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LENS REVIEW: Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom




Back in the old days, people had many choices for third party lenses. They were everywhere and they even competed in terms of quality. It's sad that many of those companies don't exist nowadays, but we can still find plentiful of them lying around in vintage shops!

This lens, a Soligor 80-200mm f/4.5 has a 'C/D' marking, meaning it's 'Computer Designed'. Lenses with this marking belonged to Soligor's top-of-the-line lenses.

Soligor made this for different mounts like Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc. My copy is Nikon mount and does not need an adapter to focus to infinity.





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Specifications

Focal Range: 80-200mm
(DX = 120-300mm)

Macro: 1:4 Accessible at 80mm
Maximum Aperture: Fixed at f/4.5 in all ranges
Aperture Range: f/4.5-22
Aperture Blades: 6

Filter Thread Size: 55 mm

Minimum Focusing Distance: 2 Meters / 7 Feet

Body: All Metal
Design: Single Push-Pull Focus/Zoom Ring

MC = Multi Coated
(This helps reduce flare and ghosting.)

C/D = Computer Designed
(This is their top-of-the-line product.)

Made in Japan

Serial# 382500420*
(Manufactured by Sun)

*Reference: https://eastave5.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/soligor-serial-numbers/


Click on the album below for more photos of
the Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro+Zoom (Sun)


Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
 
Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

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Handling


This lens is marked with C/D (Computer Designed) and MC (Multi Coated). Lenses with these designation belong to Soligor's premium class of lenses. Soligor was basically a marketing company that went to different manufacturers to make lenses for them: Tokina, Sun, Tamron, etc. With the serial number on my lens, it's a Sun Optic.

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom



This lens was in mint condition when I got it. Unfortunately, there was fungus and haze buildup inside. Being a vintage lover, I couldn't resist this bargain. Despite this, I was able to use it with satisfaction. However, as I zoom toward 200mm, images tend to get somewhat blurry. So yes, it's time for a clean up!

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
Here's the haze.



Oh boy, this lens is compact and lightweight. I'm glad I finally let go of my Nikkor 55-200mm which takes twice as much space in the bag, very dark soft images, and contrast is average to soft.

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom



Focusing is internal. Therefore, the lens does not extend from its original size. However, the front filter thread rotates as you focus. Another good is that the rear element does not expose while zooming out. 

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom



Macro Mode can be accessed at 80mm, with magnification of 1:4. I was hoping it would be at the longer end, but at 80, it's really more breathtaking compared to my other lens which has macro at 35mm. The only downside for me is the Minimum Focusing Distance, which is 2 Meters / 7 Feet. I literally have to be at the other end of my small room just to focus the subject. My +1 Macro Filter really comes in handy for this situation.

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

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Image Quality


I'm not sure if this is specific to my copy, but the images have very warm amber shift (my other vintage lenses tend to shift toward blue). This is easily fixed with a Custom White Balance... which is fine as long as I don't need to change lenses often.




After cleaning the glass, I noticed considerable improvement in the clarity and sharpness at 200mm However, there will always be noise/grain even at low ISO or bright lighting.




I did notice that images have a tendency to be soft contrast with normal room lighting. I did 2 scenes where one was right under a bright table lamp and was much better than without. It really seems to be made for use outdoor!

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
Both images are straight from the camera.
Left: Normal room light at f/4.5 ISO 6400
Right: Under bright table lamp at f/8 ISO 1600



If you're looking for bokeh... check out the samples below... 


Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom



Although the maximum aperture won't get any brighter than f/4.5, the constant maximum aperture means that there's no light falloff as we zoom toward the longer end of 200mm. (I don't know why, but my other zoom lens has f/4.5 at the longest end, yet it's brighter than this lens is at f/4.5)




This lens handles glare very well especially when I point it toward bright light sources. Flare rings often appear in my night photos. I realized that this is only at f/4.5. Things improve by f/5.6 and totally disappears at f/8... which explains why I often see these light rings at night.



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Summary

Pros

No zoom creep

Dampened focus/zoom ring

Constant maximum aperture

Sturdy build

Compact and lightweight

Rear element does not expose when zooming out

Diamond ridged rubber focus grip feels nice on the fingers

Smooth aperture ring

Nice for portraits



Cons

Manual focus only, can only be used in Manual Exposure Mode

Minimum Focusing Distance of 2 Meters / 7 Feet

Front filter thread rotates while focusing

Chromatic Aberration and Color Fringe can be seen at pixel level

Contrast is good in bright light (like outdoor) but looks washed out with normal room light



Conclusion

Don't be afraid of manual lenses like this one. It's not the end of the world when you don't have Auto Focus. In fact, it helps you to understand photography, yourself, and your camera even better. They say that you won't really experience the real essence of photography if you never tried manual.

I like the sturdy build of this lens. Having a single focus/zoom ring means that I won't miss any action while making adjustments.

This is a nice portrait and outdoor lens. Chromatic Aberration and color fringe aren't distracting unless you zoom in at pixel level.

Image quality ranges from okay to soft contrast with regular indoor lighting. But if you have stronger light, the image will really improve. Outdoor is where this lens really shines, where there are lots and lots of light!

I always trust my instinct and have no regrets ever since grabbing this lens on the spot.

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Samples


Technical Note:
99% of the images are unedited,
where a few were only for color correction to remove the yellow cast.



Bokeh

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom



Macro Mode

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom



Portraits

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
At 200mm This was after the lens was cleaned.

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
At 80mm. This was after the lens was cleaned.



Daytime

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
This was back when the lens still needed cleaning



Comparison

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 + Fisheye Adapter

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
Soligor 80-200 at 80mm

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom
Soligor 80-200 at 200mm



Night

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

Soligor C/D 80-200mm f/4.5 Macro + Zoom

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Your generous donations help me to review more products
and re-sell them at budget prices.
That way, more people will become happy!

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1 comments :

  1. Hello,

    I was wondering if this lens could work with a canon rebel t5i?

    ReplyDelete

 

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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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