Monday, March 27, 2023

Vintage Soligor 28mm F/2.8 Wide-Auto MC Lens on the Samsung NX1

I found this very good condition 1979-vintage SOLIGOR 28mm f2.8 (SN 4793243) lens at a thrift store ($8)  Paired it with my Samsung NX1 digital camera using a M42-to-NX adapter, set the camera to manual and headed-out to do some street photography downtown Phoenix about 1-hour before sunset.  All images straight from camera sensor.  All in-camera effects off and no 'post' manipulation.  

First photo I call the new look of Phoenix.  Wow! Right from the first image, this lens produces images with subtle color tones that are very pleasing to the eye. 


Settings: f11, ISO-200, EV0, 1/125s

So what's this lens's story?


Name on Lens: Soligor 28mm F/2.8 Wide-Auto MC Lens

Manufacturer: Sun Optical Co.
Mount: M42
Aperture: f2.8 - f22
Filter diameter: 58mm

Material: Metal
Focus ring: 270 degrees rotational throw, moderately firm and smooth
Aperture ring: 1/2 stops, except full stops at F2.8 and F16, F22
Serial number decode: 

First number is the Manufacturer (4 = SUN, Sun Optical Co. Ltd)

Second and third numbers are the decade and year (in this case 79 or 1979).


In the 1950s or 1960s, the company was using the English name Sun Optical Co., an independent Japanese lens maker wbased in the city of Ichikawa (in the Chiba Prefecture, at the East of Tokyo).  

The company began as Kajiro Kōgaku Kenkyūjo in 1939 selling lenses under the K.O.L name and then renamed to Gojō Kōki in 1941. 

The company ended in 1945 but was soon revived as Sun Kōki, selling lenses under the Sun name with "Sun Opt" or "Sun Optical" often appearing on lenses.  Sun made many lenses under their own name as well as producing products under contract for other companies such as Soligor.   

In the late 70's or possibly early 80's the company became 'Gotō Sun' and continued to sell lenses until some time in the late 80's when they appear to have been absorbed by Goyō Kōgaku Shōji also know as Goyo Optical.

I photograph the changing urban landscape here in Phoenix.  In the photo below, I like how this lens along with the camera produce a subtle (low contrast) shade, then transition to bright light.

Settings: f8/11, ISO-100, EV0, 1/125s

Straight out of camera - This Soligor lens produces an eye-pleasing texture with rich yet subtle colors.

Settings: f5.6, ISO-100, EV0, 1/125s

A common scene, people using the murals, architecture and the general urban landscape as a backdrop for photographs.

Settings: f8, ISO-100, EV0, 1/125s

New clubs, bars and restaurants to accommodate university students seasonal/event visitors and a growing urban population, shape the downtown culture

Settings: f8/11, ISO-100, EV0, 1/125s

Settings: f8/11, ISO-100, EV0, 1/125s

Alleys are an integral part of an urban landscape and a contributing factor of a city's character. For some a short-cut, others a place to take a break from the main street

Settings: f8, ISO-100, EV0, 1/125s

Settings: f5.6, ISO-100, EV0, 1/125s
Stopped-down the aperture to the lens's minimum of f2.8. I wanted to see the len's bokeh effect on far away objects.  For the photograph below, the background bokeh is pleasantly blurred very fine.

Settings: f2.8, ISO-100, EV0, 1/1000s

New high-rise apartments rise from empty lots and economically obsolescent properties that are demolished.

Settings: f4/5.6, ISO-100, EV0, 1/125s

Settings: f5.6, ISO-100, EV0, 1/125s

Settings: f5.6/f8, ISO-400, EV0, 1/160s

Construction Cranes dominate the landscape as federally legislated 'Opportunity Zones' provide a tax free shelter for wealthy investors through real estate investment funds.

Settings: f16, ISO-400, EV0, 1/160s

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Ernest Leitz Wetzlar f4.5, 200mm (Leica Telyt 1935)



Photo Above: Subject lens (foreground) mounted to the Samsung NX1 using a bellows for both infinity and MACRO focus assist. The lens is a M39 screw mount.  I used an M39-to-M42 step-up ring to attached to a M42 mount bellows.  The camera end is a Pentax mount which I adapted to the NX1 with a PK-to-NX mount adapter.

The 20cm f/4.5 Telyt of 1935 was a quality lens for its day. It had a 5-element, 4-group design and a 20-blade iris diaphragm behind the 3rd element (see photo below).

This lens was designed with an achromatic doublet
at the front which brings red and blue light to the same focus.  Known as an achromatic lens or achromat, it is a lens designed to limit the effects of chromatic and spherical aberration. Achromatic lenses are corrected to bring two wavelengths (typically red and blue) into focus on the same plane (see illustration below).


The 20cm f/4.5 - f36 Telyt was designed for mounting on the first Leitz Reflex housing for screw-mount Leicas and was subsequently used on the original Visoflex (see illustration below.

The lens was made with milled or scalloped focusing rings. It has aperture settings from f/4.5-36, a rather long minimum focus distance of 3 meters (9.8 feet), weighs in at a hefty 550g (1.2 pounds), and bears the inscription Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Telyt. Total assigned serial numbers over its entire production run indicate that only 17,100 were made, making it fairly uncommon. (Source #leicasociety Instagram)

Serial number of the subject lens is #272404 which historical documentation shows the lens was fabricated in the second year of production (1935) and only 1,000 were made (below table).

 SN Start  SN End      Product         Year     Total
 230001    230300  20 cm 1:4.5 20cm    1934      300
 272001    273000  20 cm 1:4.5 Telyt   1935     1000 


The photos below are shown 'as-photographed' (except as noted), with no in-camera picture effects or filters.  Due to the long focal length a tripod was used. 

7/14 Update: I performed a simple adjustment in a photo editor to align the black and white levels to match the histogram for most of the photographs below.  I posted them below their unedited counterparts.

                                F18 /  1/125sec  /  -0.3EV  /  ISO200

                            F12.5  /  1/250sec  /  0EV  /  ISO200

 I noticed that when even using the camera's histogram to better dial-in exposure, images with this lens for the most part came out slightly over exposed producing a hazy look. It is noticeable in both the photograph above and below.  

              F18  /  1/80sec  /  -0.3EV  /  ISO200

Below: Corrected image above for (black/white) levels,shadow

                                         F36 / 1/30sec / 0EV / ISO200

                  F12.5 / 1/250sec / 0EV / ISO200

                                  F6.5 / 1/60sec / 0EV / ISO200

                                              F4.5 / 1/60sec / 0EV / ISO800

Note that image below was corrected for (black/white) levels and shadow.
 F12.5 / 1/100sec / 0EV / ISO200

Below: Enlargement of photograph above to show level of detail sharpness.  Note that image below was corrected for (black/white) levels and shadow.

                F18  /  1/125sec  /  -0.3EV  / ISO200

The following three photographs were taken with a full open aperture (f4.5) and close range to express the background bokeh. The 20-aperture blades of the lens produced a beautiful uniform bokeh as shown below:

               F4.5 / 1/500sec / -0.3EV / ISO100

                                 F4.5 / 1/500sec / -0.3EV  / ISO100


              F4.5 / 1/500sec / -0.3EV /  ISO100

The photo below shows that with the lens fully 'stopped-down' dust particles or fungus are present in the lens.

                                 F36 / 1/30sec / 0EV / ISO200

Comments: The best aspect of this lens is the bokeh as shown. It's built solid and both the focus and aperture dials are smooth and firm.  The dust and fungus discovery is a bummer, but the lens elements can always be cleaned.   

Practical use is another issue.  As shown mounted to the camera you need a bellows for proper focusing and a tripod, so it's no run-and-gun street-photography lens.  

Exciting to find this lens was one of the first years of production (1935) with only 1,000 made that year.  The first year there were only 300 made, so 1934 the first production test-run year.  

As noted the lens produces a sense of slightly hazy or overexposed results compared to what the camera's histogram suggests. However, I provided a 'mastered' (we'll call it that for simplicity's sake) copy for most of the photographs, where black and while levels were balanced to match the histogram for the image.  The result were images that reallyt popped.  It changed my thinking on the potential for this lens on a modern digital camera.

Comments welcome.

 #leicalens #SamsungNX1 #NX1 #lecia #Leitztylet #bartsantello

Monday, June 7, 2021

Zeiss JENA Flektogon 25mm f4


While looking for a 35mm f2.4 version of a Cold War era East German Zeiss JENA lens, I happened upon a bargain-priced vintage Zeiss Jena Flektogon 25mm f4 at the online lens retailer So I jumped on it.

Known for its sharp images, beautifully saturated colors and appropriate contrast, the Zeiss Jena Flektogon lens draw attention.  This 25mm is less talked-about then its sisters the 35mm f2.4 and 2.8 lens versions.

It was a M42-mount version, serial number 7135573 with no optical defects in very good cosmetic and working order.  Using a M42-to-NX mount adapter, the lens looked quite handsome on my Samsung NX1 digital camera (see photos below):


This lens has a front lens threaded filter size of 77mm.  Due to the lens's focal length of  25mm [37.5mm 'crop factor' equivalent on the NX1's APS-C sensor], I figured that since I would use this lens primarily for street photography, a circular-polarizing lens filter would help with bright sun and accentuate cloudy skies.

Some basic historical/technical information, the Zeiss Jena Flektogon 25mm f4 is provided below by


The following photographs are presented 'as-taken' - handheld, without in-camera filters or effects and no post adjustments.  They are my first pictures with this lens.

The photo below includes a 9X magnification to illustrate the sharpness of the lens. 

F-11  /  ISO200  / EV 0  /  1/80sec
I find that the photograph photo below of the post office has a nice gradual transition between the light and more shadowed areas.  It's attractive.

F-11  /  ISO200  / EV 0  /  1/80sec

              F-8  /  ISO800  / EV 0  /  1/80sec

F-5.6 /  ISO800  / EV 0  /  1/80sec

 F-4  /  ISO200  / EV 0  /  1/250sec

 For the photo below I switched to the monochrome camera setting on the NX1 (aka "Classic")

F4-5.6  /  ISO3200  / EV +0.6  /  1/40sec

F-4  /  ISO400  / EV 0  /  1/125sec

The photographs above were the first pictures I had the opportunity to take with this lens and so far the results are quite good.  I would like to experiment more with a full open aperture to further explore the bokeh of this lens and under different lighting conditions.  I would like to get a few indoor shots. 

 Technical drawing of this lens found on the Internet.  Only difference is the 'Exacta" mount.

Learn more about this and other Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon lenses:

"Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon, Wide Angle Lens History and Review" by Cheyenne Morrison. An informative post on the Zeiss Jena lenses can be found here:

Further observations from

"..The 25mm f4 Carl Zeiss Flektogon is a rare wide angle lens that's very hard to find today, especially in good condition. It is the first of a wide angle lens series that continued with the 20mm f4 and f2.8 MC Flektogons. In terms of design, the 25mm Flektogon represents the starting point from which the series would later develop. Its optics is good, but remember that this is an old single coated lens, so you shouldn't expect the same raw performance that you'd extract from a newer multi-coated version.  The 25mm f4 Carl Zeiss Flektogon has a minimum focusing distance of 0.2m and it weighs around 350g. Filter diameter: 77mm."

Please leave a comment with any questions or to further the discussion.  Thanks, Bart