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LENS PORN: Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5 (Minolta SR Converted to Nikon F)

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5


Originally Published: 29 September 2016
Update: Revised formatting, re-written from scratch, added links (20 July 2017)


Back in the days of film and manual lenses (early 1980s and backward), many high quality third party manufacturers existed and gave democracy to the people. One of those highly esteemed names were Komura. From my experience, Komura lenses stood out because of their build quality and stylish designs that I don't see from others (even the OEM ones). Unfortunately like many manual lens makers, they closed down in 1980/1981 due to the shift -- lenses in this era became smaller, faster, more plastic, as well as with autofocus.

Early Komura lenses were known to have many aperture blades (the lens I'm posting here has 16!) and is sought after for the beautiful bokeh bubbles it creates... aka, Bokeh Monster.




The build quality is excellent. Holding one of these feels like you're holding a real lens, not wimpy plastic AF lenses. Confession... the seller who handed me the lens actually dropped it by accident in my presence, and I saw that it wasn't even dented or scratched. It easily qualifies as a blunt weapon.

The one thing I really don't like about this lens is the 360 degree focus throw. My gawd, I have to turn the focus ring 4 to 5 times to get from MFD to ∞! Promise, it's exhausting just to focus and it's so slow. It's better for studio use than for street photography or candid.




This Komura 200mm f/3.5 for Leica Visoflex was made in the 1960s. The build quality is astounding, but needed a little restoration due to its condition. Like mentioned earlier, one thing that stands out with their lenses are the generous amount of blades... and here counting at 16. That is overkill.

Komura made several generations of interchangeable mount systems (like the Tamron Adaptall system). The Leica Visoflex ones from the 1960s. Then later their 'Uni-Adapters' in the 1970s. In the early-mid 1970s, their lenses were known as 'Super Komura', then in the late 1970s as 'Komuranon' with multicoated glass. You can tell the year/generation a Komura lens was made by either looking at the adapter they use or by their adapted name.

This lens can be used with Leica with its M39 mount. But it also comes with a 20mm long extension tube that is ESSENTIAL if you want the lens to focus accurately on your DSLR. Otherwise, it becomes far sighted without the adapter (eg. focuses beyond infinity). The copy that I have comes with a Minolta SR mount. You can read about how I modified it to Nikon mount by checking the link at the bottom of this post.




The lens was made in the 1960s. Obviously, it comes with single coated glass. Flare is not an issue with this lens, but at f/3.5, the contrast is weak and sharpness is okay. Improves at f/4, but gets really sharp and great contrast from f/5.6 to f/22 (typical of the really old lenses).

The one thing I like about the lens (and other users say the same) are the beautiful color rendering. It's not overly saturated ala Pentax/Takumar/Nikkor, but the colors are like dreamy paintings at f/3.5.

200mm makes a nice portrait lens on full frame cameras. On my D5200, it feels tight especially for indoor and it is more like 300mm with the 1.5x crop factor.

Conclusion: The Komura 200/3.5 is a nice collectible lens especially for its build quality and insane 16 blades count. That's a bokeh monster! Usefulness... maybe just okay. The focal length is limiting if you're using it on APS-C cameras, especially indoor. It's very easy to get blurry backgrounds desired for portraiture, but the working distance is limiting. The preset aperture style of this lens is perfect for shooting videos.

So what if it's manual focus, has no VR and is very heavy? There are many intangible things in this world, such as vintage gems like this, that you can't get with wimpy plastic AF lenses nor fake in PP.


========================================

SPECS

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
for Leica Visoflex

Focal Length:
200mm

Minimum Focusing Distance:
8 feet / 2.5 meters

Focus Throw
Almost 360 degrees
(full circle turn)

Filter Thread Diamter (Ø)
62mm

Aperture Run
f/3.5 - f/22 (16 blades)
full-stop clicks

Made in Japan


Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
M39 mount. Here, without the Leica Visoflex adapter.

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
Fully extended at the MFD of 2.5 meters.


Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5



Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
Now a Nikon mount after sawing and painting.

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
The lens itself, without the adapter, is a Leica M39 thread mount.

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
With the adapter converted to Nikon mount.

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
It looks beautiful with any SLR. It puts to shame those
expensive modern lenses that look like cheap toys.

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
The lens has a filter thread diameter of 62 mm.


Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

========================================

Samples

Shot with my Nikon D5200. Unfortunately, I usually went out on late afternoons so the lighting were either dim, cloudy or hazy. All shots here are unedited.

Nikon D5200
Picture Profile - Standard, Vivid

Plants and foliage
(look at the tiny details)

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
f/3.5



Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
f/5.6



Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
f/8


Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5


Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5


Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
With the 16 metal blades, bokeh balls are always beautifully rounded.

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5



Street scenes
(I usually shot late afternoon and it was cloudy)

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5



Candid / Portraiture
(all at f/3.5)

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5



Things

Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
f/8



Sankyo Kohki Komura 200mm f/3.5
f/3.5, dim lighting in the room, the window as light source.



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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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