Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?

Started Apr 28, 2011 | Discussions thread
zackiedawg
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to JohnPateley, Apr 28, 2011

I'm fairly new to the NEX game, for a little over a month, but I've got experience so far with two mounts, and 4 lens brands. What I've found so far is:

My Pentax lenses from my SLR, which is the reason I first bought the Pentax K adapter, are average...they can perform well enough stopped down, but I didn't have any of the spectacular Pentax lenses anyway, so they are usable but not special (Pentax 50mm F2, Osawa 28mm F2.8 are the best two I've got, neither as the best of the class). However, researching and testing has led me to much success in my cheap manual lens searching, both for additional K-mount lenses and in picking up a Konica K/AR adapter.

The Konica stuff I read about, checked samples, etc and the Hexanon 50mm F1.7 and Hexanon 40mm F1.8 were both very well regarded. When I saw some for sale locally on Craigslist, I decided to check them out in person and take the chance. The price was great - $20 a pop for each lens. I also picked up a Vivitar Series One 28mm F2.8 and Vivitar Series One 70-210 F3.5. And he wanted to dump everything he had left - and offered up his Chinon stuff too - I hadn't sufficiently researched Chinon, but they were essentially thrown in for free, so I took them too - a Chinon 50mm F1.9 and a Chinon 135mm F2.8. 6 lenses total for $100.

The surprises of the field ended up being the Chinons for me - mine were in Pentax K mount, but they are also available in M42 mount...I don't know if there are quality differences between the mounts. The Chinon 135mm F2.8 is a stunning lens - tack sharp from wide open all the way down. The color and contrast are lovely, the bokeh is round, smooth, and gorgeous, and the focus is smooth and easy to control. I use this lens a lot as a backup wildlife lens alongside my DSLR. The Chinon 50mm F1.9 is amazingly usable wide open - I'd say even a touch better in sharpness on center than the Konicas...once stopped down it stays solid.

The Konica primes are as I expected - excellent lenses. The 40mm F1.8 is my go-to lens, due to the very small size and small adapter - it's a great carry lens with a good focal length on the NEX...it's usable wide open with a slight soft glow, and excellent and tack sharp as soon as it's stopped down 1 or 2 stops. The 50mm F1.7 is even better - lovely, crisp sharpness and solid across the board. My example was mold-infected and was essentially a throwaway in my mind, but I risked opening it up and cleaned out the inside elements - amazingly I didn't ruin anything and in fact it is an amazing lens with no imperfections now...glad I took the chance!

The zooms I have are OK, but none blow me away - I'm more impressed with the primes. The Vivitar 28mm F2.8 is quite nice, better than my Osawa 28mm and is my go-to when I need the wider perspective. All in all, I got these lenses for less than $20 a pop, and of them, I have a nice lens (70-210), two excellent lenses (Viv 28, Konica 40), and 3 stunning lenses (Konica 50, Chinon 50, Chinon 135). I can't complain!

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