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Photax-Paragon/Promura/Kaligar/Hanimar... 300mm F5

Reviews Views Date of last review
1 12,359 Thu October 10, 2013
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $45.00 7.00
Photax-Paragon/Promura/Kaligar/Hanimar... 300mm F5

Photax-Paragon/Promura/Kaligar/Hanimar... 300mm F5
Photax-Paragon/Promura/Kaligar/Hanimar... 300mm F5
Photax-Paragon/Promura/Kaligar/Hanimar... 300mm F5
Photax-Paragon/Promura/Kaligar/Hanimar... 300mm F5

300mm focal length.
45mm long hood.
Optical construction: looks like 5 elements in 4 groups (assuming achromatic doublet objective).
67mm filter.
f5 max aperture, f22 min, single stop clicks (except f5-f5.6).
6 blade iris.
CFD 4.5m/15', focus throw approx 3/4 rotation.
Weight: 0.94kg/2lb1oz (Photax); 0.82kg (Hanimar)
max/min length (hood retracted): 22.3cm/18.1cm

Kaligar labelled 300 f5's look the same.
Promura 300mm f5 has dimpled focus sleeve instead of ribbed.
Hanimar 300mm f5 has different barrel and focus sleeve but same specs, structure and looks optically the same.
Optomax version has dimpled rubber focus sleeve.
And I have also seen one with an Exaktar nameplate, that had a very square ribbed focus.
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount

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Registered: November, 2012
Location: North Wales
Posts: 2,279

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 10, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Construction and handling, good IQ at middling f's, faster than average
Cons: IQ drops wide open, CA/fringing, no TM, heavier than average
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8   

Chunky M42 TP, classic and classy metal 'n glass construction - even the focus sleeve is milled aluminium, faster than the average at f5. I browsed the net to try to get a handle on who might have made it but without success. I did notice a 200mm f3.5and a 135 f2.8 that were clearly of the same model range - same shape/look, markings and focus sleeve.

Larger and heavier than my Tamron 54B (300mm f5.6), but smaller and much lighter than eg a Tair or the Pentacon/Meyer 300mm f4. Mechanically good, I am enamoured of the smooth focus whose throw is for me is a good balance, short enough to get there, large enough to fine tune comfortably. One up on the Tamron for that. It operates like a preset lens on DSLR with the two collars, the second collar being the A-M switch. Personally I prefer a button/slider switch, I was fumbling a bit with this.... practice makes perfect I guess. Nice hood, but another gripe is the lack of a tripod mount. I was finagling a 72mm collar to fit just in front of the focus sleeve with a bunch of packing.

Initial sharpness impressions quite favourable, contrast however definitely benefitting from a good boost in PP, see pic. Aimed at one of usual subjects with my K-r, the channel marker in the estuary, this lens returned images as sharp or sharper than my zoom TP's and equal to my 54B.

More careful comparison against 54B on my Lumix G1 started to show up the lens limitations, starting with that CFD of 4.5m as against 1.5m. I did try 60mm of extension tubes, that reduced the cfd to ~ 2m; and infinity focus to around 3m! Scrutinising the picsof the spire at eg 50% there was nothing much between this and 54B, but at 100% (and 12Mpx) 54B is distinctly better: this M42 lens showing that lack of fine definition and a bit of fuzziness or "glow" of a lens just not quite as well optically balanced/coated, particularly at f5. There was a clear improvement in IQ from f5 to 5.6, and again to f8; between choosing a faster shutter or stoppping down I felt the balance lay with stopping down. I did notice significant CA too, bit of PF on a couple of pics, and a significant red fringe on a castle turret that was persistent in spite of closing the aperture down: R-G complementary fringing. No major fringing on the cockerel on the church spire though, and it should be mentioned my 54B is not great re CA either.

Lumix G1

Overall I can say this is not top IQ, being distinctly exposed by the demands of a MFT sensor, and showing its age re fringing and contrast, but it's inherently pretty sharp, bokeh is nice and smooth, its contrast is readily buffed and it did better than OK on APS-C. If you are looking for an old style TP for eg a bit of birding/wildlife/ etc and spot this at the price quoted, IMO it's well worth a look.

Can I have some chips please? Young herring gull learning to ply the tourist trade. Pentax K-r f8. Crop, contrast buffed, resize and sharpening.

UPDATE: Hanimar and Promura have similar performance characteristics. Marked aberrations rating down a notch - persistent LoCA. Between the three I can suggest that the Photax was the best and the Promura the weakest performer but that can be taken with a pinch of salt - may just reflect the better light and faster shutter speeds earlier in the year.
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