A Story About An Albinar 28mm Lens

Albinar was brand of third party lenses marketed by Best Products. I can’t find a lot of relevant information about this particualr lens. So I can only talk about the versions I have owned.

I used to own a 28mm version for my Canon AE-1, it was a breech-lock version for the FD mount. That lens was not very good at all. I don’t own that lens any longer, but it is not the same lens I am going to talk about here.

I bought this lens for my Minolta SRT 101. I found this lens at a thrift store last year, I haven’t used that often. I think I paid US $7 for it. I hesitated buying it because of my experience with my other one. I only had a couple of lenses for my SRT and I felt I needed a wide angle lens for my camera.

Build quality

Build quality seems to be fantastic. It’s all metal with clear well painted markings. The depth-of-field scale is well marked and easy to read. The metric distance is marked in green and the imperial scale is in white. The font is also engraved and easy to read. The Aperture ring is not too stiff. Markings start at 2.8 through 22 with half-stop clicks.

The focus ring is rubberized, and easy to grab. It’s toward the front of the lens. The focus is smooth and well dampened. The focus throw is also long. It takes a while to go from the closest focus to infinity. I happen to like this feature, but not every one does.

Image quality

Better than you think. I think this lens fairs very well compared to my Canon 28mm FD S.C. lens as far as image quality goes. It could also do well against my Nikon 28mm Series E lens and my Pentax 28mm 3.5 M42.

Sure, there’s some vignetting, some distortion up close, and the corners are not that sharp. The color and contrast and center sharpness is pretty darn good. The bokeh is just fine, not remarkable. This is a wide angle lens though, that’s not what you would use this lens for.

Specs

Height55mm / 2.16in
Width62mm / 2.44in
Weight (no caps)235g / .51lbs
Focus Throw270°
Close Focus Distance36.5cm / 14.37in

Final thoughts

I am pleasantly surprised with this lens. It’s not bad looking, it handles well, and takes pretty good pictures. Mounted to my Sony A7II, this lens is fun to use. I would recommend this lens, but not necessarily over the Pentax or Nikon lenses, but if you have an old Minolta, then it’s a good choice. Assuming that seller isn’t seller is asking an arm and a leg for it. It is not a collector’s lens. It’s not sought after, so you shouldn’t pay more than $10 or $20 for it. Keep in mind there are more than one version of the 28mm lens, the other version I had is not worth owning at all.

Perhaps I will do a side-by-side comparison with the Canon, Pentax, and Nikon lenses one day.

Sample pictures

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