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LENS PORN: Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount Telephoto Prime Lens)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)
Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)


A 300mm is very useful for sports, portraiture, wildlife, nature, street photography, even makes a good compressed landscape. It is your entry into the true telephoto range. On a crop sensor camera like my Nikon D5200, it is more like 450mm.

People might think that there's no sense in getting this long lens when they can easily get a 70-300mm zoom. Well, I myself have experienced and tolerated the fact that zooms have a compromise in image quality especially at the long end. Even my new favorite Sigma 18-200mm is like that if I look closely. Prime lenses have less optical design complications and produce better images.

Looking it up on the web, nothing really shows up about the Lionon 300mm f/5.6. I thought it might be another unknown brand that hired lens manufacturers to make this lens. I'm guessing this was probably made by a Sun Optic, a Komura, a Tokina, or any other, because they seem to be prominent back in the day. But it is just my hypothesis...


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SPECS

Manufactured By: ?

Year Produced: ?

Mount: T-Mount

Focal Length:
FX = 300mm
DX = 450mm

Minimum Focusing Distance:
5 meters / 17 feet

Focus Throw: 180°

Filter Thread Size: 62mm

Aperture Run: f/5.6 - f/22

# Aperture Blades: 16

Made in Japan



Condition of my Copy

It looks like the original tripod collar has been taken away. The glass was clean, except for the rear element. The rear glass had thick stubborn haze and I almost gave up, but I managed to clear 99% of it by persistently rubbing toothpaste on it for several days.

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

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SUMMARY


For

The length of this lens is still compact. If you have a 70-300mm and extend to lens to 300mm, you get more or less the same overall length.

It feels very lightweight, making it excellent for handheld shooting.

It is a universal T-Mount. T-mount has a flange distance of 55.00mm. You can literally use this on all SLR's and mirrorless cameras with an adapter, but not needing an adapter with glass to be able to focus to infinity (as is commonly the case of using adapters for other mounts to Nikon DSLRs).

At this focal length, it's easy to create background blur even at f/5.6. The key is to balance the distance between you, the subject and the background.

Images are great at f/5.6. There is good resolution.

At this focal length, you get a beautifully compressed background. It feels breathtaking and cinematic.

It's a prime lens. You get surprisingly sharp images and good contrast (considering its condition).

Like old school lenses, they are metal and glass. Built like a tank. Built to last forever.

The front glass is multicoated. I presume this was made from the mid 1970s or later.



Neutral

This is a fully manual lens. Metering is manual. Focusing is manual. Even the opening and closing of the aperture is manual (what they call 'preset aperture').

Preset aperture. In this old style, there are two aperture rings. The first ring on the top is used to set the aperture value you want. The second ring is de-clicked and is used to manually close and open the diaphragm/iris/aperture blades. (This de-clicked aperture is nice for shooting videos.) What is this for? If you set the aperture to f/22, it would be too dark to see through the viewfinder, that's why you use the second ring to temporarily open the iris so you can see a brighter viewfinder and compose better, then close it when you're going to press the shutter speed. Lenses from the 1970s onward have 'Auto Diaphragm', so this process is not a concern anymore. But I thought you just want to know...



Against

Minimum Focusing Distance of 5 meters. But this is typical of lenses of this type.

My copy of this lens does not have a tripod collar. I suspect it originally had one but was removed.

No VR or OS. Typical of old lenses, they never had anything to reduce vibration, other than a tripod mount/collar, which was already removed from my copy. But I was able to shoot handheld at 1/60" and still get well-focused subjects.



Conclusion

I was incredibly shocked at the sharpness of this lens, considering its condition. The rear glass had thick stubborn haze and I almost gave up, but I managed to clear 99% of it with toothpaste and saw new hope for using this lens. You can now only see a very very thin film of haze if you view at a certain angle, so that if you look through the glass from one end to the other, you will see clear light transmission.

On my DX camera, 300mm is effectively 450mm. I like this focal length, it's longer and has more reach than 200mm, which I think is sometimes still bitin, but at the same time I'm still able to capture landscape/buildings with this 300mm(450mm).

I can compare the sharpness of this lens as similar to my Reflex-Nikkor C. 500mm f/8, which is to say it is good. And considering its condition, the contrast seems similar or a bit better than the Nikkor's.

Who built this lens? I can only suspect a Tokina, a Sun, or a Komura. But that's all. What I can tell you is that I was pleased with using this lens. So thrilled, that I'm finally able to use it because the T-Mount to Nikon Adapter that I ordered was assumed to be lost in transit and will never arrive, but actually unexpectedly arrived after 4 months from my order date!

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SAMPLES

Nikon D5200
Photo Size: JPEG Basic/Small (6MP)
White Balance: Cloudy, Preset
Picture Profile: Standard
HDR/ADL: Off
Flash: Off (The cat photo used flash)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6
All photos shot at f/5.6
No tripod, all handheld.
Filter used - Komura UV Filter

All photos are unedited as usual.

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)
Use of extension tube

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)
This was shooting backlit scene.

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

Lionon 300mm f/5.6 (T-Mount)

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LINKS

Photo Album

Video Demo


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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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