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Porst Color Reflex MC Auto 55mm F1.2 Review RSS Feed

Porst Color Reflex MC Auto 55mm F1.2

Reviews Views Date of last review
18 123,387 Thu January 6, 2022
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
94% of reviewers $190.85 8.94
Porst Color Reflex MC Auto 55mm F1.2

Focal length: 55mm
Aperture range: f/1.2-f/22
Diaphragm blades: 8
Minimum focus: about 0.4m
Weight: unknown
Length: unknown
Diameter: unknown
Filter thread: 55mm
Mount: PK - M
Coating: Multi-coated
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

Add Review of Porst Color Reflex MC Auto 55mm F1.2
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New Member

Registered: January, 2022
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: January 6, 2022 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing bokeh, has that vintage look when wide open
Cons: The focus area at f1.2 is small and that’s exacerbated on a crop sensor.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-50   

At 1.2 it’s really soft, especially on a crop sensor like my K50. I have the version that stops down to f22 and you do lose a bit of “vintageness” when stopping it down.

I got it relatively cheap as it needs some fungus cleaning and oiling, but I’m really impressed with the aesthetics. I enjoy the challenge of the manual controls. The chromatic aberrations are pretty visible, especially when shooting close subjects with the aperture wide open, but I gave it a 10 because I was looking for this specific look., so for me that's a plus.
Bokeh is amazing if you can get it to focus where you want.

Modern lenses are too "clean" to easily obtain that vintage look I aimed for with this one, so overall it's a great lens to have if you're into that look, especially if you can get it in a decent shape and relatively cheap.

Here are a couple of indoor shots, I can’t wait to test it outside after the maintenance work:

New Member

Registered: May, 2020
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: October 26, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: beautiful cinematic quality
Cons: chromatic abberation wide open
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax P30T and Canon EOS R5   

beautiful lens, well weighted, coatings work well to keep flare down, but with a lens this old chromatic abberations will occure when you're shooting in the sun wide open. otherwise, an incredibly beautiful lens that creates cinematic images.
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 41
Lens Review Date: May 19, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Price (150 euro)
Cons: May need some work, soft at 1.2
Sharpness: 6    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K3II   

Works fine on Pentax MX but may need some work for use on DSLR

I managed to make the Porst work on the was previously refusing to stop down as other lenses, due apparently to a paint / coating type they used on the lens mount which in effect stops the electronic pins sensing the lens !
So, I tested it with a very thin (thinnest feeler gauge) piece of metal between lens and mount, over worked. That simply meant that the camera needed to sense a metal lens mount not a painted / coated one.
So, this meant all I had to do was remove a very thin layer of the black coating on the lens mount, which I did with 800 grit wet & dry, and some lighter fluid, being very careful not to get 'gunk' down the side of the aperture ring and cleaning often with lighter fluid and Kim wipes. I repeated this operation twice, to be sure.
The quick fix worked perfectly and the lens now stops down perfectly as it should, in Manual mode....since it has no 'P' or 'A' setting anyway.

My preferred fast lens for the Pentax K3II is the SMC M 50mm f1.4, which is good, it's also affordable.
I don't need f1.2, since modern sensors are so good in low light now and focussing an f1.2 on a small dslr screen without split circle is actually very difficult.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Spring Green, WI
Posts: 886
Lens Review Date: April 2, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: large aperture, bokeh, sharpness from f/4
Cons: perhaps a bit too dreamy wide open?
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

First, this review is of the Vivitar-branded Porst 55/1.2. It's the m42 version, with a minimum aperture of f/16, 8 blades, an auto/manual switch, and a weight of approximately 335 grams.

It's my first 55/1.2, and I'm pretty happy with it. True, wide-open it's a bit dreamy, reminiscent of the Kiron 28/2 I once owned. But by f/4 it's sharp. And the bokeh is, as the other reviews attest, pretty wonderful.

The test images below, made the day I purchased the lens, show what it's capable of wide-open. These are full-frame images, but I did adjust exposure in post, as well as contrast (typically +17), clarity (+17 to +27), and sharpness (57/1.9), and had LR apply the standard sharpening during export as jpgs. So the unabridged versions of the following three images are actually a bit dreamier than these. But these show the results of moderate adjustments in post, which is more useful, I think, that the straight as-is image, especially since RAWs are too large for posting here anyway.

I expect my perspectives on the Porst/Vivitar 55/1.2 will change as I use it more, but I'm already pretty happy with it. One thing I don't think will change is how useful this lens will be for live concert photography: not very. I use manual focus lenses roughly 90% of the time, but focusing at f/1.2 is a whole other animal than focusing at f/2 or f/2.8, or even f/1.4. My right eye isn't that good, and musicians rarely stay still that long. ( I was surprised that Tuulikki, one of our cats, stayed still long enough for me to focus well enough to get a decent portrait of her in the third image. . . .)

Anyway, if you want to try an f/1.2 and don't have lots of money, keep your eyes open for one of the Porst examples, however it's branded. A copy in good working order is certainly worth the effort to obtain it and use it.

Cobalt, dust, and paper tree, f/1.2:

Celery seed and bokeh, f/1.2:

Tuulikki ("little wind") at rest, f/1.2:

amateur dirt farmer

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 34,943

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 31, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $195.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: handling, clarity, color rendition, bokeh
Cons: coatings not up to modern-day standards, later model only stops down to f16
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3, K-50   

I have to admit up front that I did not expect much from the Porst - all the reviews I'd read (not all here in PF reviews) before purchasing the lens from German eBay led me to believe that the lens' ONLY strong point was it's performance at f1.2........

(they were wrong)

up front - this is a large, heavy lens for a 'normal' focal-length; all metal, lots of glass inside... it feels more substantial than my K55/2 or my Helios 44K-4, neither of which are lightweights....

the Porst has a 55mm filter ring - an odd size, but I added a dedicated hood to the front of it to help with loss-of-contrast in broad daylight; it also focuses counter to Pentax lenses, so there is that to remember when shooting with it...

additionally, this being a later version of the model, it's aperture ring runs from 1.2 to only 16 (rather than 22) and only has stops at full stops, so no in-between f-stops at all...

one more item about the physical specs of the lens: it has an anodized metal mount, which means I had focus confirmation, but no stop-down metering (green button) - I considering sanding off the anodizing to short the mount, but placed a bit of conductive tape on the lens mount instead - quicker/easier and avoiding potentially ruining a lens...

all the physical bits out of the way - how does she shoot?

throughout the month, this lens constantly amazed me - the statement "it's not supposed to be this good" was a regular thing for me while I was in post with the day's shots ...

like I said - I expected the f1.2 shots to be good (and they are), but move the Porst into f4 to f8 and you'll see subject separation, clarity, and focus that is stunning...

color rendition is rich, saturated, and accurate - I had to back off my normal processing routine because out-of-camera jpeg's are so close to my mind's eye of accurate, I would easily over-process the shots...

bokeh, as you should expect, is smooth and dreamy at f1.2; with the lens' ability to separate the subject for the background, the bokeh remains pleasant and unobtrusive through the remainder of the f-stop range...

as far as any downside, I have only two: the limited f-stop range; closing down to only f16 (I'd like f20 or even f22) does limit the lens' usability in broad daylight, which leads to #2 problem - the lens' coatings simply are not up to broad daylight shots; you'll get ghosting, distracting flare, and loss of contrast if you try to shoot in this manner... the hood helps, and I probably could have used a deeper hood, but didn't want to be concerned with vignetting..

enough of all that, how about some pics?

at f1.2 (which takes a lot of practice for any decent focus):

glass & light by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

coneflowers by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

loom detail by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

and after you stop the lens down:

prairie sunflower by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

this one sat out by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

black-eyed peas by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

surprise lilies by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

and here's my flickr album for her:
New Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: NICE VILLE.06000
Posts: 19
Lens Review Date: April 1, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $188.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: superbe bubble bokeh à f1.2 et très forte passé f2.8, léger & solide
Cons: This lens can make addicted to the BOKEH and risk a welding of the diaphragm to f8...;^)))
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K5IIs & Lumix GX7   

Apres avoir longtemps couru après l’acuité de mes objectifs je suis actuellement très séduit par l'univers du Bokeh, j'ai donc du mal à me séparer de cet objectif qui excelle dans ce domaine mais qui me permet également de réaliser de très net panoramiques.
Son faible poids (330gr) est aussi une des raisons de mon addiction à cette lentille, je possède également le très bon Konica HEXANON AR 57mm f1.2 dont le bokeh est très crémeux , que je reserve aux portrait ou aux architectures mais qui est bien plus lourd (460 gr)

After a long time after the acuteness of my objectives : Hmm: I am currently very seduced by the universe of the Bokeh : rolling eyes : , I therefore difficult to separate myself from this objective that excels in this area but Also allows me to achieve very clear panoramic views.
* Its low weight (330gr) is also one of the reasons for my addiction to this lens , I also own the very good Konica HEXANON AR 57mm f1.2 whose bokeh is very creamy, that I reserve for portraitures or architectures but Is much heavier (460 gr)

(1)>Proxi photo f1.2. 1/8000 - iso 200

(2)>Une de mes rares photo à f8. 1/80 - iso 80

(3)>Retour à f1.2. 1/160 - iso 800 - Incandescent lighting

(4)>Incandescent lighting

(5)> une f8 retrouvée pour finir. 1/20 - iso 800
New Member

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Setúbal (near Lisbon)
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: October 21, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: fast, sharp @ f/2 and up
Cons: to soft @ f/1.2
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

I always carry it. I love it. A pleasure to use, although not easy to use at f/1.2.
This is not a lens for everybody. It is easier to give up than continue to use.

@ F/1.2

@ F/1.2

@ F/1.2

@ F/1.2
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 32
Lens Review Date: April 29, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Ultra fast, sharpness, colors.
Cons: Price, 55mm filter diam.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

Ultra fast Porst is a good performer is lots a photo situation. But ... sharpness -When You can compare with Planar T* 50mm f/1.7 (C/Y) - Planar win. Colors - Planar is better.

Generally Porst win only with a better aperture.

And at last, this lens have a magical Bokeh... One small point make a big reason for make this lens a "must have lens". But at 1.2 focusing is a very hard and problematic, this aperture is for a " pro" photographer.

Oxydised body = problem with sharpness trap.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 3,216
Lens Review Date: December 15, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $115.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: f1.2; sharp; not heavy
Cons: none for this price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

* Ultra fast f1.2

* Quite sharp @f1.2

* Very sharp beyond f2.8

* Easy to focus in dim light

* Need a hood to improve the result (but still very good lens without it)

* Resist quite well to CA and flare

* Ultra big bang for bucks

Very good alternative to the very expensive Pentax K 50/1.2.

If you can have this for "cheap" you really should buy it !
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2010
Posts: 55
Lens Review Date: October 17, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $228.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness when stopped down, stunning 1.2 effects, DOF, dreaminess/bokeh
Cons: hard to handle DOF at 1.2, on digital its a 82mm lens, heavy, prone to lens flare
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I own two of these gems. I bought my first one around 5 years ago when I was still using film. That was one with an x-Bajonet. When finally I switch to digital (k-7) I missed this lens a lot. First for its fasteness and available light, second for its special type of pictures. Unfortunately there seems no easy and cost effective way to modify x-bajonet to PK mount. So after giving it much thought over the past months, I finally saw one with PK-Mount for a pretty good deal at the bay and couldn't resist it. Since the price seems to climb, you cannot lose much money anyway.
At first, I was struggling with it, until I've read on how to use it with the green button. This didn't work very well and the aperture got stuck all the time. Since I didn't have any aluminum tape I tried the "scratch off the paint" trick. Which didn't work that well either. Finally I found out about removing the aperture ring. I really like it this way and think I will leave it like this.

The lens is somewhat schizophrenic:
At 1.2 it has this stunning effect of dreaminess and sweet colors, but lacks some sharpness plus is really hard to control.

Stopped down it is extremely sharp and has great contrasts. Combined with a polarizer I already owned before, it gives you awesome outdoor pictures with available light.

I preferred this lens as a 55mm, which results in 82mm on the K-7. But I believe thats the deal. I would love to see the manufactures to bring more of these fast lenses at 30mm or even less focal length, like the sigma 1.4 30mm.

This lens is definitely not for point'n'shoot. If you only want a fast lens get a 1.4 smc. These are much lighter too.


Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 2,223

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 28, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: This lens is what I expected to be, a very thin dof and great for shooting indoors, no flash neede
Cons: None. I consider the steep learning curve a normal thing.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This lens is very hard to learn to use, because of that some people give up and sell it. Others will call it soft wide open, others will call it terrible for out doors. The truth is, that this lens is perfect and works as it was designed to work. I only recommend you buy this lens if you are a real photographer and specifically need this thin depth of focus for creative photography.

This is not for the amateur who just want a super fast lens to shoot any what he or she wants. No, this lens is for someone with a purpose. Do not buy this lens instead of a 50mm f1.4 or f1.7, they have different purposes. This lens is just for pros. That being said, I love this lens. After a steep learning curve (I am not a professional photographer), I finally learned to deal with this beast and am very happy with it.

I do recommend this to anyone who wants to do real creative photography. I believe the difference with the Pentax A 50mm f1.2 could be mostly in price. I do not believe in focus or better coating. This lens is really well made and works just as designed.

BTW, I have the Porst Color Reflex MC Auto with an aperture scale from f/1.2 to f/22. I understand that there is one version that only goes to f/16.

Here are some samples: ( at f/1.2)

Campanilla by Palenquero, on Flickr

Esomeliae by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst 55mm f1.2 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55mmf1.2-Capullo2 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Lunch Tomato by Palenquero, on Flickr

UPDATE MAY 7, 2012:
I take all about this lens being hard to use back. My lens was dirty and oily and I did not know it. I sent the lens to ERIC and he cleaned it completely. It had oil in the blades. MY LENS IS PERFECTLY clean right now, and that makes a big difference. All the photos above were made with the lens dirty and oily.

The photos below were taken after Eric did the maintenance:

Porst55f1.2@f1.2OliveOil-2162 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55f1.2@f1.2OliveOilAndaluza-2160 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55f1.2@f1.2yelowcake-2175 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55f1.2@f1.2Mortero-2157 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55mmf1.2@f2.8-Wood-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55mmf1.2@f1.2-azaharess-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55mmf1.2@f4-azaharess-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55mmf1.2@f1.2-Wood-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55mmf1.2@f2-Wood-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55mmf1.2@f1.2-lantern-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55mmf1.2@f1.2-X1-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55mmf1.2@f16-X2-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Porst55-1.2@f1.2-AceiteDeOliva1-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

May 25, 2012 UPDATE

Monday morning quarterbacking, I realize that the initial difficulties with this lens were due to the fact that the lens has to be use manually, that is you have to set the iso, aperture and exposure, then stop it down. After lots of practice, setting the aperture becomes second nature and then you notice that the photos become better. For example, the following photos were taken wide open at f1.2:

PorstColor55-1.2-Ray1-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

PorstColor55-1.2@f1.2-Epices1-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

PorstColor55-1.2@f1.2-Uvas2-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Beautiful Bavaria :-)
Posts: 123
Lens Review Date: July 6, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Really fast, excellent build and focus control
Cons: heavy, only full f-stops

An excellent lens for us bokeh and available light fans!

Having said this, I must admit, that I find this lens only pleasant to use with a stepless electronic shutter camera body. In combination with a mechanical body, the f-stops in full stops only brings you in difficult situations when using slide film, because you may end up with under-/over-exposed pictures (less an issue with b/w, the main material for that kind of lens in my opinion).

I don't know how to edit the lens data on top of this page, but my copy has a weight of 340 g, including rear and front cap. The focus ring turns in the opposite direction as known from Pentax lenses.

The all metal barrel allows precise and smooth focussing, but the black painted bayonet does not give focus indication on AF bodies. A focussing aid screen makes it much easier, especially on the digital bodies where it becomes a ca. 80mm lens with very thin DOF.

Not a 10, but easily a 9!
Inactive Account

Registered: February, 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 57
Lens Review Date: April 23, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast glass, much cheaper than the SMC-A f1.2, smooth focusing
Cons: Bokeh can be harsh

I wanted to rate this lens as a 9-9.5/10, however the review by Adnan EROL has made me give it a 10 to just try to offset it.

First off, this is a f1.2, which means that at 50cm the DOF is a whopping 0.35cm. That's 3.5mm people! The people who say it's soft just have no clue how to use a manual focus lens, or had a bad copy. Learn to use the focus trap and you'll get some stunning images. You'll also have to learn how to think - you can get 2 areas in focus in a single image if you're careful / plan well. For example:

The stem and the flower in the top right are both in focus, and very sharp. This image is a f1.2 and you can probably tell that there is little DOF in there. Want more, step up the aperture and you've got it!
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2008
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 87
Lens Review Date: January 27, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $175.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Bang for buck!
Cons: Nothing at this price.

What's not to like? To not enjoy this lens is absurd, simply for the fact that it is a f/1.2 lens for the price of under $200!

I use it on my 5DII with an adaptor and it is awesome! The equivalent Canon EF 50 f1.2 is over $2000. To be lucky enough to own one of these lenses and just try to use that huge aperture is a dream come true for a camera hobbyist/photographer like me.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2007
Posts: 120
Lens Review Date: April 24, 2009 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: fast, light (pocket size), sometimes I feel it's sharper than Lim primes when stop down; razor thin DOF and dreamy effect @ full open good for creativity
Cons: too fast; difficult to control both exposure and focus wide open; razor thin DOF @ full open is bad for beginner

Really very good lens, but lots of images go to waste basket. Praise the Lord, I have got a digital camera aswell. I would die, If I were to shoot analog only.

I also lived "love and hate" relation with this lens like other users. Yes, green button works but it's not so easy, at the end I found a way to get what I want: exposure bracketing. When it comes to focus: unless you have power of a falcon's eye (if you can't separate the dot and the coma in a semicolon from 5 miles away), I wish you have a good luck!

In some way I don't know yet, somehow it's so dreamy soft when wide open that sometimes I could not answer where I focused at.

OTOH, flash photography is another powerfull side of this lens.

Everybody should use a f:1.2 (or below, i.e. f:1.0 or 0.8) lens like that at least once in a life time, it's so good.
If the only lens you've got is a kit lens, then don't waste your time here, go and buy a FA 50mm F:1.4 instead of 1.2; but if you are looking for something weird: welcome to the hell

After living hard days (bad love relation) for monthes, I couldn't stand it anymore and sold it.
But the very next day I began to miss her.
I was not surprised to see it changed 3 owners in a few monthes. When I could get in touch with the guy who holds it lately, I had already ordered Cosina 55mm f:1.2 which is (I heard of) sharper (than my ex-beloved Porst) wide open.

Now, I love the one with the Cosina name on it (filter thread is 58mm) more.
If I change my mind to go back to my first love again, I will certainly come back here to change the rate!

Some different reminiscence images fom the ones uploaded before:

open wide, I think. (it's not an A lens)

f:2.8, I think
Add Review of Porst Color Reflex MC Auto 55mm F1.2

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