The $8 lens. What a piece of junk…maybe, not so much!
The ACCURA SUPERTEL Tc, 1:2.8, f=135mm
By Kevin Shorter
To start with, the exterior doesn’t look too bad. That’s one thing that attracted me to it when I found it on ebay. These don’t pop up very often and I had been looking for one. When this one showed up with a ‘Buy Me’ as is of $8, I knew it would have lots of issues belied by it’s relatively ok look. Frankly, I thought if nothing else, being a Zebra and well proportioned, it would look good sitting on the shelf. So I bought it. And I got just about what I expected. A lens that from several feet away looks pretty OK. When actually its a very fubar’d lens. So much so that its sat on my shelf for many months.
Then yesterday for some reason it caught my eye and I thought, why not try and shoot something with it anyway!
So what issues does this thing have?
Starting with looking through the front element. As you can see its filthy and very discolored. I’ve tried to clean this up a bit more since this pic but most of what you see here is stuck down hard. As for the discoloration, the dark amber coloration. I’m sure this like most coated lenses had some coloration even when new. However I’m fairly certain it wasn’t this nasty dark and dull amber color.
We’ll call this strike one against usability of this lens!
Now for strike two which is a fairly severe issue!
Look at the aperture blades. This lens is noted for having a beautiful set of 16 aperture blades. But here, at least two of the blades are hung up causing a nasty tear drop pattern.
And probably the most deadly of all if one desires any kind of normal use from this lens.
The focus ring is hard stuck at 7.75′. And believe me, I’ve cranked on this thing pretty hard. Right now under current conditions, there’s no turning the focus ring. Since there’s a slim possibility that the lubricant may have hardened and frozen the ring, I am considering putting it in the oven at about 120 degrees for a short bit and then see if that might free things up. Not much to lose on this account.
Check out the rear element. Looks like balsam separation to me and possibly a dose of fungus in there as well.
And while its pretty crazy to think about using a lens in this condition. Because its fairly rare to find. Meaning this may be the only copy of one of these I’ll ever get to make an image with. I decided why not just try it out anyway as a preset macro focus lens. That’s about all you could do except maybe frame something at 7.75′ away and I figured that using it as a macro might mask some of the nasty deficiencies it had.
So what do you think?
Frankly, I was pretty blown away by these results. And while I’m sure that using this in this kind of macro mode shooting does mask much of its ills. I was still pretty surprised at how sharp the images are. That, the nice color and very pleasing bokeh tells me to keep looking and see if I can find another copy of this lens in overall usable condition!