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The Sankor Lens thread
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:22 pm    Post subject: The Sankor Lens thread Reply with quote

I've recently discovered a liking for Sankor lenses. There appears to be a large number of models and a very large numberof brands they appear under.

So far I have four:

3.5/28 - branded Lumax Gold Star - a tiny lens, excellent performer.
http://forum.mflenses.com/lumax-gold-star-sankor-3-5-28-on-nex-3-t67378.html

2.8/35 MC Auto Sankor - excellent lens, a rival to my beloved Meyer Primagon 4.5/35
http://forum.mflenses.com/auto-sankor-mc-2-8-35mm-on-nex-3-t67219.html

2.5/105 branded Series E - superb lens
http://forum.mflenses.com/serise-sankor-2-5-105-on-nex-3-t66633.html

3.5/200 branded Unitor - very sharp even wide open, excellent CA control but my copy has a rear glass that won't clean up fully, a slight fogginess which spoils the contrast.



I'm hoping we can make a list of the models known and the brands they appear in, I know these also exist:

Preset:
3.5/28
2.5/105
3.9/200
3.5/135
2.8/135
3.2/135
4.5/200

Auto:
2.8/28
2.8/35
2.8/135
5.5/300


Seen in these brands:

Optomax
Unitor
Lumax Gold Star
Series E
Mayfair
Aetna Coligon
Auto Palar
Auto Astronar
Spiratone
Accura
Samigon
Bittco Vemar
Tokunon


Last edited by iangreenhalgh1 on Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:15 pm; edited 9 times in total


PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I assume you are speaking only of the presets.
There is a whole auto line too, some of which can be found in YS mount.

Brands _
Spiratone
Accura
Samigon
Bittco Vemar

I have seen one of the older style 135/2.8 marked simply N.K.K.
Interestingly same N.K.K. I have found on a version of the old Fujita 35/2.5 early retrofocus. A connection between Fujita ( whatever happened to them?) and Sankyo?
Or just another distributors marking?

There are two versions of 135/2.8, older and newer. Both are Zebra style, but the older is more elaborate, larger and chunkier. The newer one is very compact for a 135/2.8. Old one has a fixed mount, new one is a t mount.
The 135/3.5 I have and usually see is a little brother to the chunky 135/2.8. I haven't seen a newer t mount version. Probably does exist.
I have a 300/4.5
There is a 200/4.5 that's the spitting image of the equivalent Tokina, but isn't.


PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info Luis.

Two of mine are presets with T mounts, the other two have A/M switches. I'm interested in all Sankors.

There seems to be a link with Sun too as the characteristic font style used by Sankor appears on Sun lenses too, so does that mean they were made by Sankor and sold with Sun branding? Or Sun and Sankyo bought barrel parts from the same supplier?

Who knows, some study might not get us anywhere either.

I'll take pics of my lenses and post them, if anyone has pics of other Sankors,please add them.

Here's my 2.8/35:





Peformance is a cut above other third party 35s I've tried; a bit soft and glowy wide open but from f4 it's razor sharp, this image was shot at f4:



PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:07 pm    Post subject: Funnily enough - just acquired Reply with quote

Unitor 35mm, 2.8. name plate looks like same type, style, construction too. But also differences - A-M switch, f22, ... is yours a 52mm filter Ian?
and I agree with the good IQ.

When I was browsing around looking for info before bidding on this lens, I picked up on an old auction by a regular seller, who stated in his description "The actual Japanese manufacturer is uncertain, but the lens was certainly made by a major sub-contractor to the Japanese camera industry. I have so far sold this lens branded Optomax, Photax/Paragon, Promura and Unitor."

addendum is there any more info/insight into who/which sankor see
http://forum.mflenses.com/sankor-4-5-200-t63803.html





PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Funnily enough - just acquired Reply with quote

marcusBMG wrote:
Unitor 35mm, 2.8. name plate looks like same type, style, construction too. But also differences - A-M switch, f22, ... is yours a 52mm filter Ian?
and I agree with the good IQ.

When I was browsing around looking for info before bidding on this lens, I picked up on an old auction by a regular seller, who stated in his description "The actual Japanese manufacturer is uncertain, but the lens was certainly made by a major sub-contractor to the Japanese camera industry. I have so far sold this lens branded Optomax, Photax/Paragon, Promura and Unitor."

addendum is there any more info/insight into who/which sankor see
http://forum.mflenses.com/sankor-4-5-200-t63803.html





That's very different to mine and I don't think it's a Sankor, I don't see any of the Sankor features.


PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian I have an Accura Diamatic 105mm 2.5 in YS mount, it`s identical in build and lettering to your photo,I`d presumed it was Sigma in origin, do you have a pic of your series E of the same FL?

I also had one of the above 28mm Unitors, identical in every way but was branded Photax Paragon.


PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have three Sankor lenses. All with A/M switches.

2.8/28 Auto-Sankor MC.
3.5/200 Coronon. Mine has rear element issues too, and sadly is unuseable.
5.5/300 Auto-sankor.

So you can add "Coronon" to the list.

I generally like my two working Sankors. They have decent sharpness, and pleasent bokeh.

Thomas


PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carsen is another brand (Canadian supplier).



PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

luisalegria wrote:
I assume you are speaking only of the presets.
There is a whole auto line too, some of which can be found in YS mount.

Brands _
Spiratone
Accura
Samigon
Bittco Vemar

I have seen one of the older style 135/2.8 marked simply N.K.K.
Interestingly same N.K.K. I have found on a version of the old Fujita 35/2.5 early retrofocus. A connection between Fujita ( whatever happened to them?) and Sankyo?
Or just another distributors marking?

There are two versions of 135/2.8, older and newer. Both are Zebra style, but the older is more elaborate, larger and chunkier. The newer one is very compact for a 135/2.8. Old one has a fixed mount, new one is a t mount.
The 135/3.5 I have and usually see is a little brother to the chunky 135/2.8. I haven't seen a newer t mount version. Probably does exist.
I have a 300/4.5
There is a 200/4.5 that's the spitting image of the equivalent Tokina, but isn't.


There are 3 versions of the 135mm/2.8 and at least 2 versions of the 135/3.5.



PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three 135/2.8!
Is the other one a t mount?


PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the 2 newer types are T-mount Very Happy


PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is also 3.5/28mm. My sample wasn't good wide-open, but it was possibly tinkered.
Here as Accura Diamatic (by jameslow):


PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine is the same as this one, it is acceptably sharp wide open but i don't see the point in shooting a wideangle lens at full aperture. At f4, it is very sharp.



PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1!

Here is another Sankor Lumax for sale:
Click here to see on Ebay


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I can see the Sankor made lenses seem to have an "E" at the end of the serial number no matter what brand name is being used. Perhaps even a reference to the Sigma character that is sometimes thought to reference them as "early Sigmas"?


PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 Astute observation!


PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sankor was a big name in anamorphic (Cinemascope) lenses. This was one of the most popular and readily available.



My 16D is a projection lens and I adapt it to the front of a Nikon Series E 100 2.8 lens. I digitally stretch the images to get that cinema look.


Flare... That is what it is all about.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been puzzled by an Accura 35mm f2.8 but by deductive logic arrived on this thread. The "E" followed considering the number of brand names used. Now I just need to flesh out just who the "Sankor" company was. There seems to be a vague connection via Anamorphic lenses to Sun but they seem to have gone their own ways (even if there was any connection in th efirst pplace) and Sun seems to have gone more for long zoom lenses later.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some time ago I searched and found some considerable material linking the Sankor trademark, as used in the anamorphic cine lenses, to a Nissin Optical Mfg. Co.
Trademarks especially "house brands" like this arent lightly permitted to be used by others, so Nissin is my theory as to the maker of the various Sankor lenses.
It would be best to find some original packaging or documents for Sankor-branded products to verify this.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Luis,

When I get my teeth into something like this I like to get to the real answer. When I searched for Sankor I did not get very far. I will try Nissin Optical Co. Unfortunately this lens is my only contact to Sankor (via Accura) but they used so many retail names it is highly confusing (so what is normal Smile ). I do have quite a few Komura lenses and one might even suggest that there is also a certain connection there. Was Sankor an early Komura? I don't really think so but Komura also went by Sankyo Koki or Sankyo Kohki and also made for other retail brands.

My Japanese is "nil" but it could very well be that "Sankyo" and "Sankor" are generic words used descriptively in Japan by quite a number of corporations. To my mind the two words also seem related.

A Japanese speaker might be able to to comment on this. I don't know if it is as genric as the English "Proprietory" but I can imaging how hard it would be to find a specific not-Japanese corporation by searching the word "proprietory".


PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

and Sanko http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Sanko

Also http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Sanky%C5%8D_K%C5%8Dki and http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Sanky%C5%8D_K%C5%8Dgaku


PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Komura is, relatively, quite well documented, its founder and owner is well known, as is nearly all of its product line - the main exceptions are its very early 1950s products.

Komura lenses, of which I have or had quite a few, are very distinct from those that appeared under the Sankor brand or are obvious re-labels of these. You can satisfy this by disassembling a few. You can tell if a lens is a clone of another by, say, substituting lens elements between them, which I have done in some cases to satisfy my curiosity.

Moreover the quite different Sankor and Komura products coexisted through the 1960's and into the 1970's, getting even more divergent in design if anything.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

visualopsins wrote:
and Sanko http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Sanko

Also http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Sanky%C5%8D_K%C5%8Dki and http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Sanky%C5%8D_K%C5%8Dgaku


Sankyo, Sanko (used x3), Sankor - all use the same root "Sank" - it could mean something mundane like "company" (which would not be much help. I tried Google translate which simply returned the same information in English as input in Japanese. This indicates a "proper" name but again is not much use to sleuths.

This is the link to the history of the current "Sanko" company - no hint of lens manufacture - http://www.sanko-inet.co.jp/english/company/history/

I accept that it is extremely doubtful if there is any connection to Komura. I have had a few Komuras to bits and back again but I have not had the same experience with Sankor but from chat they are, like Komura, relatively easy to work on - but that is far from being "the same".

Tom