Which 35mm-50mm lens has worst falloff?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by calum_bean, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. I'm looking for a lens or fixed-lens rangefinder that has the same kind of light
    and focus falloff you would see on a lomo or a Noctilux, but that is focuseable
    and that doesn't cost $3000. I was initially thinking of a Sonnar-type lens like
    a pre-war Sonnar Opton 50 1.5, as these seem to be relatively cheap and
    available, or a Jupiter-3 50 1.5, which is coated. How are these lenses
    wide-open, and how much does coated/uncoated affect contrast on a Sonnar lens? I
    was also thinking Sonnar because of the supposedly nice bokeh. What else might
    good be a candidate for bad falloff?
  2. I once had a Contax TVS. After a few months, the whole front of the lens fell off. Eventually I got a refund.
  3. My Jupiter-3 is pretty well-behaved in fallof terms. At least, compared with my Nikkor 50 f/1.2 AIS. It's very soft at f/1.5, and soft at f/2.
  4. Calum, if you are looking for vignetting, why not simply try a too long lens hood on your lens (like a short cardboard tube)? This should produce more or less light fall-off at the edges of the frame.

    I have shot with many dozens of classic cameras and have yet to encounter a lens with really noticeable fall-off like in a Lomo. Poor box cameras might be close, but in 35mm format I have no idea what could produce this kind of look without altering the lens/camera itself. What do you think about a Lensbaby?

    By the way, an inexpensive rangefinder that sports a stellar lens with nice bokeh is the Yashica Lynx 14, but as you are considering Contax, money seems to be not really an issue.
  5. Just remembered: Another kind of lens modification you should consider is reversing the rear element of a three-element normal lens. I have seen pictures that look pretty nice.
  6. It's not a classic, but these cheapo 19-35mm 1:3.5-4.5 zooms are pretty bad...
  7. When I owned a Leica, I owned a f/1 Noctilux and never really found it to have light fall off, even wide open.
  8. Regardless of whether it's coated, the Sonnar @ f/1.5 doesn't have anything close to the fall-off of the Noctilux @ f/1 (Michael Axel must not have used the lens very often in daylight or w/a subject against a light background @ f/1), so I don't think that's a good candidate @ all (it's a fine lens for regular shooting, though).

    I agree w/Bueh that you should simply experiment w/lens hoods (including varying the shapes of the edges--easy w/cardboard, etc.). Vignetting isn't the same as light falloff, but in many circumstances, could look the same. Another possibility is to cannibalize the lens from a Lomo or Holga, fit it to a body cap & experiment w/that.

    I actually wrote to the Holgamods guy to see if he's ever made a Holga lens for Leica mount (he's done so for Canon & Nikon SLRs), but he never responded.
  9. Of course, there's always the age-old trick of using a new Nikon DX lens on an 135 film body.
  10. Might be easier and more controllable to whip up a gradient mask in photoshop, and use it to selectively blur and darken the corners (or whatever)...
  11. Argus C3, wide open. Use Kodachrome 64 to maximize the effect.
  12. My Contax II's prewar, uncoated Sonnar f/1.5 is sharp and contrasty even wide open. I use mine with a vented lenshood, and that seems to help a bit. Here's an example taken at f/2.8:
  13. I once had a Contax TVS. After a few months, the whole front of the lens fell off.​
    That's some bad falloff.
    I'm not so much interested in mechanical vignetting (either from a lens hood or a DX lens) or photoshop. The Nikon 50 1.2 is intriguing however, especially since I don't have a 50mm prime among my SLR lenses. Doesn't it have weird coma though? I'm already looking for a broken lomo to pull the lens from.
    While I'm familiar with reversing a lens, I don't know anything about reversing an element, which would definately give the soft corners I'm looking for. What kind of lenses does this work on? Any other lenses or cameras with partcularly bad light falloff?
  14. I don't know anything about reversing an element, which would definately give the soft corners I'm looking for. What kind of lenses does this work on?
    The examples I have seen were most done with three-element lenses on cheap vintage cameras. Some were the result of deliberate experimenting (there was thread here in this forum, but I cannot find it again), but most were the result of a botched re-assembly after taking out the rear element for cleaning. So just get any cheap camera with an old triplet and do some lens hacking (but please show your results here, no matter what)!
  15. Pinhole
  16. Same to you.

    Actually, last night I dismantled my Nikkor 35-70mm f3.3, and at some point the spring I cut in half dropped into the helicoid, so I tipped it up and the back two elements fell out. I've no idea which way round they went, so this might be a suitable experimental base (along with the lens being wide open all the time now - I was trying to fix a far-too-sluggish aperture return).
  17. Calum,

    For the record the Zeiss-Opton is a post war coated lens

  18. My bet would be for the Meyer Domiplan.
  19. Bueh, I did an interesting lens hack awhile back... got a really really crappy Tokina zoom lens, bad quality and a pain to use... i pulled out the front element and replaced it with the rear element from an old Kodak 3-element. I can only call the results... creepy.
    <img src="http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b15/patrickjdempsey/Tokina-Kodak%20Creepy/Jenny%20Madison%20County/Jennycrazylensa24.jpg">
    <img src="http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b15/patrickjdempsey/Tokina-Kodak%20Creepy/Jenny%20Madison%20County/Jennycrazylensa17.jpg">
  20. Very interesting. Those pics look pretty vintage due to the distortion and fall-off. I guess I should buy broken lenses more often for fun.
  21. rdm


    Patric i like your home made lens. what made you choose to replace the element with the Kodak one? Was it just trial and error , of did you have a lens solution in mind?

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