My collection of lenses grows each month. I’ve recently accepted the fact that I didn’t buy a big enough cabinet to store them all. In an attempt to free up some room I decided to conduct a culling. In the process of getting exceptional lenses, sometimes I have to buy a batch in order to get the one I’m after. Recently, I bought such a box which had one lens I wanted and the rest were all “bonus” junk. One of these freebies was an old Minolta SR mount Vivitar 80-200mm f/4.5. This lens is a one-touch, push-pull style zoom; slide the fat ring of the lens to adjust the focal length and to adjust focus you simply rotate the same ring. The lens’ ring is about as a tight as a 30 year old sock. With even the slightest tilt it sloppily slides forward or backward. There is a term for this condition which is called ‘lens creep’. Usually lens creep just means that the heavy front barrel of a zoom lens slowly drifts forward or backward, depending on which way it’s angled. Mmyeah… on this lens, the zoom ring itself “creeps” about as smooth and quiet as a bowling bowl thrown down a flight of stairs.
This worn out 3rd-party zoom lens wasn’t about to take up any of the much-needed space in my lens cabinet. I was about to just pitch it in the trash to make room for a proper lens when I decided I might as well hook it up to my camera and least have a good laugh at its failings.
Please, take a look below to see just how pathetic this lens really is:
It’s a total piece of junk right? WHAT?! Are these images coming out of this lens?!?! I shot all of these wide-open at f/4.5. This lens has amazingly smooth bokeh, the colors are fantastic, and the center of the frame is as sharp as a prime lens. What on earth is going on here? This was supposed to be an old junker lens. I guess the old adage holds the same truth in lenses: you can’t judge a book/lens by its cover.
I’ll not be throwing this lens away. In fact, I plan on overhauling it to bring it back into good working condition. Perhaps another post is in order after that happens.
About the author
Tom Leonard is a photographer, engineer, traveler, and explorer. And above all, he’s a dad to ten wonderful children. He is exploring the world 30 days at a time, and you can follow his adventures and check out his photos on his blog. This article was also published here and shared with permission.