Saturday, December 17, 2016

Soligor 55mm f1.8 Miranda Screw Mount

Soligor and Vivitar lenses were all that I could afford when I started in photography.  I bought a brand new dual focal (85mm & 135mm) Soligor in the mid 80s for my Pentax Program Plus.  Never liked it, and the whereabouts of this lens is now a mystery.  But that marked the first time I encounter Soligor lenses, and only knew it as cheap alternatives to the more expensive OEM lenses.  Still have a few Soligor lenses.  Early ones were actually quite well made, and all were made in Japan, many of them by Tokina.

Soligor 55mm f1.8 in Miranda Screw Mount

At the last camera show, I was surprised to discover a normal, 55mm Soligor lens, which I never even knew they existed. Even more surprised it was a screw mount that fit the hybrid mount of the Miranda cameras.  Yes, some of the Miranda camera can accept screw mount and bayonet mount lenses.  Unfortunately, the screw mount is not the standard M42 but is slightly larger, around 50mm but has the same 1 mm pitch as M42.  Some companies, like Tamron, never made a normal (50mm/55mm/58mm) lens that I know of, and this Soligor 55mm f1.8 is the only Soligor normal lens I have ever seen.  Since it was pretty cheap, I bought it to check it out.

Old St. Lawrence Market, before it was completely demolished. Soligor 55mm f1.8 & Sony A7

The lens is very well made like most lenses at the time.  It's also a pretty large lens.  All metal lens barrel and mount with 10(12?) aperture blades, but they are not really round in middle apertures, but are sawtooth-like, similar to many older cine lenses.  This lens has pre-set aperture, so there is no automation at all between camera and the lens.  There is no coating on the glass surfaces, therefore the lens has lots of reflection on the front of the glass.  A proper hood really should be used when shooting outdoors.

In order to make the lens mountable on my A7, I had to machine a used M42 mount that goes over the existing screw mount.  This way I can screw the lens on the M42 focus helicoid.  This works out really well.

Bokeh Samples - Soligor 55mm f1.8 & Sony A7

The image quality is pretty much what I expected, similar to other 55mm f1.8 lenses I have used.  The lens is not super sharp at wide apertures, but it does produce pleasing bokeh.  Even stopped down, the lens lacks microcontrast the give "bite" to pictures, but with a bit of unsharp mask, the files are more than usable.

Overall, it's an interesting lens, not optically, but from the uncommon stand point.

Gooderham Flatiron Toronto - Soligor 55mm f1.8 & Sony A7

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