Review of Pentacon Auto 50mm/1.8

My wife came home from the fleamarket run by the salvation army in Sweden, “Myrornas” (transl. “The ants”). She had found a Praktica LTL with Pentacon Auto 50mm/1.8 attached. There were a few problems, dented filter threads and stiff focus, but otherwise good and all for about $6.

pentacon-50-18

The dented filter threads I solved by smashing an old filter and putting in place (some violence included) and then attaching the generic lens hood on. The close focus limit of this lens is quite amazing, you can get very close without any extra tools. The lubrication in mine doesn’t seem to agree with swedish cold weather, it gets stiff. Optical geeks: the composition is 6 elements in 4 groups

If you want to read up on VEB Pentacon, there is an article on Camerapedia.

pentacon-50-18-2

My thoughts

I should perhaps not like this lens, it’s not concidered as one of the desirables amongst the collectors, but I love it. I think it is fantastic for close-ups. The soft bokeh is great, the swirly feeling when you shoot landscapes with the lens wide open, the sharpness is enough for me.

pentacon-50-18-3

I have made some of my favorite images with this lens, a lens for $3 (if you count it half of the price, and the camera half of the price). The low value and dented parts also makes it a good lens to have on the camera when I move around.

Pros

  • Amazing bokeh
  • Good close focus (0,33 m)
  • Swirly effect when wideopen and using some range
  • Can be sharp enough

Cons

  • My copy has some mechanical problems
  • Stopping down button could be a problem for some
  • Smallest aperture only f16

Images

Sun through leafs 3
Sun through leafs 2
227
Sun through leafs
Mushroom on the ground
Mushroom with soft back
Garphyttan
Happy
Pentacon tulip
Dam that river
Branch in morning
Autumn colours

More reading

10 Responses in “Review of Pentacon Auto 50mm/1.8”

  1. Mark Forman says:

    OK I have flea market bargain envy! Is that your child in the happy shot? A beauty in any case. :D

  2. Mattias says:

    Hi Mark, yes that’s my daughter :) Too cute sometimes, hard to say no to ;)

  3. Thad says:

    Really great find! Very usable lens. I enjoyed your photos very much: all well done. I’m curious, though, about the coatings on this lens. In the branches shot near the end of your series, flare and ghosting seem to be well under control. No ghosts I can see and flare is only slight to moderate, and put to nice use in the composition also. Any comments on that?

  4. parket says:

    :-]] rock and roll

  5. Sreekanth says:

    I have the same lens.. bought in ebay for <10$ ..Its just amazing. It replaced my sigma 17-70 on my canon 20D .. all my pics now are taken used it.

    yes..the close focus is really great .. and the bokeh is very nice too :).. I'm lucky that my lens is mechanically also in grt condition.. only a small fungus mark on the rear element,it doesn't effect the picture quality though..

  6. Jean-Christophe says:

    The 50mm Pentacon is an overall good obj. It is, on my opinion, easy to use, sharp enough (in the middle of image), with a nice bokeh and with good colour rendering in the Multi Coating version. However, when I compare the performance of this lens with some other lenses, for example the Fujinon 50mm, the Pentacon is less precise at the corner of image and globaly less performant. But for the price this lens can be found on ebay, it is a good bargain. Would say 3,5/5.

  7. Mattias says:

    I kind of like the sharper to the middle effect sometime (depending on what I shoot) :) This is also a lens I’m not afraid to bump a little, since it is already dented.

  8. davide says:

    This is a great lens!!!! Warm colors, precise focusing, excellent from 0,3 meters to infinity! I use often with my old praktica LB, bought used in the ’90 and still 100% working

  9. Hi there, I discovered your blog via Google while looking for very first help to get a heart assault and your post
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