Saturday, July 25, 2015

Chinon 55mm f1.7 VS Chinon 55mm f1.4 - Part I

Chinon, founded in 1948, as a maker of lenses, was quite uninteresting and ordinary.  As far as I know, they didn't make any lenses consider exotic, or highly sought after, perhaps, with the exception of the Tomioka made Chinon 55mm f1.2.  It was one of the players in the universal (M42) mount market, dominated mostly by Pentax at the time.  They later switched to K-Mount and produced a lot of consumer grade cameras and lenses.  Chinon became a subsidiary of Kodak Japan in 2004 and I believe they still produce digital cameras/camcorders, amount other stuff. Two of the lenses they made (or marketed) was the 55mm f1.7, and the 55mm f1.4 that we are going to look at today.

There are at least 3 versions of the Chinon 55mm f1.4 in M42 mount.  One was originally marked Auto Chinon Tomioka 55mm f1.4, and later simply called Auto Chinon 55mm f1.4, and the last version had multi-coating applied.  All of these version were either made by Tomioka or designed by them.  I believe this lens also came in Pentax K-Mount.  A 55mm f1.4 Tomioka lens will fetch two to three times the amount of money then a lens simply called Auto Chinon 55mm f1.4, being the exact same lens.  To a lens collector, this might make a difference, but if you are just buying the lens to make photographs, it makes no sense to pay more.

The Chinon Brothers

For the Chinon 55mm f1.7, there are also multiple versions.  The original M42 version did not have multi-coating, and later ones did.  This lens also came in Pentax K-Mount.

In Part II, we will compare the images from the two lenses.

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