More manual lenses reflection (for those interested)

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by nianys, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    I don't mean to bore you guys to death with all that legacy talk.
    However, if you've dabbed a bit in this crazy fun side of NEX photography, chances are you'll welcome some more impressions of a few manual lenses.

    Like Dixeyk (who's gracefully shared his manual "monkey" with me, and is, to some extent, the "father" of my lens addiction), I've collected a bunch of "nifties" in various mounts. I also have related focal lengths, namely a 40 and a 38.

    So far I've played with/owned/tried/sold :

    Auto Reflecta 55:1.7 (M42). My first manual lens, ever. Maybe one of the best, too. I shot it with the GX-1 (with no EVF at the time), and the difficulty to critically focus it had me selling it. Which I regret, it's a pretty cracking lens, and I might get another one in the future.

    Auto Reflecta (GX-1) at 1.7. Slight miscofus but excellent sharpness on the focused area.

    Canon FD 50/1.8. I have a love hate relationship with this lens. Optically it's stunning, great sharpness, beautiful color rendition, TONS of contrast. "Peaks" quite well making focus rather easy. Externally it's so plain I want to cry, hide it in a closet and not look at it. It's so unpretty I listed it for sale almost upon getting it, and started collecting other lenses. Slight problem... it's definitely better than any other 50 I tried to replace it with !! Tonight after yet another 50 shootout I had to accept the obvious and UNlist it of various websites. It's just GREAT.

    Just like the PEN 38, the FD 50/1.8 is absolutely usable, and tack sharp, already at 1.8. NO need to stop down at all. The most impressive feature of the lens is its heavy contrast (along with a lot of sharpness).

    Fujian CCTV 35/1.7 (C-mount). Tiny dinky Chinese gadget lens. Cute to look at, tricky to use, VERY LOW contrast lens, can give very artsy results, but not usable as a general purpose lens. It's a toy, at best. SOLD.


    Canon FD 135/2.5. This one is a big heavy papa lens. It's actually so big as to be pretty awkward to use on a mirrorless body, AND that was on the meatier GX-1. I can't even imagine slapping that daddy on my NEX... VERY good lens optically speaking, gorgeous front element, beautiful colors, sharpness. The bokeh is very sweet. I think it'd be pretty easy to focus with peaking. Action shots are actually possible from a distance (once you've reached infinity). SOLD.


    Zuiko OM 50/1.8. Bought this little guy dirt cheap. Had no actual intention to get it, but came across a listing with a price so pitiful I couldn't pass it (and it's in New condition). It's a charming little lens. Cute as a button, and very capable. Its only "drawback" (for me) would be a rather light contrast. Not lacking, just on the light side. Color rendition is very very sweet, it's a great lens for babies and young kids. Forget dramatic portraits, at least out of the box. It has a very "fresh" and pretty rendering. It lacks a bit wide open. Stop it down to 2.8 and all the previous remarks just vanish. I won't be keeping it for that reason. It is LISTED right now.

    I love the kiddy skin rendering. But had to add a touch of contrast. Wide open here.

    Hexanon Konica AR 35/2 EE. Oh gosh. What a lens. Big, heavy, awesome. Gorgeous sharpness, color and contrast, even wide open. Needs a bit more light (bizarrely enough I find some lenses will need a slower shutter speed than others, at comparable F stops ??). Was my lens of choice except the focal length is a tad short for me, and it as a bit unwieldy on the NEX. Got listed the day I got the PEN 38, because I would have not used it anymore and such a lens MUST be given a lot of love/use. SOLD.


    Hexanon 50/1.7. Oops, got a dog with this one. From my long and plethoric experience as a buyer/user/seller of photographic equipment, I dare say that sample variation is a HUGE issue in our hobby. I've read countless times how dangerously sharp this lens is. Well, you couldn't cut thru soft butter with my copy ! It almost barked when I called its name...But anyway, I got some flattering enough shots that after listing it as a low enough price, it went. Phew... SOLD.

    Take it from a portraitist. If a seller is pushing non human photo samples of his lens, it's soft. Human skin and details are the most critical elements to judge sharpness and resolution from a lens. Think eyelashes and sking texture. Any soft old lens can be made to look good shooting sharp edged materials. Toys, domestic items, fabrics, etc, should raise your suspicion is there is no human sample...

    Hexanon Konica AR 40/1.8. Hmmm.. This one has me scratching my head. I bought it from Dixeyk on the board, and it's always a warm feeling to get a lens from a fellow photographer, at least I feel this way. The lens is nice to look at, well sized, remains compact even with adapter thanks to its pancake design. Optically, it can be everything. If you nail focus it will sing to your heart. If you miss it you'll want to stomp it with both feet. I have several gripes with this lens. It has LOW contrast, and therefore peaks very little. It has LOW contrast, therefore requires a bit more PP than others. It is very prone to flare in bright light (but globally all older lenses are). It is really best shot stopped down to 2.8. 1.8 doesn't cut it. Did I mention it had LOW contrast ;) ? That being said, at 2.8 it performs very well. I just can't seem to bond with it. it is currently LISTED (the low contrast kills it for me).

    Wide open here. I bumped contrast in PP.

    Zuiko OM 100/2.8. Ooohhh. This lens is special. It's a little gem. It's so tiny you would never credit it for neither its focal length, not its optical awesomeness. Its best feature is its gorgeous bokeh, and great sharpness, even wide open.
    As soon as I get a chance to make oudoor portraits, this lens comes out of the drawer. It has pretty nice value on the used market. But it's not going anywhere any time soon. KEEPER.


    Zuiko OM 50/1.4. Above 1.000.000 serial number, as advised (wasn't easy to find, either !). Very comparable to the 1.8 version, only a tad taller. Like it, bet stopped down one notch, so very nice at F2. Same comments as for the 1.8. Lovely for kids. Contrast on the light side of things, without being lacking. SOLD it because I didn't feel it brought a lot to the table over the 1.8, and wanted to get some money back.

    Creamy tender rendering and bokeh. It's the optical antithesis of the Super Takumar.

    Carl Zeiss Jena DDR 135/3.5 (M42). Holy cow, what a sharp, contrasty, kick@ss piece of glass. Pretty ugly externally (Germans aren't the sexiest designers as far as barrels go, lol) but internally heavenly. Bought it from a fellow member at m4/3user. It's as good as any modern design and coating lens, and I meant it as a compliment. Not too large (much smaller than the FD/2.5), rather easy to focus, crazy sharp. KEEPER, for now (has to go head to head with recently acquired OM 135/3.5, but I have a hunch the former will win).

    Saturation, contrast and sharpness are plentiful. Color pop being its greatest strength.

    Zuiko OM 135/3.5. Latest addition (not for long, these days I tend to buy a new one every other day, aghh). Those OM lenses are really cute. I can see how someone would go nuts over them and want to collect and own the whole line-up !
    This one is super compact, light, and seems optically cracking good. At least the one copy I got. Had no oppotunity to try it yet, this is just a test shot. I think it will lack contrast compared to the CZ Jena. However, bokeh seems lovely. For the price paid (peanuts) I won't worry about it staying for the moment... JUST ARRIVED, awaiting assessment.


    I've kept my two favorites for the end.

    Super Takumar 50/1.4 (M42). This lens has almost stolen the show from my beloved PEN 38 ever since it got delivered. It's a spectacular lens. Once you overcome the white balance issues due to the presence of thorium (yellow) inside, the wonderfuly dampened heavy metal focus ring grows on you, and the sheer richness of its rendering secures your affection. I'm having a hard time chosing a sample for this lens because it has such wonderful character and delivers such dramatic images. It's absolulely stunning in Black&White, and cries to be used that way. Cries to be used, period. Very, very hard not to shoot and shoot this beauty. Icing on the cake, it's extremely easy to focus. KEEPER. Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. For this lens to truly shine, just stop it down ONE notch. F1.8 and be there ;)

    I know you've seen it before, but I haven't gotten over this shot yet !

    Olympus PEN F 38/1.8. And the winner is... Yes, that's my gold medal right now. Probably the one lens I'd keep if I was allowed to have only one (you know, that silly question that keeps popping on photo boards. And is not silly at all after all). So this is my ONE lens. I also bought it from Dixeyk and am sentimental towards it. PEN F lenses are harder finds that all the other legacy mounts, and they're more expensive too. I personally see three reasons to that. 1) the adapter is thinner (actually tiny) and they make an awesome compact package on mirrorless. 2) Olympus die-hard fans are pretty extreme in their brand loyalty, and they don't mind ponying up to carry their flag in any detail that they can. 3) the lenses are just frigging excellent. How on earth do I chose one shot to share from this lens. It just seems to give me keepers anytime I press the shutter !

    Wide open for God's sake ! There's no way to shoot this baby differently anyway, it's already awesome there. This lens has it all, absolute cuteness and compactness, utlimate cool factor, and crazy IQ. KEEPER !!

    So, it goes like this :

    SOLD : FD135/2.5
    CCTV 35/1.7
    OM 50/1.4
    Hex 50/1.7
    Auto-Reflecta 55/1.7 (regret selling, will buy again).

    Listed : Hex 40/1.8
    OM 50/1.8

    Keepers : FD 50/1.8 (but it the FL, earlier version is as good, it'll get swapped for the less ugly)
    Super Tak 50/1.4
    PEN F 38/1.8
    either CZ135/3.5 or OM135/3.5

    Soon to join the crew : Jupiter 8 (50/2) Minolta MD 50/1.7 (ultimately want to test the 45/2).

    Hope you enjoyed the show, please feel free to comment and add your feedback !!
    • Like Like x 1
  2. teefin1

    teefin1 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Sep 7, 2012
    I really like the 'mis-focus' on the auto reflecta shot and love the colour from the CZ Jena, really punchy. but the last two take the cake, with the Olympus pen just edging in contrast. Lovely pics.
  3. Bugleone

    Bugleone TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 21, 2011
    You can get rid of the yellow colouring on Takumars by putting them on a widowsill in sunshine for a week or two.......Make sure the sun/lens is NOT focussing the rays on anything!
  4. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Hmm, the saga continues. I've just grabbed a Canon FL (as opposed to the FD I already own and love/hate), and spotted a FL 55/1.2 as my Xmas gift :)
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Real Name:
    Keep that up and you're going to need a bigger lens drawer. ;)
  6. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    I have a mighty convenient coffee table which is in fact one huge drawer. My photo stuff shares it with my daughter's coloring books. She just needs to part with a few of those ;)
  7. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Today's crop :

    Super Takumar

    OM 100/2.8 (goes to the Fall Challenge as well)

    another from the Super Tak

    And from the PEN 38 :
    That's a pretty irritating lens. Whatever it does, it does great.
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Real Name:
    I agree across the board. Are we related somehow? My Canon FD is a terrific lens optically and I have such a hard time feeling anything but antipathy toward it. I also hate the mount. The Super Takuamr is a great lens and you CAN cure the WB issue by letting it sit on a sunny windowsill for a month or two or getting a black light and throwing into a closet for a few weeks. The rendering of the Super Tak is pretty nice and as much as I like the Pen 38 the Super Tak is so much nicer in the hand (although both are sharp at 1.8). The OM 100 is also fun. I had one at one point and it was terrific. I like my SMC Super Tak 105 just a tiny bit more but the OM is sharper. About the only one I would have kept is the OM 50/1.4 over the Canon. The one I had was really terrific but like most of these lenses they are in their sweet spot stopped down. The Hex 40 for instance should have been a 40/2.8 and not a 1.8. I find it very glowy and soft at 1.8 but stopped down to 2.8 it's sharp as can be.

    Wonderful set. FWIW I think the Super Tak really seems to shine with BW. Also, the Pen 38 is sharper wide open than the Pen 40 but they seems to be almost identical by f2. I think the 40 has a tiny bit better OOF areas. As for contrast...that OM100 looks plenty contrasty to me. As soon as I get my MD adapter I'll report back on the Minolta lenses I just picked up.