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Super Carenar MC 28mm/2.8 - some thoughts and samples
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:01 am    Post subject: Super Carenar MC 28mm/2.8 - some thoughts and samples Reply with quote

This is a horrible little lens. Actually it's not really that little, it's just horrible. I don't know where it originally came from or when, all I know is it's Japanese. It seems there are several lenses with the same designation (I found at least 3) which look quite different, some from Korea, some from Japan. It says "made in Japan" on mine and it looks like this:


I can't find much info about it online, only that it does actually exist. Razz I did find some samples on a completed ebay listing and it confirms my experience about its image quality. Not very good.

I think this was actually the first old manual focus lens I bought, it was quite a few years ago now. At that time I was clueless, I had only heard about M42 from someone, they said it was good because you could get an adapter for your DSLR and the lenses were cheap and nice. I was at a photo fair one saturday morning browsing the used gear stands looking at all sorts of old exotic (to me) glass I knew nothing about. I couldn't recognize 98% of the stuff there, I didn't even know what most of those lenses can be mounted on. Anyway, I was shopping for something decently wide in M42 mount and was looking at a couple of nice 20mm Flektogons f/2.8 and f/4. Both were insanely priced, at least I thought so at the time, way out of my range. In the end this weird Carenar was all that was left and I took it. I don't remember how much I paid, whatever it was, it was too much.

The lens looks deceptively nice. Glass is very clean, mechanically it's perfect, focusing ring is smooth, aperture ring is snappy, just the way it was supposed to be. There are only some cleaning marks on the rear element but I think that was clumsily put there by myself and I don't think it made the image quality any worse. It was bad to begin with. Interestingly this lens likes sunshine, stopped down it makes very contrasty images, not perfectly sharp in the corners but at least contrast is good and colours are very saturated. Somehow it makes blue skies look bluer. Some lenses I've tried recently like to make relatively flat photos that require a push in post processing, this one is the exact opposite.

But that's only between f/5.6 and f/11. At wider apertures focusing to infinity this lens is simply unusable, I won't even show an example, it's embarassing. At close focus it's a little better. It's not sharp but at least the rendering of out of focus areas is interesting. Minimum focus distance is a little under 25cm which is good. Even though it's a wideangle this lens is best used for closeups. Here are a few samples I shot the other day:

1: f/5.6

2: f/4, I think

3: f/2.8

4: f/2.8

5: f/2.8

6: same thing as #5 at f/5.6

P.S.: Sorry for the long story, I can't help myself. Razz

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, you made a crappy lens produce nice pictures, I especially like the mushroom shot.

I don't know who made it, but I've had a couple of lenses with the same italic writing that probably came from the same maker. I think one was labelled Optomax, but I've had far too many cheap crappy lenses for all of them to remain in my memory. Smile

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sankor. Nikon-Pentax focus direction, Italic markings and serial ending with E.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice write up. I have the 35mm version of this lens. Although it is nothing spectacular, I wouldn't exactly call it bad bad. It is a typical Korean made 80s lens. Close down to F/8, the result is passable. Fully open it is very soft but can be applied toward certain artistic purpose. Here are some samples:









Original writeups at:

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a "Super carenar" 35 which is not very good
Gives hazy poor contrast images which with a little curve magic may just look like the mushroom indeed

But it should be noted that it doesnt look like yours
at least not from the gripping and the labelling
yours almost looks like Sun/Chinon blink pizzazz

it is a huge unwieldy heavy lens (for a 35 prime)
gripping seems to be organic from the metal scale, not added
sports 52 on front ring
the labeling is weird and totally different
the A/M is about 1 thick mm of 1.25" rifled metal, hard to push
(and damaged now by falling accident)

may still be the same lens with different labeling and gripping

What I think in any case is that "Carenar" is a reseller label and
the lenses may be made by God knows Inc Far east

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Carena is/was a brand and various Carenars are all over the place. As I said, some from Korea some from Japan. As I understand from several different manufacturers. And all very different from each other.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine is made by Samyang in Korea.