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What are the worst lenses you've unfortunately owned
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 3:45 am    Post subject: What are the worst lenses you've unfortunately owned Reply with quote

I've spent the last few months discarding all the lesser lenses from my collection, all the ones that were flawed went first, then the ones that were merely average, finally the ones that were good but didn't capture my attention or touch my heart.

I got to thinking earlier, what were the truly awful ones that I really regretted ever owning and were useless.

I had a lot of average ones but only a few stood out as being really excreable, I'm excluding any that had faults such as fungus, haze or bad scratches.

Foremost must be the Vivitar Series 1 2.3/135, a very well made and solid lens but optically garbage, unusable above f5.6, pretty bad at 5.6, barely acceptable at f8. Really soft and with massive amounts of CA, thank god I was able to sell it without making a loss. Evil or Very Mad




Running it a close second was the Hoya 3.5/200, made by Tokina, again a well made and solid lens but again, optically garbage. Slightly soft, huge levels of CA, poor contrast, muted colours, easily the worst 200mm lens I've had to suffer.




Third place goes to a Vivitar 2.8/28, Komine made but not the close focus version, soft, low contrast, poor colours, just horrid.
I must have deleted the sample pics but i remember it had the ability to make a sunny day look dull.

Others that stick in my memory as offending my eyes include this Yashica DSB 2/50, by a large margin the worst 50mm lens I've come across, so bad I suspect it may have been faulty:



Then there was the Hoya 2.8/135, again made by Tokina, really bad, no contrast, not sharp, bad colours, awful.



I had a Pentacon 2.8/135 made by Sigma that was rotten too, never got anything approaching a sharp shot from it:



The Canon 18-55 kit zoom I had was truly abysmal but I can't hate it too much, it's truly awful performance was what started me on my MF lens adventures:




Finally, the Canon FD 1.4/50 SSC, not as bad as the others I've mentioned but for a supposed premium lens it was very disappointing, wide open it was too soft to be really usable, at 2.8 it started to look okay, at f8 it was actually reasonable, It doesn't really belong on a list of worst lenses but it makes it because of how disappointing it was and I thought there was no such thing as a poor 50mm lens.




So what tales of woe and eye-hurting IQ does everyone else have?


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine was a Toyo 28 2.8 in FD. Awful lens. A few other notable mentions: Soligor 70-310, Soligor 90-230, Starblitz 70-210 (I think), a Vivtar 80-200 (I think) that I forget the maker of. Those top the list. All had awful CA on digital, terrible contrast, and difficulty finding focus.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, the Vivitar Series 1 200/3 was the worst lens I've had. Just plain bad, I don't think I ever took a single photo with it that I used, and at the time I was a news photographer, working for a paper whose reproduction of photos was awful. . . and the lens was still too bad to use for that.

That wasn't the first bad lens I had, but it was the last off-brand one I bought until I got a Kiron 28/2 recently because it was so cheap, fast, and supposedly a sleeper. Sleepy is more like it, though, and I won't make that mistake again--back to Nikon only.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1, you must've encountered really bad copies of some of these lenses. Either that, or some of your lenses had something undisclosed in their history (maybe badly repaired). The Vivitar S1 135/2.3, for example, behaves the way you've shown if its fixed rear lens (the 'floating' element) is removed or put backwards. It's very easy to put it in a wrong way as it looks nearly flat.

I briefly owned the two Tokina lenses (135mm and 200mm) under RMC Tokina label, and I tend to agree with you here. They weren't the best lenses in their focal length (as in low contrast, muted colors, lots of blue/purple fringing), but they were not the worst ones by far. RMC Tokina 300/5.6 is not the best one either.

Possibly the worst lens I ever tried was Focal 250mm f/5.6 mirror lens. Never sharp, never! (That comes from someone who has no problem taking sharp pictures with a 1000mm f/10 mirror lens). Terribly low contrast, too.



Then, a Kobori-made Vivitar 80-200mm f/4 zoom. Extremely soft at the long end; corners are dismal at 200mm when shot up close. Maybe not the worst in absolute terms, but pretty close. (Now, I'm not even touching the many 80-200 and 80-205mm zooms made - or, rather, branded - by labels such as "Focal", "Underground", "Promaster", "Quantaray" etc. Many of those were below dysmal, but some were pretty decent.)

Talking about Vivitar, their S1 35-85/2.8 was pretty bad at the long end: soft, low contrast, CA. I appreciated the effort to make a fast, constant aperture standard zoom, but it's quite bad by today's standards.

Yashica ML 135/2.8 was probably the worst OEM 135mm lens I tried. Not terrible, but not very good either. With so many aftermarket options being that much better (including the notorious Vivitar 135/2.8 in M42), it just failed to impress.

Yashica ML 300/5.6 failed to impress: its sharpness is less than that of a decent zoom, which simply isn't normal for a slow fix-focal lens. It's quite unusable wide open.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Soligor 90-230 sounds like the Tokina made 90-230/4.5 zoom
I have two versions of this, in other brands, and neither are bad, though a bit quirky.

I can see that there likely was great sample variation.

I have the RMC Tokina 135/2.8 for almost 30 years, and I find it a reasonably good lens, just doesn't stand out among the 135's.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aoleg wrote:
iangreenhalgh1, you must've encountered really bad copies of some of these lenses.


+1 I agree. The Canon kit-zoom feels like a plastic mug, but optically it is not bad, really.


I used to have a Tokina 28-80 AF lens which was really bad. Normally, I like Tokina AF lenses a lot, but that one was nasty.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="LucisPictor"]
aoleg wrote:

+1 I agree. The Canon kit-zoom feels like a plastic mug, but optically it is not bad, really.


+1
mines never made such CAs
and Is version is a very good performer


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that you had a lemon FD 50 f1.4. For me the FD 50 1.4 SSC is easily one of if not the best Japanese 50 f1.4 of that era.

The pic you posted is weird, the back neck hair of the guy is in focus, the mouth is more in focus than the eyes... it suggests massive field curvature, any chance of being dissasembled and having some element reversed?

Take a look at the bottom of the first page, and the top of the second:

http://forum.mflenses.com/super-takumar-50mm-f1-4-or-rokkor-58mm-1-4-t28217.html


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely copy variation plays a big role and it's quite possible that one person can have a dog and another gold from the same lens.

If my Viv S1 2.3/135 was assembled wrong, it came from the factory that way, it was in new, unused condition when I got it.

The Canon FD 1.4 might have been played with, didn't see any evidence of that though, it was in used condition but pretty good shape overall, didn't look abused.

Tokina are a mixed bag for me, I have some great experiences with them - 2.8/24, 2.8/28, 3.5/17 are all great lenses but the 2.8/135, 3.5/200, RMC 25-50, 5.6/400, those were all dogs. The 25-50 was pretty bad at the wide end, loads of distortion, it had CA at all settings and low contrast, but could actually take nice pictures if you worked within it's limitations.

25-50 at 25mm end, distortion, low contrast, CA:




25-50 again, showing it was actually pretty sharp:



One other thing that I must admit, I don't have Luis' ability to make gold from lesser lenses, in my hands, if a lens isn't great, it really shows!


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hanimex 135 2.8, made in hong kong version, lots of plastic, weak aperture mechanism, very creaky and wobbly, hate using it. Haven't even managed to use it enough to determine whether IQ is good or not. Makes the canon kit lens feel like a brick next to it.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sirrith wrote:
Hanimex 135 2.8, made in hong kong version, lots of plastic, weak aperture mechanism, very creaky and wobbly, hate using it. Haven't even managed to use it enough to determine whether IQ is good or not. Makes the canon kit lens feel like a brick next to it.


Don't give it up, I kept a hanimex 200mm lens due beautiful colors , not so sharp even a f8 but it has nicer color rendering than most lenses.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sirrith wrote:
Hanimex 135 2.8, made in hong kong version, lots of plastic, weak aperture mechanism, very creaky and wobbly, hate using it. Haven't even managed to use it enough to determine whether IQ is good or not. Makes the canon kit lens feel like a brick next to it.


Is that the horrible one with the green ring round the front?


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The green ring ones are usually Makinons.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This 30kg monster lens. Granted, it wasn't made for photographic purposes...

Last edited by Opticus on Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:33 pm; edited 2 times in total


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ManualFocus-G wrote:


Is that the horrible one with the green ring round the front?

I think it has a green ring, yes, I don't have it with me at the moment though so I can't check.

Atilla wrote:
Don't give it up, I kept a hanimex 200mm lens due beautiful colors , not so sharp even a f8 but it has nicer color rendering than most lenses.

I'm probably not going to get rid of it, I'd have to give it away for free because I wouldn't feel comfortable asking anyone for money for something like that! I will probably get around to giving it a real test sometime in the future.. Smile


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vivitar 200mm f4 is really crap I have two simmilar and both where crap.

No worth selling either, you can get max 10 bucks.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Ian - I have a Tokina made 200/3.5 which is optically much better than yours (sharp and good CA control). There are different Tokina made 200/3.5 but I'm pretty sure your copy is faulty anyway.

I never had really bad lenses
My worst lens is the Makinon F3.5 80-200 with Konica mount. It's soft and and has CAs also @ F8 - but it's still able to take pics Wink

My technically worst prime was a C-Mount lens named Tarcus TV-Lens 50 F1.3 - it has a useful sharpness but an realy bad CA issue!
http://forum.mflenses.com/a-little-comparision-between-some-cheap-50mm-lenses-t45319,highlight,%2B50mm.html

There is already such a thread on the forum bye the way


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My worst lenses till now:
Never sharp Pentacon 29mm 2.8 (but I have a very good one too!);
Sigma-XQ 200mm 3.5 with double focusing system, only usefull with the lightsources right from your back;
Hanimar 35mm 3.5, mechanical not OK, but the screws are too tight to do something about it.
Vivitar zoom 28 - 70mm, that was cheap and contrastless - I gave it away for parts.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forenseil, there is little likelihood my copy of the Tokina 3.5/200 was faulty as the 300 and 400mm Tokinas are the same - awful CA and low contrast at larger aperture settings. Have a look around the net, you'll find lots of examples from these three lenses that show these issues. So how are you sure mine is faulty?

Same CA issue from the 400mm Tokina:



PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My latest useless lens:- Foto care 2Xs converter..I decided to clean an element and undid the retention ring and instead of one lens element dropping out everything fell out, 8 parts in all and I can now put my finger through from front to back Shocked Embarassed Laughing


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That happened to me once too. Embarassed


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Worst experience what I had happened twice, one was zoom lens I not even bring it to home I did throw out in place under photo walk.
Another one a film camera some shiny not well known one I wish to drop to river from bridge , but I brought back to home and I think unfinished roll still in. Hundreds of items just made me lot of joys, so this is really not bad.


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excalibur wrote:
My latest useless lens:- Foto care 2Xs converter..I decided to clean an element and undid the retention ring and instead of one lens element dropping out everything fell out, 8 parts in all and I can now put my finger through from front to back Shocked Embarassed Laughing


And now you have an extension tube. Laughing


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloydy wrote:
Excalibur wrote:
My latest useless lens:- Foto care 2Xs converter..I decided to clean an element and undid the retention ring and instead of one lens element dropping out everything fell out, 8 parts in all and I can now put my finger through from front to back Shocked Embarassed Laughing


And now you have an extension tube. Laughing

+1 Laughing


PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lousy 2x TCs are a wonderful way to get ~25mm extension tubes.