Modern 50mm lens manufacturers seem obsessed with optical perfection. No surprise since the market seems to demand it. Guilty as charged. I get swept up in it also.
- No flare.
- Pin sharp wide open.
- Blazing fast AF.
- Wider and wider apertures.
- No pincushion distortion.
- No barrell distortion distortion.
- No abbherrations.
- No… You get the point.
So the lens companies deliver…
…with massive lenses with massive price tags to match. And they are wonderful.
This is not a complaint. There are great top of the line options on the market right now. But…
I still really like old film era 50mm lenses.
Is it nostalgia encouraging me to make excuses for the optical limitations?
Is it my appreciation for the small size and weight of these lenses even with fast apertures?
Is it their relative affordability with prices that often do not cross into three digits and if so not that far?
Might be one, some, or all of those reasons. But I like them.
Which lens? Yes.
Let me explain. Every manufacturer made a great little 50mm f/1.8 or faster. I have written posts about many of them. Often times they come with an SLR when you buy them.
I like these lenses so much that I went overboard. The kit above was $50. Up until recently, I had long been playing a game of SLR Pokemon. Got to catch ’em all.
Now I am not talking about prestige SLR or rangefinder glass. They can cost as much as the newer lenses above or even more and will also perform as well in some instances.
But the SLR lens thing had gotten out of hand. Was not costly. These cameras and lenses can often be had for peanuts. But I did not want a bunch of affordable shelf trophies, decided to thin the herd, and SE Camera was happy to accommodate. Of the very few SLR lenses I have left one lens reigns above all.
Now even Pentax makes a newer, modern design 50mm f/1.4 lens also. But I would rather go for the older variant above.
But first, let’s recap what this lens is not.
But that is why I like it. I do appreciate perfect for those “got to have the shot” moments like a recent engagement session.
But on my own time? I’d rather…
- Small size.
- Small weight.
- Affordable. Still for sale new, but much more inexpensive used.
- More than passable AF.
- And last but not least… perfect imperfection.
I cannot put a fine point on the look. Yes, it involves a bit of flare. A certain glow under the right conditions. As an added bonus it pulls off the same tricks with film of digital. I must also say that it will also play well at times and capture images as great as any of the modern lenses above. That is the fun part. The uncertainty. But enough words for now. I took this lens out for a spin recently and here are the results.