Friday, January 25, 2013

Hanimex 80-200mm f/3.5 macro

Old, unknown, big, heavy manual-focus zoom. A hidden diamond or good only for paperweight?

+ they don't come much cheaper than this. I found a copy in a flea market for 5 euros (~7 dollars)
+ most so-called macro zooms are not really macros. This one has a reproduction ratio of 1:2.5, which isn't bad at all.
+ constant aperture means you get 200mm for f/3.5 - that's seriously good for such a cheap lens

- let's get it out of the way: it's not a stellar performer - but with plenty of light and stopped down, it's "good enough"
- manual focus for tele work is pretty annoying
- ultimately, this lens has no real purpose in today's world. With maybe one exception (read below)

This is how it looks...
...and this is what it can do

Intended Users
Great for:

  • bundling it together with a camera you plan to sell. You pay so little, and your used camera listing sounds so much more attractive.
  • aperture/mount parts for some DIY work
  • Used together with a 2x teleconverter (and an adapter) on a mirrorless, you get a very cheap, pretty long, and quite decent tele lens for video work.

Not for:
  • image quality work. What did you expect, really?
  • anything involving moving objects - manual focus lenses can drive you insane with that.
  • pretty much anything other than the uses I describe above!

Final Verdict
Where Time Stood Still - this lens comes from another era long passed. It has a few interesting characteristics, such as the constant aperture and the attractive reproduction ratio, but all-in-all its usefulness is questionable. If we were in the 70s - or even 80s - this would have been an excellent lens. Today, there are far better options. If you want macro, get one of the excellent AI-S micro-Nikkors (such as the 105mm f/4 or one of the 55mm ones). If you want a decent tele zoom at a low price, go for the 55-200 VR. And if you want a really long tele, you're gonna have to start asking other questions (how much do I need it? how often do I use it? how much do I want to spend? how much can I spend?). But this Hanimex, although cheap, is clearly not a lens for any serious work in today's world.

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