Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two lenses--and maybe a third

I have two lenses on a FedEx truck and heading to my doorstep. One is a Bushnell 1:3.5 f=35~105mm. The second is a Tele-lentar, 1:2.8, f=135mm.

Why did I buy them? Price--one reason. The action price was $8.00 for both of them--definitely not cult-classic lenses.

And curiosity. Bushnell is a division of Bauch&Lomb of binocular and telescope fame. For a few years back in the 80's they made or distributed a relatively small number of camera lenses. Google turned up very little info about their lenses. But I figured they couldn't be that bad. Bauch&Lomb had a reputation to maintain. Plus the lenses zooms from 35-105mm--normal to short telephoto on my 1.5 crop D60--a zoom range I don't own.

I'm not even certain the Lentar 135mm f2.5 comes with a Nikon mount. But it does have some sort of universal mount. The iris ring has marking that good both CW and CCW. I may be surprised but I have bought lens that came with Adaptal and T4 mounts so I should be able to make it work. As for the curiosity, I have a Nikkor 135mm f2.8 and I want to compare the two lenses. Make an interesting discussion in the forums if the $4 no name lens turns out to be as good or even better than the Nikkor.

The third maybe lens. A super cult classic very hard to find Viv 100mm 1:1 macro. There is only one for sale on ebay--a Buy it Now for $299. The maybe is now at $18.87 with 4 hours and 22 minutes to go.

A very under advertised lens. Someone had no idea what he/she was selling. If you didn't recognize the makings in a couple uninformative photo you would not know it was the 1:1 macro. So the question now is how many other collectors like myself are waiting in the weeds to pounce and make a bid in the last few seconds of the auction. Find out in about 4 hours.

Twas not to be. Three of us lurked in the grass and I was out bid. Boohoo

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I may be able to salvage the Osawa. So far I haven't discovered any missing or broken parts.

After I removed five screws by the mount the back assembly--camera mount, double group of lenses and iris-- pulled out from the barrel. I cleaned off the fungus on the lens surface just under the iris with rubbing alcohol and a q-tip. Unfortunately more fungus is growing on the underside of that lens. So I'm looking at a total tear down and cleaning.

No problem once I get around to it. This is a learning experience and if I end up with a useful lens so much the better.


Except for two small bubbles in glass of the rear lens the Soligor 80-200mm f4.5 C/D is perfect. It arrived with in clean hard case and with original front and rear caps plus a promaster uv filter. At f 4.5 it's slower than my Kiron f4.0 but it is lighter and balances better on the D60.

It is also a C/D lens. I have no idea what the initials C/D originally stood for but when Vivitar came out with their Series 1 pro lenses Soligor countered with their C/D lenses. Not only were the two distributors in completion, they often sold the same lens.. My Tokina made Soligor 90-230mm is identical to the Vivitar version except for the name and markings.

The Vivitar Series I lenses went off to become expensive cult classics that can go for hundreds on ebay. The just as good Soligor C/D's went off to become---the brag price on my lens is $3.00. I was the only bidder.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A tale of two lenses.

One of the lesser joys of a lens collector's life is to receive a tracking number and then follow your magnificent new lens as it move across country to your door. Then after the doorbell sounds and the UPS or Fedex guy has disappeared back into his/her truck you have the even greater joy of pulling out your beat up jackknife and cutting open the package. Then you savor that final joy holding and look thru and testing that pristine piece of glass and metal and thinking how you will brag that "I stole a ----- when I only paid $-.--" to the envious other collectors you know online.

And if you have two lens arriving from different parts of the country on the same day--heaven.

The first to arrive was a Osawa 70--220mm f4.5 macro zoom that set me back $18.75 ($6.oo for the lens, the rest shipping).

If I bragged about this find in certain forums someone will come back and say, "Why did you waste $6.00 on a no-name brand like OSAWA!!" They are the ones who buy only super expensive Nikon glass and refuse to admit that you can find excellent glass mounted in no-name metal. Like I did when I bought an excellent Osawa 300mm-a lens that deserves its own post.

Anyway back to the 70-220mm. When I looked down this lens I muttered "Oh Sugar!" Or maybe I snarled "Oh S..." My purchase had grown enough haze and fungus to mess up a dozen lens!! Even worse when I twisted a few rings the front lens unscrewed from its helix.

So what will I do with my less than perfect lens.

*** This post was interrupted by the arrival of a Soligar 85-205mm f3.8. First impressions-pristine glass except for a minor coating scuff. Soft at f3.8 but sharpen up as I close down the iris--not unexpected with a lens this old.***

What to do--take it apart of course. Following the good lens-taker-parter's advice. Document each step--note book and photo. Tape down each tiny screw and piece on a piece of paper. Mark how everything lines up. And as you do each step think about how you will put it back together.

Something I've already started. But since this post has been interrupted several more times and just refused to auto save I will cut it short. More tomorrow

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Been awhile

Been awhile since I posted. Six months plus.

Not that I haven't been taking pictures. In my backup 16, 17 and 18 folders starting on Dec 1st 2009 and ending yesterday I have 18,450 files. Since I shoot both RAW and jpgs and the folders also hold my post processing files that works out to around 8000+ images.

Keep up at this rate and my D60 will be needing a new shutter. Which won't be a total disaster since the salesman talked me into an extended warranty.

Been doing other photography stuff too. Collecting and using manual lenses mainly. Except for my 35mm f1.8 which I use for indoor candid shots my other two autofocus lenses haven't been on the D60 in months. Part of this is the challenge of using all manual lens and part of it is that my other two kit lenses aren't all that sharp.

So I'll be posting more regularly. About lenses. How to use them. And how to test them. Plus my adventures and misadventures as I find them. They made good glass in the old days. They also made their share of stinkers.