Close focus fast fifties

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
OP Goethe Senior Member • Posts: 1,649
Re: Close focus fast fifties

Eggplantt wrote:

Goethe wrote:

Eggplantt wrote:

Goethe wrote:

I am curious if anyone can add to this list of relatively fast standard lenses that are pseudo macro in nature. I have come up with the following lenses, which are faster than f/2 and focus to 35cm or less.

Meyer Oreston/Pentacon 50/1.8 - mfd 33cm

Chinon 50/1.7 macro (also sold as Alpa and Porst, possibly Revuenon) - mfd 27cm

Chinon MCM 55/1.7 macro (sold as Porst, possibly Revuenon) - mfd 28cm

Kerno Macro Switar 50mm (1.8 and 1.9) - mfd 28cm

Honestly, there's no tweaks whatsoever to the Pentacon design to make it perform any better at close focus- especially compared to all the others listed- so you should probably consider a short extension tube on any decent M42 50mm. Headache solved.

The Pentacon has one of the most unique renderings of any of the lenses I have used over the years. I'm not expecting it to be 'better' at close focus than other contenders. I expect it to be 'good enough'. Which, if you find a good copy, it is.

This was shot wide open at minimum focus distance on one of my Pentacons. This performance is fine. When using f1.8 at this close distance I would not expect more. Any trade off in sharpenss wide open is more than made up for with the rendering.

Oh no, I entirely agree- literally what ProfHankD said:

"BTW, most fast fifties are unit focusing, so IQ shouldn't fall off a cliff with any of these being shot closer than normal minimum focus distance."

Just for anyone coming into the thread, it might've been useful to know what divides those in your list, even if for your purposes they're comparable.

PS: Those Chinon lenses were designed by/in collaboration with Kern, or Chinon designed them for Kern. Either way they can be grouped together.

Can you please link your sources for this? The whole Alpa/Chinon deal is clouded in a bit of mystery. While there may have been some tie in with the 50mm 1.7, the 55 is another beast entirely. From what I can uncover the 55 is a regular Tomioka design with a minor change to one of the elements which was then simply fitted in a longer helioid. I dont believe Kern had anything to do with that lens. And there 'involvement' with the 50 is a bit suspect as well. Some Kern glass was apparently used in the tapered Chinon 50/1.7 body, but the other lenses using this body (branded Alpa, Porst and Chinon) has the possibility of being manufactured by Cosina. Some info can be found here.,sc

If you can link your sources I really would appreciate it as I am trying to find out what I can about this. Currently I am hunting down a copy of an Alpa book by Thewes (I believe) which has some little bit of info on this.

This very detailed discussion:

which I got from this thread:

Your link does have some references to literature mine doesn't, but mine is nevertheless a very detailed discussion, and it seems as if the authors have read around before writing.

My apologies on the delay following up to this, but the holidays and all...

Both of those links you posted I had found when originally researching the lens. Along with some other fairly detailed discussions about both the 50 and 55 Chinon macros over at MFlenses.

It seems that most of what people are discussing is basically speculation and hearsay. Nothing wrong with that of course, its a good way to feel out what may have happened back in the day when records are not available. I will caveat this with everything I believe about the lens is speculation as well, because I have not found any concrete proof of anything. Other than the link I posted that is, which seems to at least have some decent source material.

Btw, if you didnt follow the link that was inside the Japanese site I posted then there is a lot of info here concerning the 55.

And there is a LOT of info here about the Auto Chinon 50/1.7 macro (tapered barrel, same as my Auto Alpa 50/1.7 macro). The author seems convinced the lens is made by Cosina.

I am still not convinced that Kern really had anything to do with the 50/1.7. I mean, why would they? Just because they made the standard prime for the old Alpa system, and just because they maybe had a few left over Switar element sets that got shoe horned into a new Chinon tapered body, that in no way means they helped with or had anything to do with the new cheaper Japanese offerings that were coming in to replace them. They were stepping away from the whole Alpa fiasco at the time. Plus their Switar was either a 1.8 or a 1.9, never a 1.7. And the Switars were apochromatic lenses, the Chinon offerings are not.

What I think happened, and this is pure speculation on my part, is that Alpa (even though their own 35mm camera business was falling apart) still wanted to have some type of direct tie in to their old products. So they needed something like the old Macro Switar to be the main lens of the system. Chinon provided this, thru Cosina, with a single weird lens that mimicked what the old Switar could do. Both from a speed and close focusing perspective. What that gave the world is an interesting lens that sold under three known badges (Alpa, Chinon, Porst) but never appeared anywhere else. For instance, why are there two screw so close to each other on the aperture ring to the right of the numbers? Thats kind of an odd design.

Anyway, I dont think at this point we will ever know for sure. But personally I am suspect of Kerns involvement in the 50mm lens. And pretty confident they had no involvement with the 55 at all. I may find out more when I track down a copy of Thewes's Alpa book, and I will post more if and when that happens.

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