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03-29-2010, 03:21 PM   #1
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"Commander" 135mm Lens?

I just received a 135mm prime from a seller on eBay (Commander Brand 135mm F:2.8 lens for Pentax-K mt.), and I just played around with it for about half an hour. I kept wondering why the lens seemed so soft, and then I realized that there's actually another focusing ring, a "macro" ring, that can create really soft images (see the first attached photo of the lens). Have any of you heard of "Commander" brand? The lens cap is Sigma, but I have a feeling that's not the original cap. With the macro focusing ring fully closed, the lens seems like every other 135mm.

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03-29-2010, 03:39 PM   #2
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My vote is forget it. Vaseline or PP will give you the same thing.
03-29-2010, 03:48 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
My vote is forget it. Vaseline or PP will give you the same thing.
Ha! True. You can always turn a crystal clear picture to whatever blurriness you want, but you can't quite go the other way so easily.

Is it common for 135mm primes to have an additional focusing ring like this? I haven't seen enough 135mm to know...
03-29-2010, 05:44 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sjwoo Quote
Ha! True. You can always turn a crystal clear picture to whatever blurriness you want, but you can't quite go the other way so easily.

Is it common for 135mm primes to have an additional focusing ring like this? I haven't seen enough 135mm to know...
I've never heard of it, but maybe it's something unique that you can work with to your advantage.

For example, why don't you try shooting something with the lens set to the smallest aperture for maximum DOF, and against a white background (paper, cardboard, whatever), where the soft focus effect is only applied to the subject?

When it's applied to the entire frame, it looks real funky and just too much. But against a solid background, especially white, that soft edge blur might work really nice.

03-29-2010, 05:54 PM   #5
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I want to revise my comments:

How come the first shot, which is a shot of the lens and has this soft focus feature, looks just like the OTHER shots that were supposedly TAKEN with it? Blurry and soft?

Is this a test?
03-29-2010, 06:25 PM   #6
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I used to have one under the Rokinon name. Exact same, magnifies down to 1:3. Its a budget korean make.

It performs the same as any other 135mm up until you hit minimum focus distance where you can then turn the second ring for 'closer' focus' which moves only the front group if i'm not mistaken for closer focusing but at the cost of abberations (the glowiness).
03-29-2010, 06:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
I want to revise my comments:

How come the first shot, which is a shot of the lens and has this soft focus feature, looks just like the OTHER shots that were supposedly TAKEN with it? Blurry and soft?

Is this a test?
No, no test. That first shot was taken with my Sears 50mm -- and the reason why it has the soft focus is because I shot it in a hurry! And there's some shake. And it's front of a window and I shot it at f1.7.

That would be one hell of a trick, though, huh?

- Sung
03-29-2010, 06:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoPete Quote
I used to have one under the Rokinon name. Exact same, magnifies down to 1:3. Its a budget korean make.

It performs the same as any other 135mm up until you hit minimum focus distance where you can then turn the second ring for 'closer' focus' which moves only the front group if i'm not mistaken for closer focusing but at the cost of abberations (the glowiness).
Thanks, Pete. It's almost like I have a tiny little foggy zoom in this supposedly prime lens. But yeah, The aberrations might be a bit too much. Pretty nifty, though.

- Sung

03-29-2010, 06:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
For example, why don't you try shooting something with the lens set to the smallest aperture for maximum DOF, and against a white background (paper, cardboard, whatever), where the soft focus effect is only applied to the subject?
Super idea -- I'll absolutely give this a shot. It's gonna rain tomorrow, too, so I won't see the sun for another day. Thanks for the tip!

- Sung
03-29-2010, 07:18 PM   #10
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I remember an old, old MAD magazine piece about discount appliance stores. One store advertised that it carried FAMOUS NAME BRANDS of appliances. The George Washington refrigerator, Benjamin Franklin dishwasher, Marie Antoinette range and oven, etc. How about a Joan of Arc hot plate?

Whenever I see cameras and lenses branded Commander, Acclaim, Masterworks etc, I think of that piece. A lens named Commander (somewhere between a Commodore [computer] and an Admiral [garbage disposal]) just doesn't fill me with confidence. But for ten bucks, I'd bite. If I had ten bucks.
03-29-2010, 08:09 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I remember an old, old MAD magazine piece about discount appliance stores. One store advertised that it carried FAMOUS NAME BRANDS of appliances. The George Washington refrigerator, Benjamin Franklin dishwasher, Marie Antoinette range and oven, etc. How about a Joan of Arc hot plate?

Whenever I see cameras and lenses branded Commander, Acclaim, Masterworks etc, I think of that piece. A lens named Commander (somewhere between a Commodore [computer] and an Admiral [garbage disposal]) just doesn't fill me with confidence. But for ten bucks, I'd bite. If I had ten bucks.
Ah, the Commodore 64. As far as I'm concerned, those were the good old days of computing. I had a feeling I was getting substandard optics since I couldn't find a lick of information anywhere about Commander, and the fact that they were made in old Korea is a dead giveaway that they can't be that great (as a Korean who lived through that era, believe me, I know!).

Joan of Arc hot plate!
03-29-2010, 08:17 PM   #12
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There's a Sears 135/2.8 with that extra ring, and the effect looks the same. Since a lot of the K-mount Sears lenses were made in Korea, it might be the same maker.
03-29-2010, 10:34 PM   #13
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I second that. It looks quite a lot like my Sears 135/2.8 Macro, which is not an entirely incapable lens. The soft focus filter is just a gimmick but otherwise a fine "A" 135 prime.
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