The 27 adapted lenses I love - Part 2 (14)

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Tomasg71 Regular Member • Posts: 299
Re: The 27 adapted lenses I love - Part 2 (14)

Rol Lei Nut wrote:

fferreres wrote:

Belgarchi wrote:

fferreres wrote:

Belgarchi wrote:

Used on M43 16MP and 20MP cameras, and APS-C 16MP and 24MP cameras. What is said here doesn’t apply to FF cameras. All usable at full aperture except note saying otherwise.

  • Nikon 55/2.8 Macro AIs: very sharp already at full aperture. A delight to use, excellent mechanism.
  • Nikon 105/2.5 AIs (last version): extremely sharp, great to use like most AIs lenses. Could be lighter (?).
  • Nikon 180/2.8 ED AIs: up to its reputation. Very sharp at f/2.8, superlative at f/4.0 in the center. Edges weaker.
  • Pentax 28/3.5 K: superb mechanically. Very good I.Q., with exceptional contrast and low flare. The small aperture makes it difficult to use inside (except tripod of course).
  • Pentax 28/3.5 M: 95% as good I.Q. as the K, lighter and cheaper, delightful mechanism.
  • Pentax 120/2.8 M: unusual focal. Very good I.Q., good balance focal / aperture / minimum distance / weight. My sample has a way better I.Q. than the K version I tried. Don’t know if all the K have a bad I.Q. or if it was only the sample I tried (apparently in pristine condition)
  • Pentax 50/2.8 Macro A: In the film days, that lens was considered inferior to the Nikon 55/2.8 Macro and other Leitz and Zeiss macro lenses. It is not my experience on digital camera, for me, it is equivalent. Light and nice to use too.
  • Pentax 135/2.8 A: excellent I.Q. and compromise focal / aperture / minimum distance / weight. Focusing is a little bit tight.
  • Pentax 200/4.0 A: Surprise! This 200mm is better than the already very good ‘M’ version. It has one more glass element. I.Q. slightly above (colors, center sharpness at f/4.0) Nikon 200/4.0. Light weight.
  • Pentax 31/1.8 FA Limited: mine is so-so at f/1.8 despite many reports that it is very good at full aperture, but it is already incredibly good (colors, sharpness on the whole field, flare resistance…) at f/2.8. A delight to use, like all Pentax ‘Limited’. Expensive.
  • Pentax 77/1.8 FA Limited: I had 3 sample. The first, made in Japan, was really excellent but ‘died’ from glued elements separation. The other 2 were made in Vietnam and were less sharp. Not statistically significant though, input from other users would be highly appreciated. Expensive.
  • Pentax 200/2.8 FA*: Superb construction, very good at full aperture, very moderate C.A. A little bit on the heavy side. Very short minimum distance, 1.2m! Little gain at f/4.0, becomes superlative at f/5.6 and f/8.0

No EXA lens in the entire list. Heresy!

Exacta? Never used one. You are welcome to add the best you know with a short description?

There are many brands, but I'd say the two that stand out most in general are Zeiss Jena lenses from 50s to early 70s (then a downward spiral) and then Topcor R/RE/F lenses in particular, and selectively, Meyer Optik Gorlitz. But in general, these are FF comments, so comments about corners (eg. Flektogon) would need to be considered, as in all cases, corners would improve, and all described as very sharp, are sharp enough to satisfy M43 at least 16MP density (I don't have 20MP crop or M43).

  • Jena 4/135 EXA (some prefer MC later 3.5 variant) - an adaptation of the traditional 135mm f4 Sonnar from 1930s. This lens is extremely flat, very sharp, has very acceptable bokeh and produces results that are outstanding. At f4, it's extremely sharp, with corners improving more around f5.6. It's not just usable at's designed to perform extremely well at f4. In spite of being single coated elements, it resits flares elegantly.
  • Orestor 2.8/100 - a very compact 100mm lens which renders very crisp, beautiful images. I find the bokeh superlative, and it's a great all rounder which is very good from wide open across all apertures. There are two versions, one with 16 blades that renders gorgeous bokeh at every aperture. The later version may be branded Pentacon, and is 6 blades. The stars may be better with the 6 blades, but the highlights render the blocky 6 sides. I like the origianl version the most
  • Topcor RE 2.8/100 - (also older Auto-Topcor and F-Topcor) - very sharp wide open, optimized to be sharp wide open, with very acceptable corners. The different with other 100mm like the Orestor is that this lens is sharper in the copies I have -surgically sharp- but the background bokeh is more nervous.
  • Topcor RE 1.4/58mm - designed to be sharp, it's 90% perfect wide open but with slight glow. Even wide open, the image isn't soft, but it can be described as having more of a softfocus effect where things are sharp but with some component spread out. mechanically perfect, the lens renders clean images that don't look vintage, with well controlled longitudinal and fringing. One of the best designed Hoods, is a good companion to make the lens even better, although for 1960s era, flares are well controlled relative to alternatives. The f1.8 counterpart is also high resolution, very sharp with smoother bokeh, and some prefer it to the f1.4. The f1.4 has a 62" ring, and is much heavier than the f1.8 version.
  • Jena Flektogon 3.5/35mm (2.8 variants as well) - renders very sharp centers, focuses very closely, has the Zeiss color cast or rendition. Has field curvature and isn't strong in the extreme corners, so needs to be stopped down. It's best at shooting obects placed near the center, where it will deliver very high microcontrast, separation, extremely smooth bokeh. Objects will Pop Out and appear to jump at the viewer. It is not recommended for landscape.
  • Jupiter 11 2.8 - a lens derived from the original Contax lens for RF cameras. Renders superb images when illumination is normal, and flares in flattering ways otherwise. It is softer wide open while still retaining great resolution and sharp by 5.6. It's one of the best budget, legacy portrait lenses ever made, IMHO. Sample variation and decades of differences in construction make it hit or miss getting the right version.

There are many others I'd recommend. Maybe with time others can document their favorites. There's a risk we may list all we have, with pros cons. I am just documenting some I'd highly recommend (among many many other good and some average ones).

My best "Exakta" lens is a Schacht 90 2.8. It runs circles around the Orestor 100 & the Biomeatr 80, let down only by not so good coatings. It's very similar in rendering and performance to the Rollei Zeiss 85 2.8, not sure if the optical scheme is also similar...

The Flektogons I have (20 4.0, 25 4.0 & 35 2.8) are good for their era, but can't compete with the better MF lenses. Basically, I'm hanging on to them in case I want to shoot my Exakta Varex IIa again (what a beauty!).

Good to know i am not the only one that likes the A. Schacht 9/2.8 a great lens.

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