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Recommendations for cheap(ish) 50mm with good bokeh?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lens Forum' started by xXDanXx, Jan 12, 2018 at 9:55 AM.

  1. xXDanXx

    xXDanXx New Member

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    My first post and sorry if it's been discussed before. I am after recommendations for a 50-60mm len with really nice bokeh. I will use it on a Fuji XT-1. I know bokeh is subjective so to give you some idea I think the Fuji FX 56mm/1.2 has fantastic bokeh - but I can't afford it. Also, the Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm/1.2 - but I can't afford that either. I currently have an Olympus OM 50mm/1.4 but I think the bokeh is a bit harsh and busy, and a Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 55mm/1.7 which I really like and think has much better (smoother, creamier) bokeh than the Olympus. While I really like using the Rokkor I am also keen to try some a different lens that can perhaps give me even better bokeh or at least equal it while producing a different look.

    I don’t mind using manual focus legacy lenses (they are challenging but satisfying when it works out) and my major constraint is how much I am willing to pay. I would like recommendations for lenses that I can get for under $250, ideally quite a lot under! I prioritise good bokeh over sharpness (that’s why I am happy with the MC Rokkor-PF 55mm/1.7), but if I could have both that would be great. The lens does not have to be fast, but again that would be a bonus as it would allow me to take photos in a wider range of conditions.

    I have not used many different types of lenses and am keen to have recommendations that fit my criteria from the experienced photographers and lens collectors on this forum.

    There are a few lenses that I have read about that might fit my criteria but I would like opinions about them from people who have used them. These lenses include:

    Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 50mm/1.7

    Minolta MC or MD Rokkor 50mm/1.4

    Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm/1.4

    Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50mm/1.8

    Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm/1.7

    Jupiter-3 50mm/1.5

    I do like the look of photos from the Super Takumar 50mm/1.4 but I am not prepared to have a radioactive lens in my house as I have a young child (no matter how many people say it is not dangerous). Did they produce a non-radioactive version?

    What other lenses should I consider that I have not mentioned?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. jknights

    jknights Moderator Staff Member

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    Why not look for a second hand Fuji 60mm f2.8 macro as it is cheaper now the 80mm f2.8 is available. I use one on my XPro1 for studio portraits.
     
  3. xXDanXx

    xXDanXx New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I would snap up a Fuji 60mm f2.8 if I could find one for $250! I think the Fuji is bit out of my price range and I would need to be very lucky to find one at that price (fancy selling yours for $250?). If I was willing (and able) to spend more than $250 I would probably look at getting the XF 50mm/2 WR. Ideally I would like to spend less than $250.
     
  4. JDC

    JDC Well-Known Member

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    You mean 60mm f2.4
     
  5. AdrianG

    AdrianG Premium Member

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    +1 for the XF 60mm
     
  6. Kirstybell

    Kirstybell Premium Member

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    +2 though I don’t fit your experienced photographer criteria. I just got this lens and it is gorgeous.
     
  7. xXDanXx

    xXDanXx New Member

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    Thanks for the recommendations for the XF 60mm f2.4 macro. Do you really think I could get one for $250? I live in Australia so Aus$250 is more like US$200. Seems like it would be out of my price range...
     
  8. Carolyn

    Carolyn Premium Member

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    Maybe a used 50mm f2. I just bought this lens and am rather smitten. I like it better than the 60mm.
     
  9. xXDanXx

    xXDanXx New Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation, I would love to get that lens but I'm not sure that I could find it used at my price point (but I will look!). It is still fairly new and I suspect that people will tend to hang on to them as they seem so good. Even used I suspect that they will go for more than I can afford (in Australia they are at least $500 new). If I was willing to pay $350 for one I would just pay the extra and get one new. I have the 35mm f2 and love it. To be honest I am considering just saving my hard earned and getting the 50mm f2. I just thought I would try to get advice on cheaper alternatives for the type of photos I like to take.
     
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  10. AndresC

    AndresC Premium Member

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    If you don’t mind legacy lenses and are keen for bokeh how about a Helios 44m 58mm f2? Don’t own one myself YET, but the pictures posted sure seem to fit the bill of what you are after. I do have a copy of the 50mm 1.4 takumar and love it.
     
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  11. xXDanXx

    xXDanXx New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion. Definitely my price point but I am not a fan of the swirling bokeh effect they seem to produce. I would like to try one (but ideally I would borrow it). Do you know if all the 50mm 1.4 takumars are radioactive? That is a lens that would seem to fit my criteria perfectly.
     
  12. rybolt

    rybolt rybolt Staff Member

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    Copied and pasted from a 2010 MF Lens Forum Post:

    Thoriated Takumars are :
    - Super Takumar 35/2 (V2, 49mm filter)
    - S-M-C Takumar 35/2
    - Super Takumar 50/1.4 (V2, 7 elements, oval lettering, SN greater than 1400000 according to taunusreiter.de, infrared mark at the opposite side of the focus mark)
    - S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4
    - All the 55/1.8 and f/2 (not sure, if someone can confirm that, but my 55/1.8 are yellowish)
    - Super and S-M-C Takumar/6X7 105/2.4
     
  13. Tilphot

    Tilphot Premium Member

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    I don't have many lenses to compare it to, but I am very happy with my dirt cheap Minolta MD 50 f/1.7. Maybe that's just because it's the first lens I ever bought (about thirty years ago) – but anyway, here's a link to some examples with the X-T1:

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    It might be too close to what you've already got, but judge for yourself!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 1:52 PM
  14. Narsuitus

    Narsuitus Premium Member

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    One major problem with the 7-element version of the m42 Pentax Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens is that it has a radioactive lens element that gradually turns yellow with time.

    The 8-element version of the m42 Pentax Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens is not radioactive.

    Other than a Geiger counter, two ways to tell the two lenses apart are:

    a) The 8-element version has the infrared focus mark located to the right of the f/4 mark.

    b) The diaphragm switch on the 8-element version is marked with “A” and “M.”


    The 7-element version has:

    a) The infrared focus mark located to the left of the f/4 mark.

    b) The diaphragm switch on the 7-element version marked with “AUTO” and “Manual.”

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  15. imagesfromobjects

    imagesfromobjects Remember

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    There are some non-radioactive Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 versions out there. Mine is the "early 8 element" version and I confirmed with a Geiger counter. There are so many versions of this lens that it's tough to tell. Yellow could be a coating, not discoloration.

    The SMC Takumar 55mm f/1.8 would be my other suggestion, and they can be had for under 50USD. The bad news is that my copy flunked the Geiger test. I also have a young child, and have done exhaustive research about the matter, and have decided that any number of environmental factors will potentially cause harm to him before the lens, teven if he holds the rear element up to his head for hours at a time.

    3rd cheap option is a Helios 44-2. Find a reputable seller in the Ukraine and prepare to wait a month for the lens to show up, but when it does, you'll be confident that you've spent the best 30 bucks in your life.
     
  16. imagesfromobjects

    imagesfromobjects Remember

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    Ha! Beat me to it.
     
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  17. imagesfromobjects

    imagesfromobjects Remember

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    My 55/1.8 is clear as a bell, but I confirmed first-hand with a nerdy friend who owns a Geiger counter that it registers. Yellow is not always an indicator.
     
  18. jknights

    jknights Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes.
     
  19. jamie allan

    jamie allan Premium Member

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    I've a few manufacturer's 50-ish focal length lens adapted for my Fuji camera. In no particular order
    Helios 44-2 58mm f2 - note there were at least 6 versions of this lens
    Konica 50 f1.7
    Pentacon 50 f1.8
    smc Pentax M 50 f1.7

    I'd say that the Konica and Pentax are my most used. I think the Konica is sharper but the Pentax bokeh is not distracting to me.

    Waiting 1.jpg

    My Helios has a second, stop down aperture ring which makes it easy to use. Simply select the aperture you want to use on the marked aperture ring, then open up the aperture with the other smooth, de-clicked ring to allow focussing and framing before closing (it stops at the selected aperture) and taking the image.

    I know we're in different countries but none of these lenses cost more than £20 and certainly here are easily re-sellable so if you can find them why not try out a couple? I use inexpensive adapters at around £10 each.

    I'd also suggest looking for old lenses still attached to a camera. In many instances they tend to be cheaper than buying the lens on it's own.
     
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  20. Narsuitus

    Narsuitus Premium Member

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    Of the 50mm lenses I have tried, the most reasonably priced is the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E.

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