Today I tested a 28mm lens made by Super Orion. I can not find much about this brand, its probably a copy of some other branded 28mm lens. I bought it for around 15,- USD with the hope I could bring it with me together with my 50 mm lenses. On my Fuji crop sensor it is around 42mm, almost wide angle for me. But the lens is not so good, specially not for landscapes. It is soft overall and sharpness is important in landscape photography. I took a lot of pictures today on different apertures but they are all soft and at 2.8 it is really bad, you can see some examples down below.
I also took some pictures in the museum where I work and for these kind of pictures I don’t mind that the lens is not sharp at f2.8, the aperture I used to shoot the pictures inside. In lightroom you can still make something nice out of the RAW files. There is not so much vignetting to see and the distortion is hardly noticeable. The lens also misses some “vintage picture” quality. The pictures look quit neutral with no muted colors or other charms that some of my other vintage lenses have.
The lens id nicely build, for the most part out of metal I think, it has an ensuring weight to it. I don’t think it is a lens I would bring with me, specially if I have a choice.
Today I used a lens I also bought in Holland at he store I talked about before. I was really exited by this lens because it feels really good in the hand. It is nice and heavy and it zooms from 35 to a 105mm which I like for walking around in a city for instance. It also has a dedicated zoom setting that lets you get close with a 1:3 magnification, also nice for a city walk because now you can take some nice closeups of random details. I tried to find out some more details about this lens and Revuenon but besides some reviews of other lenses from the same manufacturer I found little about the brand itself. I wanted to know more about Revuenon because the lens feels good and seems to be of some good quality mechanically but optically it is terrible, at least my lens is. There is a small crack in the front lens, something you can see on some of the photos. Maybe this lens fell down once and shifted some lens elements internally. The problem is that you can not get a sharp focus on 35mm, you have to go to 40-45mm to get something in focus. If you are at 35mm you can “turn on” the macro setting and get focus that way but it is strange. This might be caused by a lens that is shifted internally but there are other problems, the amounts of chromatic aberration, specially at 3.8 is something you don’t see anymore at even the cheapest lenses made today. The glare is also noticeable and the lens is soft overall but specially in the corners and it has low contrast. There is also a lot of barrel distortion even at a 105 mm.
Today I tested the very small Industar 50mm f3.5. It is based on an old Zeis lens design from before ww2 and made in Russia. It focuses easy but the aperture ring is not easy adjustable with one hand, the focuses will change if you try to do this.
The photos are edited with Darktable, for most of them I only changed some tone curve and the B&W conversion. The tones of the colors have this nice vintage feel and the sharpens is good but not as overly sharp as modern lenses. Combined with the manual focus you can get some great results and because it is such a small lens there is no excuse not to bring it with you. I read online that this lens is not as good on full frame camera’s when it comes to sharpness in the corners and vignetting but I cannot confirm that. I like it a lot on the X-t1 and it is a good conversation starter.
Today I took pictures of this agricultural machine I’ve been passing by for the last few weeks. I really like the Rikenon, compared to the Russian lenses I have this feels much better in the hand. It’s quit heavy and solid and gives the feeling it will last forever. The focus ring feels mechanically tight and smooth. They make great lenses these day’s to but not for a 150,- US Dollars. Optically there are probably things that modern lenses do much better but though I like the technical aspects of photography I never have been that interested in the optical qualities of a lens. I can differentiate between a good lens and a bad lens but that has more to do with the impression the picture gives me and not the lack of color fringing, distortion or what you have.
I like taking pictures with this lens because it forces me to take it slowly. I like the results to, even after some editing in Lightroom I can still see that the pictures where taken with this lens, maybe not so much with the B&W but definitely with the color pictures.
For consistency I used the B&W Flat preset in Lightroom with some sharpening. For the colored ones I left all the settings from the preset untouched I just put it on color.
Today me and my girlfriend went out for a drive, looking for some nice spots to take pictures of her and to test my Auto Rikenon. I get better in focusing with these manual lenses combined with my new Fujifilm X-T1. I zoom in with the focus peaking and that works great. If you get closer and especially with the lens wide open you have to time your shot because the slightest movement results in an out of focus picture.
For me out of focus is not always bad but I am glad that some of the pictures are in focus so you can see a nice separation of subject and background even when stopped down. Wide open the out of focus parts are nice with smooth colors and almost round light circles.
There is more potential in this lens and I am glad that I bought it, it gives me the change to learn new things.
Today I took my new Industar 50mm with me to work. There was a big 3 master from Holland docked in the harbor, being raised there and working as a wooden boat builder I naturally wanted to meet the people on board. I was not a wooden boat, what I expected, but the wooden mast and rigging looked nice so I had something to admire. I had a nice talk with one of the guest and just before it left I took a few snapshots of the some details.
The lens works great, I really like it. It is sharp and easy to focus. I noticed today that there was a lot of glare in the viewfinder, the sun was bright and high in the sky. The glare prevented me from focusing so I have to buy a better eye cup and see if that helps. There came one with this camera when I bought it but I am used to have the camera hanging on my right shoulder and the larger eye cup was rubbing against my leg and got ripped of, I guess I have to find a solution for that. The sun had not so much affect on the lens itself. The front element is almost 5 cm recessed so it has more or less a build in hood.
I did some more editing in Lightroom so you wont see a clean picture to judge the lens by but in the color photo’s you can see the sharpness. All the pictures where shot at an aperture of f5.6 and an ISO of 200.
I used Lightroom again though I want to use the other programs, but with Lightroom I don’t have to think and when I use Dark table, Capture one or After shot 3 I have to constantly look
Today I took some random picture during my break at work. I used The Mir 37mm again. The four colorful pictures are edited more in a stile I like, colorful, punchy and no blue in the sky. I like these results and I don’t think I would be more satisfied if I had taken them with one of my modern lenses. There are of course all kinds of (technical) things wrong with it if you look closer, or even if you don’t but I had fun making them, manual focusing, making sure the aperture ring was set and finely editing them. I will remember the time and place of when I took these pictures when I see them again in the future and relive the moment in a small amount, what more do you want. I would use this lens for a paid assignment, they hire me for my style and not for my technical skills. The other picture of the museum I work for is almost straight out of the camera and it captures perfectly the mood of the day, misty, grey and silent. I had to put some contrast in it because that’s something this lens misses.
On E-bay you will find different version of this lens for around 60,- US Dollars. I bought mine here in Norway where I live now for a similar price. The quality of my particulate lens is not that great, there is some movement in the focus and aperture rings and is used quit a lot. Optically I looks fine but I have no other MIR-1 to compare it with, I don’t see fungus or dust inside the lens.
Today I took the Rikenon 55mm with me on a work trip. I wanted to try the lens out in a normal situation wherein I take a camera with me to take some casual pictures. I am more satisfied with the focusing, I only used the focus assist of the X-t1 and that worked fine, I guess I get used to it. The lens seems to give a 1960/70s kind of vibe with muted colors and low contrast but I want to take some comparison pictures in the future. I used Darktable to edit the RAW files. Besides the standard setting Darktable applies I did the black and white conversion with it and some curves.
Today I used an other vintage lens, the Mir-1b 37mm f2.8. These old lenses are great to play with and are relatively cheap to buy. For the money you can buy a new Fujifilm 35mm lens you can buy several old lenses. This one is not so easy to use, the ring to adjust the aperture has clicks but you can also adjust it freely with an other ring just underneath it. This is not so bad, specially if you use it to film but the focus ring is close to the it and I kept changing the aperture. This is something I will probably get used to but I noticed it.
The light was really harsh today, around noon, when I had some time to make some pictures. I found an old lens hood that fitted but there was still a lot of light “bleeding” in. It has also to do with the lens I guess but I will find that out when I use the lens in other circumstances. The closest focusing distance is not that close, around 65cm, I can’t wait to use it with some extension tubes, the background blur suppose to be quit nice.