REVIEW: Chinon 55mm f1.7 Lens (Vintage Lens) on Canon 6D

Quick video test of Chinon 55mm f1.7 on Canon DSLR 6D  (Video only)

The Chinon 55mm f1.7 exists in more versions thank I can find mustard in my local super market. I have personally seen and filmed with five different version throughout the last two years and I am aware of at least three additional versions as well.

The lens is constructed in metal with a good weight to it and the focus ring is made of rubber which even after more than 40 years still look like new on my copy of this lens.

Why use vintage lenses on modern cameras? 

The version I have tested is the exact model you can see pictured below. It is equipped with the standard M42 mount and I used a standard EOS lens adaptor from Ebay to ensure it could be used on my DSLR; a Canon 6d*


Chinon 55mm f1.7 vintage lens

First a little background information regarding the lens manufacturer and this lens in particular;

Chinon was a Japanese camera and lens manufacturer based in Nagano – it was purchased by Kodak in the late 90’s and has also been known to produce calculators, disc drives and even CD-ROMs.  The lenses from Chinon can often be found cheap on sites such as Ebay, Gumtree etc and occasionally it is cheaper to buy it with a camera as many sellers cannot be bothers splitting up the lot – I only paid a few quid for this lens – and in fact the adaptor was more expensive than the lens it self! – the average ebay price for this lens in the UK is around £23 for the M42 version and a few pounds more if you want the Multi-coated version.  Also worth noting is that this lens often can be found branded as Hanimex or Hanimar as well (as this was the company that used to import these lenses in the US), but overall this should be exact same lens although this has been questioned in several online forums – The lens I tested here is manufactured in the early 70’s and is the non-MC version.

Here is a little video compilation I shot last weekend near Wendover, UK

Okay, so the question I am sure most people are asking themselves; how sharp is this lens and is it actually worth investing in?  The answer to the last part of this is a very big and clear YES it is definitely worth it, for the first part of the question it depends on your usage:

From 1.7-2.8 it does come across as fairly soft but when stepped down it really shines and produces a beautiful sharp image with a nice dreamy bokeh and stunning colour-rendition

As stated in the heading of this review I only properly tested this lens for video use, which is where I intend to continue using it – for still usage it produces some great results too, in particular if stepped down to f4-f16

I highly recommend this lens for aspiring indie-filmmakers who are looking for a well-build, high-quality lens at a great price

UPDATE: I recently had the chance to test this lens under very dark/dim conditions during a trip to Wales, and I was very impressed: the two shots below are both shot at ISO4000!! and straight out of camera

Chinon test shot

Chinon test shot

Thanks for reading


* I have also tried and tested this on other Canon bodies such as 7D, 5D and the 1Dx and the lens works flawlessly with all three of these too

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