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Mamiya / Sekor 55mm F 1.4

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16 109,923 Tue June 30, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $47.09 9.63
Mamiya / Sekor 55mm F 1.4

Mamiya / Sekor 55mm F 1.4
Mamiya / Sekor 55mm F 1.4
Mamiya / Sekor 55mm F 1.4

55mm f 1.4 (to f 16) this was the premium lens for Mamiya / sekor cameras; easily the equal of the Takumar lenses40 years old and it still focuses easily and smoothly, the apertures snap in place with little effort

This lens is a class act from start to finish
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:

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New Member

Registered: June, 2020
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: June 30, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stunning colors, beautiful bokey
Cons: radioactive
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Panasonic GF2   

I use this lens with a focal reducer. Aberrations are LESS using the RJ focal reducer from ebay seller Jin Finance. It's crisp, yet creamy.

Under some conditions the bokeh may produce soap balls, as you can see above, but when it does not, the out of focus areas are just smooooooth.

There are two variants of this lens, that must be different, because they are slightly different in length. They are both VERY good lenses. The all black one is sharper than the one with some aluminum colored bits, as pictured here. The one with alu, has more saturated colors.

Both use thorium glass, but the alu one is more radioactive than the black one. It's radioactive enough to color a sheet of film dark if you leave the lens on it for a week in the darkroom. Every spring, I leave the lens in the sunlight to clear up the yellow discoloration. This yellow is caused by products that the thorium became after falling apart a bit. A few hours is enough to get rid of the cast.

Because of this radiation, I keep the lens in the focal reducer on one end, and behind a UV filter on the other. This way, the lens elements that are radioactive are behind something. My geiger counter indicates that this greatly reduces beta and gamma rays. I can't measure alpha particles, but in theory, these are blocked too, this way.

It's my best m42 lens by far, and I keep getting back to it. I use it more than any other lens on that camera, even more that the original lens for it, that has autofocus. I wish Mamiya made lenses like this for large format cameras, because I really would like this quality on that format too.

I once dropped the alu one, which damaged the aperture control. Mamiya did not want to repair it. This is why I bought the black copy. But I missed the colors of the alu one, so I opened it up myself and bent the aperture lever in place. Easier to fix than I thought. I use the alu one again now, and keep the black one as a spare, even though it is slightly sharper.

New Member

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: December 4, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, color rendition and bokeh
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: A6000   

I came across this lens in a thrift shop in a glass case setting face down. It was very dirty and looked in poor shape. I noted the 1.4 on the aperture ring and decided to take a look. I was pleasantly surprise to turn it over and see what it was! I had been looking to purchase one of these to compare with my Auto Sears 55mm 1.4, since they look optically identical. After a good cleaning, I was pleased with the overall condition of the glass. Other than a slight dent on the edge of the filter threads it now looks aged but clean. Took it out for a few photos and it didn't disappoint. Compared to my Auto Sears 55mm the lens has a slight yellow tent. This is probably due to thorium in the glass.

At any rate, this a very nice lens to have in anyone collection. if you look around you can pick them up cheap.
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2015
Location: Golden, Colorado
Posts: 189
Lens Review Date: July 20, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: An excellent prime, available dirt-cheap
Cons: Vignetting, sometimes busy bokeh
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-S2, K-50, K-70, Sony A7 II   

Because of the thorium in the glass, this lens lends a yellowish hue to the picture—a warming effect that I like. Focus is slightly soft wide open, as you might expect, which gives a wonderful glow to the photograph. My copy has a slight bit of mildew on an extreme edge of one of the front elements, which I imagine makes the wide-open shots even dreamier; it is not noticeable at apertures of f/4 and tighter. And, at f/4, the lens is sharp corner to corner.

My copy has been through the wars, with scrapes and a dent on the lip of the barrel, but the quality of the build is apparent, in that this abuse has not affected focus. The focus ring is as smooth as proverbial butter and infinity is spot-on; the exterior glass is pristine. I use an after-market tulip lens hood to keep light off the front element, so I've experienced no problem with flare. To convert the M42 screws to Pentax mount, I use a Pentax OEM adapter, and then adapt the Pentax K-mount to my Sony E-mount with a Fotodiox or Beschoi adapter.

Focusing, using focus peaking, on a Pentax body (I have used this lens on my K-S2, K-50, K-70) or on my Sony A7 II is extremely accurate—no less so than the old split-screen focusing circle on vintage cameras.

Quirks: The lens has only six aperture blades; while they are slightly rounded, the lens can produce some busy out-of-focus areas in certain lighting. The lens ring focuses backwards to every other lens I have, with infinity being at the extreme left.

I don’t know what I paid for this lens; it came with a collection of other Pentax stuff (cameras, lenses, flashes). It probably ended up being free after I sold off the other items. Regardless, if you can find a decent version of this lens for around $50, you’ll be glad you did.

A 55mm lens on a full-frame sensor yields an image that is slightly smaller than what the eye sees; on an APS-C sensor, the image will be slightly larger. This focal length is good for landscapes (especially for snapping two or three contiguous shots and merging them into a panorama), and I think it makes a wonderful, natural portrait lens, though some might find it a little too wide for portraits and headshots (on a full frame camera).

The lens produces some magenta/green CA when wide open, only noticeable in high-contrast areas, and vignetting is noticeable on a full-frame sensor, up to two stops at the extreme corners. This is the lens’s worst feature.

Finally, this makes a decent cine-lens, as there is little focus breathing and the aperture ring operates quietly and smoothly, while vignetting might be an issue at the widest aperture.

The Mamiya–Sekor 55mm f/1.4 lens is not a perfect lens; however, to me, the imperfections add up to the lens’s “charm”. It is one of my favorite all-around primes.

Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2016
Location: central Iowa
Posts: 923
Lens Review Date: November 1, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, pleasing bokeh and color rendering
Cons: Long focus throw, prone to flare (which can be useful)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3, K-01, Pentax Q   

- The lens is SHARP on APS-C. I never felt I was fighting the resolution of the lens. If I got it in focus, it delivered all the detail I needed. (Unfortunately, this wasn't the case on the Q, using the Q/K adapter - lots of CA and softness - but I'm finding that it's a rare lens that excels there, so no biggie.)

- Color rendering was excellent as well, although not the same character of rendering as a Pentax SMC lens. The colors were true to life and reasonably saturated, however - well suited for a variety of shooting situations.

- Like many older lenses, this one will flare considerably if pointed into the sun. (I shot pretty much entirely without a hood, so I can't say how much a hood would improve that.) The flare, however, was unique and often quite striking. I had lots of fun working with it to get fun hexagonal flare shapes. It was eminently usable that way.

- The focusing throw on the lens is fairly long - I found myself wishing for a shorter throw more than once; it would take me about two seconds to go from one focusing extreme to the other. For the type of shooting I do, it's a minor detail, but one worth mentioning.

Bottom line: this lens is a keeper. I would have no hesitation about throwing this on a camera when I need mid-telephoto capability and high quality. If you can find one, I'd recommend it highly (as long as you have the m42 to K adapter, of course - you'll need that).

Dome under construction by pollys belvin, on Flickr

Milkweed and flare by pollys belvin, on Flickr

Stormclouds 2 by pollys belvin, on Flickr

The nose knows by pollys belvin, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: July, 2016
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: July 18, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, color
Cons: Flare
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D750   

I knew the limitations I would suffer using an M42 lens (with no correction glass) on a Nikon F-mount, but wanted to test it out and see if this was a doable experiment. The maximum focus distance with this Mamiya/Sekor 55 f/1.4 is 1m65 with this lens, or between 5.5 and 6 feet, from the tip of the lens. Since my purpose was portraiture and the like, this did not bother me too much.

The lens render beautifully, and I cannot believe how sharp it is even wide open. At f/1.7 it sharpens up considerably, and this is my preferred aperture overall for it. The bokeh and warm colors are beautiful, and my only real complaint is the ease with which it flares if a strong light is pointed towards it.

I purchased it for a very modest $35 on eBay, and it came with a filter. the lens is extremely clean and I have removed almost all the Thorium yellowing with a cheap IKEA lamp I had lying around, that I pointed at it for 2-3 days. Here are a couple of images shot with it.

Shot at f/1.7

Also shot at f/1.7

Registered: September, 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 951
Lens Review Date: January 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: It's 1.4! Excellent sharpness and bokeh
Cons: A bit large; some CA when open
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30   

More like a 9.5, but for value, I'll round it up to a 10. I have compared this lens with my SuperTak 55 f1.8, A 50 f1.7, and DA 50 f1.8. The only drawback it has to any of these is that it is noticeably larger, using a 55mm filter rather than 49mm. That's the price of admission to get to that tasty f1.4. It's a solid, well-made piece of glass.

Coloring is very similar to the SuperTak and warmer than the A or DA 50s.
Contrast is a bit less than the A or DA, but still very good. (That's a general observation, and I suspect is mostly due the lens coating; there are some differences depending on f-stop.)
As for sharpness, it is remarkably good even at 1.4, and at f1.7 it's a bit better than any of the other lenses wide open. By f4, it's hard to tell the difference between them.
It does have some chromatic aberration, but it does a better job than the SuperTak. By f4 it's as controlled as either the A or DA with their better coatings.

The main reason to get this Mamiya/Secore lens when I have all these other fine 50/55mm lenses is simply to see what f1.4 is all about. Well, it's nice. This lens can deliver at f1.4, and the bokeh is outstanding. (It's very similar to the SuperTak.)

Using the standard scale categories, and comparing this lens just with the SuperTak 55 f1.8, this lens is sharper and less aberrations. Bokeh is the same. Handling is a bit less since it's bigger. Since I paid the same for both, this one wins on value. It doesn't have the convenience of an "A" lens (though shooting in Av with M42s is really not a problem), and my DA really can do a consistently better job autofocusing than I can do manually, but it's still a real pleasure to use.

(BTW, if the DA 50 is truly 50mm, then the A 50 is more like 51.4mm, this Mamiya/Secor is about 53.3mm and the SuperTak 55 is 57.6mm.)

Here's a f1.4 sample.
New Member

Registered: March, 2015
Posts: 1

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 2, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, nice bokeh, good build.
Cons: ...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

IMGP4520 by NHẬT NGUYỄN MINH, on Flickr

IMGP4548 by NHẬT NGUYỄN MINH, on Flickr

IMGP4588 by NHẬT NGUYỄN MINH, on Flickr

IMGP4562 by NHẬT NGUYỄN MINH, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: April, 2013
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: April 12, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fast, sharp
Cons: Heavy, expensive
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 6    Camera Used: 5D   

Although a great lens for it's time I found it too unwealdy for walkabout use. They are also getting stupidly expensive.
I have tried the f1.8 and would get one of those every time over this. You need to stop the f1.4 down a bit anyway to achieve best results. The f1.8 is sharp wide open.

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 389

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 24, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Well built, Sharp, great colour, fast, Great bokeh most of the time.
Cons: Bokeh in some shots a tad fussy, very minor CA, heavy.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-01, SpotF, K20D. K10D   

I have to rate it a 10 for bangs for bucks, but the reality it is probably a 9.5. Why? Well the Tak/SMC-K 55mm is a tad better overall but is slower, and that extra half stop of this lens is addictive.

Build is stunning. Metal and superbly tactile. The focus ring is just as wonderfully smooth as the Taks (which is praise indeed) The grip is all metal so feels a little harder than the smoother metal of the Taks, but not to be inconvenient.

IQ? Well excellent overall, the bokeh is buttery most of the time, but I have found it can be fussy in certain circumstances.

CA and Fringing? Yep, there is some, but not to affect the image. However the Pentax 55mm F1.8 is better in this regard.

Contrast? No issue at all, even wide open in the right conditions.

Sharpness? Great. Nice and sharp.

Finally, is it worth it? But of course. On the K-01 it is great and if you have the silver/black body and the silver/black version of the lens, they just look the part.
Because Mamiya are more noted for MF and not 35mm, people forget the fact and as a consequence, the 35mm lenses can and do sell for peanuts.
A worthy alternative to the mighty Takumars that are cheaper now than getting the originals.

New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 19

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 21, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great lens, Fast, Sharp.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

My father bought this new back in the 70's and I was given the camera for a high school photography class 20 years ago.
New Member

Registered: January, 2013
Posts: 6

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 5, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Just about everything
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This lens is simply amazing. It's heavy construction gives a feeling of total quality and craftsmanship from a bygone era. It's only equal I have found is the SMC K 1.4 50mm and 55mm 1.8. Well, that and the takumar 85 1.9. I like it so much, I bought 2 copies. It's uniqueness is in the golden warm hue is leaves on images. An excellent portrait lens or walk around prime. Most highly recommended.
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 30
Lens Review Date: September 29, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Perfect
Cons: Not very common, pricing can be high
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I stumbled upon a M/S 55mm f/1.8 -- the version with the silver barrel -- a couple of years ago and was very impressed by it. It wasn't the best of my many "fast 50s" in any one attribute, but it was nearly the best in each and every aspect. After a while, I got a second copy and became convinced the first wasn't an exceptional copy; both were really good. I wanted an f/1.4 to see if it is better or worse, but they are rare and often overpriced (whereas the f/1.8 is often undervalued), so it took until a couple of weeks ago, when I got this one -- also silver barrel -- as part of a random collection of cameras and lenses. Incidentally, I didn't pay the $30 I quoted for this lens -- I paid $80 for that collection which had probably $500 worth of goodies in it once everything was cleaned up. The collection didn't look very clean and included one obviously very troubled lens, which is probably why the bidding stayed low... but it was worth the risk.

The f/1.4 does not have a lot of character, and seems a little more tame than the f/1.8 in color rendering: it is simply perfect. There is no CA, excellent sharpness wide open (with lower contrast) and it gets very crisp stopped down, flare is not much of a problem, colors are very true and moderately intense, build quality is excellent, etc. This is probably the best of my fast 50s overall, and even a more consistent performer than the f/1.8. Here's an unprocessed 900x600 pixel 1:1 crop (from a 14MP sensor) of a leaf against a blue-and-white painted sidewalk:

The PSF of the lens is an evenly-shaded disc with a soft edge, which produces bokeh that are not quite as pretty as the SMC/S-M-C Takumar 50mm f/1.4. It is still very smooth, as this unprocessed image shows:

Obviously, I recommend this highly. That said, it isn't a night-and-day difference between many of my fast 50s, so I wouldn't pay much more than $50 for this -- there are a whole fleet of nearly as good lenses that are easier to find for less than $25.
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2010
Location: Houston, Tx
Posts: 52
Lens Review Date: November 23, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, Versatile, great clarity, inexpensive
Cons: Heavy, difficult to focus while wide open

The first lens I ever got. It came attached to a 1000dtl (my first camera) I always liked it, but when I got a m42 adapter for my k10d I truly fell in love. Its a great point and shoot lens. All you have to do is point and shoot. There is a trick to focusing (270 degree focus rotation is a tad touchy) especially in the 1.5' to 7' range. My favorite lens overall.
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Hampstead, NC
Posts: 15,739

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 17, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $38.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, sharp, good bokeh, good colors

Here is information that should have been posted above:
Groups 5
Elements 7
View Angle 43º
Min. Aperture f/16
Min. Focus Dist. 1.75 feet (0.50m)
Filter 55mm
Weight 305g

First off this lens is built very solidly. The lens focuses to infinity at about thirty feet, it's smooth focus throw goes about three quarters of the way around the lens. The only problem that I have had was that it's easy to switch the lens to auto mode when screwing it in, but once you remember to check it should not be a problem. Obviously is's physically bigger than the Takumar 50s, it has a 55mm filter ring, and a little heavier, but it feels well balanced on the K20D. Unlike the SX version no modification is needed to use this on a Pentax digital, just a Pentax M42 adapter.

Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: North Carolina , USA
Posts: 2,271
Lens Review Date: September 28, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp ,fast and built to last!
Cons: CA blue fringing

I bought a box of photo stuff for $50.00 . There were a few lenses I knew I'd like in the box and there was a Mamiya DTL1000 with this lens on it. I've since gotten rid of those lenses I knew I'd like but kept the Mamiya lens and camera. This has become one of my go to lenses for indoor sports where flash is not acceptable.
Add Review of Mamiya / Sekor 55mm F 1.4

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