Walk-around: Pentacon Prakticar 50 mm f/2.4

Pekka Buttler, 20th November 2022

See the lens’ data sheet here.

The setup

• Southern Finland. 5–20th November 2022.
• Sony ⍺7R2, K&F Concept dumb adapter, Pentacon Prakticar 50 mm f/2.4 lens (as pictured)

The setup for the walk-around on its way to the sawmill.

• The lens is in as good working order as the day ot left the factory.

The lens

The Lived experience

[Please remember that all comments apply to me personally, and this specific sample]

The hassle:

There is no hassle with Praktica B lenses, as all Praktica B lenses have manual focus rings and manual adapter rings, and work in a way where the simplest dumb adapter is all you need. Mount&Shoot.

The ergonomics:

First, note that my lens is of the earlier variant, and while I do not expect the differences to te later variant to be huge…

You don’t need to be Rasmus Klump to understand that pancakes are attractive. This is especially so with lenses that you adapt on you mirrorless cameras, as (due to the size of the adapter) pancake lenses are the only type of lens that allows a result that is truly compact. And in terms of pancakes, this lens – at 24 mm long – is really quite pancakey.

But that comes at a cost ergonomically as both the aperture ring and focus ring are quite narrow and very close together. Even so, I managed shooting with the lens quite well – especially considering that I was wearing fleece gloves most of the time.

Obviously, at f/2.4, this is not really a bright standard lens, and with a MFD of 0,6 metres, it lacks the versatility of the average fifty (especially as the Pentacon 50/1.8 – the in-house competition – sported a 0,33 m MFD). Even so, there are many kinds of situations in which adding this lens to your kit might make total sense.

The Image quality

I have not been pixel peeping, nor is this a side-by-side comparison. Moreover, Finland in November, with an average daylight of 7 hours and most of that being overcast, is decidedly not an environment conducive of pictures that would support fundamental judgment.

But I find centre sharpness and contrast to be surprisingly good for a lens that was designed as a budget alternative to undercut the Pentacon 50/1.8, and between f/4–f/8 the lens’ ability to resolve detail is quite astonishing (outside of the corners). The extreme corners seem stretched, which is most likely a symptom of field curvature in the corners, or rather severe astigmatism. Also, there is some lateral chromatic aberration (purple/green fringing) in out-of-focus areas.

In general I like the colour rendition and am reasonably pleased with how well the lens managed to render the few colors that were available. Optical distortions are well-corrected. Wide open, there is some corner vignetting, but I do not consider it a field-relevant problem

While the shots were taken without bright sunlight making an appearance, point-light sources were encountered, and it seems that veiling and ghosting are relatively well controlled. Given that the front lens element is practically not at all recessed, this is practically a must.

I admit that I’ve heretofore always treated this Pentacon pancake with some disdain (it IS a relatively slow 50), but I think I will give it some more photon-facing time in the future.

The gallery

All images shot in RAW with Auto WB, IBIS on. Lighting was not flattering, but such is the often the case in Finland in November.
Post-processing, ACR Default, very light post-processing (mostly straightening). Resize to 2048 px, save as JPG .