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11-25-2009, 06:38 PM   #31
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Jeryst: Can somebody point me towards one of these? I've looked on ebay, but appearantly am not searching for the right thing.
And if you can live without full metering capabilitities, the M 50 1.7 is a good option too. I once got one, new in box and packing, for $27 on Ebay. It is a great lens. I sold my A 1.7, but not my M 1.7. I use it for indoor portraits to my delight.

Here is one claiming to be "pristine"--many clear pics are provided. I have owned many Pentax fast 50s and 55s--I find the performance very similar; they are all excellent.
PENTAX SMC M 50mm 1.7 Manual focus leans PRISTINE!!!!! - eBay (item 190351093133 end time Nov-29-09 18:07:30 PST)

11-25-2009, 06:52 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I honestly don't know but assumed there was a difference internally. Only because there were (a guess) a couple hundred thousand f2's and we rarely hear of issues with them. Without stripping a pair down, I can't say for sure.
They have different innards optically, that is for sure. One of the reviews of the 50/2 (TourDeForce) in the review section (Link) indicates that the 50/2 is much better made than the A 50/1.7 on a tear-down. On the other hand, a few other reviewers had build complaints. Who knows...

Steve
11-26-2009, 05:40 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I will see what I can do. I don't think that I have any direct comparisons in my current library of shots, though it would be easy enough to generate a few. I assume you are wanting the comparison using the K10D and not film.

Steve
Yes Steve,
I'd love to see comparison on APSC.
Thanks a lot

Peter
11-26-2009, 05:47 AM   #34
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Thank you Steve!
I guess I'd be asking for too much too late to throw 55/1.8 into the mix?

11-26-2009, 07:56 AM   #35
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I talked with a guy that has the FA 50mm 1.4 lens for sale. Do the 1.4's have the same plastic retainer issue?
11-26-2009, 07:59 AM   #36
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No they don't. Different design and construction. I bet 60-70% of the active shooters here own this lens and we never see any problems with it.

In fact the only one we do is the A SMC 50mm f1.7 lens.
08-05-2010, 07:28 AM   #37
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Sorry to gravedig this thread but I'm in the same position and I'm debating between a Helios 58mm f/2, a Pentax 50mm f/1.7, and a Pentax 50mm f/1.4. Any suggestions?
08-05-2010, 10:36 PM   #38
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Goslet, I own 2 of the lenses you mention, and can say the following:

My Pentax (SMC-M) 50mm f1.7 is pretty sharp at f4-f5.6, tailing off slowly as you stop down. It's pretty dire wide open, perhaps just about usable for portraits at f2. Like some of my other Pentax lenses of that era (but not including the M42 Takumars), it has a cool colour rendition, but that's easily corrected in post-processing. It has great flare resistance.

My Helios 44M 58mm f2 is my sharpest lens wide open (I fully concur with stevebrot on this), but only in the centre of the frame; it's pretty blurry at the edges. But, all in all, it would make a very good portrait lens, IMO, for very little money. And the extra 8mm focal length might also make it more attractive.

I seem to remember that the Pentax 50mm f1.4 is said to have excellent bokeh, so for lovely soft out-of-focus backgrounds, this may well be the choice - at a price. Bokeh for the f1.7 is rather harsh, and for the Helios it's, er, "interesting" (to say the least!).

Regarding 50mm lenses in general, the champion for sharpness (at around f4) has to be, IMO, the Rikenon f2 (whether in XR or plain-vanilla forms).

08-05-2010, 10:45 PM   #39
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Goslet, I forgot to mention that the Helios is a big heavy lens, and that the Russians weren't nearly as good as the Japanese when it comes to quality of construction and lubricants. So, be aware that focusing will probably be an inferior experience compared to the Pentaxes.

But at the price, you can probably afford to give one a try for yourself.
08-06-2010, 09:49 AM   #40
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Sorry about this, but it's occurred to me that there are certain considerations concerning choice of the Helios:

1. Obviously it's an M42 lens, so needs an adaptor.

2. It may well be an auto-diaphragm only version. If it is, it needs to be modified so that it becomes a preset lens (this isn't difficult).

3. You could use it wide open all the time, but this only gives a DOF of 3 inches at 5 feet.

4. Stopping down manually before shooting could be a bit of a pain, in the context of portrait photography.

5. It does have that stiff-ish focus ring.

I think it's an interesting kens in its own right, and you should be able to get one very cheaply, but a 50mm from Pentax or Rikenon may suit the job better.

Incidentally, if you end up with a Rikenon, be aware that the -P version has a pin on the flange of the K-mount. This MUST be removed before you put the lens on the camera, otherwise you'll end up with the lens jammed on!
08-06-2010, 11:00 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Goslett Quote
Sorry to gravedig this thread but I'm in the same position and I'm debating between a Helios 58mm f/2, a Pentax 50mm f/1.7, and a Pentax 50mm f/1.4. Any suggestions?
You haven't stated which Pentax 1.7 and 1.4. The M series will require you to stop down also. In fact, I find the m42 to be more versatile because it allows of Av and M operation since the lens can be set to m via the a-m switch. I have just about any Pentax 50mm lens you want to mention and a Helios 44. I have the Helios because of its 58mm focal length. Outside that, I would pick a Pentax lens 1st including various Taks.
08-06-2010, 04:46 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
Sorry about this, but it's occurred to me that there are certain considerations concerning choice of the Helios:

1. Obviously it's an M42 lens, so needs an adaptor.

2. It may well be an auto-diaphragm only version. If it is, it needs to be modified so that it becomes a preset lens (this isn't difficult).

3. You could use it wide open all the time, but this only gives a DOF of 3 inches at 5 feet.

4. Stopping down manually before shooting could be a bit of a pain, in the context of portrait photography.

5. It does have that stiff-ish focus ring.

I think it's an interesting kens in its own right, and you should be able to get one very cheaply, but a 50mm from Pentax or Rikenon may suit the job better.

Incidentally, if you end up with a Rikenon, be aware that the -P version has a pin on the flange of the K-mount. This MUST be removed before you put the lens on the camera, otherwise you'll end up with the lens jammed on!
True, there are a ton of versions of the Helios 44. There's also a 44K, which is a K-mount, but more rare. If you find one, you don't have to worry about the adapter, but you'll still have to use stop-down metering.
08-07-2010, 08:20 AM   #43
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Yeah I'm thinking of doing 50mm 1.7 or 1.4. M or A, I haven't decided yet. Depends on price. I've just bought so many lenses this month including the DA*50-135 that I'm not trying to spend too much more on lenses.

Anyways, anyone selling any of those lenses, now would be a good time to chime in
08-07-2010, 11:33 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
Goslet, I forgot to mention that the Helios is a big heavy lens, and that the Russians weren't nearly as good as the Japanese when it comes to quality of construction and lubricants. So, be aware that focusing will probably be an inferior experience compared to the Pentaxes.
Helios-44x isn't really big and heavy. My 44M weighs 300g, less than almost any in the 85-135 range. True, Russian construction can be iffy. And true, focusing can be stiffer than Taks; my 44M could use a lube job. But it's a pretty cheap and distinctive lens. And IMHO it's more intimate for portraits than a 50-55. I see real differences between wide-open facial shots with my FA50/1.4, Yashinon-DX and M50/1.7, Chinon and Takumar 55/1.8, and the Helios 58/2.

NOTE ON ADAPTERS: with screwmount lenses intended for portraits, closeups, etc, it's not necessary to shell out ~US$40+ for an Official Pentax adapter. The flanged, no-infinity-focus adapters are cheap and safe, and perfect for situations where you don't care about infinity focus. Scrape some paint off the flanged adapter so it can (safely) short out the camera's mount contacts, and you can use Catch-In-Focus.
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