I’ve been building my Russian LOMO CINE SET for a while now and with this review, we will finally start looking at these lenses in more detail. This is also the first review to feature a 4K test video and even though at the time of writing this, I’m still perfectly happy with 1080p final output, this lens was a great choice to kick off the 4K tests with (more about it later).
So the lens in question is the LOMO 75mm T2.2 prime lens. There are quite a few versions of this lens and this particular lens is the OCK6-75-1 model with the OCT19 mount.
Image Quality & Character
I usually start my reviews with an overview of the built quality, but this lens is all about “character”, so I really want to talk about it first! If you watched the test video above, you will have noticed the range of flares this lens produces! There aren’t many lenses that come close to Helios 44-2 in lens flare competition, but I think LOMO 75mm might actually be a winner here. Its flares range from dreamy light blobs to various rainbows that look truly magical. This look is of course not something that one might want or need every time and thankfully as you stop down the lens, images become cleaner, so you can have the best of the both worlds. If you shine direct light into this lens though, it completely washes out the image and no amount of stopping down will solve that; the old-school coating on this lens just isn’t capable of handling the strong sunlight, which might be one of the main downsides of this lens.. Then there is bokeh and again, not many lenses can compete with Helios 44-2, but this lens is just as good with its smooth, painterly, swirly bokeh. Again, as you stop, bokeh becomes more “normal”, but who wants normal anyway? 😀
While this lens is excellent at producing dreamy images, in controlled lighting conditions it can produce some seriously sharp, vibrant images too, even wide open at T2.2 (the whole video was shot wide open). The opening shot at 0:23 demonstrates that very well, easily handling the 4K resolution.
Built Quality & Usability
Russian lenses are known for having a questionable built quality and I found my LOMOs to be a real mixed bag; some are fine, while others have stiff/loose focus rings & aperture rings, etc. This particular copy, which was made in 1987 (first two digits of the serial number), has a fairly smooth focus ring and aperture ring isn’t too loose either, which is all I could really expect from a 30-year-old Russian lens 😀 At least it’s completely metal and feels quite rugged even though it weighs just 685g, which is very little for a cine lens. Aperture adjustment is click-less and focus throw is about 270°, which really helps nail that critical focus! The lens focuses down to just below 1m mark on the lens, so while it’s not exactly a close-up lens, you can still achieve some pleasant looking close ups, as my video above hopefully shows! I’ve added a custom-made, metal follow-focus gear from RAFcamera to this lens, making fully compatible with modern follow focuses. As far as adapting this lens to modern cameras, the OCT19 mount has an excellent compatibility with mirrorless cameras. Personally, I use the RAFcamera OCT19 to E-mount adapter, but adapters for MFT & EF cameras are also available. You can even buy special mounts for ARRI & RED cameras, so it’s possible to adapt these lenses to almost any camera and unless you really need to convert these lenses to PL (which costs $200-400 per lens), you are better off with one of the options mentioned above. Another compatibility bonus is the sensor coverage. Like most cine lenses from that period, this lens was designed for 35mm motion film (similar to Super35/APS-C size sensor), but it actually covers the full frame photographic sensor, but don’t get too excited because all the LOMO lenses below this one (50,40,35,28,22,18) will only cover Super35.
Value For Money
I usually don’t go so in-depth into value for money, but with LOMOs there are many things to consider, especially this 75mm, because it’s one of the more expensive lenses in LOMO set. Don’t expect to find this lens under $500. In fact, $600-700 is a more realistic price, which sounds a lot for a vintage lens, but let’s not forget that this is an actual “cine lens” and we all know how expensive such lenses can be. If you compare it to the next cheapest cine alternative, LOMO an absolute bargain! Another expense to keep in mind is the adapter, which is only worth the price if you consider building a full set. And lastly, you need to be ready you put some budget aside for servicing, because these lenses are rarely perfect straight off eBay.
- Aperture Blades: 8
- Aperture Range: T2.2-16
- Focus Throw: approx 270 degrees
- Mount: OCT19 (on this particular model)
- Closest Focusing Distance: 1m
- Weight: 685g
- Made in USSR
There are plenty of Pros and Cons with this lens, so let’s round them up!
- Amazing character
- Great optical performance
- Solid construction
- Long focus throw
- Step-less aperture adjustment
- Cheap for a cine lens
- Average closest focusing distance
- Mechanics could be better
- Rotating front
- Awkward aperture ring placement
- Expensive adapters
- Not as cheap as vintage photo lenses
There are many cheaper vintage alternatives out there, including close relatives, like Jupiter-9 85mm F2, but if you are serious about building a proper cine set and you can accept LOMO with all its strengths & flaws, then this lens is definitely worth investing into!
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