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Playing with old lenses

Journal Entry: Sat May 26, 2018, 10:56 AM

As great as the little Sony RX100 was (read this journal for my first impression, or hop over to rotane365 for hundreds of shots that i took with it), after having used it for a few years, it became too limiting. I wanted a camera with more flexibility again, but not as bulky as my old Canon EOS 400D that i barely used.


So last year i bought an Olympus OM-D E-M10 mark II (what a mouthful). The Micro Four Thirds standard seemed to have matured enough, there were now plenty of lenses available (thanks to Olympus and Panasonic sharing the standard, plus a wide range of third party lens manufacturers), and the relatively large – but not too large – sensor meant excellent image quality but in a much smaller body than regular DSLRs. But while the kit lens was great (and tiny!), at 28 – 84 mm (equiv.) it was even more limiting than the Sony. So my new daily/default lens soon became a Tamron 28 – 300 mm (equiv.). Much better!


But you know all this. I've been posting pictures that i shot with the Olympus for a while now. You've even seen me experimenting with stranger lenses. (Shoutout to thespook for nudging me in this direction.) What you don't know yet is that i've recently accumulated more old lenses, used lenses from the analog age mostly; the oldest being a Russian Jupiter-8 from 1963. And now that i have a few, i wanted to compare and analize them.


First, here's my current gear:



DSC09343_P_RAW_web by rotane
My Olympus E-M10 II with the Jupiter-8 lens mounted with a GOBE adapter.


P5260244_P_RAW_web by rotane
All the lenses!

These are all the lenses that i currently own (plus the M.Zuiko Digital 14 – 42 mm 1:3.5 – 5.6 EZ kit lens [man, what is it with these long names?], that i shot this photo with). Here you see:


Back row:
• Tamron 14 – 150 mm F/3.5 – 5.8 Di III (the only "native" Micro Four Thirds lens)
• Super Carenar MC 1:2.8 / 35 mm (M42 mount)
Front row:
• Auto Kepcor Macro MC 1:2.8 / 28 mm (M42 mount)
• Jupiter-8 1:2 / 50 mm (model PT3070) (M39 mount)
• Fujian CCTV 1:1.7 / 35 mm (C mount)



The best part: None of these lenses (except for the Tamron) cost me more than 20€.



And now for a few comparison shots and notes. I shot a kiwi plant on my balcony, by the way, and the background is a few trees that are a good 5 meters further back.


Feel free to click on any of the photos to view it larger.
(Note: All these are out-of-the-camera JPEGs shot at ISO 200. All i did was shrink them down from 4608×3072 to 1920×1200.)



P5290423_web by rotane
Tamron 14 – 150 mm F/3.5 – 5.8 Di III | f/5.3, 108 mm (equiv.), 1/500 s

Let's kick it off with the Tamron M4/3 lens… In order to get any kind of bokeh at all, you need to zoom in. Close up at f/3.5 just doesn't cut it. So this picture has a focal length similar to the Jupiter-8 further below, but at f/5.3 it looks nothing like it.


P5260214_T_web by rotane
Tamron 14 – 150 mm F/3.5 – 5.8 Di III | f/8, 300 mm (equiv.), 1/160 s

If you want really creamy backgrounds – even with a small aperture (such as f/8) – you have to stand back a few meters and zoom in all the way. And while the background is pretty blurry, there's no definition, no bokeh.


P5260217_AK-28_web by rotane
Auto Kepcor Macro MC 1:2.8 / 28 mm | f/2.8, 56 mm (equiv.), 1/2000 s

Things immediately get more interesting with this one. A run of the mill lens of the days of yore, but you get much closer to your subject.


P5260219_J8-50_web by rotane
Jupiter-8 1:2 / 50 mm (PT3070) | f/2, 100 mm (equiv.), 1/2500 s

This Russian lens is my new favourite when it comes to bokeh. Its only downside: You can't get too close to the subject – about 1 meter seems to be the limit. Still, i love how the lens renders the background.


P5260223_SC-35_web by rotane
Super Carenar MC 1:2.8 / 35 mm | f/2.8, 70 mm (equiv.), 1/1600 s

Another lens that really surprised me. I initially only bought it so i could do some lens whacking with it. It's almost as large and heavy as the Tamron zoom lens, but you can't argue against this kind of bokeh and these colours, can you?


P5260230_SC-35_web by rotane
Super Carenar MC 1:2.8 / 35 mm | f/2.8, 70 mm (equiv.), 1/800 s

You can get much closer with this lens, too; closer than with any other lens, in fact.


P5260231_CC-35_web by rotane
Fujian CCTV 1:1.7 / 35 mm | f/2, 70 mm (equiv.), 1/3200 s

Sharp in the center, soft towards the edges, swirly bokeh – that's the signature of this CCTV lens from China. Wide open, its DoF is really narrow, so you better take a few extra shots.


P5260239_CC-35_web by rotane
Fujian CCTV 1:1.7 / 35 mm | f/5.6, 70 mm (equiv.), 1/320 s

Another one with the Fujian to show off its other signature: lens flares and straylight! But that's what makes this lens so special.


P5290425_CC-35_web by rotane
Fujian CCTV 1:1.7 / 35 mm | f/2, 70 mm (equiv.), 1/5000 s

Update: Since you couldn't really see the swirly bokeh on the 2 pictures above, i took another one with the Fujian today (when the conditions were more or less identical). Now that's more like it!


Final verdict? I love these lenses! They all have their own unique character; and while they won't replace the Tamron zoom lens as my everyday lens, they each offer something special. Of course, you're forced to focus manually, so every photo takes much longer – but this means that you're more invested in every photo that you take. And i really like that.



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V0IDSPACER Featured By Owner May 28, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Found your name/deviantart link in the code of searchfortheblindeye.com, were you part of that awesome adventure? CX Searched through the old website after just recently and noticed the change!
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:iconrotane:
rotane Featured By Owner May 28, 2018  Professional
:iconmysteryplz::iconmystery2plz:
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V0IDSPACER Featured By Owner May 29, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
A mystery in d e e d

If so, thank you so much for such a huge and wonderful part of my younger years--that mystery, digging around in the code and searching for clues, was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had, and was damned clever as well. C; I deeply appreciate the creativity and fun that went into that website, and just felt like letting you know after all these years how much I enjoyed and cherished it.

Thank you so much for that adventure! :D
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Jasperinity Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2017
Happy birthday! :D
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birthdays Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2017
:woohoo: :party: :iconcakelickplz: !!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!! :iconcakelickplz: :party: :woohoo:

It's November 19th which means it's that time of the year again and your special day is here! We hope you have an awesome day with lots of birthday fun, gifts, happiness and most definitely, lots of cake! Here's to another year!

Many well wishes and love from your friendly birthdays team :love:

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This birthday greeting was brought to you by: Viamie
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VSConcepts Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2017  Professional Interface Designer
Happy Birthday!! :highfive: :cake: :party: :dalove: :headbang:
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rotane Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2017  Professional
Thanks mate! :manhug:
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VSConcepts Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2017  Professional Interface Designer
My pleasure Phil! :horns:
How was it, did you have a good day?
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rotane Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2017  Professional
One word: ComicCon :dummy:
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