Three Vintage Lenses Get Tested

After the warmest day of the year I decided to visit a local wildlife area with three vintage lenses I hadn’t really used much since obtaining some months back now.3 vintage lenses on test image

As you might make out they are varying focal lengths from 35-105 to 500 mm via 300 mm so the idea was to start off with the zoom on the outward walk because it’s smallest. Then rest and while resting setup the 500mm on the tripod to see what I can find and finally try the 300mm in hand on the way back. It turned out to be a rather overcast day with the odd glimpse of sunshine although still warm enough for t shirt – well for me anyway, everyone else seem to prefer raincoats.

So we start with the Vivitar Auto-Zoom 35 – 105mm 1:3.5 – I had high hopes for this lens but on the day I couldn’t wait to take it off the camera, not that it perform so bad but it’s heavy and awkward to work with. It has two modes – normal zoom and close range where you extend the lens by turning the middle element while press in a button. I have another lens with two modes like this but that using a pull in & out action. The action on this is very tight and when adapted the danger is you turn the lens off the camera. Amazingly for its wide front end it wasn’t that good at close up where a lens need to seek for all available light. Here are some shots, I think I’ll give this another try on a different subject though.

So, as we reached our furtherest pint I got out what I had named Big Bertha 🙂 Hanimex 500mm F8 Mirror Lens, I bought this lens way back when I first took up photography again. I think I paid £50 which I certain would pay today. I only used it once before, that was to try and photo the moon and on the basis I didn’t know what I was doing it did a decent job. But here’s we are going after bird.
Now, the problem with using such a long focal length lens, which you also have to adapt to your camera, is you don’t want your subject to be further than its focal ability. That’s a rather muddy way of saying if you want a decent shot you need to be able to focus well, you can rely on infinity because it’ll be fussy & dark. Even then the actual thread movement between in focus on this lens and out of focus must be less than a millimetre so you need to press into the eye cap and concentrate. In my case the added the movement on the tripod didn’t help on a rather windy day. I can’t afford to invest £500 in a tripod sorry.
So overall the conclusion is similar to the last lens, it would perform better to a more suitable subject, only also add a less windy day. Pretty sure with the “moon” experience that given one of the bird at 400mm on a calm day we would have got some better shots. As it was we didn’t do a lot with this but here are the shots;

So we start our way back with the zoom-Nikkor 80-200 1:4 in hand. This is a fungus afflicted lens sturdy but I wouldn’t say heavy for its sort although compared to plastic you’ll notice the difference. But that difference is also an aid at time as it fix you a firm pitch.
Now, personally I was disappointed with this lens at infinity but I’ll put that down to the adaptor – I’m sure you’ve guessed I’m not a Metabones customer, so I use cut-price adaptors as my main aim it just to get the lens on the camera not to produce studio quality work. But this lens turned out to be the one that made the say worthwhile, yes it had the advantage from the start with it 1:4 light sucking size but I found myself addicted to it’s close range performance. I knew, even before I open the files on my computer that this lens was zinging and it even made a fair attempt to grab a pair of geese who flew over my head.  I’m publishing a few raw image and then after another gallery of edited image that can be produced with basic knowledge on Lightroom etc.

This images are best view full size by click on each on.

Author: Delicate Dave