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02-20-2009, 01:16 PM   #1
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M42 Lens actual worth

This applies to most m42 lenses. Maybe more to very overrated soviet ones.
How do you all get those juicy,vivid shots from those soviet lenses?
What is surprising that not few, but most of shot taken with m42 lenses and posted somewhere in forum are that good.

I've owned a few, but they always give pretty washed out, uncontrasty unsaturated images compared to a DA or modern K mount lenses (like sigma 70-300).
Usually my camera is set to (0,0,0) contrast/shrapness/saturation settings and i shoot in bright mode, JPEG.

I've used Helios 44(silver), 44-2,MC 77m-4, Industar 61L/Z, Pentacon 30/3.5.
Jupiter 37A, Revuenon 135/2.8, SMC Takumar 55/1.8 maybe last ones were a bit better but not comparable to 18-55, F50/1.7 or some of your m42 shots.
With no other post processing than resample, i get something like this for example, from Helios 44 and Smc-Tak-55/1.8:
Inbox Foto (foto.inbox.lv)

Most m42 images posted in here looks something like i would get with a 30/1.4 sigma or F50/1.7 straight out of camera.

Do you use some sort of post processing, or my photographing tecniques are bad.
I understand they are kind of cheap alternative .. but some have their price lower only for such amount that matches their lack of automatic features, but im afraid have very reduced image quality. If it is so it makes no point saving some 50$ on FA 50/1.7 for example, if it is not only AF you loose but most of what makes this lens so good (IQ).


Last edited by ytterbium; 02-20-2009 at 01:24 PM.
02-20-2009, 01:40 PM   #2
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One thing: I have viewed your photos and to me they look everything but washed out... So I'm very interested in what's the actual problem!
02-20-2009, 02:05 PM   #3
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I guess its easier to show a photo, than explain. Here are few wich i liked a lot, compared to mine:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/51691-last-lens-ever.html
(Cat shots... awesome).
02-20-2009, 02:12 PM   #4
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What do the histograms look like?

In my experience with the K10D, most lenses that do not communicate aperture to the camera body (lenses with M42 and PK mount), if left to the camera to set the exposure, result in overexposed photos.

When a photo is overexposed, all bets are off.

Please check the histograms to make sure there is nothing clipped off.

Here is a recent photo with an M42 lens of mine, a Mamiya 60mm f/2.8, probably about 50 years old. The JPEG file is directly from the camera, no post-processing (resized by flickr.com):



02-20-2009, 02:42 PM   #5
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What is the actual worth of an M42 lens? There are two schools of thought. The first is that it is worth what you paid for it. The second is that it is worth what it would cost to part with it.

In practical terms, I think that worth depends quite a bit on the lens. Based on submissions to the various "clubs" where M42 lenses are common, I think that it is fair to make the following M42 generalizations:
  • Pentax Takumars are pretty much uniformly very good.
  • Ditto for Carl Zeiss Jena and Schneider-Kreuznach.
  • Other East German lenses may be variable.
  • Many lenses from the former Soviet Union are also good, though coatings (or lack of) and variable construction may result in considerable performance variation even within a named model.
  • Japanese camera manufacturers lenses (Yashinon, Rikenon, Mamiya/Sekor) are uniformly good.
  • Japanese third-party lenses are either good or not so good depending on the lens.
  • Store brand such as Sears, JC Penny, Focal (K-mart), and Porst are variable as well, but often good.

Fortunately, almost all of the above (except for the Zeiss and Schneider stuff) are pretty inexpensive.

As for your results, they look OK to me.

In regards to settings/processing, I shoot RAW with minimal post-processing in Lightroom using the default import settings. The most common adjustment I make with my M42 lenses is a modest boost in contrast. I am happy enough with my results that I would be hesitant to part with any of my M42 lenses. I guess that means that they are worth...hmmm...I guess that means they are priceless!

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-20-2009 at 03:51 PM.
02-20-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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Having shot RAW+JPEG for a couple weeks, I've got to say...I see no reason to shoot JPEG.

Even with AWB, the RAW image was closer to what it should be. Less saturated colors, but that's no problem. More shadow noise, slightly softer as well...

As stated above, the older lenses have less contrast since that's how they were designed. Multi-coated lenses give you more than single-coated ones.

The Helios 44-2 I used to have gave me very warm colors, great in the fall, with a perfect amount of saturation. I would have kept it if not for the wide-open bokeh.

So...I don't understand the issue? The Russian copies were more cheaply made than their German-inspired designs but still reverse engineered. A lot of people here seem to be content with Sigma lenses, made in much the same way since they don't work with OEM makers like Tokina, Tamron, Pentax, etc.
02-20-2009, 06:16 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote
This applies to most m42 lenses. Maybe more to very overrated soviet ones.
How do you all get those juicy,vivid shots from those soviet lenses?
What is surprising that not few, but most of shot taken with m42 lenses and posted somewhere in forum are that good.

I've owned a few, but they always give pretty washed out, uncontrasty unsaturated images compared to a DA or modern K mount lenses (like sigma 70-300).
Usually my camera is set to (0,0,0) contrast/shrapness/saturation settings and i shoot in bright mode, JPEG.

I've used Helios 44(silver), 44-2,MC 77m-4, Industar 61L/Z, Pentacon 30/3.5.
Jupiter 37A, Revuenon 135/2.8, SMC Takumar 55/1.8 maybe last ones were a bit better but not comparable to 18-55, F50/1.7 or some of your m42 shots.
With no other post processing than resample, i get something like this for example, from Helios 44 and Smc-Tak-55/1.8:
Inbox Foto (foto.inbox.lv)

Most m42 images posted in here looks something like i would get with a 30/1.4 sigma or F50/1.7 straight out of camera.

Do you use some sort of post processing, or my photographing tecniques are bad.
I understand they are kind of cheap alternative .. but some have their price lower only for such amount that matches their lack of automatic features, but im afraid have very reduced image quality. If it is so it makes no point saving some 50$ on FA 50/1.7 for example, if it is not only AF you loose but most of what makes this lens so good (IQ).
Here is one of your images taken with the Tak 55 1.8 that you have done some PP
with (hope you don;t mind me linking):



Now, to me, that image is just fine - is this one of the ones you feel is 'washed out'?

Here's your image with no PP - maybe just a little underexposed, but still fine,
especially for ISO 800 on the K100D:

02-21-2009, 02:57 AM   #8
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Btw, i dont know why but that site does not link very well.

Well it seem that it is so. Maybe a i have overstated some drawback they have.

But i guess that most of you, then use to add some contrast afterwards.

02-21-2009, 03:22 AM   #9
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SLR as P&S

QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote
Btw, i dont know why but that site does not link very well.

Well it seem that it is so. Maybe a i have overstated some drawback they have.

But i guess that most of you, then use to add some contrast afterwards.
Yes, but not always! I've been out yesterday with my newly aquired Macro-Tak 50mm, and I was blown away by the quality of the colours and the contrast. In the same situation I used the Jupiter-9, and that one produced somewhat washed out images, compared to the Tak. However, I think one should allways adjust EV in new situations with these lenses, based on the histogram etc. The first one I shoot in a session is almost allways over- or underexposed..... However, this is one of the things I like about these lenses: you have to do some work (the judging...) yourself. It keeps me away from using my SLR as a P&S......

To exculpate my Jupiter: I should have listened to my own words during the session yesterday. IOW: I did not adjust EV.....
02-21-2009, 06:57 AM   #10
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I attribute the coating technology to have made the biggest impact to modern lens contrast strength. I do notice my new, coated lenses generally offer better flare resistance, and thus less washed out results, but all lenses benefit from a hood. I'm not sure if you do, but use a hood, even indoors under fluorescent lights for example. As long as you're keeping the light directly off the lens, your contrast can be strong even from older glass.

K.
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