Sunday, November 1, 2015

Topcon RE Auto Topcor 135mm f3.5

Got this lens from the camera show a couple of weeks ago, and it was a bargain for $5.  The lens is in pristine condition, both cosmetically and optically.  The RE Topcor lenses are beautifully made and this one is no exception.  The fit and finish is first rate.  A turn on the aperture ring reminds me of a precision instrument, and it's crafted like one.  The click is crisp and precise, and the sound is angelic.  Of all the lenses I have, and I have a few, no other lenses have an aperture ring that feels and sounds like this one.  I can feel the passion, and painstaking care the designer put into creating this piece of awesomeness.  Even if the lens performs like crap optically, it would still earn my utmost respect.

Topcor 135mm f3.5 on Sony A7

The attention to details can be seen clearly with the built-in hood.  In most Japanese lenses that have built-in hoods, 99% of them are useless, because they are way too short.  But, this lens has a two stage collapsible hood, similar to the one in the Leica-R Summicron 90mm f2, and extends to about twice as long as most built-in hoods.  While still not the proper length for this lens, it's much better than most.

The precision feel of the lens extends to the focusing.  The focusing ring is rubber with ribbed textured, and has the right amount of damping.  One turn of the ring and you feel like slicing butter with a hot knife.  It's smooth with a quality feel.  Again, the fit and finish of the rubber is just amazing; it looks and feels like a unified body part of the lens.

The modified EXA mount may pose problem if you use it on Canon bodies, but it has no problem with the NEX-EXA adapter that I have.  The 4 extruding pins on the mount will prevent the lens from mounting properly on EF-EXA adapters.  More reason to go with mirrorless cameras if you are really into manual focus lenses.

Lens mounts perfectly on the NEX-EXA adapter.  Note the 3 pins in the space between the adapter and the lens.

Attempted to mount lens to Canon-EXA adapter.  Note the pins are preventing the lens from mounting flush with the adapter.  On a normal Exakta mount, there is usually one one locking pin.  Not all RE Topcor lenses have these pins.  My RE Topcor 10cm f2.8 and 5.8cm f1.8 have only one pin.

In the image quality department, I can only evaluate the images that is in focus; the adapter I have is just shy of attaining infinity focus, unfortunately.  All the images at infinity appears to be sharp, but it's just not quite there.  I know the lens can do better as in medium distance, it's really sharp.  I guess a new NEX-EXA adapter is needed.

I quite like the rendering of this lens.  I was worried that a lens this well designed and built, might perform like crap, but it doesn't.  Sure a larger maximum aperture would be nice, but for close ups, it still provides very thin depth of field.  Check the picture below.  It was shot at f5.6 and the depth of field is still very thin.  The large sensor on the A7 helps.

Fallen leaf -- RE Topcor 135mm f3.5 @ f5.6 & Sony A7

Having used this lens, I am worried that I might start looking for other RE Topcor lenses.  They are not very common in Canada and price is not cheap at all.  I guess those who own these lenses know how good they are.

Bokeh - RE Topcor 135mm f3.5 & Sony A7

Island Ferry - RE Topcor 135mm f3.5 & Sony A7

Autumn Leaf -- RE Topcor 135mm f3.5 & Sony A7

Another Bokeh Shot - RE Topcor 135mm f3.5 & Sony A7

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