Review: SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 Vintage Camera Lens

The SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 lens is a classic manual-focus lens that was produced by Pentax in the 1980s. Despite its age, it remains a popular choice for photographers who appreciate the combination of sharpness and shallow depth of field that it offers.

One of the standout features of the SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 lens is its wide maximum aperture of f/1.4. This allows for a very shallow depth of field, which can be used to create stunning portraits with a blurred background, or to isolate a subject from its surroundings. The wide aperture also makes the lens great for low-light photography, allowing for faster shutter speeds and lower ISO settings.

In terms of image quality, the SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 lens is known for its sharpness and contrast, even when used wide open at f/1.4. The lens produces images with excellent color rendition, and the multi-coating helps to minimize flare and ghosting, resulting in images with good contrast even in challenging lighting conditions.

The build quality of the SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 lens is also impressive. The lens feels solid and well-constructed, with a metal body and a smooth focus ring that is easy to control. The lens also features an aperture ring that allows for easy adjustment of the aperture, even when shooting in manual mode.

One potential downside of the SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 lens is its manual focus design. While some photographers enjoy the tactile feel of manual focusing, others may find it challenging to achieve accurate focus, particularly when shooting moving subjects. However, for those who take the time to learn how to use the lens effectively, the rewards can be significant.

Another consideration when using the SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 lens is its compatibility with modern cameras. As a manual focus lens, it will not communicate with the camera electronically, and features such as autofocus and automatic exposure will not be available. However, the lens can be used with most modern DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with the use of an adapter, and many photographers find the experience of using a classic manual focus lens to be rewarding in its own right.

Overall, the SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 lens is a classic manual focus lens that offers excellent image quality and a wide maximum aperture. While it may not be suitable for all types of photography, it is a popular choice for those who appreciate the unique qualities that manual focus lenses can bring to their photography. With its solid build quality and impressive optical performance, the SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 lens is a lens that is likely to remain popular with photographers for many years to come.

  • Steven Trotter is a graphic designer (UX/UI, web & branding), photographer, and maker living and working on the Oregon Coast. Trotter Steven