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Bryan

Vintage Lenses on NEX

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I am becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the performance of the Sony 55-210, it's fine in the centre, but suffers from edge sharpness problems. I therefore warped out my aged Pentax 75-150  M  f4 and Pentax 200 M f4 to carry out a comparison, to see if I should abandon new for old. Handheld from the top of an ex railway viaduct on a blustery day, this should benefit the Sony with its image stabilisation, but, using ISO200 and keeping the aperture at f8, the shutter speeds were high enough to avoid camera shake.

 

Results here

 

I've also posted a quick look at the Pentax 28mm F3.5 K, a lovely bit of kit

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Hi Bryan,

 

Try to turn off OSS and you will probably get better results with the SEL55-210.

I'm thinking on the just announced SEL70-200f4, but I need to see it first: I don't want a huge lens (this is a 72mm filter size....)

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Bryan, interesting tests. But I don't see a heck of a lot of difference between the two lenses. Perhaps I need new glasses/specs. Personally, I don't think that a little softness around the edges is a big deal, especially with a long-ish zoom like the SEL 55-210 where the main subject tends to be in the centre of the frame.  Also, I'm happy to sacrifice a little edge/corner sharpness for the convenience of having image stabilization and a lighter lens. Big vintage MF lenses seem very awkward on the NEX bodies to me. But then I'm addicted to autofocus now as well.

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+ 1, John.  

 

I have a bunch of vintage lenses and a Nikon adopter . . . but those over-sized, MF optics do not lend themselves to the quick reaction I want to employ. If I were out setting up to shoot landscapes somewhere they might be okay, but that's not what I'm doing.   B)

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+ 1, John.  

 

I have a bunch of vintage lenses and a Nikon adopter . . . but those over-sized, MF optics do not lend themselves to the quick reaction I want to employ. If I were out setting up to shoot landscapes somewhere they might be okay, but that's not what I'm doing.   B)

I tried using a heavy Tamron f/2.8 135mm MF lens with my NEX-3 for awhile. The results were very good. However, I found the whole process too clunky and slow for on-the-hoof shooting. Obviously, Bryan is much more adept at using old lenses than I am. 

Edited by John Mitchell

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This is a bit off-topic, but I'm considering buying the inexpensive Sony a3000 to use with my SEL 55-210. This camera is still light and compact, but it has a very comfortable grip. Plus it balances very well with the 55-210 (I tried it out in a local camera store). The a3000 has shortcomings, but as David K. and others have reported, the IQ is excellent. I think I can live with this camera's foibles given the bargain price, which is starting to drop even further as Old Saint Nick warms up his sled.

 

P.S. I also tried manual focusing with the a3000, and it seemed acceptable. Perhaps it might be a good bet for those heavy old MF zooms. Don't know. The 55-210 and the NEX-3 isn't a good combo for me. I just can't seem to hold the camera steady enough in some situations.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Hi Bryan,

 

Try to turn off OSS and you will probably get better results with the SEL55-210.

I'm thinking on the just announced SEL70-200f4, but I need to see it first: I don't want a huge lens (this is a 72mm filter size....)

Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a go.

 

I carried out this test after producing some images with the 55-210 that looked to be too dodgy to upload, fine in the centre but unacceptable at the edge. I think that it is pretty well chronicled that the lens is OK at the short end and not too hot at 210.

 

Did you look at the larger images John, click to magnify, the 55-210 is pretty ropey in the corners at 210.

 

I don't find using old manual focus glass to be too much of a problem. although had the Zeiss 16-70 got some half decent reviews I might have jumped that way. Using the 28 mm f3.5 on a crop sensor camera most things are in focus at f8, and I have successfully used it for street work etc.

 

I confess that I don't want to lug both the 75-150 and 200 mm Pentax lenses around with me, currently deciding whether to persist with the 55-210 or to use the Pentax 75-150 (quite a small lens, 49 mm filter).

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Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a go.

Hi Bryan,

 

Try to turn off OSS and you will probably get better results with the SEL55-210.

I'm thinking on the just announced SEL70-200f4, but I need to see it first: I don't want a huge lens (this is a 72mm filter size....)

 

I carried out this test after producing some images with the 55-210 that looked to be too dodgy to upload, fine in the centre but unacceptable at the edge. I think that it is pretty well chronicled that the lens is OK at the short end and not too hot at 210.

 

Did you look at the larger images John, click to magnify, the 55-210 is pretty ropey in the corners at 210.

 

I don't find using old manual focus glass to be too much of a problem. although had the Zeiss 16-70 got some half decent reviews I might have jumped that way. Using the 28 mm f3.5 on a crop sensor camera most things are in focus at f8, and I have successfully used it for street work etc.

 

I confess that I don't want to lug both the 75-150 and 200 mm Pentax lenses around with me, currently deciding whether to persist with the 55-210 or to use the Pentax 75-150 (quite a small lens, 49 mm filter).

I agree, the 55-210 is not that great at full extension, especially with distant subjects. However, most inexpensive zooms (and even some expensive ones) break down at the long end. Shall have another peek at your test images. My world is pretty fuzzy around the edges to begin with, so I guess I'm not that concerned with peripheral softness. ^_^

Edited by John Mitchell

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Hi Bryan,

They are very interesting tests.  The 28mm f3.5 K is an iconic lens, so I have heard

A bit off topic, but I routinely use vintage Pentax prime lenses on my Pentax K20D.   Having spent most of my working life using 5 x 4  format I am used to a more contemplative style of photography, so using MF is OK for me.  I regularly use a Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8 and Pentax-M 100mm f/2.8.  The 100mm has superb overall sharpness.  I also use a few others including the M 200m f/4, which isn’t quite as sharp, but still of excellent quality in terms of overall sharpness.  CA is a bit high with the 200mm but can be dealt with in Lightroom.

Graham

p.s My avatar includes a K20D with 100mm lens in use

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Hi Bryan,

 

They are very interesting tests.  The 28mm f3.5 K is an iconic lens, so I have heard

 

A bit off topic, but I routinely use vintage Pentax prime lenses on my Pentax K20D.   Having spent most of my working life using 5 x 4  format I am used to a more contemplative style of photography, so using MF is OK for me.  I regularly use a Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8 and Pentax-M 100mm f/2.8.  The 100mm has superb overall sharpness.  I also use a few others including the M 200m f/4, which isn’t quite as sharp, but still of excellent quality in terms of overall sharpness.  CA is a bit high with the 200mm but can be dealt with in Lightroom.

 

Graham

 

 

Yes the 28mm f3.5 is a lovely optic, heavier and larger than the f2.8 M, but it does not suffer from CA in the same way and seems to produce less distortion. I remember from film days that the f3.5 K would produce negatives that seemed to pop, compared to other lenses, I've always liked it.  I've not tried the A version

 

Wouldn't mind getting my hands on one of those 100mm f2.8 lenses,  but I suspect that they are rather pricey these days.  Actually the bargain basement 75-150  f4 zoom is very good, it's a lot more contrasty than the equivalent Zuiko that I've also tried, and as my test showed, rather better than the Sony 55-150 at 150mm!

 

I guess that you will have the luxury of auto stop down on your K20D, something that I have to manage without, but, to be honest, it's not a problem. In truth I spend much more time messing about with the exposure compensation on the camera, then with the aperture on the lens.

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Hi Bryan,

 

They are very interesting tests.  The 28mm f3.5 K is an iconic lens, so I have heard

 

A bit off topic, but I routinely use vintage Pentax prime lenses on my Pentax K20D.   Having spent most of my working life using 5 x 4  format I am used to a more contemplative style of photography, so using MF is OK for me.  I regularly use a Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8 and Pentax-M 100mm f/2.8.  The 100mm has superb overall sharpness.  I also use a few others including the M 200m f/4, which isn’t quite as sharp, but still of excellent quality in terms of overall sharpness.  CA is a bit high with the 200mm but can be dealt with in Lightroom.

 

Graham

 

 

Yes the 28mm f3.5 is a lovely optic, heavier and larger than the f2.8 M, but it does not suffer from CA in the same way and seems to produce less distortion. I remember from film days that the f3.5 K would produce negatives that seemed to pop, compared to other lenses, I've always liked it.  I've not tried the A version

 

Wouldn't mind getting my hands on one of those 100mm f2.8 lenses,  but I suspect that they are rather pricey these days.  Actually the bargain basement 75-150  f4 zoom is very good, it's a lot more contrasty than the equivalent Zuiko that I've also tried, and as my test showed, rather better than the Sony 55-150 at 150mm!

 

I guess that you will have the luxury of auto stop down on your K20D, something that I have to manage without, but, to be honest, it's not a problem. In truth I spend much more time messing about with the exposure compensation on the camera, then with the aperture on the lens.

 

CA from the 28mm A Pentax lens is reasonable, and distortion and fall-off of illumination in the corners isn’t too bad when using the lens on the K20D.  I have used Adobe Lens Profile Creator to produce individual profiles for all my lenses.  CA, distortion and fall-off now largely disappear as soon as I tick the appropriate box in Lightroom.

 

I have noticed the price of vintage Pentax K glass go up in the last couple of years now that adaptors are available to fit Pentax lenses to other makes of bodies.

 

The auto stop down on the K20D is a great help, and a range of exposure options is available with the A lenses. However, I do use the camera on manual, even when using a Pentax DA zoom, which is rarely.  With exterior exposures I tend to estimate the exposure and check the histogram.  Using the histogram is a bit like using Polaroid to check exposure with a 5 x 4 in the past.  

 

I have fitted a split-image/microprism focussing screen to the K20D, which greatly helps manual focusing, and the wider aperture prime lenses help, too.  

 

Edited by Graham Morley

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