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05-15-2009, 01:19 AM   #1
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Your biggest lens surprise

Did you ever use a lens, expect little to nothing, and get a lot?

I know I've posted about this before, but I just took a casual shot of my tomato plants (hi Ned) with my MC Auto-Chinon 135/2.8 and was extremely impressed with what came out of the camera. I got this lens in a package with two other lenses and an ME body for basically nothing. I thought if it was crap, which I suspected it was, I would sell it.

Now, after seeing what this is capable of, this is going to be a lens I take with me to the grave. The colors are great and it's super sharp. From its humble looks and price, this lens just has no business being this good -- and it's extremely useful as a 200/2.8 equivalent on digital. The only problem is it has a bit of purple fringing, but that's OK.

Pretty sweet colors and tones, right out of the camera (no PP except pretty heavy cropping + web sharpening)

100% crop, f/4

So: what are your biggest surprises -- lenses that shouldn't be as good as they are?

05-15-2009, 03:56 AM   #2
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I would say the lens that most surprises me is the F 35-70. Straight out of camera, no pp other than resizing for web. Not bad for a $60 lens.

Last edited by MPrince; 03-17-2016 at 02:44 PM.
05-15-2009, 05:10 AM   #3

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My 180$ (new) Sigma 70-300 zoom.

Last edited by wildman; 05-23-2009 at 03:20 AM.
05-15-2009, 06:52 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
My 180$ (new) Sigma 70-300 zoom.
WOW. The shot is great!

05-15-2009, 07:52 AM   #5
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My SMC A 35-105mm f3.5 continually surprises me with its resolution and rendering.
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05-15-2009, 07:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
My 180$ (new) Sigma 70-300 zoom.
Awesome shot, I got the Tamrom, cant barely capature anything that move.

Anyway, the biggest lens surprise is the Sears M42 55mm f1.4, get it in a Takumar bundle, so pretty much free, but has great bokeh as the Takumar 50 f1.4.
05-15-2009, 08:05 AM   #7
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my biggest surprise was sigma 17-70. I used it as my primary lens for almost 2 years.
05-15-2009, 08:12 AM   #8
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I would say that the FA 77 Ltd and the Tamron 70-200 f2,8 are the most positive surprises I've had. But I can't say that I wasn't expecting much from these, on the contrary.

To answer the question of the OP, I'd say the Takumar (Bayonet) 135mm f2,5 has been a very pleasant surprise. I bought it for 15€ and loved it's sharpness and bokeh.

05-15-2009, 08:37 AM   #9
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No question, my most pleasant surprise has been my $30 USD Vivitar 135/2.8. It is a bit cumbersome to use due to the manual aperture, but the optical quality is right up there.

05-15-2009, 08:43 AM   #10
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For me it's the $20 (shipped from the UK!) Helios-44M. What a performer.
05-15-2009, 08:50 AM   #11

You all know what I am gonna say

Hands down the biggest surprise ever...

The $20 Helios 44M my most used lens by far.

And my second most used lens the Tair 11a 135 2.5

Also like Steve said, the $25 Vivitar 135mm 2.5

Last edited by Igilligan; 05-15-2009 at 12:57 PM.
05-15-2009, 09:00 AM   #12
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What up, Gus?

Random 44M image:

05-15-2009, 09:09 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
No question, my most pleasant surprise has been my $30 USD Vivitar 135/2.8. It is a bit cumbersome to use due to the manual aperture, but the optical quality is right up there.

I second that. I have the Panagor version of it but I think they were all made by the same manufacturer. Mine is actually a leftover from the seventies when I bought it for my K1000!

05-15-2009, 09:31 AM   #14
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The Pentax A35-105 and F 35-70 were mentioned in this thread , I own and love them both but they did not "surprise " me. What came as an eye opening shocker was a lowly Tamron 28-70 Adaptal which came in a kit I had bought.I thought it would be junk but oh what a pleasant surprise. Very sharp . great color and built like a tank. Since finding this lens I've stopped turning my nose up at 3rd party product and bought several other Tamron lenses. including the 103A which was also dirt cheap , sharp , great bokeh , and has become one of my favorite lenses.Following is the first shot I ever took with the 103A
Hey Gus , I've heard you talk about the Helios and Tair and seen some beautiful tes shots but I'm unfamilliar with them . Are they M42 or bayonet? Do they have "A" funtion?

Last edited by seacapt; 07-26-2009 at 07:10 PM.
05-15-2009, 12:34 PM   #15
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Seems we had a similar thread a few months ago? My two biggest surprised have been my M100/2.8 and M28/2.8, neither of which were lenses I was intending to acquire, but sort of fell in my lap while seeking out other lenses (M85/2 and either M28/35 or A28/2.8).

Here's a shot from the M100/2.8, which just may be the perfect concert lens:

And one from the M28/2.8, which I use (in conjunction with the DA40) as a general purpose replacement for the kit lens. Sometimes I think I'm supposed to still want something wider, but for some reason, the view from the 28mm often seems wider than I expect (pleasantly so):


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