Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?

Started Apr 28, 2011 | Discussions
JohnPateley
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Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
Apr 28, 2011

I was wondering which of the more unknown make of older lenses from the 70s-80s were best? there are a lot with k mounts and were widely advertised in the magazines of the time. Soligor Chinon etc. are widely available on ebay at give away prices. Any comments on there quality welcome.
Thanks John

cosmicpop
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to JohnPateley, Apr 28, 2011

I recently purchased a chrome-finish 135mm f3.5 Canon Rangefinder lens M39 mount from eBay - £41! It was made in January 1953 and it's fantastic. It weighs half a ton and doesn't quite focus to infinity - 50m is about the furthest it'll focus, but I'm not complaining. It takes a great picture and looks good on the Nex5.

here it is:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170612177928&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

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jazzroy1972
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to cosmicpop, Apr 28, 2011

russian jupiter and industar are really cheap and can have great quality!
they were clones of zeiss lenses, good clones

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oneinwhite
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to JohnPateley, Apr 28, 2011

The Chinon lenses are decent, not amazing quality but well worth the money, for example:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1042&message=38182837

They didn't actually make lenses themselves but are re-branded Tomioka which were mostly sold in Dixons.

The Carl Zeiss Jenna Tessar vary but are very cheap. The 50mm seems to be by far the most common, just do a search on dpreview as there have been loads of posts on it. Here's one on a m4/3:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=36262781

Otherwise, Praktica, Jupiter/Industar are all decent but again it varies lens to lens. I've had a lot of fun with a 90mm Schacht Ulm Travenar but they seem to be really rare. Super Takumar or SMC Takumar are also decent choices.

Have been loads of threads on them and a dozen other brands so just search by make and you should find examples. Basically for the price you can't really go wrong with many of these lens.

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petertan1959
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to oneinwhite, Apr 28, 2011

not sure how old is 'old' for you. i have 2 rokkors from the 60s i think. the 58 f1.4 gives brilliant bokeh & colors. the rokkor 135 f2.8 i can't get a decent shot handhels. it is ok if not handheld and in open daylight.

my sigma zoom 80-200 gives dark pictures even wide open.

my canon fd 50 f1.4 is another great lens with great bokeh. colors are so so. i just can't shoot in sunlight outdoors at f1.4 because speed is limited to 1/4000 which still gives too bright an image sometimes.

my tokina rmc 28 f2.8 is also great although i have not yet really tested it. maybe this weekend.

my other lens are relatively new.

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panamamike
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to petertan1959, Apr 28, 2011

Trial and error when it comes to 3rd tier lenses no one has tried out. I'd suggest looking at lenses people have already experimented with.

There are just too many to know which of the "cheap" lenses work best.

That being said, I've seen positive feedback on the Hexanon 40mm f1.8 pancake lens.

I happen to use a 50mm F1.4 SMC Tak which does a pretty good job. It's a good lens for the $$$.

I also like the Canon FD line.

Mike

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Old Pirate
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In order to get good shots handheld....
In reply to panamamike, Apr 28, 2011

you need your shutter speed to exceed the mm of the lens.

In other words...you need to take photos with that 135 at shutter speeds above 1/135. On a tripod it makes no difference, but being handheld and no form of stabilization this works.

Someone passed this tidbit of information on to me some time back and it has been valuable advice.

The 135 2.8 Rokkor is capable of some really good shots. I have a few in my gallery on here of grandchildren, but I've done plenty more and some are truly good.

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jtan_pdr
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to petertan1959, Apr 28, 2011

m42 mounts have quite some lenses to go with..

currently am looking at the nikon mount as its been the same mount with all their different iterations of lenses..

but it all depends on where u are in the world...
europe have got european lenses like carl zeiss jena, pentacon, the russians, ..
here in asia, we get more japanese ones...

look up members here like 'john bean' and 'uhoh07' and they've got a wealth of experience..

check out their profiles and what they've posted by clicking on their names and u'll be presented with their views...

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danw82
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Re: In order to get good shots handheld....
In reply to Old Pirate, Apr 28, 2011

Old Pirate wrote:

you need your shutter speed to exceed the mm of the lens.

In other words...you need to take photos with that 135 at shutter speeds above 1/135. On a tripod it makes no difference, but being handheld and no form of stabilization this works.

Someone passed this tidbit of information on to me some time back and it has been valuable advice.

The 135 2.8 Rokkor is capable of some really good shots. I have a few in my gallery on here of grandchildren, but I've done plenty more and some are truly good.

This is a very rough rule of thumb, and a tad optimistic in practice I find. Bear in mind with the NEX being a rather less bulky system, handheld shots are far more prone to hand-shake than a hulking DSLR.

I've got a 135mm f2.8 Rokkor, and I'd say going anywhere below 1/200 shutter is iffy territory without a tripod. The faster the better, but no point going too far and sacrificing ISO.

I took mine to London Zoo on a nice sunny day, usually stopped down to between f4.0-8.0. Provided I kept the shutter speed up to 1/200 and up, I got pin-sharp beautiful handheld photos.

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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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jtan_pdr
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to zackiedawg, Apr 29, 2011

i got the chinon 28mm f2.8...

not that great... still doing testings with the time i have and will post up picts later but so far,
prognosis is not so good... sigh.... i paid about 100+ usd for it...

on the other hand, getting a mamiya sekor 100mm f 2.8 tomoro..
we'll see...
have to hide these stuff from me wife... where... oh where to hide!!
hehehehhe

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Clicked
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to jtan_pdr, Apr 29, 2011

The old M42 standard lenses for Praktica SLR's, Pentacon auto 1.8/50 MC, can be had for tuppence and are surprisingly sharp and crisp and focus to 33 cm. Not the ultimate lens, but set off to its price it should get very high marks.

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SelectiveAperture
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agreed - here is the gem lens of the Yashica range
In reply to Clicked, Apr 29, 2011
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anaksatawo
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Re: In order to get good shots handheld....
In reply to Old Pirate, Apr 29, 2011

or faster. like 1/(equivalent focal length in 35mm speak).

on topic:

the canon fd line has a pretty decent lineup and they're also relatively cheap.

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uhoh07
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Look up the weight.....
In reply to anaksatawo, Apr 30, 2011

There are a bunch of SLR 35s and 28s out there around 2.8 or slower which will work.

So then the choice comes to special attributes, which might include exceptional sharpness, but slow; or very light weight.

The lighter the lens the more likely you will take it.

50 grams less is worth 20.00 more for sure--remember you will live with this lens.

The best value for lightness, speed, sharpness for under 60USD has to be the konica 40/1.8-- but that may be too long.

I suggest 28mm over 35 if you can't have both.

I'd look at Olympus, Pentax, nFD and even nikon. Also chinon, Kiron, Soligor, toyo. With google you'll find the weights.

Here's my favorite 28:

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Mel Snyder
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to cosmicpop, Mar 11, 2013

John:

I have both the Serenar 135mm f4 and the last black version 135mm f3.5. The latter also didn't focus much beyond 20 meters on my NEX-6. A local camera repair guy fixed it quickly.

It's a fabulous lens. The older chrome-plated brass version is heavy as hell, and probably should be licensed as a deadly weapon.

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SQLGuy
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to Mel Snyder, Mar 11, 2013

I can't think of much better bang for the buck than the $60 I paid for a near mint Canon nFD 50/1.4.

The old Canon FD 135/2.5 is a lot of lens (at least by weight ) for generally cheap money as well.

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capt bob
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to petertan1959, Mar 11, 2013

My Favorites are The Series one Primes from Vivitar the 135 2.3 in particular , Close focus is just a couple feet turns it into a pretty good Macro 135 .

But recently Picked up and old Rokkar 58 1.4 as well and I have to agree with P 1959 it is a great lens

with a lot of Character and excellent Bokah and performs well in low light situations good fun lens and

cheap I have 2 and have less than 50 bucks in both with many extra's but will settle on one to keep.

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rayman 2
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Re: Best "old" inexpensive Lenses?
In reply to SQLGuy, Mar 11, 2013

SQLGuy wrote:

I can't think of much better bang for the buck than the $60 I paid for a near mint Canon nFD 50/1.4.

The old Canon FD 135/2.5 is a lot of lens (at least by weight ) for generally cheap money as well.

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Nex-7 with kit lenses, Contax G 35, and a number of legacy lenses (mostly Canon FD)

yeah the Canon FD 1.4 50mm SSC was one of the best....

all the others of that line were measured on that one....

one of the other great lenses of that time was both the 3.5 and 2.8 55mm Nikkor micro lenses....

Peter

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D Cox
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Re: In order to get good shots handheld....
In reply to Old Pirate, Mar 12, 2013

Old Pirate wrote:

you need your shutter speed to exceed the mm of the lens.

In other words...you need to take photos with that 135 at shutter speeds above 1/135. On a tripod it makes no difference, but being handheld and no form of stabilization this works.

Someone passed this tidbit of information on to me some time back and it has been valuable advice.

For real sharpness, it is best to double that speed. So, 1/250 or faster for a 135mm.

The 135 2.8 Rokkor is capable of some really good shots. I have a few in my gallery on here of grandchildren, but I've done plenty more and some are truly good.

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