24 April 2014

first impressions galore

Having just scoured out my kit and added several primes, it's time to say what I think.  Hmm, I should find something negative to say too though, we shall see...

In order of purchase, most recent first:
  • Takumar 300/4 M42 mount.  The negative here is easy, it's 1500 grams and that's a lot.  What I get for my pain is a like-new lens with one spot on an interior lens that will make no difference to images given the really long minimum focus.  I've read that this was the version made from 1958-62, this thing is just about my age and looks great!  Every aperture setting is circular thanks to 16± blades, and it has a mount collar for tripod or monopod use.  Images are quite impressive, and almost two stops faster than my f/6.7 zoom; that one is about 400g though so it will still get some use!
  • SMC-M 200mm f/4.  Looks to be in great shape, but the rear element does have a nasty scratch across the center.  How could that happen, I wonder, as it's so deeply recessed?  Anyway I cannot really see any issues resulting from this other than a possible loss of contrast; it's still sharp and colorful and contrast is decent even so.  I was torn between this, the tiny SMC-M 135/3.5 or holding out for a 150mm prime - but for the $32 winning bid I feel this was a good choice even with the scratch.
  • Super Takumar 105mm f/2.8, M42 mount.  This one supposedly has small scratches on the front element, which a quick glance didn't reveal to me; the price I paid relative to its typical price makes it all worth while.  And again, this is a lens with a long minimum focal length so the front element markings will only affect purist shooters and not images!  I was really surprised at how tiny this lens is; the DA70 clearly has some good genetic history to explain its size!  Images look very nice and I'm a happy guy.
  • SMC-A 50mm f/2.8 1:2 macro.  As noted elsewhere this is not my first macro lens, but it could be my last as I don't need true macro ability in my shooting.  I tried to bump it up my priority list and it didn't take.  At f/4 this would have stayed behind, but f/2.8 made it worth a larger bid.  This one cost me more than the above three Combined, but I am still glad I have it.  More tests are needed as the others came soon after to take away camera time, but I liked what I saw with the first few images - bright, sharp, excellent results.  Yay!
  • SMC 17mm Fish-Eye f/4.  This goes back a whole two months so it hardly fits in the new-purchase list :^) but however old it's a very nice lens.  Its horizontal field falls between the DA14 and DA15 and that's wide enough for what I do, so the 8mm fisheye will not be long in my bag.  I really like how closely this lens focuses.