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07-03-2009, 07:57 PM   #1
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The XR Rikenon 50mm f2 sharpest 35mm lens claim

OK, I've been reading a lot on the internet about this lens being so sharp. I just can't understand because they seem to be dirt cheap (about $10 up to $50 new in the box). However, there seem to be about 4 different versions of the f2.0, and nothing on the net is very specific about which one is supposed to be that certain one:

XR Rikenon S
XR Rikenon L
Rikenon
Rikenon P

Anyone know the deal with this bad boy?

07-03-2009, 09:19 PM   #2
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I picked up my plain XR Rikenon 1:2 50mm wrong and needed six stitches, it was so sharp.

Honestly, I have no idea. I just got the thing recently and haven't used it. Review here makes no claims:

PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 50mm f/2.0

If you want to test one, I'll sell you mine for $20 - excellent cosmetic and optical condition, works perfectly, original caps.
07-03-2009, 11:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
OK, I've been reading a lot on the internet about this lens being so sharp. I just can't understand because they seem to be dirt cheap (about $10 up to $50 new in the box). However, there seem to be about 4 different versions of the f2.0, and nothing on the net is very specific about which one is supposed to be that certain one:

XR Rikenon S
XR Rikenon L
Rikenon
Rikenon P

Anyone know the deal with this bad boy?
This is what I think I know about the K-mount Rikenon 50/2 lenses:
  • XR Rikenon S...I have heard about this one, but have never actually seen it nor know anything about it
  • XR Rikenon L...This is the "light" version. Think plastic construction. I don't know anything about the optics
  • Rikenon...This is not an XR lens and is similar to the XR Rikenon L, if I remember correctly. There is an entry in the Third-party Lens Database for this lens, but I am not convinced that the photo is of the non-XR Rikenon.
  • Rikenon P...Optically similar to the XR Rikenon, but with the infamous Ricoh pin.
  • XR Rikenon...This is the version in this site's Third-party Lens Database (PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 50mm f/2.0)
As for the sharpest 50mm lens claim. I vaguely remember the original review back in the day and have encountered references since that time as well. A recent Google search turned up nothing reputable and of substance. Anecdotal evidence from my personal experience indicates that both of my XR Rikenon 50/2 lenses are pretty sharp. I did a quick test several months ago with all of my 50s and the Rikenon clearly beat out every 50/55mm lens in my signature. I did not post the results because I wanted to do a more complete test under more controlled conditions.

Here is a sample shot wide open:




Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-03-2009 at 11:23 PM.
07-04-2009, 03:19 AM   #4
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What's "sharp" anyway :-)

Found a bokeh comparison of Helios 44-, Rikenon 50-2, Pentax 50 1,7 from flickr-user Gattaccio



Didn't want to say it, but the reference for a 50/2 lens must be either Leica Summicron 50/2 or Carl Zeiss Macro Planar 2/50 or Oly Zuiko Macro 2/50 (horses for courses, totally different definition of "sharp")

Best, Georg (the other)

07-04-2009, 06:06 AM   #5
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I'm with Georg, there is sharp and there is sharp... and "sharp enough" often allows other image qualities to emerge. I haven't heard this about the Rikenon, but the Rikenons I have are all excellent performers - a 135/2.8 Auto-Rikenon M42 is fine indeed... though the 28mm from the same series is assembled wrong, sideways... And my Rikenon on a Diacord is the sharpest med format lens I own.

Here's some of the competition in this class from 1977 Pop Photo:
07-04-2009, 06:44 AM   #6
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I read in one forum, a long time ago, that the rikenon "P" is the best 50 mm. ever made.

Rikenon M42 are very good too. (made by tokina as the mamiya, sears, etc).
07-04-2009, 11:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by estudleon Quote
I read in one forum, a long time ago, that the rikenon "P" is the best 50 mm. ever made.

Rikenon M42 are very good too. (made by tokina as the mamiya, sears, etc).
I have run across the Rikenon P posting, though I don't remember the details. As for who made the M42 Rikenons...I have some interest in this since I own the Auto-Rikenon 50/1.7 and the Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 and have been impressed with both lenses.

As with many Japanese lenses from the 60s and early 70s, it is not always clear who the real manufacturers were. The prevailing opinion is that most of the "non" lenses (Rikenon, Yashinon, Fujinon, etc.) were made by Tomioka, though other origins such as Tokina or Komine are possible. Mamiya/Sekor fans generally claim that Mamiya made their own lenses with occasional re-branding (the Sears/Sekor comes to mind). I tend to believe this since the construction and general appearance/build of my Mamiya/Sekor is much different than my Rikenon of the same vintage.

Steve
07-04-2009, 05:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Mamiya/Sekor fans generally claim that Mamiya made their own lenses with occasional re-branding (the Sears/Sekor comes to mind). I tend to believe this since the construction and general appearance/build of my Mamiya/Sekor is much different than my Rikenon of the same vintage.

Steve
Hi Steve.

The question is difficult to know.

If you see the vivitar pre set 85/1,8 (tokina made), the tokina T4 105/2,8 and the MAMIYAS 100/2,8, 105/2,8, 135/2,8 and 200/3,5 all have the same letters and numbers at the front, the same focus barrel, the same position of the infinite mark, and the same "stylus" of DOF numbers. And the same coating reflections,m with the same color rendering in film/sensor.

It's difficult to say anything but seems to be the same makers for all of them.

07-04-2009, 09:17 PM   #9
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I'd be willing to bet that the sharpest is still the CZ T* f2 45mm Planar for the Contax G series.

Amazingly sharp. Made by Kyocera...who also make ceramic knives. So they know sharp.
07-04-2009, 11:02 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by estudleon Quote
Hi Steve.

The question is difficult to know.

If you see the vivitar pre set 85/1,8 (tokina made), the tokina T4 105/2,8 and the MAMIYAS 100/2,8, 105/2,8, 135/2,8 and 200/3,5 all have the same letters and numbers at the front, the same focus barrel, the same position of the infinite mark, and the same "stylus" of DOF numbers. And the same coating reflections,m with the same color rendering in film/sensor.

It's difficult to say anything but seems to be the same makers for all of them.
Yes, I agree, the question is difficult. Here is the reference I was working from on Ron Herron's Mamiya/Sekor Forum. For the benefit of forum readers, Ron is the big expert on the Web for vintage Mamiya.
Mamiya 35mm Forum - Who makes Mamiya Sekor M42 lenses?
(The reader may note that estudleon contributed to that thread as regarding a possible Tokina origin. Another forum member, blue, posted his thoughts there a few days ago as well. Obviously, this is a hot bed of controversy! )

Again, I want to be sure you know that I am not disputing what you are saying regarding the similarities between the Tokina and Mamiya lenses. I have two Komine M42 Vivitars that are cosmetically very similar to my Mamiya 50/1.8. The lenses are definitely different, but I have wondered whether the barrels might have been sourced from the same suppliers.

From the 1960s through to the early 1980s there was significant mixing of lenses from many sources being sold under many different names. I remember reading in Modern Photography that Tamron, for example, was making lenses for quite a few of their competitors. There is also the matter of assembly from similar parts bins (generic barrels, helicoids, etc.) as well as use of outside shops to apply lens coatings. That lenses with different labels should resemble each other is really not too surprising.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-04-2009 at 11:07 PM.
07-05-2009, 04:18 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I did a quick test several months ago with all of my 50s and the Rikenon clearly beat out every 50/55mm lens in my signature.
Steve
Hi Steve,

One of the 50mm lenses in your signature is the Sigma 50/2.8 EX DG Macro, is it correct to assume that the Rikenon beat this one, too?

Alex
07-05-2009, 07:45 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Yes, I agree, the question is difficult. Here is the reference I was working from on Ron Herron's Mamiya/Sekor Forum. For the benefit of forum readers, Ron is the big expert on the Web for vintage Mamiya.
Mamiya 35mm Forum - Who makes Mamiya Sekor M42 lenses?
(The reader may note that estudleon contributed to that thread as regarding a possible Tokina origin. Another forum member, blue, posted his thoughts there a few days ago as well. Obviously, this is a hot bed of controversy! )

Again, I want to be sure you know that I am not disputing what you are saying regarding the similarities between the Tokina and Mamiya lenses. I have two Komine M42 Vivitars that are cosmetically very similar to my Mamiya 50/1.8. The lenses are definitely different, but I have wondered whether the barrels might have been sourced from the same suppliers.

From the 1960s through to the early 1980s there was significant mixing of lenses from many sources being sold under many different names. I remember reading in Modern Photography that Tamron, for example, was making lenses for quite a few of their competitors. There is also the matter of assembly from similar parts bins (generic barrels, helicoids, etc.) as well as use of outside shops to apply lens coatings. That lenses with different labels should resemble each other is really not too surprising.

Steve
Steve, I understand what you say.

This is a very interesant question, where everyday we can find a new date.

Lot of people are in the way, sure we will see in posts about it.

Rino.
07-05-2009, 12:39 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by AlexJ Quote
Hi Steve,

One of the 50mm lenses in your signature is the Sigma 50/2.8 EX DG Macro, is it correct to assume that the Rikenon beat this one, too?

Alex
The Sigma was not part of the test. I am not sure that it would do so well, however. I have used the Sigma for general shooting and have usually been somewhat disappointed with the results. It works great for macro and close focus and may have been optimized for the closer distances. (The design uses a floating element so it is conceivable that results may vary according to distance.)

Steve
07-08-2009, 06:52 PM   #14
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This post has piqued my curiosity! I have way too many 50s (as you can see from my signature).

When I picked up the Rikenon lens (mine is the P version), I tested it out and was pleased mostly with its weight and looks. Come to think of it, it did produce really nice pics the couple of days I was playing with it. Here are some samples from my old K100D: Search results for rikenon

I'm going to throw this baby on the K20D and see what happens
12-31-2009, 08:55 PM   #15
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Infamous Rikenon 50mm f/1.4, f/1.7, f/2.0 Lenses

What is the difference between the Rikenon 50mm f/2 and the Rikenon XR 50mm f/2?

Are the XR series better in some way?
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