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RE: Eclair ACL Angenieux 9.5-95

----- Original Message -----
From: "Matthew Lehrer" <matthew@fastdial.net>
To: <rho@netreach.net>
Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 9:19 PM
Subject: Angenieux 9.5-95

Hi Robert! During a recent ACL-list thread on compact zoom lenses, you
called the Angenieux 9.5-95 "very mediocre." Would you be able to
on this for me? I'm looking to replace my 12-120 with something a bit more
compact, so the 9.5-95 seemed the next step.

The 9.5-95 is much larger in every dimension than a 12-120. I had one.

Should I go with the 9.5-57
instead, and why? Thanks in advance for any info you can share!

- Matthew

I am blessed with a photographic memory for old Popular Photography and
Modern Photography lens reports. I was a very precocious toddler. In those
days, the magazines gave some coverage to this kind of equipment.

All the old Angenieux zooms were of the front-element focusing variety, and
used rare earth glasses typical of the era. As such, any extension of a
design in the direction of greater zoom range, greater aperture, or close
focusing ability exacted a toll in some other area of lens performance. In
those days, there was no free lunch.

The magazine test reported stated that the 9.5-95 appeared to be optimize
for closer work than the 12-120. Hence at distances approaching infinity, it
is not as sharp as a 12-120. The extension of the zoom range down to 9.5
millimeters also put a stress on the design.

By reducing the zoom range to 9.5- 57mm, the designers were able to throw
out performance considerations for longer focal lengths, so they could
adjust the available parameters strictly to optimize within that limited
zoom range. The   9.5-57 is the best old-style Angenieux zoom, and it's
interesting to note that when Cooke tried the same trick by making a 9-50,
it turned out to be a world-beater, even by today's standards.

From various sources over the years, I conjecture that the old Angenieux
zooms can be ranked in the following order:

1. 9.5-57, nicknamed the "variable prime". Yes, it's as good as OLD primes,
which is pretty good.
2. 10-150, except that the flare level is objectionably high, so the
sharpness isn't really usable.
3. 15-150, called by Popular or Modern the perfectionist's zoom at the time
it was reviewed, though this is now laughable.
4. 12-120, esteemed as the workhorse of it's time, for a good combination of
sharpness, low flare, and speed. Nowdays, the wide-angle performance really
isn't acceptable.
5. 9.5-95, just all around mediocre.

After the new glasses came out, there were some notable advances. Designers
got some "free lunch."
The Zeiss 10-100 T3 T* zoom is a very good lens, even by today's standards.
The Canon 12-120 fluorite is seen at reasonable prices. In about 8 weeks,
I'll be able to report to the group on it's overall performance.
The Angenieux 12-120 H.E.C. is a rare and sharp glass.
The Cooke 9-50 is phenomenal, but marred by a cheaply made diaphram that
does require service to keep it going. People use it anyway.

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