03 March 2013

lens testing: 50 vs 50 vs 55 vs... never mind

I recently picked up a Rikenon 55mm f/2.2 for a bargain price.  I was allured by its perfect focal-length fit between DAs 40 and 70, and was not deterred by its relatively slow speed of f/2.2.  However this copy came with some fuzz/fungus or something on the lens elements.  Today I uncsrewed it to pieces, cleaned the elements and put it back together.  I put it on my K-01 at f/4, manually peak-focused on the mailboxes across the street and took a shot.

Hmmm not great, I think.

So out came the SMC-M 50mm f/2, and a Rikenon 50/2 XR(s), and oh why not toss in the DA40 and 70, and the DA18-55wr too?  Chimping at each shot I learned tow things:

  • I'm no good at manually focusing the 18-55 even at 40mm f/4.5 with peaking, and
  • every shot was better than the 55/2.2 gave me.  Oh well.

So the winning lens is... ?

Well, before I even dumped them to my computer for further scrutiny I logged into pentaxforums, and saw an SMC-A 50/1.7 on the market that trumps them all, for a really good price.  Now to fill a box for the thrift-store, or maybe the dumpster, and make room in the bag for what many consider the best of the Pentax 50mm optical formulae whether in M, A or F series.  I had an f/1.7 for a while a year or so back, and I'm sure I sold it for more than I will pay today.  Sometimes the timing is great, most times not; today feels good.