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Author Topic: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness  (Read 4406 times)

RAKAMRAK

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Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« on: September 23, 2012, 06:59:29 AM »
I am planning to buy an old manual focus (with aperture control ring on the lens) 50mm lens for basically reverse lens, and extension tube+manual lens based macro work. I am specifically not looking to buy any of the current auto focus macro lenses (or the non auto focus Zeiss glasses). The first reason is of course price (for the time being) and the second reason is I pretty much like the whole ritual of macro photography using the above two methods.

Those of you who have used the different manual focus 50mm lenses produced by different manufacturers (Canon FD, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, and others) during the film era (or may be even today) could you please share your comments about the sharpness of the lenses that you have used. I am trying to figure out which one out there might be the sharpest (if there is any specifically).

If you think a different lens of a different focal length would be better for my intended purpose then also please share your thoughts.

Any help is most heartily welcome.
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Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« on: September 23, 2012, 06:59:29 AM »

paul13walnut5

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2012, 07:17:45 AM »
I used to use a Minolta Rokkor 50mm f3.5 macro lens on adapted bellows.

Was very sharp back when I used SR-T film bodies on its own, and held up well on my EOS cameras, though was very dark through the viewfinder...

This is something to bear in mind... make sure any lens you buy stops down when the aperture is changed on the lens, without a coupling pin or stop down release.   Some manual lenses stay wide open unless they are mounted with the correct trigger pin (like MD lenses)

Your best bet may acutally be an enlarger lens, failing that NOVOFLEX used to make reversing rings that retains comms with the camera.

To behonest though, I much prefer using a dedicated macro lens with a manfrotto 454 plate.

2nd hand values on the Sigma 50mm EX f2.8 and Canon 50mm f2.5 or even the tamron 90mm aren't that much more than what you'll spend on tubes and old lenses etc.

Really for macro you want max aperture preview as your shooting aperture may be so small that it's impossible to use the live view or the viewfinder, especially as live view doesn't always wprk properly with non-comm lenses.

Albi86

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 07:19:55 AM »
I am planning to buy an old manual focus (with aperture control ring on the lens) 50mm lens for basically reverse lens, and extension tube+manual lens based macro work. I am specifically not looking to buy any of the current auto focus macro lenses (or the non auto focus Zeiss glasses). The first reason is of course price (for the time being) and the second reason is I pretty much like the whole ritual of macro photography using the above two methods.

Those of you who have used the different manual focus 50mm lenses produced by different manufacturers (Canon FD, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, and others) during the film era (or may be even today) could you please share your comments about the sharpness of the lenses that you have used. I am trying to figure out which one out there might be the sharpest (if there is any specifically).

If you think a different lens of a different focal length would be better for my intended purpose then also please share your thoughts.

Any help is most heartily welcome.

Can't talk from direct experience, but I often read that the old Nikon AI-S lenses are quite sharp.

Anyway I also agree that the dedicated Sigma 50 and Tamron 90 macro lenses are amazingly sharp (the Tamron is seriously top-class) and good value in the used market.

mws

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 07:31:28 AM »
I've used a 50mm Pentax SMC Takamur 1.4 on my 50D, there are some issues using this lens on FF, but it can me made to work. I don't use it for macro work, just regular stuff.  It is incredibly sharp, just as much as any new Canon glass.  IT's actually just a great lens, one of my favorite, it has just great colors. It can be had for about 100 on ebay.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 07:35:38 AM by mws »

RAKAMRAK

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 07:31:34 AM »
Thanks to both of you. I completely agree with your suggestion that a dedicated macro lens in EF mount would be best for macro work. I rented the 100mm L macro and it was awesome. And next I want to rent the Sigma 150mm OS macro (whenever it is available at my local lens renting shop). They the are perfect solution for macro for sure. No doubt.

But for the time being I am just looking for some "fun" with the entire reversing thing and at the same time do not want to loose on sharpness. I asked for the advice as I was pretty sure many of you have been photographing from the manual days and know almost all there is to know.

@Paul thank you for reminding me the aperture pin thing and the MD rokkor reference.
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RAKAMRAK

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2012, 07:35:29 AM »
I've used a 50mm Pentax SMC Takamur 1.4 on my 50D, there are some issues using this lens on FF, but it can me made to work It is incredibly sharp, just as much as any new Canon glass.  IT's actually just a great lens, one of my favorite, it has just great colors. It can be had for about 100 on ebay.

To confirm: Which version of 50mm Pentax SMC Takumar did you use? was it the metal focusing ring SMC Tak or rubberized focusing ring SMC Tak. Thank you.
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SpareImp

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2012, 08:01:52 AM »
I can recommend the Helios 77m-4 (50mm f/1.8 russian Carl Zeiss-copy). It’s quite cheap and offers good IQ. Here’s a sample shot with flash, reverse ring and extension tubes:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spareimp/7172437077/#sizes/k/in/photostream/

And here’s one with an Olympus OM 28mm f/2.8 as well as the other accessories mentioned:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spareimp/7357655202/#sizes/l/in/photostream/

I don’t normally shoot macro, so you could most likely do a lot better with some effort. Very shallow depth of field, as expected.

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2012, 08:01:52 AM »

Rsvdude

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2012, 09:28:29 AM »
I have used a Minolta Rokkor 55 1.2 which is lovely and sharp also a Vivitar 50 1.7 which takes sharp macro shots. But I agree with paul13walnut5 that a second hand dedicated macro that fits an Eos is not alot of money and can produce nice results. It is great fun playing around with old lenses though.

CharlieB

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 09:30:46 AM »
Any of the 50mm macro lenses are very good. 

If I were doing it.... this is how I'd go.  Find a clean older Nikkor - non-AI or AI.  Those can mount reverse and will stop down, OR you can mount it forward and still do infinity focus.  There are plenty of ok decent F-EF mount adapters there, and the lengths of things allow the Nikkors to be used at infinity.

If you like to focus wide open then stop down just as you take the picture, the Zuiko's have tabs on the lens that allow that when reversed - with accompanying camera shake potential from touching the lens.

To me... Nikkor.  They're good, they're cheap(ish), and they'll infinity focus if you need them to.  Non electronic mounts are about $25 range.  You can get the old 52mm filter thread to F mount reversing ring for about the same money.

NormanBates

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2012, 11:10:25 AM »
I think you'll like my lens sharpness tests, lots of vintage lenses there, including several 50mm ones, cheap and not-so-cheap:
http://www.similaar.com/foto/lenstests/lenstestsa.html

And I'll throw in a suite of bokeh tests too:
http://www.similaar.com/foto/lenstests/bokehtests.html


1_kb

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2012, 12:53:03 PM »
If you understand dutch, this might help aswell
http://gathering.tweakers.net/forum/list_messages/1452930///battle
Otherwise it is still understandeble i guess :)

deadman

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2012, 02:27:07 PM »
First choice is the Zeiss Contax 50mm 1.7. Second choice, the Nikon 50mm 1.8 AIS.  The 1.4 versions of both of these lenses are also excellent, although more expensive.

RAKAMRAK

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 10:04:14 AM »
Thank you everyone for chiming in.
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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 10:04:14 AM »

noncho

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2012, 10:26:18 AM »
I'm using FD 50 1.4 S.S.C. with my 60D and it's very good in terms of sharpness even wide open.

mws

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2012, 11:10:54 AM »
I've used a 50mm Pentax SMC Takamur 1.4 on my 50D, there are some issues using this lens on FF, but it can me made to work It is incredibly sharp, just as much as any new Canon glass.  IT's actually just a great lens, one of my favorite, it has just great colors. It can be had for about 100 on ebay.

To confirm: Which version of 50mm Pentax SMC Takumar did you use? was it the metal focusing ring SMC Tak or rubberized focusing ring SMC Tak. Thank you.

Metal one

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Re: Old manual focus 50mm: Sharpness
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2012, 11:10:54 AM »