Samstag, 21. Dezember 2013

A few shots from the Christmas market in my home town Saalfeld

I strolled in the last few days more often about the little Christmas market in my hometown, Saalfeld. My little Sony NEX-3N and a few small Voigtländer lenses I had with me. Here are snapshots of the evening activities on the market. And some photos of the city and surrounding areas.
I wish all my readers of this blog a Merry and wonderful Christmas, surrounded by her family.

Dienstag, 19. November 2013

The Yashica ML 35mm f/2.8 lens

Sony NEX-5R, ISO 100, 20s, f/4.0, -0,3 BE

Always on the lookout for cheap old lenses I found the Yashica ML 35mm f/2.8.
From the lens design ago there were two versions: one with first 7 elements in 6 groups, a second with 6 elements in 5 groups. This second version was built  and sold from the year 1982. The older version is from the 70s. From about in 1976. 
Here once the data and specifications of the lens:
The focal length: 35 mm, aperture range: 2.8 - 4 - 5.6 - 8 - 11 - 16, six aperture blades, shortest distance is 30 cm, Weight: 230 grams, length x diameter 41.5 x 61.5mm, filter size: 52 mm.
The feel is very pleasant, especially convinced me the picture quality. At full aperture the image is a little soft, but at f 4.0 and 5.6 are the photos very sharp.

At the moment, these lenses are very inexpensive. Soon, the first owner of the NEX-full frame cameras A7  and A7R are looking for good old lenses. Then the prices sure to rise very quickly.
The Yashica ML 35mm/2.8 is a nice landscape lens but also very good for closeups.

Sony NEX-5R, ISO 100, 1/60s, f/2.8, -0,3 BE

Sony NEX-5R, ISO 100, 1/125s, f/2.8, -0,3 BE

Sony NEX-5R, ISO 250, 1/60s, f/2.8, -0,3 BE

Sony NEX-5R, ISO 100, 1/320s, f/2.8, -0,3 BE

Some users compare the design of the Yashica lens with Zeiss Planar. This suggests that the calculations of the lenses were taken. In my experience, however, the Zeiss Planar are much sharper even at full aperture and have more contrast. 
If you want to take only one lens, then the Yashica 35mm f/2.8 is a good choice. Ideal for street photography, as well as landscapes and close-ups. A good copy can be bought between 30 and 50 Euros. The pictures in this post emerged in recent days with really bad weather: rain, fog and cold.

Freitag, 15. November 2013

The Sigma 28mm f2.8 Mini-Wide II Macro Lens

Today I present a relatively little-to-find lens: the Sigma Mini Wide II 28mm f/2.8. I have no idea how old it is. You can also find on the internet very little information on this lens. On the other hand: you pay very little money for it. Usually it is yet to get for 15 to 25 euros.
Is it worth the purchase?

The lens feels cheap and consists of a whole lot of plastic. It is also just 190 grams. And only 52 mm long and has a diameter of 64 mm. The filter thread is 52 mm. But it has some interesting properties. The closest focusing distance is 22 centimeters. You can shot macros with a image scale of 1: 4.5. Tthis is not a blockbuster. A normal macro-lens can usually mapping 1:2 or even 1:1. But better than nothing.

Here is a comparison: the Sigma 28mm mini wide II at the minimum focusing distance in macro function 1:4.5. And below the OM Zuiko 50mm f/3.5 Macro with 1:2 reproduction ratio:

The lens is pretty sharp even at full aperture, but falls towards the edges slightly. Stopped down to f/5.6 or f/8.0, the lens is sharp as a razor from one edge to the other. Therefore more suitable for sunny days when you need proper sharp images.

The lens was made ​​with a variety of bayonet sockets. One finds the Sigma Mini-Wide II for Canon FD, but also for Minolta or Olympus OM. It is getting very low in any case. And if you can or want not spend much money then the Sigma Mini Wide 28mm is always a good choice.

Here are some image results with this lens at maximum aperture:

And here is finally to have a portrait of me that my old buddy Bircan has shot (Sony NEX-3N with Sigma mini wide II 28mm with f/4.0):

Dienstag, 12. November 2013

The Minolta MD 35-70 / 3.5 - the "brightest" lens among the three candidates

And now, finally: the fastest lens in the 35-70 zoom, the Minolta MD 35-70/3.5. On the web, this lens is celebrated as a super sharp. Supposedly you can save yourself a couple of prime lenses. Well let's see if that's true.
A photographer has kindly given me a copy of this zoom for testing. It is not the famous newer zoom with macro function, but an older lens from the year 1978. The calculation for this lens comes originally from Minolta and was later acquired by Leica. 
Leitz sold this lens later under the name "Leica Vario-Elmar-R 3,5 / 35-70". So a true classic.
On the film camera, this lens was a real hit among all 35-70 zooms.
Unfortunately, the performance of the lens on a digital camera is only average. The center of the picture is very sharp even at maximum aperture. But the sharpness and image quality drops off sharply toward the edge.
But once we get to the stats:

The lens is 365 grams, has two threads, one for the lens hood with a 62mm and a 55mm filter thread.
The minimum focusing distance is unfortunately only one meter. The lens has eight elements in 7 groups.

The mechanism is completely fine, all rings can move excellent and very precisely. Despite the existing lens hood, the lens is very sensitive to light from the side and back light. Here is a photo of the sun from the left. Contrast and colors are dull.

Here we see the angles of view at 35, 50 and 70mm:

Here are two shots at full aperture: at 35mm and 70mm:

And here are a few sample pictures at different focal lengths.

What we can say in summary?
In comparison with the Zuiko OM 35-70 / 3.6 this Minolta zoom is unfortunately only average. Stopped down to f/4.0 or f/5.6 but the image results are excellent. The photos are sharp from one edge to the other.
A good copy of this lens should cost no more than a maximum of 50 euros. If you want more picture quality should buy the newer version with Macro mode Minolta MD-III was produced from 1983.

Samstag, 20. Juli 2013

Today in review: the "prime killer" Olympus Zuiko Auto-Zoom OM 35-70 f/3.6

Well prime killer sounds pretty heavy. But if you look at the image results then you have to say: there is somehow true.
By the way: here are all three mid-range zooms side by side. From left to right: the Olympus OM, the Minolta MD and Canon FD 35-70.

Okay, let's start today with the Olympus Auto Zoom. the 35-70 f/3.6 was one of the first lenses, that Olympus has been calculated for the OM-System. It feels very valuable. After all, it also has a proud 400 grams of weight. It is 75 mm long and has a filter thread of 55 mm. The closest focusing distance is 80 centimeters.
The distance can be adjusted very precisely. The aperture ring clicks into place very well. This lens is mechanically a little masterpiece. Such a dual zoom serves the needs of the photographic everyday life very well. Here we see the angle of view at 70, 50 and 35 millimeters.

Now, what about the optical image quality? The distortion is at the short end slightly barrel-shaped but otherwise unremarkable. Even at full aperture, the image results are very good. The sharpness is also no longer increase when stopping down. This lens can really replace some fixed focal lengths. But there is a small drawback: at open aperture created the lens in hard contrast edges blue fringing. This can be seen very well especially in white subjects. Here is an example: 

Otherwise, the image results are excellent. Here are a few examples from the last few days. All photos were taken at maximum aperture.

The lens is rarely sold. Who owns this lens would prefer to keep it. Therefore, it is also quite expensive. You must have invest at least 70 euros or more to get a good copy. I got my zoom from the well-known OM- Lab of Frederick Gordon in Frankfurt. A very good address for OM lenses in an mint quality. 

Dienstag, 25. Juni 2013

The battle of the mid-range-zooms: the first candidate Canon FD 35-70 mm f/4.0

The zoom lenses between 35 and 70 mm have been sold as kit lenses since the 70s. The focal length range is short and the optical calculations for the lenses were relatively simple. For very little money you can buy many of these used lenses from the 70s and 80s. I'm going to present here on the blog three of the most famous mid-range zooms: the Canon nFD 35-70 f/4.0, the Olympus OM 35-70 f/3.6 and finally the Minolta 35-70 f/3.5. Let's start with the Canon lens.

Since 1981 there is to buy  a new (nFD) Canon 35-70 f/4.0 zoom. The legend says: It is an optical highlight and you can buy it for next to nothing. Admittedly: it is to have really cheap. In good used condition it can  get also be times of less than 10, - Euro. The main reason for this low price is a long known mechanical faults. After a while, the adjustment of the distance does not work properly. To be precise: it can no longer reach the focus at infinity. Unfortunately even with my copy this was like that. Normally this does not bother much. Unless you are viewing the photos with a 100% magnification on the screen.
Otherwise, the lens is already sharp even at full aperture and 35 mm. At 70mm, it is better to stop down one or two times. In my opinion, the best sharpness and brilliance is achieved at an aperture of about 5.6 or 6.3.
The lens is 87mm long, has a maximum diameter of 63mm and is just 305 grams. The filter diameter is 52mm, but note: the filter thread rotates with the Focus. The shortest focus is 0.5 meters and it can reach a maximum reproduction ratio of 1: 6,7.
Up to the often occurring mechanical error so a highly recommended lens. But in the next report, we compare first of all with the Olympus OM 35-70 / 3.6.

Here are a couple of photos from the last few days with the Canon nFD 35-70 f/4.0.