Have a “weird” weekend with these “weird lens reviews”


posted Friday, March 25, 2016 at 5:40 PM EDT


French photographer Mathieu Stern has a fascination with attaching old and unusual lenses to his Sony mirrorless cameras.

In addition to his Weird Lens Challenge series, he now also has a Cheap Weird Lens Reviews playlist on his YouTube channel. So far he has reviewed three lenses, a Vivitar 20mm f/3.8, Rokkor 45mm f/2, and Angenieux 25mm f/0.95. All three of the lenses can be attached to his Sony mirrorless cameras via adapters.

First up, the Vivitar 20mm f/3.8 lens. This old, heavy wide-angle lens shows a lot of loss in corner sharpness and light falloff, but it does perform quite well in the center of the frame. This rare lens allows Stern to get very close to his subject while still maintaining a wide angle perspective. If you're interested in wide angle macro photography and want a more modern lens, see the second part of this article for a video review of the Laowa 15mm f/4 macro lens. Summing up, Stern thinks this is a very good lens. It's rare, so he suggests quickly purchasing one if you can find it.

The next lens he reviewed is the Minolta Rokkor 45mm f/2. This small lens can be found for between $35 and $100 USD on eBay, although Stern was able to acquire one for much less. At first, he didn't care for the lens at all. However, after taking it with him on a trip, he became amazed with the lens' quality. It's a sharp lens that produces a lot of micro-contrast, which he theorizes is due to the coating of the lens. "If you have a mirrorless camera, don't hesitate one minute" and get this sharp and inexpensive lens.

Stern opens his most recent weird lens review video by referring to the Angenieux 25mm f/0.95 as an "incredible" lens. This weird lens doesn't fit the theme of "weird and cheap" however as it is typically found for around $1,700 USD.

This lens was made in the 1950s and was used to take the first close-range photos of the Moon in the mid-60s. This small lens was made for a smaller-than-full-frame camera, so it is not useful on a full-frame mirrorless camera. Stern recommends using an APS-C sensor and cropping even further to address the vignetting. The lens is not useful for shooting video either, as you can see below. Unlike the other two lens reviews above, Stern does not recommend buying this expensive lens. If you have a Micro Four-Thirds camera and want a 25mm f/0.95 lens, you should take a look at this much more affordable modern offering from Zhong Yi Optics.