Need advice on good vintage 50mm and 75-85mm lens

Started Nov 18, 2012 | Discussions thread
nelsonal Senior Member • Posts: 2,464
Re: Need advice on good vintage 50mm and 75-85mm lens

I think most people who use them really like the Takumar 50mm f/1.4 (it's available in both Pentax K mount and m42).  It normally runs about your budgeted price in the US, but you may have to shop a little to find it under your budget.  Much less costly is the earlier 55/2 which I think is excellent.  Another one I haven't tried is the Mamiya/Sekor 50 f/1.8 (it's the favorite of Prof. Hank D here who did a whole bunch of testing on point sources of light with just about every 50ish mm out there).  They're still generally inexpensive but aren't as frequently encountered.

You'll probably find more availability on Helios 44 or Jena Biotars (similar design lenses made by Zeiss or Russian lens makers).  They're generally under your budget and 58mm f/2.  Really unique drawing style and blurring but it's generally something most people either really like or really don't.

My favorite 70-85mm lens is a TV lens (it's a GE 75mm f/1.4).  My copy was utterly filthy when I bought it, so it wasn't expensive.  I don't know the prices for a better copy but I'd have to guess they'd be under your budget.  They're not fast and might be long, but I really like the 90mm Elmar, as well.  Just f/4 but evenly sharp even wide open to corner and really nice blur as well.  They flare easily even stopped down which is something I like, but many don't.  They're available in screw mount (m39 or M mount).  Hoods and filters are pretty pricey for the slip on kind (which are usually the cheapest versions of this lens).

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