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The Great Cheapo Lens Challenge - 1 (Optomax 2.8/28)
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to see yee folks getting this up and running again!! Very Happy


PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And the Optomax is now sitting on my desk, after I retrieved it from the garden recycle bin. ( Our postman leaves parcels in there and leaves me a note. )
So, is it garbage or not ? Looking through the images posted so far there's some stiff competition, but tomorrow is forecast to be sunny so I'll be out and shooting.
I've given this gem a quick try ( 6 shots ) on the NEX and I have to say it's a worthy challenge. The filter ring is bent so there wont be any filtered shots, There are many many blades on the aperture in it's favour, but they are oily. And I'm not sure the focusing ring is actually attached to anything ? Laughing But that's the challenge, and I'm looking forward to it. Very Happy

I might be greedy though, and use it on the Pentax K10, the NEX5 and I might throw some cheap film in a Praktica ? Question


PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloydy, you have two PMs from me waiting to be read. Thanks


PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterqd wrote:
Lloydy, you have two PMs from me waiting to be read. Thanks


Sorted, thanks Peter.


PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well.......what can I say about the Optomax ?

It's not a lens I'd rush out and buy. If I was given it? it would probably sit on the shelf along with some other less illustrious lenses I have. I think this lens might have been a decent enough amateur lens for it's price back in the day. It was probably the kind of lens sold alongside a decent SLR and the manufacturers 50mm lens by the retailer keen to keep prices down but sell another lens.

I have adjusted the colours / levels and on a couple of shots the contrast, but only slightly, I was shooting today in blazing sunshine. There in no sharpening at all.

A Building.
The old coracle builders shed with the world famous Ironbridge in the background. This really needed a ND filter, I've adjusted the hell out of it and it's not bad, the big surprise is the lack of CA in the form of fringing. There's a bit on the peak of the roof, but way less than some other lenses I have. Hand held. 6/10 ?


A close Up.
I tried hard with this shot, I don't think there's any sharpness in this lens. This was the best of about 10 shots, all on a tripod. I shot some with a CZJ 29mm at the same time for comparison and the Optomax loses - big time. 2/10



A Landscape.
The town of Ironbridge, taken from the worlds first cast iron bridge that spanned the River Severn in 1779.
This is the picture taken by millions of tourists, I fought my way through hordes of Japanese tourists to get this picture !
Was it worth it ? I took 6 or 7 shots before being swept along in the tide of lovely Japenese young ladies, and I'm certain their new top of the range Canikons got far better pictures than this. Hand held. 5/10


A Portrait.
I chose this poignant and elegant gravestone for the portrait, I don't do people photography at all. I spent a lot of time getting the focus on the inscription, the NEX with 'focus peaking' is wonderful for this. But it doesn't correct a poor lens This was the best from over 10 pictures, all on a tripod. Some were shot at f5.6 but I couldn't tell the difference, stopped right down I could get the urn and the inscription in some kind of focus - but I wanted bokeh. That's not there either, certainly nothing that marks it out as having distinguishable bokeh 5/10



A Street Scene.
The High Street in Ironbridge, a mecca of tea and gift shops...
There's some colour there though. This is probably the least PP'd picture, and the best of 7 or 8. I like the colours, but where's the sharpness ? I took this on a tripod in bright sunshine ! It should be sharp enough to shave with! 3/10


Sorry, but the Optomax is a lens that's either showing its age and hard life, or it was a poor lens from the factory? I took my CZJ 28 f2.8 and Pentacon 30 f3.5 with me and shot some comparison shots, and they blew the Optomax out of the equation.
Perhaps Optomax is another way of saying "Maximum Optomism" ?

I'll try it on the Pentax K10 tomorrow. Wish me luck !

Very Happy


PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great shots. I think your NEX is lot more demanding than my G1. With 2x crop, I got sharp photos when stopped down. But on your camera, it is crap! The #3 photo looks almost like a tilt shift photo.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A set of pictures from the Optomax taken with my Pentax K10, just before it died. The landscape of the pool is the last shot it took. Crying or Very sad
Is it any better on a DSLR ? I've got very mixed results with it, and I could tell that as I took the pictures by chimping. I took a total of 37 pictures and these really are the best, the worst are dreadful.

All the pictures are shot at ISO200 on a very bright and sunny day, I've set the levels on all of them and colour correction on the landscape and close up as they were washed out. None have been sharpened.


A Building. This should be sharper, it was on a solid Gitzo tripod at 1/250 and f8 on a sunny day - it should be razor sharp. 6/10



A close up. It's sharp enough - maybe ? Again it was on the tripod, this was one of about 6 or 7 shots and it's the sharpest. It was so washed out though. Perhaps an ND would have helped ? 8/10


A Landscape. Eugghhh....... it's just horrible. I don't think the death throws of the K10 affected it at all. It's just bad. 1/10


A Portrait. This wasn't bad, I actually used this on Flickr with a lot of PP. I was somewhat surprised that after focusing on the lamp then re-framing, the lamp remained in focus. Given the edge fall off I'd seen before this picture worked as I planned it. 9/10


A Street. Well, it's not actually a street but the dead camera prevented a proper street shot. This isn't as sharp as it should be either, not stopped down to f16 and on a tripod. 5/10


My verdict ? it's not good. But is it the design of the lens or it's age and wear and tear ? My view when I tried it on the NEX was undecided on that point, and it still is to a degree. There are flashes of sharpness, there is good colour sometimes. But there's no consistency. Was there ever ?


Last edited by Lloydy on Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:11 pm; edited 2 times in total


PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All good questions, Lloydy, and the same ones I asked myself. It's almost like the lens is deciding whether to behave itself or not with each shot Laughing


PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice set of test shots Lloydy, and a really nice place where you live. You really put it through its paces. To me, it looks as though whatever sharpness the lens has is being masked by the poor contrast.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloydy, I do like the landscape in the first set.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mo wrote:
Lloydy, I do like the landscape in the first set.


Thanks Mo and Peter Ironbridge and the area really is a very nice and interesting place, I'm very lucky that I can walk to such great places from where I live, which is just over the back of the hill in the first landscape shot that Mo likes. But that shot really does look like bad tilt and shift ! Shocked


PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



That's 100% from the picture above. I think Peter's right about the lack of contrast masking whatever good qualities the lens has, I've added a good deal of contrast, levels and colour correction to get the detail. As Graham says, it's got a mind of it's own ! Laughing


PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you did a good job of trying it out David but it's just a really poor lens, it appears to have very little microcontrast which will make it seem less sharp and it doesn't seem very sharp to begin with.


PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet another batch from the Optomax, this time I've gone all traditional and used a Minolta XD7 loaded with Ilford XP2, an ISO 400 C41 B&W film that I got processed at Tescos for 99 pence, then scanned at 1200dpi.
All shot on very bright sunny days, on a tripod except for the street scene. The only processing I've done is to run them all through 'Auto Levels' and 'Auto Contrast' in Photoshop Elements.

The Building. f5.6 1/1000sec. This doesn't withstand any enlargement on my screen. I know ISO 400 will be grainy, but other shots taken on the same day with either a Rokkor 50 f1.4 or a Tefnon ( Elsinor ) 24 f2.8 are nowhere near as grainy in the sky. And it's not a sharp picture. 6/10


The Close Up. f8 1/250sec. It's not very close, it's not sharp. I actually had the Minolta on a focusing rail for that, there's no excuse. 3/10



The Landscape. f16 1/500sec. Awful........I know it's not level, I can't blame the lens for that. but that picture is the best of three that I took at 5.6, 8 and this at f16. Nothing is in focus. Pictures I took with the other lenses are. 0/10



The Portrait. f5.6 1/1000sec. Yet another gravestone, but the principle of shooting with a wide aperture for a shallow DoF is what I was after. I focused on the close Celtic Cross, the focusing screen on the XD7 is very good, it's easy to focus. I would have hoped for better sharpness than this.



The Street Scene. f8 1/1000 sec Hand held. This is the best of the bunch, it was noon and very bright so not the best time to expect any contrast, so I have to forgive it there. It's a usable picture, as long as you don't want it blown up. Some PP would fix that picture. 8/10


It was very interesting to use this lens on a film camera without the luxury of chimping. It looked as sharp as any other lens through the Minolta's viewfinder, and indeed the Minolta and the Ilford XP2 can produce nice sharp images - with the right lenses, this is not one of those lenses.


PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, uh, in summary -- you may not be able to recommend buying this lens?


PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice shots David, particularly the first one of the church. Shame about the lens.

It's a total crapshoot with Optomax lenses, some are crap like this, some are surprisingly good, I have an Optomax 2.8/135 that is pretty good, I had a 3.5/35 Optomax that was worse than this 28, so they vary massively.


PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This lens was quite a struggle. I have no idea how Edgar managed to get such sharp photos from it, maybe part of it was down to sharpening in PP. David, your tone on film looks quite pleasant compared to the really low contrast that I got on digital. I am also wondering if the lens is decentred slightly as the bottom of the images looks softer than the top. The focus ring has a really long throw on for a wide angle and focusing was tricky due to that and the softness. There's also a rather blue colour cast.

The Optomax wouldn't be my first choice in 28mm lenses and is reminiscent of a horrid Photax 35/3.5 that I used to have although maybe not quite as soft.


St Philip and St James Church, Whitton.


Really soft wide open near the minimum focus distance and horrible CA.


Grim urban landscape, Stonebridge Park.


Portrait of Tomasso, slightly out of focus.


Street scene, Brentford.


PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thomaso looks like he's about to smear cake on the lens. That might not noticeably reduce image quality.


PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lens arrived here this morning! Thanks William
I shall be out with it in the next day or two...


PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know his ethnicity, but if he's Italian, then he's Tommaso Smile


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Xpres wrote:
Lens arrived here this morning! Thanks William
I shall be out with it in the next day or two...

That's great news, my thanks to William also.

I shall be leaving for Sydney in just over 2 weeks time and we're going to be staying there for 8 weeks with our new grandson Lewis. I'll be able to administer the challenges while I'm away, but I'm going to have to miss my turn with the Optomax. Sad


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterqd wrote:
Xpres wrote:
Lens arrived here this morning! Thanks William
I shall be out with it in the next day or two...

That's great news, my thanks to William also.

I shall be leaving for Sydney in just over 2 weeks time and we're going to be staying there for 8 weeks with our new grandson Lewis. I'll be able to administer the challenges while I'm away, but I'm going to have to miss my turn with the Optomax. Sad


Have a great time, Peter, and don't forget to post some shots while you are 'down under'! Smile


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DigiChromeEd wrote:
peterqd wrote:
Xpres wrote:
Lens arrived here this morning! Thanks William
I shall be out with it in the next day or two...

That's great news, my thanks to William also.

I shall be leaving for Sydney in just over 2 weeks time and we're going to be staying there for 8 weeks with our new grandson Lewis. I'll be able to administer the challenges while I'm away, but I'm going to have to miss my turn with the Optomax. Sad


Have a great time, Peter, and don't forget to post some shots while you are 'down under'! Smile

Thanks Edgar. Don't worry, I'll need something to do while they're all canoodling over the baby. I'm taking the X-500 with about 10 rolls of film and the NEX-7, which I'm still trying to fathom. Smile


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took the lens with me today and managed to get a couple of shots done. I found it terribly hard to focus but an otherwise capable lens. Not one I'd chose to keep though, although I'll reserve judgement until I've tried it out over the next couple of days.

Here's a portrait...




And a not very close close-up...




More will follow.


Out of interest here's another shot which I suppose would fit in the portrait category followed by an enlarged section...







And the same...ish section without pp




All on a 5D11[/img]


PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Used the lens again today and discovered the bad bits about the lens, which for me was the edge performance which is really abysmal. The centre is OK but the rest is just awful.

A 'street' scene...



And a building, well the same building...



And a landscape...