Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Cheap Wide Angle Lens - Sicor 23mm f3.5 [MD]

Back in the old days, there are more of everything.  More computer companies that make different and incompatible computers, and more lens brands.  You could have five or six different labels on the same lens.  Case in point, Sicor 23mm f3.5, which also sold by Soligor, Prinz, Hanimex, Elicar, and possibly others, with their own names on it.  I only used this Sicor 23mm f3.5 once, here, and I didn't much like the results from the G1, though it was passable as a no name lens.  23mm seems like an odd focal length for a lens, but then we also have 25mm, 29mm, 31mm, so it's not rare.  I am sure, if anyone cares to measure it, this 23mm lens is probably close to 24mm.

Kaiser's Clown -- NEX-5N & Sicor 23mm f3.5. Click for larger size.

So I decided to take it out and try it on the NEX-5N.  It seem like some lenses work better on different cameras.  Indeed, this is true for this lens.  On the NEX-5N, pictures seem to come out better, sharper, though the edges are still lackluster, but as you can see the picture above, which was shot at f3.5 wide open, it's quite OK in the center of the image.  Stopping down to around f11 improves the edges, but still not as sharp as the center.  Bokeh is kind of funky and not to my liking, but your mileage may vary.

The Georgin House -- NEX-5N & Sicor 23mm f3.5. Click for larger size.

I think if you print the pictures at 8x10, you probably won't be too critical of the edges, as the low resolution of the print would mask unsharpness, and you should be quite happy about it.  I mean, this lens usually sells for $20 to $40, so no one should expect top performance from it.  In truth, I think the kit lens will do better, except the distortion, but it's a very nicely built lens.  It has an usually large 62mm filter size.

Building -- NEX-5N & Sicor 23mm f3.5. Click for larger size.
My take?  I won't spend too much for it.  There are far better wide angle lenses at 24mm for not too much money.  For example, Tokina RMC 24mm f2.8, Vivitar 24mm f2.8 are good choices.  Unless, of course, you can get one for the cost of a cheap lunch, by all means buy one, if only for the somewhat usual focal length of 23mm.


  1. Whoa! Lovable photos. I love good old lenses :-) and this Sicor is one of them. Do you understand what is written before the "SICOR" brand on the lens?


  2. Sorry for the doubled post. I mean this writing right here: do you know what does it mean?


    1. Got this lens for 25 Euro.
      I can confirm your observations. Nice center sharpnes, soft at corners on an APS-C. Also has some problems with CAs at wide aperatures.

      On the other hand it was just 25 Euros and the Lens is fun to use.