|Format: 35mm SLR|
Type: Zoom lens
Focusing: Manual Focus (MF)
Lens mounts: Canon FD, FDn, Pentax K, Minolta SR (MD, MC)
First year of production: 1979
Last year of production: 1988
User reviews (0)
Views (1706)Average price: $50
The Soligor C/D 1:3.5 78-210mm is a push/pull zoom lens from the film era. It seems to be quite rare, because I couldn't find a lot of information about it on the Internet. What I found is, that it was made for Canon FD, Minolta MD and Pentax K mounts. I couldn't confirm that it was made for other mounts, though (also see last paragraph about this topic). Because of this lack of information the description is based mostly on my personal observations and experiences with the lens.
The lens is quite heavy (over 900g) and is made completely out of metal and glas. It produces very decent images even wide open in the lower focal lengths (78 to around 150mm). At the higher focal lengths (175 to 210 mm) you have to stop the lens down a little bit to get the same good image quality. From f/5.6 on it has good sharpness. All these observations are based on photos made with a very demanding APS-C camera with 24MP. So I guess on a full frame camera it might even be a little bit sharper.
The bokeh is smooth and pleasing thanks to the 9 aperture blades (straight, not rounded). The aperture of f/3.5 allows you to blur the background even quite a lot on an APS-C camera. This lens works well as an all around portrait and also wildlife lens.
The lens's unique feature is a macro mode. Once you are zoomed in all the way to 78mm and focused to the closest normal focusing distance of 2 meters you are able to pull the focus ring a little bit further in and turn it a little bit more. This way you enter the macro mode of this lens. In this mode you can focus as close as around 72 cm and take photos up to the magnification ratio of 1:6. The lens has a very good close focusing image quality for a lens of this age - again, even wide open.
All around this is a great lens. I did find an ad in Popular Photography from January 1988 where Cambridge Camera Store of New York sold the lens with a Pentax K mount for $119.95 plus tax, which would be around €255 in 2018. In May 1982 you had to pay $174.95 at the same store which would be $457 in 2018. Other ads of a different store from April and September 1981 were listing the lens for $229 ($635 in 2018). So one can guess that it would probably be marketed and aimed at the enthusiast photographer and made of good, but not superb quality, which I can reasure from the photos I've taken with this lens. Lucky, nowadays it can be bought online for around $40-60 or, if you're super-lucky like me, at a local camera store for $6.
Because of the camera ads one can assume, that the lens had to be made up until around 1988. According to the site linked below you can read the manufacturer and the year of production out of the serial number of Soligor lenses. If that is true, my exact copy was made by Sun Optical in 1979. So the lens was at least made from 1979 up to 1988. The same site states, that Soligor lenses were made for all kinds of mounts. The author of this site writes the following: "Soligor lenses were produced for a number of different thread or bayonet mounts. Fixed mounts are available for all major camera brands, including Canon, Contax/Yashica, Konica AR, Minolta, Miranda, Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax. Optics that attach to the camera via a T-mount adapter (called "T2-mount") do not support automatic diaphragm coupling, so that the lens does not automatically stop down the aperture when a shot is taken." I can't confirm for 100% that this exact model was made for all these mounts, but I can assume that it was made for other mounts besides the ones mentioned in the first paragraph of this description.
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Posted by: MarcelloVelasco Date of publication: 24.09.2018