My first camera was a Canon 350D gifted by my Dad when I showed some interest in the art. That was sometime in 2012. Since then I’ve bought and sold cameras whenever I could save some money as with every new camera/lens release inevitably lead to G.A.S. I moved from Canon – Nikon – Ricoh – Olympus – Fujifilm. Changing systems meant changing lenses as well which was a bigger pain. Depreciation and incompatibility between the various brand, would always result in loosing money on exchange or sometimes prices offered for mint condition gear would be so ridiculous that I couldn’t bring myself to part with it.
About a year back I become fascinated with vintage lenses. They offered a perfect solution for me. While they didn’t have auto focus you can pick up a f1.4 or f1.8 lens for less than $60. They are future-proof; Metal construction meant that they would outlive me and irrespective of what camera system I invested in, I could adapt my existing lenses to my new system via inexpensive adapters. And the icing on the cake was when selling, most of the times you can recover what you paid for them. Some lenses are even selling more than 4-5 times their price a year back on Ebay.
The 50mm is my favourite focal length as it gives me a lot of flexibility and the lenses are relatively compact even with the adapters ( I hate carrying heavy camera bag or even straps on my camera). Also all companies made excellent 50mm lenses. Now that I own more that 10+ 50-58mm lenses, I though it would be fun to do a shoot out with them.
- Auto-Takumar 55/2
- Super-Takumar 55/1.8
- Pancolar 50/1.8
- SMC Takumar 55/2
- Pentaflex Auto Color 50/1.8
- Helios 44-3 58/2
- Helios 44m-7 58/2
- Super-Takumar 50/1.4
- SMC Pentax 50/1.2
- Auto-Chinon MC 50/1.7
- SMC Pentax M 50/1.4
- I shot all the lenses on a Tripod
- The Camera was a Fujifilm X-E2 on Standard/Provia Jpg | ISO 200 DR 100 | WB Auto | HTone -1 | Timer 2 sec
- Natural window light was used to illuminate the subject
- All lenses were shot wide open and then at f2.8, f4, f5.6 & f8 respectively.
- The photos are SOOC with size reduced to 2048px longest edge
Widest Aperture of Each Lens
Direct link to download files: https://ibb.co/album/mkE2BF
Direct Link to download files: https://ibb.co/album/jDZ2BF
Direct link to download files: https://ibb.co/album/cBVyka
Direct link to download files:https://ibb.co/album/kh70yv
Direct link to download files: https://ibb.co/album/cZ6Sdv
Best Value for Money; Helios 44-3 f2 I paid $30 for it.
Wide open its quite sharp comparable to the much more expensive Super-Takumar 50/1.4 Also at f/4 when most of the other lenses have a hexagonal shape in the bokeh, it still has a pleasing bokeh
Most Disappointing Lens; Fujinon 55 f2.2
Strong Halo wide open and I didn’t like the bokeh for which the lens is know for. It has a very defined edge. The lens also has a very cheap plastic feel to it. Maybe it will perform well shooting foliage.
Mr. All rounder; Pancolar 50 f1.8 (Zebra Version)
Sharp and Contrasty wide open with pleasing out of focus area. Performs well throughout all f-stops.
Sleeper Lens; Auto-Takumar 55/2 If it wasn’t for the slightly stiff focusing ring on my copy, it would have been one of my favourite lens. It’s available around $40 if you keep your eyes open, has a lovely chrome finish to it and stopped down till f4 has a gorgeous bokeh.
Note: I am still waiting for adapters to arrive for Minolta and Yashica. I will try to keep updating the site with new lenses as and when they arrive.
Finally the full resolution files are available in the links. To sum up if you plan to shoot wide open you are limit by your choice, but by f4-5.6 most of the above lenses will do an excellent job. Try to keep your budget around $30-40 and you will not be disappointed. The SMC Pentax 50 f/1.2 is my most expensive less picked up for $110. I was pleasantly surprised to see it hold its own wide open. For backgrounds that just melt away, you can’t go wrong with f1.2. I’ve heard great things about the Canon FL 55 f1.2 Canon FD 50 f1.2 but they have been out of my budget.
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