Well, I tested the first 4 and I’m not crazy about the results. I shot everything on a very dull, humid, hazy day, which didn’t help the contrast and colours. Everything was shot with a neutral profile and all footage is ungraded.
Let’s look at the results of each lens.:
Hanimar 200mm f/3.5. This a well built lens, with a nice focusing ring, but optically it is very poor, not only the contrast and colours are not impressive, but the sharpens is also very poor with loads of CA. I bought it for only £10, so if you only have £10 to spend and you don’t have anything in this range, it might be better than nothing at all, but there are better lenses out there that can be bought for around £10, so for me this lens scores 2 out of 5.
Chinon 200mm f/3.5. Quite a decent lens, well build, has inbuilt adjustable hood. Nicest looking lens out of 4. Optically for me it is also the best. Best clarity, contrast and colours, sharpness is decent too. Still looks quite washed out, but I believe that is due to the weather conditions. This lens assembled in the same was as Nikon lenses. It focuses in the same direction and aperture is adjusted in opposite direction from another 3 lenses. This could be great if you are a Nikon lens user, but for me, this sort of construction doesn’t really work, especially when using follow focus. I paid less than £10 for my one, but average price on eBay is slightly higher, still well worth the money though. I would give this lens 4 out of 5
Optimax 200mm f/3.5. Very similar to the Chinon above. Similar build quality, also with the lens hood, but it’s quite loose and the aperture blades are stuck and only close a little, which is a problem with my particular copy, should not apply to every Optimax 200mm out there. Optically it is also very similar to Chinon, just a touch darker. Overall good alternative to Chinon, but due to the problems with my particular copy I would only score it 3 out of 5.
Prinzgalaxy 200mm f/4.5. This lens is very deferent from the other 3. First of all it is much slower at f/4.5. The lens also looks deferent and has deferent construction. The good points of this lens are: the fluid aperture adjustment, great fox fine-tuning exposure during the recording (just like on Cine-lenses) and 16 blade aperture. Unfortunately all of that makes little sense with this lens, firstly because this is very, very stiff; both focusing and aperture adjustment requires a lot of effort, which means you can’t really easily fine-tune anything. The 16 blade aperture also makes little sense since this lens is so slow that you probably wouldn’t close the aperture too often to take advantage of all these blades. The problems don’t end the, optically it is also quite poor, very low contrast, in result washed out colours too. Sharpness is ok, but overall, this lens is not really worth looking at, considering that it costs about the same as the other 3. I give it 1 out 5. Unless you can pick one up for no more than £5, I wouldn’t recommend buying it.
My conclusion: The 2 lenses that stand out are Chinon and Optimax, but even they are not brilliant, at least no in this test. I used Chinon on one corporate shoot and it actually performed very well along side Helios 135mm, which in my previous test looked much punchier, so I think the colours and contrast would have been much better in better lighting conditions.
I think both Chinon and Optimax are worth the money you would pay for them. They are 10 times cheaper than any modern equivalent, but certainly not 10 times worse. I still have at least another 4-5 200mm lenses to test and review including a very exciting Pentax 200mm f/2.5, which is one of the most expensive vintage lenses I bought, but still very cheap comparing to any modern equivalent, so expect another 2-3 videos on 200mm lenses. Next up though, I will do a quite test of Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and more group test of 28mm and 50mm lenses. If you guys want see any other specific tests, let me know.
I don't need so many 200mm lenses, so I decided that I will give away one of these lenses. I don't want to give away some total rubbish, so I'll give away the Chinon 200mm f/3.5, probably the best lens out of 4. I will soon announce how to win this lens, it is going to be something very simple, so make sure that you follow me either on YouTube or Tweeter to make sure you don't miss the announcement and rules.