Meritar E.Ludwig 50mm F2.9 – Vintage Lens Review
If you are looking for a lens with that “vintage look” then your search is over. The Meritar E.Ludwig 50mm F2.9 creates a beautiful film-like image that takes the “digital bite” off of a lot of today’s digital sensors. It’s not a perfect lens by any means nor is it the sharpest but this small and funky lens gives you a ton of character. I use it with a MetaBones Speedbooster on my Blackmagic Pocket Camera (my weapon of choice with this lens) and the extra stop and focal boost really makes this lens into a contender.
Where does this lens get so much character from you may ask? Well, it could possibly be the Cooke Triplet (3 elements in 3 groups) optical formula. The same formula that can be found in the Mayer Optic Trioplan 100mm F2.8 ($1500 lens). Enough talk, let’s get into the breakdown.
For a 50mm lens, it’s pretty slow. Shooting the Meritar E.Ludwig 50mm F2.9 wide open gives you a slight dreamy and soft look but stopping down to F4 sharpens things up nicely. The edges do soften a bit but not as much as you would think. I personally like the soften edges, it kinda goes with the whole “vintage look” ascetic of these older lenses.
Oh, this glass has character to spare. The colors are diffused, which is great for color grading in post. The flares are full of color and rainbow like. It’s Bokeh is also beautiful and smooth.
The Meritar E.Ludwig 50mm F2.9 comes in Exacta and M42 mounts.My copy is m42 and I just purchased a basic M42 to Canon EF mount and it works great. It covers the BMPCC perfectly and does well on a Super 35 sensor, but a bit soft on the edges (again I like that about this lens).
It has a screw-on filter but it’s very small, 35mm. I believe you could still get a step up ring to put your own filters on the lens.
Minimum focusing distance is 0.7m and the focus ring rotates 270 degrees and has a de-clicked aperture.
- Small and Compact
- Extremely Affordable
- Add a MetaBones Speedbooster and the lens becomes magical
- Creates the vintage look
- Takes the “digital bite” off of today’s digital sensor
- Smooth focus ring
- Very slow for a 50mm lens
- Tough to use on professional video or film shoots (too small)
- Small Filter ring
This lens isn’t for everyone. It’s not going to be you main 50mm or even your second 50mm but for the right project, it’s great. For stills, it’s pretty amazing and considering the small price tag, I’d grab it if I were you. The Meritar E.Ludwig 50mm F2.9 is a great little lens to just to play with but a serious filmmaker could do some creative damage with this lens on the right sensor.
Alex Ferrari is the Founder of the popular filmmaking site IndieFilmHustle.com, Numb Robot Studiosand the host of the #1 Filmmaking Podcast on iTunes The Indie Film Hustle Podcast. He's also a self-diagnosed lens addict and experimental cinematographer.
Friends of the show Matthew Duclos and Ryan Avery started an amazing new website called LensFinder. Lensfinder.com is an online marketplace for photographers and cinematographers to buy, sell and learn about used, vintage and boutique lenses. We want buying and selling quality glass to be easy and affordable. Great glass helps inspire great images and we look forward to serving this incredible community of creators by offering a place to get the tools for your next great project.
To find more vintage lenses go to Lensfinder.com
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Hey, everybody, welcome back to caribou. And today we'll be talking about a super takumar 55 millimeter 1.8 aperture lens.
So some of you guys probably don't know about the Super takumar lens, some of you guys know about this lens. And so for those for those people that don't understand this is actually a really famous vintage lens name brand in the photo community. And I bought my first one, it was the 50 millimeter 1.4, super takumar pi four years ago, and I bought it on my Sony bodies. And I bought the NX seven and e x six, and I use it on the five and a 6800. The lens was great who was shot, the focus peak on Sony body was excellent.
That was a great, great setup. And so for some of you guys out there that don't want to break the brain just yet. The 55 millimeter one point at $40 is probably your best bet. And so you can see the front element has this interesting bonus not that interesting is okay for fire element, as you can see is yellow gentlemen there, but we're getting to that. But trim around it is this matte finish metal. And if you look at the focus ring right here, the focus ring has that crow trim that I always enjoy looking at, but it's only one sided.
The focus ring has this interesting design, though it has this hex nut design, I think hex nut that six sided, this is actually 12 sided. So for those people that need extra grip, when you're focusing on your manual lenses, this might be your, your cup of tea, because it definitely do help you focus with your thumb your index finger. And as we transition to the aperture ring, the aperture ring also has the same design as well, it has that nut design, this is actually 10 sided on the aperture ring.
If you're using your fingers and your thumb to rotate the aperture, you are definitely getting a easy transition in that department. And as you look at the side of this aperture ring, you can see that there is the switch. So the switch is what's what most of you guys may really need to know about. This is the switch that allows you to go from male to auto we aperture so if you only have automatic only harap lens, you are in a world pain. But so when you enter by employee, two lenses, make sure you have like a manual switch. So you can actually manually change the aperture. And so as you can see, right now, I am able to change my aperture right now, after I switch to manual, and we change the auto you can do anything. You just can't. And so that's something for you guys to really look into.
Make sure you guys ask yourself that question. As we look at the back, yes, this has an M 42 mount and so you guys need to buy an additional adapter for that. So adapter will cost you about 10 to Amazon, I believe I got mines for I don't know, I know I got mine. But um, this lens was made back in the 1960s. And in the 1960s, they did do something quite interesting with they put thorium in the glass, the big the thorium in the back element of glass. And so that's why you see that yellow tint in the class element because there was actually radiation emitting from the class right now. And for some of you guys out there, um, I don't know, this is something for you guys to actually look into. Because I'm not a doctor, I'm not gonna tell you as a good or bad But anyways, but I know for the fact that the folium in the glass helps the image quality for sure. And it helps it gives that sharpness look.
So that's that's an old practice that they stopped doing. And if you see the front part of this lens one more time, you can see that this this particular lens is a super takumar the series after this brown is the SMC takumar and the SMC is a space in the second series. So we're talking about the first series, this 55 millimeter right here is the first series of six plated eight elements weighs about seven ounces, and it's actually pretty nice compact that the millimeter ish type of lens for your Pentax K one, and if you do own a Pentax K one, you're you're you're definitely getting a better shooting experience than people that are shooting on a Canon noye Nikon and that's due to the fact that this camera has the IB is of course, the focus peaking and also the flippy screen.
It has so much features for this lens. So we are shooting out there was Pentax K one, your difficulties getting a really really sharp images on this glass. And the depth of field is really thin though. So you're shooting at one point. You all get a slight bend is how your depth of field you might want to actually share that 2.8 because that's what I did 2.8 I can actually get my subject in focus, because the depth of field is so thin, but still center sharpening still really, really sharp. And so for all you guys out there are shooting one point on this lens, you definitely get a sharp image. And the two point is still sharp. And the bouquets on this lens is really, it's really unique is really nice. It has this warm feeling to it, I don't know how to explain it.
If you look on Flickr as well, you could definitely see the quality of the image you're getting from this lens. And for some of you guys out there that are still thinking about the radiation level. I know, I know, this is cheap, it's $40. And it's giving you excellent image quality. The only downside to this lens is probably the radiation level. And some of you guys are really concerned.
I think I believe that's one reason, I just realize, I think that's one reason why someone could be 1.4 anyway, at the time that I was I was freaked out about that discovery. But um, anyways, for those people that are watching this right now, I will definitely show you guys a little device that has this is a cheap Geiger counter. So if there was a industrial one, it will pick up even more radiation. So we're gonna use this cheap Geiger counter for cell phone and there's an app for it. And so let me pop this open right quick for you guys.
She can see let's get started and we'll put a battery in front of this Geiger counter and we're gonna measure the radiation level in the very first and there is nothing happening and so if we put this particular lens on the back element where the regime radiation is located at we can see that a Geiger counter is actually moving and the app is moving the bar is actually turning orange and is flickering like like a warning sign type of thing.
Okay, the numbers getting pretty is increasing so yeah, the number is increasing right now and for all you guys out there that are interested in a cheaper 15 millimeter glass or giving you sharp image quality, great focus transition with with your fingers this probably is the lens for you guys out there is really nice I really don't have too much issue with this lens.
I know some of you guys are probably not even listening to me right now you just looking at the at the numbers going up on this VA Geiger counter on my phone and so yeah so for some people out there I know there's a lot of YouTubers out there that are saying that there's no issue with this lens and and they'd been shooting this with their cannons or Nikon or whatever system they're using and I guess my my own question is if you're putting this in your camera system wouldn't irradiation affect you I'm like your mainboard on your camera system or something and you know what?
I don't know I really cannot tell you that but but yeah, anyway, the number is going up the bar is turning red is flickering like crazy. So I would say that this lens is actually the cheapest sharp is the most dangerous lens you can actually buy for $40 and for all you guys was went to 12 point nursing 12 before oh my god anyways. So so for you guys out there.
Thank you for watching. I know some of you guys may just pass on this lens. But some of you guys may write on this lens and didn't know about this. And some of you guys don't really care about this radiation issue. So I'm not a doctor. I'm not I'm not any physician. So take this take this with a grain of salt.
Can a $50 vintage lens capture good video footage and how does it compare to a 14 $100 modern lens? That's what this is about. A few years ago, I inherited some vintage cameras that belonged to my grandfather who was a photographer during the 60s and 70s. They had been thrown loosely into an old wooden case and stored in an attic for the best part of 30 years. The camera bodies were a bit tired, but amazingly, the lenses seem to be in fairly good condition.
Like most vintage cameras, their new role in life was to sit on a shelf and look cool, but not anymore. At least not for this lens. This is the Pentax supertech Omar 55 millimeter f 1.8. It's over 50 years old, uses radioactive glass and I'm guessing it's seen some pretty amazing things and it's life. I've been curious to see for myself how this lens will perform shooting video compared to modern high end lens. So I bought an M 42 mount stuck it on my Sony A seven three and shot some footage to see how it stacks up against this.
The Sony g Master 24 millimeter f 1.4. I know this is a very different focal lengths but I'm more interested in comparing the image quality of these two lenses. Also, I don't have another 50 millimeter lens.
I'm curious to see if this vintage lens will cut the mustard and save me a load a cache, you can pick one of these up for around $50. us and the M 42 mount cost me about $25. The G master in comparison costs about 1400 us so is this massive price difference reflected in the results. This is shot with the Super takumar at f4. The footage is straight out of camera with minimal color correction and no grading. I used an a seven three with the Sony to cinema picture profile and the sharpness right down to minus seven.
This is shot with the exact same settings only using the DJI Master, I could have used Super 35 now to punch in and get a similar focal length of about 36 mil but that would have made cropping into the 6k image which may reduce quality first impressions. There's not much in it. Both lenses produce great images. It was only when I put them side by side that I really noticed the differences and therefore is a close call colors look almost identical, slightly less contrast and the Takoma but overall, it's a great image. And I'm loving that hexagonal book eight from the six aperture blades, stopping up to 2.8 and the G master starts to prove its worth.
It's definitely sharper with more contrast and color saturation. But the tacomas still producing a really nice and quite unique image at F 1.8. The G master is killing it still just as sharp with great contrast and color. But the Takoma is hanging in there with all its perfect imperfections. Sure, it gets a bit blurry, but I still like it. I did a few other tests and they all revealed similar results below f 2.8.
This lens is only really usable if you want that soft, dreamy look above f 2.8 you get a very usable image is not perfect, but it's these imperfections that give the image a very unique and authentic feel a bit of light relief from this super sharp digital output that we've all become so accustomed to.
Obviously, the supertech ma is nowhere near as good as the G master. But it's interesting to see just what the difference is, in my opinion, above f4 there's not much in it, but the G master is still the master the image you get from this lens is fantastic.
You literally cannot fault it. manual focus on both lenses is superb. The big focus throw on the Takoma makes it much more forgiving, whereas the focus by wire on the G master can be a bit tricky as it's easy to overshoot. Both lenses take a bit of getting used to I guess, considering its age. I'm amazed how good this lens is. Sure it's no match for the CI master.
Let's put this into perspective. President Lyndon Johnson was sending troops to Vietnam the year this lens was made. Alexey Leonov became the first man to walk in space, the Rolling Stones really satisfaction and the red maple leaf became the official flag of Canada, the year this lens was made.
This is a truly amazing piece of kit hats off to anything that can stand the test of time this well. The only downside from my perspective, is the radioactive glass. There's a plethora of information about radioactive lenses, some is utterly terrifying, and some is more subdued and factual. I don't know who to believe. So does this lens cut the mustard?
Will I continue to use it? Yes, but I probably won't keep it in my camera bag. I certainly won't use the viewfinder and I definitely won't let the kids touch it. There's always something right