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And the winner is...

nianys

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Drum roll...

NEX-6    ---    0mm    f/1.0    1/50s    ISO 400


The Pentax K 55mm F:1.8 !!

Most of you guys know how many 50ish manual lenses I have tried during the past 6 months. Canon, Rokkors, Hexanons, Oly PEN and OM, m42 Cosina clones (Reflecta, Revuenon, etc), Porst, Takumar, Rollei, you name it (actually just about *anything* except Nikon). Well, I'm happy to report that after litteraly months of searching and testing, I have FOUND my perfect nifty.

NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/200s    ISO 400


I love everything about this lens. Its look, its feel, its handling, and over all, its IQ. It's painfully sharp and has great buttery smooth bokeh, with perfect transition in between. Color reproduction and contrast are beautiful.

NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/60s    ISO 400


NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/160s    ISO 400


NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/160s    ISO 400


So as much as I love my Rokkors, my Canon FL, my PEN 38, the Pentax has stayed glued on the camera since it got here.

NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/160s    ISO 400


ALL the featured shots are wide open (1.8), bizarelly I find the blurring ability at 1.8 on par with faster lenses wide open...

NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/160s    ISO 400


NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/200s    ISO 400


Check out that 3D pop :
NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/125s    ISO 400


NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/125s    ISO 400


NEX-6    ----    0mm    f/1.0    1/160s    ISO 400


I guess the differences with my other best nifties are sutble and slight, and that it's just a matter of personal preference that I'm loving this one so much. I'm not saying either that everybody should prefer this specific lens. Just that for ME, it delivers that hard to find combination of very sharp detail AND very smooth blur, with flattering transition in between, PLUS nice looks, feel and handling. Almost and impossible thing to reach. Yet, this lens has it.
I'm over the moon with this one :)

NEX-6    ---    0mm    f/1.0    1/80s    ISO 400
 

Bimjo

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Well, I'm glad you are so happy with a lens you had so much trouble to find. Makes how good it is that much better. 8^)
 

kevistopheles

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The images are absolutely terrific. Nice find. Nice to see you found your perfect "nifty"...until of course the you see another cool nifty. ;).
 

Amin Sabet

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Awesome post. Congratulations on finding your lens! Something tells me the price of Pentax K 55/1.8s on Ebay is climbing right about now :).
 

nianys

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Awesome post. Congratulations on finding your lens! Something tells me the price of Pentax K 55/1.8s on Ebay is climbing right about now :).
lol. It's not so much that it's expensive (not really), it's just that the Pentax mount version is pretty hard to find. People having one tend to keep it, and boy, do I know why... The screw mount version might be just as good though, for all I know...
 

nianys

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The images are absolutely terrific. Nice find. Nice to see you found your perfect "nifty"...until of course the you see another cool nifty. ;).
Yes, searching and testing is certainly great fun, so I couldn't swear I'm not ever gonna buy other nifties for kicks. This one, however, you'll be lucky to pry from my cold, dead hands ;)
 

Jefenator

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Glad you've finally found your "excalibur". Those are some very nice shots, indeed - they certainly display those elusive qualities you talk about!

Does this mean we won't get to see any more of your nifty comparisons?

I know what you mean about the slower lenses sometimes having more blur. (When I get some time this winter I want to do some big BOKEH shootouts...)
 

NickCyprus

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So glad for you Claire!!!

And may I add that the photos posted are awesome - love them all (particulary the 2nd cat one) :thumbup:
 

christilou

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Beautiful photos as always :) Funnily enough I've been looking at the Pentax 50mm SMC 1.7 because then I could use it on my K-01 also. I'm a big fan of Pentax and use the FA77 Limited on my K-01 for portraits and it's almost permanently on my cam. I'll take a look at this one also now.
 

nianys

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Thx guys !
Believe it or not I love it so much I searched for some unknowingly soul maybe parting with one rather cheap, and located another mint copy right here in France, made an offer which got accepted, so soon I'll have two of those babies (just in case...).
I checked last night and realized the M42 and Pentax adapter are the *exact* same size (I had always imagined the m42 was thicker), so for kicks I might grab a copy of the screw mount version (which goes cheaper and is very easy to find), more shoot-out to come, lol !
Christilou, could you please elaborate on the FA77, as in, make a short review of the lens ? I've always pretty mythical stuff about it...
 

txbkst

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nianys, since you have so much experience with manual legacy glass, I was wondering if you had some tips on how you achieve such great shots. I started with a c3, body only and a canon fd 50/1.8, 35/2.5, and 28/2.8, and I loved them. Somewhere along the way I started using native lenses, and even bought the la-ea2 along with a couple of a-mount lenses.

Consequently, I haven't used my manual lenses in over a month. Today I pulled out the 28/2.8, and I am flabbergasted at the clear, sharp image I am getting. It makes me want to totally run from the af lenses. The only thing holding me back is that I photograph my dogs, cats, and toddler, and I haven't nailed quickly focusing. I feel like I lose a lot of good opportunities because I am hunting for focus. Is it just a matter of getting more comfortable with the peaking? So far I feel like I always have to use the my assist or I don't get the sharpest image I could. Do you have any other tips/recommendations? I would love to go full manual/legacy (though I admit that sony a-mount 16-50/2.8 is calling my name...)
 

Nubster

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You certainly can't argue with the results. I'm just now starting my hunt for MY perfect set of lenses. I just hope my wallet can handle it...lol
 

Grisu_HDH

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Really nice shots. Thanks for sharing your passion about your "perfect" lens with us!!!
Hoepfully I will get some shots with a quality like yours out of my Rokkor MD 50 1.4 as well because I can't afford more lenses... ;)
 

nianys

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Thank you guys for reviving this slightly older post.
I am happy to report that reaching my "perfect Nifty" has more or less rehabilitated me, and cured my legacy G.A.S syndrom. I have cleared my lens closet to keep the following :
*PEN F 38/1.8, probably my best all around manual lens, will never sell. Small, slim adapter, lovely to handle and focus, peaks great, very sharp wide open, bleedingly so stopped down.
*Pentax Asahi 55/1.8 in PK mount (the lens this thread was initially about). Amazing bokeh making machine. Shoot this wide open and it just smoothes backgrounds into nothingness, while retaining gorgeous sharpness, color and contrast on subject. Love it.
*Rokkor MC 50.1.4. Wow, that's a winner. I got it dirt cheap (seller had no clue) and though it definitely shows a bit of wear, I'll call that the signs of a life well lived. Still performs as day One though, and killer IQ from F2. Can't sell this baby.
*Rokkor MD 50/1.7, better known as my "fungus lens". I got this baby for nearly nothing, and later discovered there was a bit of fungus inside. The fungus is under control (made a short trip in this oven, and is kept in a dry environment), but obviously, it can never be put for sale. Bizarrely enough, it has given me some of my most loved shots. I'll likely make a gift to a friend of mine whenever she gets a NEX, or why not make my own little photo challenge on the board and offer it as prize !
All the Canons are gone. Even my wonderful ugly plastic cheapo FD thas was so insanely good finally sold (after about 5 months of mutiple listings, when there's life, there's hope, lol). The gorgeous FL55/1.2 went to, I wanted a bit cash to re-invest, but it's an exceptional lens, which I can warmly recommend to anyone. Weirdly, the one 1.2 lens that I wish I hadn't sold is the Prost Auto Reflex. It was really very special, and I might get another one in the future (but as a tip, I read that the PK mount units were a good deal better than the M42 ones. True enough, they're also definitely more expensive...).
I still have a few teles, namely
*Olympus OM 100/2.8, not selling for now, adorable little lens and great, great rendering. Perfect short tele for spring and summer days in the yard.
*CZ Jena 135/3.5 DDR. Hmmm, that's a lens I'm gonna list shortly, and I invite anybody interested in this focal length to give it a lot of attention. It's one hell of a great lens. Sexy as a frying pan (an East German one at that !) but boy, it sure can deliver. IQ is TOP NOTCH.
*OM 135/3.5, this one doubles with my CZ, and since it has nearly no commercial value (I must have paid 30€ for it, shipped), and it seems to be a NEW, probably unused copy, I might as well keep it. It's not as good optically as the CZ, but gives it a good run for its money anyway, OOF areas are very smooth and nice, and it uses the same adapter the 100/2.8 does.
I think that's it !! So I went from about 20 lenses to about 6, and tried a whole lot more than that. It's been very fun, instructive and deeply satisfying. Since I might get a Fuji X body soon I'll report how is the use and output of manual lenses on it, get ready to hear me curse quite a bit and wonder why I sold my NEX ;)
All the best, guys.
 

alaios

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...
*Rokkor MC 50.1.4. Wow, that's a winner. I got it dirt cheap (seller had no clue) and though it definitely shows a bit of wear, I'll call that the signs of a life well lived. Still performs as day One though, and killer IQ from F2. Can't sell this baby.
*Rokkor MD 50/1.7, better known as my "fungus lens". I got this baby for nearly nothing, and later discovered there was a bit of fungus inside. The fungus is under control (made a short trip in this oven, and is kept in a dry environment), but obviously....
(As I am new) Something that came to my mind, why you kept lenses of same focal length when the one is faster than the other one? Does it make sense to have also the slower alternative when owning a faster one?

Cheers
Alex
 

eno789

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