Rough lens comparison

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by robert_chadwick, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Hi all, I just thought I would post this quite rough unscientific lens comparison as a matter of interest, between a Carl Zeiss T*1.7, a Russian Helios 44M-4 2.0 and an M42 Pentax 55mm 2.0 distance was 2ft on a tripod using self timer window light with an additional ceiling light. Camera was a Contax 137MA Film was Fuji. I used an adapter with the M42 Pentax and Helios....
  2. Next Pentax One
  3. Now Helios 44M-4 Wide Open f2
  4. Next one Helios 44M-4 Stopped down to f4
  5. Now for the Carl Zeiss T* 1.7 Planar
  6. Now Car Zeiss Planar at f4
  7. To my eyes I think the Pentax just takes the laurels, but I reckon it just shows how good the Russian Helios is compareing costs to the others, I did do a few shots at Infinity with all three but you couldnt really tell the difference between them, just slight colour rendition.
  8. Sshhhh!!! They'll all want one....The Helios is as good a value as one could hope to find, in my humble opinion. Out in the field, many other factors obviously come into play, but when it come to producing a sharp, punchy image, the Helios is hard to beat. You're a brave man, Robert, publishing what you've achieved, but thanks for an interesting experiment.
  9. Always interesting to see these! The Helios seems to have some chromatic abberations at the edges wide open, can't see that on the other two. Still sharp at the centre though, and what a difference F4 makes to all of them!
    As Rick says, don't force up the price of those Helios lenses, everyone will want one. Hmm, must do a comparison between the Helios and the Biotar....
  10. It does not look like the film/sensor plane was parallel to the subject or that the subject was perfectly flat. The two test shots with the Pentax lens show some kind of hot spot. I don't have the Zeiss lens but I have more than one example of the Pentax lens. My examples do not show any hot spot and are very sharp. What about the Helios? I had one with a Zenith E and I was not impressed with it. I don't think I would want to use the Helios again if someone gave it to me. If you want a very high qiality standard lens at a low price, any of the 50/1.7 Minolta manual focus lenses will do the job.
  11. LOL Helios beats them all. That is really funny. You have got a great one.
  12. Hi Thanks for the comments, I do see a hot spot on a couple of the pictures that is just the lens picking up a reflection of the tungsten ceiling light, the Planar and Helios do share a common design being double guass, the helios being a Biotar copy, obviously the Ziess lens is far superior technically but out in the field in normal use, not much between them. The Helios by the way was one I got from the Bay, first time I focussed it, the front lens group fell out!! It has taken a lot of patience to realign the focus helicoils, but it seems to be working well.
  13. May I just say as well, buying a Russian lens is very much like Tom Hanks' box of chocolates- 'you never know what your gonna get'
  14. Apropos chromatic aberration in this particular test: wouldn't that be something like allowing the open A to ring when playing an F6? Would using a Planar instead of a Helios make a difference?
  15. I'm not sure but isn't the 2 ft. distance a little too close to be testing these lenses? Unless of course you take most of your shots at about that distance. That is only about 10.5 to 12 times the lens focal length. I think a more common test is about 40X the lens focal length, in the 8 to 9 foot distance for these 50 to 58mm lenses. That would probably tell more about the comparative performance of the lenses you have on hand.
  16. Great lens, the Takumar 55/2 (/1.8). I remember they used to sell for a mere $35, brand new, through the usual mail order sources. I have two of them. :)
    BTW, the 55/2 and the 55/1.8 are the exact same lens with different stampings. Pentax sold the /2 with their budget Spotmatic 500. The SP500 also was missing the top speed of 1/1000 on the shutter speed dial, but you could turn the dial that extra click to get the speed anyway.
  17. Hi all, I am sure you are right John 2ft is a bit close but my test was a spur of the moment thing and I would agree 8-10ft is about right for testing lenses as I think most are optimised for that distance, I will have to fix something up and repeat the test including my other standard 50mm that I have the Richo f2 looks very promising but seems to be cooler than the Pentax, I also have a Pentax f2 in K mount which I believe may be a 5 Element 5 group configuration. Also have a couple of Yashica specimens as well.
  18. It's very hard to make conclusions from tests like these except to spot a defective lens.
    1. Focus variation. I recently put a number of 50mm f/1.4 lenses on a Sony NEX. Even with 14x magnification, getting identical focus was tough - very tiny changes with the focus ring can affect the results. If the focus is just slightly sticky, you may not be able to hit the right spot and/or you should use a macro rail for the final adjustment.
    2. For shooting at other than the focus aperture you may have focus shift.
    3. Field curvature. Unless you mainly shoot flat walls, shooting a flat target may not represent field use.
    4. Lens copy variation: even lenses brand new from the factory vary - after 25+ years of potential wear and knocks can change the results even more. If have not read the LensRental blog articles on this, you should
  19. Back when 35mm became viable for fashion shoots,replacing the Rollei 6x6,studio-bound shoots ,think Cecil Beaton, a prominent London fashion photographer was asked why he persisted in using Pentax cameras.
    'They cost me one third of a Nikon outfit -the lenses are just as good-when a body breaks,I just toss it'.
  20. he DID state that this was for fun and "unscientific"... Good Lord get off the guy's back. He was curious, he did something -probably more for amusement than information - and decided to share it with us. I enjoyed it. I don't think the Helios shows to have an edge, but it certainly compares favourably, and anyone who says "they wouldn't use one if someone gave it to them" is just being pompous and pretentious. Its a great lens, better than 99% of the people who use them.

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