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What's the best ~75-150mm zoom lens?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:35 pm    Post subject: What's the best ~75-150mm zoom lens? Reply with quote

Hi,

a number of manufacturers made ~75-150mm tele zoom lenses around 1980, usually with constant apertures around f/4 and a weight of ~400-600g.
As far as I could find, many of them seem to perform very well, they tend to be rare but when they're sold the prices are quite reasonable.

Since there is no reasonably conpact & affordable tele zoom for Sony FE-Mount, I've been looking at these as a more flexible alternative to my primes in this range (Minolta MD85/2 & MD135/3.5). I quite like the FL range and these lenses seem like a good compromise between FL-range, size/weight and speed.

I have collected all the specs I could find (lenses sorted by weight):

(Update: Kiron 70-150/3.8 added, thank you luisalegria & vlousada!)
(Update 2: Makinon 75-150/4.5 added)
(Update 3: Tamron Adaptall lenses added, thanks vlousada!)
(Update 4: Konica 75-150/4 added, thank you jamaeolus!)


I've been looking for a Minolta MD75-150/4 for a short while now but copies in good condition are hard to come by...
The Minolta 75-150 appears to be an excellent performer (I couldn't find any info on distortion & flare resistance though...), it's among the lightest and the MFD is reasonably short.
The Minolta would be the best fit for my current collection (I've got a nice Novoflex adapter that's almost permanently attached to my A7) but since my search has come up empty so far, I'm wondering how the other 75-150mm lenses stack up...

Especially the Nikkor (max. aperture & MFD) and the Olympus & Pentax lenses (size/weight & MFD) seem interesting.
I'd expect all of these to be good performers but I'd like to know which of these is the best in terms of sharpness and how they stack up in terms of distortion, vignetting & colour/OOF-rendering.

Does anyone here have experience with one or more of these?

My personal priorities would be:
1. Sharpness (esp. wide open)
2. Distortion
3. Size
4. Weight
5. MFD
6. Max. Aperture
7. Bokeh (esp. on the long end)


Last edited by Boris_Akunin on Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:51 am; edited 7 times in total


PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the Zuiko 75-150 f/4, early two touch version which is the one on this list I think.
Unfortunately with haze and fungus.
In theory one of the best in that list due to the complex formula.
However, these are a %)%)&*^^ to open and clean.

The Zuiko is quite common actually. There are always many on ebay; and there are several versions too.

The Nikon E 70-150 is very common also, and I have one as well. Its OK on film IMHO, I haven't used it much. It is one of those that doesn't mount well on Pentax.

Missing are the very nice and very common Vivitar/Kiron 70-150/3.8 lenses, there being one touch and two touch versions. I'm surprised that lists from 1980 would miss those, they are very common also.


PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems like a nice Quest! Laugh 1

I do not have any lens on this 75-150 range, and from your list I can recall very good recommendations on Olympus.

Another recommended lens in this range - not in your list - is VIVITAR (Kiron) 3.8/75-150..
I do think Tamron also may have something in this range and overall tamron zoom lenses are quite good.

You may find good performers there, but maybe you can also look for a range 50-135 which has some faster lenses and great performers too.
Like 1 small


PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

luisalegria wrote:
I have the Zuiko 75-150 f/4, early two touch version which is the one on this list I think.
Unfortunately with haze and fungus.
In theory one of the best in that list due to the complex formula.
However, these are a %)%)&*^^ to open and clean.

The Zuiko is quite common actually. There are always many on ebay; and there are several versions too.

vlousada wrote:
I do not have any lens on this 75-150 range, and from your list I can recall very good recommendations on Olympus.

Thanks, the Zuiko certainly looks like it worth a try, I'll try and pick one up at a good price.

How's the distortion? That's probably the biggest weakness of the Minolta zooms of that era...

luisalegria wrote:
Missing are the very nice and very common Vivitar/Kiron 70-150/3.8 lenses, there being one touch and two touch versions. I'm surprised that lists from 1980 would miss those, they are very common also.

vlousada wrote:
Another recommended lens in this range - not in your list - is VIVITAR (Kiron) 3.8/75-150..

Yes, thank you, I've added it to the list.

luisalegria wrote:
The Nikon E 70-150 is very common also, and I have one as well. Its OK on film IMHO, I haven't used it much. It is one of those that doesn't mount well on Pentax.


Just "OK" doesn't really cut it in this competition, MFD and max. aperture are quite attractive though.

vlousada wrote:
I do think Tamron also may have something in this range and overall tamron zoom lenses are quite good.You may find good performers there, (...)

Indeed, Tamron made quite a few (on the list with them!). The 20A looks quite interesting spec-wise, too bad it isn't the sharpest of lenses...

vlousada wrote:
(...) but maybe you can also look for a range 50-135 which has some faster lenses and great performers too.
Like 1 small


I just picked up a Minolta MD50-135/3.5 on ebay (for 10), just to try it. According to our resident Minolta expert (stevemark) is the sharpest among the Minolta zooms.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just got a copy of the Konica 70-150 f4 (not on your list) I tried it yesterday on my A7ii. I'll see if can post some samples from it. Typical Konica, built like a tank. Silkey smooth focus, it is IMHO in the same league with the Oly, (which was my go to lens in the 80's when I shot an OM1). It is a little heavier though. They can be had for very low prices. I paid 30 USD for mine and its in impeccable condition.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Konica is a very good one, not quite as sharp as a prime but still a very good lens. I've had three or four other 70-150s, one was a Soligor, another a Tamron, I forget which others, and they were all better than usual for a zoom, probably because of the modest 2 ratio and simple design.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have used the nikkor E for a while but didn't really like it. Too much CA and not too sharp wide open so I sold it.
I also have the Canon FD and i think the Olympus but never used these.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my personal side of view: i have the Tamron QZ-150M, the Konica and the MD Minolta.

That last one blew me away, it truly is an excellent lens. The others are good, but no match for the Minolta imho.

Here's my topic on the MD : http://forum.mflenses.com/minolta-md-zoom-75-150mm-f-4-t73038,highlight,%2Bminolta.html

Cheers, René!


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watched the OM 75-150 supply while ago, and looked like all of them had fungus, especially Japanese ones.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:22 am    Post subject: Re: What's the best ~75-150mm zoom lens? Reply with quote

Boris_Akunin wrote:
Hi,

a number of manufacturers made ~75-150mm tele zoom lenses around 1980, usually with constant apertures around f/4 and a weight of ~400-600g.
As far as I could find, many of them seem to perform very well, they tend to be rare but when they're sold the prices are quite reasonable.

Since there is no reasonably conpact & affordable tele zoom for Sony FE-Mount, I've been looking at these as a more flexible alternative to my primes in this range (Minolta MD85/2 & MD135/3.5). I quite like the FL range and these lenses seem like a good compromise between FL-range, size/weight and speed.
...
I've been looking for a Minolta MD75-150/4 for a short while now but copies in good condition are hard to come by...
The Minolta 75-150 appears to be an excellent performer (I couldn't find any info on distortion & flare resistance though...), it's among the lightest and the MFD is reasonably short.
The Minolta would be the best fit for my current collection (I've got a nice Novoflex adapter that's almost permanently attached to my A7) but since my search has come up empty so far, I'm wondering how the other 75-150mm lenses stack up...

Especially the Nikkor (max. aperture & MFD) and the Olympus & Pentax lenses (size/weight & MFD) seem interesting.
I'd expect all of these to be good performers but I'd like to know which of these is the best in terms of sharpness and how they stack up in terms of distortion, vignetting & colour/OOF-rendering.

Does anyone here have experience with one or more of these?

My personal priorities would be:
1. Sharpness (esp. wide open)
2. Distortion
3. Size
4. Weight
5. MFD
6. Max. Aperture
7. Bokeh (esp. on the long end)


I do own a few of the lenses menstioned above, among them the

* Canon new FD 70-150mm 1:4.5
* Konica AR 75-150mm 1:4 (two samples)
* Minolta MD-III 75-150mm 1:4
* Olympus OM 75-150mm 1:4

The first of the bunch was the Minolta, which proved to be an excellent performer (apart from some remaining distortion, which is common to nearly all zoom lenses). Detail resolution practically is on par with excellent Minolta lenses such as the MD 2/85mm, the 2.5/100mm and the 2.8/135mm [4/4]. Flare resistances is very good, even in severe backlight (shooting against the sun).
Next i tried the Konica, which was very unsatisfactory compared to the Minolta. After some time a second copy arrived, a bit better than the first one, but still clearly worse than the Minolta. Both Konica zooms look "like new", BTW - thus damag by misuse seems improbable. The lens reflects a general problem of Konica AR zooms; they seem to have had quite "loose" tolerances in manufacturing. I have about ten Konica AR Zooms (among them the 28-135mm, the 2.8/35-100mm and the huge 3.5/80-200mm), and their performance never equalled similar Minolta zoom lenses. In fact, the lenses mentined here are distincively worse than the Minolta counterparts.
The Canon new FD was tested quickly, and found to be quite good (ie similar to the Minolta), but this is just a first impression, NOT based on systematic test.
I have not yet used the Olympus OM, due to missing adapter.
Ah yes, all observations above were made using 24MP FF cameras (Sony A7 and A7II).

I would not expect the E Nikkor 3.5/70-150mm to be a stellar performer, since Nikon writes:
"In order to realize the goal of reducing costs, Nikon constructed the lenses using easily obtainable low-priced glass materials, as well as obviously minimizing the number of lens elements used in the construction of each lens. This, then, is how the E 75-150mm f/3.5 lens was manufactured."
(see here: http://www.nikkor.com/story/0042/)

I'll check the performance of the new FD 70-150mm again and add some information about it later.

Stephan


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:26 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the best ~75-150mm zoom lens? Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
I do own a few of the lenses menstioned above, among them the

* Canon new FD 70-150mm 1:4.5
* Konica AR 75-150mm 1:4 (two samples)
* Minolta MD-III 75-150mm 1:4
* Olympus OM 75-150mm 1:4

That's perfect, those 4 seem like the most promising candidates. The Olympus & Konica stick out with their more complex designs and the Canon at least deserves consideration. Canon made extensive use of special glass types (like Minolta) and they sure knew how to make good tele zooms (they didn't use all their tricks on non-"L" lenses like this one, though).

stevemark wrote:
The first of the bunch was the Minolta, which proved to be an excellent performer (apart from some remaining distortion, which is common to nearly all zoom lenses). Detail resolution practically is on par with excellent Minolta lenses such as the MD 2/85mm, the 2.5/100mm and the 2.8/135mm [4/4]. Flare resistances is very good, even in severe backlight (shooting against the sun).

Glad to hear about the flare resistance, thank you!

stevemark wrote:
Next i tried the Konica, which was very unsatisfactory compared to the Minolta. After some time a second copy arrived, a bit better than the first one, but still clearly worse than the Minolta. Both Konica zooms look "like new", BTW - thus damag by misuse seems improbable. The lens reflects a general problem of Konica AR zooms; they seem to have had quite "loose" tolerances in manufacturing. I have about ten Konica AR Zooms (among them the 28-135mm, the 2.8/35-100mm and the huge 3.5/80-200mm), and their performance never equalled similar Minolta zoom lenses. In fact, the lenses mentined here are distincively worse than the Minolta counterparts.

Too bad, the 0.8m MFD would have been nice...

stevemark wrote:
The Canon new FD was tested quickly, and found to be quite good (ie similar to the Minolta), but this is just a first impression, NOT based on systematic test.

Interesting, the Canon is selling very frequently and cheaply on ebay, there's not much harm in snatching one up to try out...

stevemark wrote:
I'll check the performance of the new FD 70-150mm again and add some information about it later.

Thank you, that would be great!

That leaves the Zuiko as the last contender to explore, it doesn't sell quite as cheaply as the Canon but it's easy enough to procure.
Too bad the Minolta is so rare...


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Boris, I would like to contribute to this thread as well: I own and have used the Zuiko and the Pentax 75-150mm on film. My zuiko is a late copy ( 484xxx), but still single coated. It is sharp enough, little distortion, but low in contrast compared to the Pentax (multi-coated), which I think is brilliant.
Mind you, there are multi-coated Zuikos (starting around 500xxx?), but I have not seen one on offer, so far.

Cheers,
Jan


Last edited by jajong on Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:07 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

3 of the Minolta lenses have sold within the past month and a half, so it might be worth waiting for them to return to the market. All 3 were in good condition and there doesn't appear to be any others listed at the moment.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have :
Tokina RMC 3.8
Vivitar 3.8 (one touch)
Zuiko 4 single coated
Minolta MD III 4

The Minolta is the best by far . Amazing zoom.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

without any doubt, The Tamron Soft focus lens!


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:29 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the best ~75-150mm zoom lens? Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
The lens reflects a general problem of Konica AR zooms; they seem to have had quite "loose" tolerances in manufacturing. I have about ten Konica AR Zooms (among them the 28-135mm, the 2.8/35-100mm and the huge 3.5/80-200mm), and their performance never equalled similar Minolta zoom lenses. In fact, the lenses mentined here are distincively worse than the Minolta counterparts.


Something wrong here, Konica zooms are extremely well made, they stand out from many others as being well made. I have most of the Konica and Minolta zooms and definitely do not agree that the Konicas are inferior in any way.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another excellent performer close to the range you are looking for is the Tokina AT-X 60-120mm f2.8.



PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rense wrote:
without any doubt, The Tamron Soft focus lens!


+1

http://www.adaptall-2.com/lenses/51A.html


PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

marcusBMG wrote:
Rense wrote:
without any doubt, The Tamron Soft focus lens!


+1

http://www.adaptall-2.com/lenses/51A.html


+2


PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DigiChromeEd wrote:
Another excellent performer close to the range you are looking for is the Tokina AT-X 60-120mm f2.8.


I don't own the Tokina, and i haven't shot with it. Looking at the results here at Rokkorfiles, the Tokina AT-X 60-120mm f2.8 may not come close to the Minolta 4/75-150mm, however:

http://www.rokkorfiles.com/60-120mm.htm

Look at the images comparing the Tokina 2.8/60-120 with the Rokkor 2/85mm, for example. And remember that Rokkorfiles compares them basically at 6MP Fullframe (Film scanned at 2200dpi). And remember that the 2/85mm is virtually flawless at 24MP, even wide open, and even in the extreme corners:
http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sr/objektiv-vergleiche/341-sony-a7-and-classical-rokkors

Thus i'm pretty sure the Minolta MD 4/75-150mm will be much better (sharper!) than the Tokina 2.8/60-120mm.

Stephan


PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can offer comments on only three "medium tele" zooms -

The Pentax M 75-150/4 is a good lens but not spectacular. As I remember (I haven't had one of these for perhaps 20 years) it was reasonably sharp, and had very good flare resistance (SMC after all) for a zoom "of its time".

The Tamron SP 70-150/2.8 Soft is absolutely outstanding in ~all~ respects (even if one never even experimented with the "soft" functionality). [And, for a Pentax DSLR user, it works as a convenient PK-A lens with the proper Adaptall-2 mount.]

The Tokina AT-X 60-120/2.8 is not nearly as good as the Tamron, but is quite compact and very versatile as a neat li'l portrait zoom. [However, for a Pentax DSLR user, as a PK (not PK-A) lens, it is less convenient to use quickly.]


PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like much any of them , in my wild guess best should be made by Carl Zeiss.

In my experience best ones were two Tamrons Tamron SP 70-150mm f2.8 and Tamron 70-150mm f3.5 price difference is huge , due SP lens has soft focus mode.


PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an adaptall-1 70-150mm and an adaptall-2 20A, the last 70-150mm, one touch version. Both for me are just average, 20A has better contrast.


PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also had picked up a Minolta MD 50-135mm f/3.5 zoom, and it's a superb lens. As good as primes. It's impressive. So, I can see why the 75-150mm is so highly rated.

I have 3 such zooms...

The Olympus OM Zuiko, silver-nosed, but mine I suspect was worked on as the focus range seemed off and not the sharpest. I never got to tinker with it and put it aside. But the imaging wasn't bad.

After getting a Vivitar/Kino 75-150mm f/3.8 two-touch, I didn't waste time on the Olympus. It's also an external focus zoom like the Zuiko. The Kino is excellent. very heavy though. Sharp, nice bokeh, and close-focusing. Colors are warm. No evidence of CA. A great value, plus it has a matched multiplier that works superbly.

Saved the best for last, a Yashica ML f/4. The ML multi-coating is superior. Colors, sharpness and contrast all tops. No CA. Almost as good as primes. One special thing, it's internal zooming, and the zoom doesn't expand in length.

It does as well as the Minolta 50-135mm f/3.5.


Last edited by WNG555 on Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:03 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only have an silver nosed Olympus Zuiko 75-150. It is well used with some dust inside. But at 75mm, it is sharper than my Zuiko 50/1.4 s/n 11xxxxx at infinity at F5.6. Laugh 1 I am pleased with its quality.