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03-01-2009, 10:22 PM   #1
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New Arrivals: Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 (Third of three)

As mentioned in the first and second posts of this series, I recently became the proud new owner of four lenses:
  • Auto Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42)
  • XR Rikenon 50/2 (2 copies)
  • Auto Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 (M42)
This posting is my first impressions of the Auto Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 (M42).

Auto Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 (M42)

This lens was one of three "normal" kit lenses offered with the Mamiya/Sekor TL and DTL series 35mm SLRs from the late 1960s into the early 1070s. The Mamiya/Sekor line was intended as an upscale offering at the time and the appearance and build of the 55/1.8 reflects that intent. The build is sturdy with precision construction and a high level of finish. All controls are smooth (though a little stiff from age) and have the solid feel characteristic of the best Japanese lenses of the time.

The 55/1.8 is fairly compact and handles well on the 1000 DTL body it was attached to when I bought it. It also fits nicely on the K10D. All controls, including the M/A switch, are well-placed and easy to work. The lens is a pleasure to use.

Here is the Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 mounted on the 1000 DTL:



Here are a few sample images taken wide open at f/1.8:







As you can see, the Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 is a little soft wide-open, with bokeh that is generally smooth and pleasing. I am curious as to how it will work as a portrait lens.

Sample image at f/5.6:

Full image:


100% crop from the point of focus:


At f/5.6 the Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 shows that it is a very capable performer. While not in quite the same league as a Super-Takumar, the Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 is as good as most "fast-50s" of its day. At all but the widest aperture the lens has excellent sharpness and good contrast. It has effective coatings and is well-corrected for distortion and chromatic aberrations.

Conclusions:
The Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 is a very nice lens. It is a fitting complement to the well-built camera it was sold with. Will it displace my Pentax-M or Pentax-A 50/1.7 lenses on the K10D? Not likely. It is a solid performer, but lacks the optical quality of the M 50/1.7. Strangely, I also prefer the qualities of my Auto-Rikenon 50/1.7 (M42) over the Mamiya.

While it is not my "Go to" 50mm, I still consider it a valuable optical asset. Its most probable role in my kit is as the primary lens on the camera it was made for. I look forward to shooting film with it on the 1000 DTL and anticipate that it will provide ample rewards. (Once I get the DTL's meter working...)

Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 03-02-2009 at 04:39 PM.
03-01-2009, 10:27 PM   #2
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wow that slr looks sweet
03-01-2009, 10:42 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
wow that slr looks sweet
Thanks!

The 1000 DTL was one of the 300+ piece estate collection sold on the marketplace by benjamin59. The selling price was $25 and included the original ever-ready case, also in excellent condition. The only thing that could have possibly made the deal sweeter would have been the original metal lens cap and an accessory shoe. Unfortunately, there was corrosion in the battery compartment that extended to the solder joint for the negative battery connection. Ben was good enough to refund $10 of the purchase price when told of the issue and Steve is a happy camper. (Thank you again Ben!) The connection is probably repairable and with any luck I will have a working 1000 DTL sometime later this spring.

Steve

(Yep...it sure is purty...)
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