Monday, 18 November 2013

Zykkor MC Auto Zoom 35-70 mm 1:2.8 [OM]

Long, long time ago, when some imagined a mirrorless camera (or something similar) would be a great solution I was looking for perfect, affordable and fast zoom for my Olympus E-3.
One day I've found online a promising Zykkor Auto Zoom 35-70 mm 2.8 lens for Olympus OM system. That time zoom with constant aperture at 2.8 was a really nice thing. It didn't even bother me that I'll have to use (focus) it manually.

It's a classic "pump" zoom with one ring for zoom/focus and second for aperture. Focal length of 35-70 mm on (Micro) 4/3 sensor gives an equivalent of 70-140 mm, which seems to be a perfect portrait lens.


Zykkor MC Auto Zoom 35-70 mm 1:2.8 [OM bayonet]

When it arrived I took some snaps and... I wasn't prepared for that. It's a very, very soft lens. Vulnerable to light. After taking some samples I'm not even sure if it's constant F2.8. I had a feeling that after zooming to 70 mm it got slightly darker. But maybe that's just me...

Camera: Lumix G2
Aperture: all photos were taken with aperture F2.8
Mount: M4/3 > 4/3 > OM
Edit: PS CS6 50% scaling

Zykkor MC Auto Zoom 35-70 mm @about 60mm
You can see that a great amount of highlighted sky causes a decrease of contrast and sharpness. 

Zykkor MC Auto Zoom 35-70 mm @35 mm

Zykkor MC Auto Zoom 35-70 mm @50 mm

Zykkor MC Auto Zoom 35-70 mm @70 mm
Close-ups work pretty well. It's also a good idea to fulfil a frame with midtones and shadows without great areas of highlights.

Zykkor MC Auto Zoom 35-70 mm @35 mm

Zykkor MC Auto Zoom 35-70 mm @50 mm

Zykkor MC Auto Zoom 35-70 mm @70 mm
If you got so far, I'd like to make a tiny suggestion.
As you can see it's not a sharpness demon, but it still can be useful. As I wrote before it seems to be a perfect portrait lens, so tried to take a few of these. Due to it's soft contrast and soft edges outcome might be a good material for adjustments:

It definitely doesn't work well with light in the background. Lower parts of the photo have better contrast and sharpness.

In Photoshop CS6 during RAW development I reduced clarity to near 0 and used some B&W channel conversion to create a bit nostalgic, vintage look.

I realised that with Zykkor, it might be important to show how aperture affect the quality. So here are some close-ups with different apertures. Bokeh isn't charming neither.

Zykkor 35-70 mm/2.8 @35/2.8

Zykkor 35-70 mm/2.8 @35/4.0

Zykkor 35-70 mm/2.8 @35/8.0

Zykkor 35-70 mm/2.8 @35/16.0
Well... it supposed to be F16, but I'm not sure aperture closed enough, there were some problems with it. Aperture was closing very slowly @F16, hence I'm not sure if it closed properly.

Zykkor 35-70 mm/2.8 @70/2.8

Zykkor 35-70 mm/2.8 @70/4.0

Zykkor 35-70 mm/2.8 @70/8.0
One more example, when lens was directed to the sun, but not directly pointed into:

Turns out that sun is really an issue to Zykkor. It can't deal with it.
Zykkor 35-70 mm/2.8 @70/2.8


  1. I believe that Zykkor is pronounced Sucker!

    We seem to have taken some similar turns in a long road, my friend! My E800 is stored away since I got my EP1. With many 135 format lenses. Cheap zooms can be a great investment!

    I like it!

    1. Sucker is a good idea! I thought it was pronounced [ˈʦ̑ɨkɔr], PL. cykor, which in Polish means "coward" ;)

      I used to hunt for some lenses for 135 cameras, but finally gave up. They were rare and insanely expensive. I still have my Olympus E-3 and E-300 (which is worthless to sell), but I use those for fast photography only - reportage, occasional weddings, etc.
      I recently got 2 zooms for MD mount: Exakta and Sigma. I'll have to order adapter and check those!

  2. Niedawno kupiłem Tokine 60-120 F2.8 z mocowaniem FD, lecz od 3 miesięcy nie dotarł do mnie adapter, i chyba nie dojdzie. Też pompkowiec, też stary. Widzę że też jarasz się starociami. /c mount on facebook

    1. Jeżeli z eBaya - to zwrócą kasę. Ja ostatnio miałem zwrot za 2 zakupy.
      Ale Tokina bardzo fajna - ciekaw jestem, jak się zachowuje, czy podobnie jak ten Zykkor, czy lepiej.

      Staroci mam masę - teraz postanowiłem trochę się tym podzielić. :)

  3. Hey Guys ! Does anyone know if i can use this lens with my Canon 60D? I already own this lens and it would be cool to be able to use it! Thank you in advance!

    1. Sure you can! You just need a proper adapter :)