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03-21-2013, 10:41 PM   #1
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Exaktar (Sankor???) 55mm f/1.4 M42 - anyone got any experiences with it?

So basically I found this lens for sale on my local photo forums.

Price is so and so (around 100USD, from which I'll probably be able to negociate 10-20) but given into account local prices on f/1.4's are high (for instance a Pentax-M 50 f/1.4 goes for around 170-200) and the lens looks mint, I'd be tempted to buy it.

I suspect it's originally made by Sankor (same type of font and serial number with six digits folowed by an E as Sankors).

Problem is, has anyone ever had or used one? Is it any good?

I can put some photos if you think it would help.

03-23-2013, 03:34 AM   #2
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Not every lens ending in an E is a Sankor, and I've never seen an example of Sankor doing a 50 or 55mm lens. I'd be very excited to see if they had. Pictures would definately help, but my advice would be to post them, along with your queary, on MF Lenses forum, as they have a lot of experts in such things, so you'll be more likely to get answers.
03-23-2013, 06:46 AM   #3
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At one point there was a "made in Japan", Exakta-branded camera (I am aware of the "Twin TL"). The Exaktar was sold as the normal lens. The bodies was made for Ihagee by Petri and Cosina and were available in both Exakta bayonet and M42. The lenses were made by ???, though I would suspect Cosina, Komine, or any number of other generic lens makers from mid-70s Japan.

BTW...I would not put too much stock in type faces or lens appearance. Historically, there has been a lot of "cross-sourcing" of lens and camera components between Japanese makers, particularly at the low end.

Frankly, unless you are needing the fast aperture, I would pass. Your average Helios 44M is probably as good or better performer and a lot less expensive in your market.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-23-2013 at 06:54 AM.
03-23-2013, 04:10 PM   #4
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@ macTak: here you have the photos of the lens I'm talking about. And here's the thread on MFlenses I found about it, but it's definitely not clarifying anything. Exaktar 55mm f1.4?

@stevebrot: yep, I know about the twinTL and it was indeed made by Cosina, at least the M42 version if the info on the web is correct, but this lens sure doesn't look like a Cosina version, not to mention those did not have codes finished with E. I just found tonight a gallery on Flickr with a lot of 55's f/1.4 - Picasa Web Albums - dimitrygo - 55mm f1.4 len...

The lens I'm talking about is the one the guy refers to as version 1 (similar as body with the Super Reflecta version3), as opposed to version 2 which is the one that you will likely find on the web if you search for twinTL.

And yeah it was a fast lens I was searching for. "Our" average Helios 44M as you call it, is indeed a good lens but it was not what I'm searching for. I own two copies of the 44M-2 model which was supposedly the nicest bokeh model of the 44M's, as well as one Yashinon DS 50mm f/1.9, one Super Tak 55mm f/2.0, one Super Tak 55mm f/1.8 and one Pentax M 55mm f2.0 (don't think I'm a freak, I just happen to own around 8 film cameras besides my digital ones out of which 1 is a Zenit, and 3 are Pentaxes, so since these were kit lenses...)

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03-23-2013, 07:22 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by katana Quote
not to mention those did not have codes finished with E
The "E" likely refers to "Exaktar" as a maker's mark specific to the eventual branding of the lens. The lens you have pictured looks like a typical 70's vintage generic 55mm lens. Stuff like this was very common here in the U.S. at that time as house brand lenses on house brand Japanese cameras. I had a Rexatar back-in-the-day that was cosmetically almost identical. Same maker? Maybe or maybe not. The Rexatar sucked.

Bottom line is that I, personally, would not pay more than $20 USD for this lens here in the U.S. where the market price of a Super-Takumar 50/1.4 is $85 USD or more. And even at $20, I would only buy it if I were desperate for a f/1.4 lens.

Steve
03-24-2013, 03:16 AM   #6
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Thanks for the picture. I was going to say the same thing that Steve said--that the E likely refers to Exaktar, but after doing a little more looking, I am convinced that this was indeed made by Sankor (and would be one of their later, Auto Sankor models). Have a look at the Auto-Sankor on this page: Webdesign München :: Professionelle Homepage Gestaltung - Testlauf M42 Objektive. Same font, posiition, and information of the name ring, same color and font for the focuing numbers, same grip style (n.b. some more image searches confirmed that, as it's not entirely clear from this one picture). I had prior thought that the Auto Sankor's all used an italic font, but now it seems to me they switched later to this style. By the way, I did find some other examples of these later Auto Sankors rebranded, and the serial number there did indeed end with the E. The early preset Sankors are well regarded (I have one, a 135mm, which is indeed quite good), but I have no idea about these later ones--they could well be worse and cheeper. I too think the price is high, so it's probably not worth taking the chance, as there are tons of good, fast 50/55mm lenses out there.

Last edited by macTak; 03-24-2013 at 03:49 AM.
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