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Yashica ML 50/1.9 (full-frame shots)
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:45 am    Post subject: Yashica ML 50/1.9 (full-frame shots) Reply with quote

For some time, I was trying to find a 'perfect' fast normal lens. Goal: it has to provide that characteristic 'swirly' bokeh that Biotar, Helios-44, Helios-77 and other Planar-type lenses have.

#1 This kind of bokeh (Yashica ML 50/1.9 at f/1.9):



However, I didn't want the dramatic decrease of resolution towards the edges, and required much better coatings so that I could shoot into the light.

#2 Wide open, contra light. See the flare?



#3 I wanted this kind of contrast; f/4



Out of many, many 50-55mm lenses that I tried, Yashica was the closest bet. I respect sheer resolution provided by Takumar 55/2, adore rendering and coatings of SMC Takumar 50/1.4, and still use Helios-44 and 77 for occasional portraits. Volna-9 and Industar-61 have their own strengths, but they're too slow at 'just' 2.8. Yashicas seemed to be the only lenses that were more or less modern and still having that 'swirly' look.

#4, 5 Wide open



First, I tried Yashica DSB 50/1.9 in C/Y mount. It's OK, but its coatings leave much to be desired (I couldn't use it as an all-purpose walkabout lens). Then, I tried an even older DS 50/1.9 in M42 mount, and it was even worse: weaker coatings, weird colors, fast resolution falloff towards the edges. I didn't want another Helios-44 in Japanese disguise.

So finally I received this Yashica ML 50/1.9 in mint condition. Despite of what's said about the lens, it's a very good (even if not the best) performer. Stopped down to f/4, it's almost as sharp as my better lenses, and by f/8 it's Tak-sharp.

#6 Tak sharp Smile f/8



Wide open, however, while acceptably sharp, it's no competition to my Takumar 55/2. Coatings are very good already, maintaining good contrast in contra light just fine, but not keeping up with side flares. In this respect, no comparison to SMC Takumar 50/1.4. Resolution is relatively even across the frame - and that's on a 21MP full-frame body. CA and purple fringing are non-existent.

#7 Sheer resolution f/5.6



Its weaker point is vignetting wide-open and at 2.8. It goes away by f/4.

#8 Vignetting - wide open (I know, I know, no one shoots landscapes wide open, but...)



Am I satisfied with what I found? Well, I guess a Zeiss normal lens would be much better, but for $20 I paid for it I can just as well shut up and use the thing Smile

#9, 10 Sunset colors f/5.6



#11 The end



Full review available at http://www.prime35.com/yashica-ml-50mm-f-1-9/


Last edited by aoleg on Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:15 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, those "sea at sunset reflections" are superb!,
Congratulations.

That lens seems much better than mine...
Or I should try it again Smile

Thanks for sharing!

Jes.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try it stopped down to at least f/5.6 for landscape shots, and wide-open or at f/2.8 for close subjects, and you won't be disappointed! The lens is able to produce beautiful colors, and your sample shows just that. One other thing: don't trust the infinity mark! I always focus first (wide-open), stop down, shoot. C/Y adaptors vary in thickness, so if you shoot lansscapes by simply rotating the lens till it stops, you are actually focusing beyond infinity.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ML Yashicas are hidden gems. I can't wait to try my 50mm 1.4.

I love the colors and definition of this one. Really nice shots!


PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for testing Smile
I love my Yashica MLs, too.
Especially the ML 21 and ML 24 are in the Zeiss-league.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aoleg wrote:
Try it stopped down to at least f/5.6 for landscape shots, and wide-open or at f/2.8 for close subjects, and you won't be disappointed! The lens is able to produce beautiful colors, and your sample shows just that. One other thing: don't trust the infinity mark! I always focus first (wide-open), stop down, shoot. C/Y adaptors vary in thickness, so if you shoot lansscapes by simply rotating the lens till it stops, you are actually focusing beyond infinity.


It's curious you mention it, I've just noticed the adpater for the Olympus shows that behaviour.

Thanks for pinting it out!.

Regards,

Jes.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very, very impressive samples of the range of capabilities of this lens Smile


PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great light means great photos. These are not an exception Smile