Pentax made several manual-focus 50mm primes back in the day. I detailed the three 50mm SMC Pentax-M primes, f/1.4, f/1.7, and f/2, in this post. They offered a similar range in their later SMC Pentax-A line. They even offered a 50mm f/1.2 in their original SMC Pentax line in 1975. Because Pentax offered such a comprehensive set of fast 50mm glass, all of it very good, it’s easy to overlook the slowest of them, the f/2. For that matter, it’s easy to look down one’s nose at the f/2. But that’s a shame. The 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M lens is excellent. Under most circumstances that call for a 50mm prime, it is all the lens anyone needs.
The 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M brings good sharpness and renders strong detail. In situations where depth of field is shallow, this lens is capable of beautiful separation and a smooth blurred-background effect. When I shoot it with consumer color-negative film, this lens imparts a warmth that the f/1.7 and f/1.4 lenses just don’t.
Here are some of my favorite photos I’ve made with the 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M lens.
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