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Eight vintage MF 35-105mm zooms compared
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:04 pm    Post subject: Eight vintage MF 35-105mm zooms compared Reply with quote

Around 1980, the previous 35-70mm zooms were evolving into some more elaborate 35-105mm designs. While nearly all 35-70mm designs made around 1975-1980 were based on the epoch-making Canon FD 2.8-3.5/35-70mm zoom, their relatively simple two-group design couldn't be used for larger zoom ratios. Thus, 35-105mm were completely new designs - usually three or four group designs. However, these designs often didn't follow the classical four group approach (focus - variator - compensator - relay lens); instead they made use of the four groups in a more flexible way.

Let's look at the Minolta MD-III 35-105mm [14L], for instance: Its design starts with the classical two-group structure of the 35-70mm lenses (negative front group and positive "main lens", exactly as any retrofocus prime lens). For focusing, a third (positive) group is added in front of the other two groups, and finally the "main lens" is split into two separately moving subgroups, probably for close-range correction. The basic design was quite flexible, and the original project did contain 35-80mm, 35-105mm, 35-135mm, 35-150mm, and 35-200mm variants. The 35-105mm [14L] contains four lenses with high refractive (nD>1.8 ) glass; another five are made of glass with nD 1.7 ... 1.75 and relatively low dispersion (v-53 ... 56).

Similary, Nikon's Takahashi was creating its own 35-105mm between 1981 an 1983; his basic design later was stretched to a 35-135mm and a 35-200mm, too. While Minolta did only release the 35-105 and the 35-135mm lenses, Nikon went further, producing also the AiS 3.5-4.5/35-200mm.

Back to our test - today i checked eight 35-105mm lenses @ f=35mm, using the Sony A7 II and apertures of f3.5 and f8, respectively. The lenses are:

* Canon nFD 3.5/35-105mm
* Canon nFD 3.5-4.5/35-105mm (aspherical!)
* Mamiya Sekor E 3.5-4.5/35-105mm (did you know about that lens? And did you ever see any test results on digital full frame ...??)
* Minolta MD-III 3.5-4.5/35-105mm [16 lens Tokina design]
* Minolta MD-III 3.5-4.5/35-105mm [14 lens "in house" design]
* Nikkor AiS 3.5-4.5/35-105mm
* Olympus Zuiko 3.5-4.5/35-105mm
* Pentax A 3.5/35-105mm

I forgot about the Yashica 3.5-4.5/35-105mm (which will be included tomorrow when we look at f=50mm), and a few early (usually third-party) designs of dubious quality, such as the varifocal Konica AR 2.8/35-100mm from 1968 (!!) and the various Tokina RMC 3.5/35-135mm lenses. And neither Leitz nor Zeiss did ever produce a 35-105mm lens ...

Here's the result of today's tests - as usual 100% crops from the extreme corners of the 24MP fullframe Sony A7II:



As you can see, I have included also the excellent Minolta MD-III 2.8/35mm and the well known Minolta MD-III 3.5/35-70mm, to put the 35-105mm results into perspective.

Results @ f=50mm and f=105mm will follow.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing your results. It's quite obvious now why I never liked zoom lenses and why the MD 35/2.8 was always my preferred lens.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
Thanks for sharing your results. It's quite obvious now why I never liked zoom lenses and why the MD 35/2.8 was always my preferred lens.


Maybe i should include the Minolta AF 4-4.5/28-135mm ... it does quite well in the 35-100mm range, certainly better than e. g. the Zeiss ZA 2.8/24-70mm!

S


PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
Maybe i should include the Minolta AF 4-4.5/28-135mm ... it does quite well in the 35-100mm range, certainly better than e. g. the Zeiss ZA 2.8/24-70mm!


Would be interesting. If it's nearly as good as the Minolta AF 24-105/3.5-4.5 it will match the MD 35/2.8 at F8.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you took into account focus shift when stopping down. My copy was prone to that.

Thanks a ton for the hard work.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lumens pixel wrote:
Did you took into account focus shift when stopping down. My copy was prone to that.


Right at the beginning of my testing lenses with mirrorless cameras i did a test series with several MF lenses to see the effects of focus shift. For practical and theoretical reasons i decided always to focus

1) in the center of the image
2) wide open

I do consider focus shift as a problem, and not as a mere feature of a lens. In addition i usually focus wide open when shooting with vintage MF lenses since it is much more precise than trying to find a focus peak at f8 or f11 ...

lumens pixel wrote:
Thanks a ton for the hard work.


If the weather is OK (=stable) i'll continue tomorrow with the 50mm range, this time including the Yashica ML 3.5-4.5/35-105mm and the Konica Varifocal AR 2.8/35-100mm.

S


PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Eight vintage MF 35-105mm zooms compared Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
Here's the result of today's tests - as usual 100% crops from the extreme corners of the 24MP fullframe Sony A7II:

I owe you.
Thank you for the effort, now I can skip all my doubts about 35-105 zooms Smile


PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent test. The Pentax was a surprise, I think it looks the best here.

By the way is the Minolta 35mm MD II the same optically as the MD III?


PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

blotafton wrote:
Excellent test. The Pentax was a surprise, I think it looks the best here.


Many Pentaxians seem to held the lens in high esteem:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-A-35-105mm-F3.5-Zoom-Lens.html

Let's wait and see how it performs @50mm and @105mm.

blotafton wrote:
By the way is the Minolta 35mm MD II the same optically as the MD III?

As far as i know all the [5/5] Minolta 2.8/35mm share the same optics (MC-X, MD-I, -II, -III). Of course there might be some minor modifications, eg to substitute one glass for another. I do own all the versions mentioned, and i haven't seen any differences in resolution when comparing them. There might be some differences in contrast, though - due to slightly different coatings.

The MC/MD 2.8/35mm [5/5] doesn't have any high refractive (nD >1.8 ) glass. It has, however, three lenses made from glasses with 1.72, 1.66 and 1.62 with the corresponding Abbe numbers of 50.3, 58.5, and 60.3.

S


PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the hard work..... I'm surprised to see the Minolta zoom fare so poorly... At least wide open. I shot it against the Pentax and decided to keep the Minolta... I wonder if I had a bad Pentax now..... Ultimately my zoom in this range is the 24-85 Contax N.... Which I liked for a little more range over the Minolta....

Great write up looking forward the Yashica and 50mm


PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you stevemark for this test and the work that you have put into it.
Of the lenses that you have listed, I have only the Canon FDn and the Pentax-A.
Both have been very good for me on my film cameras.
I once had Kiron 35-105 but it could not compete with the Vivitar (Komine) 28-90 so I sold it.
The Pentax is simply wonderful on my Fuji digital (APSc) and usually gives very good results.
Tom


PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oldhand wrote:
The Pentax is simply wonderful on my Fuji digital (APSc) and usually gives very good results.


That's still the biggest advantage when smaller sensor cameras are used for old lenses: You never see the crappy corners.
The upgrade to FF reduces the selection of really good lenses rather drastically. Wink


PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
Oldhand wrote:
The Pentax is simply wonderful on my Fuji digital (APSc) and usually gives very good results.


That's still the biggest advantage when smaller sensor cameras are used for old lenses: You never see the crappy corners.
The upgrade to FF reduces the selection of really good lenses rather drastically. Wink


Yes, true of course.
I have found the Pentax to be also very good on full frame as well.
My full frame has been film
Smile
Tom


PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oldhand wrote:
I have found the Pentax to be also very good on full frame as well.
My full frame has been film
Smile
Tom


True, I think our way of looking to our pictures in the digital age has made us much more critical and demanding.
In the old times nobody would have looked at pictures in the size of 70x40 cm (32 inch monitor) from a comparable short viewing distance.


PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
* Mamiya Sekor E 3.5-4.5/35-105mm (did you know about that lens? And did you ever see any test results on digital full frame ...??)


Are you sure it is 4.5 and not 4.3? I can find that one https://lens-db.com/mamiya-sekor-zoom-e-35-105mm-f35-43/ It seems to be similar to this Tokina https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/tokina-mf-35-105mm-f3-5-4-3-rmc.html


PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
blotafton wrote:
Excellent test. The Pentax was a surprise, I think it looks the best here.


Many Pentaxians seem to held the lens in high esteem:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-A-35-105mm-F3.5-Zoom-Lens.html

Let's wait and see how it performs @50mm and @105mm.

blotafton wrote:
By the way is the Minolta 35mm MD II the same optically as the MD III?

As far as i know all the [5/5] Minolta 2.8/35mm share the same optics (MC-X, MD-I, -II, -III). Of course there might be some minor modifications, eg to substitute one glass for another. I do own all the versions mentioned, and i haven't seen any differences in resolution when comparing them. There might be some differences in contrast, though - due to slightly different coatings.

The MC/MD 2.8/35mm [5/5] doesn't have any high refractive (nD >1.8 ) glass. It has, however, three lenses made from glasses with 1.72, 1.66 and 1.62 with the corresponding Abbe numbers of 50.3, 58.5, and 60.3.

S


Thanks then will not have to upgrade Smile

What is your source for the glass information, I'd like to take a look if it's online.


PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

D1N0 wrote:
stevemark wrote:
* Mamiya Sekor E 3.5-4.5/35-105mm (did you know about that lens? And did you ever see any test results on digital full frame ...??)


Are you sure it is 4.5 and not 4.3? I can find that one https://lens-db.com/mamiya-sekor-zoom-e-35-105mm-f35-43/ It seems to be similar to this Tokina https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/tokina-mf-35-105mm-f3-5-4-3-rmc.html


Thanks for correcting me!

In fact, the Mamiya Sekor E 35-105mm is a 1:3.5-4.3, like the corresponding Tokina 35-105mm 1:3.5-4.3.

HOWEVER, the Mamyia and the Tokina clearly are different designs: The size of some internal lenses as well as the shape of the reflections on the glass surfaces is different.

BUT the Minolta MD 3.5-4.5 (sic) 35-105mm [16L] and the Tokina 3.5-4.3 (!) 35-105mm seem to share the same optical construction: The size of all visible glass elements seems to be identical, and so i the shape of all reflections visible. The coatings, however, are different (different color).

Stephan


PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:

If the weather is OK (=stable) i'll continue tomorrow with the 50mm range, this time including the Yashica ML 3.5-4.5/35-105mm and the Konica Varifocal AR 2.8/35-100mm.

S


Weather was not stable today ... constantly changing until it was too late. Maybe tomorrow ...


PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UPDATE: the eight lenses again, this time at f=105mm, wide open and sopped down (usually to f8 or f11). I have added the epical Konica 2.8/35-100mm varifocal lens, developped around 1968 (!).

In addition a few primes; be aware that their crops are A) wide open and b) at f4.5 (!) - not at f8 or f11 as with the zooms!



Stephan


PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve,

Thanks a lot for the hard work!
Well, for sure, even with 24 MPixels, the fixed focal Minolta 35 mm and 100 mm perform much better than all zooms
(on the other hand the Nikkor 105mm seems dreadful for a fixed focal).
Of course, definition in extreme corner is not the only lens parameter but legacy zooms appear to be significant compromises

Would you expect a difference between MD III Minolta 100 mm and MD (I or II) ?


PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You just make Minolta 100 2.5 look so Sharp.... I also use it for landscape and I'm very happy with it,but I don't recall Nikkor P.C. to be so soft neither, it's true I haven't used it for landscape...


PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kiddo wrote:
You just make Minolta 100 2.5 look so Sharp.... I also use it for landscape and I'm very happy with it,but I don't recall Nikkor P.C. to be so soft neither, it's true I haven't used it for landscape...


I have to admit that your comment made me trying a second copy of the Nikkor P.C. 2.5/105mm. Both lenses tested are Xenar type (not Sonnar) 2.5/105mm lenses with the clearly convex lens at the lens mount. It turned out that the second lens tested (in fact the older one, according to SN) is significantly better, albeit not as sharp as the MD-III 2.5/100mm. 100% crops from the extreme corner of the 24MP Sony A77II, as usual:



Antoine wrote:
Steve,
Thanks a lot for the hard work!
Well, for sure, even with 24 MPixels, the fixed focal Minolta 35 mm and 100 mm perform much better than all zooms
(on the other hand the Nikkor 105mm seems dreadful for a fixed focal).

See above. In addition, the Nikkor tested is probably from the early 1970s, while the MD-III is from the early 1980s. That makes a difference.

Antoine wrote:

Of course, definition in extreme corner is not the only lens parameter but legacy zooms appear to be significant compromises

Would you expect a difference between MD III Minolta 100 mm and MD (I or II) ?

I have quite a few Minolta 2.5/100mm lenses: MC-I, MC-II, MC-X (all [6/5] designs), MD-II and MD-III (both are [5/5] designs). The older [6/5] design is a bit weaker, similar to the better Nikkor copy above. I could not see any difference between my MD-II and MD-III 2.5/100mm. Be aware that there are both [6/5] and [5/5] MC-X out there!! The [6/5] MC-X is 430g, the [5/5] MC-X only 375g.

Stephan


PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your work is always appreciated! I wonder if you had the Vivitar/Soligor 35-105mm f/3.5
to add in the comparison? Thanks.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wondering if by chance you have a Nikon 105 2.5...... Thats Nikons reputation lens in that focal range. Love mine....


PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gatorengineer64 wrote:
Wondering if by chance you have a Nikon 105 2.5...... Thats Nikons reputation lens in that focal range. Love mine....


Which lens do you mean? There is a Nikon E 2.8/100mm; all others are labelled as "Nikkor". The Nikkor P.C 2.5/105mm (Xenar type lens) mentioned in my tests above has the same optics as later Nikkor Ai/AiS variants - if we can count on Haruo Sato:
https://imaging.nikon.com/history/story/0005/index.htm

Stephan