Monday, December 25, 2017

Promaster 200mm f3.3 - Test Photographs

I found this Promaster 200mm f3.3 prime lens at a pawn shop for $10  (300mm equivalent on the NX1). I was curious about a fast f3.3 lens at 200mm.  Usually that focal length in vintage lenses you see f4 or greater. 

This ProMaster has a built-in lens hood that slides forward, and a large focus ring surface at mid-barrel.  F-stops go from f3.3 to f16.  This particular lens had a Konica mount, adapted to the NX1.

The following photographs were taken downtown  Phoenix, Arizona hand-held, manual-mode and manual focus.  All photographs are 'as-taken' except where indicated.  Light: late afternoon just before sunset.

               f16  / 1/60-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV -0.3

               f16  / 1/60-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV -0.3 
                (reduced brightness & added contrast)
Note appearance of some lens fungus at top-quarter of photograph. Not noticeable in other images.

f11  / 1/60-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV -0.3
                   (reduced brightness in post) 

                f3.3 / 1/60-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV 0   

(with lens wide open it was difficult to get the subjects in focus.
Focus-peaking on the NX1 didn't show any 'in-focus' points - so subjects are soft. Notice bokeh which provides a 'painterly-effect' in the background.)

                f5.6 / 1/125-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV 0

                 f5.6  / 1/40-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV 0
              (manipulated brightness & contrast in post)

                 f5.6  / 1/40-sec  /  ISO-100  /  EV 0  
(street cat appeared - tried to get focus right, but difficult
 with moving subject; so I applied heavy contrast in post in 
 attempt to salvage the photograph by accentuating both subject
 and background)

                f5.6  / 1/40-sec  /  ISO-400  /  EV +0.3
               (manipulated brightness & contrast in post)

f11  / 1/40-sec  /  ISO-200  /  EV +0.3

First Impressions:  I need a few more outings with the Promaster 200mm f3.3 lens to get a better sense of whether it will be a keeper or not. I seemed to need extra time focusing at times even with the NX1's 'focus-peaking' capability.  The one image I took at f3.3 came out soft.   However some of the images at f5.6 or above look nice and sharp.

Lens Manufacturing Info:  This lens is strikingly similar to a Hanimex label, this 200mm f/3.3 lens.  The manufacturer, date and other 'branding' information is sparse.  There is a discussion on the Internet at here:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Quantaray 28-90mm F3.5-5.6 Lens - A Surprise

I picked-up this Quantaray 28-90mm F3.5-5.6 Lens at a record store in Phoenix, Arizona that also sells used music equipment and some electronics.  The QUANTARAY name was unfamiliar to me and normally I collect lenses from the 1970's and 80's, yet this one looked like it was from the 90's of early 2000's with a hard plastic material; so I was hesitant to buy at first.  

But I was curious and I liked the sweet-spot focal length range of 28-90mm (42-135mm equivalent on the Samsung NX1). The price at $25 wasn't bad, the lens was made in Japan, easily adaptable Pentax mount and overall the lens was in really good shape.  So I picked-it-up.  

An Internet search reveals very little about this lens.  But it appears that the lens is manufactured by SIGMA and distributed exclusively by Ritz Camera (.com) at that time.   I went to and it look like they still sell (new) Quantaray lenses.

Above: Quantaray 28-90mm f3.5-5.6 lens mounted with readily-available Pentax (PK) to Samsun (NX) mount.   

The photos posted below were 'as-taken': No post editing or effects.  Note that after taking these photographs I went back into the in-camera settings and notice I had the 'VIVID' picture effect turned 'on'.  This had the effect of increasing saturation and contrast.  Sorry I didn't write the f-stop setting for these photographs.  Camera was in manual shooting mode and with the lens adapter, the f-stop setting is not recorded to the NX1's meta-data file.

The above picture was taken with house lights only at an ISO of 6400 - Impressive

I took this photograph for an artist who wanted a quick-photo inventory of her stained-glass work.  I used it as an opportunity to play with the Quantaray.  In order to avoid a street scene and buildings in the background, I got on the floor and shot-up at the glass pieces attached to the store's window.  The plywood in the background is looking-up at the porch overhang.

Nice shot of translucent calcite cylinders illuminated by indirect light.  Notice the smooth background bokeh.  Sorry,I did not record the f-stop.

Other notes: Despite the lack of information on this lens online, I did come across a forum discussing this lens.  I think this lens is fantastic and thus was surprised to see postings that it was a good lens at $30 but would be disappointed at a higher price: Or, that people considered it a beginner's lens.  

Also,  This Quantaray's focus ring at at the front of the lens.  I noticed during my test shots that the len's optimum focus point was tight (in other words you are either spot-on or you fall-off.  Thus, thank goodness for 'focus peaking' on the NX1 to nail it.