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07-18-2013, 02:36 PM   #1
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Wide Open Shootout! 50s, 55s, 58, mostly Pentax and Taks

I have 6 50mm lenses, 2 Takumar 55/1.8, and my newest, a Helios 44M.

I shot a non-scientific comparison of all 9 lenses wide-open and the results are not at all what I expected. Most surprising was the performance of the F50, which has been super sharp for me in the past. I didn't use the LV magnification when focusing, so maybe user error? Some are quite sharp: Helios and the Pentax M 1.4 and 2.0, for example, are pretty good.
All shot using k-30, tripod mounted, SR off, focus peaking, open at the widest aperture. These were shot RAW and converted in Lightroom with no PP except for crop/size. High ISO (800) because I forgot to change it.

Samples below, and you can view the contrast and bokeh in the full images HERE

Pentax M 50mm/1.4 Pentax M 50mm/1.7 Pentax F 50mm/1.7
Chinon 50mm/1.9 Pentax M 50mm/2.0 Helios 44M 58mm/2.0
Super-Takumar 50mm/1.4 Auto Takumar 55mm/1.8 Super-Takumar 55mm/1.8

I was going to ditch the Pentax 50/2, but now I'm no so sure! Also, seems like the Auto Tak performed better than the Super Tak. Thoughts?


Last edited by StevePrime; 07-18-2013 at 02:39 PM. Reason: added link to full images
07-18-2013, 03:48 PM   #2
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Where did you focus? And, yes, magnified liveview would have been a good idea.
07-18-2013, 04:12 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I've found lens testing to be very hard mainly due to focusing. Even with LV zoomed in 6x and focus peaking on my K-01, there are still minute differences causing some of the shots to bias foreground and others background. It could be the design of the lenses causing this, but I'm thinking it's more of very small focus differences between shots. Focus distance is another factor. Some of my lenses are very good at closer distance, but suck at infinity, or vice versa.
I like the Helios the best among those shots, then the M 50/1.4.
07-18-2013, 05:07 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by prime.partisan Quote
Focus distance is another factor. Some of my lenses are very good at closer distance, but suck at infinity, or vice versa.
.
How true

Also did you use a remote to fie the trigger? The only way to be consistent.

07-18-2013, 07:05 PM   #5
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Hey, this is great effort. Thanks for shearing with us.
Sorry to say but I donīt think you choose a very "challenging" condition for this "all quite good" primes. Just something to have in mind if you ever do this again.
As I said, this is a lot of work, though.

Cheers
07-19-2013, 02:00 AM   #6
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I find the M50/1.4 to be a strong contender out of this group, also in my own comparisons of 50s I have I have found the M50/1.4 to be an excellent performing lens. A lot of folks dis the M lens group as a little inferior to the other lines, but I don't see it as such. Maybe for a test of lines per this or what have you, as for a nice rendered photo, I like the M line.
07-19-2013, 06:18 AM   #7
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From the photos, it appears theHelios and the M50/1.4 and the Chinon stand out for me.
I've got the K50 and would loved to have known how it ranked in this test.
07-19-2013, 06:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by carrrlangas Quote
Sorry to say but I donīt think you choose a very "challenging" condition for this "all quite good" primes. Just something to have in mind if you ever do this again.
Cheers
Absolutely agree. I chose it to compare the bokeh of the full scene (still not artistic composition, I'm afraid) as well as the sharpness for the little bud. I also took the shot of each lens at 5.6, which I'll upload later.


QuoteOriginally posted by civiletti:
Where did you focus?
Peaking was easiest to see where the red of the flower emerged from the green of the bud casing.

QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye:
Also did you use a remote to fie the trigger?
2 second delay. However, there was a small breeze and the flowers may have been moving slightly.

Thanks for the replies and suggestions!

07-19-2013, 07:14 AM   #9
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The Helios looks like the best of the bunch to my eyes. What would something like that cost in today's dollars?
07-19-2013, 08:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
The Helios looks like the best of the bunch to my eyes. What would something like that cost in today's dollars?
I picked up my Helios for about $35 shipped, attached to a surprisingly nice Vivitar m42 film camera.
07-19-2013, 08:55 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by StevePrime Quote
I picked up my Helios for about $35 shipped, attached to a surprisingly nice Vivitar m42 film camera.
What a great price for a nice sharp lens.
07-19-2013, 10:48 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by prime.partisan Quote
I've found lens testing to be very hard mainly due to focusing.
When everything is set up - tripod, target, exposure, delay, SR, etc. - actually taking shots is quick. So I refocus and shoot, twice more. On the computer, I can pick the best focus out of three. I choose a target that makes the actual point of focus as clear as possible in the center of the frame. With some focal lengths that's harder but it makes the rest of the work easier and more reliable.
07-22-2013, 12:18 PM   #13
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The Helios does look best. However, telling from the longer DOF, it seems to me it wasn't actually at f/2.
07-23-2013, 08:01 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ikarus Quote
The Helios does look best. However, telling from the longer DOF, it seems to me it wasn't actually at f/2.
It was assuredly at f/2. The Helios has a longer minimum focal distance so is farther back from the subject and that will give it a wider DOF (all the lenses were very close to minimum distance). Also, the longer focal length widens the DOF as well.

Here are the 100% crops of the Helios at 2.0 and 5.6. Again, no PP, so these are less contrasty and vibrant than they should be (and noiser)

07-23-2013, 11:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by StevePrime Quote
It was assuredly at f/2. The Helios has a longer minimum focal distance so is farther back from the subject and that will give it a wider DOF (all the lenses were very close to minimum distance). Also, the longer focal length widens the DOF as well.
They should be fairly close in the near range. Entered in the DOF calculator: 50mm focal length, f/2, 50cm distance vs. 58mm focal length, f/2, 58cm distance - the calculated DOF is 0.72cm for both. Also, just because the lens was set to f/2, does not mean it actually was at f/2. I have a few lenses that are definitely not wide open when they claim to be, one of which being my DA 40mm f/2.8 XS.
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