Analysis Part 2: lenses

The second subset of the Nikon replacement problem is a Duesy! The P610’s lens not only has incredible zoom range, but incredible sharpness as well. It can go from this:

Ice Bubbles (cropped close up)

To this:

Tangled Tree at full telephoto

In one go without changing lenses. There are about four new cameras available that can manage that, and two of them are Nikon’s ‘replacements’ for their P610 model. Both of these are fraught with problems, including having too much zoom – and too much price.

Honestly if I were to design a replacement for the P610 I would have made improvements like better manual focusing and a larger (not necessarily higher resolution but 20MP would be nice) sensor. Think about it: the P1000 has the equivalent of a 3000mm lens on it. Now if they were to use a 2.3 sensor (6.6 x 8.8) instead of a 1/2.3 sensor (4.55 x 6.17) that would still give 1500mm equivalent telephoto (much like the P610’s 1440mm) but double the sensor size (in square area) meaning it would be better in low-light conditions – even with more pixels on it. Oh I’d certainly also do something about that tiny, dim EVF as well. Imagine the marketing: “largest, brightest viewfinder yet!” Or something like that. Really, somewhere between the LCD panel which can’t be seen in broad daylight and the tiny EVF which I can’t see in any light there has to be a spot where there’s a way of viewing the scene properly under normal shooting conditions. It’s an electronic image; it can technically be any size and brightness you want it to be. One thousand pixels stuck in a hole 10mm across is not the answer.

Anyway with the P1000 and P950 dismissed, the other two new camera options are the Canon SX70 and the Panasonic FZ80. The latter has a touch screen I dislike and the the former is about 2 times the money. Both have their other flaws as well. You’re not getting me to part with hundreds of dollars for a camera that falls short of my needs, no matter how many cup holders it has. What is the point of buying any camera that is, to put it bluntly, unsuitable?

So let’s look at my existing cameras and lenses instead. They also fall far short of my needs, but the money has already been spent.

Canon 75-300mm EF. Good thing I only paid $50 for it.

This one is obviously soft. On top of that, 300mm is short for bird photography and in no way close to the Nikon’s telescope-like abilities (even after the crop factor of 1.6). I could buy another of these lenses for about $150, but would it be any sharper? Maybe, but it certainly wouldn’t be any longer. There is an IS version as well which might help some with blur, but that one is $600+. If spending that kind of money I might as well get the Canon SX70 and have the truly long zoom range (65X), even if the finder is not as bright.

Canon 55-250mm EF-S. Sharper, but not longer.

Focal length is the main issue here. It has got IS and does a good job, but even with the crop factor it’s only 400mm equivalent and that’s 1000mm shy of what the Nikon can do. Add a 2X lens extender you say? Forget it: that’s reduced resolution, more money spent, and 800mm still isn’t 1440mm. Again better to buy an entire new super zoom camera.

Olympus 55-150mm.

This is not as good as it looks. Mainly because it’s a cropped segment of the full image (at 100%) and because I was maybe 15 feet away from that bird. On the Olympus, 150mm is equal to 300mm for a full-frame camera because the 4/3 size sensor has a 2X crop factor. There is a longer zoom available for it, with maximum 300mm which is like 600mm. That might just about do it – for $400+ and the hassle of importing it from Japan. The Panasonic FZ80 is about the same money without the import issues and has longer range. What’s more, the E410 is an out-of-date camera with a fairly ‘low’ resolution of 10MP (making cropping problematic at times) and the lenses are not really, shall we say, ‘Nikon-sharp’. It’s a pity because there are things I like about this camera. If only Olympus hadn’t fallen for the bean-counters’ insistence on mirrorless designs they might today be building a modern 4/3 DSLR that would be worth buying.

If you’ve read enough of my posts you know I have a few ‘classic’ long range zooms from the film camera era as well. You also know that they are very large and very heavy – and not all that sharp. Probably the best of them is the Hanimex which is a Pentax K mount, meaning it only fits on my Pentax K100Ds – which has the lowest resolution sensor of all my cameras. None of these old lenses are a practical solution.

What is, then? Well, maybe this:

Not a drawing.

What on Earth is that? Me playing around with things: a totally different genre/shooting style that owes nothing to my wildlife photography but is far easier to achieve within budget (as in it costs nothing).

Not sure I like the prospect of no more long telephoto shooting.

No, I definitely do not like that prospect.

Gear down, gear up.

(Note: through dint of major effort I am avoiding commenting on life in general at this moment and instead concentrating on just one of my many problems.)

For the sake of argument let’s say my Nikon P610 no longer works at all. This is not yet true, but like the Kodak P850 and V1003 before it the Nikon’s functions have become erratic and the resulting images less than ideal. It is inevitable that it will fail altogether at some point. I already can not rely on it, which is a shame because it is an excellent camera. Was.

So, what to do about losing my #1 piece of equipment?

First of all the key reason why the P610 took so many pictures for me: the fantastic zoom range. My photography involves me being out and about and seeing things near and far. Often very far. As such I need to be able to switch from close up (not just wide-angle) to telephoto quickly. I can stand in one spot and see a butterfly on a flower right in front of me and a bird in a tree yards away. Thus the extreme zoom lens is an important feature for me.

Right. So replace it with another comparable camera, yes? No. Why not? Three reasons:

1). There aren’t any exact matches. The newer versions from Nikon are ridiculous in their zoom ranges, larger and heavier, and burdened with extra features which add no functionality. Other units from Canon and Panasonic have less zoom but as much ‘technoglitz’ and none have a guarantee of lens quality. The ol’ P610 quite spoiled me for its lens and newer offerings, even more expensive ones, have not shown to be as good quality.

2). Prices are nuts. The P610 cost roughly $400 new and whereas we can expect a bit of inflation the P1000 replacement is 4X that price. The Canon SX70 is 2X. The only thing comparable is the Panasonic FZ80, and it has other faults.

3). “To thine own self be true” – Polonius. In researching dealing with this problem I naturally turned to my current arsenal of cameras to see which had the best potential for stepping up to the plate to pinch-hit for the Nikon. The truth is none of them quite cut it, but there was a recurring theme among certain ones; namely the EVF models wherein even the best (Sony a6000) is difficult for me to use with my failing eyesight. The optical finders are much larger and brighter and easier to see, so buying another camera with an EVF would be like pretending I haven’t got a vision problem.

How bad is that problem? There is currently an optical puzzle making the rounds of the Internet where you’re supposed to read the number in a swirled pattern. My left eye can see five of the seven digits. My right eye can not discern any one them. Yes, it’s that bad. I have taken to ‘resting’ it with the eye patch as much as possible so that when I do need depth perception or increased peripheral vision it can be used. This is incurable and only goes in one direction. It does not help that most cameras are made to be used with the right eye. The DSLRs are a little easier to switch with owing to the finder being basically in the middle of the camera instead of on one side.

Now the interesting thing is that the Panasonic FZ80 is available for <$400 right now. But see problems 1, 2, and 3 above. Only the price and my boredom caused me to look at it at all. Anyway I can’t afford even that.

So I’m back to trying out my existing cameras. None of them has the ultra-long telephoto ability. Going back to #3 I have to wonder if that matters since I can’t spot those far away birds now anyhow. Mostly I triangulate on the sound and then scan the trees where I think one is for movement to zoom in on. Usually by that time the bird has flown off, and so have its descendants.

Objectively the Sony a6000 isn’t suitable even if I spent $1,000 on a long lens for it, which I’m not going to do. Good though the camera is I have troubles using it beyond just the EVF issue as outlined above. It’s a shame because it is a good camera and I like it save the few operational flaws (which are more problems with me than with it).

The Lumix ZS60 is out because of the EVF, the short focal length range, and the poor quality lens.

I like using the Olympus E410 but guess what? There are no lenses available for it because the four-thirds format was supplanted by the micro-four-thirds system. So I should go out and buy an OM? Not too bloody likely that would happen! Besides which changing lenses out is not as convenient as simply zooming from one extreme to the other.

Of course the Canon G11 and 1Ds aren’t at all suitable for daily use as the former is fixed lens with a limited range and the latter weighs nearly as much as a compact car as well as not having a long focal length lens.

This leaves the Canon T100, which also lacks telephoto lens range. That costs a ton of money, and again this is a compromise because even with it you don’t have that wide-to-telescope-like focal length range.

If only they built a DSLR with a 1/2.3″ sensor! But they don’t and won’t so that’s the end of it.

Oh I didn’t mention my Pentax K100Ds. The reasons why should be obvious.

Since the equipment can’t/won’t/doesn’t exist the only choice is to compromise on style. I already find it frustrating when I go out with the ‘wrong’ camera and see something that it can’t get an image of (the other day it was a pileated woodpecker on a power pole when I had the G11 which doesn’t have a long enough zoom). Now I’m going to have to give up on shots because I can’t change lenses fast enough and don’t have long enough focal length.

This is a problem that has no solution. Just like all the others.

Frustration. (Olympus E410)

Low-cost lens cavalcade #10

Now we come to the last of the ten (usable) lenses I got in the great deal, the Asahi Pentax Super Takumar f3.5 135mm.

Saving the best for last.

This is a lens I’ve wanted for a long time: it is the ‘missing’ member of the ‘standard trio’ of lenses for my Pentax Spotmatic 1000. Back in the day when I was using this as my main camera I managed to obtain a (radioactive) 35mm Super Takumar wide-angle to go with the 50mm standard lens, but could not afford the 135mm version. Instead I purchased a much cheaper 135mm f2.8 Vivitar, which I still have. Now through the good fortune of one deal I have the Pentax telephoto. There are longer Super Takumar lenses, and shorter ones too (I also have a 28mm), but the combination of 35-50-135 was considered a ‘proper kit’ of lenses in that age of film SLRs. There is also an f2.8 version of the 135mm, but that is not the one I have found.

So let’s see how well it works.

Duncan in the snow. What a 135mm lens is meant for.

The next photo was taken on a cloudy day, yet contrast and colour are good. Sharpness is nothing to complain about either, and no sign of chromatic troubles. But let’s push the limits.

The full view.
640 x 427 segment of the upper chickadee.
640 x 427 segment of the lower chickadee.

Now when we do the digital zoom thing we see sharpness falling off and chromatic troubles arise. Not as bad as some of the other lenses recently tested, though. But is this how the lens would typically be used?

The neighbour’s house.

If you don’t zoom in digitally everything is fine, especially in bright light when you can stop down to f8 (the ‘non-existent’ sweet spot for this lens). I shot quite a few ‘standard’ pictures and found it to be more than adequate under normal conditions.

The lens can do quite well.

Although 135mm is quite short for my usual photography I can see there are times when this lens would be just the right thing.

When all the elements come together …

I rate this lens as very good. Even though the performance has some shortcomings, they only appear when it is pushed to perform under less-than-ideal conditions. What’s more the actual handling of the lens (focus and aperture rings) is the usual high-quality of Super Takumars, so I have no complaints on operation.

Well that’s the last of the ‘deal lenses’. Of course they were not all the equipment I got in the deal, but much of it really isn’t of any use to me. The question remains: was all of it together worth the money?

Notice I haven’t yet revealed how much I spent.

What did I get that I will continue to use? A couple of cases and three lenses: the 28mm Vivitar, the 58mm Helios, and this 135mm Super Takumar. Now, what is a lens worth?

One of the on-line sources I follow has posted a list of “the best M42 lenses for $150-$300”. That’s per lens, and even the low end is expensive by my standards. Okay, I’m a cheapskate. So what would you be willing to pay for any one of those lenses (assuming you wanted one of them)? Half the ‘starting price’ mentioned in the article (i.e. $75) perhaps?

How about $60 for the whole boiling?

Come to that, I’ve probably had that much money’s worth of fun playing with the lenses and other things.

And I intend to have more fun with some of it in the future.

Low-cost lens cavalcade #8

If anyone ever listened to my advice I’d probably tell them something like “don’t spend a lot of money on old telephoto and zoom lenses”. The reason for this is that lens design has improved greatly over the years, and the longer focal lengths have benefited the most. For example this entry’s test subject is an old Vivitar 300mm f5.6.

One long and heavy lens.

This is a large lens. It weighs in just under two pounds and does quite a job on the tripod trying to hold it steady. If this were mounted on the Canon 1Ds it would be an unmanageable 5+ lbs. of equipment. It is also a ‘slow’ lens at only f5.6, but at 300mm it’s the kind of focal length that is suited to much of my photography. By the way the “P&B” on the front of the lens is for Ponder & Best, the ‘maker’, who started using the Vivitar name in the 1960s – when this lens probably dates from given its design. In fact their equipment was made by other companies under license. I have a Vivitar 135mm f2.8 lens that is excellent, and also a 24mm f2.8 (acquired in the same deal as this long lens) which also performs very well. This 300mm, however, is not as good.

A “medium shot” of the Nissan.

Sharpness is lacking, contrast is low, colours are dull, and chromatic aberration shows up too often. Despite this it is possible to get decent pictures with it, but you need just the right conditions – such as bright light so you can use f8 and a tripod because hand-holding this beast is a challenge.

Full image of a black-capped chickadee.
100% segment of the last image. Cute little bird (with a sunflower seed in its beak), but the detail is fuzzy not feathery.
With some effort it can render a decent image.
A cap wearing a hat – of snow.
With enough light, a tripod, and the proper alignment of all the stars in the universe …

Although it is possible to get a good picture from it, most of the time it fails. It’s hard to use too, due not only to its large size and great weight but also looking through a maximum aperture of only f5.6 is difficult for my fading eyesight. I have a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 that is smaller, lighter, sharper, and has better colour & contrast. Over-all I can only rate this lens as “fair”. It doesn’t even have any particular characteristics that make it interesting, unless you like schlepping around a lens that can double as a piece of weight-lifting equipment.

Low-cost lens calvacade #2

A little preamble: many of the lenses I’m trying out here are “pre-set” types where there is one ring to set the minimum aperture stop and a second ring to change between wide open and closed down to the selected number. Using them with ‘Aperture Priority’ mode on the Sony is easy and works well; I often just set the ‘stop’ ring to its limit (f16 or f22 for these lenses) and then just dial it in to where I get the depth of field or shutter speed I want. However with each lens I have tried to take at least one shot wide open so I can see how sharp it is at maximum aperture. This doesn’t always work in bright sunlight even with ISO set at 100 as the Sony’s top shutter speed is 4000. In some cases I’ve shot under lower light conditions just to have a look, but I don’t always include those shots.

The next lens in the line-up is the Cunor 200mm f4.5:

Cunor 200mm

Once again we have a lens without any significant information about its manufacture. No worries, because results are what matter! Ah, shame about that. I wanted to like this lens because a 200mm prime could be useful. Not this one.  I took pictures and then I took them over again. I checked the glass three times. Nothing helped. Particularly not the f4.5 maximum aperture. It takes a lot of glass and brass to make a ‘fast’ lens and this one hasn’t got it and isn’t. Herein I’ve tried to find the best shots it did in the equivalent of a whole roll of film.

Lilac in winter. Full frame shrunk down.

Doesn’t look too bad, right? Now look at a 640×427 segment from the full size image:

Lilac in winter segment.

It’s like that in every shot at any distance or aperture; soft to the point of blurriness. Combined with the ‘slow’ maximum aperture, slightly low contrast, and a somewhat stiff focusing ring and you have a lens I must rate as only ‘fair’. I am not surprised by this however, as I wasn’t expecting great results from a “no-name” brand lens. Colour rendition is okay if a bit muted and no sign of significant chromatic aberration.

With some effort you can get ‘artistic’ results:

Dreamy images are possible.
Okay for full-frame, just don’t look close at the details.
When all else fails, take a picture of the dog.

(The last three shots were post-processed in many ways; the lens does not perform on its own.)

Oh well. Another ‘fair’ lens. We’re 0 for 2 so far.

New-to-me lens

I bought a used Canon EF 75-300mm lens. New this lens retails at $329 plus tax. I paid $50 plus shipping. About 1/5 the cost, which makes it a bargain. But is it any good? I got to try it out briefly on Tuesday, before the weather turned against me. Unfortunately the day became excessively windy as the front moved in, which together with everything else I had to do curtailed my testing. Anyway here are the initial results.

First of all, it’s used. The barrel is a bit sloppy from wear and the zoom action isn’t smooth. Neither is bad enough to be objectionable to me, especially not at the price. The focus is fast enough and for the most part accurate. I managed to confuse it a few times as it couldn’t sort out what to fix on if the scene was too complex (like lots of branches) or if the subject was not a major portion of the picture (as with a raven in a large amount of sky). So how is the sharpness?

Marley’s empty head.
Hair of the dog.

The dog’s head is shot at 75mm (120mm equivalent due to the crop factor of the sensor). The 100% section of the full image (second photo) is pretty sharp. I’d rate it very good, in fact.

Jet in the sky.
Delta Airlines.

The airplane is shot at 300mm (480mm effectively). The 100% segment of the full image is pretty fuzzy. There are contributing factors like a lot of atmosphere to look through and the plane being in motion (although at that distance it didn’t appear to be). There is no image stabilization on this lens, which might have helped as the shot was hand-held. Nevertheless I can’t rate the long focal length results high. Good, but not very good. The Nikon would have done better using its super-zoom capacity and IS (I know, because I’ve shot the same sort of picture with it). In theory the extra MP of the Canon should allow better ‘digital zooming’, but it just isn’t there. Physics gets in the way of the hypothetical possibilities.

The colour rendition is very good. The contrast is slightly low. These factors hold true over the whole focal range, from what I’ve seen so far.

The Dead of Winter.
There is a raven there.

Needless to say I have not finished testing this lens. I’ve hardly begun, in fact.

Out and about

Plus a few random photography remarks.

I missed a few shots this past week (including a marmot) as it is impossible to grab a camera and turn it on and frame up the subject and take the picture while you’re driving down the road. Even if the road is a gravel logging path and you’re only doing 10 KPH at best. I did manage to stop upon hearing a rat-a-tat-tat noise in some dead birch trees, thinking it was a woodpecker. I spotted something red moving in the viewfinder and clicked, waiting to figure out what it was until later. It was this:

IMG_2523
Red-breasted sapsucker

This image was shot with the Canon T100 using the 55-250mm zoom at full extension. (This is a 640×480 view cropped from the full frame, not reduced.) With the crop factor this works out to about 400mm on a 135 camera. Why the Canon? Why not the famous Nikon P610? A couple of reasons. First, the Canon ‘fires up’ quicker; turn the dial and it’s ready (the Nikon works its way through some motor gymnastics before it’s ready). Second, the Canon’s optical finder is easier for me to see through. This is getting to be a problem, especially when trying to spot small subjects like birds in the distance.

Which brings us to point number three: optical and digital zooming. The Nikon can outdo the Canon optically by a factor of over 3X (1440mm vs. 400mm). This is because it has a smaller “2.3” sensor (which also reduces its effectiveness in low light). But the Canon has a slight edge in MP of about 12% so it’s better at post-shoot digital zooming. This has lead me to the decision that a T7 with its 24MP sensor would be even better for me – 50% better you might say. So in a weird way post-shoot digital zooming helps make up for my failing eyesight. Something to think about as the Nikon keeps producing out-of-focus pictures due to the loose lens (no, I can not tell if the image is in focus in the finder of any camer: I am dependent on autofocus and depth-of-field).

Now here’s a tiny butterfly. Not being a lepidopterist I don’t know what kind.

DSCF1225F

These were taken with the Fuji F80 EXR, of all things. Not really the camera for the job but it did it fairly well. The first shot is full frame, the second digitally zoomed (as is the third). You may notice a colour shift between the two shots as the camera tried to come to grips with the scene. The second image is somewhat washed out in the dried grass but the colour is better on the butterfly.

Now here’s what the Nikon did with a much larger version of what looks like the same butterfly (the first one was perhaps an inch long, the second closer to three inches):

The Nikon has utterly failed to focus a couple of times, usually when the lens is pointing down (which is telling). Here’s a shot that shows the motor-driven lens isn’t as quick as it should be. Look for the bird.

DSCN2410
Top of the frame

Of course if the subject will sit still, it’s fine:

DSCN2400
Duncan Dog wondering how long this picture business will take

Or if the conditions are right and you don’t need maximum magnification on one small object far off in the distance:

DSCN2396
One goes up, one goes down
DSCN2399
Raven again

And back to the Canon for a combination of maximum optical zoom with a bit of digital as well:

IMG_2525
Young mule deer doe

A discussion elsewhere about zoom lenses and whether or not you need them reminded me of an old movie camera I used to have: the Kodak Medallion 8. It took 8mm cartridge film, and had a 3 lens turret that allowed you to switch between wide-angle, normal, and telephoto just by pivoting the lens elements around (not while shooting of course). A cheap version of a zoom, and easier than changing the whole lens!

The difficulty with spotting a subject at the ‘normal’ focal length of your eye and then getting a camera fixed on it with a telephoto lens is sometimes aggravating. Being able to spot it with the zoom at wide/normal and then twisting a ring to close in on it is much better. Motor zooms are slow for moving subjects like birds. Sometimes even the fastest autofocus and shutter release is slow; birds can be really, really quick!

But I can see where if I continue shooting wildlife I would stay with the medium-to-long manual zoom lens, quick center-spot autofocus, optical finder, and as many pixels as possible to facilitate post-shoot digital zooming. This is not the best combination for everyone, of course; I just like shooting wildlife and that’s mostly best done from a distance. Even butterflies are reluctant to hold still while you move in closer.

Addendum: Since writing this I came across another blog wherein the author made a statement along the lines of “like many people I like the effect of limited depth-of-field”. Am I the last person on Earth who wants sharpness in photos? Yes sometimes it’s nice to blur the background, but not always! And if the whole of the subject isn’t sharp … well to me it just looks like someone did a bad job photographing it.

Shutting up now. Do what you like.

The long and winding lens

I have an old Soligor M42 mount 80-205mm f3.5 macro zoom from my Pentax equipment. I tried it on the Canon once, but didn’t like it. Mainly because this lens lacks an Auto/Manual aperture switch, meaning that as-is you can only shoot wide open. I probably don’t have to explain that on a lens that long the depth of field at f3.5 is near nil, never mind that full aperture is rarely the sharpest selection for any lens.

Dan James suggested I glue the stop-down pin in, making it a full manual-only lens. It’s a good idea, but before taking that step I decided to give it another shot on the Canon so I could ask myself that all-important question “would I really use it?” before going ahead with the modification. Herein the results.

IMG_2122
Pine

Something there is probably in focus somewhere, but I don’t see it. What I notice most is the colours are interestingly rich. This is due partly to the characteristics of the lens and partly due to the fact some idiot forgot he had the 2X Pentax extender on as well and didn’t compensate the exposure for it. Well if you’re going to screw up a digital exposure, go under with it. Going over just gives you washed out areas with zero data to work with.

This combination also brings up another issue with the lens: it is big, long, and heavy. 205mm of classical glass is 328mm on the crop sensor Canon, or 656mm with the extender. We’re talking Hubble Telescope neighbourhood here. No Image Stabilizer on this old lens! Almost impossible to handhold steady even for a normal person, never mind some old guy with permanent shakes. Crank up the ISO, turn the shutter speed to max, and you can still get nothing but a blur due to the practically non-existent DOF.

IMG_2118
Glacier

Now here is a picture which brings up another issue, albeit one not the fault of camera or photographer. At this time of year our sun angle is really low in the sky. This means the light is coming through a lot of atmosphere even at noon, making for very warm lighting. Also long shadows. Also lots of glare. We’re talking windshield-laser-of-death kind of thing.

I tried some processing on this shot and kept going back to the out-of-camera original as best for lighting and colour. It’s not a spectacular image by any means, but I like the light. I’d like it more if it were even remotely sharp. Even my eyes can see that it isn’t. Pretty sure I had it focused, but a lot can change when you push the button.

IMG_2117
Dew drop

I often take this shot as a lens test. The wire is slightly diagonal to the ‘film plane’, yet we don’t see any particular point of sharp focus. Or at least I don’t. I have to conclude that there was a focal point, but the image simply isn’t sharp anywhere. How much of that is the wide-open aperture and how much is the glass? Good question.

IMG_2115
Broken

This is a failure. It seemed like it would be a good shot, but in the end it’s pretty dull and yes it’s fuzzy. Since these pictures are done at different distances you’d think one of them would turn out sharp, but it isn’t looking good for the ol’ Soligor.

IMG_2124
Macro

Ah, who are we kidding? There was no chance of a macro shot coming out sharp. But I had to try it because it’s one of the lens functions. Kind of silly to hand-hold it too.

IMG_2121
Searchin’ in the sun for another overload

This shot started out as blah. One aspect of telephotos is how they look through the haze, and pick it all up. That’s one difference between getting close with a lens and getting close with your feet. Really this started out as a mass of bluish-gray dullness, so I decided to ‘cook’ it with brightness and contrast adjustments. Now it’s an artistic rendering of scorching desert heat on the wires. And you hardly notice it isn’t sharp. Heat blur. Or something.

What conclusions do we draw? The Soligor is not a sharp lens. It is heavy and hard to handhold. The fact is I can get similar results with the 55-250mm Canon lens with fewer exposure/focus issues. What’s more, for really long shots the Nikon P610’s 1440mm equivalent blows the Soligor to pieces in every respect.

I may yet go ahead and glue that pin down, just to see if the lens is any better when stopped-down. Of all my old Pentax mount lenses, this one clearly is the worst. I’m not sure I noticed it at the time.