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02-11-2013, 01:24 AM   #1
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Soft image when using M-50mm f/2 on K-01

Hi guys, I borrowed my friend's K-01 and shot it with my own Pentax-M 50mm f/2 on it. But the results are duller and softer compared to his 40mm pancake kit. I just want to know if any of you also have the same result (i.e. generally duller and softer images)? As you can see the sand in the below image lacks details (although still acceptable for me).

Shot on K-01 with M-50mm f/2:


I plan to use old lenses on my future DSLR (prob buying K5), so I want to know the general image quality when pairing up older lenses. I saw a lot of images online but some have used sharpening so I doubt the accuracy if I compare.

p/s: The depth of field is also shallower than expected (I know it's a 75mm-equivalent but I stopped down to f/8, I'm also sure there is not hand shake). Maybe it's just my lack of experience...

02-11-2013, 01:30 AM   #2
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This doesn't seem too great for F8, but keep in mind that the F2 version of the 50mm lens is the cheapest one, and thus also the least sharp. The 40mm should be much, much sharper, as should the 50mm F1.7.

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02-11-2013, 01:52 AM   #3
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What mode were you shooting in?
02-11-2013, 02:19 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Looks like it didn't stop down. Maybe shot the lens in Av / Auto?

02-11-2013, 02:42 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
What mode were you shooting in?
I was shooting in Av mode. I also doubt that it didn't stop down, because the EXIF says the shutter speed was 1/4000 @ ISO100, too impossible for a f/8 on cloudy day. Should I shoot on full manual mode?
02-11-2013, 02:44 AM   #6
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When I first got my first manual lens, an M 50mm f/1.7, for a while I thought I was shooting it stopped down when I really wasn't. I set the aperture and put the camera in Av mode, as seemed very logical (and which works on non-crippled K-mount bodies). The 50mm f/2 lenses are not known for their sharpness or contrast, at least wide open, but should be better stopped down to f/8. The pile of sand does look sharper than the background, which suggests to me the narrower depth of field of using the lens wide open.

In order to stop down you need the camera in M mode. You can then meter using the green button.
02-11-2013, 02:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
When I first got my first manual lens, an M 50mm f/1.7, for a while I thought I was shooting it stopped down when I really wasn't. I set the aperture and put the camera in Av mode, as seemed very logical (and which works on non-crippled K-mount bodies). The 50mm f/2 lenses are not known for their sharpness or contrast, at least wide open, but should be better stopped down to f/8. The pile of sand does look sharper than the background, which suggests to me the narrower depth of field of using the lens wide open.

In order to stop down you need the camera in M mode. You can then meter using the green button.
Thank you Jonathan! That explains everything now. So I did NOT stop down to f/8 when I think I did. I checked online info and indeed I should have used M mode, meter with green button, and then set shutter speed accordingly. Thank you very much.

I'd call this and question solved. Thank you for everyone's answer!

For green button instruction, read this https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/110657-how-use-meter...k-x-k-7-a.html

Last edited by mythguy9; 02-11-2013 at 03:02 AM. Reason: add link for easy reading
02-11-2013, 07:14 AM - 1 Like   #8
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@Adam and others

I can't agree with the M 2.0/50 bashing you can find all over this forum. I have a feeling many posters are just repeating what they have read elsewhere.

From 1981 till 1985, I used that lens (with a ME Super) as a standard for shooting at party events every week. All photos with flash and F5.6. I had loads of tack sharp images, many of them sold as 60x40cm, and still very sharp.

When I got the then new Super A with the SMC-A 1.4/50, I saw the better resolution at F2-F2.8, but nothing visible in real life shots at F5.6-F8.

One should also not forget, that the 2.0 (M and A type) has the same outside dimensions as the 1.7, but less glass -> less prone to flare. Adding to this is the fact, that the front lens is sitting deeper inside the tubes, so, compared with the 1.7 and 1.4, it has more of a kind of built-in lens hood.

02-11-2013, 07:41 AM   #9
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I'm glad the OP discovered the problem & can use his lens correctly now. The M50/2 was my introduction to manual lenses, and I still use it a lot. As RKKS08 says, the lens gets an undeserved bad rap. Yes, the bokeh at wide apertures can be weird and busy-looking sometimes. But stopped down, it's tack sharp with beautiful color rendering and contrast. Some of my best photos were taken with this lens, mostly outdoor portraits, street scenes & some landscapes. For the low prices they are going for, its a lot of lens for little cash
02-11-2013, 07:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mythguy9 Quote
As you can see the sand in the below image lacks details (although still acceptable for me).
Sand? I only see two pebbles, they seem nicely in focus although a bit soft.... At f2 this lens is not the sharpest 50 around, but for that kind of image, I think it's sharp enough!
02-11-2013, 10:32 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RKKS08 Quote
@Adam and others

I can't agree with the M 2.0/50 bashing you can find all over this forum. I have a feeling many posters are just repeating what they have read elsewhere.

From 1981 till 1985, I used that lens (with a ME Super) as a standard for shooting at party events every week. All photos with flash and F5.6. I had loads of tack sharp images, many of them sold as 60x40cm, and still very sharp.

When I got the then new Super A with the SMC-A 1.4/50, I saw the better resolution at F2-F2.8, but nothing visible in real life shots at F5.6-F8.

One should also not forget, that the 2.0 (M and A type) has the same outside dimensions as the 1.7, but less glass -> less prone to flare. Adding to this is the fact, that the front lens is sitting deeper inside the tubes, so, compared with the 1.7 and 1.4, it has more of a kind of built-in lens hood.
If a lens was "good enough" for film it might not be good enough for digital- remember that back in the day, we didn't pixel-peep like we do today.

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02-11-2013, 10:42 AM   #12
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NM ... didn't read all the posts carefully
02-11-2013, 10:52 AM   #13
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I just updated the K-01 firmware and followed advice of another thread for focussing in manual by zoom with SR off.
Here is the Pentax-M 1:2 50mm (32 years old) at f/8
I focussed on Spiderman saying "Don't"
On the Eizo the image is sharp up to 140% screen zoom.
(3MB camera jpg)
https://www.box.com/s/mz3phpxqe5x3ajuku023
edit: new link

Last edited by wombat2go; 02-11-2013 at 12:24 PM.
02-11-2013, 11:01 AM   #14
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Many M50/2s are downright soft wide-open -- I thought so back in the 80s on film. I even did a special project one time using only that lens wide-open for long exposure night photography (the long-exposure tended to make it even software with slight blur from vibrations added) because it gave everything a special cartoonish miniature look. Stopped down it is fine like most lenses, but noticably soft wide open...
02-11-2013, 11:34 AM   #15
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I just tried M 50mm wide open f/2 at about 2 metre ( 5 ft)
The lens is not as sharp as at f/8, however the DOF at f/2 is only about 100mm ( 4 inch).
In the sharp plane, the detail is still quite good.
We should not confuse softness with small DOF

Sorry my links ( above) to box.com are not working today.
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