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Soligor lenses
Posted By: Kevin B123, 04-16-2017, 02:08 PM

I have just stumbled upon this advert, located in the south coast of England:

Assorted Pentax screw fit lenses, 400mm, 200mm, 135mm, 28mm wide angle and trigger release. Fit Pratika cameras as well.

They could be junk or exotica, I don't know and have no connection to the seller. I am just posting this in case someone wants old Soligor lenses

Pentax Screw fix assorted lens for sale | in Worthing, West Sussex | Gumtree
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06-17-2017, 08:53 AM   #2
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Which 200mm Soligor is it?

There was a high grade Soligor series which produced the Soligor 200mm 2.8. Although rare - these are often affordable and great fun. Like all large aperture telephotos (almost regardless of price) there is edge softening and reduced contrast until about 2 stops down. Lens hoods are mandatory unless the sun is over your shoulder.

The 2.8 200m Soligor was made by Tokina and the finish and mechanics are truely excellent. Just holding one, feeling the black metal finish and turning the damped focus is a thrill. The retractable lens hood is too small for the large front lens diameter - but OK for rapid work. Get a long hood if you are serious about contrast and flare control. I favour a big rubber deformable hood - the sort that were made for mirror lenses.

This lens was designed for the 64ASA/100ASA film era where F2.8 in a 200mm could nail a shot that was otherwise impossible. In that role it is excellent (I have owned one since the 1990s). For out-of-studio portraits on a monopod the F2.8/200mm gives the striking "flat face" effect with amazing DOF cut-off on a full frame body with film - and I am sure it can mimic the effect on a FF digital. You have seen those shots taken along catwalks at fashion shows. For that role - edge to edge sharpness at F2.8 is not needed.

The closest affordable alternatives to this lens at the time were either the Hanimex 200mm f3.3 and its alternative versions, the Vivitar Auto Telephoto 200mm f/3.5 or a prime from the big makers....at big prices. Amateur grade primes even from big name makers 200mm were typically F4-F5 aperture. If you want one of those now the Pentax 200mm F4 is the go-to but these still command striking prices on E-Bay.

F2.8 200mm lenses are usually strictly professional kit at professional prices - and the soligor is the only "affordable" version I have ever seen (now there is a challenge that someone on the forum will want to take up!). To match an old era 200mm F2.8-F3.3 now means
[1] FOR FF or APSC: the Pentax smc DA 200mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM, Amazon price today = Price: 779.00 and list price a cool 999.99 ! Cheer up though - for Nikon it is worse as the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens at today's Amazon Price is 1,815.39 !
[2] For m4/3 the Olympus Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 40-150mm 1:2.8 PRO Lens with MC-1.4 1.4x Tele Converter - today's Amazon Price is 1,399.97.


AF lenses with focus tracking on digital bodies with low noise at 800ASA have made f2.8 200mm's redundant for all but the "isolated portrait" shot - for this DOF effect, the legacy manual focus lenses are far closer to any of the high price lenses than the sales ticket would predict.

so - never pass up a 200mm lens advert without a look - you never know !
06-17-2017, 11:31 PM   #3
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"Sorry this ad is no longer available."
06-18-2017, 01:52 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by PaulC Quote
Which 200mm Soligor is it?

There was a high grade Soligor series which produced the Soligor 200mm 2.8. Although rare - these are often affordable and great fun. Like all large aperture telephotos (almost regardless of price) there is edge softening and reduced contrast until about 2 stops down. Lens hoods are mandatory unless the sun is over your shoulder.

The 2.8 200m Soligor was made by Tokina and the finish and mechanics are truely excellent. Just holding one, feeling the black metal finish and turning the damped focus is a thrill. The retractable lens hood is too small for the large front lens diameter - but OK for rapid work. Get a long hood if you are serious about contrast and flare control. I favour a big rubber deformable hood - the sort that were made for mirror lenses.

This lens was designed for the 64ASA/100ASA film era where F2.8 in a 200mm could nail a shot that was otherwise impossible. In that role it is excellent (I have owned one since the 1990s). For out-of-studio portraits on a monopod the F2.8/200mm gives the striking "flat face" effect with amazing DOF cut-off on a full frame body with film - and I am sure it can mimic the effect on a FF digital. You have seen those shots taken along catwalks at fashion shows. For that role - edge to edge sharpness at F2.8 is not needed.

The closest affordable alternatives to this lens at the time were either the Hanimex 200mm f3.3 and its alternative versions, the Vivitar Auto Telephoto 200mm f/3.5 or a prime from the big makers....at big prices. Amateur grade primes even from big name makers 200mm were typically F4-F5 aperture. If you want one of those now the Pentax 200mm F4 is the go-to but these still command striking prices on E-Bay.

F2.8 200mm lenses are usually strictly professional kit at professional prices - and the soligor is the only "affordable" version I have ever seen (now there is a challenge that someone on the forum will want to take up!). To match an old era 200mm F2.8-F3.3 now means
[1] FOR FF or APSC: the Pentax smc DA 200mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM, Amazon price today = Price: 779.00 and list price a cool 999.99 ! Cheer up though - for Nikon it is worse as the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens at today's Amazon Price is 1,815.39 !
[2] For m4/3 the Olympus Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 40-150mm 1:2.8 PRO Lens with MC-1.4 1.4x Tele Converter - today's Amazon Price is 1,399.97.


AF lenses with focus tracking on digital bodies with low noise at 800ASA have made f2.8 200mm's redundant for all but the "isolated portrait" shot - for this DOF effect, the legacy manual focus lenses are far closer to any of the high price lenses than the sales ticket would predict.

so - never pass up a 200mm lens advert without a look - you never know !
PaulC
Thanks for your interesting post on this, I now have an SMC 200 f4 in good condition that I got as part of a bad lot on ebay. I went for an ME Super with M 50 f1.4, M 28 f2.8 and the SMC 200 f4. All described as good working condition. The body was shot, the M 50 had fungus, the M 28 had sticky blades and oil droplets on the inner lenses but the SMC 200 f4 is OK.
I paid way less that the going rate for the lot so kept them, the M 50 is off for cleaning, and I tried unsuccessfully to clean the M 28 meaning that the focus ring is locked because I did not re-assemble it correctly. I will have another try before I ditch it.
I then bought an inexpensive Hoya 135mm f2.8 HMC and a Hoya 28mm f2.8 HMC, both very nicely built, I believe they may have been a Tokina lens re-badge and have the feel you described. Sadly, the 135 had haze to the point where my 18-135 easily out performed it with the sun behind me so it went back, I don't want a dead lens collection and the M 28 put me off opening the thing up. The Hoya 28mm f2.8 HMC is off for cleaning too and is still economic at the price I paid, very close focusing too.
So now I am wary of old manual lenses, but if cheap enough I might be tempted and will look out for the Soligor marque in future, the 200 f2.8 sounds nice.

QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
"Sorry this ad is no longer available."
lytrytyr, Yes it was a Gumtree ad so short term and gone now. As I knew nothing about them I passed it up.

06-19-2017, 03:21 AM   #5
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the trials and tribulations of old lenses!

Bad luck with the dud lenses - I find the "hit rate" of good vs. useless legacy lenses on services such as Ebay to be 50:50. This is an inevitable result of 40 years of use and storage of kit that was never expected to have such longevity.

However if a seller on Ebay has listed a lens as "Used" then it has to be useable by definition - and if it isn't - you can get a full rebate on what you spent. In my experience as long as I send clear photographs of the problem and a reasonable statement of why the kit is "unusable" I have never been refused a refund.

As a result over the last 6 months I have built up a great collection of Pentax gear for pocket money prices.

My favourites have been to target the P30 cameras - there are lots of them and prices are low (my latest was a P30 and 50mm at GBP 2.02p last week !). They have all I need for "slow photography" with film - ie they can do manual exposure and have both a Depth of Field and Exposure Lock as well as bright pentaprisms rather than mirrors. With modern non-mercury batteries and bridge-circuits they are voltage independent and cheap to run. They were bought by amateurs - many of whom treated them lovingly and used them for maybe 10 films a year. Professional kit has inevitably been worked hard and shows it. At this price level I have bought 5 P30 bodies from Ebay (and returned 2 as "not-useable) so that over the next years I will be able to keep at least one of the 3 good ones working!

Your 200mm F4 is of course the go-to long telephoto on all our wish lists - with every reviewer of the SMC 200mm F4 raving about the balance of image quality, weight and cost.

However the "3rd-party" or "generic lens" makers are a great source of kit if you are not fussed by the names or fashion. In my experience it is hard to get a "bad" or even "mediocre" PRIME lens in the 50-300mm range unless it has been maltreated. Most are "good" to "excellent" and in many cases - a big name badge is no guarantee of quality.

This is because the essential design of 4-6 lenses in 4 groups for these focal lengths was established in the 1920s and 30s and as patents expired every manufacturer could make a "sonnar' or "tessar" design. Check out, for example, the often derided Hanimex 135mm F2.8. One of the many, many models to have that name has a cute "second" focusing ring at the front to turn it into a near-macro.....and hey-presto, you can take on flash based macro work at a good working distance with no shadows and the easy "focus-pop" of a F2.8 telephoto. All for GBP 5.00. The build quality of this 1970s-80s lens is excellent. Now just how much was the price of the last secondhand legacy SMC Pentax 100mm macro lens that you looked at? I'll bet it was closer to GBP 100.00 than the 5 I paid!

For wide angles there is a different story as there is always a 3-way balance to be struck between central image quality and edge to edge sharpness vs barrel distortion. Even the best and most expensive wide angle lenses fail - despite costly ED glass and floating elements. Only the advent of in-camera correction in digital cameras has sorted this out (for example - shooting JPEGs vs RAW on a Lumix G series camera and lens is a revelation as the JPEGs come out-of-camera distortion corrected). For those of us shooting film the only useful advice for wideangle quality is a use a steady tripod, small aperture and a spirit level in the hot shoe to keep distortion al least level with any horizon.

This is why the PENTAX FORUM is so great - every time I look at an old lens and think "shall I bid" I find that one of you has checked out that model before me. Keep up the good work !
08-27-2017, 12:21 PM   #6
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Sorry for the extended late reply to this. As all lenses need a hood for contrast etc, I bought one for my Hoya 28mm f2.8 which is fine on crop, but, erm not so good on film. Still I can get square crops out of it.
I've gone for another Hoya 135 f2.8 HMC (9.50) and if any good I may put a review up as there isn't one currently. I did get a full refund including postage on the previous one as they were a reputable shop selling there.
I started out in all innocence with the 18-135 expecting that it would be enough, and it was for while. Now I scout lenses and occasionally buy some, but i'm drawing the line at old bodies all the while I hear the siren call of the K-70. When that is on run-out I'm in there, what a lovely small package full of tricks.
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08-27-2017, 01:36 PM   #7
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Kevin B123,

Looks like the hood may be for a longer focal length Hoya lens, like 100mm or higher. You need a hood specifically for a shorter focal length, like 50mm or less. As focal length decreases, the angle of view "seen" by the lens increases. This hood projects too far from the front lens face and enters the 'field of view". Don't crop, get the right hood size.

JB

---------- Post added 08-27-2017 at 04:41 PM ----------

By the way, I have a M42 mount 200mm f3.5 Soligor that I bought for a song in 2009. Works great.

JB
08-27-2017, 01:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Take-5-JB Quote
Kevin B123,

Looks like the hood may be for a longer focal length Hoya lens, like 100mm or higher. You need a hood specifically for a shorter focal length, like 50mm or less. As focal length decreases, the angle of view "seen" by the lens increases. This hood projects too far from the front lens face and enters the 'field of view". Don't crop, get the right hood size.

JB

---------- Post added 08-27-2017 at 04:41 PM ----------

By the way, I have a M42 mount 200mm f3.5 Soligor that I bought for a song in 2009. Works great.

JB
Yes I intend to find a better hood, a clip on rectangular or shorter circular metal one. I'm only cropping to salvage these currently.

Arrgghhh! M42 not going there

08-27-2017, 09:18 PM   #9
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If you're using a collapsible rubber hood, you can clip the corners off of it to allow the rest of your image to come into play. I used white-out to mark the obtruding parts of the outer rim, then fabric shears to snip the rubber hood back in to square up the opening. Everything else is just as functional.
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