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03-13-2012, 10:49 AM   #1
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Help me decide which cheapo 50mm to get

Hey there!
I'd like to buy a cheapo 50mm. My standards are simple:
1) Should cost under 60 euro, the cheaper the better, but it should be functional (reasonably sharp with decent colour transmission and contrast)
2) Manual focus is okay
3) Wide aperture with either neutral or good bokeh. I find some of my DA lenses have kind of nervous bokeh that can be quite bothersome in some situations
4) m42 mount is okay, I have adapter
5) I would like it to have aperture ring and distance scales for hyperfocal distance
6) It doesn't have to be exactly 50mm, but somewhere around that

My research has led me to the following lenses:
- Helios 44: I don't know the differences between all the Helios lenses, but they come quite cheap and people praise their build and bokeh. A Zeiss clone.
- Industar: Even cheaper, as far as I know its also based on a Zeiss. People praise its build, apparently they are quite sharp. Again there are many versions of this lens, not sure about the differences between them
- HorrusBennu: Costs 50 bucks with free shipping and its new. Supposedly has good build quality, interesting bokeh and its f1.7 and very similar to older 50mm f1.7 lenses, but sharper, as it is new. Supposedly its also multi coated. But not quite sure about the quality.
- Old Pentax 50mm f1.7. Supposedly quite sharp. But I couldn't find any on sale online for cheap at the moment.

Which one would be best? If someone has experience with some of these, how do they stack up against each other? Any other suggestions? Ive looked at reviews, but they seem to be very varied. People usually praise these lenses for the quality-cost ratio, but every now and again some say they have bad experience with them. Also, there are no laboratory reviews of these old lenses that I could find to compare them between each other and with modern lenses.

I would like one of these lenses because I would like a slightly faster lens (my fastest atm is DA 35mm f2.4) and one with hyperfocal focusing for a project of landscapes and isolated objects in front of landscapes. The project is an idea, not professional.
EDIT: I don't expect anyone to do the research for me, but I assume people have done research on this before and I would love to hear their findings.

03-13-2012, 10:58 AM   #2
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Pentax SMC M 50/1.7
Sharp at all apertures, great color & contrast, built like a tank, and cheap. There may not be any in the Marketplace at the moment, but they pop up all the time. I did see a couple of the A 50's recently, a little more expensive & easier to use, and same great optics as the M (afaik).

edit: agree with kenafein below - SMC Tak or K55/1.8 is a great lens, too.

Last edited by paulh; 03-13-2012 at 11:11 AM.
03-13-2012, 10:59 AM   #3
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A quick reference on Helios 44s.

Helios 44 M42 Lenses

Do not overlook the Auto Chinon MC 50 1.7 or the Ricoh XR 50 2.0 & Ricoh XR 50 1.4.
03-13-2012, 11:03 AM   #4
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You can get the SMC Tak or K 55/1.8(got one for $18) or the SMC TAK 50 1.4 with 8 blades with your budget.

03-13-2012, 11:16 AM   #5
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Since you have an M42 adapter already, I've got a few 50s and find that the SMC Tak 50/1.4 is excellent for all the reasons you list. The SuperTak 55/1.8 is very nice as well.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-S-M-C-Super-Takumar-50mm-F1.4.html
03-13-2012, 11:37 AM   #6
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All the above-mentioned are good, and I've never met a Fifty I didn't like (which is why I have 50 of them).

Takumar 50/1.4, M50/1.7, Meyer Oreston 50/1.8, Sears-Cosina and Rikenon 50/2, CZJ Tessar 50/2.8, Meyer Primotar-E and Industar 50/3.5, Sears-Tomikoa 55/1.4, Chinon 55/1.7, Takumar and Petri CC and Rikenon and Mamiya-Sekor 55/1.8, Helios-44 58/2 -- I like'em all, and many more, but these should be affordable.

Caveats: The Meyer Oreston may need its pin glued. The Industar NEEDS a lens hood which you'll probably have to make from some plastic cap. And don't be afraid to buy any cheap fast Fifty.
03-13-2012, 12:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. The Takumar seems to be a little above my budget and when I add the shipping.. Unfortunately the used lens market where I live isn't exactly bustling and shipping from the US tends to cost as much as the lens!
03-13-2012, 12:58 PM   #8
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It depends on your patience to wait for a good deal. Out of the ones you can easily find for "Buy it now" below your limit, I recommend the Super-Takumar 55mm f/1.8, Helios 44 58mm f/2, SMC M 50mm f/1.7 (may need some more patience) and SMC M 50mm f/2.


Last edited by Ikarus; 03-13-2012 at 02:22 PM.
03-13-2012, 01:17 PM   #9
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I'm doing you a favour buy M 50 1.7 or the A version, then if you want something exotic start with Helios 44-2 or 44-3(8 bladed diaphragms) and every 50mm in my signature . After you have all the 50s in my signature try the Tomioka(Mamiya/Sears/Porst/Rikenon/Chinon/...) 55 1.4, Cosina 55 1.2, ... there are many lenses that can make you crazy about buying them . I have covered my 50mm wishes and I'm looking forward for other lenses.
03-13-2012, 02:20 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulh Quote
Pentax SMC M 50/1.7
Sharp at all apertures, great color & contrast, built like a tank, and cheap. There may not be any in the Marketplace at the moment, but they pop up all the time. I did see a couple of the A 50's recently, a little more expensive & easier to use, and same great optics as the M (afaik).
What he said.

FWIW, I saw a ME Super on eBay this afternoon with M 50/1.7 attached that will likely finish auction at under $50. The M 50/1.7 was the most common lens purchased with the ME Super and may be easier and cheaper to find with the body attached than separate. Go figure!


Steve
03-13-2012, 02:47 PM   #11
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And you get ME Super!!! Which is the sexiest little metal film body . It is with one of the most quiet shutters in pentax body ever, with almost no kick from the mirror. If Pentax decides to make ME Super with matrix(at least 1.5x) and tilt display I will marry this camera!
03-13-2012, 02:57 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by simbon4o Quote
there are many lenses that can make you crazy about buying them
wow, you really have a bunch! and lol yes, lenses tend to do that..

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
FWIW, I saw a ME Super on eBay this afternoon with M 50/1.7 attached that will likely finish auction at under $50.
I saw a bid like that on ebay, but the photo was stock, the actual lens it came with was 50mm f2 lol Ill keep my eyes peeled, though!
03-13-2012, 04:16 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
the actual lens it came with was 50mm f2
... which is nothing to sneeze at, by the way.
03-13-2012, 04:21 PM   #14
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I personally am in love with Helios 44 series.
I bought 3 different variants of it.
44-2, 44k-4 (k mount) 44m-7.
03-14-2012, 11:16 AM   #15
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Here's an M 1.7 for 50$ shipped.
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