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helios 40--85mm/1.5
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rbelyell wrote:
henry thanks so much! you of course are correct; we can only know what we really like through personal use. but i disagree a little when you say there are many 85mms at different prices. my point really is that the 85mm FL is NOT like other FL's because there are NOT any lenses i have seen under $200 except for the jupiter! and the lenses we have talked about here are between $3-800! any other FL i think there is great variety of quality lenses for under $150!!!


Hi rbelyell,

ok, there are not so much 1.4/85mm lenses on the market.. that is because of first..not many people did affort a lens of this class and second.. there are not much lenses build in this categorie. And if someone has for example an old Biotar 1.5/75mm, he will keep it in his pocket for a lifetime, because its a rare lens on the market with a special character.. often you have to pay more than 400-500 USD for that lens in good shape.

Zeiss 1.4/85mm is a stunning lens.. really expensive. For me, i would never buy this lens, because i dont like this aperture behavior in the highlights.. the Samyang comes closer to what i like in that terms.

If you speak in terms of price vs. valueble for the photographers needs,
you must first answer a simple question for yourself..

What are your needs.. saving money or reaching highest technical standards?

If you want to save money and make some compromises, the Jupiter would work for you well. Also a Tak 1.8/85mm is a very good lens i used for Years.. bit soft wide open, nice for elder woman..
But if your girlfriend is young.. better take a Samyang or a Zeiss or Nikkor lens in that class...

If you, especially you are not doing portraits with wide open lenses, why dont think about a Leica Elmarit 2.8/90mm or a Rolleinar 2.8/105mm or a Takumar 2.8/105 or lots of other brands..

For the 1.4/85mm class, there are only two decisions.. softer or sharper..
nice bokeh ? In additon to that, its difficult to handle a lens like a Biotar wide open. So its also a question of how good you can see the sharpness in your viewfinder.. most of the 1.4 lenses are wide open like "softporn"..
especially the oldest lenses like Biotars... the are sharp in center.. whats abut a wide open portrait, where you put your modell out of center?

This all are questions, you first have to make clear to yourselt on the way to find out, which lens represents the most valueble for you.

Enjoy your ride to find the best lens in this class for yourself. Its an interesting travel..

I did have most of the lenses here... and still have 4 or 5 Lenses in this Portrait-categorie.. 2 Soft-Lenses, 3 sharp ones...

1.5/75mm Biotar, 2.8/90mm Travenar Softies..
Samyang 1.4/85mm and Leica Elmarit 2.8/90mm and a Rolleinar 2.8/105mm for sharpness..

That fullfill all my needs...


Cheers
Henry


PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I'll try to summarize my experience with these 75-100mm lenses:

  1. CZJ Biotar 75/1.5
  2. Meyer Primoplan 75/1.9
  3. CZJ Tessar 75/2.8
  4. Meyer Primoplan 80/1.9
  5. CZJ Pancolar MC 80/1.8
  6. CZJ Biometar 80/2.8 (alu)
  7. CZJ Biometar 80/2.8 (P6)
  8. Helios 40-2 85/1.5
  9. S-M-C Takumar 85/1.8
  10. Vivitar 85/1.8
  11. Jupiter-9 85/2
  12. Meyer Telefogar 90/3.5
  13. Meyer Trioplan 100/2.8



1. CZJ Biotar 75/1.5
One of the most expensive M42 lenses; I think only M42 version of Macro APO Lanthar would go for higher price on ebay Smile I'm not sure, if optical quality corresponds with current price, but price aside the lens is good. I'd say it shares many characteristics with Helios 40, but sharpness at f/1.5 is better. But both of them have dignificant difference between borders and centre.

I think Biotars are prized just because of its price. It sounds strange, but the price is rising significantly and this lens isn't bad investment. It's not easy to find a copy with optics in really good condition. It's often affected by cleaning marks or fungus (these old coating layers were quite soft).


2. Meyer Primoplan 75/1.9
This lens is rare, it's softer than Biotar, but as all Primoplans it has lovely bokeh. My copy isn't in good optical condition; old Meyer coating is even softer than CZJ T-layers and layers on inner surfaces aren't hardened, so even a harder brush can damage than (many users don't have this infromation and despite they are trying to make optical performance better, they damage the lens...). Maybe M42 Primoplan 75/1.9 in good condition is the only lens, which has comparable price to Biotars. But Primoplans are more rare. I have no idea why, because their original price was almost half whem compared to Biotars and according to some old articles they had really good value for the money (it was even way cheaper than standard f/1.9-f/2 lenses). I'd like to know, why it is so rare now.


3. CZJ Tessar 75/2.8
This lens was used on B or C exaktas. It's nice collectors item, but it has low contrast (no coating), so it isn't suitable for general usage.


4. Meyer Primoplan 80/1.9
Another Primoplan in this focal lenght (originally medium format lens). Always uncoated (maybe one surface has some early form of coating)... anyway, contrast isn't bad, character and sharpness is identical to other Primoplan lenses - unique bokeh, a bit soft wide-opened and extremely low CA. Primoplans are the only fast lenses in this list, which doesn't show almost any sign of CA in bokeh.


5. CZJ Pancolar MC 80/1.8
I'd say this is the best choice for versatile and sharp M42 80mm lens. It's contrasty, it has the best wide-opened performance of all f/1.5-f/2 M42 portrait lenses. Center is close to Biotar, but borders are much sharper. Great colours (MC) + great bokeh. It also isn't as risky as the early post-war lenses, because its coating is much harder, so cleaning marks are not an issue. For me it's the best post-war Jena lens.


6. CZJ Biometar 80/2.8 (alu)
A bit uncommon, but quite sharp lens. My copy still waits for more testing...


7. CZJ Biometar 80/2.8 (P6)
Sharp and contrasty lens, but bokeh isn't as smooth as on the faster lenses. Anyway, it's the best price/performance lens if sharpness matters and speed doesn't.


8. Helios 40-2 85/1.5
A bit skittish lens. A lot of patience is needed, results are very variable. Sometimes the crazy bokeh and softness works, sometimes not. It's simply a bit longer model of Biotar with more optical aberrations.


9. S-M-C Takumar 85/1.8
Contrasty lens, it is able to produce quite 3D-looking results (I'm not very good in this discipline, but you can find very interesting pictures taken by this lens). But... I expected a bit sharper results at f/1.8. In absolute scale the sharpness is good, but Pancolar is visibly better. I'm looking forward to this spring and summer, I'll give more chances to this lens. I think it has potential - the S-M-C coating is more effective, than CZJ MC coating - it doesn't create almost any ghosting when shooting wide-opened in contrasty situations.


10. Vivitar 85/1.8
This lens is underrated. It isn't very common, it has unclean history and origin, but it's the cheapest 85/1.8 lens - very sharp stopped down, a bit softer than 1st grade lenses wide-opened, but still good. It has nice bokeh, round aperture, T/T2 mount (adaptable to many systems)... Very good price/performance.


11. Jupiter-9 85/2
A bit risky choice, many copies are lemons (significant soft glow visible even on downsampled image or/and uneven sharpness). Good copy can be better than Helios-40. The older model, the lower chance to get a lemon. Jupiter has perfectly smooth bokeh if the background isn't busy (lights or distracting background creates bokeh full of circles)


12. Meyer Telefogar 90/3.5
This lens is common in altix mount, but a bit rare in M42 or exacta mount. It uses simplified Sonnar formula (like Sonnars 135/4 and 135/3.5), but isn't as sharp. Good for retro effect.


13. Meyer Trioplan 100/2.8
3-in-1 lens. Soft + retro effect at f/2.8 (+ bokeh full of circles), smooth bokeh at f/4, quite sharp rendering at f/5.6. Good for close-up, too. Just like many meyer early post-war lenses, even this one has very low CA.


PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice review no-X, it is a pleasure to read it


PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

poilu wrote:
nice review no-X, it is a pleasure to read it


+1... thanks, this is a good resumee of some lenses in this portrait-class.

Cheers
Henry


PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just some test shots taken with the Helios 40 alu version (this one is from 1963) :
Helios 40 alu

and also some with a lens you forgot : the Volna-3 2.8/80 for Kiev-60 and Pentacon-6. You can find it at reasonale prices.
Volna-3


Last edited by Olivier on Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:41 pm; edited 2 times in total


PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no-X wrote:
Riku wrote:
With current prices Samyang is the obvious choice. You'll get a new lens with guarantee. Have you heard any news about the 14mm Samyang? That's the one I want.

The 14mm lens doesn't have good reviews st the 85mm. It suffers from strange kind of distorsion.


This lens is not available. Was never sold. After the tests proved that it is not perfect manufacturer decided to improve the optical design.
no-X +1
hinnerker +1


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, i will show some different lenses..

Lets start with Angenieux Zoom 2.5-3.3/35-70mm at 70mm wide open..





This zoom lens is great in terms of color rendition and sharpness wide open.. on a FF Body like my 5D.. from edge to edge..

Now i will show an old Schacht - Ulm Travenar 2.8/90mm.. for studio work..








Let us see how a Leica Elmarit 2.8/90mm works at 2.8 open.. outside....




And the same Elmarit 2.8/90mm in Studio work..









Whats about the Samyang?

Wide open Portraits outside...






Ok... let us see some shots with the Biotar...

wide open Portraits a f/1.5...







What money you would spent in which lens ?

Cheers
Henry


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

no-X wrote:
Ok, I'll try to summarize my experience with these 75-100mm lenses:

  1. CZJ Biotar 75/1.5
  2. Meyer Primoplan 75/1.9
  3. CZJ Tessar 75/2.8
  4. Meyer Primoplan 80/1.9
  5. CZJ Pancolar MC 80/1.8
  6. CZJ Biometar 80/2.8 (alu)
  7. CZJ Biometar 80/2.8 (P6)
  8. Helios 40-2 85/1.5
  9. S-M-C Takumar 85/1.8
  10. Vivitar 85/1.8
  11. Jupiter-9 85/2
  12. Meyer Telefogar 90/3.5
  13. Meyer Trioplan 100/2.8



I can add a few to your list.

  1. Nikkor 85/1.8 ('K' version)
  2. Ai, Ai-S Nikkor 85/2
  3. Rolleinar and Voigtlaender AR 85/2.8 (QBM)
  4. MC Jupiter-9 85/2
  5. Contax CZ Planar 85/1.4
  6. Contax Sonnar 85/2.8
  7. Kaleinar-5N 100/2.8
  8. Nikkor 105/2.5 (Sonnar design, white nose)
  9. Nikkor 105/2.5 (Gauss design)
  10. Super-Takumar 105/2.5
  11. Arsat-C 85/2.8, MC Volna-3 85/2.8 (P6 mount)
  12. Samyang 85/1.4



  1. Nikkor 85/1.8 ('K' version)

    A rare find. Optical construction similar to CZJ 80/1.8 and, notably, Helios-40. Beautiful colors, nice rendering, slightly swirly bokeh, uniform sharpness across the frame. Sharp and contrasty straight from wide open (unlike its successor, Nikkor 85/2). The only drawback is the diaphragm that consists of 6 straight blades; most K-version lenses had 7 curved blades, producing more even OOF rendering. A much better lens than its successor.

  2. Ai, Ai-S Nikkor 85/2

    Quite common on eBay. I had 3 samples, all similar; one slightly better than others, but still consistent regarding wide open performance. Wide open, it has a lot of spheric aberrations, making the image lack in contrast and micro-contrast while (mostly) retaining spatial resolution. In theory, this is good for portraits; in practice, I prefer either 105/2.5 (Sonnar and Gauss are both great) or 85/1.8. Bokeh is quite ugly wide open but becomes very smooth at f/2.8. Interestingly, this lens behaves very much like a perfect copy of MC Jupiter-9!

  3. Rolleinar and Voigtlaender AR 85/2.8 (QBM)

    Rolleinar and Voigtlaender AR (note the AR designation) are the same lens. Optical design similar to Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8 with extremely similar sharpness and contrast (read: super-high contrast and great sharpness), with colors being the same or better than the Sonnar. Bokeh is slightly edgier than Sonnar's. Can be had for rediculously low prices! Easily adapts to EOS (w/o infinity with cheap QBM-EOS adapter - I couldn't care less). Rounded, 6-bladed aperture (same as Sonnar).

  4. MC Jupiter-9 85/2

    Oh well... Lots of aberrations wide open, quite harsh background rendering at f/2. However, by f/2.8 it's super sharp and has extremely nice, vintage rendering - I just love shooting J-9 at f/2.8 and f/4! Does not work against the sun, and not the best choice for shooting in the shadow. Give it good lighting conditions, stop to f/2.8-5.6, and you'll get pleasing pictures with smooth rendering and vintage look.

  5. Contax CZ Planar 85/1.4

    Need I say more? Soft(ish) wide open, it's perfect for portrait shots. Stopped down to 2.8 or smaller, becomes one of the sharpest lenses on the planet. Perfect Planar bokeh, perfect colors, perfect contrast. One of my favorite portrait lenses.

  6. Contax Sonnar 85/2.8

    Currently my favorite portrait lens, this one is small, light, super-sharp and uber-contrasty at all (and I mean - all) apertures. Its contrast is simply amazing - I have not seen another lens with such a high contrast. Extremely pleasing Sonnar rendering at f/2.8 and f/4 (I rarely shoot at other apertures). Can't praise it high enough. Highly recommended.

  7. Kaleinar-5N 100/2.8

    Surprisingly, it's sharp at all apertures straight from wide open. Contrast is high enough to be practical, yet the image turns into a hazy rainbow when pointed against the sun. Fit it with a deep hood (forget the built-in one) and avoid shooting into the sun, and you'll have an inexpensive and surprisingly good 100mm lens. Bokeh similar to Rolleinar 85/2.8.

    (This is NOT a copy of Nikon Series E 100/2.8 - I have optical diagrams of both lenses; the Kaleinar is very different, and has one more lens element than the Nikon.)

  8. Nikkor 105/2.5 (Sonnar design, white nose)

    A classic design. This is a single-coated lens, but contrast is surprisingly great even if shooting in the shadow or against the sun. Sharp from wide open. Common versions have 6 straight aperture blades; I was able to snatch a 9-blade version, and it gives superb rendering at all apertures. Bokeh slightly swirly at corners - very Sonnar!

  9. Nikkor 105/2.5 (Gauss design)

    Slightly 'better' than the lens it replaces. My favorite versions are 'K' and Ai 'cause they have rounded 7-bladed apertures (Ai-S has 7 straight blades). Perfect for portraits. Nice 3D rendering. Bokeh smoother than of the Sonnar-type. Technically, this is the better lens. However, I prefer the older Sonnar-type to it.

  10. Super-Takumar 105/2.5

    A disappointment. Renders similarly to Nikkor 85/2, although not as sharp. Tried two copies; both were soft and showed low contrast wide open, hardly improved stopped down. Should cost less than used samples sell for. I rarely sell lenses, especally of the Takumar range, but sold this one.

  11. Arsat-C 85/2.8, MC Volna-3 85/2.8 (P6 mount)

    A Biometar clone. Sharp from wide open, typical Planar rendering, nice colors. Don't try it against the sun, it turns the image into a hazy rainbow. Contrast on the lower side, but still good.

  12. Samyang 85/1.4

    I wrote about it before. Sharp from wide open, it does not improve when stopped down; no super-sharpness at f/4-8 like in the CZ Planar. Perfect for portraits though. Little to no CA. Good (but not extremely high) contrast. Neutral colors. Very smooth bokeh - some think it's too smooth (read: boring). I grab this lens when I need to shoot in the dark: it's sharper than CZ Planar 85/1.4 wide open. In my opinion, this lens represents the best value for money among all lenses reviewed.



PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aoleg: Thank you. I already have C/Y Sonnar 85/2.8, but it's in horrible condition, so it waits for my repairman. Anyway, I'm looking forward it even more after reading your report Very Happy

btw. C/Y Sonnar 85/2.8 and QBM Sonnar 85/2.8 aren't identical. Both of them have similar front group, but QBM has single-element rear group, while C/Y has cemented doublet as the rear group:

QBM:

http://www.taunusreiter.de/Cameras/Rollei_QBM_Zeiss_dt.html

C/Y:

http://www.zeiss.de/C12567A8003B8B6F/EmbedTitelIntern/Sonnar2.8_85mm_d/$File/Sonnar2.8_85mm_d.pdf


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to taunusreiter, Rolleinar MC and Voigtlaender AR have an optical diagram similar to the QBM version of CZ Sonnar:



C/Y Sonnar 85/2.8



PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aoleg wrote:
According to taunusreiter, Rolleinar MC and Voigtlaender AR have an optical diagram similar to the QBM version of CZ Sonnar

Yes, that is my point - it's similar to Sonnar QBM 85/2.8, but different to Sonnar C/Y 85/2.8. Despite both 85/2.8 Sonnars are Zeiss designs, both of them are different Smile


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Henry you have encouraged me to finally adapt my (Exakta) Schacht - Ulm Travenar 2.8/90mm laying somewhere in the back to my Pentax.

Otherwise no-one mentioned killer Rokkor 1.7/85mm.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pancolart wrote:
Henry you have encouraged me to finally adapt my (Exakta) Schacht - Ulm Travenar 2.8/90mm laying somewhere in the back to my Pentax.

Otherwise no-one mentioned killer Rokkor 1.7/85mm.


Why would the Rokkor 1.7/85mm be a killer?

Anyway... From all 75-100mm lenses I have I still prefer the 83mm f/1.9 Asahi-Kogaku Takumar because it has all that I need for portraits:

- Wide open sharpness (not too sharp and without the "glow" of the later 85mm f/1.9 Takumars)
- Bokeh

The 83mm Takumar is low in contrast, but this ensures that the whole tonal range is much better preserved (at least in my opinion). The only downside is that this Takumar needs more postprocessing to get the best out of it.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spotmatic wrote:
Why would the Rokkor 1.7/85mm be a killer?

Killer in very positive sens. The lens is "so good you just die when taking photos with" Wink.
Well it might be a local Slovenian phrase so i guess i shouldn't be using it.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Helios-40 seems to be a really wild horse - not easy to handle. I must have one Very Happy

What can you say about the differences compared to the Ennaston 1.5/85?


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mflex-on wrote:
The Helios-40 seems to be a really wild horse - not easy to handle. I must have one Very Happy

What can you say about the differences compared to the Ennaston 1.5/85?


I have the Ennalyt 85/1.5 and the bokeh is much less swirly. But the Helios-40 (albeit in the Cyclop 85/1.5 version) seems to be sharper in the center when used wide open.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and don't forget the Volna-3. Wink


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mflex-on wrote:
The Helios-40 seems to be a really wild horse - not easy to handle. I must have one Very Happy


I find it hard to handle shooting distant object wide-open (well it might also be due to my glasses and obsolete Pentax K10D). For portraits it's not much tougher then others.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Olivier wrote:
and don't forget the Volna-3. Wink

Isnt that a f/2.8 medium format multi coating big one?
(I have) enough 2.8ers in that focal range ...
What is the big advantage of that Volna-3?


PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mflex-on wrote:
Olivier wrote:
and don't forget the Volna-3. Wink

Isnt that a f/2.8 medium format multi coating big one?
(I have) enough 2.8ers in that focal range ...
What is the big advantage of that Volna-3?


Yes mflex-on, the Volna-3 is a 2.8/80 for Kiev-60 and Pentacon-6. You can find it at reasonale prices.

It has its own caracter and I find it very good for portrait and proxi photography.

Our forum friend Thomas, aka Madamasu, finds the colours incredibly saturated and its sharpness is very good.
http://forum.mflenses.com/volna-3-and-nikon-d700-t17656.html

Here is this lens :


2 samples :




Cheers,


PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no-X wrote:
aoleg: Thank you. I already have C/Y Sonnar 85/2.8, but it's in horrible condition, so it waits for my repairman. Anyway, I'm looking forward it even more after reading your report Very Happy

btw. C/Y Sonnar 85/2.8 and QBM Sonnar 85/2.8 aren't identical. Both of them have similar front group, but QBM has single-element rear group, while C/Y has cemented doublet as the rear group:

QBM:

http://www.taunusreiter.de/Cameras/Rollei_QBM_Zeiss_dt.html

C/Y:

http://www.zeiss.de/C12567A8003B8B6F/EmbedTitelIntern/Sonnar2.8_85mm_d/$File/Sonnar2.8_85mm_d.pdf



yes the doublet is for: Correction of the axial chromatic aberration through achromatic doublet (crown + flint) Very Happy



also the sonnar 2.8/135mm c/y has a similar lens scheme ....


PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Volna-3 is freaking amazing. I might need to add that to my ever growing list. What kind of mount does it take and can it be adapted to the Canon EOS system?

I've found this thread extremely interesting. It seems that for the most part, the 85mm lens is the only prime where there's little to no price differential between vintage and modern. In some cases like the Helios 40 vs. the Rokinon, you're paying a premium for the vintage lens. Very strange situation indeed.

That Volna-3 is a real gem though. Even though I have my 85, I might need to make room for that one as well.


PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Watson wrote:
That Volna-3 is freaking amazing. I might need to add that to my ever growing list. What kind of mount does it take and can it be adapted to the Canon EOS system?
.

I have a P6 to EOS. Works perfectly. Its really big, but I got infinity.
Got it from eBay, from a seller in Hong Kong.

Looks like this

Theres now even one with AF confirm


PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, P6 mount and adapter to Eos. Mine is with AF confirm chip. Wink


PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oooh, good thread! Surprised

If the sun comes out this weekend I will group test my 85mm beauties:

1. Jupiter 9 85/2 (silver, M39)
2. Stenheil Culminar 85/2.8 (silver, M42)
3. Vivitar 85/1.8 preset (black, T-mount)
4. Olympus Zuiko 85/2 (Black, OM)
5. CZJ Biometar 80/2.8 (Black, P6 converted to M42)

Fingers crossed for good weather Smile