Sunday, 11 November 2012

X-Pro1 with six classic legacy lenses

I like to use classic legacy lenses with modern digital cameras. They are very well built, have their own character and it is just pure joy to use them.  Although with the introduction of mirror less cameras the price went up, you still can get one of those in decent shape for less than $100.

I was wondering if there any practical difference (in sharpness) between them and finally decided to put efforts and test some of standard lenses that I have.  For this exercise I chose classic 50 mm 1:1.4 lenses only. 

The test was very simple and consisted of three shots of the same object at f :1.4, 2.8 and 5.6
All shots were taken with Fujifilm X-Pro 1 on a tripod, OOC jpegs (Ns), Auto WB, ISO 100. I was using cheap (but very decent) adapters purchased from rainbowimaging. No post processing. I don't have any modern Fujinon FX lenses with the same focal length so I used Fujinon 35 mm f/1.4 (insanely sharp) as a reference point.

This is not a scientific test or lens review and should not be taken in anyway shape or form as such, I simply share my observations.

The list of contenders: 
CANON FD 50 mm f:1.4
ASAHI PENTAX SUPER-TAKUMAR 50 mm f:1.4
OLYMPUS G.ZUIKO AUTO-S 50 mm f:1.4
KONICA HEXANON AR 50 mm f:1.4
AUTO YASHINON DS 50 mm f:1.4
MINOLTA MC ROKKOR-X PG 50 mm f:1.4





CANON FD 50 mm f:1.4
My variant is an earliest breech-lock Canon FD lens (circa 1973). It comes with a chrome (silver) filter ring at the front and nicknamed 'chrome nose'. This lens features  S.S.C. (Super Spectra Coating) coating.

Test results:
 @1.4

 @2.8

 @5.6

Comments: Big, heavy lens, excellent build quality. Focusing is smooth, may be just a bit tight to my liking. Aperture ring is very good with firm click on each stop.
 
ASAHI PENTAX SUPER-TAKUMAR 50 mm f:1.4
My lens (circa 1965) is a 7-element version, the IR mark is to left of the numeral 4 on the DOF scale. Some reviewers consider it "sharper" then early and much more expensive 8-element version.
This version of Super-Takumar is radioactive. Back in the 60-x Asahi Optical used Thorium Oxide  to improve the quality of their glass and this lens is one of them.
  
 
Test results:
 @1.4

 @2.8

 @5.6

Comments: Very well built. Focusing is smooth but just a bit loose to my liking. Aperture ring is good with firm click on each stop. This lens produces a very strong yellow colour cast, easily corrected with Auto WB



OLYMPUS G.ZUIKO AUTO-S 50 mm f:1.4
 According mir web site this lens was "often used for optical measurement and there the "standard" which determines color balance for the rest of other lenses in Zuiko family. Thus, these lenses provide excellent stable and faithful image reproduction where you can take full advantage from in your photography"


Test results:
 @1.4

 @2.8

 @5.6

Comments: This probably is the smallest and lightest lens that I have in this focal range. Extremely well built and nicely crafted. Focusing is smooth and tightness is right. Aperture ring clicks very good. It is real joy to use this lens.

KONICA HEXANON AR 50 mm f:1.4 
One of my favorite (for the price), circa 1974. According to many other reviewers this lens is one of the sharpest lens in this range.
Test results:
 @1.4

 @2.8

 @5.6

Comments: Good built quality. Focusing is smooth but just a bit tight. I don't like aperture ring clicks.

AUTO YASHINON DS 50 mm f:1.4
This lens was supposedly made by legendary Tomioka.

Test results:
 @1.4

 @2.8

 @5.6

Comments: Good built quality. Focusing is smooth and tightness is very good, but I don't like aperture ring clicks.

MINOLTA MC ROKKOR-X PG 50 mm f:1.4
This is an older version with 55 mm filter thread and orange letters. According to exceelent Rokkor Files review this lens is superior to later MD versions "This finding was in line with the opinions of several other collectors and testers, and accordingly I believe there is a consensus that the earlier designs are better performers in terms of resolution. "

Test results:
 @1.4

 @2.8

 @5.6

Comments: Excellent built quality. Focusing is smooth and tightness is just right, aperture ring is excellent with firm and clear click on each stop.



Final conclusion:
Speaking strictly sharpness which one is the best?

Modern Fujinon 35mm beats them all. Period. But considering that I got all six of them for the price less than one Fujinon, I should say, they all perform very well. 
If I compare legacy lenses only, than it is extremely difficult question.
Even at f/2.8 they all are pretty much the same, very sharp and contrasty. But at f/1.4 I would probably choose OLYMPUS G.ZUIKO AUTO-S 50 mm f:1.4 closely followed by Canon FD, Rokkor and Super-Takumar




Rokkor, Hexanon and Yashinon are also very close:

 But if you compare Olympus Zuiko and Yashinon, the difference is obvious:




There is more than just sharpness that makes the lens, you should also consider bokeh, colour rendition (less important nowadays), contrast, weight, etc. But for what it's worth, Olympus Zuiko looks like a champion to me, very closely followed by Canon FD, Super-Takumar and Rokkor. Konica Hexanon and Yashinon are slightly behind.

You can find all original files here.
 
Thanks for dropping by,
vkphoto


7 comments:

  1. You didn't comment on the ROKKOR; unless you got the images wrong, it looks to clearly win at f/5.6 my a good margin. It's the only case where I didn't prefer the Fujinon. This test really shows how good the modern Fuji is at f/1.4. I'd like to see some comparision with Zeiss, Leica, and Canon EF.

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    Replies
    1. No mistakes, all images are correct. I was surprised to say the least. Before taking the test I was absolutely sure that Rokkor will be a winner at 1.4 In everyday shooting it is a breath taking lens, closely followed by Konica and Takumar. I will re-test tomorrow to see if it was my bad manual focusing.

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    2. Well it just might be it gets a lot better somewhere between f/2.8 and f/5.6, that would not be such a surprise. Given the general performance of the Fuji though it would be a surprise if it can't match it at the smaller apertures. Did you account for the possibility of focus shift and refocus after changing aperture?

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  2. I hope you'll repeat this test when the 18-55mm zoom is available to you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just retested and I couldn't really see any difference between Olympus, Canon, Super-Takumar and Rokkor.
    All files are posted at my Dropbox (link is above), feel free to draw your own conclusion. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete