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Some Ancient 35s: Soligor, Schacht, Terragon...
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:21 am    Post subject: Some Ancient 35s: Soligor, Schacht, Terragon... Reply with quote

just a quick informal test. I've recently acquired a whole lot of early retrofocus Exakta lenses. A Gamma Terragon 3.5/35, A Schacht Travegon 3.5/35, and a Soligor 3.5/35 (the weird, long, probably Fujita made one).

I set up a tripod and went about testing each lens at multiple apertures - I threw in my early Schneider Curtagon for fun. Focused using live view, all lenses were focused on the "D" in Dresden, if possible.

Schacht Travegon 3.5/35. Of all the lenses, this one is in the worst condition. They're almost impossible to find in good condition, as Schacht's coating from this era is particularly fragile, and these lenses are exceptionally prone to decementing and haze - which is quite a problem in a lens that uses three cemented doublets in its design! Surprisingly, despite this one having some slight haze, and a few small coating marks on the front element, it worked pretty well.



Gamma Terragon 3.5/35. This lens looks to have perfect glass. It may have been made by Fujita. It is a bit glowy wide open, but gets sharper and contrastier when stopped down.



Chromatic aberration is apparent.

Schneider Curtagon 2.8/35 (early version): I've used this lens on film a few times. It is soft wide open, noticeably softer than the later revised "compact" barrel Curtagon. Stopped down it is a decent performer though.



Soligor 3.5/35: Yeah, this is a very strange lens. And probably also the worst performing lens I've yet found. I tried it on my Exa and found it nearly impossible to focus on plain ground glass. A microprism screen barely helped at all. Why? Because the image is basically just not in focus wide open, at any distance. Stop it down to f/5.6 and it becomes possible to select focus.
As for aberrations - coma is an obvious problem with this one. Again, glass looks perfect, so it must've always been this way. I had to back the tripod away a bit, because this lens has a longer minimum distance than the others.



Here is the Soligor, just so we all know which version we're talking about here:
Soligor 3.5/35 by Fujita by Berang Berang, on Flickr

And now some less cropped, but resized images to get a better general feel for the lenses - all shots are wide open - lenses are in same order as above.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Soligor is so bad I wonder if it was improperly assembled?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It shows no signs of repair, or any marks suggesting it has been opened before. It also doesn't give the extremely blurry corners of a flipped element - it's just generally bad. Might be why it is in such good condition, it probably didn't get used much.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had two of this version of the Soligor - i.e., this extremely early 1950s thing probably made by Fujita.

Neither were this bad. They were sharp enough in the center as I recall, even wide open. Their main fault was extremely poor edges and corners, no doubt due to excessive field curvature.

I am sure yours suffers from some manufacturing defect. Are you getting infinity focus with it?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with Soligor is they used so many different manufacturers for the same specification lenses, a bit like Vivitar. It's not unusual to see virtually identical lenses, from the same point in time, that are actually very different. I've got three Soligor 35's, 'the good, the bad and the ugly' although to be fair - they are different lenses.

But....I'd say your Soligor has some fault, I don't think anyone would sell a lens that bad. And it's very easy to knock a lens out of shape, I've just wrecked a Chinon 28 when it rolled off a table and landed on a carpet, it was enough to de center something.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine, of this model Soligor/Fujita


I don't recall if I have this in storage, in my boxes in the garage.
I had two and I know I sold at least one.

Anyway, as can be seen, these were sharp enough.