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12-08-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
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K-5 50mm manual focus lens recommendations

I have a K-5 and recently have become interested in shooting with older manual focus lenses. I was thinking of picking up a used 50mm lens, something around 1.4. There seem to be are a number of options so I think I need some direction. Iím not looking to spend that much and thought eBay might be the way to go. Thoughts?

12-08-2011, 12:08 PM   #2
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I'd check here first as you are more likely to get an accurate description. That said, all but two of my 50s are from eBay. If you want the convenience of aperture setting in camera then the A50/1.4 is your choice IMHO. Nice lens. I have the FA50/1.4 and they are similar enough to know that the A needs a hood to shine like the FA version.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-A-50mm-F1.4-Lens.html
12-08-2011, 12:16 PM   #3
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M42's generally cost less than K- or M-types, which cost less than A-types. An M42 needs an adapter; any PK won't. My fastest fifties, not counting the great K50/1.2 and the old reliable FA50/1.4, are an M42 SuperTak 50/1.4, a planar C/Y (modded for PK) Yashica ML 50/1.4, and an M42 Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4. None were terribly costly. I can't say which is *the* favorite; I've been using the Tomioka a lot lately. I'm still looking for fairly cheap Nikon pre-AI and Olympus OM 50/1.4s to mod.

If you don't mind being 1/2-stop slower, there are scads of fine fifties around f/1.7-1.8: SMCs and Takumars, Yashica, Mamiya, Petri, Rikenon, Meyer, Sears, Vivitar, etc. The M- or A-50/1.7 and M42 SuperTak 55/1.8 are well-loved, extremely sharp, as is the M42 Petri CC 55/1.8. Slightly slower but also well-loved are the various version of the Helios-44 58/2.

It's hard to go wrong with almost any of the faster fifties. Some folks hold out for monsters like almost any f/1.2 -- those can be tricker to focus. The slower f/1.7-2 lenses are a bit easier to use. All are superb when stopped-down to f/2 or beyond. My recommendation: Try any of them.
12-08-2011, 12:20 PM   #4
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Don't overlook the Marketplace forum here. I've bought several lens here and they were all a least as good as described, mostly better. If dead cheap is your primary concern Ebay is worth a look, if value is your primary concern here is much better/safer in my opinion.

12-08-2011, 12:55 PM   #5
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Local craigslist, local (pawn) shops, garage sales, colleagues etc can still be sources if your lucky. And I think they can be a lot cheaper than eBay but you might need more patience to find them.

Picked up a M50/1.7 from a colleague for US$30 about 6 months ago and a M120/2.8 in a local shop for the same price two weeks ago.

A series offers advantage of Av metering, but are a bit more expensive than M series. Alternatives might be M42 lenses, but require an adapter.
12-08-2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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I recently asked the same question on the MFlenses forum. Here is the link to the thread A 50 f1.4 lens for Pentax dslr? . It might help you to expand the list of available lenses.


QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
M42's generally cost less than K- or M-types
However, it seems that Takumars are getting more expensive than Pentax M lenses. Better character maybe?
12-08-2011, 01:25 PM   #7
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M50 1.7s are generally found for about 50 or so, which I believe is about as low as it gets. M42 you have to factor in that M42 adaptor.

The 1.7s are sharper and cheaper than the 1.4s, so that could be a factor for consideration. The A versions of each lens is more expensive, but being able to use Av mode can be pretty helpful.
12-08-2011, 01:56 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
M50 1.7s are generally found for about 50 or so, which I believe is about as low as it gets. M42 you have to factor in that M42 adaptor.

The 1.7s are sharper and cheaper than the 1.4s, so that could be a factor for consideration. The A versions of each lens is more expensive, but being able to use Av mode can be pretty helpful.
He is right, I have two 50mm's both 1.4s (M and KA version) and both are soft wide open and do not really get sharp until f4 or so. I also have a f2.8 - 50mm macro in a KA mount and it is tack sharp, even wide open. If I could only have one lens it would be the 50mm 2.8 macro in KA mount. It also gives me the capability to do macro shots, although not 1:1.

12-08-2011, 02:50 PM   #9
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A worthwhile lens is the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4. Built like a tank, with outstanding IQ, the lens is a real beauty. Although no onger manufacured in K-mount, you can still find some in stocks.

I was pointed to that lens by a PF member and it was one of my best lens purchase decision. A great lens....
12-08-2011, 03:06 PM   #10
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I got an M 50 1.7 in my kit. It never leaves the bag, or if I don't take the bag, it goes in my jacket pocket. It has been my favorite lens since my mom gave me her MX way back in the 90's. I had a 1.4 but i gave it to a fellow pentaxian as I never used it because I found the 1.7 gave richer colors and sharper focus throughout the rang. I try not to shoot wide open, but it still performs great if I do.
12-08-2011, 04:12 PM   #11
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The SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4 is the way to go. Excellent lens all around. It has 8 aperture blades. Great portrait lens.
12-08-2011, 04:14 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Local craigslist, local (pawn) shops, garage sales, colleagues etc can still be sources if your lucky. And I think they can be a lot cheaper than eBay but you might need more patience to find them.
If you actually get to fondle lenses before buying, you may want to read this: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/59245-pawnshop-lense...ers-guide.html

And just to whet your appetite, see this: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/50147-50mm-f-1-4-len...ic-bullet.html

A comment on sharpness vs aperture: Fast lenses (f/1.2-1.4) are accused of being softer wide-open than slower glass (f/1.7-2-2.8-etc). Well duh. My CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (12 iris blades) and Meyer Primotar-E 50/3.5 and Macro-Takumar 50/4 (1x) certainly seem sharper wide-open than does my K50/1.2. But the K50 is rather better at f/4 and beyond than any of those.

Fast lenses have extremely thin DOF -- they may be razor-sharp, but only within that very thin subject field. We usually don't use f/1.2-1.4 lenses wide-open when we want edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness. We use them to grab images that are otherwise impossible. For flatfield sharpness, I use the MacTak. For 'pop', I use the CZJ Tessar. For exquisite rendering, I use the K50/1.2. For gotta-get-the-shot agility, I use the FA50/1.4. Different hammers for different nails.
12-08-2011, 04:40 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
It took a bit of time to find it, but that was a nice article, thanks for posting it.
12-13-2011, 01:05 PM   #14
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While I'd really like to get that A-50 1.7 (or other faster 50s) I can say I've been very impressed by the M-50 f/2 lens. My copy focuses very well with the CIF function and produces great colors. You don't always have to buy anything expensive. The only issues I have are mine - mostly metering...
12-13-2011, 01:47 PM   #15
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My favorite 50 lens:

Voigtlander Nokton 58/1.4 - discontinued for Pentax mount, can be found secondhand. If you have money for FA and don't care about AF, better get this one.

Other lenses that are special:

M42:
Helios 44* 58/2
Super/SMC Takumar 50 1/.4
Volna 9 50/2.8 (1:2 macro) (Industar 61 L/Z is a lesser relative of this one)

K mount:
Pentax A 50/1.2
Cosina/Revuenon 55/1.2
Pentax M 50/1.7

Somewhat lesser known bargains:

M42:
Petri 55/1.8
Mamiya Sekkor - I think I've seen 1.4 and 1.8 varieties

K mount:
Sears lenses in 1.4, 1.7, 2.0 variety
Ricoh Rikenon in same assortment

I reviewed a number of these on my blog and you can find sample shots in the reviews. All can produce good images when used knowledgeably, but the Nokton is the most dependable and the best built. I also like very much the Helios 44 and Volna 9 lenses.

(edited to correct the awful omission of the Pentax A 50/1.2 - apologies)

Last edited by Laurentiu Cristofor; 12-13-2011 at 09:00 PM.
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