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08-22-2012, 05:26 AM   #31
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I have the one below, on the right (with the red MC on it). It's still pretty sharp though!

QuoteOriginally posted by Sagitta Quote
The Sears to look for is the one with the 49mm filter threads. It tagged along when I bought my 135mm macro, (I was after the 135, not what I believed was a redundant 50mm) and I was shocked to realize it was better than the 52mm filter version.

Shorter minimum focus throw, half stop aperture clicks, and maxxes out at f/22 as opposed to f/16. You can spot it because it lacks the red on the front of the lens that its brother has. Its the top center lens in this shot. Second shot is the aperture stops.






08-22-2012, 06:17 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sagitta Quote
The Sears to look for is the one with the 49mm filter threads. It tagged along when I bought my 135mm macro, (I was after the 135, not what I believed was a redundant 50mm) and I was shocked to realize it was better than the 52mm filter version.

Shorter minimum focus throw, half stop aperture clicks, and maxxes out at f/22 as opposed to f/16. You can spot it because it lacks the red on the front of the lens that its brother has. Its the top center lens in this shot. Second shot is the aperture stops.
Quite the collection of Sears lenses you have there!

Interesting. You know, I think I have yet another version of the Sears 50mm f/1.7 with 52mm filter ring than what you have pictured here. The front element on mine is quite deeply recessed, unlike the lenses you have pictured here. It's bigger than my SMC-M 50/1.4.

Tonight after work, I'll double check... maybe take a few pics and upload them here for comparison sake.

Anyway, the 49mm filter thread version indeed sounds preferable. Even if everything else were the same, the filter thread alone makes it fit into the Pentax M system better. As it is, I have a 52mm->58mm step-up ring semi-permanently mounted on there for my 58mm filter collection.
08-22-2012, 06:25 AM   #33
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I've lost count of 50mm lenses that I own, so maybe this is a good time to recount inventory.

lets see now, in M42 I have the super tak 50/1.4 (8 element version) and SMC-Macro Tak 50/4

in K mount I have a K50/1.4, a SMC-M 50/1.7 and SMC-M 50/2, and a SMC-A50/2 as well as an XR Rikenon 50/2

I wont include my 55's and 58 mm lenses here,

the point is, my first 50 was the rikenon 50/2 which came with my first camera a ricoh XR-2s, I then picked up used the K50/1.4 which is a fine lens. All others have come since, the 1.4 supertak is also very sharp but suffers from flare if you are not careful. the M lenses I picked up just because, they are compact however, (how do you spell LBA) and the A50/2 for flash work on my later DSLR bodies (I use the *istD with TTL flash for other non A lenses)

out of my collection i would go with the K50/1.4 as the best overall, although all are quite good
08-22-2012, 06:30 AM - 1 Like   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sagitta Quote
Department store lenses are lenses commisioned by Sears/K-mart/JC Penney/Montgomery Ward/etc from another company.

Most Sears were made by Tokina or Cosina for example. The only difference is the branding on the front of the lens itself. Its really no different then vintage Vivitar lenses - a good chunk of Vivitar stuff was made by other companies.

A modern example would be the Vivitar/Bower/Rokinon 1.4 lenses. Three different brand names, but they're actually all made by Samyang with some piddling cosmetic differences to seperate them.

Its not as if there was a Sears factory somewhere cranking out lenses. Most of what Sears was selling was rebranded Ricoh or Cosina stuff.
Yep. I found my two Sears K-Mount lenses-- the 50mm and an 80-200 f/4-- at a local flea market. I paid $10 for the two lenses and an interesting filter I'd never pay full price for (a prism that splits the image into three areas). Easiest to say I paid $5 each for the lenses and got the filter for free.

Anyway, the 50mm is great, and the 80-200 is surprisingly good, too. Constant f/4 aperture on the zoom range is nice. Plenty sharp, even wide-open. Color is a bit on the cool side and it definitely loses contrast shot wide-open, but those are pretty easy to correct for in Digital. Could I spend 100x as much and do better? Of course. Will I? Let me check my Powerball ticket.... hmmmm... NOPE.

And that is why I now know not to avoid the "department store lenses".

Mishmatta, you'd have to spend a LOT more money to do better than your nice little Sears 50. Probably worth it only if you're going to spring for an f/1.2 lens or want autofocus.

08-22-2012, 06:47 AM   #35
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Honestly, I love the F/FA 50 1.7. AF, fast as hell, sharp from wide open, needs no lens hood, great colors and contrast. Not 100% sure, but the body appears to be smaller in the F variant over the FA.

No experience with the MF 50s, however.
08-22-2012, 07:14 AM   #36
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Hey OP, don't worry about these that much. The 50mm lenses are all pretty good. The most noticeable differences you will notice are AF and aperture settings, maybe max. aperture if you shoot in the dark. I have an M 50mm f1.7 and its great, much better than the kit and even some of the cheaper DA lenses. Just get one that is available in good condition at a decent price, you can always buy another later
I suggest you try a manual Pentax 50mm just to experience that good ol' Pentax rendering and build. The K and M lenses are great in that regard. If you really want an A setting or AF, then get those lenses instead.
Oh, and be careful when buying an f1.2, because on ebay you often have f2.0 marked as f1.2.
08-22-2012, 07:25 AM   #37
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Well, too have had a lot of the nifty fifties. S-M-C Takumar 50mm f1.4 and 55mm f1.8, K50/1.2, K50/1.4, K55/2, M50/1.4, M50/1.7, M50/2, A50/1.4. I found the infamous K50/1.2 to be a great lens, but its greater size (and my own worry about damaging a more expensive lens) caused me to not use it that much. I also found it a little more aberration and flare prone than the others. My favorites were the M50/1.7 and the S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4 optic (which is also in the K50/1.4; I just wanted to have a fast 50 in each mount). I kept both and use them for different purposes. The M50/1.7 is an excellent landscape and general purpose lens, whereas the 50/1.4 I use more where bokeh and micro-contrast are important. The later 50/1.4's seem chalkier in their rendering, if that makes any sense.
08-22-2012, 07:37 AM   #38
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I have the K 50/1.2, the M 50/1.7 and the M 50/2. Although the M 50/2 is a good lens, it is outclassed by the others. The M 50/1.7 makes for an excellent landscape/panorama lens, with loads of contrast and rich, dark colors. The K 50/1.2 is in a class by itself. It's the best lens I own and the best lens I have ever used. Nor is it merely the f1.2 that makes it special. It's great, unique at all apertures. At f2.8 it's sharp with great bokeh. At f8 its super sharp from corner to corner, with beautiful colors and rendering.

08-22-2012, 10:07 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by tabl10s Quote
What's so great about dep't store lenses? I've always avoided them.
Not all lenses that are stamped Pentax on the front were designed or made by Pentax. The Pentax 18-250 was clearly a Tamron design, and frankly how do we know the Pentax version was actually made in a building with the Pentax name on it and not in one with Tamron on the side?

There are only so many makers of camera lenses, Sears didn't make them so who did? That is the question that is central not what brand is stamped on the front. The tough part is that there are BAD Sears branded lenses too, so the lens guide and reading threads is the best way to know which ones are good, which are bad, and which are potentially great lenses.
08-22-2012, 10:52 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
Its real advantage is that even stopped down several notches to improve IQ its still faster than damn near everything else out there.
The main advantage of the K50/1.2 is that it's nearly impossible to get a harsh background with it, whether slightly stopped down or not. So even if your subject is set in an ugly location, you can blur the background to whatever extent you want, as long as your subject is reasonably close.

Most 50s are notorious for having noticeably degraded IQ for the first stop or more. As you suggest, the K50/1.2 seems to avoid that problem too, which is nice. However, the DA*55 is even more notable in this regard - it's just that it has rather harsh backgrounds with certain scenes (and is beautiful with others).


BTW, is your equipment list up to date? I'm wondering if you own the FA43 or others that aren't mentioned - or perhaps it's just that you've had other opportunities to evaluate them.
08-22-2012, 04:29 PM   #41
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I have never used a 50mm F1.2 but I discussed it with a person who owns one, and like my 1.4 he said its rarely used wide open but often gets used a few stops down when the light is low without suffering the effects of shooting absolutely wide open like a slower lens would have to do to get the same speed.
I had a chance to briefly try an FA31 and 43 and though I can't say I had the time to make a full credible evaluation I loved the focal lengths on an APS-C mostly because I am so used to 50mm on a film camera, though I do lean towards the wider stuff anyways. The 35mm lenses are also nice though because there are several FA and DA variants out there that are all comparatively cheap and quite fast for that focal length.
08-22-2012, 05:22 PM   #42
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I have M50s - 1.4 and 1.7 and 2.0; FA50 1.7; I sold an FA50 1.4; and had a K50 1.2 stolen on a train in Belgium.
It's a long time since I did any real comparisons but my impressions are:

- Yes the 1.4s lack a bit of contrast wide open, but their inferiority wide open over the 1.7s is exaggerated. A click or so in and there's nothing in it.
- Stopped down a bit the 1.4s are significantly better in the corners than the 1.7s. Important for landscapes etc.
- In my experience variations in picture content are more important than differences between the lenses when it comes to bokeh.
- The K50 1.2 was the best of the lot overall, but wide and fairly wide it does suffer from the same kind of softness as the 1.4. And it's a chunk of glass and steel to carry around. If you really want that narrow DOF then it's the one for you. (But how often, really, do you want DOF that small?)
- The M50 2.0 is not as bad as you might think, but the others are so much better it's not worth considering except for practising MF and keeping dust off your sensor.

I think the M 1.4s are the best deal overall.

Last edited by timo; 08-22-2012 at 05:29 PM.
08-23-2012, 12:46 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
I have never used a 50mm F1.2 but I discussed it with a person who owns one, and like my 1.4 he said its rarely used wide open but often gets used a few stops down when the light is low without suffering the effects of shooting absolutely wide open like a slower lens would have to do to get the same speed.
I had a chance to briefly try an FA31 and 43 and though I can't say I had the time to make a full credible evaluation I loved the focal lengths on an APS-C mostly because I am so used to 50mm on a film camera, though I do lean towards the wider stuff anyways. The 35mm lenses are also nice though because there are several FA and DA variants out there that are all comparatively cheap and quite fast for that focal length.
Thanks - that make sense. There are a few lenses I tried but decided not to buy (DA21, DA*60-250) or considered for later (DA*55 - hard to justify when I have K50/1.2 plus FA43 for AF), but I was still able to make a reasonable evaluation of them.
08-23-2012, 06:50 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by mishmatta Quote
I have an old Sears 50mm f1.7. I think it's pretty sharp compared to other old lenses I have.

I'm thinking of upgrading my Sears to a Pentax.

Problem is there's MANY 50's out there under the Pentax review database:

M 50mm F1.7
FA 50mm F1.4
A 50mm F1.7
M 50mm F1.4
F 50mm F1.7
A 50mm F1.2
A 50mm F1.4
FA 50mm F1.7
SMC Pentax 50mm F1.2
SMC Pentax 50mm F1.4
F 50mm F1.4
DA 50mm F1.8

If you own one of these, would you recommend the model you have?
I'm looking for a sharp lens. I've heard the M50 f1.4 is pretty sharp?
I have 2 or 3 of those older ones. At what aperture are you wanting to compare images. I don't see a lot of difference in normal usage. Maybe the same identical shot at the same time would reveal some.

No promises but I need some play time so I might be able to post some of them.
08-23-2012, 11:28 AM   #45
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My 50s in battle
bokeh test
If you ask me, buy M 50 1.7 and FA 50 1.4(or F 50 1.4 if you can find one on the price of the FA). Others are not that interesting. The only other 50mm from pentax I wish to have is the A50 1.2 but... not on that price.
If you want 50mm usable at 1.4 - buy sigma!
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