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Yashinon DS-M 50mm f1.4

Sharpness 
 9.3
Aberrations 
 8.3
Bokeh 
 9.7
Handling 
 10.0
Value 
 9.7
Reviews Views Date of last review
3 30,748 Fri June 16, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $47.33 9.00
Yashinon DS-M 50mm f1.4
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Description:
The DS-M version is presumably the last of the Yashinon m42 lenses from Yashica. The M stands for multicoated where as the DS version is likely single coated. There is also an earlier DX series of the same lens from Yashica. The coating of the DS-M lens is supposed to be computer designed and better than previous series of the same lens. Notice that the DS and DS-M series are 50mm whereas the DX series are 55mm focal length.
edited on Jan-25,2013. Sorry I would like to correct that the DX lens is also in 50mm focal length.
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Price History:



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Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 909
Lens Review Date: June 16, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: f1.4! solid & well-constructed; handles well; sharp
Cons: No A/M switch so needs adapter & spacer; only full stops
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

I have the DS version which is definitely coated but likely only a single coat.
It is well made and handles beautifully, though there are a couple drawbacks.
  • It has no A/M switch, so it means you need one of the M42 > K-mount adapters that has the inner flange. Further, the pin on this lens is shorter than most, so you need to add a washer of some kind in order to make sure the pin depresses. I cut out a plastic washer from an old credit card. Be sure to leave the full opening, since the rear glass comes all the way to the back when focussed at infinity. (It might be possible to modify the lens and depress the pin, but this was an easier and non-destructive way of doing things.) With all this in place the lens does fully function and focuses to infinity.
  • The lens only closes down by full stops: 1.4 > 2 > 2.8 > 4 > 5.6 > 8 > 11 > 16.
The lens has 6 blades and minimum focusing distance is ~14 inches which means about 1:7.5 magnification.



As for performance, I can compare it to my Pentax A 50mm f1.4, and it compares very well. The Yashica is a bit softer a f1.4 and can have some green CA, but the bokeh at 1.4 is also a bit smoother. Once you start closing down, the differences become minimal. In most situations, the Yashica does appear a bit warmer, perhaps due to a yellowish tint to the coating.

Included are some pics of 100% center crops. The Yashica is on the left; Pentax on the right.

At f1.4


At f4

At f8

In summary, this is an outstanding lens that can probably be obtained for less than a Pentax 50mm f1.4 and provides similar results.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 5,428
Lens Review Date: May 19, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Well built, seems sharp
Cons: No auto/manual switch, aperture in full stops only, green fringing wide open
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3, Fujifilm X-M1, Yashica Electro AX   

Having now used this lens on an M42 film camera as well as on digital, I feel much better able to evaluate it.

The filter size is 55mm.

This lens has no auto/manual switch so on digital it can only be used wide open. With an adaptor or a modification to hold the aperture pin in it could be used stopped down but there's no obvious way into the lens either at the front or the back to allow a modification. Some M42 to K adapters will stop down but I only trust and own the Pentax ones, which don't do this.

The aperture ring only clicks at full aperture stops and it goes to f/16. There are only six aperture blades but they're rounded. The aperture is almost perfectly round at f/2 and almost round at f/2.8. Beyond that the rounded blades don't look like they make much difference compared to normal straight blades.

The build quality is very good and solid. The aperture and focus rings move smoothly and the aperture has rounded blades which should yield better bokeh when stopped down. Mine had the rubber focus ring a bit loose so I used a bit of glue to stick it down and now it's fine.

Below are a couple of shots taken wide open on APS-C digital at f/1.4 to test sharpness, though these images have had slight increases in contrast and sharpening. The lens seems fairly sharp wide open but with some green fringing in the out-of-focus areas.


DSCF1009a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


DSCF1014a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

Update - some wide open shots. It's quite soft and glowy with some funky bokeh but useable for small display sizes. Whatever sharpening has been applied by Flickr has improved the look of these somewhat.


Yashinon 50mm f/1.4 M42 wide open
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


2016-06-26_08-38-40
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


2016-06-26_08-49-54
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

Further update - film!

I've now shot a roll of Fuji Acros in a Yashica Electro AX camera, almost exclusively with this lens. The handling is superb, everything moves very, very smoothly and, most importantly, I've very impressed with the image quality. On film this lens appears very sharp, even wide open. Of course, this is black & white so no colour fringing. I have to say it was a real pleasure shooting with this lens and for use on film it's without doubt a keeper, better than the SMC Takumar 50/1.4. I can't wait to load another roll and take it out again.

In summary - on an M42 film camera this is one of the best fast fifties I've ever used, it's nothing short of superb. The lack of A/M switch and only full-stop aperture ring are minor problems that are forgotten in the pleasure of using such a great lens.

On digital, unless you have a good adapter which allows the aperture to be stopped down (or you're willing to modify the lens internally) then it's not much use except for the occasional shallow DoF shot for fun. The fringing wide open could be a problem too. I don't know at what point this fringing would disappear when stopping down, because I can't test it.

I've knocked off a point for the aperture ring and the lack of A/M switch (how much would it really have cost to add this???) but for it's intended use it's a solid 9.

This first shot was wide open or at f/2


Yashica Electro AX, Fuji Acros, Summer 001a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


Yashica Electro AX, Fuji Acros, Summer 020a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


Yashica Electro AX, Fuji Acros, Summer 004a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


Yashica Electro AX, Fuji Acros, Summer 011a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr
   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Brampton, Ontario
Posts: 3,975
Lens Review Date: January 15, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $82.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: The lens is well built, focusing very smooth
Cons: missing A/M switch
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

While I also have many other manual lenses of this focal length, I find that with this lens, it is easier to lock-in focus using my k-5. I have a feeling that the coating from this lens is a better than most others may have something to do with that. The coating on this lens is between the earlier version from Tomioka (more yellowish) and the later version (more blueish). As mentioned, the only gripe that I have is missing the A/M switch. However, I managed to alter the aperture control mechanism to a full-time manual mode by putting a spacer between the pin and spring lever inside the lens. I will upload some photos later when I have a chance.
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