Home
SearchSearch MemberlistMemberlist RegisterRegister ProfileProfile Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages Log inLog in

200mm lens shootout
View previous topic :: View next topic  


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:30 am    Post subject: 200mm lens shootout Reply with quote

Hi folks

I have a few 200mm lenses and I decided to test em all in order to decide which to keep.

First up is the large and heavy (feels very well made) Albinar 3.3/200 in M42, I am guessing this is a 1960s lens, it's Japanese and in optically excellent condition.












Not impressed with this one, only starts to get sharp when stopped down, has loads of CA, optical quality not as good as build quality imho.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the one I'm expecting will be the best of the bunch, a Pentacon 4/200. It's well used but works fine.









Looks pretty good to me, much sharper than the Albinar, much better contrast and the colours are very nice to my eyes. CA is pretty well controlled too. I like this one. Could be better though, my Tair-3C is sharper and has less CA.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next we have a Super Paragon PMC 3.5/200 in M42, the smallest and lightest 200 I have.










Hmm, it is hard to focus this lens as it focusses past infinity a good way, when it is in focus it isn't very sharp and the contrast and flare control are awful, flares like hell. One good point is the CA is low.

So it's well-made, compact and has good CA control, apart from that, rubbish.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fourth upto the plate we have an Optomax 3.5/200mm in M42.

It's in excellent condition, feels very well made.











I'm surprised by this one, it is pretty sharp, especially at infinify, might even be sharper than the Meyer. There is a little bit of CA but not much, I can live with that level of CA.

I think this might be a keeper as it is pretty sharp at infinity.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fifth is not actually a 200mm lens but a Vivitar Series 1 3.5/70-210 in OM mount. I included this one as a benchmark as it's widely regarded to be a superb lens.






I need to take some more test shots with this one as most were out of focus. I'm surprised at this lens,, it's got very good CA control but it's not that sharp, the Optomax is slightly sharper at infinity. Maybe the OM adapter is not quite the right thickness to achieve infinity. The lens is mint and barely used so I doubt it's faulty.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, after those initial tests I've decided the Albinar and Super Paragon are not good enough to keep.

I'll take the Optomax, Meyer and Vivitar out tomorrow for some better test shots.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only the pentacon looks good to me .. if you close it a bit it will reduce the CA.
btw you should get a 2.8/200 MC Sonnar it's a way better.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the Meyer is the best.

I definitely want a better 200. For the time being I will soldier on with the Meyer and Optomax.

I would love some Sonnars - 135, 180 and 200, I will need to save up though as they are not cheap.

What other 200s do people recommend? I'm thinking a Nikkor or Takumar...

I see a lot of Canon FD 4/200 S.S.C. lenses on ebay all the time and they go cheap, maybe that one is worth getting and converting?


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The FD 2.8/200 is not bad but has more CA than the 200mm Sonnar.
On the 2.8/200 Sonnar the CA disappear if you close it to f4 on the FD you need to close to f8 at least.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good condition Sonnar is 300ukp or more so out of my budget range.

A mint condition Canon S.S.C 4/200 can be had for 10-20ukp.

If the Canon is sharp and loses the CA below F8 it sounds like an option, Any idea if it will hit infinity on an EOS or will it require surgery?

Other 200s that are cheap but might be good:

Soligor 3.5/200 M42
Tokina 3.5/200
Jupiter-21M 4/200 M42
Hoya HMC 3.5/200

Anyone got any experience of those?


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as you guys know, there are numerous versions of the FD 200s, including 2 versions of the nFD 200/2.8. The very latest is regarded as the best. There is a slower Canon 200 which is also decent.

The nikon 200/4 AI or AIS is also considered quite sharp Smile

The 180 ED AIS supposedly beats all comers at 200.

FD conversions are a nightmare from all I've read.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

***There is a slower Canon 200 which is also decent.***

Yes the F4, but the usual recommended zooms equal it for sharpness, and I can't find a use for mine.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Soligor 200/3.5 which is pretty decent. I don't think CA control is its forte however.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
A good condition Sonnar is 300ukp or more so out of my budget range.

A mint condition Canon S.S.C 4/200 can be had for 10-20ukp.

If the Canon is sharp and loses the CA below F8 it sounds like an option, Any idea if it will hit infinity on an EOS or will it require surgery?

Other 200s that are cheap but might be good:

Soligor 3.5/200 M42
Tokina 3.5/200
Jupiter-21M 4/200 M42
Hoya HMC 3.5/200

Anyone got any experience of those?

Oh yes, Ian, I have Soligor and Jupiter-21M + some more.
I'll open a new thread with comparisons. Wink

Soligor 3.5/200 is the best.
Next is the Jupiter-21M.
Among my 200s, I would say that #1 is the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 2.8/180, #2 is the Soligor 3.5/200, #3 is the Jupiter-21M 4/200, #4 is Orestegor 4/200, #5 is Prinzflex 3.5/200.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
[...]What other 200s do people recommend? I'm thinking a Nikkor or Takumar...[...]


I am impressed by Nikkor-Q (non-AI) 200/4. Seems easier to focus for me than the Takumar. However, when focused properly, the Tak has those fabulous Tak colors. Which is to say the Nikkor colors are great, but I have a preference for color rendering of Takumars.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excalibur wrote:
***There is a slower Canon 200 which is also decent.***

Yes the F4, but the usual recommended zooms equal it for sharpness, and I can't find a use for mine.


There's also the f/4 macro, quite nice.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys, I'm going to get a Soligor, they are very cheap. I'll keep my eye out for something better cheap.

Earlier this week I tested all of my 70-210 zooms and not one of them (apart from the Vivitar Series 1) was worth keeping imho, at the 210 end they were all similar in performance to the Paragon and Albinar - crap. The Sigmas were particularly bad, a Tokina in Nikon fit was sharp and good colours but the aperture doesn't seem to want to work using an adapter on my EOS.

I've donated all of my 70-210s to a local charity auction, I don't like zooms to begin with as the only good one I've ever owned was the Minolta AF 'beer can' 70-210.

Really, are all cheaper zooms crap? I also tested a Paragon 28-100, a Vivitar 28-70, a Sigma 35-70 and a Soligor 70-150, all crap, got rid of the lot.

I've really pared down my lens collection this week, I gave all my FD mount lenses to a friend and all my zooms and some crappy primes like the 200s, a Yashica DSB 50, some cheap 28s and 35s to the charity auction, leaving me with what's listed in my signature plus a few oddities I enjoy that were formerly projector lenses before I hacked em to fit my EOS. From now on I'm only buying lenses that are known good performers - Zeiss, Russians, Nikkors, Takumars, Zuikos, Hexanons, Yashica MLs, Schneider, Rodenstock, Schacht etc, no more third party cheap crap for me!


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a Takumar 200 which I like a lot, and it was fairly cheap.

I've just seen some very good close up shots by a contact on Flickr taken with a Marumi 200, and they were very impressive.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll do a test shoot with my Paragon 135, because I like it. ( remind me, I'll forget otherwise Wink )


PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have three or four PK lenses you are welcome to, the Vivitar 28 that needs a fix, a Petri 2.8/135 (Cosina), a Soligor 70-150 and a ivitar 28-70, I put em to one side for ya. Also, if the Paragon 28-100 and 200 are of interest you can have those too, I put all the lenses to dispose of in a big box, the auction isn't for a few weeks.

Tomorrow I'm going to test all my 135s, overall a better bunch than the 200s but I still expect one a couple of them will be worth keeping.


PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian: I have the Meyer, which I think is a very good lens, and others, but my sharpest is the Vivitar Series 1. I will be curious to compare it to a recently purchased Sonnar 180mm when it arrives. The Series 1 does have CA issues which I've learned to manage. The close focus is a bonus. Here are some representative images from my S1:





PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AT around 200 I've only got the OM 200/5 and the 180ED AIS (which is too big)

If I needed one 200 to carry, I think I'd try the nikon 200/4 for around 70USD

http://cgi.ebay.com/Nikkor-200mm-f-4-ais-lens-/280716641717?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item415c0405b5

Better to just grab one you know is good than mess with 3 or 4 that are "not quite"......


PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like a bad copy of the Pentacon, or I am very lucky with my copy.

An impulse buy and chance bid has won me a 180 Sonnar. I'm not sure I'll keep it long as it's not a useful length for me. I'll bear you in mind when I sell it.


PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woodrim, those are some brilliant shots.

I wouldn't mind getting in on this with a recent acquisition of mine: the Tamron SP 80-200mm f/2.8 LD. Acccording to the old Modern Photography tests, this lens's performance @ 200mm is virtually identical to that of the Nikkor AI-s 180mm f/2.8 ED -- a lens I used to own and was very fond of because of its phenomenal sharpness.

So anyway, I now have an equivalent of one of my most favorite lenses, and I'd like to give it a good run for its money. Unfortunately, I don't have a ready supply of reptiles, amphibians, and avians as you seem to have at your disposal. Looks like I might have to take a trip to the zoo to get some co-equal examples. I've only had the lens for a couple weeks and have been able to take it out only a couple of times. But these are somewhat indicative of my results so far. The first two images are very tight crops of the original images.







PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CA wise, I should refer you to this test I did a while back:

http://forum.mflenses.com/200mm-ca-purple-fringing-test-t37869,highlight,%2B200mm+%2Bca.html