Kalimar Lenses

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I would like to know if anyone has had any experence with these. I found a 60-300f4.5 zoom that will fit my AE1p at a local pawn shop for $100, are they any good?

-- Marcus Hird (mhird@kdsi.net), January 08, 1999


Lenses from labels like Kalimar, Cambron, Sears, Wards, Penneys, and other unpronounceable brands can be hit-or-miss. A couple of years ago I bought a "RitzCam" 28-85 cheapo. When a set screw fell inside the barrel, causing an element to loosen up, I went shopping for a suitable replacement (meaning cheap, because I use a 28-85 only for family snapshots anyway). I bought a Soligor 28-85 figuring most of 'em are/were made by the same OEMs used by Vivitar, etc., anyway, so what's the diff? It was a stinker. Worst contrast and sharpness I've seen on any lens that wasn't mounted on a disposable camera. So I dumped it, fixed my RitzCam which now works even better because the distance markings actually correspond with reality.

The lesson? None. Buying used lenses is a tossup, even if you inspect them carefully for proper function and absence of fungus. I bought a like-new Canon FD 75-200 4.5/5.6 "macro" zoom, $100. It works exactly as it was designed to: mediocre. I got what I paid for. But it's a heck of a lot better than that Soligor.

Here's a website with loads of great info on lenses in general, particularly used lenses: http://www.smu.edu/~rmonagha/third/cult.html

-- Lex Jenkins (lexjenkins@hotmail.com), March 11, 1999.

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