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Mamiya Auto Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f/1.8 (M42)

Sharpness 
 9.3
Aberrations 
 9.3
Bokeh 
 8.8
Handling 
 8.8
Value 
 10.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
6 41,435 Sun April 12, 2015
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $19.25 9.17
Mamiya Auto Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f/1.8 (M42)

Mamiya Auto Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f/1.8 (M42)
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Mamiya Auto Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f/1.8 (M42)
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Description:
One of two standard kit lenses available for Mamiya TL/DTL series cameras from the the mid-1960s through the early 1970s. Earlier versions have bright trim rings. Later versions are painted black like the example above.
  • Focal length: 55mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Aperture increments: 1/2 stop
  • Auto diaphragm
  • Minimum focus: 1.75 feet (0.5 meters)
  • Elements: 6 (4 groups)
  • Coating: single
  • Angle of view (35mm film): 43 degrees
  • Filter size: 52mm
  • Construction: All metal
  • Mount: M42 screw mount
  • Auto/Manual switch: present
  • Length: 1.6" (40mm)
  • Weight: 6.75 oz (225 gm)

Source of manufacture is typically stated as being by Mamiya/Sekor, though there are reports of production by Tomoika. It should be noted that there is also a strong physical resemblance to some Komine lenses of the same vintage.

Note: This is not the later SX version (also M42) which have a different optical formula and improved coatings.
Mount Type:
Price History:



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New Member

Registered: April, 2013
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: April 12, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, metal build, cheap
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: 5D   

Hard to say anything bad about this lens. Not much between this and the f1.4 which is much heavier. I have had a few copies of this lens and prefer the older chrome finish version as it looks way cooler.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: October, 2014
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,177
Lens Review Date: March 4, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: All metal, built like a tank, SHARP
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5   

I was amazed when I tested this lens. It is truly one of the best I have ever seen. Sharp, vivid colors. I just can't say anything bad about this lens except it would be nice to be multicoated. Test shots https://www.flickr.com/photos/24877856@N00/16530484239/in/set-72157651154735842
   
Lens Review Date: June 5, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: build quality, sharpness
Cons:

Mamiya was always one of the premier camera companies (sekor is for sekonic - a light meter company they bought) - they are still one of the leading medium format companies

Mamiya made everything from Twin Lens Reflex (c3 / 33 / 330 / 220), Press (mamiya Press 23), 35mm rangefinders and SLR's; Their reputation as a lens maker is equal to takumar, Nikon (Nippon Kogaku); etc.

The glass is sharp, the focus smooth, the aperture changes easily; an excellent lens the equal of any other F1.8
   
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 29
Lens Review Date: September 21, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $12.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build quality & appearance, IQ
Cons: None, really... colors are slightly flat?
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

This review is for a "minty" copy of the "AUTO mamiya/sekor" version with bare metal aperture ring and filter thread. Unlike the second reviewer's copy, mine does have an auto/man switch. This lens came with a Mamiya/Sekor camera and other lenses (which were why I bought the lot). The quality of this lens was a very pleasant surprise.

Actually, I now also own a second one purchased deliberately. The second one is very much like the first, but the auto/man switch is stuck auto and I had to pay a little more for it. The cost above is an average.

Mechanically, this lens is at least as well made as my Takumars; it is truly a pleasure to use. I don't really care how a lens looks, but I have to say that the bare metal trim looks great.

Compared to my Takumar normals, this lens is sharper than my 50mm f/1.4 SMC, but not quite as sharp as my 55mm f/1.8 Super. When stopped down a bit, it easily out-resolves a 14MP APS-C sensor from corner to corner. Bokeh also are somewhere between the two Takumars, and so is build quality. Colors are quite different from the Takumars, best described as "Zeiss-ish" -- different, not really better nor worse. Here's an example shot wide open:



The sharp portion of the image is quite crisp; the bokeh also are nice. Colors are intense here, but are "flat" in the sense of being very pure and simple compared to classic Takumar colors. Note that this scene had intense colors in real life; less intense scenes often look more like the ones shown in the first review.

Flare is well controlled, usually dropping contrast rather than leaving artifacts.

This lens also works well using tubes for macro work.

I actually find myself using this lens more than the Takumar normals. Even though the other lenses each outperform it in some way, it seems to be the better compromise when I don't know what kind of shooting I'll be doing.

In summary, this is actually an excellent lens in every way -- it just is not the very best in any way. That earns it a 9. For value, it is a 10++.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2008
Location: Maine
Posts: 478
Lens Review Date: April 17, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp Wide Open! Looks Very Cool if Early w/Chrome Accents!
Cons: Stiff focus

I'm surprised the first reviewer found the lens soft wide open. I've owned several 50/55s from Super Taks on, and this is really the sharpest wide open I've used. Way sharper wide open than say an SMC Pentax-F 50mm f1.7.

This little lens also seems to render nice rich colors. I'm giving the lens a strong 8!

Now, mine is the early version with the double chrome accent rings. The chrome along with the gold lens coating make it a very handsome lens. Interestingly, mine does NOT have an A/M switch so perhaps there are some more significant differences between the early and later versions.

I totally agree that the focus ring is stiff. I also agree this could be age related.

One last thing. I'd bet that at least the early one contains thoriated glass and is radioactive.

Regards,
Mike
   
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Posts: 27,688
Lens Review Date: March 1, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $5.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build quality, optical performance stopped down
Cons: Soft wide open, viscous focus, f/16 minimum aperture
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

I have only owned this lens for a few weeks with little opportunity to take many pictures with it. I will update this review as I learn more.

Edit: Changed rating from 7 to 8 based on excellent build. Also cut the lens a little more slack in regards to full-open performance and desirability.

The first thing that strikes you about the Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 is quality of build. Nothing about this lens feels or looks cheap. All controls are smooth and precise and have the solid feel expected of premium quality Japanese lenses of the time. Having said that, I have to note that the focus movement is pretty viscous and not at all like the silky feel found on Super-Takumar lenses of the same vintage. This may be due to time-related changes to the internal lubrication and may be correctable by replacing the helicoid grease with fresh material.

The lens handles well mounted on the K10D as well as on the Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL that it came with. All controls, including the M/A switch are accessible and easily operated. It truly is a joy to have mounted on the camera.

Optically, my initial impression is that the Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 does a very good job, but is not a standout performer. Wide open, it tends to be a little soft, but by f/5.6 the lens is quite sharp and is the equal of any of the other 50mm lenses I own. Bokeh is generally smooth, but can be "busy" if the background is complex (...say gravel or lawn).

My conclusion? It's a good lens with performance just a notch below the 55/1.8 Super-Takumar of the same era. Well worth shooting with and purchasing if you come across a clean copy.

A few sample photos:

Wide open, focus at center of frame



f/5.6, focus on corner of pewter box



Full resolution (10 Megapixel) crop of above

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