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04-08-2014, 07:54 AM   #1
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DA* 55mm vs Rikenon 50mm?

Now, I know, the DA* lenses are fantastic. But, the price isn't quite as nice for those of us who make little to no money. My question is, how does the DA* 55 stack up against the Ricoh Rikenon-P 50mm? To tell you the truth, I love it, only thing I don't really care for is the fact that when I am using this lense, I use catch in focus, it doesn't always seem to trigger right away when I focus, I can go back-and-fourth without it even so much as telling me that it is in focus. This isn't a huge problem, but I don't mind auto focus. My question is, how do they compare to one another, and is the DA* 55 really worth it? Would I have better luck with the DA* 77?

Thanks all!

04-08-2014, 08:59 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
Now, I know, the DA* lenses are fantastic. But, the price isn't quite as nice for those of us who make little to no money. My question is, how does the DA* 55 stack up against the Ricoh Rikenon-P 50mm?
If you like your Rikenon, go forth and shoot! One thing for sure is that the DA* 55 is a lot bulkier, so I guess it stacks up somewhat taller. (My Rikenon-P 50/2 is virtually a pancake lens.) I have two XR Rikenon 50/2 and the Rikenon-P 50/2 and all three are quite sharp with great contrast. My only complaint is "lively" bokeh for some subjects.

As for catch-in-focus...that, probably more than any other feature of the AF system shows the system's weakness. The AF is simply not very precise with most Pentax AF cameras. The K-3 is reportedly better in that regard due to three f/2.8-tuned center-point sensors. The system does not work any better when using AF lenses, you just don't notice when it fudges. A good aftermarket focus screen is your best friend when doing manual focus.


Steve
04-08-2014, 09:10 AM   #3
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Are the DA* 55s any better in IQ over the Rikenons?

And what after market focusing screens would you suggest?
04-08-2014, 09:42 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
If you like your Rikenon, go forth and shoot! One thing for sure is that the DA* 55 is a lot bulkier, so I guess it stacks up somewhat taller. (My Rikenon-P 50/2 is virtually a pancake lens.) I have two XR Rikenon 50/2 and the Rikenon-P 50/2 and all three are quite sharp with great contrast. My only complaint is "lively" bokeh for some subjects.
I've got that Rikenon-P in Sears brand, not a bad lens, kind of plasticky but still solid build quality. I've actually got 2 of them. Haven't had much of a chance to use them yet other than some quick tests to make sure they are in good shape, I have far too many 50s to choose from.

QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
Are the DA* 55s any better in IQ over the Rikenons?
The coatings are definitely better. I'm sure the overall quality is better, but only you can decide if the price is worth it. Most old 50s are pretty good, it really is hard to find a bad one.

QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
And what after market focusing screens would you suggest?
I use a Canon Ee-S screen that was cut to fit the K-5 from focusingscreen.com, they call it the "S Type". Some prefer split prisms, but those affect spot metering and you end up focusing and recomposing because only the center is helpful.

Here is a comparison of the different types. What comes in every DSLR by default they show as the "A Type":
Focusing Screen Comparison

04-08-2014, 10:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
Are the DA* 55s any better in IQ over the Rikenons?
I can't say. I don't own the DA* 55. My mantra is that pain is the best rational for expensive upgrades. If your current kit does not meet your needs, it is time to explore other options.

QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
And what after market focusing screens would you suggest?
I use the KatzEye with Optibrite ($$). In my opinion, it is a great product and worth the extra money.

Pentax K-3 K-5, K-5II, K-7, K-30, K-50 & K-500 KatzEye Focusing Screen

Several other users have a strong preference for the full matte Canon Ec-S or Ee-s screen.* Those models were originally intended for 35mm film and FF digital cameras and can still be purchased new and cut to size as a DIY project. You may also let the good folk at focusingscreen.com do it for you. They refer to it as a type-S screen.

Type-S Screen for Pentax K-5

focusingscreen.com also sells a screen cut down from the Nikon K3 screen that is similar to the KatzEye. It is less money, but the vendor does not offer Optibrite.

K3 Screen for Pentax K-5

I would avoid the eBay screen merchants unless you have to go the absolutely cheapest route.

It is most likely that a replacement screen will work fine using whatever shims are present in your camera and not require any additional calibration. Focusingscreen.com does include shims with their product as part of the installation kit. KatzEye will do the shimming for you for an additional fee.


Steve

* The Canon "Super Precision Matte" screens are intended for use with f/2.8 maximum aperture and wider lenses. The viewfinder appearance is somewhat more dim than other screens when used with slower lenses. At least that is what the Canon documentation indicates. (http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/app/pdfs/quickguides/CDLC_FocusingScreens_QuickGuide.pdf)

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-08-2014 at 10:44 AM.
04-08-2014, 10:28 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It is most likely that a replacement screen will work fine using whatever shims are present in your camera and not require any additional calibration. Focusingscreen.com does include shims with their product as part of the installation kit.
Mine front focused just slightly with the Canon screen and the stock shim, it would still be usable but I wanted perfection. A quick search says the original was 0.35mm, so the one I used was probably 0.30mm. Some calipers come in handy when doing it so you're not just guessing at the thickness because 0.05mm is hard to see with the naked eye.

As far as getting dark at smaller apertures, I don't have a problem unless I'm shooting with an M42 lens stopped down in low light. I found blackout with a split prism to be more of a problem.

Another thing about the Canon screen is metering improves when using the green button or M42 lenses in Av mode at smaller apertures. The original screen is actually too bright at small apertures so it tends to cause underexposure smaller than f5.6.
04-08-2014, 10:38 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
As far as getting dark at smaller apertures, I don't have a problem unless I'm shooting with an M42 lens stopped down in low light. I found blackout with a split prism to be more of a problem.
This is good to know.

QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
Another thing about the Canon screen is metering improves when using the green button or M42 lenses in Av mode at smaller apertures. The original screen is actually too bright at small apertures so it tends to cause underexposure smaller than f5.6.
This is also good to know. What camera are you using? Green button in M mode is already quite good with current crop Pentax bodies. M42 in Av mode, on the other hand, results in the historic poor performance. Does the Ec-S cure the severe underexposure at apertures wider than f/4 with M42 in Av mode? You can PM me if you don't want to further derail this thread.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-08-2014 at 10:46 AM.
04-08-2014, 10:56 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
This is also good to know. What camera are you using? Green button in M mode is already quite good with current crop Pentax bodies with M42 in Av mode having the historic poor performance.
The K-5, which was fine with the stock screen at large apertures.

I have an Industar 50-2 on it right now and aimed at a bright window, in Av mode f3.5 is 1/6000, f4 is 1/4000, f5.6 is 1/2000, f8 is 1/1000, f11 is 1/500 and f16 is 1/250. Perfectly linear response all the way, which I never got with the stock screen.

04-08-2014, 11:12 AM   #9
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The DA *55 is a better lens, but certainly if you want auto focus, there are a lot of options in the 50-ish mm range that would be a lot cheaper as well.
04-08-2014, 11:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The DA *55 is a better lens, but certainly if you want auto focus, there are a lot of options in the 50-ish mm range that would be a lot cheaper as well.
Any suggestions? I know the FA* 50 was great, but I really don't want another one. I sold mine years ago at a camera shop, which was a terrible choice,they guy there told me it was only worth like $30 and sold it for $25... Then when the store close the owner (who also swindled me on just about everything) then took all the stuff that other people had on consignment there and never returned it. So, I need a lense for ideally under $100.00 used. Haha.
04-08-2014, 12:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
Any suggestions? I know the FA* 50 was great, but I really don't want another one. I sold mine years ago at a camera shop, which was a terrible choice,they guy there told me it was only worth like $30 and sold it for $25... Then when the store close the owner (who also swindled me on just about everything) then took all the stuff that other people had on consignment there and never returned it. So, I need a lense for ideally under $100.00 used. Haha.
I see from your equipment list that you have the 18-55 kit lens and the Rikenon-p 50/2.0. Are you looking specifically for another 50mm to 55mm prime lens and for manual or auto focus. It sounds like you are looking for the best compromise between image quality and price (bang for the buck).

In a week, I'm going on a road trip through Oregon, Northern California and Utah & I've been trying to work out which lenses to take. Yesterday I decided to include a fast 50 but didn't know which to take so I decided to start comparing the ones I have. One of these is a Rikenon 50/2.0 (no -p marking on it) and I ran sample shots using my K-5 with: a) Pentax-M 50/1.7, b) Pentax-M 50/1.4, c) Cosina 50/1.8, d) Chinon 50/1.8, e) Takumar 55/1.8 and f) Mamiya Sekor 55/1.8. In the initial tests I thought the Rikenon looked a bit washed out and my gut feeling is that I'll take the Pentax-M 50/1.7. I still need to upload the photos to my computer, do more detailed comparisons and double check that all the settings were as similar as possible. Also, my Rikenon may not be a good copy. This stuff takes time.

Cheers,

Ted
04-08-2014, 01:16 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
Any suggestions? I know the FA* 50 was great, but I really don't want another one. I sold mine years ago at a camera shop, which was a terrible choice,they guy there told me it was only worth like $30 and sold it for $25... Then when the store close the owner (who also swindled me on just about everything) then took all the stuff that other people had on consignment there and never returned it. So, I need a lense for ideally under $100.00 used. Haha.
If you could find a F50mm f1.7, that would probably be the cheapest auto focus option. The DA 50mm f1.8 is pretty reasonable, but certainly will be more than the 100 dollar price tag, even used.
04-08-2014, 01:45 PM   #13
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Can you go to a store and try it? Keep in mind the DA* 55mm is one of the best lenses Pentax offers right now. Pretty sure it beats the Rikenon in every respect, the question is just whether it is worth it for your needs. Also, who knows, this lens might be what lets you make some money. I think quite a few professionals on this forum use the DA* 55mm. I doubt many use a Rikenon.
04-08-2014, 04:16 PM - 2 Likes   #14
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i have the A50/1,7 and the DA*55.

considering that the A50/1,7 has a design pretty identical as the Rikenon, the Da*55 is just another league.

The DA*55 is better opticaly : sharper at any aperture, color and saturation are better (truer mainly, and saturated).

But : it's very expensive, it's heavier, bulkier, AF is pretty slow. However, the focus throw is quite long and good for MF.

If you like the 50mm range, consider the DA*55 as a life time investement. But make sure you will use it despite the size and weight, otherwise, it will be a waste of money.
04-09-2014, 07:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Can you go to a store and try it? Keep in mind the DA* 55mm is one of the best lenses Pentax offers right now. Pretty sure it beats the Rikenon in every respect, the question is just whether it is worth it for your needs. Also, who knows, this lens might be what lets you make some money. I think quite a few professionals on this forum use the DA* 55mm. I doubt many use a Rikenon.
Unfortunately no, the only thing stores around here carry that I know of is Sony, Nikon, and Canon. I mean, I have really good results with the Rikenon, but I don't know, people might see it as "unprofessional". :z

---------- Post added 04-09-14 at 09:09 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
i have the A50/1,7 and the DA*55.

considering that the A50/1,7 has a design pretty identical as the Rikenon, the Da*55 is just another league.

The DA*55 is better opticaly : sharper at any aperture, color and saturation are better (truer mainly, and saturated).

But : it's very expensive, it's heavier, bulkier, AF is pretty slow. However, the focus throw is quite long and good for MF.

If you like the 50mm range, consider the DA*55 as a life time investement. But make sure you will use it despite the size and weight, otherwise, it will be a waste of money.
Is there anything made by like... Sigma with similar quality to the DA* for any less money?

---------- Post added 04-09-14 at 09:11 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by howzat Quote
I see from your equipment list that you have the 18-55 kit lens and the Rikenon-p 50/2.0. Are you looking specifically for another 50mm to 55mm prime lens and for manual or auto focus. It sounds like you are looking for the best compromise between image quality and price (bang for the buck).

In a week, I'm going on a road trip through Oregon, Northern California and Utah & I've been trying to work out which lenses to take. Yesterday I decided to include a fast 50 but didn't know which to take so I decided to start comparing the ones I have. One of these is a Rikenon 50/2.0 (no -p marking on it) and I ran sample shots using my K-5 with: a) Pentax-M 50/1.7, b) Pentax-M 50/1.4, c) Cosina 50/1.8, d) Chinon 50/1.8, e) Takumar 55/1.8 and f) Mamiya Sekor 55/1.8. In the initial tests I thought the Rikenon looked a bit washed out and my gut feeling is that I'll take the Pentax-M 50/1.7. I still need to upload the photos to my computer, do more detailed comparisons and double check that all the settings were as similar as possible. Also, my Rikenon may not be a good copy. This stuff takes time.

Cheers,

Ted
Of these tested, what would you say the top 3 are? Are they sharp even all the way open?
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