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Chinon Auto MC 35mm f2,8

Reviews Views Date of last review
4 33,757 Tue May 21, 2013
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $23.25 8.00
Chinon Auto MC 35mm f2,8

Lens composition :
Apertures from F22 to F2,8
Min focus distance: 23cm
Construction : all metal
Filter size : 49mm
Manual focus
Mount : Pentax K
Mount Type:
Price History:

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Junior Member

Registered: September, 2012
Location: Ulm
Posts: 45
Lens Review Date: May 21, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Usable wide open, mostly on par with M 35 2.8, cheap
Cons: my copy has seen better days

There seem to be several Chinon 35mm 2.8 lenses: The old big one (which has an entry for the M42 version here), the smaller Chinar with the 52mm filter thread (which also has an entry of its own), and then this one with 49mm. In fact, mine seems to be another variant, for it only focuses down to 0.3m! It's badged Auto Revuenon, with a different rubber focus ring (multiple versions seem to have been available under this label).

I found my copy, albeit rather worn and with some play, to be a competent lens - quite usable wide open, fairly sharp stopped down (not quite 50mm sharp, but better than several 28s), unspectacular bokeh, 6-blade aperture, a bit of CA but nothing too bad. Not bad for having just 5 elements, I thought. (2 in the front, 3 in the back.)

The surprise came when I got my M 35/2.8. Turns out the two lenses are rather similar in performance, in spite of 6 elements in the Pentax lens. I had to conduct a controlled test shoot (on my trusty K-x, test target @ 1.3m) to find out how they differed:
Effective focal length is slightly longer in this lens.
They are about equal wide open, with some blue fringes in this lens vs. some spherical aberration in the Pentax.
At f/4, this lens comes out first in sharpness (!), followed by the (not-so-)lowly DA L kit lens, and the M also has one rather weak corner.
I can't really decide who wins in central sharpness by f/8, it might be the M but its CA levels make this difficult to judge - let's say they're about equal. Both handily beat the kit lens that does not gain much by stopping down. (And let's not even get started about the 16-45 with barely kit-lens level center and fuzzy corners, which to be fair is weakest in the middle of its range while the 18-55 is just the opposite.) In the outer regions there's not much in it.
This lens exhibits a bit of CA, but not much. It's a fair bit more in the M, which is about on kit lens level.

Bokeh wide open looks much the same between the two. Maybe a hair better in the M, but there's not much in it. This lens has a friendlier rounded 6-blade aperture, rather than the M's 5-blade job.
Aperture calibration seems to be OK (maybe a little smaller) in this lens, while it appears the M is marked half a stop off after f/2.8 (the next step is f/3.3 where it is marked as f/4, and so on).
I tried both the Chinon and the M in macro mode with a 20mm extender wide open, the result with the Chinon seemed sharper (less blurry).
Obviously this lens does not have SMC, hence flare performance will be less miraculous. I've only seen flares with a light source near the center of the frame though, so they shouldn't be too much of an issue in practice.
Transmission is very similar in both, this Chinon being maybe a hair ahead. Loss is about 0.2 stops or so.
There is some vignetting wide open in both on APS-C, though it's pretty much gone by f/4. It's arguably more disturbing in the M, where it's of the "central bright spot" type, compared to darker outer regions in the Chinon.

Whoever designed this lens at the time must have been a pretty smart cookie. Getting by with 5 elements where other designs commonly employed 6 was no mean feat, and you bet it made production cheaper.

I guess one can say that once you have this lens, getting a significant upgrade within the Pentax world probably won't be cheap. You may get lucky and find a K 35/3.5 or its SMC Takumar M42 ancestor. Otherwise you'll be looking at a DA 35/2.4 or FA 35/2, the 2.8 Macro Limited or one of the phat 35/1.4s from Sigma and Samyang.
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Sterling, VA
Posts: 70
Lens Review Date: April 11, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Surpisingly good pictures stopped down
Cons: Heavy

An average performing lens. IQ is so-so, especially wide open. Stopped down past 5.6 the quality of pictures is decent. Colors are pretty good. I have not tested this lens on a digital, just film. My version, while haviing the same specs, is older than what is pictured here. It is built like a tank and is quite heaving and bulky. For the price it is a nice walk around lens.
Forum Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 58
Lens Review Date: December 9, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $5.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp stopped down, good contrast, well built, cheap
Cons: kind of washed out compared to SMC lenses

I picked this lens up for $5 (along with a chinon 135mm 2.8, also for $5) at a local antique store. It was actually my first lens purchase, while my k20d was still in the mail. I thought, its got to be worth 5 bucks, and I was right. I now have several respectable lenses, such as da 16-45, fa 50mm 1.4, fa 50mm 2.8 macro, and numerous SMC-M lenses in various focal lengths. Still, some of my very best images so far have been taken with this cheapo korean lens. Best $5 i've spent on photography so far. Colors are somewhat muted, but that is the only knock and is easily fixed in lightroom. Buy it if you find one cheap
New Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Champagne Ardennes, France
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: February 27, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $38.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Metal construction - good pictures and minimum focus distance , cheap
Cons: all manual

It was one of the first manual focus lenses I bought and I often used it before having my DA40 ltd.
This lens produces nice pictures and has a shorter minimum focus distance (23 cm) than other. It's not a macro, but you can easily take pictures of bugs with it.
Nice build and smooth focus ring like all Chinon lenses.
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