Rating of manual focus tele zooms - A List

Started Apr 9, 2021 | Discussions thread
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Belgarchi Senior Member • Posts: 2,503
Rating of manual focus tele zooms - A List

After a lot of buying / testing, here is my rating of these zooms, in terms of sharpness (contrast + resolution) and chromatic aberration in the center of the image, at maximum focal, largest aperture and +1step.

I. Exceptional

Canon 80-200/4.0 L New FD

Contax Zeiss 100-300/4.5-5.6

Tamron Adaptall-II 60-300/3.8-5.4 SP (between 'Exceptional' and 'Above average')

II. Above average

Canon 100-300/5.6 L New FD

Contax Zeiss 80-200/4.0 MM

Nikon 80-200/4.0 AIs

Osawa II 70-210/4.0-5.0

Osawa II 60-300/5.6 (heavy, but I like the built quality and the 2 rings)

Tamron Adaptall-II 70-210/3.8-4.0 (many samples are not so good. I tried 5!))

Tokina SZ-X 70-210/4.5

Tokina 70-210/4.0-5.6 SD (SZ-X)

Vivitar 70-300/4.2-5.8 (made by Cosina; unfortunately poorly built)

III. Average

Cosina Super 75-300/4.5-5.6

Leica R 70-210/4.0 (same optics than Minolta, but better built)

Minolta 70-210/4.0 MD-III

Tamron Adaptall-II 70-210/3.5-4.0 SP (excellent built, and I like the 2 rings)

Tamron Adaptall-II 80-210/3.8-4.0 (103A)

Vivitar 70-210/3.5 Series 1 (version 2 made by Tokina)

IV. Below average

Pentax K 70-210/4.0 A

Tamron 80-210/3.8-4.0 (03A)

Tokina 60-300/4.0-5.6 SZ-X (nice, light, well built: I wish the I.Q. was better)

Tokina 75-300/4.0-5.6 SZ-X (nice, light, well built: I wish the I.Q. was better)

Vivitar 70-210/2.8-4.0 Series 1 version 3 made by Komine (2 samples apparently in perfect condition: disappointing)

- Keep in mind that these ratings are for the best of 1, 2 or 3 samples apparently all in very good condition, but I observed large variations of I.Q.

- Note also that, with a 26MP camera, cropping an image taken at 200 or 210mm with an 'Above average' or 'Exceptional' zoom will give you better results than an image taken at 300mm by a 'below average' zoom, and you often gain one aperture!

I would appreciate a lot your input to complete this list.

 Belgarchi's gear list:Belgarchi's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 Leica D-Lux 7 Olympus PEN-F Pentax KP Fujifilm X-T3 +110 more
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