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12-05-2009, 08:07 PM   #1
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whats with all these odd-named lens?

So i'm fairly new to the world of Dslr although not new to photgraphy in general. anyways i've been doing a bit of research(and a wee bit of buying lol) on lens and i've ran across some colorful names such as Soligor, Jupiter, Zenitar, Travenar, Chinon etc etc etc and the list go's on and on. any help would be appreciated and any info on any of the brands i didnt mention would be much-appreciated. thanks

12-05-2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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i'm not sure you understand what i'm asking. I would like to know any possible virtues of these third party lenses. for example the first three series 1 vivitar 70-210 lenses are known for being good glass. i would like to know if any of these brands have anything worth spending my money on. I'm typing on an Apple just purchased a Ticket through Expedia, and bought items off Ebay... Soooo... Once again any help would be appreciated!
12-05-2009, 09:33 PM   #3
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Third Party Lenses

QuoteOriginally posted by privateryan Quote
So i'm fairly new to the world of Dslr although not new to photgraphy in general. anyways i've been doing a bit of research(and a wee bit of buying lol) on lens and i've ran across some colorful names such as Soligor, Jupiter, Zenitar, Travenar, Chinon etc etc etc and the list go's on and on. any help would be appreciated and any info on any of the brands i didnt mention would be much-appreciated. thanks
There was once a website that covered hundreds, if not thousands of these lenses, but it seems to be not working right now, but give it a try from time to time:

Third Party Lenses Resource Megasite Home Page
by Robert Monaghan


Many of these lenses have attained a cult following ("Cult Classics") because they are so good, but get little recognition. Some of the Vivitar lenses you read about here fall into that category.

They are the brand names of some of the many optical companies across the world, usually referred to as "Third-Party" lenses.

In many cases these companies manufactured lenses to the specifications of lens designers, such as Vivitar, that had little of no manufacturing capability; sometimes they manufactured full-line company lenses (Canon, Pentax, Nikon, etc.) when a company didn't have capacity. In order to increase production sometimes they marketed the same or similar lenses under their own brand names.

Sometimes their own lens designs were so good that "First-Line" companies licensed them for their own sales channels (re-badged lenses). That practice still goes on today (Pentax rebadges some lenses.)

Don't dismiss them out of hand - Some of them are quite good.
12-05-2009, 09:53 PM   #4
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Wikipedia can usually give you a head start on the name and some company history. Threads in this section can give you some excellent examples of what's possible with them. Here are a couple to start with:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31353-off-brand-club.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31430-soviet-lenses-club.html

Warning: a few of the people here can make a pinhole in a lens cap photo look really great. Possibly they spend some time taking photos in addition to collecting gear, unlike me.

12-05-2009, 10:37 PM   #5
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I have several weirdly named lenses, though I am not sure that the names are so weird if you think about it. I mean, after all, why should Rikenon or Helios be any more weird than Takumar?

Helios 44M
This is a Russian-made lens. There seems to be an astronomical theme to many of the Russian lens names. Helios is the Greek word for the sun. As with most Russian lenses, the number after the name is a design or tooling designation and is not related to the focal length.

Jupiter-9
This is also a Russian-made lens. Named for the planet.

Zenitar
A line of Russian lenses. I have the 16mm fisheye, though there are Zenitars in several other focal lengths. The name refers back to the Zenit (Zenith) cameras meaning peak, summit, or high point.

Other Russian lenses include Industar, Mir, and Tair. Some are good, some are cult classics, and some are...not so good. I like mine.

Steve
12-06-2009, 02:36 PM   #6
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"That practice still goes on today (Pentax rebadges some lenses.) "

This is one of my biggest pet peeves and not only with lenses. If I was King For A Day I'd pass an international law stating that any retailer, whose ego needs massaging by re-branding someone else's product, is allowed to do so but ONLY if the ORIGINAL MAKER & MODEL and all other aka clones are clearly stated in the specs.

I'm sick and tired of wasting time doing research only to realize I'm looking at the same lens under another name.
12-06-2009, 03:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
There was once a website that covered hundreds, if not thousands of these lenses, but it seems to be not working right now, but give it a try from time to time:

Third Party Lenses Resource Megasite Home Page
by Robert Monaghan


Many of these lenses have attained a cult following ("Cult Classics") because they are so good, but get little recognition. Some of the Vivitar lenses you read about here fall into that category.

They are the brand names of some of the many optical companies across the world, usually referred to as "Third-Party" lenses.

In many cases these companies manufactured lenses to the specifications of lens designers, such as Vivitar, that had little of no manufacturing capability; sometimes they manufactured full-line company lenses (Canon, Pentax, Nikon, etc.) when a company didn't have capacity. In order to increase production sometimes they marketed the same or similar lenses under their own brand names.

Sometimes their own lens designs were so good that "First-Line" companies licensed them for their own sales channels (re-badged lenses). That practice still goes on today (Pentax rebadges some lenses.)

Don't dismiss them out of hand - Some of them are quite good.
It looks like that site has died, but if you go to the "Third Party Lenses Resource Megasite Home Page" and right click on a link, go to 'Properties' and copy the URL, paste it into the search window of your browser it MIGHT work.

Or Google the link title and find a back door link, where someone else hijacked the original and rehosted it.

I've opened a few like that anyway.

Such as this one that wont open from the Monaghan site, "Buying Tips for Third Party Lenses" but opens from here -

http://medfmt.8k.com/third/buys.html

and - "Cult Classics in Third Party Lenses"

http://web.archive.org/web/20061118181648/medfmt.8k.com/third/cult.html

It's a shame that the site is dead, there's some great looking links there.

Last edited by Lloydy; 12-06-2009 at 03:35 PM.
12-06-2009, 03:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lloydy Quote
It looks like that site has died, but if you go to the "Third Party Lenses Resource Megasite Home Page" and right click on a link, go to 'Properties' and copy the URL, paste it into the search window of your browser it MIGHT work.

I've opened a few like that anyway.

It's a shame that the site is dead, there's some great looking links there.
Much of the site is still working.

12-06-2009, 03:40 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Much of the site is still working.
Except the parts I am interested in...

Steve
12-06-2009, 03:47 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Except the parts I am interested in...

Steve
Ain't that the truth. Cult Classics pages have been down for about two years. I really don't understand why parts of the site are up but some of the pages missing.

Kinda like source climate temperature data.
12-06-2009, 03:59 PM   #11
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Cult Classics is here as well. Attributed to Monaghan.

Qianqian's Personal Wiki: note/photo/3PartyLens
12-06-2009, 05:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lloydy Quote
Cult Classics is here as well. Attributed to Monaghan.

Qianqian's Personal Wiki: note/photo/3PartyLens
Thank you - I'm delighted to find a live mirror of that wonderful research. Alas, I'ce sold off some of the classics over the years.
12-06-2009, 08:22 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Warning: a few of the people here can make a pinhole in a lens cap photo look really great.
What 1More said ;~)
12-07-2009, 09:13 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rae2 Quote
"That practice still goes on today (Pentax rebadges some lenses.) "

This is one of my biggest pet peeves and not only with lenses. If I was King For A Day I'd pass an international law stating that any retailer, whose ego needs massaging by re-branding someone else's product, is allowed to do so but ONLY if the ORIGINAL MAKER & MODEL and all other aka clones are clearly stated in the specs.

I'm sick and tired of wasting time doing research only to realize I'm looking at the same lens under another name.
This practice goes on in many industrys, not just in the camera world. I have read that several of the super zoom digital P&S cameras are the same camera made in China and relabeled to several major brands. Microwave ovens, TV's and monitors, and even automobiles are relabeled and sold around the world under different names with few small changes here and there. The official name is outsourcing. More than likely, the computer you posted on was not made by the company on the case but is a collection of parts built by many different companys and assembeled with that name on the case, probably overseas and then shipped.
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