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Focal 28mm f/2.8 M42
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:00 am    Post subject: Focal 28mm f/2.8 M42 Reply with quote

So I went to pick up the wife at a local thrift store she likes to visit, and I spotted a lens behind the counter. Turns out it was a Focal 28mm f/2.8 in M42. Now, I know from years gone by that Focal was the house brand for K-Mart. And I always assumed -- rightly or wrongly -- that Focal was probably synonymous with crap. But as I got to looking at this old lens, it sure struck me as having a solid feel and generally being well made. Plus, given that they wanted less than $4 for it, I went ahead and bought it.

I'm curious if anyone here knows who made focal lenses. Was it more than one manufacturer? I don't have the lens handy to show at the moment. It's buried down in the bottom of one of the bags from the thrift store, but I'll try and dig it out tomorrow and take a photo of it. And take some photos with it, far as that goes, to see how it does. I'm guessing it will probably do fine. Although the idea of shooting with a 28mm on an APS-C crop body camera isn't particularly exciting. Cool

Stay tuned . . .


PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an Auto Focal MC macro 28/2.8 k mount that came with a Ricoh camera...to be honest I made the same assumption as you and it sits covered in dust and has some fungus on my desk... Embarassed The serial is K 830079

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm guessing mine is older than yours. I'll take pics of it tomorrow.


PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mo, Your lens was made in 1983, I believe. We have never identified K code in the Soligor thread, but more then likely all K code lenses are made by the same producer.
These lenses seem to be produced in the 1983-85 range, from the samples I can find. Tho there were later ones in the early 90's possibly made by the same people.

Here is an link to a lens on the 'Bay with sample pictures.

Click here to see on Ebay


PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen that lens in a number of brands. I think it might be a Cimko.

28mm on APS-C is actually a really nice FL imho, I use my Hexanon 3.5/28 a lot, probably more than any of my other lenses.

If you want a really good 28mm for pennies, look for the Hoya/Tokina 2.8/28. I have the Hoya HMC badged version and it is a great little lens. The Tokina RMC SL28 is the same lens. Both are very common and very cheap.



PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:13 pm    Post subject: 28mm lenses Reply with quote

One of my favourite 28mm 2.8 's is my Super Ozeck suprisingly well made and very sharp, i have a few Super Ozecks and they are all very good and most expensive one cost me 10 but prices do seem to have risen recently.
The Focal pictured above looks very similar to a Halina lens i have but not too impressed with IQ but Focal may be better.


PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
I'm guessing mine is older than yours. I'll take pics of it tomorrow.

I look forward to seeing your images of the lens in question....and any samples you may take..

Thanks Walter,I have seen a few Auto focals on the local ebay.


PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like my 24mm Ensinor.


PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mo, that lens is almost certainly an Ensinor. The FD one I got off Ian looks identical, the serial number also starts with K 8400---


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's why I say it's probably a Cimko, the Ensinor 24 and 28mm lenses are made by Cimko and are both really good. I had two copies of the 28mm, sold the M42 one to a friend locally and still have the OM mount one, but going to sell that too as I just don't need it.

Wish I'd kept that FD mount 24 as it's a cracker, but at the time I only had an EOS, now I have a NEX, it would be a handy lens to have, but I have the wonderful Konica Hexanon 2.8/24 and a very nice Hoya 2.8/24 (Tokina SL24) so I'm covered for 24mm lenses really.

Glad it's in good hands though! Would be lovely to see it on the NEX at some point if David's wife lets him get one!


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My M42 Focal 28/2.8 (#540xxx) is by Makinon and I know this absolutely because I just sold its Makinon-branded twin (#796xxx). Exact twins, except for the name. The Mak went for US$65 on eBay. My other current Focals include a PK-AR-mount 135/2.8 (#K85117xxx) which I'm sure is by Ricoh (it looks just like a Rikenon 135), and an M42 200/3.5 (#C366xxx) -- I have no idea who made it.

My (limited) experience with Focal lenses has been very good. Focal competed with Sears in camera gear and used many of the same suppliers, especially Ricoh for bodies and kit lenses. The main difference I've seen between Sears and Focal / K-Mart is in selection -- Sears had a much wider range of lenses and bodies. I have yet to encounter a bad prime lens marked Sears or Focal.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cimko and Makinon prime lenses are not bad, but their zooms are awful.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Cimko and Makinon prime lenses are not bad, but their zooms are awful.

Notice that I said, "I have yet to encounter a bad prime lens marked Sears or Focal." Cheap zooms of that vintage are another matter. I've had Sears and Albinar zooms in the 70-210 and 80-200 range, made by Samyang, that aren't bad. I have a very good M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5 that is my favorite portraiture zoom. But most of the no-name zooms of a generation ago are crap, er I mean inadequate.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes i have teh same lens in 24mm and it is Cimko mine was branded as Super Paragon, its an excellent lens and i like it very much.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eddieitman wrote:
Yes i have teh same lens in 24mm and it is Cimko mine was branded as Super Paragon, its an excellent lens and i like it very much.

I also have a Super-Paragon (Cimko) PMC Auto 24/2.8 (#603xxx), a nice sharp lens. It was my premier 24 till I got a working Vivitar-Kiron 24/2. Of course, the competition there included a couple less-than-sterling Sigma 24/2.8s and a couple Tokina 25/3.5s that both had sticky apertures, so I don't really have much to compare the better 24s with. And on my limited budget, I'll not go out of my way to accumulate many other 24s. Oh darn.

ObTopic: Maybe I *will* look for a FOCAL AUTO MACRO 28. Just how macro does it go? I was reminded of my 28 'macro': Access P-MC 28/2.8 Wide-Angle Macro #82000xx in PK-M mount. I forget why but I assumed it's by Tokina. Normal close-focus is 30cm but its front ring rotates to pull the objective closer, with maximum magnification of 1:3.7. Does the Focal-Cimko 28 'macro' have a similar front ring? I've seen the same arrangement on a Sears 135/2.8 in PK-AR mount (#8609010xx), maker unknown but it could be Ricoh. Are these front-ring 'macro' 28s and 135s fairly common? Did any makers specialize in them?


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guys, thanks for all your help and input into this. I think RioRico nailed it for me. My lens's s/n is 523245, which is not that far off from his. So now I know it's a Makinon. Don't know anything about Makinon, but this lens actually seems to do a good job -- at least on my crop body, which is not very good for seeing how a wide angle lens does on the corners, obviously.

Here's the lens:





You'll note in the second photo above a sticker on the lens that reads 20-06-50. Anybody know what this refers to? It can't be a date, this lens is way too modern to have been made in 1950.

Here are a couple of photos I snapped just sitting at my desk with the lens mounted to my EOS DSLR via a M42 to EOS adapter:




Zooming in to 100% reveals a lot of sharp detail. So to me this is a very good lens. And I guess I need to get over the fact that it says "Focal" on it, cuz I honestly thought all Focal stuff was junk. This lens obviously isn't.

I will also second RioRico's comments about Samyang zooms. Back when I first began getting interested in photography, my very first zoom was a Korean-made Albinar 80-200mm f/3.9. I'm assuming that it was made by Samyang. I tell you what, that little zoom was capable of taking exceptionally sharp photos. To this day, one of my most favorite photos I took with this cheap zoom. However, the Albinar 28mm f/2.8 "macro" that I bought shortly after buying the zoom was not nearly as good of an optic. It just wasn't sharp. Maybe I got a bad copy, I dunno.

I sold that old Albinar several years after I bought it, but I never forgot it. So when I started getting back into vintage lenses again -- thanks to this forum -- one of the first things I did was buy a clean copy of the Albinar 80-200 in Nikon mount off eBay. I'm happy now because once again I have a copy of that lens.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
Guys, thanks for all your help and input into this. I think RioRico nailed it for me. My lens's s/n is 523245, which is not that far off from his.
...
You'll note in the second photo above a sticker on the lens that reads 20-06-50. Anybody know what this refers to? It can't be a date, this lens is way too modern to have been made in 1950.

Those pictures look exactly like mine except for the serial and the sticker; my sticker is 20-06-50 A (the A is circled). I can only speculate (ie BS) on its meaning, and I don't recall if my Makinon-badged copy had a sticker. I don't see it in my product shots nor sales text. So I'll make a wild-ass guess (WAG) that the sticker refers to an order number from the retailer.

Quote:
I will also second RioRico's comments about Samyang zooms. Back when I first began getting interested in photography, my very first zoom was a Korean-made Albinar 80-200mm f/3.9. I'm assuming that it was made by Samyang. I tell you what, that little zoom was capable of taking exceptionally sharp photos.

I had two Albinar copies of the Samyang-made 80-200/3.9 (in PK-M and N/AI mounts) and a Sears f/4 copy (in M42). I still have a Sears f/4 copy (in PK-AR) and a near-twin Sears 70-210/4. You'll see shots from others here who are very happy with the Sears 80-200/4 version. I'll trust Samyang, Tokina, Tamron, Kiron and Komine-made zooms of that era, but few others. And even some of the Tokinas ain't so great. (I'm probably stuck with a plain Tokina RMC 35-135/3.5-4.5 whose N/AI base I chopped for PK fit. Aargh.)


Last edited by RioRico on Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:36 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had an Albinar 300mm prime, possibly the worst lens I've owned, certainly had the worst CA and was very soft at all apertures, just junk.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
I had an Albinar 300mm prime, possibly the worst lens I've owned, certainly had the worst CA and was very soft at all apertures, just junk.


Probably made by Sigma. Cool

Just sayin' since I tested a late 70s vintage Sigma 400mm a while back and it was pretty much a stinker too.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure, it was very well made, heavy and all metal, I gave it to a friend so can't check if it said made in Korea or Japan.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
Probably made by Sigma. Cool

I am singularly unimpressed, nay, even NEGATIVELY impressed, by early Sigma glass. I'm still not much impressed by consumer-grade Sigma zooms. Feh.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I have the Makinon 28mm f2.8 in FD mount and it looks different to yours, anyway the important thing is:- the results were good (on a film camera) so if the optics are the same you should be pleased.
Recently on some site (can't remember) this lens was mentioned and it had a bad review Shocked well there you go with different opinions Wink


PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opinions are fine -- we all have them. But I've presented photographic evidence that shows my Focal 28mm is actually a decent optic. Thus the topic becomes objective, rather than subjective.