Sharpest Manual lens for 35mm

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by mathjeff0, Dec 31, 2017.

System with the sharpest lens

  1. Leica

    14 vote(s)
    43.8%
  2. Canon FD

    1 vote(s)
    3.1%
  3. Pentax K

    4 vote(s)
    12.5%
  4. Nikon F

    8 vote(s)
    25.0%
  5. Minolta SR

    1 vote(s)
    3.1%
  6. Olympus

    4 vote(s)
    12.5%
  1. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    :D Yeah, some of those postcards were pretty bad!

    People I knew thought postcards looked sharp. They really were compared to the old Kodak 110 camera images they took.

    When I sold new cameras, people would ask me about which 110 camera to buy. We sold 3. One without flash, one with flash and one with flash and telephoto lens. I would ask them if they were going to take pictures indoors. They almost always said yes so I would eliminate the one without flash. When asked about the telephoto lens camera I would explain to them that all it did was slide a piece of plastic in front of the lens to make things look closer. To me it just made a fuzzy image look fuzzier. I also told them that it would be best to just save their money and buy a Canon Sureshot or Minolta HiMatic 35mm camera.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  2. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    I have a Canon 35/2 SSC FD lens (chrome breech lock). Is that a thorium lens or did this one come later? Actually, I hope it's not thorium, because I don't want the yellowing.

    IMAG7737-1.jpg

    I have the Micro-Nikkor 55/2.8 AIS as well. BFD.

    IMAG4668-1.jpg

    Yah - the cellphone photos are blurry.
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Alan:
    May I introduce you to the APUG/Photrio Postcard Exchange, where we do indeed mail postcards: https://www.photrio.com/forum/forums/postcard-exchange.41/
    Sign-up for Round 43 is happening right now. You should consider joining in - it is great fun, and makes going to check the mail something to look forward to.
    Here is the link to the sign-up thread: https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/postcard-exchange-43-sign-up.156435/
    If you join in, some of the cards you receive will be quite "sharp" :wink:.
     
  4. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Wow, and just when I thought postcards were dead. Thanks, Matt!
     
  5. rpavich

    rpavich Member

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    They didn't say that but they were impressed at how detailed they seemed to be.

    And yes, I mail post cards all of the time. I use the Ilford B&W post cards.
     
  6. rpavich

    rpavich Member

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    Another side benefit to this post card exchange:
    1.) You will find yourself challenging your abilities to do your best.
    2.) You will received cards that are truly inspirational. If you are like me and don't get to see any other photographer's work in person, it's quite an eye opener to see what folks are capable of. They will do things that you never thought of. It's delightful.
     
  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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    That "chrome ring" hint refers to the glossy chromed front ring, not to the matted breech lock nut.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  8. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    I said Nikon F because the Zeiss Otus is available for it. I used a buddy's set and I thought the 85mm was marginally sharper. All three were the sharpest I've shot in 35mm. I aspire to own at least the 55 at some point. This was on both film (acros) and high MP digital.
     
  9. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Yes, you are correct. They were impressed with how detailed the post cards looked to them. When I bought my Canon AV-1 back in 1982 most people didn't own 35mm cameras. Most were shooting 110 or Polaroid. I had a Polaroid Square Shooter ll before the Canon. The Polaroid wasn't horrible but the Canon was a definite improvement. I still have some of those old Polaroids. Great for memories! The Kodak 110 cameras produced unsharp images. The Canon SureShot and other point and shoot cameras really changed things and made 35mm affordable for most. It took a little bit but people started to realize that it was worth it to spend a little over $100 for a camera!

    That's great to hear! It was always nice getting post cards from friends and family on vacation. You got a picture showing where they were.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Alan:
    By 1982 a lot of people had been using 35mm cameras for quite a while. Besides the SLRs that became quite popular in the 1970s there were also Canon, Minolta and Olympus fixed lens rangefinders that I sold a bunch of.
    And many of those who weren't using 35mm were using 126. Even the Instamatic 104 was capable of excellent results in the right circumstances.
    As for 110 - I should have you over to see the 110 Kodachrome slides my Dad shot. They are quite amazing. He used a mid to upper level Kodak 110 Camera - built in meter and a focusing (IIRC) glass lens. And the Kodak lab where he worked developed a lot of that 110 Kodachrome.
     
  11. Ces1um

    Ces1um Subscriber

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    Where's the choice for Voigtlander?
     
  12. CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

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    Awhile back i was selling some Nikon and Canon lens. Some of them were rather inexpensive Zooms..."Worth" only 20-40 dollars on Ebay. I had them priced Very Cheap. Maybe 30 bux for each lens, on Average. I had 9-10 of both brands.
    Even at almost Give-Away prices, there were a few guys that would not "risk" a few dollars because Ken Rockwell*** had said......."Lens XYZ was the worst lend he had ever tested."
    I have seen images shot with those lens, posted on APUG, and they looked "Fine".
    What i ended up doing was pulling the "Offensive" lens from each batch, not changing the price, and offering "That Lens" for "Free" if they bought all the others. Eventually I was able to sell both batches without any more complaints about how "Bad" the XYZ lens were. :wink:

    *** 1. I think Ken Rockwell has a very good site and there is A Lot of great info on it.
    *** 2. Ken is also an imperfect Human Being.
     
  13. OlyMan

    OlyMan Member

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    Wow, Leica and Nikon are the current leaders. Who would've guessed. [/sarcasm]
    I only use OM gear. Compared to those two it must be so rubbish than I'm lucky I can tell whether my portrait shots are human or ape.
     
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  15. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Do you recall that fabric textured color paper Kodak introduced about the same time as the 110 Pocket Instamatics? I always thought it was meant to camouflage the unsharpness of 110.
     
  16. asterix

    asterix Member

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    It is a thorium lens, look at this resource http://www.lummukka.com/canonfd35.html If the minimum aperture is 16 you have the concave thorium lens
     
  17. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Yes, I'm sure a lot of people had 35mm cameras by 1982 and also a lot had shot 126. The masses however were, at least here in St. Louis at our store were shooting 110 or Polaroid. At least according to our film sales. I do admit that our store was in a lower income area. Our Venture store was the lowest volume store in all of St. Louis. When I started in the department, it was rare that someone even asked about a 35mm SLR. We would have to get the department manager to wait on them because he was the only one knowledgeable. I'm sure your experience in a Camera store was much different than mine at a discount department store. We later started selling a lot of 35mm with the Canon SureShot and the AE-1 Program.

    Kodak also introduced the Disc camera I believe in late 1981 or early 1982. It sold well at our store. I took a vacation and went to the 1982's World's Fair in Knoxville Tennessee, May of that year. I asked my boss, Steve, what he thought of the new Disc camera and he told me to buy a 35mm camera. He was the only person in the Camera and Sporting Goods department who shot 35mm. At that time Steve was only one of two people in the store that shot 35mm to my knowledge. There may have been a few others. I later knew a young lady who owned a Leica and a Mamiya RB67. I don't know how she afforded them though working at Venture for minimum wage. She knew more about photography than any of us in the Camera department! Anyway, my boss marked down a display model Cannon AV-1 and I purchased it for $85.00. That camera started my interest in Photography.

    Matt, I wish I could see your Dad's prints. The 110's we sold had no meter and a plastic lens I believe. If I remember correctly, Minolta made a 110 SLR with interchangeable lenses at one time. I read in the camera magazines that it was pretty good.
     
  18. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Yeah, I do somewhat remember a textured paper. I had forgotten about it. What you are saying would make sense.

    We used Fox Photo for our developing and printing. You had the choice of a glossy or matte finish only. They used Kodak paper and chemicals and it was cheaper than going to Fox. There was a write-up in the Post Dispatch newspaper about it being the best deal in St. Louis. We did a big business in developing and printing!
     
  19. CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

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    ....."110 Kodachrome slides my Dad shot".....
    I did not realize there were 110 slides.
    I am not exactly a life-long photographer, so there are A LOT of things "I Did Not Realize".......but 110 slides surprise me for some reason. :smile:
     
  20. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Subscriber

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    If I'll need sharp lens I'll get macro lens. Not sure how people dealt with manual macro lens. I guess they shot still subjects. Then I was into macro I shot moving bugs. AF did it well for me.
    Tamron has well under $500 90 2.8 lens for it then I started. But then I realized what I need image stabilizer, because moving bugs or sleeping toddlers are better taken hand-held.
    So I switched to Canon 100L USM IS. But it was AF above 500$.

    Oh, some special version of Vivitar 28 2.8 SLR lens. I had it in FDn mount and it was very sharp lens. And only something like 70$.
     
  21. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Subscriber

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    I went for three 50mm Summicron-M lenses, including rigid. Currently with IV. They are not even close to modern macro lens for sharpness, just on pair with some less expensive modern 50mm lenses for sharpness.
    I think, Summicron-M are clean lenses, which is something more pleasing then just sharp. I look at my IV (same for Rigid) scans, digital and prints, it is not something as very sharp, but image is clean and pleasing in colors, half-tones, shadows and OOF areas. Pleasing overall, not flat.
     
  22. Kodachromeguy

    Kodachromeguy Subscriber

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    The 110 was intended to be a new consumer sensation and money-maker, like the 126 Instamatics, which were introduced in the early 1960s. I do not know if the 110 cartridges solved the film flatness issues that were troublesome in 126. There were some sophisticated 110 cameras: the Minolta 110, the interchangeable lens Pentax system, and a Rollei (I can't recall the model). And recall, there were 110 slide projectors from Kodak and possibly even Leica. 110 sold well but not as well as the 126 marketing wonder. The Disc was the follow-up attempt to develop a new consumer wonder, the ultimate development of "you take the picture we do the rest". But 110 was a dud. It may have sold well for a short while. But the film was just too tiny, and by the 1980s, compact 35mm fixed lens cameras from Japan (like the wonderful Olympus Trip 35s and RCs and the many Minolta and Canon rangefinder models) were easy to use and compact enough for most users. And best of all, their optical quality was excellent, clearly better than 110. I use a Trip 35 now with Tmax 100. The APS system was the last attempt to introduce a new format and money-maker. But it, too, was an attempt to foist off on users a smaller film size that would be "good enough." Many potential customers scratched their heads and decided to keep using 24x36mm 135 film. One brilliant feature of APS that may have not been fully implemented was to encode on the film between or maybe above frames some metadata, such as shutter speed and f-stop. This was a precursor of EXIF data. I wish there was a way to do that on 135 or 120 film now, but it is too late; the market is not there. There may be a few labs in USA that still can develop APS C-41 film, but I do not know if new film stock is still in production. By the way, APS meant Advanced Photo System, but some people called it Amateur Photo System. That is where we get the dimensions for APS digital sensors. Happy new year everyone and keep photographing!
     
  23. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Actually, the OP has not provided any information about the brand or model lens, the film used or how the sharpness was evaluated. There are many reasons for getting poor performance but a prime lens is most likely not the weakest link. Since the OP hasn't provided any pertinent info, my guess is use of poor scanning results and/or poor technique.
     
  24. Pioneer

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    Pentax imprinted metadata right on the film edge on both 35mm and 120. My PZ1p does this as does my 645Nii. Nice feature but it requires a magnifying glass to read.

    The Nikon F6 records metadata and then downloads that info onto your computer. I have the software but have never used the feature.
     
  25. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I knew 126 was popular. My parents had one when I was small. I was born in 1961. When I started selling cameras though the 110 was popular. We may have still sold a 126 cameraI and we did sell 126 film for a while. The 110 cameras did have a short life. Disc film killed them along with 35mm cameras becoming more affordable and easier to use. I remember those Kodak APS cameras. They did not sell well in our store like you say due to the popularity of 35mm film.

    Remember the Kodak instant cameras? Polaroid won a law suit and Kodak had to quit selling them. Kodak had a buy back program and a lot of people returned their Kodak instant cameras to our store at the time.

    I know 35mm has been popular for a long time but years ago many people couldn't afford them or thought them to be too complicated so they bought lower quality. Today a lot of people shoot dslr's or mirrorless digital cameras. By far the most popular camera is the cell phone though.
     
  26. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Good information there, thank you.
     
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