Search This Blog

Monday, 11 January 2010

Optomax 200mm F/3.5 M42 (Around £5 from ebay)

 

This lens was one of the first manual focus lenses I bought and came as part of a job lot. Due to my lack of experience I expected a poor performance from this lens based on the brand because at the time I had no idea that many of the old manual focus brands were just importers and that this lens was likely to have been made by one of the major Japanese manufactures. In time I came to realise that the lens was probably made by Tokina and that there are Vivitar and Mamiya versions out there as well as others.


Build quality and finish

This is one solid hunk of lens and features a lot of metal in it's construction, the finish is an attractive but easily soiled satin effect and the rubber focus grip feels good and offers sound traction. The lens includes a sliding hood which while almost certainly not as effective as a separate hood offers at least some glare protection and is better than nothing, it's a nice little gift horse that should not be looked in the mouth. It all feels well screwed together and the focus and aperture mechanisms are positive and sturdy.


Optomax 200mm F/3.5

Optomax 200mm F/3.5

Optomax 200mm F/3.5



Image quality

This was a surprise for me because as I explained previously I was not expecting much in terms of image quality. The sharpness of this lens wide open was an eye opener, whilst it would be foolish to claim it is one of the sharpest I can comfortably say it is far from soft, there is certainly enough sharpness there to make using the lens wide open and entirely practical proposition. The lens does exhibit a small amount of colour fringing wide open but it is minor and easily corrected in software if necessary. I have to wonder how much of this is down to poor lens design and how much is due to the lens being far too old to be optimised for digital sensors. The colour and saturation are of a good standard and coupled with the decent level of sharpness on offer this lens is a pleasure to use and consistently returns decent results. The bokeh this lens produces is generally very smooth and compliments subjects well, I have no complaints in this department although I am known for having low standards in what is in my opinion a matter of personal taste.

I have to add that this lens has several patches of fungus around the perimeter of the front element along with what appears to be some residue possibly from internal lubricants leaking. I have yet to buy a decent lens spanner but when I do I will be able to easily clean the lens up and I would expect the image quality at the edge of the frame to improve somewhat.

All of these samples are wide open:


Optomax 200mm F/3.5

Optomax 200mm F/3.5

Nantymoel from Ogmore Vale

You can click on the following two to see them at 100% size:

Optomax 200mm F/3.5

Nantymoel from Ogmore Vale



Conclusion

In conclusion I recommend this lens wholeheartedly, it has decent sharpness throughout the aperture range, good colour, good contrast, nice bokeh, it's well put together and it's nice to handle. It won't challenge a Canon L or a Carl Zeiss but it puts in a thoroughly decent performance so if you see one for a good price I suggest you snap it up and see if it's a good copy!

5 comments:

Iced said... Best Blogger Tips
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iced said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi, does this lense fit in many bodies?
because i want to buy the same but i found that fits in pentax body but i see you using him in an olympus one.
Thank you

FD said... Best Blogger Tips

Sorry I didn't get this comment in time!

FD said... Best Blogger Tips

I used an adapter to fit the lens to the Olympus camera, you can normally find the adapters on ebay!

chris egg said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi do you live in nantymoel?

Post a Comment

Followers