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Eclair Cameras: ACL 2nd Test - LENSES ( long)
This is the second part of a two part post describing the findings of my
second camera, mag and film test of my UK ACL1.
Used fixed primes 50 and 25 Zeiss (for Rollei SL35) and Zeiss 16mm
Highspeed Primes as well.
Also 50 and 28mm Olympus stills lenses, an old Vivitar Series 1 90mm 2.5
macro lens (OM mount), Kilfit Macro 40 and 90mm lenses and Kilfitt 300mm
lens. (I bought a lot of C mount adaptors and have a Nikon, Olympus OM,
Kilfitt, Rollei SL, and soon a Contax/Yashica ).
Regular cine lenses included a 9mm Kinetal, 13mm and 25-100 TV-16
Canons, and 25mm and 50mm Kern Switars, rented Zeiss highspeed primes
25, 50mm and a T3 10-100 zoom. My main zoom lens is a surprise.
Zeiss lens looked great. Surprise - my new Kinor OPF-12-1 was pretty
much identical to the T3 Zeiss, BTW (thanks for the steer, Anders).
Great lens if you can get it., especially with the x6 aspheron-type
converter. Both were of course better than my Canon TV-16 25-100mm
lens, but the difference, as one would expect, diminished markedly at
Comparative lens tests were informative: I shot a resolution chart, and
the Kodak control strips, as well as a portrait and a landscape (i.e. my
back garden and my family). Results are based on my only viewing (just
now) at a pro lab and are my own subjective opinion only.
Zeiss 35mm stills lenses were a shade looser acutance-wise than the
Highspeeds and all were, to my eye, marginally better than the T3 zooms,
this all at T3 to T4 (I'm talking about the stills lenses. The
made-for-16mm Zeiss Highspeeds were noticeably sharper, but of course,
this from lenses that cost around 10x as much. I'd say that if you were
shooting EI200 or above, the grain would soak up the difference pretty
The Switars and Cooke lenses did well as expected. The Canon TV lenses
not as well, also as expected. No surprises there. The Olympus lenses
balanced, for some reason, with a slightly greener case than the other
lenses. The Switars were, as expected, slightly warmer than the Zeisses
(you can see that just by looking at the coatings).
I'm getting in some Jena lenses soon, they should be interesting to
Follow-focussing the stills primes was difficult as the helices aren't
built for film, but still doable. You just have to get used to which
way the focus runs (or have an assistant pull focus). Take care, the
Rollei mount I have is typical of the lot, there's a certain amount of
give after the lens clicks into place, I guess to allow for
manufacturing tolerances. I had to have that tolerance machined out
because the image would jink every time I changed focus and the lens
moved around in its adaptor mount. Of course, in stills, we don't care
The irises are another matter. The Zeiss stills lenses have a Manual
setting on them, defeating the auto iris used in 35mm SLR stills
Not so the Olympus lenses, which have a pushbutton (sprung) iris closer.
I had to tape this button down to get the iris to work manually.
Needless to say the click stops on the irises of the stills cameras
meant irregular (jarring) iris pulls. Have to remove the ball
bearing/clicker mechanism if one is to use the lens full time for film.
The big surprisess for me, were the Kilfitt lenses and the Vivitar 90mm
macro. All showed excellent clarity, pleasing "bokeh" , pleasing color
rendition, slightly warmer than the Zeisses but not as warm, to my eye,
as the Switars. These were had on ebay for very little money indeed,
especially the old Series 1 Vivitar, which turned out to be quite a
Okay, that's it for now. As more lenses accumulate, I'll probably post
findings on my website, but it's back to work tomorrow, so without
all the best
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