|Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:47 pm Post subject: Soligor C/D 75-250/4.5 Zoom+Macro
|I picked up this lens some time ago as an 'extra' in a batch of other items -
It originally came in Contax/Yashica mount, but like most lenses in that mount it was very simple to convert to PK by simply replacing the mount with an m42-PK adapter drilled to accept the original mount screws. No problem with infinity focus, and fully reversible.
It is one of the series of lenses that Allied Impex/Soligor seems to have contracted for as exclusive distributor, in the 1970's, to compete with Vivitars Series 1 line. Some of the Soligor branded C/D series were also sold under other brands, but some seem to have been exclusive, including this one I believe. This lens fits in with the then current idea that a vendor was required to provide a "complete" line of focal lengths, regardless of the fact that zoom technology was rendering that requirement a bit dubious. So this lens fits between the 80-200mm and the 100-300mm categories (there were several distinct types offered in each category), though it seems to be the only C/D model in this category.
Who made it ? I can't say with certainty. Soligor very closely controlled the cosmetic features of this series and they are very consistent, though its clear that there were several suppliers of the C/D lenses. The "macro" feature seems very similar to that used by Sun in many of its own branded lenses of the time, so I am willing to speculate that it was made by Sun.
It is a fairly conventional one-touch zoom of its times, very well finished as are most of the Soligor C/D series, and it seems to be very solidly built. To the extent I dismantled it I can't fault its mechanical workmanship. Zoom and focus are very smooth. It is a quite attractive lens. It comes with a fairly deep retractible hood, which is better than most of its kind. It creeps, a lot - as expected for its type, there seems to be a lot of mass moving when zooming. Unlike many cheaper lenses it has half-stops. Non-macro minimum focus is rather long for a 1970's zoom, 2.5m/8 feet, but more on the "macro" later.
As for plain resolution, I find performance excellent, This is a sharp lens, to the limit of my Pentax K-x sensor, at all focal lengths and even to infinity. It does suffer from considerable purple fringing under the usual conditions. It has a major fault, in that it does rather badly with flare. This is not a good lens shooting into the sun. I was surprised that a 1970's multicoated zoom could be so poor at this. My copy hasn't got any detectable haze or other flaws, so it must be a design problem.
Macro - here we have another problem. Like many other lenses of its day, there is a separate "macro" ring that seems to move another set of elements around internally. It is marked with reproduction ratios down to 1:1.8. I haven't checked the actual results for reproduction, but you can indeed focus very close with this thing. The trouble is that the macro setting also seems to act as a soft-focus control. The more the macro ring is turned the softer focus results. This can be useful of course, but its not what most people who want close focus are looking for. I tested this down to f/8, and at maximum "macro" it is still soft.
All in all, a useful lens as a straight telephoto, probably a fine choice for landscape and distant subjects, an interesting lens to try for soft focus effects, but likely to be disappointing for close focus work or backlit situations.
The bird (with "macro") -
I like Pentax DSLR's, Exaktas, M42 bodies of all kinds, strange and cheap Japanese lenses, and am dabbling in medium format/Speed Graphic work.