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Zenitar 50mm/f2 m43 Tilt Lens (£65) - Mini Review

Started May 21, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Zenitar 50mm/f2 m43 Tilt Lens (£65) - Mini Review
May 21, 2011

Having looked into the various tilt adapters (Kipon etc), as well as the overpriced Ukrainian Arsat tilt-shift lenses you can pick up on eBay, I decided to drop the £65 on one of these out of curiosity. You can't go too wrong at that price, I figured.

It's basically a dirt-cheap russian 50mm prime bolted on to an m43 adapter which can tilt adjustably from 0 to 8 degrees.

So, you definitely get what you pay for. Optically, the lens is poor. Nasty bokeh, chromatic abberation, highlight ringing, dramatic sharpness fall-off towards the corners... you name it, this lens has it! 100% crops look downright unpleasant, especially towards the edges. Have a look at the picture staring down the barrel of the lens: the aperture hole is completely irregular!

However, I knew what to expect at this price, and - here's the kicker - the lens is really fun to use. The tilt mechanism is clever and sturdy: it's not 'freeform' like the Kipon/Lensbaby, but the whole device can be rotated in the M43 mount, which means that you can choose to tilt horizontally, swing vertically, or make adjustments somewhere inbetween. The mount seems good at what it does, although as a result of the design there are exposed lubricated parts which will probably get dusty, and you should be careful to watch for grease on your beloved GH2...

I would say that it's a decent toy for the price. If you're interested in experimenting with tilt but don't want to spend too much, it seems ideal (in fact - being cheaper than any tilt adapter currently available - it is the cheapest tilt solution on m43 at present). I also have a Kipon tilt adapter on the way to use with my optically superior M42 glass (Angénieux, Pentax Super Tak), but to be honest I can see myself grabbing this for the sheer simplicity of having an all-in-one m43 tilt solution, so long as I didn't need especially sharp results. If you want a tilt lens which you can use to adjust the focal plane for improved product photography etc, walk on by; if you want to play around with the 'miniaturising' effects of a tilt lens, this could be for you.

Moreover, its many imperfections aren't too prevalent when resized down to 2 or 3 MP, which means that it will do the job perfectly for a tilt-lens stop-motion time lapse, where the maximum resolution that you'd want to use is 1920x1080 anyway.

Anyhow, I've attached some pictures of the lens, as well as some quick first pictures taken from a first-floor garden window to demonstrate the 'miniaturisation' effect. Hopefully this will be of use to anyone interested in dipping their toes into the world of m43 tilt photography. I purchased the lens on eBay from this link: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=110679230278

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