Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Guest
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 02 Jul 2008 (Wednesday) 04:19
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

Kiron 28-210mm f/4-5.6 Review & Sample Images

 
fWord
Goldmember
Avatar
2,637 posts
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
     
Jul 02, 2008 04:19 |  #1

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …/liquidkiwi/Kir​onLens.jpg (external link)

The Kiron lens on a Canon 1Ds using a Nikon-EOS adapter

Surely I must have been crazy. At a forum where great (and expensive) modern lenses are routinely discussed, there was little reason to investigate an old, manual-focus superzoom lens that's perhaps nearly 20 years old. Or so I thought. Compared to the current superzoom lenses, the Kiron was attractive because of its competitive pricing, some US$100 for a version in Nikon mount (and usually much less for other mounts).

Also, I have a special interest in old lenses. The Kiron 28-210mm f/4-5.6 is considered a 'cult classic' and touted by some to be the best manual focus superzoom ever made. The Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 is another supposed gem, tested on a thread at DPReview and it yielded stunningly good results.

Thinking that the Kiron lens might indeed be a diamond in the rough, I took a gamble and bought a specimen off Ebay. So, does it live up to the hype? If you're interested, read on, because the results might surprise you. Remember this is an old lens that can be found at US$100 or less.

Initial Impressions

As demonstrated by the photo above, I bought a Nikon mount version of this lens and coupled it with a Nikon-EOS adapter to make it compatible with a Canon DSLR. The size of the lens reminded me most of the Canon 24-105mm f/4L which I used in the past, however it is slimmer and the barrel is built almost entirely out of metal. This is a one-touch zoom lens with a push-pull zooming mechanism, not unlike Canon's own 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L and 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L.

The lens zooms smoothly from wide to tele and the focusing ring is graced by a broad, rubberized grip. Focusing action is smooth...not Leica buttery-smooth, but better than any of Canon's offerings in the same price range. It features a zoom/ focus lock also, which is handy for storage.

Numerals and words on the barrel are simply printed, not engraved, hence they could possibly be removed with sufficient amount of wear. The aperture ring clicks in half stops from f/4-f/16 and at a full stop to f/22 at the 28mm end. At the 200mm, the aperture setting goes in half stops between f/5.6-f/22 and at a full stop to f/32.

Overall handling and build quality is quite impressive.

Quirks

Unlike my experience with other manual focus lenses, the camera meters accurately with this lens and no exposure compensation is needed for an average scene.

The major quirk with this lens is a phenomenon that occurs mostly at the 28mm end. Here, the minimum focusing distance is recorded as being approximately 8 feet. This drops dramatically as the lens is zoomed towards the telephoto end. Past the 70mm mark the lens' macro focusing distance becomes available.

Unfortunately based on current tests, the MFD at the 28mm end appears to be even greater than 8 feet. Even when the lens is set at MFD, an object estimated to be 8 feet away will appear out of focus in the final picture, especially at wide open. The lens needs to be stopped down significantly to gain enough depth of field to get nearer elements in focus.

Because of this quirk it was especially difficult to test the lens at the 28mm mark. As you can imagine, trying to hit focus on a faraway object at 28mm focal length and a maximum aperture of f/4 can be a crazy proposition in poorer lighting. I have found however, that if you are working in good light, stop the lens down to f/11 and set the lens at MFD, good results can be obtained.

That said, get past the 28mm focal length and the lens performs admirably, especially after the 50mm mark.

Optical Quality

Compared to a good Canon lens or a couple of the Leica lenses that I've used, the Kiron appears to have lower color saturation and contrast. This is both a pro and a con. Low color saturation and contrast can be 'corrected' during post processing, if so desired, and low contrast in particular, has been argued to result in increased dynamic range.

All samples in the test that follow were shot in RAW and then processed in DPP using Standard Picture Style and Sharpening of 3. I shall refrain from the use of bombastic terms when rating this lens. For each shot I refocussed the lens to reduces the chances of error. All photos were done handheld.

Focal length- 28mm

f/4 Rating: Barely acceptable
f/11 Rating: Acceptable-Good

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …/liquidkiwi/Kir​on28mm.jpg (external link)

100% crops at 28mm focal length


I apologize for the sample above. While I meant to provide a crop from the center of the image in both cases, I realized that the area was way too messy to allow any conclusions to be drawn. So now I've gone one step further to provide a crop near the top-right hand corner instead.

The results are representative of what I see in the center, but are even more surprising given how even the performance actually is from center to border. As stated under 'Quirks', it was difficult to evaluate this lens at f/5.6 and f/8, so a sample at f/11 was provided. This appears to be the optimum aperture setting at 28mm. At f/22 a veiling flare is introduced that degrades IQ slightly.

Focal Length- 50mm

Wide Open Rating: Acceptable-Good
One-stop Down Rating: Good

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …/liquidkiwi/Kir​on50mm.jpg (external link)

100% crops at 50mm focal length


At the 50mm mark things arguably become equivocal with easily acceptable results at both wide open and stopped down one stop.

Focal Length- 105mm

Wide Open Rating: Acceptable-Good
One-stop Down Rating: Good

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …liquidkiwi/Kiro​n105mm.jpg (external link)

100% crops at 105mm focal length


Once again, no different to how things appear to be at the 50mm mark.

Focal Length- 210mm

f/5.6 Rating: Acceptable
f/8 Rating: Good

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …liquidkiwi/Kiro​n210mm.jpg (external link)

100% Crops at 210mm focal length


Now I'm starting to question if I missed the focus in the f/5.6 shot because the improvement in IQ is dramatic. This was not the case with similar tests I conducted handheld even in poorer light.

LightWorks Portfolio (external link)
Night Photography Tutorial: Basics & Minutiae (external link)
Gear List (Past & Present)
The Art of Composition IS the Art of Photography.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)
fWord
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
2,637 posts
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
     
Jul 02, 2008 04:19 |  #2

Close-up Performance & Bokeh

Close-up Performance Rating: Acceptable (wide open), Acceptable-Good (stopped down)
Bokeh: Acceptable (at short focal lengths), Good (at tele)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …quidkiwi/KironC​loseup.jpg (external link)

Full frame sample on left, 100% crop on right. Both at f/5.6

The Kiron is capable of focusing down to about 1 meter at the 210mm end, which means close-up shots are possible. At this setting the IQ is sometimes marred by a 'glow' or what might be termed spherical aberration and details are not pin-sharp. This is especially if there are strong highlights in the scene. This could be exploited for romantic portraiture, but the Kiron is definitely does not give performance on par with a true macro lens. That's expected however, with any macro-focusing zoom.

The bokeh is about average and as to be expected from a zoom lens with a modest aperture. Putting some distance between the subject and the background and avoiding the background with highlights will aid tremendously in the production of more pleasing bokeh with any lens.

Vignetting

Rating at 28mm: Poor (at wide open), Barely Acceptable at f/8, Little problem at f/11
Rating at 50mm and beyond: Little to no problem

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …dkiwi/KironVign​etting.jpg (external link)

Full frame samples taken at 28mm


Vignetting is a key weakness of this lens and the darkened corners are very obvious at 28mm. It is much less pronounced at 50mm and beyond.

Flare

Flare Resistance: Acceptable (for a lens of this vintage)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …liquidkiwi/Kiro​nFlare.jpg (external link)

Full frame image with the sun at top left


Lens coatings have obviously come a long way since the days this Kiron lens was made. In such a superzoom with perhaps a high number of glass elements, it's no surprise that the lens is prone to flare. This is a complaint common to users of this lens. Invest in a hood or avoid shooting directly into the sun.

Chromatic Aberration

Rating at 28mm: Little problem (wide open), Acceptable at f/8

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …64/liquidkiwi/K​ironCA.jpg (external link)

100% crop from top left of an image taken at 28mm, f/8


Looking at the above sample you'd probably think that the rating was too diplomatic. But having used Canon's 24-105mm f/4L and 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS (both which were plagued by CA issues at their wide end), the Kiron fares admirably in this backlit test.

Final Verdict

The Kiron superzoom performed well based on current testing, the results being surprising for a lens of this price class and vintage, especially considering that it boasts a moderately wide 7.5X zoom ratio. Such a focal length range is extremely useful on a FF camera, but given its quirks and the small maximum aperture, this is a lens destined for outdoor use, where it could make a great landscape lens, stopped down in good light or on a tripod.

In practice, this is a lens I would try to use at f/11 at the 28mm end. In the middle focal lengths the performance is already acceptable wide open. At the 210mm end the lens once again benefits from closing the aperture down just one stop.

Will it replace every lens in the bag? No. However, mated to a fast 28mm or 35mm prime (that will surely focus closer than 8 feet) and a medium telephoto (85-100mm) portrait/ macro lens, it will create a low-cost, yet effective travel setup.

That said, if you're of the habit of photographing landscapes that are several meters away from you, and in good light, the Kiron could come in very handy with its broad focal length range. As with most other lenses, stop it down (as you would for landscape photography) and you can expect good results.

LightWorks Portfolio (external link)
Night Photography Tutorial: Basics & Minutiae (external link)
Gear List (Past & Present)
The Art of Composition IS the Art of Photography.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fWord
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
2,637 posts
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
     
Jul 28, 2008 08:54 as a reply to  @ fWord's post |  #3

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …4/liquidkiwi/32​6V1987.jpg (external link)

Seagull footprints on sand dunes

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …4/liquidkiwi/32​6V1995.jpg (external link)

At a beach in Sorrento

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …4/liquidkiwi/32​6V1997.jpg (external link)

At Fort Nepean National Park

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …4/liquidkiwi/32​6V2008.jpg (external link)

Light in the tunnel

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …4/liquidkiwi/32​6V2020.jpg (external link)

At high speed

LightWorks Portfolio (external link)
Night Photography Tutorial: Basics & Minutiae (external link)
Gear List (Past & Present)
The Art of Composition IS the Art of Photography.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fWord
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
2,637 posts
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
     
Sep 21, 2008 06:06 as a reply to  @ fWord's post |  #4

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …4/liquidkiwi/32​6V2747.jpg (external link)

LightWorks Portfolio (external link)
Night Photography Tutorial: Basics & Minutiae (external link)
Gear List (Past & Present)
The Art of Composition IS the Art of Photography.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fWord
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
2,637 posts
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
     
Sep 28, 2008 18:54 as a reply to  @ fWord's post |  #5

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …uidkiwi/APAD/32​6V2885.jpg (external link)


PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i269.photobucke​t.com …uidkiwi/APAD/32​6V2921.jpg (external link)

LightWorks Portfolio (external link)
Night Photography Tutorial: Basics & Minutiae (external link)
Gear List (Past & Present)
The Art of Composition IS the Art of Photography.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
cdifoto
Don't get pissy with me
Avatar
34,039 posts
Likes: 13
Joined Dec 2005
     
Sep 28, 2008 19:04 |  #6

I love "ghetto" lenses. It never occurred to me to try zooms.

Thanks for the very thorough review & sample pics fWord! :)

Clean your sensor.


Did you lose Digital Photo Professional (DPP)? Get it here (external link). Cursing at your worse-than-a-map reflector? Check out this vid! (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fWord
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
2,637 posts
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
     
Sep 28, 2008 22:32 |  #7

cdifoto wrote in post #6398573 (external link)
I love "ghetto" lenses. It never occurred to me to try zooms.

Thanks for the very thorough review & sample pics fWord! :)

Clean your sensor.

Thanks for being the first to write in. For a moment I was left wondering if the lens was so bad I shouldn't have wasted the time to post a review. It has its definite weaknesses, but for the price and the focal length range (and its age), I am quite surprised.

Sensor cleaning shall be done...in 6 months time when I'm due to shoot a wedding for my cousin!


LightWorks Portfolio (external link)
Night Photography Tutorial: Basics & Minutiae (external link)
Gear List (Past & Present)
The Art of Composition IS the Art of Photography.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
cdifoto
Don't get pissy with me
Avatar
34,039 posts
Likes: 13
Joined Dec 2005
     
Sep 28, 2008 22:39 |  #8

Eh some people just aren't interested if it doesn't have a red band around the end. Others can appreciate. The real-world samples look really good. :)


Did you lose Digital Photo Professional (DPP)? Get it here (external link). Cursing at your worse-than-a-map reflector? Check out this vid! (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fWord
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
2,637 posts
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
     
Sep 28, 2008 22:40 |  #9

cdifoto wrote in post #6399960 (external link)
Eh some people just aren't interested if it doesn't have a red band around the end. Others can appreciate. :)

That zoom seems to have something in common with my Lentar 28mm f/2.8. There's some sort of clarity that can't be defined. Maybe I'm nuts, but I see something there. I haven't peeped the crap out of my Lentar, but I do think it's got your zoom beat in the sharpness category.  :p I like it even more because I paid a whopping $35 for it.

:lol: Yes, a few mad folks like us certainly wouldn't mind toying around with this thing. Given good light and a day of general landscaping, this is a lens that can be slapped on the cam and forgotten. The focal length range is really useful and at least it didn't cost me anywhere near $300, which is where the general consumer superzooms are at.

Never heard of Lentar, but maybe I shall look out for it. Besides this zoom 35mm is as wide a lens as I've got at this time. I want to get a 24mm!

Ah, what the hell. Maybe I should spend big bucks and get a 14L. After all I've saved enough money by buying all these cheesy MF lenses.


LightWorks Portfolio (external link)
Night Photography Tutorial: Basics & Minutiae (external link)
Gear List (Past & Present)
The Art of Composition IS the Art of Photography.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
cdifoto
Don't get pissy with me
Avatar
34,039 posts
Likes: 13
Joined Dec 2005
     
Sep 28, 2008 22:43 |  #10

I've got a couple different Lentars actually. The 28mm f/2.8 is my favorite, despite rendering blades of grass pretty ugly. The others are a reeeeeally bad 35mm f/3.5, a so-so 135mm f/3.5, and a 135mm f/2.8 which was pretty good but stripped its screws and now splits in half when you pick it up. It was a freebie from one of our fellow POTNers (Jamison). I think I'll gaff it and see if that helps make it usable again.


Did you lose Digital Photo Professional (DPP)? Get it here (external link). Cursing at your worse-than-a-map reflector? Check out this vid! (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
cdifoto
Don't get pissy with me
Avatar
34,039 posts
Likes: 13
Joined Dec 2005
     
Sep 28, 2008 23:04 |  #11

Electrical tape being more fashionable, I decided to use that instead. Worked like a charm! :D


Did you lose Digital Photo Professional (DPP)? Get it here (external link). Cursing at your worse-than-a-map reflector? Check out this vid! (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fWord
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
2,637 posts
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
     
Sep 29, 2008 02:03 |  #12

cdifoto wrote in post #6400128 (external link)
Electrical tape being more fashionable, I decided to use that instead. Worked like a charm! :D

Heheh, did you use all sorts of different colors, blue, green, red and all?

I still have a roll of gaffer tape sitting in a drawer. It must be the most expensive sort of 'tape' I ever bought. Haven't used much of it either, but it was great for the collectible lens that I used to have. Kept it in pristine condition long enough to see it to another owner, even though I did use it on quite a number of occasions.


LightWorks Portfolio (external link)
Night Photography Tutorial: Basics & Minutiae (external link)
Gear List (Past & Present)
The Art of Composition IS the Art of Photography.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
cdifoto
Don't get pissy with me
Avatar
34,039 posts
Likes: 13
Joined Dec 2005
     
Sep 29, 2008 02:24 |  #13

I went with old school black. It blends right in. :cool: Only real downside is I had to cover most of the distance scale. Works great though...I can actually use it again. In fact I already snapped a few pics with it to test. Lame ones of course. I can't do creative on short notice.


Did you lose Digital Photo Professional (DPP)? Get it here (external link). Cursing at your worse-than-a-map reflector? Check out this vid! (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
El ­ Duderino
Goldmember
Avatar
1,921 posts
Likes: 5
Joined Mar 2007
Location: Denver, CO
     
Sep 29, 2008 03:41 |  #14

Still capable of producing awesome shots, as you have shown.

Thanks for this.


Nikon D600 | Bower 14mm f/2.8 | Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR | Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR | Nikon 50mm f/1.8G | Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR
500px (external link) | flickr (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Jim ­ G
I feel thoroughly satisfied
Avatar
12,253 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Jun 2005
Location: Australia.
     
Sep 29, 2008 03:59 |  #15

For <$100.... not half bad!!

I'm fascinated by older lenses.... have yet to find one that was in a price range I could afford while still being something I wanted... something that's wide and fast is what I really want. Always good to see more reviews of older lenses around. :)


Gear Listhttp://www.codastudios​.com.au (external link) Reviews & Hotlinks: Domke F-3x - Pelican 1510/1514 (external link) & 1610/1614 (external link) - DIY Variable Length OC-E3 - Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home (external link) - FA-100 (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

33,567 views & 0 likes for this thread
Kiron 28-210mm f/4-5.6 Review & Sample Images
FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
AAA
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!


COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.


POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.1forum software
version 2.1 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©
for photography-on-the.net

Latest registered member is My Travel Tripod
673 guests, 281 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 6430, that happened on Dec 03, 2017

Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.