Sharpest wideopen 50-55mm f/1.2?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by hnaa, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. hnaa

    hnaa New to Mu-43

    Mar 27, 2012
    Hello everyone, my first post here. I am eagerly awaiting my pre-ordered Olympus OM-D, my first foray into m4/3. I'll probably get a Panasonic 20/1.7 or 25/1.4 as my first lens, but would like to play around with a manual focus 50-55mm f/1.2 lens for portraits and such. I would like to get one that is as sharp as possile at f/1.2 (otherwise I might as well get a 50 1.4 or 1.8). I know there are lots of options, such Canon FD, Olympus, Nikon and Minolta. But I know nothing about them. Looking forward to your replies!
  2. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Getting an f1.2 will be a bit pricey. Look up canon FD 55/1.2's. Pretty pricey for that extra shallow DOF. However, I can't recall anything insanely sharp at f1.2.
  3. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    None of them are sharp at f/1.2. An examination of the current Canon EOS 50mm f/1.2L and 50mm f/1.4L is a pretty telling story. The f/1.4 version sells for $400, while the f/1.2 version sells for $1,500.
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 USM L (full format) - Review / Test Report - Analysis
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM - Full Format Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis

    Note the MTF section, and how the f/1.4 version beats the f/1.2 version for sharpness at all comparable apertures. Also notice the horrible corner performance of the f/1.2 lens. Read these links about lens design, to understand that for every design decision, the lens maker must make tradeoffs. - Lens Genealogy Part 1 - Lens Genealogy – Part 2
    To make the f/1.2 lens, it is understood that you want it for near-dark situations or for very shallow DOF applications. In either case, sharpness is not as important as it is for conventional photography. If you want a good sharp lens, either get yourself the Olympus 45mm f/1.8, or just get yourself a high quality 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens. For portraiture anyway, you would never want to shoot at f/1.2, as you're likely to have too shallow of a depth of field. Even f/1.4 is borderline. Overall, all of the respected 50mm lenses work fine; they're a dime a dozen. Whether you grab yourself a Canon FD, Contax (Zeiss), Yashica, Olympus OM, Leica M, etc, you will not have any problems with sharpness.
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  4. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    For portraits, once I got the native Olympus 45mm f/1.8, I never use my adapted Nikon 50mm f/1.4. The autofocus is really a boon, especially if you're doing candids or children.
  5. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    there is no match for olympus 45 mm 1.8 if you wanna shoot portraits. u will love this lens n its not so expensive either. I had Canon 50 mm 1.8 but with adaptor it becomes too cumbersome especially when compared to oly 45 mm 1.8
  6. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2011
    Well, if you don't mind MF there are quite a handful of better lenses. My Voigtlander 40mm Nokton outperforms it, as does my 50mm f/1.4 OM Zuiko. AF is a definite advantage, though.

    To the OP, I'd look into the OM Zuiko 50mm f/1.2 or the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1. Not ultra sharp wide open, but very good.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    Has been said, the olympus 55/1.2 gets nice reviews. Also, consider the legendary tomioka 55/1.2 (the first computer lens design). But for the price of such lens I guess there are tons of options to better spend the money.
  8. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    The Leica Noctilux 50/.95 is pretty sharp wide open. It can be yours for only $10,000. The older version was only f/1 and not quite as sharp, but is available for less. The Voigtlander Nokton 50/1.1 is quite good wide open and is only about $1000. Of course since it's not quite as good as the Noctilux, Leica guys say it's a piece of crap.

  9. capodave

    capodave Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 4, 2010
    Southern Cal
    Real Name:
  10. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Real Name:
    Interesting that you mention the Tomioka as I've been looking at its brother....the Revuenon.

    The Revuenon 55/1.2 is made in Japan by Tomioka to the same optical formula as the Tomioka 55/1.2 itself. It was badged Revuenon for the German market and re-badged again for Cosina....who btw, apparently used the same optical formula for its Nokton lenses !

    As you say RSilva....the Tomioka is considered by many as being 'legendary' because it manages to remain relatively sharp whilst fully open and has (IMO) delicious bokeh rendering....that is why even to this day, a good clean version will cost you over $700 !!!

    It's brother...the Revuenon can be had for much less.

    I'd be interested to hear from folks here who may have tried it with mu43.

  11. Harmonica

    Harmonica Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 15, 2012
    Finland far as I'll get my pre-ordered OM-D....I'm gonna test this Vivitar 55mm f1.2 with it (surely many other lenses as well).

    That Vivitar is actually very rare lens (perhaps even some kind of a prototype lens)...I have seen/faced only one another ever.

    Probable that is the reason why wikipedia (Vivitar) also does not recognize it at all.
    Vivitar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Still I'm quite sure that it's basically similar as Cosina 55mm f1.2 or Auto Revuenon 55mm f1.2 (incl. Vivitar's own VMC coatings)...all produced by Tomioka.

    Here's also little bit more about different third parties old mf 55mm f1.2 lenses (still all of them are not ''the same'', and all not made by Tomioka):

    Cosina 55mm f1.2 arrived! - Page 2 -
  12. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
  13. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    I believe but I am not sure that the Porst 55/1.2 is also made by Tomioka. But this particular lens, even sharing the same lens design, is very soft and should be avoided.
  14. Harmonica

    Harmonica Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 15, 2012
    As written in some part of the link I put above....Porst 55mm f1.2 is not the same as 55mm f1.2 lenses made by Tomioka.

    ''The lens company Tomioka, of Japan, originally designed the 55mm f/1.2 lens for Yashica (whose line of lenses were called Yashinon) in M42 mount. They later went on to produce it for Cosina (Cosinon), Revue (Revuenon), Chinar (Chinon, do you see a trend here?) and with Tomioka's own brand name...wait for it...Tominon. Apparently they also built them for Vivitar (serial # begining with 84), but the only one I've ever seen is on eBay right now. As far as I know, it was never produced in P/KA mount for Pentax, just P/K, but Tomioka did build a 'P' version for Ricoh (Rikenon). I believe Tomioka transitioned off the M42 mount to bayonet mounts in 1974.

    The Tomioka 55mm f/1.2 has the following specs:

    Focal length: 55mm
    Filter size: 58mm
    Diaphragm blades: 9
    Aperture range: f/1.2 to f/16
    Optical formula: 7 elements in 6 groups
    Closest focus: 60cm

    The Porst Color Reflex 55mm f/1.2 is a different lens, and was (bizarrely) manufactured by Cosina. On some lenses it is branded simply as "Color Reflex". This lens has the following specs:

    Focal length: 55mm
    Filter size: 55mm
    Diaphragm blades: 8
    Aperture range: f/1.2 to f/22
    Optical formula: 6 elements in 4 groups
    Closest focus: 60cm

    I read on many forums people saying the Porst is the same as the Tomioka clones, but it's not! It is also reputedly softer at larger apertures than the Tomioka. I can attest to the Cosina being sharp wide open, with none of the dreaminess exhibited by the Porst. Of course, if you actually like this dreaminess, what I call The Milk Effect, then you'll prefer the Porst.''
  15. bubzz

    bubzz Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 11, 2011
    London, U.K.
  16. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    This particular question was answered with extensive testing in a German magazine back in the day (thus new lenses are not included). I have a table copied from a discussion on the old manual lens forum. Here are the lenses in order (best first).

    Pentax SMC 50mm f/1.2
    Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.2
    Canon FD 55mm f/1.2
    Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm f/1.2
    Canon FD 55mm AL f/1.2
    Yashica ML 55mm f/1.2
    Olympus Zuiko 55mm f/1.2
    Nicon Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2
    Leitz Noctilux 50mm f/1.0
    Konica Hexar 57mm f/1.2

    Of course wide open you do lose a lot of sharpness. And it may not be worth it since slower lenses often have much better overall performance. But then there's the bokeh....


    Yep, that's the Pentax 50/1.2.
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  17. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    What I have agrees with this. The "Porst Color Reflex 55mm f/1.2" is a 6 elements in 4 groups optic designed by Tomioka and made by Cosina. But this is different from the 7 elements in 6 groups optic that is variously known as:

    Tomioka (Tominon)
    Yashica (Yashinon)
    Cosina (Cosinon)
    Revue (Revuenon)
    Chinar (Chinon)
    Ricoh (Rikenon) 'P' version
    Vivitar Series I (serial begining with "84")

    For a while they were regularly available on eBay though I am sure they will be rarer now the supply has dried up. Not a prototype though.
  18. Harmonica

    Harmonica Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 15, 2012
    Thanx for the extra info. By then I'm I just have missed those other Vivitars. Perhaps just because there has not been any particular reasons for me to search 55mm f1.2 lenses on Ebay (as owning one already).

    But as we get started here I would like to ask bit more about these Vivitars. What has made these 55mm f1.2 Vivitars bit more interesting for me is that the one I saw differs a bit from the one I own.

    So here is first one photos of mine lens:

    And then two photos of the second one I have ever seen:


    As can be seen...the barrel is not similar on those. At least for me the second one looks very much similar as more common Cosina/Cosinon 55mm f1.2. And mine?...barrel etc. looks quite close to Ricoh XR Rikenon 55mm f1.2. So any idea why those are not the same, and which one of these Vivitars 55mm f1.2 would be more common?

    As being a long time Pentax user, I knew that both Pentax K 50mm f1.2 & Pentax A 50mm f1.2 are great lenses :smile:. Personally I still have liked my Vivitar (my love and hate with f1.2:wink:) that there has newer been real reason to think about buy one of those more expensive Pentax lenses.
  19. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    To me, it really doesn't matter what you buy or how much you spend on it, manual focussing on any m43 body is a total pain..... I often used my Yashica 50mm until the 45mm appeared on the scene, but the reality is that it was either too slow to focus accurately (zoom in/focus/zoom out/click), or you chanced not zooming to focus for the sake of speed and inevitably missed critical focus 95% of the time.... to me, manual focus has its place for static subjects, but for anything else I'd say it's just frustrating.
  20. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    Minolta Rokkor 58mm f1.2

    For a fast lens that is sharp wide open and provides smooth bokeh, I think you'd be hard-pressed to equal the Minolta Rokkor 58mm f1.2.