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Alternatives

There are dozens if not hundreds of 50mm prime lenses out there - you can find lenses with close and not so close minimum focusing distance, tiny lenses and giant lenses, macro and non-macro lenses, you name it. So naturally this list of alternative 50mm primes is just a scratch on the surface. But assuming you're into alternative gear (after all, the last time I checked, there are no M42 mount cameras produced these days), you might want to take a look at Contax branded Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.7 and its slightly faster version Planar T* 50mm f/14. Both offer very good performance, but are somewhat more expensive then Pentacon 50mm f/18 reviewed here. Speaking of Pentacon - if you are into collecting lenses, then the previous version of Pentacon 50mm, manufactured by Mayer Optik is obviously an option, however, considering that there were no optical changes between Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 and Meyer Oreston 50mm f/1.8, then the benefit of going with an older lens is non-existent. Among other worthy alternative lenses, Leica's Summicron-R 50mm f/2 and Summilux-R 50mm f/1.4 should be considered by anyone with enough money to afford them. And obviously if you don't really want to deal with alternative, manual focus lenses, then a 50mm prime from your favorite manufacturer like Nikon or Canon would do the trick for the most part,

 

Recommendation

It is hard to find a reason for why someone should choose Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 over the plethora of modern and not so modern 50mm lenses out there. After all, Pentacon 50mm f/1.8  does not strictly excel in every possible category. The lens is certainly cheap and that might obviously be one of the criteria for your decision. Build quality is decent, handling of various artifacts is also decent, but the overall resolution is pretty dismal, particularly quality around borders. Naturally, this lens is not going to be a primary candidate for mainstream users, so those of you excited by the idea of using an old piece of glass on a modern digital camera, go ahead, play with the lens. Just keep in mind that ultimately, there are better lenses out there and Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 probably outlived itself by a decade or two.