Samstag, 24. Dezember 2016

The Porst Weitwinkel auto F 35mm f/2.8 - not really a burner

Porst, like Revue, was not a camera maker, but Germany's largest photographic studio, where everything began with a small photo business in 1919. Porst was also strongly represented in the mail-order business. Porst was produced by various manufacturers at home and abroad. Strongly represented here were also cameras from the GDR and the USSR. After the bankruptcy in 2002 the name came to the Ringfoto group.

Which company the Porst wide angle 35mm f / 2.8 originally manufactured, unfortunately can not be verified. Probably it was Cosina or Yashica.  I have at home a Yashica 35mm f / 2.8, which looks very similar to the Porst lens.  However, the two lenses are distinguished by some essential details: the Yashica's close-up limit is very good 35 cm, and the Porst is only 50 cm. The optical performance is also very different. While the Yashica has an excellent sharpness at open-aperture, the Porst is rather milky and slightly blurred. Really sharp the Porst is actually only from aperture 4.0, at least in the center of the photo.
The Porst Weitwinkelauto F 35mm f/2.8 (left) and the Yashica ML 35mm f/2.8 (right):


M42-mount and Pentax K-Mount. My specimen is an M-42 mounted lens.
Focal length: 35mm (Prime-lens)
Max./Min. aperture f/2.8- f/22
Blades 6
Min. Focus 0,5m
Filter Ø  55mm
Weight  210gr. / 7,4 oz
Length  60mm / 2,4 in

The haptics of the Porst is, as with all old lenses, very good. Everything is made of metal and can be moved easily and smoothly. Since the M42 adapter is very wide, the combination of camera and lens considerably increases. Nevertheless, you can handle the camera with the lens still well.
As already written, the Porst 35mm f/2.8 with aperture is very soft and you has dear distress to adjust the right sharpness. Even if the focus peaking to the highest level, you must turn long and try until the sharpness is correct. So I know a behavior only from my Makinon - cucumber.  If you stopped down, for example to aperture 4.0, the sharpness and the picture contrast will be better.
If you can take a lot of time and patience for a photo, then sometimes sharp shots can be achieved even with open aperture.

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 100

Farther stopped down of the lens brings in my opinion no improvement of the picture quality. On the contrary, from aperture 11 the photos become considerably blurred and milky by diffraction losses.
When the aperture is open, the lens is quite sensitive to light. The photography is then over-radiated and pale. Lightly stopped down to f/2.8 or f/4.0  is helpful.

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/2000s, ISO 100

Let's summarize: the lens has an excellent construction of full metal, is very well balanced and can be used well. The image quality is poor with open aperture. Stopped down to f/4.0 you can expect a good sharpness and contrast. For obscure reasons it is difficult for the user - even with focus peaking - to adjust the correct sharpness.  Sometimes it succeeds, but often you have to turn and turn around the focus ring before the picture is satisfactory.  Such a strange lens as this Porst I had never in my hands. The picture quality varies between completely creepy to super great.

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO 100
Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO 100 (100% Crop from photo above)

What should I finally recommend? I dont know. Probably it depends on which specimen you just get caught. The manufacturing quality seems to be very variable. Just try before buying it and buy it only if the picture quality is right away.
Here are some photos that I shot in the last days.

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/6.3, 1/200s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/4.0, 1/200s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/8.0, 1/160s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/4.0, 1/60s, ISO 125

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/4.0, 1/60s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/4.0, 1/500s, ISO 100
Sony a6000 with Porst 35mm f/2.8 at f/6.3, 1/640s, ISO 100

Donnerstag, 15. Dezember 2016

Fujimoto E-Lucky 38mm f/2.8 - A simple and cheap enlarging lens

Fujimoto is a Japanese company that made cameras at some time and currently makes enlargers and other equipment. Fujimoto was founded in Osaka in 1913 by Fujimoto Tōjirō. In 1935, the production of enlargers began under the brand "Lucky" and it still continues today. These enlarging lenses were used for 4x5" oder 6x6" Magnifiers (the most famous device was for years the "450M-D") in photo darkrooms.

Here are a few technical data:

Focal length: 38mm
Apertures: 2.8 up to 16
Maximum diameter: 40mm
Length: 30mm (with thread, M42-mount)
Weight: ca. 80 gr.
The Lens has no focal ring.

I bought this magnifying glass from pure curiosity. Once it was very cheap - only 10, - Euro and for the second it had an M39 thread, like most magnifying lenses. An old Leitz bellows I had already from my Leica-Visoflex in the closet. The bellows is from the thirties of the last century and still uses a 3/8 "female thread. A modern camera does not fit. Most photo cameras use 1/4 "thread as a tripod thread. So I removed the old fixing screw with an iron saw and inserted an M6 screw. Now everything fit. Only a spacer of cardboard for the camera mount and I could try the magnifying lens.

First the bad news: the enlarging lens was built for a darkroom, that is, it can tolerate direct or indirect light. Even heavily stopped down to aperture 8 or aperture 11, the images become contrastless and fuzzy.

Sony NEX-3N with Fujimoto E-Lucky 38mm f/2.8 at 2.8, 1/30s, ISO 200

Sony NEX-3N with Fujimoto E-Lucky 38mm f/2.8 at f/8.0, 1/13s, ISO 200

However, the images are very sharp right from the start, at least in the center of the image. Here is a photo at open aperture f/2.8 and a 100% cut. I have focused on the eyes of the dragon.

This enlarging glass is not suitable for daily shooting. The combination of lens, bellows and camera is simply too big and heavy. You can not just put it all into the photo bag and go.
The main area of application is certainly macro photography. Rather less outdoors, because in the studio. You can reach enlargements up to 4: 1. This is significantly more than the best macro lens to perform. Now I admit that I am not a good macro photographer. I do not have the necessary peace and patience until finally the longed-for motive finds itself.
Nevertheless, I have tried with simple means to show what enormous abilities the Fujimoto magnifying glass actually has. Here is an example with a 2 cent piece. Is amazing how great the coin can be enlarged, right?

The used 38mm lens is actually a little too short for macro photography with the help of a bellows. Better would be focal lengths of at least 70 to 100mm. If such a glass is offered to me, I dare to try a second experiment with the same arrangement.
Until then I stay with "normal" lenses. At the moment I have a Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8 and an old Porst 35mm f/2.8 on my desk. The next time I will look at it closely and introduce myself on the blog.
Also in the future, I am always looking for inexpensive old lenses that sometimes deliver amazing performance. Until then, stay curious.
To all my readers, I wish you a merry Christmas.

Sony NEX-3N with Fujimoto E-Lucky38mm f/2.8 at f/8.0, 1/60s, ISO 200

Sonntag, 11. Dezember 2016

The Russian Helios 44M 58mm f/2.0 - Now I also add my two cents

The Helios-44 was the standard, fast, 58mm lens typically found as the kit prime on the Zenit-series russian SLR cameras, produced from 1958 till 1992. There are numerous variants available, some of which include multicoated lens elements. And they were made in more than one factory. KMZ (Krasnogorski mechanitscheski sawod) was probably the most prolific producer.
Based on the lens Zeiss Biotar 2/58 , at the beginning was called "БТК" - "БиоТар Красногорский" (BioTar Krasnogorski). A fast 6-element anastigmat, it was available in both single-coated and multi-coated versions.
The name of Helios lenses are usually written as Helios-44X-N, where X -is the index of lens mount (M for m42 thread, K for Pentax K bayonet, Д for Zenit-D bayonet) and N is a optical resolution index 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (the higher number the higher is an optical resolution of lens).  The Russian designers of the Helios-44 lenses were P.A.Lapin and W.N. Borodulin from the KMZ plant in Krasnogorsk.
A bit chunkier and heavier than the other versions, the 44-M has the advantage of a wide base that mounts firmly with a rimless M42 adapter on Pentax. It has an A-M aperture switch, not the 2 ring preset aperture of the common 44-2. 

There are obviously in the net infinitely many different copies. Here are the data that apply only to my copy with M42-Mount:

52mm filter thread (In the net usually specified with 49mm)  
8 diaphragm blades (I have counted myself ;o))
F/2-16 max-min aperture.
50cm minimum focusing distance.
A mag ratio of 1:6.5 at closest focus point.
Weight: 230 gr.

From Camerapedia, uploaded from User Plt712h (2011)

Usually you pays for good specimens between 20 to 40 Euro.  I have it mounted with a very cheap M42 adapter from Shanghai to my Sony a6000. Such Chinese adapters can be bought via Amazon or EBay. They cost about 10, - Euro and are of good quality. I bought several such adapters (PK-, FD-, M39-, LeicaM-, Nikon Ai- or other mounted) from China and never had any real scrap. I can really recommend these pieces from Far East.
Let's look at the picture quality: When the aperture is open, so f / 2.0 the images are very sharp in the center of the image. To the edges everything becomes very soft and blurred.

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.0, 1/1000s, ISO 100, look at the light swirly bokeh in the right background.
Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 100 against the light of sunset (the flares are inconspicuous)

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.8, 1/80s, ISO 100 at closest focusing distance

The lens is, moreover, wide open very light-sensitive, the photos are then low-contrast and fuzzy. The use of a lens hood is recommended. For my review, I unfortunately had no matching lens hood at home, but 52mm should not be a problem. This is a common size and not expensive.
Easily stopped down, the picture quality is excellent. Even at aperture 2.8 the photo looks almost like Zeiss-like. At aperture 5.6 the image from edge to edge are really correctly perfect.
Here is a photo at aperture f/2.8 and below as a 100% -crop.

The bokeh is most comparatively creamy and quiet. In the net you can read a lot of the swirly bokeh of the Helios 44M. This is, however, the version Helios 44M-4 or 44M-2. My copy, so the Helios M44 without lens-index and 8 blades is a later version from the 70s. The production of the Helios-44M ended in 1972. General rule is: the older the Helios and more blades, the most swirly character.  On the other hand, a restless background at the right distance can also produce this swirly bokeh. You have to experiment a bit. Look at my first Danbo-picture in this post.
Let's summarize: The lens is cheap to have, as Russian bulk goods you get it on many platforms in the net. The picture quality is good from f/2.8, really perfect from f/5.6. The blinds snapped in well and audibly. The haptics are very solid like a Russian tank.  From my own experience, I can finally recommend this lens. It is not my favorite and best Fifty, but a good performer for daily use.
When I shoot with this lens on an APS-C camera, the focal length extends to about 87mm. This is already a light telephoto focal range at the full format. In the everyday life of photography, therefore, rather a portrait focal length. My pictures in the following part of the report show, however, that the lens can actually be used for any purpose.

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.8, 1/40s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.0, 1/125s, ISO 100 (processed with Nik Silverefex)

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.0, 1/30s, ISO 640

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/4.0, 1/250s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 100, 50%-crop from original picture

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 125
Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.8, 1/640s, ISO 100

Sony a6000 with Helios-44M at f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 160