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08-10-2009, 04:41 AM   #1
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In your opinion: smc takumar 50/1.4 adequate microcontrast?

For those shots where the background must be in focus but yet I do have a foreground subject I am looking to exploit microcontrast to delineate the subject. This is usually the job of bokeh. For example, subject with back turned looking at some kind of landscape: I may want that landscape in focus.

My question is : do you consider the microcontrast of the smc takumar 50/1.4 adequate to this task? Should I consider purchasing the 55/1.8 instead, which I am lead to understand has noticeably more microcontrast. I am considering getting both since I prefer the 50/1.4 bokeh and the 55/1.8 is cheap enough, but I would rather not if it isn't necessary.

I have to confess that I am not as sensitive to microcontrast as others: I seem unable to judge this case by viewing photos. However as subtle as the effect may be I appreciate its value and so would rather lean on the better tuned judgement of others. I should also add that I'm not looking for mindblowing microcontrast: the 3D effect can be a distraction in its own right.

Fatuous replies about bokeh and microcontrast being irrelevant aren't welcome.

08-10-2009, 06:17 AM   #2
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As it's cheap enough, why not get the 55 and see for yourself?

Photo test wise, the 1.4 actually does out resolve and out contrast the 55, at around f/4 and above. However, the 55 has a more even performance across apertures and across the frame - the 1.4 tends to favor the center.

I use the quality of stone (e.g. old buildings such as museums and such) and metal to judge effective micro contrast - the more alive the stone seems, the better the lens.

That said, I tend to use my 55 more than the 50, and can recall several instances of live stone or metal with the 55. (The 43 Ltd also does very well with this.)
08-10-2009, 07:45 AM   #3
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I have both lenses, and find that they they both have the situations where they're better suited than the other.
08-10-2009, 05:10 PM   #4
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Could you eloborate, Little Laker.

08-10-2009, 10:29 PM   #5
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Not really. They can both have stunning Bokeh, just different.
They're both sharp. I'd say the 50mm is a little more sharp in the center, but not as sharp on the outside.
What it really boils down to is what lens do I wish to carry around that day.

Here's a sample photo shot through the 55mm.


and a pic from my 50mm.

As you can see they both have a unique look to them, both pleasing in it's own way.

Sorry that I don't have any side to side comparisons. I don't know why I've never bothered. I can't either until I get home sometime tomorrow night.
08-11-2009, 01:23 AM   #6
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Ok, thanks for that. I'm particularly interested in this instance in the microcontrast characteristics of these lenses, particularly at smaller apertures.
08-12-2009, 06:40 AM   #7
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The more contrast lens will be the more macro and micro contrast.

Here the winner seems to be the 1,8/55. This not equal to say that the 1,4 doesn't give us excelents pics (I prefer the S-M-C- ones). The bokeh of the 1,4 is very good and perhaps better than the 1,8. And center resolution of 1,4 at F/4 to 11 is a bit best to the 1,8.

But if you are looking for microcontrast, you can see the 1,8/ 50 Pancolar CZJ (excelent plus lens) and the pentacon 1,8/50 (less CA, very good bokeh, a bit cold like west Zeiss, with very good resolution and contrast and VERY CHEAP).

Good luck.
08-13-2009, 04:55 AM   #8
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thanks for that, Estudleon. Handy to know. I might have a sniff around for that pentacon.

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