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11-08-2011, 08:59 PM   #1
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Best 50 1.4 ?

I have an old K-mount M 50 1.4 that I love. I'm wondering which 50/1.4 folks on this forum think are the best. The old Taks, Voigtlander, Sigma?
I'm thinking of getting another. For me, center sharpness, bokeh, and smooth manual focus are vital. I'll stay manual but automatic for 2.8 and above would be a bonus.

11-08-2011, 09:12 PM   #2
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How about ranking the order of preference with those attributes. If, say, creamy bokeh is more important than absolute sharpness, I suspect you would get a different recommendation than the other way around.
11-08-2011, 10:20 PM   #3
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My fastest Fifties:

* The K50/1.2 is incomparable. But it's in a different league than the f/1.4 slowpokes.
* The SuperTak 50/1.4 is almost an optical twin of my FA50/1.4 but is much better manually, of course.
* The Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 has slightly richer rendering and busier bokeh. DOF is close to the K50/1.2.
* The planar Yashica ML 50/1.4 has a bit more pop and very slightly smoother bokeh.

All these MF Fifties have good center sharpness, good bokeh, good manual feel. The Yashica is C/Y and requires 5 minutes of Dremel work (including setup and cleanup) to mod for PK. The Sears-Tomioka is M42. Which is my favorite? Whichever I'm using at the moment! They're all just fine.

Others may recommend some slightly slower glass, 50/1.7 to 55/1.8 to 58/2, and some of those are just superb and sharp and rich. Light transmission vs f/1.4 isn't significant. But an extra 1/2+ f-stop DOES make a difference with DOF. And all the Fifties are dangerously sharp by f/5.6 or so.

About sharpness: No superfast lens will be edge-to-edge flatfield sharp when wide-open. Rather, they ARE sharp, but only in a very thin field that isn't necessarily flat. I think the planar Yashica has the edge here, but I haven't done any rigorous testing. These certainly aren't in the same league as my CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (12 iris blades) or MacroTak 50/4 (1:1). But we don't use 50/1.4's for such; we use them to capture images that are otherwise impossible.
11-09-2011, 12:06 AM   #4
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I have several 50/55 f1.4. Favourite is the MamiyaSekor55/1.4. Not sure who made it, but it is easier to use than pentax m50/1.4, longer focus throw. Sample photos on my picasa.

11-09-2011, 12:45 AM   #5
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The Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 is really sharp. It is not an old lens, it is MF but has been discontinued unfortunately. Many Pentaxians incl. myself regard highly this lens.

While I bought by VL 58mm for low light, I found that it works very nicely in foggy, smoggy conditions when many lenses struggle to give good colour contrast.

My 5 cents thoughts....
11-09-2011, 02:19 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoanpham Quote
I have several 50/55 f1.4. Favourite is the MamiyaSekor55/1.4. Not sure who made it, but it is easier to use than pentax m50/1.4, longer focus throw. Sample photos on my picasa.
I think that's by Tomioka, same as my M42 Sears Auto 55/1.4 with yes, a very long focus throw, about 270 degrees. A very fine lens!
11-09-2011, 03:01 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I think that's by Tomioka, same as my M42 Sears Auto 55/1.4 with yes, a very long focus throw, about 270 degrees. A very fine lens!
Then I have to get the Yashica 55/1.2 Tomioka fixed - The exterieur of these two lenses are almost equal.
11-09-2011, 09:32 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
The SuperTak 50/1.4 is almost an optical twin of my FA50/1.4 but is much better manually, of course.
The SuperTak is a M42 screw mount, correct? I'd get the FA50/1.4 but I really don't like the construction of that lens.

Does anyone know if the M50/1.4 that I have is a well-regarded lens? I think it's pretty darn good - although I may have lucked-out.

QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
The Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 is really sharp. It is not an old lens, it is MF but has been discontinued unfortunately. Many Pentaxians incl. myself regard highly this lens.
This is a great lens but just a tad too long. The description of this lens mentions CPU integration. What does this mean exactly? Will I be able to record, say, aperture information in EXIF?

11-09-2011, 10:16 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrPetkus Quote
The SuperTak is a M42 screw mount, correct? I'd get the FA50/1.4 but I really don't like the construction of that lens.
The FA50/1.4 contains less metal than its Takumar and K-series ancestors, true. That doesn't seem to affect its optical or mechanical performance. Were it just a SuperTak or K50 with AF drive, we'd likely see complaints about its slow AF speed due to the extra mass. I just don't notice its build when I'm using it in AF mode because I don't touch it. I don't see many complaints about the lens falling apart. So, it doesn't bother me. What, me worry?

QuoteQuote:
Does anyone know if the M50/1.4 that I have is a well-regarded lens? I think it's pretty darn good - although I may have lucked-out.
Yes, see the reviews: Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
11-09-2011, 10:45 AM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
This is a great lens but just a tad too long. The description of this lens mentions CPU integration. What does this mean exactly? Will I be able to record, say, aperture information in EXIF?
I'm pretty sure that the Nokton is a P/K A lens, so it should act like an A series lens and record aperture to EXIF. I don't know whether it records focal length, though.
11-09-2011, 10:49 AM   #11
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I find my Cosina 55/1.2 quite good.

JP
11-09-2011, 02:01 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrPetkus Quote
VL58mm: This is a great lens but just a tad too long. The description of this lens mentions CPU integration. What does this mean exactly? Will I be able to record, say, aperture information in EXIF?
YES. Definitely. I own a VL58mm and the EXIF contains all aperture data. The lens has also Automatic aperture (A).
11-09-2011, 02:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
YES. Definitely. I own a VL58mm and the EXIF contains all aperture data. The lens has also Automatic aperture (A).
That's great to hear. One of my gripes using the M50/1.4 is the lack of EXIF recording.
I would have no compunctions about getting another manual lens. Automatic would be handy between 2.8-8 though. I find the DA* 55 to be on the pricey side although I haven't ruled it out.

Another VL 58/1.4 question - is that a FF lens? Not a limiting factor, just curious...
11-09-2011, 03:02 PM   #14
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FF = full frame, while pentax's current dslr is crop sensor 1.5x crop, which is smaller than full frame.
Lenses are designed for full frame can be used with crop sensor, but not opposite way.
11-09-2011, 03:15 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoanpham Quote
FF = full frame, while pentax's current dslr is crop sensor 1.5x crop, which is smaller than full frame.
Lenses are designed for full frame can be used with crop sensor, but not opposite way.
Come on. I'm asking if the VL 58 is FF lens.
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