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Pentacon auto multi coating 50mm F1.8

Reviews Views Date of last review
15 105,324 Sat March 18, 2023
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $36.00 8.79
Pentacon auto multi coating 50mm F1.8

M42 mount; f1,8-f16; min. focus distance of 1,1 feet; multi coated; auto
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:

Add Review of Pentacon auto multi coating 50mm F1.8
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New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 15
Review Date: March 18, 2023 Recommended | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp at higher f-stops, artsy soft at the smaller numbers
Cons: See the review
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony full frame digital   

One of the best lenses in the reasonably priced good quality 50mm to 58mm zone and a perfect replacement for what are now seriously overpriced hyper-trendy Helios 58mm lenses. Pentacon "Auto" "Multicoating" is written around my front ring but I don't know if such tampo printing and marketing wordage means the lens is significantly different to any Pentacon F1.8 50mm with other words on the front.

Probably the perfect 50mm M42 screw in lens for somebody who wants a no fuss no vanity lens plus a no expense sharp lens for landscape and urban, but also some optional softer swirl and bokeh at the wide open end for more artsy moments.

Much like a Pentax A 50mm at F5.6 to F16 with very good sharpness in the centre 60-80%. Maybe the Pentacon lacks comparative central sharpness at infinity, but not by much. Also, the same rich colours and contrast levels as the Pentax A. Much like a Helios 58mm 44/44-2 with weaker central sharpness and large blur distortions around the edges as the aperture opens, with growing bokeh exaggeration and crazy swirl to "wide open" territory. Once wide open the swirl and bokeh is more dramatic than the Helios with far better colour and contrast. if you want that swirly swirl and blobby bokeh then don't waste cash on a hyped up Helios when this Pentacon is around.

Built like a Pentax A 50mm as well; with some plastic parts where metal would make the lens last longer. Famed for the metal aperture bladed getting stuck open, but can be easily opened up, cleaned and reset in just a few minutes with the right screwdrivers and a bit of care and patience.

Much like a semi-plastic Chinon 50mm of the same decade, aperture shape can be distorted when closed down in some lenses, but that does not really make much difference. It does look unbalanced, though. Lovely quiet half clicks all the way up and down the aperture range make this a very flexible lens. The almost 360 degree focus turn is a bit of a slow wrist twister but 6 feet to infinity barrel range at F16 is impressive. 49mm filter screw in is nice. Manual/auto switch unfussy, but sadly plastic.

Purple/green colour fringing is not evident. Superb glass for this.
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 14
Review Date: November 10, 2021 Recommended | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp lens
Cons: nothing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-5,K-x, K-s2, K200d, fuji x-e1+x-t100   

This GDR lens made by CARL ZEISS JENA is very simlar to the famous ZEISS Pancolar because of its symmetric double GAUß construction of 6/4 elements. It had been sold in GDR under the label "PRACTICAR"

++ because multi coating nearly no flare

++ very high sharpness at f 5.6-11

++ fine color rendition

+ good correction of CAs

very highly recommended

9.5 points
New Member

Registered: April, 2018
Location: Larissa
Posts: 2
Review Date: November 4, 2021 Recommended | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Close focus 0.33, Bubble bokeh, metal, low price,clear at f/4
Cons: There is a plastic part to the focusing ring I had made a metallic one.

Is very sharp easy to use I had made a 4k video all shots at f/1.8 iso 200, auto mode 4k 30p with YI-M1. Because the sensor is cropped the lens are like 125mm.
New Member

Registered: September, 2019
Posts: 20
Review Date: January 16, 2020 Recommended | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Close focus, Creamy bokeh, all metal, low price
Cons: m42 (maybe not a con?)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax KP, Samsung GX20   

Wow. Just wow. Picked this up on ebay after seeing various rave comments online. I own the 1st final version (with PENTACON electric 1.8/50 MULTI COATING on front ring, and one metallic ring on focus ring).

This thing is great for close focus and creamy bokeh. Flowers, portraits, nature close ups. It captures colours vividly and has a great contrasty feel in a lot of shots.

Some have said it's quite soft, but IMO the sharpness and focusing is actually very good. I haven't checked corners or 100% crops a lot - personally I think fixating on those things is a dead-end for 99% of photographers. Photography is art... and this lens is truly an art lens.

I've not tested it hard in bright light situations - so cannot speak about the flair. However a rew times I've used it in light situations, a hood or shade has been more than sufficient most of the time.

My focus ring is rather stiff - I hear that many of these models can become harder as the grease slowly bakes hard over the decades. But it's perfectly usable.

Flower handheld taken f1.8 in kitchen

This picture is the "dreamy style with bokeh" lol.

Calculator handheld taken f2

Pentax 40mm Ltd handheld f1.8

For the price, this is one of the best value lenses I own.
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2017
Posts: 72
Review Date: December 25, 2019 Recommended | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Minimal focus distance, bokeh, sharpness, price value
Cons: focus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5   

My copy seems to have an issue with focus from far distance, it stops at around 6 Meter at infinite

However since I bought it for close up's and portrait it does it job.

Simple love the bokeh and the effects it brings in non standard light and wide open at 1.8 - 2.8
From 4 on its really sharp like any excellent 50mm you dream of.

Worth each cent :-)
New Member

Registered: September, 2019
Posts: 8
Review Date: September 18, 2019 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This lens is very sharp!! Bokeh is pure Magic.
Art Lens. For filming and all kind aplications.
New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 11
Review Date: September 15, 2019 Recommended | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30   

Very sharp lens. A must-have vintage lens.

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Cuenca
Posts: 603

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 29, 2018 Recommended | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, contrast, color, bokeh, close-focusing
Cons: not as well made as Takumars
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony a7   

I've only had this lens for two days, and the aperture needs to be cleaned and relubed, but it's already a favorite and my flower lens. Until I can tend to the aperture, I'm shooting with it wide-open and often at minimum focus distance. It's extremely sharp wide-open and has great contrast, renders colors very well and has the creamy bokeh I like. My copy was made in 1958 and has only a single coating but that might be an advantage as far as contrast goes. I found it in a shop in Arequipa, Peru. The seller wanted $50 but readily accepted the $15 I offered.

New Member

Registered: June, 2018
Posts: 6
Review Date: June 21, 2018 Recommended | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Minimum focus distance, quite sharp, unique bokeh (smooth with bubbles), cheap
Cons: Build quality is not as good as other vintage lenses
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: Olympus OM-D   

Bought this lens "by accident"... It was in bad conditions, focus ring was very stiff. But I tried it and liked the results so much that I bought another one.

I only used it on a micro 4/3 camera because I wanted to play with the good minimal focus distance, it's funny on a 50mm but really amazing on a 100mm equivalent !

Sharpness is quite good even wide open. A bit of chromatic aberration. It becomes very sharp when stopped down.

Bokeh is smooth, but it can also be distracting because the lens tends to produce funny light bubbles sometimes. It is also quite prone to flare.

Build quality is not the best. Still ok for a 40$ lens, but it is not up to OM, Nikkor, Pentax or even other m42 standard. It's usually dusty and diaphragm can become oily, be careful when buying.

Price is given in € for a used one in good conditions.
New Member

Registered: July, 2013
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 16, 2013 Recommended | Price: $23.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Resolution,colors and a fantastic bokeh esp. at f/1,8
Cons: none significant
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Superb at f/1,8 for a slight soft halo effect and a killer bokeh.
Very sharp stopped down with minimal CA.
A very underrated lens which in my opinion isn't that bad built.
Metal construction which after some 35 years is handling very well.


Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 18,075
Review Date: March 11, 2013 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Sharp, decent build, f1.8
Cons: Needs to be stopped down a bit ...
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 7   


Another thrift store find ... almost new appearance and in its original box. Acquired so inexpensively that I am not going add this info to the database ... I paid less than $3 for it ... actually 2€!

Overall a decent lens that I will have to test outside soon. Until then and based solely on indoors test shots, I'm giving this lens a "7" grade across the board ... and will post samples soon.

Salut, John le Frog
New Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Bucharest
Posts: 15
Review Date: March 11, 2013 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Extremely sharp, close focusing distance, built like a tank
Cons: Very difficult to properly focus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 3    Value: 8   

I basically stole this from an old film kit of my father in law (hence the 0 $ price), along with a Pentacon 200mm tele, and I use it on a Pentax K-x

In order to focus from closest to infinity you must really work on rotating that damned ring, which takes any kind of spontaneous photography out of the question. On top of that, focusing with the lens stopped down at 11 or higher in anything but direct sunlight is basic almost guesswork, the camera is unable to confirm any focus and you can't see it either. To add insult to injury, after you manage to catch focus you have to do the whole exposure procedure which takes another second or so. So basically, the use of this lens is limited to static subjects (that almost excludes children entierly).

The bokeh gives me mixed feelings. Wide open it's soft and ok but the DOF is very narrow and difficult to work with. Stopped down the bokeh becomes rather nervous and unpleasant for my taste but DOF improves significantly.

That being said, when you do manage to get the entire procedure done, exposure is spot on and focus is correct, the results center frame are spectacular. The sharpness is simply brutal. I have used it to make two female portraits with it and the result was invariably outrage. The details were so perfect, down to every pore and otherwise invisible hair, I was asked to delete forever the pictures. As sharpness goes, I have never seen anything like it. My 40mm Limited pancake is frustratingly soft in comparison.

What I really don't like about it the corner resolution. For any pin-sharp center image, around F5,6 to F8, the corner resolution is simply abysmal. The branches of a tree nicely framed fade to hysterical double shadows towards the edges.

Simply put, if you can wrestle with it, you can get the right exposure and focus, you have the perfect light source and you are concentrating on one subject in the center of your frame, it's a great lens. For anything else, try not to throw it out the window in frustration.
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 94
Review Date: December 29, 2012 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


Image quality filming
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Zagreb
Posts: 25

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 31, 2011 Recommended | Price: $38.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, f1.8, cheap, quality build, great portrait capability
Cons: stop down, 50mm rise to 75mm at APS-C
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

This MF lens is excellent for it's price! My lens is M42 screw mount so I need an adapter M42-->Pk. There is no problem to use it.

Wide open it is a little soft, but still good IQ.
Focus ring is nice and smooth, but too long (turn over 360 deg)
Aperture ring very precise and easy to use.
Good in low light conditions
Great feeling for manual focus
Great correspondence with camera (K-r)

It is hard to focus while aperture is set to narrow because image is too dark. Camera set light automatic but always it is too dark (step down problem), so the best way is use it in full manual mode or Aperture priority mode.


Junior Member

Registered: June, 2010
Location: Franeker
Posts: 34
Review Date: March 24, 2011 Recommended | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Min focus distance of 1,1 feet; generally pleasing bokeh; almost no ca
Cons: Cheaply built; a bit soft wide open.

Biggest problem with this lens is its cheap built quality. The aperture ring of my copy does not click in at all anymore; there's no "feeling" at all left while changing the aperture. I have an earlier version of this lens which is also cheaply built.
Both lenses do function though.
I generally like the bokeh of this lens; it is busy but nevertheless appealing. Only on some occasions I find it to be too busy. The making of close-ups of flowers with this lens is a pleasure; I really like the soft focus kind of touch this lens is able to give to the scene as a whole while photographing flowers. Wide open the lens is a bit soft; stopped down to f2,8 it is sharp. The min. focus distance of only 1,1 feet ads to the pleasure if making close-ups.
If you can get it cheap, I would recommend it!
Add Review of Pentacon auto multi coating 50mm F1.8

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