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Sears 70-210 f4.0 Macro/One-Touch Zoom Lens 70-210mm f4.0 Review RSS Feed

Sears 70-210 f4.0 Macro/One-Touch Zoom Lens 70-210mm f4.0

Reviews Views Date of last review
1 11,416 Sun April 28, 2013
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $5.00 8.00

Focus: Manual
Focal Length:70-210mm (push-pull zoom)
Maximum Aperture: f4.0
Minimum Aperture: f32
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 6
Filter Size: 55mm
Mount Type:

Add Review of Sears 70-210 f4.0 Macro/One-Touch Zoom Lens 70-210mm f4.0
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Registered: February, 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 3,039

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 28, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $5.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Many uses, 'swirly' bokeh, flare resistant (for its age), handy focal range, 'glowy' macro mode
Cons: zoom creep, can meter strange at times, a bit awkward, absolutely needs a hood, CA monster

This is one of a pair of cheap Sears lenses I bought in near-mint condition (original boxes, manuals, everything) a while back and pressed into use for a Single-In challenge for April of 2013.

After a solid month of use, the best way I could describe it is a jack of many trades, master of none.

I set out with very poor expectations for the lens, and was pleasantly surprised by what its produced for me. Don't take this wrong - 'pleasantly surprised' isn't 'blown away', it just means that the lens outperformed my expectations for something I paid about $5 for.

That said, the lens (a rebranded something, I suspect Tokina but could well be wrong) certainly does a good job of being a cheap, usable, multi-purpose, manual focus auto-aperture 1980's style lens.

One thing that surprised me is that the lens shares a trait with the Sears 135mm macro - when used in certain situations, it 'glows' while in Macro mode. Truthfully, I find the 70-210's glow to be far more versatile than the 135m primes, since the act of going into macro mode is done with a twist of a macro ring at the lens's base rather than the front element that the 135 requires.

This means you can 'half cock' the macro and use it at any distance you wish when composing a shot as opposed to being stuck at a certain distance as with the 135. The glow isn't for everyone, but I found I can actually do some minimal portraiture with it and use it as one would a (very much more expensive) soft focus lens.

The lens is very sharp depending what aperture you're at, and the push-pull zoom is useful when you have the lens level - my copy has some nasty zoom creep.

My copy also seems very flare resistant for a lens of that age, which was a nice surprise. Of course, its also very prone to fringing, and I quickly learned that some shots just won't work, even with the third party hood I bought to try to wrangle the flaring in.

The lens also tends to be a bit undersaturated. This is easily fixed using in-camera settings, but it does have that 'flat 80's' look to the pictures it produces without either presetting for it or boosting things in post.

One other suggestion for this lens would be a hood - I grabbed a cheap 55mm rubber one online and its helped the camera a good deal.

On to the pictures, because those show what the lens is capable of.

First, that glow - if you're familiar with the 135mm's glow, just imagine the same thing, only moreso. It glows almost to the point of being non-usable. Its easily avoided by using the other end of the focal range, so don't let it put you too far off if you dislike it.

SI - April 1, 2013; Pine Glow by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

As I mentioned, it can be used for portraits as well, which is handy. When you're zoomed out enough for a full body its much less pronounced, but thats not a bad thing.

Sears Auto Zoom 70-210mm f/4 Macro Test Run by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

Sears Auto Zoom 70-210mm f/4 Macro Test Run by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

The lens has strange bokeh - wide open its pretty darn smooth, but it can also be prone to being 'swirly' sometimes.

This has the swirl AND the glowy effect going on at once.

Sears Auto Zoom 70-210mm f/4 Macro Test Run by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

Stopped down (and used at the shorter end of the focal range).

SI - April 4, 2013; Patrick by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

Stopped way down, you even have decent bokeh at f/11. You can see the six blades here in the starbursts.

SI - April 10, 2013; Head of Falls Twilight; Waterville, Maine by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

A sample of how surprisingly flare-resistant the lens is. This was shot dead into the sun through a grungy windshield with a minimal of post done to it.

SI - April 24, 2013 (2 of 3); Sun Over Kennedy Memorial Drive; Waterville, Maine by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

And a final group of random shots just to show off what can be done with the lens and a bit of simple post processing to help kill the CA and boost the colors.

SI - April 3, 2013; Freight; Waterville, Maine by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

SI - April 2, 2013; Bourque Lanigan American Post 5; Waterville, Maine by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

SI - April 6, 2013; Sunset Stack by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

Union Street; Waterville, Maine by Jody Roberts, on Flickr

To summarize, I'd grab this lens if you see it come up cheap and want something different to play around with. Its in a completely different league (not necessarily a superior one) from just about every other lens I own. Its not an easy lens - it takes a bit of practice to figure its quirks out, and if your copy is like mine you'll want to do something about the lens creep. I highly recommend it as long as you aren't looking to pay much more than a couple lunches for it. If its going much beyond $25-$30, I'd grab something a bit newer and easier to handle unless you specifically want the lens for its swirly bokeh, flare resistance, and macro-glow.
Add Review of Sears 70-210 f4.0 Macro/One-Touch Zoom Lens 70-210mm f4.0

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