Which 50mm 1.4?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by ice_man, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. ice_man

    ice_man Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 19, 2012
    Real Name:
    Hi, recently I wanted to get myself an Olympus OM1 with a 50 1.4 since I fell in love with my EM-5.

    But after debating with myself, I decided that I wasn't ready and don't have the resources or time to invest in Film yet. So I want to stick to digital for now.

    However, I just wanna try some manual focus lens to scratch the itch for now. I was gonna get the Olympus 50mm 1.4 and get an adapter. But I searched around here and found out that the Minolta 50mm 1.4 MD seems like a great lens as well and have seen some samples from pur members.

    So, my question is. Which lens produces the best output. Color, sharpness, contrast and would work well with the EM-5.

    Thanks guys.

  2. ice_man

    ice_man Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 19, 2012
    Real Name:
    I forgot to add. For how much should I pay for a well taken care 50mm for both Olympus and Minolta?

  3. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    May 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    I'm afraid I don't have the link, but I saw a comparison between many 50mm lenses a while ago, with many comparison photos. The Canon FD (later type) 50/1.4 came out on top all round (especially for sharpness across the frame, and contrast, at wide apertures). The test certainly included the Olympus, but I don't recall if it included the Minolta.

    I'm not sure if that helps!
  4. fwa2500

    fwa2500 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2012
    i havent really looked into the other makes, but i am a big fan of Minolta 35mm gear. the warmth and colour tones really make me a fan of their lenses, they are also generally cheaper to pick up than the other big names, which helps alot when on a budget. you should be able to pick up a nice example of the MD 50mm f1.4 for around $70 on ebay, though it really depends, sometimes you can score them for less, sometimes they push more towards $100. personally, i would say dont be afraid to buy one attatched to a 35mm body, alot of the time you can actually get a better deal that way (plus, then you are all ready to go when you do decide to shoot film).

    one of my favorites i shot with my MD 50mm f1.4:

    Star by fwa2500, on Flickr

    i hope this helps some with your decision :)
  5. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    You canĀ“t go wrong with a takumar 1.4/50 - it is head to head with the sigma 1.4/50 EX DG HSM as I tested both mounted on a nikon D700.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Every good Japanese brand had at least one great 50mm and usually several good ones. However the sharpest of them usually were f1.8 or f2 not the f1.4 or f1.2 versions. Faster lenses are often less sharp and are usually larger and heavier and are always more expensive. At one time many considered the Hexanon 50mm f1.7 to be the sharpest lens from Japan.

    I currently have two Nikon 50mm lenses, a 50mm f1.4 AI and a 50mm E series f1.8. At f2 the E series lens is a bit sharper and at f2.8 it still has a slight edge on sharpness. I also think it renders colors a bit better. The f1.4 is faster and has better bokeh across the board. I also like the E lens because it is smaller and lighter.
  7. ukartono

    ukartono New to Mu-43

    Feb 24, 2013
    Tangerang, Indonesia
    Hi ice,

    I decide to got myself the minolta MD 50/1.4 after reviewing this forum image sample thread. head over there for amazing samples.

    bit unbalanced my e-pl1 (it's heavy), but making great shooting experience & great image result for me.

    good luck with your choice.


    and oh, all image in my gallery are taken with it (only have e-pl1 + MD 50/1.4)
  8. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    My favorite is a Zeiss 50/1.4, followed by a Leica R 50/2, but it's likely a little out of your price range (I got lucky and paid about 100 for the former and 150 for the latter, with canon adapters). In 'canon land', a lot of folks like OM Zuiko glassware on their FF SLRs. Check eBay and follow some auctions to get an idea of what they're going for these days.
  9. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    You won't go far wrong with ANY of the 50/1.4s from the big names (Olympus, Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Leica, Pentax, Konica, etc.). If you think you may get into film and like Olympus, then I'd go ahead and pick up the Oly, were I you. It might not objectively be the sharpest (that would probably be the Leica Summilux), but you're not likely to notice the difference except in side-by-side pixel peeping. The Oly also has the advantage of being one of the smaller and lighter of the "nifty fifties", which makes it a nice fit for :43:.

    I would expect you can find a nice, clean Oly 50/1.4 for around US$120.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I was in the same boat as OP a little while ago. Looking for a legacy 50 mm trying to see what was worth while and what was good and what was king.

    The short answer is, all the 50 mm lenses are similar. Nobody makes a bad 50 mm lens. f/1.4 is going to cost you a bit more. Slower lenses down to f/2 are considerably cheaper. Premium brands such as Leica and Zeiss are going to be expensive no matter what mount they're in.

    Finding a good, clean copy should be the limiting factor, and nothing else. Even if you're already invested in a legacy mount cause these adapters can be had for about $10. I think that's low enough to warrant an adapter per lens.
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  11. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    That's right, I'm sure everyone has their favorite but there are lots of great options. Sample variation and the condition of each particular used lens may account for more differences today than any underlying design features. Personally I love my Takumar 50/1.4 but I've also used a few Konica Hexanons and a Minolta Rokkor.

    It might be worth paying a little more for an f/1.4 for the extra light capability, but I usually shoot mine stopped down to f/2 improve sharpness.
  12. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Real Name:
    Marc Sitkin
    Here's a shot from a 50mm f/1.4 Takumar which I got for $30. It's sharp once you get around f 4-5.6, and has a bit of CA at wide open. It's fun, but the Oly 45mm is more predictable.

    Here's a link for a large view (click on the pic once you get to tumblr) http://tmblr.co/Z3NkFtf7jdV0
  13. manzoid

    manzoid Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    As others have said, sticking with a big name, you should probably be more concerned with getting a copy that has aged well rather than which brand has the very best.

    What is cheap and available in good shape could be the deciding factor, but if you are willing to roll the dice on eBay, size and weight might be something to consider too.

    I was in a similar position a few months ago and initially short listed the Canon FD, Konica AR and Minolta MD as they are generally cheapest due to incompatibility with dslrs. I had wanted the konica, but ended up with a minolta because a good price came along, I got impatient, and they both had pros and cons.

    If you are interested in some detailed reviews of about 10 fast 50's I'd suggest this blog:


    Look for 'which one is the best' in the title.
  14. pdxpdx

    pdxpdx New to Mu-43

    Feb 26, 2013
    I have about 10 legacy 50mm and out of them all I find the canon fd 50mm ssc the sharpest and my favorite out of the ones I own. I find it sharpest at 1.4. I like the olympus 1.4 for size and color but I never use it because I can't stand the ninja star highlights at 2.8. I did my own lens tests and found them fairly similar in things other than sharpness so I just use the sharpest one I have. I think the history on lenses that are 30-40 years old is just as important as the brand.
  15. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    There is no answer to what's the "best" 50mm or all the other companies would have went out of business decades ago. Your best move would be to look through the adapted lens image threads and see which lens's pictures render in a way that you personally find most pleasing. :smile:
  16. ice_man

    ice_man Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 19, 2012
    Real Name:
    That's why I listed only 2 lenses and not all 50mm.

    I didn't actually ask which of all the 50mm. Just between the Olympus and Minolta one.

  17. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Here's are some old links that date back to when users were trying OM lenses on the 4/3 DSLR's. Not much has changed, except that focusing is more precise.

    Olympus list of lenses and recommended apertures
    -Oly recommends f2.8 max on the 50's.

    Foster and Wrotniak discuss use of legacy lenses
    -They suggest negative exposure comp at wide open apertures.

    Wrotniak discusses the OM 50 1.8

    Covers ghosting at wide open apertures

    And for the OP, I'd recommend starting with a inexpensive 50mm f1.8, of any make. If he likes it, then look to spend more money on a faster lens.
  18. I've had Takumar, Nikon and Hexanon 50s. The only one I liked was the Takumar. Not because it had better optics than the others, (it does) but because it is so smooth and has a long focus throw, which makes it easier to focus. It is also just a bit heavy, but well balanced on a GH2. I like the feel of it and it looks awesome. It has a legendary bokeh and excellent sharpness at above f2.0. It is soft at f1.4 - what isn't?

    Any of the 1.4/50 versions are very good. You can find more information at this site: Pentax M42 Screwmount Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database Pristine copies rarely top $100 on eBay and you should have no trouble finding a good one at a reasonable price.
  19. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I tested a few of them. In a nutshell, if you go with the big names, there isn't much difference. The Canon and Olympus are pretty good. The Pentax 1.4 tends to be really soft wide open. Don't ignore "off" brands like Sears and JC Penny though. Remember back 40-50 years ago those were respected brands and they simply rebranded the likes of Pentax. Since they are not respected brands anymore, they can be had for bargain prices.

    The Lens Hoard - 50 to 59mm

    I really need to get on it and test the rest.

    • Like Like x 2
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Don't forget that different lenses have different characters. This is true with modern lenses of course, but there is much more consistency now where there was much more variance in the past. The unique character of an old lens can really stand out. My Konica Hexanon is probably my sharpest 50mm, but my Zuiko has the richest colors. There is not one lens which is "best".