Magnicon f=28-135mm 1:3.9-5.5 Multicoated Auto Aperture Zoom-Macro Lens

Discussion in 'Pentax Lenses' started by VidThreeNorth, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    You Can't Buy This Lens...

    Auto-Aperture Pentax K Mount version
    Sony a5000 (with K-mount manual adapter)

    ... As far as I know, there may only have been a handful of units of this lens actually made. As for wanting to buy it, it is debatable whether you would. Here is the story:

    Many years ago, in the film camera days, when Black's Cameras was a big photography store chain in the Province of Ontario, Canada, the company used to sell some store brand products. The "Magnicon" lenses were one of the brands that the store used. Some of the lenses were very good. They were roughly as good as the Soligor line. This lens, however, was not well liked. I knew a photographer that tried out one of this model lens and was disappointed. I cannot recall everything I was told, but the word "soft" was prominent. When that one word was uttered, I basically stopped listening. It is all I needed. Back then, if you had a soft lens there was nothing that could be done about it.

    Today things are a bit different. I still would not want this lens if I was using a "Full size sensor" camera, but my equipment is at the opposite end of the scale. The largest sensor I have is an APS-C on my Sony a5000. So that makes a number of old "budget" zooms interesting. Why? Because many of them were not bad in the center, but fell apart badly off-axis. But since I am using a crop sensor, I am not using the outer reaches of the image area. So if the center is sharp and it does not fall off too much, say within 2/3 of the way out to the corner, then I might have a pretty good lens.

    The interesting thing is that this model lens did not show up in "many" of the Black's stores. The smaller stores never had them at all, and the only store I saw one in was the "Yorkdale" store, which was one of the stores with the highest sales volumes. There were only about three other stores here I would expect this lens to have shown up. If this was a test market situation, there is no telling how few of this lens model were made. It is possible that this is literally the only unit that was ever sold. Moreover, a previous owner etched his name in the barrel, and I think I might even know who it was.

    Anyway, I found it in the used section of a camera store for around $80 Cdn, and decided to buy it.

    These photos were from my second outing with this lens, and in general, I am pleased with the result. From a mechanical standpoint, it operates smoothly. The Macro focus only works at the far telephoto end, which is unusual, and it is not locked out, so when you zoom in, you might not realize of you are focussing in the Macro zone, and that can be a minor irritation when you want to zoom back out and cannot until you un-Macro-focus it.

    I will not be posting full "unprocessed" images. I will post a few "detail" cropped files that are not altered (except for the crop). But since I am fairly sure nobody will find this lens to buy, even used, unless I decide to sell mine, this is hardly a loss.

    For this image set, most of the files started under-exposed, and I brought them up. There is only 1 which I liked at normal exposure.

    In all cases, I took the pictures with RAW+JPEG, but I have only used the JPEGs. Since I am mostly not posting "full size" files (except for the "detail" files). It will not make a difference.

    Focal Lengths used: unknown, mostly long-end (maybe 40 - 135mm?).
    Apertures used: roughly 4.0 (wide open) to 8.0. Mainly 8.0


    "DSC00140.JPG"
    (probably ~F4)
    Partial EXIF
    1/125 sec, ISO-200 (EV -1 step)
    Brightness 0.06796875
    8.21 MB

    SmartFix
    Overall 28
    Shadows -10
    Highlights 20
    Sat 14
    Focus 37
    Black 8
    White 12

    - I would have preferred more distinct lighting to separate the main subject from the background. This picture sort of says "lens test" as it is.

    "DSC00150.JPG"

    Partial EXIF
    1/250 sec, ISO-200 (EV 0 step)
    Brightness 2.09140625
    8.56 MB

    SmartFix
    Overall 0 [recommended 28]
    Shadows -10
    Highlights 20
    Sat 5 (recommended 0]
    Focus 38
    Black 16
    White 4

    This was the main reason why I was out with a camera. Fall colours are in fairly early stages around here.

    "DSC00174.JPG"

    Partial EXIF
    1/160 sec, ISO-200 (EV -0.7 step)
    Brightness 0.2359375
    7.31 MB

    SmartFix
    Overall 28
    Shadows -10
    Highlights 10
    Sat 0
    Focus 39
    Black 4
    White 18


    DSC000186.JPG

    (F16)
    Partial EXIF
    1/125 sec.
    ISO-1600 (forced)
    Exposure bias -0.7
    Brightness -2.50234375

    Smartfix
    Overall 28
    Shadows -10
    Highlights 20
    Focus 37
    Black 6
    White 32

    Detail crop: Lower Right corner
    "Oh look it's a what-ever-it-is!" I do not know what plant this is. I should look it up. Nice colour though.


    "Pic05_130208b-Crop.jpg"


    The Magnicon zoom mounted on my "almost-a-Pentax" Sony a5000 with Cameron lens adapter. Beside it is a Yi-M1 with its 12-40mm 1:3.5-5.6 kit zoom in "transport" mode. Picture
    taken with Samsung EK-GC100 Galaxy Zoom.


     

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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You are right about lenses that are poor toward the edges and corners of the field: they might very well be adequately good in the center of the field, so using them on crop-sensor digital camera bodies might give some new life to these oldies!
     
  3. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    I am actually quite surprised. The APS-C area is quite good. The outer zone must be really bad to have gotten the criticism I heard. I would need to do a more thorough test, but on a rough guess, this lens seems to be as good as some of the better "kit zooms" by the major manufacturers.

    More Information:

    Length: 95mm (from mount face to front of barrel)
    Max Diameter: 71mm (at rubber grip)
    Filter size: 67mm
    Weight: 628 g.

    Closest normal focus: 2M (~79", or 6', 7")
    Macro focus to ~1/4 size (sensor plane / original object)

    Aside from optical issues the main drawbacks of this lens is that the near end focus is long. One would want to be able to work closer to the subject, especially at the wide-angle end of the zoom. Also, as I mentioned before, at the 135 end, though it will focus closer, there is no indication that it is focussed closer than 2M, so if you decide to zoom back it will not let you until you focus back out past 2M and then pull the control back.
    [2017-10-17 Minor rewrite for clarity.]

    [2017-10-17 The following will probably be the last information I will post about this lens. I would have to do formal testing to say more, and I am not interested in making the effort.]

    There is a very small amount of colour aberration/fringing. In most cases I will not correct it.

    Linearity is good. It is slightly barrel at 28mm, neutral around 35mm and then going pin-cushion towards 135mm. It looks like less than 1% throughout.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017

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