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03-11-2009, 03:42 AM   #1
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Three 105's compared

I thought I'd compare a SMC Takumar 105mm f/2.8, a Soligor T4 mount 105/2.8, and for fun, a SMC Takumar 50/1.4 with a generic 2x tele converter.

Much to my surprise the Soligor walked away with the prize, at least among my samples of the lenses. Production and life time experience will make every lens somewhat different. The Tak 105 I'd bought from Eric Henderson, so it should be in good condition though.

The 50 + converter pics are invariably warmer than with the other two lenses - this probably the effect of remaining yellowing in the 50/1.4. The combo got reasonably good results closed down, and at the wider openings gave a nice vintage glow look that can be useful.

The shots are all Av mode, +2 EV, AWB, K100D. Oh, and I focused, with the confirmation light lit, on the back wall, so the rail and chair are in front of the focus plane. Not ideal, but more interesting than showing the wall. In retrospect, I'd put the chair or something in the center to focus on. However, the results are similar when I did a different series of comparisons on a central object surrounded by distant objects.

Soligor 105 at f/8


Takumar 105 at f/11


Tak 50 + 2x converter at f/4




Order in the crops: Soligor, Tak105, Tak50+2x
100% crops at f/2.8


100% crops at f/4


100% crops at f/11


JPEG file sizes:
Soligor 105:
f2.8 = 2.14mb, f4 = 2.33mb, f5.6 = 2.58mb, f8 = 2.60mb, f11 = 2.47mb
Tak 105:
f2.8 = 1.91mb, f4 = 2.15mb, f5.6 = 2.37mb, f8 = 2.3mb, f11 = 2.52 mb
Tak 50 +TC
f2.8 = 1.75mb, f4 = 1.88mb, f5.6 = 2.04mb, f8 = 2.18mb, f11 = 2.42mb

(click on images to get to the flickr pages, where full size versions of the 100% crops is available)

03-11-2009, 04:17 AM   #2
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Thanks - that's pretty interesting. Could you post a pic of the Soligor lens itself?

/Jens
03-11-2009, 04:32 AM   #3
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The Tak shot seems out of focus. When you close the diaphragm to f:11, you increased the depth of field, which, to my eye, brought evrything back in focus.
03-11-2009, 04:41 AM   #4
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Yah. Somethings fishy with the tak shot. I have the preset Tak, Super Tak and S-M-C Tak none of them perform that bad. Either you have a bad copy or failed focusing.

03-11-2009, 05:15 AM   #5
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I must agree with the above posters. I've got a SMC Tak 105 and the damn thing is so sharp I get paper cuts. I applaud your efforts, Nesster, but ouch, I can't quite buy the fall off in IQ you're seeing in the Tak lens. Perhaps your copy isn't quite up to snuff?

germar
03-11-2009, 07:07 AM   #6
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Agreed - if you look at the window framing in the background, that's what's in focus

/jens
03-11-2009, 07:25 AM   #7
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Yes, I explain that in the text - the focus for all three was on the back wall. This is less than an ideal test. However, all three were focused under the same condition: the focus light lit at the center of the frame.

But perhaps the Tak 105 does focus a bit far in this set up - the fact that the jpeg's keep rising at f/11 seems to indicate a DOF thing.

On the other hand, with the same conditions however, I replicated these results with a center object / distant edges comparison.

The Tak 105 should be up to snuff, as it was checked out and adjusted by Eric.

More to the point, seems like the Soligor T4 lens is very good indeed.
03-11-2009, 07:31 AM   #8
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Here's pics of the Soligor




03-11-2009, 08:26 AM   #9
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Takumar yellowing

Nesster,

Interesting comparison. It looks like you 50mm needs a little sunshine on its rear element. While the warm tone is a nice effect, I suspect the other lenses are showing a truer color.

The usual treatment is to wrap the lens in aluminum foil, leaving the real element exposed, and letting the lens soak up some UV rays for a few days. The foil keeps the lens from over heating and melting the grease. The UV reacts with the thorium in the lens and clears the yellowing.

Vern
03-11-2009, 08:35 AM   #10
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Regardless of what was going on with the Tak 105, I am truly surprised by the performance of the Soligor. Thanks for doing the work and sharing the results. I suppose we will now see a rise in the price of Soligor glass...

Steve

(IMHO the Tak is merely OOF. In the f/2.8 comparison shot, it appears that the plane of focus is somewhere beyond the table...)
03-11-2009, 08:41 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vern Quote
Nesster,

The usual treatment is to wrap the lens in aluminum foil, leaving the real element exposed, and letting the lens soak up some UV rays for a few days. The foil keeps the lens from over heating and melting the grease. The UV reacts with the thorium in the lens and clears the yellowing.

Vern
Vern, I already did this last summer. I was surprised at the effect, even with AWB, the slight remaining tinge has.
03-11-2009, 09:02 AM   #12
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As far as I am concerned from my own experience with manual focusing, you can not rely on the green hexagon to provide you with a good focus confirmation. There is significant play (at least on my K200D) in the focus travel that the green hexagon remain illumated. This could cause a slight front or back focus depending on your camera, especially when shooting at larger apertures such as 2.8.

After I realized that the green hexagon was no longer that great of a help, I no longer relied on it. I have the AF system turned off unless I press the OK button (essentially my AF button), so I never see the green light when I am manually focusing. I feel that this gives me better control over the focusing and also builds my confidence and skills for MF so that I don't have to rely on the camera.

Just my experiences with the green hexagon. Cheers,
-Jim
03-11-2009, 09:08 AM   #13
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QuoteQuote:
I suppose we will now see a rise in the price of Soligor glass...
Ooops... erm... um... no, Soligor sucks (at least till I get the other ones I want bought)

I do see the problem with the green light. OTH with my eyes and glasses and the tiny little hole they expect us to look at these days... OY! Seems like I have to take each series with slightly different focus for each lens and then pick the best one.

At any rate, I may publish something from the second set of pics, and my plan is to do some sort of bokeh test, perhaps using an extension tube to get a bit closer.

I love the SMC Tak, especially on the ES-II, and in real use it's plenty sharp enough. So's the... oops... take that back... the Soligor is only good for... eh, what the hey, it is a great lens also.
03-11-2009, 09:46 AM   #14
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Yeah, interesting and thanks. Since the recent onset of LBA I have actually wondered about Soligor a few times. In my experience they actually made/marketted at least a couple of good lenses.
My first 35mm slr purchase was a Miranda something in the late 70s. The kit included a 50mm Miranda lens and a 135mm Soligor. I think the 135 was a 2.8 and my remaining impression is that it was a fine lens. Later I picked up a 100/2.8 (iirc) in Nikon AIS mount and while it didn't quite match the IQ of my 85mm and 105mm Nikon lenses it was decent. I remember really liking it for portraits because it had a nice softness wide open and great bokeh. I seem to remember they made crappy zooms at the time, but the primes were well made with good IQ.

gl with your collection
03-11-2009, 10:11 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by StevenVH Quote
Yeah, interesting and thanks. Since the recent onset of LBA I have actually wondered about Soligor a few times. In my experience they actually made/marketted at least a couple of good lenses.
My first 35mm slr purchase was a Miranda something in the late 70s. The kit included a 50mm Miranda lens and a 135mm Soligor. I think the 135 was a 2.8 and my remaining impression is that it was a fine lens. Later I picked up a 100/2.8 (iirc) in Nikon AIS mount and while it didn't quite match the IQ of my 85mm and 105mm Nikon lenses it was decent. I remember really liking it for portraits because it had a nice softness wide open and great bokeh. I seem to remember they made crappy zooms at the time, but the primes were well made with good IQ.

gl with your collection
If you still have these cameras, I have both a Miranda and Nikon T-4 adapter I can send you. It always seems like the interesting lenses come with non-Pentax T-4 and TX adapters.

I have tried "focus-bracketing" on my latest test. I focus as best I can, then take a series of shots after moving the focus ring back and forth in small increments. It can identify focus errors and maybe help if the lens has a curved field. Subject choice is very important too. The right subject can emphasize focus errors. I also like to have something detailed in the corners to look at.

Testing is tedious, even for simple sharpness, and it's difficult to rule out all potential errors. I think each test is useful and adds to the body of knowledge, even if it's not definitive.
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