It is time for my second test so far. This I quickly tested 4 very cheap 200mm primes, all 4 in very easily adaptable M42 mount. 200mm is a nice long focal length for video, anything longer and camera starts go become very shaky, so for the long shots 200mm is one of the best choices. Back in a day, 200mm along was found any every big camera manufacturer’s range. There are so many 200s out there. I have bought about 10 myself for my research. They are very easy to get hold of and most are very cheap. Like I mentioned in my previous post, old photo lenses have some great advantages over the modern EF lenses, but at the end of the day the optical quality matters the most.
Well, I tested the first 4 and I’m not crazy about the results. I shot everything on a very dull, humid, hazy day, which didn’t help the contrast and colours. Everything was shot with a neutral profile and all footage is ungraded.
Let’s look at the results of each lens:
Prinzgalaxy 200mm f/4.5. This lens is very different from the other 3. First of all it is much slower at f/4.5. The lens also looks different and has different construction. The good points of this lens are: the fluid aperture adjustment, great fox fine-tuning exposure during the recording (just like on Cine-lenses) and 16 blade aperture. Unfortunately all of that makes little sense with this lens, firstly because this is very, very stiff; both focusing and aperture adjustment requires a lot of effort, which means you can’t really easily fine-tune anything. The 16 blade aperture also makes little sense since this lens is so slow that you probably wouldn’t close the aperture too often to take advantage of all these blades. The problems don’t end the, optically it is also quite poor, very low contrast, in result washed out colours too. Sharpness is ok, but overall, this lens is not really worth looking at, considering that it costs about the same as the other 3. I give it 1 out 5. Unless you can pick one up for no more than £5, I wouldn’t recommend buying it.
My conclusion: The 2 lenses that stand out are Chinon and Optimax, but even they are not brilliant, at least no in this test. I used Chinon on one corporate shoot and it actually performed very well along side Helios 135mm, which in my previous test looked much punchier, so I think the colours and contrast would have been much better in better lighting conditions.
I think both Chinon and Optimax are worth the money you would pay for them. They are 10 times cheaper than any modern equivalent, but certainly not 10 times worse. I still have at least another 4-5 200mm lenses to test and review including a very exciting Pentax 200mm f/2.5, which is one of the most expensive vintage lenses I bought, but still very cheap comparing to any modern equivalent, so expect another 2-3 videos on 200mm lenses. Next up though, I will do a quite test of Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and more group test of 28mm and 50mm lenses. If you guys want see any other specific tests, let me know.
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