50mm Lens Comparison – Sharpness and Color Fringing

6 thoughts on “50mm Lens Comparison – Sharpness and Color Fringing”

  1. Thanks for the comparisons! I’d love to add some of the CZ Jena lenses to my collection at some point. Regarding comparisons between 1.8 lenses and 1.4 lenses, I’m not entirely sure it’s a fair comparison from what I’ve read, I think there were some tradeoffs made back in the ’60s/’70s to be able to make the lens faster. I have the 55mm 1.8 SMC Takumar which is reputed to be sharper than the 1.4 Takumars, it would be interesting to compare the 1.8 SMC Takumar to the 1.8 Pancolar.

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    1. I guess you always have compromises because there is more glass involved and the body of the lens remains the same size. vignetting and loss of sharpness towards the outer edges is the most common deficit of such lenses.

      I don’t believe that the 1.8 is sharper than the 1.4 but I really believe in sample variations and those were supposed to be quite large back in the days.
      It could therefore be that my Pancolar is an exceptionally good sample or the Takumar is a bad sample or that people who own both a Tak 1.8 and 1.4 have a good sample of the former and a bad one of the latter.. who knows?

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  2. There are lots of vintage 50mm you should try.
    I have owned
    Pancolor 50mm 1.8 Zeiss
    Rollei HFT 50mm 1.4 Zeiss
    Tessar 50mm 2.8 Zeiss
    Pentax smc 50 F2
    Pentax super Tac 50 1.8
    Pentax smc 1.4
    Pentax smc 1.2
    Leica Summicron 50mm Version 1
    Minolta 58mm 1.2

    I am not big fan of Nikon so I never had Nikon 50mm. I could never get the Olympus 50 1.2 so I can’t tell you how it will perform.

    All the lenses can be sharp a wide open Thanks to Live-View function in DSLR which made shooting with these vintage glass much more fun and easier. I started out with Canon 10D then the 5D back in 2005. Thankfully, there are focusing chips you can mount on them as well to let you know if you are in focus or not without going through live view.

    My favorite carrying around is Leica summicron 50 Version as I love its color and macro contrast which its a Leica signature.
    For low light, the Pentax smc 1.2 and Minolta 58mm 1.2 are as good as it gets. Although the Pentax gives a better contrast overall, it also adds more geometric distortion compared to the Minolta and the German lenses.
    If you like Pancolor then the Rollei HFT 1.4 is just a bit sharper with a touch of warm over the Contax version.

    Happy shooting.

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    1. I might give the Summicron-R 50mm a chance once I got rid of some of my lenses.

      The Minolta 58/1.2 seems to be a favourite for a great many people out there, but its also a very expensive lens.

      I’m still dreaming of the Pancolar 55mm f/1.4 and the Summilux-R 50mm. However, in the end I will probably get a more modern design with smooth bokeh rendition, like the Canon 50L or the new Zeiss Milvus 50/1.4.
      Although this is still very much open for changes 🙂

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