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Is the Rikenon 55mm 1.4 just not a very good lens?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by mgear, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. mgear

    mgear Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 1, 2013
    Eustis, Fl
    Sean Matt
    Hey guys, I recently purchased a Rikenon 55mm 1.4 lens. Optically and mechanically it's perfect. The problem is that every image I take just isn't very sharp until I stop it to around f/2.8. My Yashica 50mm 1.9 is sharper in every in every way and it's stuck wide open.

    Is this a normal think for the Rikenon?

    Here are some preview images.

    Yashica (stuck at f/1.9):




    Notice how the subjects are mostly sharp at wide open?

    Now here's the Rikenon (both at f/2):

    Rikenon 1

    Rikenon 2

    Am I just having trouble focusing since it has a longer range of motion than the Yashica? Or is it just not a very good piece of glass?

    Here are some pictures of the Rikenon:

    Front Element

    Rear Element

    Please excuse the focus on the first one, I was trying to get close to it. But as you can see, the glass looks fine on it. The dust isn't normally there, that is just from the cloth it's sitting on in the pictures.

  2. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    It is not uncommon to need to stop such lenses down to get the best sharpness. All of my OMs bar one need to close down by at least a stop to sharpen up. Your samples look about right to me - when I had a 50/1.4 that needed to close down to 2.8 before it was sharp.

    Nice white cat BTW.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Those old 50/55 1.4 lenses are typically soft wide open, but are razor sharp at around 5.6. The 50 1.8 variants tend to be sharper near wide-open.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. mgear

    mgear Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 1, 2013
    Eustis, Fl
    Sean Matt
    Ahh, yeah it makes sense. I'm just used to the Yashica all around. I did some more shooting with the Rikenon last night and have started to get used to it.

    Ahh, thank you! The Rikenon does have less flare than the Yashica though!
  5. MikeR_GF1

    MikeR_GF1 Guest

    I sold one of these in May. (Not yours! Different serial number.) I liked it, but it had a mechanical problem - a couple of millimeters axial "slop" in the focus ring - caused it to shift out of focus readily.

    What I see in your images looks fine for wide open, just very shallow focus depth. Close it down a couple of stops, and it should be better.

    I wish I had a solid version of this lens, BTW. I liked the results, even though I had to keep a solid grip on the ring to keep it in focus.
  6. mgear

    mgear Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 1, 2013
    Eustis, Fl
    Sean Matt
    I like the lens too! Using these m42 lenses makes me wish that I had an Olympus instead of my G3 for IBIS.
  7. MikeR_GF1

    MikeR_GF1 Guest

    Agreed. That's why I bought an E-PL1 from Cameta - $140 - NEW!
    Olympus PEN E-PL1 Micro 4/3 Digital Camera Body (Black)

    The GF1 is my main carry-around camera, while I use the E-PL1 for adapted lenses, and "experiments." I prefer the buttonology of the GF1.
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