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OLD vs. NEW ...

Guest .

Hi All,

the difficult question, whether it is worth going for old glass instead of purchasing modern lenses remains unsolved.

Beyond the question if you can do without automatic aperture and autofocus it seems unlikely that the old stuff can compete after decades of development and improvement, which should be visible??!

Image quality can be compared easiest, the value of "by wire aperture" and AF depends on individual assessment.

I can only compare "affordable" old glass to modern SIGMA-lenses ... simply because I do not have expensive old lenses.
In the "affordable" range I have quite a lot of nice things, which already used to be insiders' tips in their age.

Well, let us have some closer looks at some 50mm shots.

The candidates:

Revuenon 50mm 1.9
SIGMA 3.5-6.3 18-200mm DC OS (@50mm)
SIGMA 2.8-4.0 28-105mm Aspherical (@50mm)

The Revuenon is analysed at F-stops 1.9 (open) and 4.0
SIGMA 18-200mm @ 5.0
SIGMA 28-105mm @ 4.5

Comparism: Full frames / crops (center) / crops (edge)

Overview (full frame @50mm)

Revuenon F1.9:

View attachment 1078

Revuenon F4.0:

View attachment 1079

SIGMA 18-200mm:

View attachment 1080

SIGMA 28-105mm:

View attachment 1081

to be continued.....


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I am rather shocked to see that the ability of the old Revuenon is holding up pretty well against the Sigma modern lenses.

While "not quite" as clean as the newer Sigmas, I would be hard-pressed to see a reduction in perceived quality if I was to view these independently without the pleasure of having your side by side comparisons.

Quite revealing, and a testament to the older (prime) lens.
Hi Larry,

thanks for your comment!

The old REVUENON drops slightly towards the edges (when fully open). Slowed down to 4.0 it plays fairly well against its competitors.

The 1.9 center crop displays a sharpness which is really surprising. Neither is there any drop of contrast compared to the test shots with its aperture slowed down.

See you with nice pictures

The Revuenon looks very very nice in conjunction with the lines of the Sigma SD14. While the performance of any camera and lens is of paramount interest, it's also a pleasure to see two units that look so NICE together. The Revuenon in this focal length seems to balance the mass of the SD14, and the result is a very nice melding of fine flowing lines and style. It is really quite a nice image on its own.

I have the Revueflex 3003 M42 film camera (Chinon clone) which I use extensively. I also had the Revuenon Special 135/2.8. I wish I still owned it actually. It was a sharp performer.

Thanks for posting this most interesting thread.
The 135mm race .....Old vs. New

Hi All,

let me do chapter two "Old vs. New". Now, I had a look at 135mm-performance:

The Candidates:

OLD ---- REVUENON 135mm 2.8

View attachment 1091

The Revuenon 135mm/2.8 lenses used to be a very successful production series from the 1960s up to the mid1980s. They were comparatrively cheap in their age and even now you can have them for very little money.

Those who considered themselves sophisticaded have always despised these lenses ... well, nearly everybody could afford them (even me!).

There are two versions of the REVUENON 135. The older ones (up to the mid-70s) are of the same optical quality as the later ranges. The only difference between them is, that you can focus closer with the later REVUENONs. (2.4m old / 1.5m old) (5ft old / 7ft new).

The one above is from the 80s and I got it in very good condition. It looks as if never used before. I got it (for once) not from the internet but from a little photo-shop in a little village. It is completely made from light metal ... nice to hold in hands.

The Opponents:

SIGMA 18-200 DC OS (ca. 135mm)
SIGMA 80-400mm EX OS (ca. 135mm)

Well the SIGMA 105mm EX is not really comparable because it is lacking 30mm tele-length. It is simply the Only SIGMA I have to compare it to the OLD-ally in terms of speed. All my other lenses are slower.
To mention beforehand ... the test turned out to become very difficult to do. Of course I used a tripod ... which was not enough precision. My first attempt resulted in a surprise ... The 2.8 shots performed sharper (when going to pixels) than the slowed down shots.

I had to repeat the whole test going for mirror-lock procedure ... which then proved, that even the SD14's very soft mirror-stroke slightly blurred my results at 1/60s. (You never would have noticed that in practice ... but when going to the pixels ... when comparing image results very carefully, it plays an important role.

I now know, that lens tests are absolutely worthless, when done without precision.

Full frames (all @ 5.6 aperture)

REVUENON 135mm 2.8:

View attachment 1092

18-200mm DC OS: (@135mm / 5.6=open)

View attachment 1093

80-400mm EX OS: (@128mm 5.6 / (5.0 would be open))

View attachment 1094

105mm EX MACRO (@5.6)

View attachment 1095

To be continued in a minute with the CROPS



REVUENON 135mm 2.8 (@2.8)

View attachment 1096


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Old vs. New ... 135mm Crops

... This time I am going to do without the edge crops. It is not worth to compare them to center simply because there are no visible drops in image quality (with neither of the above lenses).

CROPS ...ALL @ 5.6


View attachment 1097

18-200mm DC OS:

View attachment 1100

80-400mm EX OS:

View attachment 1099

105mm MACRO:

View attachment 1098

Well again mentioned! The 105mm EX MACRO has the disadvantage, that it lacks 30mm of tele-lenghth for the same crop-range ... that must be put into consideratuion when comparing full aperture performance.

Revuenon @ 2.8

View attachment 1101

SIGMA 105mm EX OS @ 2.8

View attachment 1102


If considered, that all of the above shots would be considered high quality, (if not looked at the pixel) and if one takes into account that I am comparing a 500,-€ lens (105mm Macro) to a 20,-€ lens (Revuenon) then the results are an extreme surprise to me.
Although the 105mm is of course sharper and better performing as far as contrast and clearness are concerned (when fully open), differences are rather little, when looking at the pixel.

Slowed down ... sorry ... it can absolutely match with the zooms?! What do the others think?

Manual focussing was no problem at all ... just go form tghe Pentax fiewfinder-magnifier ...that helps a lot!

See you with nice pictures


P.S. Very convincing (by the way) again the performance of the 18-200mm DC OS


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In the first trio of images, I feel that the Revuenon 135 actually takes the prize! Astounding!

In the crops, it's a little hard to tell, but a couple of things are obvious: 1) contrast differs between lenses 2) color rendition differs between lenses.

If I was to concentrate on sharpness ALONE (which is only a part of the whole), I would give it to the Sigma 18-200, but only by a whisker! Just look at the "Phillips" logo in the satellite dish - it's all pretty close!

The 105 is not doing quite as well, but like you say it's actually at a disadvantage in this comparison.

Having said all that, if I chose a "favorite" image of those crops ---Yes! The Revuenon once again!

A GREAT and FUN test, Klaus! I realize these aren't "MTF" types of tests, but I take great pleasure in seeing "real world" tests (comparisons, actually) like these.