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Showcase Zonlai Discover 25mm f1.8

Discussion in 'Native Lens Sample Image Showcase' started by gnarlydog australia, Nov 2, 2017.

 
 
  1. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    Originally labelled as Zonlai, now sold under several different names (this one called Discover but I have also seen "7 Artisan") this manual focus lens is compact and light.

    I have tried to adapt several 25mm vintage lenses (Cine, C-mount) but none really cover the 4/3 sensor. I was intrigued when I stumbled across this one while doing an evilBay search for Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f1.8.
    What attracted me was firstly that it was manual focus (I operate much better when I decide what and where to bring into focus instead of the camera), it has an aperture with 12 blades, clickless aperture ring, is compact, made out of metal and the cherry on the cake: $63 delivered.
    I had to try it...

    24255898688_6b2df2401e_h. Zonlai Discover 25mm f1.8_3 by gnarlydog, on Flickr
    wide open, against the light to test flare and speckled highlights bokeh


    26331431599_6320fb416a_h. Zonlai Discover 25mm f1.8_2 by gnarlydog, on Flickr
    stopped down to f2.8-ish to see how the bokeh looks like (aperture shape). Minimum focus distance 18cm!


    24255876218_8552ce1725_h. Zonlai Discover 25mm f1.8_test by gnarlydog, on Flickr
    centre sharpness test at wide open, close subject


    37399216394_41ed02f7f5_h. Zonlai Discover 25mm f1.8_4 by gnarlydog, on Flickr
    sharpness and distortion check at f3.5-ish


    37399202824_a1966b947e_h. Zonlai Discover 25mm f1.8_6 by gnarlydog, on Flickr
    infinity test half stop from wide open at f2


    So far, the lens is what I was hoping for.
    No weird bokeh (I have plenty of other lenses that give me that), plenty sharp for my work, well dampened smooth focusing, aperture ring that has enough resistance to stay put.
    I need a normal lens that is good enough to take on travels.
    It can be used for landscape (stopped down a bit) while still delivering great looking bokeh for neutral background blur (not too wild) for close ups. Above all the shape of the bokeh balls when stopped down (I shoot often against the light) is brilliant: almost no sign of any edges (no hexa-octagons).
    Early days to conclude if it really proves to be up to the standard of my refitted F.Zuiko 32/1.7, but I don't think I got gibbed :) 
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
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  2. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    With the right distance ratio of focused subject and speckled highlights in the background, I can get an image that does display a bit of swirl. I like that :) ; it gives me an impression of a more dynamic image over a static one

    24255888058_ee428096de_h. Zonlai Discover 25mm f1.8_5 by gnarlydog, on Flickr

    But it's not a Petzval style lens, far from it. If I want severe swirls I reach for the Kodak Cine 50mm f1.6
     
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  3. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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  4. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
  5. alextravels

    alextravels Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    50
    May 16, 2017
    That bokeh seems pretty... feathered :D  Nice find!
     
  6. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    interesting interpretation for "feathered" bokeh (and isn't that BTW a registered trademark of Olympus :rolleyes: )
    Are you referring to the peacock style feathers? ;) 

    One more here used for an environmental portrait (my buddy that shares my passion for bokeh)

    26407567359_b3b540a2f9_h. Van in the gardens by gnarlydog, on Flickr

    The actual render of the Zonlai is a bit unusual for me: kind of almost too crisp? ... coming from using less than perfect vintage glass for too long :oops: 
     
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  7. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
  8. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
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  9. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    I spent a bit more time with the Zonlai and it revealed that focusing of far away subject is a bit tricky.
    The helicoid has a huge travel (down to 18cm) but that penalizes fine focusing at the far end where any tiny movement of the focus ring can throw out the sharpness. Stopping down to about f4 helps.
    On the other hand I can focus really up-close subjects like this hermit crab :) 

    38134744954_9716911bc3_h. green house by gnarlydog, on Flickr
     
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  10. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
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  11. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
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  12. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
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  13. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
    seems to have a pretty good MFD, some very nice bokeh from this lens as well. seems like a bargain for $63
     
  14. Registered Help Offender

    Registered Help Offender New to Mu-43

    3
    Dec 17, 2017
    I have the 7artisans version of this lens and have been using it pretty much exclusively on my E-M10.1. It really is quite lovely, especially for the price. It becomes very sharp by about f/2.8, the focus ring is nice and it has really nice bokeh when wide open. The only issues I have with it are that the aperture ring moves quite easily when I am not paying attention to it, and on my version, the focus ring goes slightly past infinity, which can be very annoying.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  15. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
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  16. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Veteran

    320
    Jun 23, 2017
    Hey @gnarlydog australia@gnarlydog australia , I have just stumbled upon this lens the same way you did, so headed over here to see what others had to say about it. I'm looking for a 25mm lens to recreate with m43 a sense of how I used to shoot with my Canon FD 50mm f1.8 on 35mm - I get the feeling this lens could be it.
     
  17. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    I have not used that lens much past the initial "honeymoon" period.
    There are two things that bother me:

    1) the helicoid seems rather "sloppy" with not matched tight tolerance threads resulting in a ring that does not respond well to the turning back/forward when adjusting for critical focus (wide open)

    2) there is a somehow a weird rendering of the Circles of Confusion as the image goes from sharp to out of focus in the bokeh. I am not sure how to describe it but to my eyes it looks like tiny little bubbles. Not sure what's going on there.

    I am still searching for a compact 25mm lens that is manual focus AND has an high-count blade diaphragm for the aperture to produce round bubbles in the speckled highlight, and not hexagons or other shapes like most modern AF lenses do.
     
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  18. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Veteran

    320
    Jun 23, 2017
    Perhaps I'll wait and see if you have better success with another lens. I tried my Canon FD 35/2.8 again with Roxsen Focal reducer in the hope of getting a closer approximation to the classic shallow 50 rendering, but it was way out. I could pick up a used Panasonic 25/1.8 for around AUD$150, but it doesn't have the appeal of a manual focus lens for the application I want it for.
     
  19. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    If I was purely a practical man I would indeed only use native lenses: they are so incredibly good, most of them.
    And yet I find myself mainly seeking manual focus lenses that give me an images that is far from "perfect" (from the measurebator point of view).
    We are not all into "documentation" and "recording of events"; some of us foolishly chase aesthetics in an image :) 
     
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