Topic: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

I was on fleabay when this lens & case came up for £4.99 delivered... I only wanted the case but the lens is in pristine condition & first test shots would imply that it is very sharp... I had a 300mm but it looked nothing like this one??
I can't find any information about it., has anyone owned one or come across this type of older lens???

I had my FD 300mm Tokina on the nex fitted to my wee' tripod so I took the shot @ 100mm  ISO 3200   1/60sec.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8646/16083658438_bacc0858e5_b.jpg

Robin found this in the web.archive??
"From his list of 1600+ lenses, only 3 85-300mm f5. They are Osawa zoom 1979, Soligor zoom/macro c/d 1980, and Access 1984 zoom macro. As Soligor & Access are branded lenses, I think it must be a rebadged Osawa".
If it's an Asawa then you are right Brian they are fairly good lenses...  when the weather improves I'll can get out & try it??
Hopefully one of you knows for sure?
Thanks
Jim

Last edited by JimH (2015-01-14 07:14:36)

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

I owned the Soligor 85-300 f/5. Bought it new in about 1983 or '84. Cosmetically, it looks different from yours. It had a shiny exterior whereas yours has more of a matte finish. It also has a built-in hood. Does yours?

My lens was not sharp until I reduced the aperture to about f/11 or so. It  became rather frustrating to use because of this. I ended up selling it and buying a Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8-5.4. The Tamron was a much better optic than the Soligor.

Here's a shot of the Soligor 85-300 f/5 I snagged from the 'net:

http://market.lomothai.com/photo/248637small6.jpg

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

cooltouch wrote:

I owned the Soligor 85-300 f/5. Bought it new in about 1983 or '84. Cosmetically, it looks different from yours. It had a shiny exterior whereas yours has more of a matte finish. It also has a built-in hood. Does yours?

My lens was not sharp until I reduced the aperture to about f/11 or so. It  became rather frustrating to use because of this. I ended up selling it and buying a Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8-5.4. The Tamron was a much better optic than the Soligor.

Here's a shot of the Soligor 85-300 f/5 I snagged from the 'net:

http://market.lomothai.com/photo/248637small6.jpg

To be honest, I'd forgotten all about the lens? I've just had a wee' look at it... Yes, it does have a hood... it also has 1/3 to 1/10 macro. If I get a chance I'll try it out today... I also have a SP 300mm Tamron somewhere, again, being honest, the old Tamron 300mm Adapt-A-Matic kicks the SP's butt into touch & is a lot lighter... of course this is just my opinion of the SP I have.

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

I've read glowing reports of the SP 300mm f/5.6 Tamron, but I've never had the chance to try one out. The write-up on the 54B SP 300 at adaptall2.org emphasizes the spherical aberration compensation group that operates at close focusing ranges, making it an excellent close-focus lens  Speaking of weight, the only 300mm Tamron telephoto I own is the 60B 300mm f/2.8 LDIF. It weighs 73.9 oz (2096 g) -- barely hand-holdable.

If I could come across the 54B for a good price, I'd probably buy it just so I could use it for its close-focus capabilities. Having the standoff of a 300mm lens for macro shooting can be very useful.

So, am I understanding you correctly -- you find the old adaptamatic 300mm to be significantly sharper than the SP 300mm?  Does the old adaptamatic optic have a macro mode?  The SP's gets down to 1:3.3, a ratio that can be quite useful.

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

cooltouch wrote:

I've read glowing reports of the SP 300mm f/5.6 Tamron, but I've never had the chance to try one out. The write-up on the 54B SP 300 at adaptall2.org emphasizes the spherical aberration compensation group that operates at close focusing ranges, making it an excellent close-focus lens  Speaking of weight, the only 300mm Tamron telephoto I own is the 60B 300mm f/2.8 LDIF. It weighs 73.9 oz (2096 g) -- barely hand-holdable.

If I could come across the 54B for a good price, I'd probably buy it just so I could use it for its close-focus capabilities. Having the standoff of a 300mm lens for macro shooting can be very useful.

So, am I understanding you correctly -- you find the old adaptamatic 300mm to be significantly sharper than the SP 300mm?  Does the old adaptamatic optic have a macro mode?  The SP's gets down to 1:3.3, a ratio that can be quite useful.

This is quite difficult to answer... the old adapt-a-matic 300mm is a gem in my honest opinion. No, it doesn't have a macro mode but in the past I posted many shots of birds/wildlife at a distance & close focusing (within 2M)... it's much lighter, easier to use & overall sharper. Now., I don't want you to think that I don't like the SP 300... it is a very versatile lens & I'm glad I have one... it's just that I find it so heavy & cumbersome I rarely use it, again, I'm talking about my preferences.
If I'm shooting wildlife I'd use the old adapt-a-matic, it cost £1+ delivery... if I'm using macro I'd use my Tamron 80~210mm or one of my Clubman macro lenses which all cost under £5 each (unfortunately not any more). The point I'm making here is also important, you don't have to fork out big buck's to get good results. If anything, many a good  lens has been discarded by poor photography/photographers... I'm in this category... I'm guilty of ruining many a good shot by under/over exposing, too high contrast etc., etc., etc.,
Here's an example...  Canon 40D - adapt-a-matic 300mm (3M away) 1/180sec ISO 200
I'd forgotten I'd cranked up the contrast (+3), on my 40D when shooting indoors... ruined shot... definitely not the fault of the lens.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7629/16763581841_b84f0caee2_h.jpg

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

Well, you know, individual tastes differ. To me, the contrast is not excessive in that shot. Great thing about good photo processing software is things like excessive contrast can be adjusted. I'm usually not trying to decrease contrast in an image -- just the opposite -- so I thought it would be an interesting bit of a challenge to see if I could reduce the contrast in yours. I just knocked it down a touch. Have a look (size reduced for posting here):

http://michaelmcbroom.com/images/16763581841_2dcfef73bf_o_1.jpg

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

I used photoshop in the past... but more often than not made a mess of it... it's still in an old laptop in the loft. My daughter & I swapped laptops last year & then swapped back again, I mention this because she had installed FastStone image viewer on my laptop... it cost under $20. It's limited but all I need these day's, it opens just about anything & the colours are true... if I make a mistake & can't correct it using FastStone then I bin the shot?
Here's the Bluetit with reduced contrast... notice the colour of the peanuts... virtually the same as the original shot yet the white of the birds face is softened... it's so simple to use it took all of 60sec to open the program & correct the contrast.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7284/16818926372_47d23611bd_h.jpg

Last edited by JimH (2015-03-15 09:22:04)

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

Hi Jim.

I thought Faststone was freeware for home use, well it was when I had my Windows computer, but I now use Apple, which sadly is not supported.

http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm

Alan.

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

killwilly wrote:

Hi Jim.

I thought Faststone was freeware for home use, well it was when I had my Windows computer, but I now use Apple, which sadly is not supported.

http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm

Hello Alan...  If I remember correctly the small charge was to enable enhancing/upgrading the software? You could download it free but are continually asked for a donation of something like $15 for the full package??? Not much for such a handy wee' viewer.
Jim

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

There is very little information pointing to the likes of FastStone in the forum, so a simple search will direct beginners, who, like me, are on a tight budget, to this wee' example of it at work? Perhaps others can do the same for inexpensive viewers they prefer?
Example 1... Bell & Howell 300mm f11 1/125sec  ISO 100  indoors, south facing, bright sunlight... a little dark & obviously the colours are effected? Strangely, although the colours are not true, I still prefer this image.
I have no patience for sitting in front of a screen adjusting to perfection... this is simply 2/3 minutes work showing changes... with a little practise, perfection, or as near as damn it., can be achieved.
Example 2 shadow adjusted using FastStone
Example 3 contrast & saturation adjusted.

It would be time consuming & has probably been discussed before., but perhaps a "beginners corner" would be ideal for posts like this? I for one would definitely have benefited from it?
Jim
 
1)
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7599/16634703489_c8e1919bb5_h.jpg

2)
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7598/16613515977_7523d277d7_h.jpg

3)
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7655/16843518475_8d98827937_h.jpg

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

Interesting. That little utility seems to do a good job. I'll have to check it out.  Me, I've been using Paint Shop Pro since version 4 (about 17 or 18 years or so). It's up to version X7 (aka 17) now, and has had its growing pains, but the way it stands now, it's a pretty decent piece of software. I can get more done with it than I can with Photoshop, plus it's faster for me to use. Not as cheap as FastStone, but at about $70 for the full package, it's affordable at least.

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

I managed to use the Bell & Howell at 300mm... away across the river on the edge of the woods... a bit dark, but the weather wasn't very obliging when I got a clear shot? I think it's sharp enough at 300mm though? Roe deer buck marking his territory... oh deer!  lol
F11 1/180 sec ISO 200 canon 40D
I hope you like it?

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8572/16829402566_e415527bd3_h.jpg

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8620/16855266255_fd70bcba1e_h.jpg

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

The picture is a bit dark, but with a bit more postprocessing to clear it up I can confirm that the sharpness is certainly sufficient  for me on 300mm.

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

Minolfan wrote:

The picture is a bit dark, but with a bit more postprocessing to clear it up I can confirm that the sharpness is certainly sufficient  for me on 300mm.

Thank you, good suggestion... as it's on this page, I should correct it a wee' tad using FastStone for any interested... shadows & highlights


https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8663/16676933818_97b2d21e6b_h.jpg

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

Thanks, just what I meant. So its a very nice picture.
But I realised yhat I saw it the first time in very clear daylight, not the best condition to for judgement.

Last edited by Minolfan (2015-03-19 23:06:36)

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

First hot sunny day this year. These tiny wolf spiders kept popping in & out of a gap in my decking... I tried to use the kiron 105mm first but wasn't physically able enough to get close... so I used the bell & howell.  I found it difficult getting the lens & camera settings right as the female would only stick her head out now & then (always in the shadow)... a wee' bit difficult trying to get the pair in focus at the same time... I didn't manage... oh dear, perhaps next time? 
The screw is 5.5mm across.
The tiny male on the left was risking his life, she'd eat him if she didn't like him... mating dance so his front pincers are constantly vibrating (no focus).
Hand held shot.... a crop next... then, just for fun I altered the crop contrast & light using FastStone to make it a bit more dark & sinister... lol
Unfortunately one of the dogs hair was stuck in front of the female.

https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7375/27437197606_0adf74217a_k.jpg

https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7443/27471643905_405e852643_b.jpg

https://c8.staticflickr.com/8/7006/26864514143_557472ae0e_o.jpg

Last edited by JimH (2016-06-06 07:56:22)

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

A few years ago I saw one these small birds scurrying along the dark areas of my garden & have tried unsuccessfully to capture a half decent image of one in an attempt to identify it... although the shot is too contrasty & slightly out of focus, the wee' bird was moving about at a 'rake of knots' & I just had to take the opportunity with the camera settings in hand. I'm fairly convinced it's a Dunnock... unless one of you know different? It certainly doesn't display the characteristics of the wrens, plus, the beak would seem to be too long?

https://c4.staticflickr.com/8/7427/27576283995_9db1765b5a_c.jpg

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

JimH wrote:

A few years ago I saw one these small birds scurrying along the dark areas of my garden & have tried unsuccessfully to capture a half decent image of one in an attempt to identify it... although the shot is too contrasty & slightly out of focus, the wee' bird was moving about at a 'rake of knots' & I just had to take the opportunity with the camera settings in hand. I'm fairly convinced it's a Dunnock... unless one of you know different? It certainly doesn't display the characteristics of the wrens, plus, the beak would seem to be too long?

Certainly not a wren. A Dunnock but beware of young Robins.

Harold

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

Thanks Harold... we do have quite a few robins around here? I think it was Brian who suggested a Dunnock the last time but it was a very poor photo... he's normally not too far off the mark.
Jim

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

I'd guess Dunnock (hedge sparrow) as well...I sometimes see the smallest bird in the Uk i.e. the goldcrest on the conifer near the house, but impossible to take a shot as you would have to have a camera on standby for months\years and then the shot wouldn't be the best. taken through a window. sad

Nikon FM, F90x, EM, F90x, Canon AV1, A1, T70 & T90, Minolta X-700, SRT101b and AFZ, Pentax S3, Fuji STX-2, Practica MTL3, TL5b, BC1, Chinon Chinon CE,  Konica Autoreflex TC, FS-1 & C35, Yashica T5D, Olympus OM2, Contax139, Ricoh KR-10,  Bronica Etrs, Mamiya RB67 pro AND drum roll:- a Sony DSC-P92
.........past gear Tele Rollieflex and Rollei SL66.

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

excalibur wrote:

I sometimes see the smallest bird in the Uk i.e. the goldcrest on the conifer near the house, but impossible to take a shot as you would have to have a camera on standby for months\years and then the shot wouldn't be the best. taken through a window. sad

We had a flock/family of Goldcrests around briefly last year. They tend to feed by hovering, beak pointing upwards, pecking at the undersides of leaves of shrubs such as Hazel. That puts them in quite deep shade, adding to the difficulty of getting a photo.

Harold

Last edited by e6filmuser (2016-06-15 08:01:10)

Re: Bell & Howell 85~300mm macro lens M42

You're not alone Harold, I've tried unsuccessfully with Goldcrests as well... wink

Beautiful day yesterday. I was out in the garden early & took a few photo's of a daisy before it opened... keep in mind these are hand held shots with a 300mm. It lets in so much light that I had to set it at f11 to get the white, I did take a few lighter shots at f8 Peter but the white kind'a meshed a little... macro 1:2 f11 200sec ISO 100
Please excuse the dog hair.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7328/27573615360_dded7a6b0a_c.jpg

https://c8.staticflickr.com/8/7378/27774954231_ef4f54b8bc_c.jpg