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Some fast 50's side by side by side

kevistopheles

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So I conducted a little informal side by side with my various 50's. The players were as follows (from left to right)...

1. Minolta MC 50/1.7
2. Super Takumar 50/1.4 (not the SMC version)
3. Olympus Pen-F 40/1.4
4. Hexanon 40/1.8
5. Hexanon 50/1.4 (EE version)
6. Canon FD 50/1.4
7. Helios 44M 58/2
8/ Minolta MC 50/1.4

There is nothing scientific about it. I simply sat in the chair at my computer and shot the light switch on the wall. Each lens was set a f4, the light was terrible and the Auto ISO went to 3200. That said, it does show how these various lenses perform in less than optimal conditions. The lens all perform pretty well. The Canon and the Pen F are cooler in color where all the other lenses tend to be a bit warm. The Sharpest is the Konica 50/1.4 followed by the Super Takumar 50/1.4 and Minolta 50/1.4.

I plan to do another one with a well lit subject and a tripod.
 

kevistopheles

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When you correct the WB on the Pen 40 and Hex 40 sample you can see the pen 40 is a tiny bit sharper. If you look at all the samples the Hex 50/1.4, Super Takumar 50/1.4 and the Minolta MC 50/1.4 all stand out and are all remarkably close.

The take away I got from this impromptu test is that IQ is not the biggest factor in why I prefer a certain lens over another. For instance I don't care for the FD 50 at all because I really don't like the FD mount. The Super Takumar 50/1.4 and the Minolta MC 50/1.4 are my favorites because I like they way they feel in hand but the Konica 50/1.4 (which you could argue is slightly sharper and more contrasty) doesn't have quite the same tactile appeal.

In the end they are all quite capable and it's really hard to find a bad fast 50. It's also amazing that you can lenses that can produce really wonderful images for so little coin (my mint Minolta 50/1.7 was all of $20 and my Super Takumar 50/1.4 was $40).
 

kevistopheles

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Now that I've collected (Heaven help me) way too many 50's, and only sold back two, I realize I really want to keep only what I'm actually USING.

I agree, having 10 of the same (or similar) focal length is silly for me. I'm simply not going to use them. The collector in me will keep a few that appeal to me for sentimental value. I also plan to keep one of the 50 macros I have but that still leaves me with a lot of lenses I don't need and won't use.

All things considered I think the Minolta MC 50/1.4 or the Super Tak 50/1.4 would be my top choices. The Konica50/1.4 is actually sharper anymore contrasty that both of them but I don't find it quite as nice when it comes to feel or focusing action.
 

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