If you read my post on prime lenses, you know that I have quite the collection of 50mm legacy lenses lying around the house. Having such a collection made me more resistant to purchasing a new 50mm lens for the Sony system, despite how much I love the focal length. Fortunately, with my birthday around the corner, my wife graciously presented me with a PK to E-mount lens adapter. It didn't take more than five minutes for my Pentax 50mm f1.7 to be attached and for me to start running around the house taking pictures.
Out of all of my vintage 50mm lenses, the Pentax f1.7 is easily my favorite. The focus ring moves smoothly around the barrel of the lens, which makes critical focus a breeze. To top this, the aperture ring has a stiff lock that holds firm throughout focusing. And the image quality is incredible - dare I say better than my state-of-the-art 85mm? Maybe I'll have to do a side-by-side comparison for quality or aesthetics of the image. From my initial impression it seems that the Pentax lens has more vibrant, saturated colors than the Rokinon, but that's just what I've seen to date and predominantly just from the camera's screen.
By the time my wife made it in the door I had a complete lighting setup in the living room. My friend Ryan agreed to be a model as I put the new setup through its paces with studio lighting. Check out his majestic beard below.
All in all I have to say that I am quite impressed. I don't know that that really says much though, because, like I said, I've always been a fan of the 50mm focal length and this particular Pentax lens. What impresses me most, though, is the sharpness of the images. At a full resolution crop of the image, I can clearly make out Ryan's individual eyelashes. And then again, there's the color rendition which is far better than what I've seen on my other lenses for the Sony. In fact, when I was switching back and forth from the Sony to the Leica, I constantly felt like the Sony was just missing some character in the way it rendered color in JPEGs. I know there are some people out there that think that the Leica glass is all hype, but my Q produces some of the most beautiful colors I've ever captured and shooting with it had made it difficult to switch back to the flattened images of the Sony. Hopefully this lens combination has changed this feeling for me, though.
Keep up with some of the images that I produce with the Sony... and the Leica on Instagram and Twitter at @sprucedbruce. Additionally, keep up to date with new blog posts by following Shawn Bruce Photography on Facebook.