Monday, May 30, 2011

Angénieux 35-70 f/2.5-3.3

A few weeks ago a friend of mine moved to a new house, so he asked me to take care of some of his "jewels" while he was playing with the boxes. Notably, between the glasses left to my care, a cult lens from a well known French manufacturer: an Angénieux 35-70 f/2.5-3.3:

Angenieux 35-70 F2.5-3.3 - _MG_2647

Angénieux (now Thales Angénieux) was a French third party lens manufacturer that ranked with Schneider and Zeiss as one of the world's top lens makers. His lenses were quite uncommon between SLR users because they were really expensive and available only in a few different mounts. The production of the photographic lenses of the brand ran up to 1994, when Angénieux specialized in film and military optics.

In 1982, Angénieux introduced the 35-70 F2.5-3.3 zoom i'm showing here:

Angenieux 35-70 F2.5-3.3 - _MG_2639

As you can see, the high price of these lenses were quite justified. The luxury packaging of the lens, a wooden box with brown leather finish, contained, besides the lens and the caps, of course:
  • A certificate with the MTF data of this lens.
  • An UV filter, made by Angénieux.
  • A soft pouch.
  • TWO snap-in hoods, one for the short end of the lens, the other for the longer end.
The "TWO" in the list above is intentionally uppercase, meant to the attention of the manufacturers who sell their lenses and their hoods separately ...

Taking advantage of the last sunny sunday, i grabbed my 5DII and this lens for a short tryout (Monaco's F1 Grand Prix oblige). Despite its plastic rings, the lens is not really lightweight, especially when compared to modern zooms of the same range. Nevertheless, once mounted on the camera, it perfectly balances the 5DII with the grip. The first look through the viewfinder reveals the character of this lens. The excellent contrast makes the focusing really easy (although i must confess that i have an Eg-S focusing screen on the camera). The large focusing and zooming rings are really easy to cope with, although i would have preferred the touch of a full-metal barrel. Too pity the diaphragm ring is a bit too small for my fingers, thus a bit difficult to operate, at least on my camera.

After two hours spent at the Jardin des Plantes, two pictures taken with the lens wide open, straight from the raw files without post-processing, except EV adjust.

At first, one for the color rendering:

Angenieux 35-70 F2.5-3.3 - _MG_2367

Then, one for the sharpness:

Angenieux 35-70 F2.5-3.3 - _MG_2428

If you want to have an idea of the capabilities of this lens, feel free to click on the picture, display the full-resolution version and take a look at the reflections in the eye of the peacock ...

And if you want to see more pictures taken with this lens, the dedicated Flickr set on my photostream is available here ...

For more readings: