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06-14-2014, 11:47 PM   #1
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Best 50mm/55mm in any mount

Which are the best 50mm or 55mm in any mount? I am currently using SMC 50/1.4 & Canon FDn 50/1.4 with A7r but wondering about other manual focus options including Distagon etc

Thanks

06-15-2014, 12:14 AM   #2
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From what I've read:

Leica 50mm f2 APO Summicron ASPH (M mount)
Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 APO Distagon (EF and F mount)

For more sensible prices, the new Sigma 50mm f1.4 DG HSM | Art (EF, F and Sony A mount) sounds very, very good.
06-15-2014, 12:50 AM   #3
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The DA*55/1.4 is actually one of the best in any mount. It works with the Full Frame image circle, although I can't tell you how good the border performance is. It's significantly better than any of the Pentax 50/1.4 lenses.

The K50/1.2 is really nice for the backgrounds, and the A50/1.2 is close to being as good as that (slightly less aberrations, but backgrounds also slightly less smooth). Although they are considered "optically identical" because they use the same optical formula, they will produce slightly different results.



Keep in mind that some of the best lenses out there are the Sony Zeiss A-mount lenses. That's one of the best reasons for getting a Sony camera in the first place. In particular the 135/1.8, 85/1.4, and 16-35/2.8 are really great, and the 24mm lens (which I haven't used) is said to be in the same class as well. All of these have AF, which is really useful. Although expensive, they all cost less than your A7r body, so I trust you can buy at least one or two of them.


Out of current production lenses, the Zeiss OTUS (Manual Focus) is going to be your very best. But I'd skip it at that price. Your next best on paper is the new Sigma 55/1.4 art (AF). But I'd skip it as well because of questionable bokeh. However, if you still want one, you should go for A-mount. And the Sony Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA in the native FE mount is highly rated as well. It's certainly sharp, although when it comes to overall IQ I suspect its owners may be slightly less demanding than most DSLR owners.



In practice, it's going to be awfully hard to beat the Sony Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM. I'd either get that or one of the Pentax lenses I mentioned (or the FA43) and put the rest of my money toward the other Sony Zeiss lenses I mentioned.

Last edited by DSims; 06-15-2014 at 01:09 AM.
06-15-2014, 01:06 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
Which are the best 50mm or 55mm in any mount?
I think we should all await the opinion of Digitalis on this subject. I think he has over 100 50mm's in his collection.

06-15-2014, 01:35 AM   #5
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That huge Otus is a big beast and probably the "best" "consumer lens" around.
06-15-2014, 04:06 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I've noticed that you keep popping these 'Best xxx " queries.

IMO, there is no such thing as best unless you have a quantifiable parameter that you are looking at.

The Summilux M ASPH is supposed to be the best if you believe the Leica folks.
And why not.
Not only does it have good optics, its at a price tag that says "I can afford one" (which can be important to some)
There are also claims that the V5,V6 Summicron are as good if not better than the lux at f2.

On sharpness, the Sony FE55/1.8 seems to be very well reviewed and has been compared against online against many other 50mm lenses.
While its very sharp, you'd have to question its rendering if you bother with such things.
If you want AF, sharpness, zeiss like drawing style, this is the lens.
If you compare it to SLR lenses, its on the pricey side, but if you compare it to the world of RF lenses, its not so.


f1.2 lenses of all most makes are nice, but expensive.
The thing is, all of them in the wrong type of background can look really ugly for the bokeh.

There is of course the OTUS, but expensive, big and heavy.


How about some Russians?
J8, the beautiful sonnar rendering, metal build and rounded many blade aperture which you can get for real cheap.
If cheap was a criteria as best, its in my books as real good too.

Helios 103, cheap, very sharp in the centre from wide open and that unique biotar bokeh, many bladed aperture too in which most SLR lenses are too stingy to give.



The Pentax 50/1.4 is certainly very good imo.


Taken with the A50/1.4


I've got a cron 50mm coming, but I am not going to kid myself that its 8x better than what I can already get on the Pentax 50/1.4.

My advise is to not to think too much about 'best'.
Look for the qualities that you like from the lens and get it if its within your means.
There are just too many 'best' ones out there for each individual.



I do recall seeing a post by Asahiflex (who does not post often here anymore) that he found the Pentax 50/1.4 to be really close to the Zeiss 50/1.4 he had.
06-15-2014, 05:08 AM   #7
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Yeah, it depends on the criteria and budget. Zeiss Otus is probably amazing, but if you need AF its useless. The announced Sigma 50mm f1.4 art, by some reports, is as sharp as the Otus, but it has AF and costs much less. But if you need to fit it in a small camera bag, its useless. The FA 50mm f1.4 is much smaller and will give you 95% of the sharpness of the Sigma at a still lower cost. Or get the DFA 50mm macro, which has a slower aperture, but it allows true 1:1 macro magnification, has amazing contrast and sharpness and a flat field of focus. The DA* 55mm was made for portraits, so its designed to have pleasing bokeh and render tones and colours of skin really well.
And then there is the whole aspect of rendering. I like my Industar 50-2. Its tiny, completely manual, needs adapter, has really unsharp edges, but it cost under $25 and I like how it renders colours. For some subjects, that is what I want. For others, another 50mm might be better suited.
When I look at 50mm, I first think about the technical aspects. Do I want AF? Do I need close focusing? What aperture do I need? Does it have to be WR? Do I want silent focusing? Do I want to pay $400 extra to get photos that are perhaps a couple percent sharper according to some robotic number measurements? Will anyone actually notice that difference in my photos?
And then about the character: Do I want a super-sharp lens? Do I want a lens with unique rendering? Do I need sharp edges with no vignetting?

That being said, right now I have the Pentax M 50mm f1.7, Miranda 50mm f1.9, Industar 50-2, and a Helios 44-2. Each of these is completely different from the others, and I would be hard pressed to choose "the best." The Pentax M is the most consistent, the Miranda is bad but sometimes surprises, the Industar is fun and I like its colours but its unsharp in the edges, the Helios is very sharp at f8 and can be artsy but has is drawbacks

If you are looking for a first 50mm, try the DA 50mm f1.8 or FA 50mm f1.4. These will give you a taste of everything at a good price. DFA 50mm if you need sharpness and macro instead of aperture. A lot of people like the older F 50mm f1.7, but its AF is loud and they are relatively expensive.


Last edited by Na Horuk; 06-15-2014 at 05:17 AM.
06-15-2014, 05:26 AM   #8
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Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lab Test Review

QuoteQuote:
The scale of Sony's achievement here becomes clear when comparing the FE 55mm F1.8 directly to the Zeiss Otus 55mm F1.4, which lays a strong claim to being the best lens for which we have test data. The Otus still just about comes out on top - it measures as slightly sharper wide open - but it's unlikely any difference will be particularly visible in real-world photography. The Otus also just about wins out on chromatic aberration and distortion, but overall the Sony can certainly wear its Zeiss badge with pride.

From the lab test results, the Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA is quite simply one of the sharpest lenses we've seen. It's clearly been designed with the demands of modern high resolution sensors in mind, and is easily a match for the currently class-leading resolution of the Alpha 7R. It's impossible to ignore its price, but in this case, there's a pretty good argument that you get what you pay for.
Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lab Test Review: Digital Photography Review



I just received my Sony A7r with Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* and it's the sharpest 50-55mm I ever used.
06-15-2014, 06:10 AM   #9
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Though the Otus got cards up its sleeves with things like basically being free from coma, even in the extreme corners. But as stated before "best" is a bad question.
06-17-2014, 08:23 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
I've noticed that you keep popping these 'Best xxx " queries.
Agree, my apology if that sounded a boring question but I recently came across some lovely lens like Konica M-Hexanon to pair with my A7r/A7. Honestly, I didn't even know about this lens and what it produced in small package made me curious about other such great lenses which I am not aware of.

QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
On sharpness, the Sony FE55/1.8 seems to be very well reviewed and has been compared against online against many other 50mm lenses.
While its very sharp, you'd have to question its rendering if you bother with such things.
If you want AF, sharpness, zeiss like drawing style, this is the lens.
Yes, I love my FE55, just wondering about rendering you mentioned, can you please elaborate.

QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
The Pentax 50/1.4 is certainly very good imo.
Lovely picture and I agree. In my limited testing, it held good againsr Konica M-Hexanon and FE55. If someone likes, will be happy to post comparison.

Yusuf
06-17-2014, 08:40 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
I've noticed that you keep popping these 'Best xxx " queries.
Its his "thing".


Steve
06-17-2014, 09:52 AM   #12
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Well the problem with photography is that even if you have the most expensive equipment, that still doesn't guarantee good photos.
06-17-2014, 10:16 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Well the problem with photography is that even if you have the most expensive equipment, that still doesn't guarantee good photos.
Bingo. We have a winner!
06-17-2014, 11:28 AM   #14
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I love my Canon 50mm 1.2L lens on my 5D MKii.
06-17-2014, 11:49 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by clostoyo Quote
I love my Canon 50mm 1.2L lens on my 5D MKii.
Comparison on the 5D MKIII vs the Sony FE 55mm F1.8 on Sony Alpha 7R.




Wide open F1.2 vs F1.8:
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