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Lens Review – 100mm f/3.5 Argus (C44) Cintagon by Steinheil
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:09 am    Post subject: Lens Review – 100mm f/3.5 Argus (C44) Cintagon by Steinheil Reply with quote

Lens Review – 100mm f/3.5 Argus (C44) Cintagon by Steinheil

The next stop in my Argus Odyssey (ouch!) is the 100mm f/3.5 Cintagon on the Sony Nex 3. All I can say is what a surprise!

Description. The lens is marked Argus f3.5 Coated Cintagon. Indeed, my sample exhibits what appears to a single blue coating. It has detented f/stops at 3.5, 4.0,5.6, 8, 11, 16 and 22, plus a “yellow delta” stop between f/5.6 and f/8, but with no corresponding “snapshot setting” on the distance scale. The diaphragm has 13 leaves resulting in a fairly circular aperture. The action is very smooth, despite a little bit of oil on the blades. The lens is 2.44” (62 mm) long and 2.00” (50.80mm) in diameter at its widest point. The nicely machined chrome plated and well flocked lens shade increases the diameter to 2.30” (58.46 mm), and the overall length to 3.82” (97.09 mm) . The lens body is nicely finished with unique scallop-shaped knurls machined in a ring, just behind the aperture scale. The lens is solid feeling and heavy for its size – most likely it is constructed of chrome plated brass. There are some other parts that might be black anodized aluminum on the lens mount.

In use on the NEX. The lens handles well on the NEX. Changing the aperture is easy as the entire front nose of the lens is the part rotates. I actually find it easiest to use the lens shade. This could be an issue if orientation-specific polarizers or split density filters are required. Adjusting focus is accomplished by rotating the lens barrel where the distance scale is engraved. This is much easier on this lens than on the 35mm, since there is much more lens to grab onto- about 6 mm – 20 mm, depending on focus. It really is a joy to use!

Performance. In the short amount of time I have had with this lens, I am really amazed by its performance wide open. I feel it is tack sharp at its largest aperture. This was a big surprise, as I was kind of disappointed by the 35mm f/4.5 Steinheil Cintagon. That said, the usual caveats which apply to this kind of informal test are all in effect here.

Sharpness. In my opinion this lens is acceptably sharp wide open, so much so, I have not tested it at all stopped down. I would say it is above average – on par which almost any classic 100mm I have used on the NEX. (I have yet to test my 105 f/2.5 NIkkor or 105mm f/2.8 Super Tak – although now I am dying to compare them!) . No sharpening was done in PP.

Contrast. Contrast is very good. Contrast was set at +1 on the NEX, no enhancement except levels adjust in PP.

Color. I like the rendering of colors with this lens. I have not tested it for skin tones or in other situations. This is a difficult parameter to judge. The NEX was set on Cloudy color balance, saturation at +2 and VIVID color rendering. That all has an effect. How much of the image’s color comes from the lens and how much from the camera’s computer? In any case, I can produce an image whose colors are pleasing to me and remind me of the original scene – so the color rendering seems fine to me.

Flare. I didn’t shoot any images into the sun directly. In the image of the statue of the boy the sun was just out of frame. I noticed a little of contrast, but nothing that would cause me to say the lens is prone to flare. It does have a nice deep lens hood

Bokeh. The bokeh this lens produces wide open is very respectable– at least to me.

Chromatic aberrations (purple fringing), vignetting and distortions. Vignetting and barrel/pinscushion distortion is not out of line to my eye. Only a hint of purple fringing is evident in the images of the Greek church

Conclusion. The lens performs much better than I had anticipated. I would rate this a top shelf pick and I intend to use it a great. I feel it is capable of first class results. I can say nothing about copy variation with this model, but if you see one for a reasonable amount, I would suggest you grab one!.

Please excuse the large number of pictures associated with this post. I really got carried away with this lens.

Best,

Paul

















PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well done, and you have a very clean "mint" example !
These Argus lenses were all very respectable I always thought, even the US made 50mm Cintars.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

luisalegria wrote:
Very well done, and you have a very clean "mint" example !
These Argus lenses were all very respectable I always thought, even the US made 50mm Cintars.


Thanks Luis.

I was quite surprised by the quality. This copy is very clean - I bought it at a camera store over 20 years ago as a set - camera (c44R with clip-on meter) + 3 lenses + multi frame finder for less than $50. It was a one owner trade-in. The store has since gone out of business - like most neighborhood camera stores in the US.

I never quite got the hang of using of it with film, partly because my attention was diverted a few months later when I picked up my first Leica M3 - a beat up, double stroke model with a Summarit that looked like the front element had been cleaned with steel wool! I bought it at the same camera store. I was in grad school at the time, and I worked nights in the camera dept of a local department store to feed my camera habit. I didn't have too many other responsibilities at the time!

P.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the photos and it looks as though it was made especially for the Nex, quite impressive Cool


PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

how did you adapt this to NEX? Did you make an adapter?


PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for this great review!


PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Lens Review ďż˝ 100mm f/3.5 Argus (C44) Cintagon by Stei Reply with quote

edited

Last edited by bernhardas on Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:10 am; edited 2 times in total


PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mzzyhmd wrote:
how did you adapt this to NEX? Did you make an adapter?

I am also very curious! The lens performs nicely (Steinheil...) and just looks beautiful. I am already considering to buy one. However, the questions remains how to adapt it.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miles Teg wrote:
mzzyhmd wrote:
how did you adapt this to NEX? Did you make an adapter?

I am also very curious! The lens performs nicely (Steinheil...) and just looks beautiful. I am already considering to buy one. However, the questions remains how to adapt it.
I really wanna know. Someone's offering 50 bucks on eBay for this :/


PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not worth 50 bucks IMHO.
They are fairly common and can be had for less.
The Enna ("Sandmar") types for the C3 are similar and certainly do go for 1/2 that.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like a good lens to me. These Argus lenses are never seen this side of the pond, sadly.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am starting to see more of these lenses pop up on Ebay. The average selling price seems to be around $20 - $30 US. It certainly is fun lens on the NEX - has a very distinctive look! It is a quality optic - living up to the Steinheil reputation. You could do a lot worse for $25!

If anyone is interested in my homemade adapter, I will be happy to post a description of the how-to!

Paul


PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is cheap, I'd definitely like one at that price.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
That is cheap, I'd definitely like one at that price.

Agreed!


PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have got such lens. thanks to the topikaster for detailed information on Argus. thanks to the seller for an excellent lens.

DSC03119 by Mr TTT, on Flickr

DSC03124 by Mr TTT, on Flickr

DSC03139 by Argus Cintagon 100/3.5 by Mr TTT, on Flickr

DSC03147 by Mr TTT, on Flickr