much larger imaging circle (I believe the 50 and 85 from that line can cover crop 645, i.e. 44x33). In fact, let me wager that any medium format lens used on an APS-C body would not have significant cats' eyes. Or any APS-C lens adapted on a Q, etc. I would imagine the entire reason they design them that big is to avoid things like vignetting, cats' eyes, and maybe even sharpness drop-off and field curvature (I admit I'm less sure of the maths on the latter two - I guess there could be scenarios where the increased magnification cancels the envisaged benefits).
12-07-2018, 12:04 PM - 2 Likes   #15
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 31,326
QuoteOriginally posted by Breakfastographer Quote
I suspect that's mostly true, except for a few lenses like the Zeiss Otus that have been demonstrated to work for a much larger imaging circle
Cat's-eye bokeh (the "dreaded cat's-eye") is physical vignette of the aperture opening at the entry pupil and is related to FOV and physical aperture diameter, not image circle per se. Applying sufficient crop (e.g. medium format lens on M43 camera or extreme crop in PP) to narrow the FOV will remove cats-eye highlights from images made by almost all lenses. Likewise, using a crop-sensor lens on a larger format camera may result in cat's-eye at the margins of the image circle where such would not be visible at the intended FOV. FWIW, both the Otus 55/1.4 and 85/1.4 demonstrate cat's-eye highlights on both 24x36mm FF and APS-C (see LensTip's reviews and example images).

There are abundant help requests on the Web asking advice for avoiding non-circular OOF highlights and the inevitable answer is to shoot with a longer lens and/or use a lens having circular aperture opening and stop down.


Steve
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
aps-c, cats, curvature, depth, eyes, field, images, k-mount, lens, lenses, optics, pattern, pentax lens, pictures, post, sample, slr lens, subjects, test, test pictures, tests, time
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Traveling with K-1 & vintage lenses. Anybody else? cyberjunkie Pentax K-1 22 04-11-2017 02:25 PM
For anyone who is interested in seeing pictures taken with any lens in my collection RalphTech Pentax K-1 10 05-20-2016 01:18 AM
Anybody interested in Kirk custom plate for DBG-4 Max Pometun Pentax K-5 37 10-07-2011 08:39 AM
Anybody have the LG IPS236 monitor. Anybody got any info over the DVI-D connection? r0ckstarr Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 2 07-01-2011 11:52 AM
FIFA World Cup starts in less than two weeks… anybody interested? Jools General Talk 198 07-12-2010 03:20 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:11 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top