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'80s Soligor 400mm f6.3 T2 lens

Discussion in 'Lens Matters' started by SXH, May 16, 2017.

  1. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    I bought one of these, in the late '80s of a workmates father, for about £20 iirc. Got a micro four thirds T2 mount for. It looks a bit silly on my E-M10:

    By coincidence, ePhotozine have just done a 'classic lens review' of one, on a Pentax K1 full-frame body.

    The results are... interesting. CA can be very bad and the pictures are a bit (hah!) soft. Though shrunk down to about 1445x965 by Firefox on my 19" screen they look reasonable, and with a bit of sharpening could possibly make for decent small prints. Possibly.

    I haven't got around to actually testing it yet, so my question (which is actually quite a general one) is, what effect will going from a full-frame 36mp body (as in the test) to a crop frame (micro 4/3) 16MP body? Better? Worse?

    Obviously I'll find out when I get my @rse into gear and do some testing, but would be interested to hear what the theoretical answer is...
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Worse - unless you are going to view the results to scale. The "zoom" effect of crop sensor cameras only comes because you enlarge the results. If you printed them to scale they would just look - cropped. So enlarging will magnify the lens errors as these will be determining of overall quality.
  3. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    At 400 mm diffraction should not set in badly until around f16 or even f22. Set the iso high, stop to f16 or smaller and give it a go. Not for birds in flight but maybe for unfeathered birds on a beach.
  4. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I wrote my previous post without reading ePhotozine's review. CA did matter to monochrome photographers who mainly used panchromatic film. Using ortho film or using a monochromatic filter on a digital camera would reduce the effect of CA. It is good that the lens is long focus rather than telephoto.
    I would not want to use it for serious photograpy, but would certainly give it a go for the hell of it. I like the machining on the focus ring.
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    They were very variable even when they were new, and a bad knock could decenter and ruin even the best of them (and some were astonishingly good). After 30-40 years it's hardly surprising that few (if any) are any good, any more.


  6. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Not totally sure about that. The ones still about might be the ones that people have kept and looked after, so the better ones have survived*. Or possibly, it's the ones which were iffy and were kept in a cupboard hardly used. The ratio of one to the other could be important. :confused:

    * a bit like Stradivarius violins?
  7. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    Didn't someone do a blind test recently comparing Stradivarius violins to modern, mass produced offerings? Even serious music buffs and concert musicians preferred the mass market modern violins sound by quite some margin IIRC?
  8. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member




  9. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    I think it depends a lot on the skill of the player. Mind you, a twelve year old beginner would probably produce identically awful sounds on either, so maybe not. ;)

    Another thing about Strads, the ones actually in use as musical instruments rather than investments, is that most if not all have been modified to take modern strings, so will probably sound more like modern instruments than they used to. If you see what I mean.
  10. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    I really must dig mine out and give it a go. I haven't used it for years...:oops:

    Be interesting to see what it can do on something a bit more up to date than my old D30...:)
  11. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Well, I managed a quick check with the results I was expecting. Not much of a test (d@mn rain!), but. it did show up a couple of points:
    1. It's a pig to focus; not easy with an EVF and slow due to the amount of rotation necessary.
    2. It is not a lens you really want to use hand-held; it is bl**dy heavy! It really needs a support, even just something to rest it on would help. Mind you, my upper body strength is not what it could be - maybe I should take up weight-lifting. :oops:

    First test was my usual, my equivalent of HQS Wellington - the clock.

    The full frame, straight from the E-M10 and shrunk to 800x600 for display. Taken from an angle as my usual vantage point is too close to be able to focus. Looks reasonable and a bit of colour correction/sharpening would make it usable on the net. Depending on how far you have to shrink/sharpen, small prints probably OK. However, a 100% selection from the original file, shows how soft it is.


    I'll do some more testing when it stops tipping it down. Don't hold your collective breath, the Beeb is predicting heavy rain for the next day or three!
    spinno likes this.
  12. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Love it when people do tests like this rather than just sitting there saying it would probably be kerrap.
  13. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Here's an old one from some time back taken with mine on my D30...

    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  14. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    A couple more.
    The air vent on top of the church. Always good for testing for CA. And it shows.

    Chimneys across the road. Show some signs of CA. Actually very noticeable in the full size image.

    Parked car, some way down the road! CA obvious in this one too - round bonnet opening, badge and wheels. Very noticeable in the originals.

    The same picture sharpened, lightened up a bit and so on. CA still noticeable, but the image is usable. There are cleaned up versions of the others in the same Photobucket folder.

    On the whole, it's what you'd expect from a cheap old lens - soft and plenty of CA. But on the right subjects, ie not overly contrasty, probably quite usable. On a tripod or some-such!

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