Fujinon 50mm f/1.4 M42 screwmount

As I venture further into the world of photography I have developed a defining fascination of old lenses. They have a character that has been long lost in the production of clinical-looking perfect rendering glass for the ultra-modern digital cameras of today. What is super fun about my Fujifilm X-mount system, is that you can adapt almost any lens mount via an adapter. So possibilities to use these old lenses are nearly endless.
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For the old Pentax M42 screw-mount you can get a LOT of great glass for a very reasonable price. Cream of the crop are the old Takumar lenses, but also many old DDR and USSR lenses like Praktika, and Zeiss Jena lenses are really cool.

I was fortunate enough to get a hold of a rare Fujinon 50mm f/1.4. It came attached to a Fujica ST705W, and I got it REALLY cheap. The lens was in excellent condition. No fungus or inter-elemental dust of any kind. Of course the white marking had been yellowed by wear and nicotine. I restored the outer elements of the lens using silkmatté spray car-finish and white+green acryllic paint for the markings. I now have a mint condition, 38 y.o. vintage lens for the bargain price of $50 (incl. the great Fujica ST705W, which I will make a little review of when I get some rolls of film developed and scanned)

I have bought a cheap adapter for the M42 to X mount on ebay, and the 50mm turns into a great 75mm FOV equivalent f/1.4 for my APS-C Fujifilm X-Pro1


“They don’t build ’em like they used to”

The build of this lens is FANTASTIC! It’s all metal and glass. It’s amazingly sturdy and the aperture ring clicks in great defined clicks. The focus ring is fluid in its turning and a joy to use.  I have handled alot of lenses, and the feel of these vintage lenses simply cannot be matched by todays production standards, except maybe for the Leica lenses, and to some extent the Zeiss lenses. The era of plastic certainly isn’t doing anyone any favours in terms of durability and look & feel!

I am simply amazed that I am using something from 1978 and it feels brand spanking new!

“Sharp is great, but so is softness and character”

So what makes this lens so great is its character. It seems that with the digital era came the pursuit and quest to get everything razor sharp, and noiseless. While great and practical, the results can often lack defining character. This is where I like the look and quirkyness of the old lenses. You get some unique looking shots, that you simply cannot achieve with modern day lenses.

The Fujinon 50mm f/1.4 is quite soft when shot wide open. But stop it down to f/2 and it is rather sharp. However that wideopen softness gives it a dreamy look and feel to portraits. There is some chromatic aberration visible when shot in harsh sunlight, but if you attach a 3-stop ND filter everything looks great.

The Bokeh is very pleasing. Soft and round out of focus specular highlights, and its not messy, but rather fluid and soft. For object separation this lens is fantastic.

The soft dreamy look at f/1.4 is really essential to the shots that can be achieved with this lens. When you stop it down a few steps to f/2.8 you can get very sharp results. I prefer the soft look approach, since I would use a more modern lens if I wanted that super corrected sharpness. However, the possibility to achieve sharpness is definitely there.

Color rendering is a pleasing warm colour. Colours are saturated and there is great blue/yellow separation. This must be due to great coating of the elements.


“Unfortunately no-one can be told what the matrix is… you have to see it for yourself!”

Below are samples that I have shot with the lens attached to my X-Pro1. I have a long way to go before mastering manual focus, but the magnification aid in the X-Pro1 helps a lot. I have done various post-processing to the shots below, as I would normally do. But to me the soft character shines through in all images. The aperture value doesn’t get put through to the camera, but all shots where shot wide open at f/1.4. EXIF is embedded within the images for those who are interested.

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  1. Excellent! The ability to use old lenses with the X bodies has doubled my joy with my X-E1; your shots are great examples of why this is so much fun. My latest is a Summicron-R E55 90/f2, it absolutely knocks my socks off. Thanks you for posting this article, it needed to be said loud and clear and btw, niiice lens 🙂

    1. Hi Andy.

      Great lens the 90mm Summ.! These old lenses really are something quite unique!

      Thanks for stopping by and reading 🙂


    2. I bought a copy of this lens last winter. I have not had a lot of time to use it and test it, but I will. My FUJINON 50mm f1.4 is really Radioactive 3860 CPM, uSv/h 22.77. I repeat uSv/h 22.77 !!! I have 30 vintage lenses at now. I like them each for their individual image rendering. They are like pro audio mic in that they each have a tone texture of their own. This one is by far the most radioactive of them all. My radioactive lenses are:
      Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f1.8 Radioactive 750 CPM
      FUJINON 50mm f1.4 Radioactive 3860 CPM, uSv/h 22.77 (Hot! Hot! Hot!)
      Asahi Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 Radioactive 2250 CPM
      Olympus OM-System Zuiko MC Auto-S 50mm f1.4 Black Nose Radioactive 460 CPM
      Auto Mamiya Sekor 55mm f1.4 with M42 Mount TOMIOKA Design Radioactive 460 CPM
      Olympus OM-System G.Zuiko Auto-S 55mm f1.2 1974 Radioactive 3389 CPM
      Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 58mm F1.2 Hawk Eye MF Lens MC II 1967-72 Radioactive 1246 CPM
      Auto Rikenon 55mm f1.4 SN 52974 Radioactive 1505 CPM

      All great lenses.

  2. Fantastic post and shots! I have used Asahi Pentax Super-Takumars (55/1.8 and 135/3.5) with my X-Pro1 and got some nice results.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by!

      The Takumars are great. I actually also aquired the 55mm f/2 Takumar… I’ll have a review up in a wee while once I’ve taken it for a spin.

  3. Really great photos. You are a wonderful, thought filled photographer and I enjoy your work. I have on order a Zeiss 50mm f/1.5. While built today, the lens is based on a design from the 1930s and so I’m looking forward to some of the character from it that you mention in your Fuji 50. There is nothing like the build and character of older lenses.

    1. Thank you Tom! Really glad you like them. There really IS something very special about these vintage lenses, Brings a lot of fun (and challenge) into photography. That Zeiss sound like ALOT of fun 😀 Please link me to some shots, once you get it 🙂

      1. Will do… I don’t pick it up until I get back home to America from Tanzania in about a month’s time. Looking very forward to getting back to slowing down with a manual lens. Will definitely post the results. Best regards, Tom

  4. Hi Jonas. I, like you have recently become fascinated with old lenses on my X-E1 as well. The character is amazing and the cost of these old classics (with the exception of Leica) is often just too good to pass up. I have acquired now Pentacons (135mm), Carl Zeiss Jenas (135mm Sonnar and 50mm Pancolar), Contax Zeiss 85mm, Summicron 50mm Rigid and Pentax SMC-M 50mm f1.7 and I am loving every one of them.

    My original reason for exploring legacy lenses was due to the lack of good mid-range (75mm – 135mm equivalent) telephoto lenses for the X-Series cameras. Your post really hit the nail right on the head.

  5. Hi Jonas,

    Great pictures, really nice!

    I too got very interested in old lenses for my X-Pro 1. I got a couple of Takumars that needed some fixing. I could fix the optical part quite easily, but not get the exterior back in shape. The focus barrels show usage and the paint is coming off. Could you explain a bit more what you did? Is this a car paint in a can? Did you take the barrel off? Also, how to repaint the numbers?

    Thanks for any pointers!


  6. Hi Jonas!
    I’m reading all of your “adapted lenses” posts and I’m so glad you took the time to share these, I’m waiting for my M42 adapter for my fuji X-E1 and this is making my wait UNBEARABLE!
    Plus, I just LOVE your blog’s layout, The home page is great!

  7. Hi Jonas,
    Once again very interesting post!
    I have a similar lens and just received a similar adapter. Does your lens have that little pin on the back that “activates” the f stops? Mine does and the adapter unfortunately does not press it so I can only use it wide open 🙁
    (I know, I should have checked before 😀 )

      1. I am very interested in purchasing the Fujinon EBC 135mm but I am also curious about the pin on the backside of the lens. How can you fix this. The link you provided above is no longer active.

        Many thanks.


  8. Thanks for your great suggestion, I managed to use this tip on my Helios 44 but unfortunately the Fuji is buil in a very different way: no screws on the back to remove the threaded mount 🙁 I’m afraid I’l have to remove part of the barrel itself, not very confident on this. Besides I’m having an issue with a little metal tip used to “sync” the f stops of the lens with the lightmeter on the camera: its sticks out and prevents the lens to be properly screwd on the adapter (infinity focus is off) plus it wont let the f-stop ring to turn… 🙁
    I have some pics of the lens on this entry in my blog/page: http://www.riccardogabbana.com/2013/06/una-nuova-acquisizione-fujinon-50mm-1-4/

  9. Pentax K10 and Fujinon M42 lenses. Which adapter (which ebay brand) should I purchase? Thanks. Great pictures, by the way.

  10. Enjoy the images and thoughts about photography. I wonder if you might be able to share the process you used for renewing the exterior of the lenses — same question from Daniel Pfund attached here.

    Great pictures, really nice!
    I too got very interested in old lenses for my X-Pro 1. I got a couple of Takumars that needed some fixing. I could fix the optical part quite easily, but not get the exterior back in shape. The focus barrels show usage and the paint is coming off. Could you explain a bit more what you did? Is this a car paint in a can? Did you take the barrel off? Also, how to repaint the numbers?
    Thanks for any pointers!

    1. Hi Bob.

      Thank you for visiting.

      I should do a small writeup on that actually. I took some pictures as I went along.
      I use tape for covering up the parts that needs covering up, and then heatresistant spray pain on an adhesive layer.
      Numbers are cleaned with a cuetip in ethanol, and then painted using a super thin paintbrush to fill the etchings with the desired color.


  11. That would be a fascinating how-to post. One step lower than using paint, have wondered whether a cleaning and then car wax on a cloth might restore shine to the exterior.

  12. Excellent article. Thinking about getting a Fuji and would probably use it for street and slow stuff so could maybe get along with a couple of old manual lenses and a xpro1 or xe1/2 body.

  13. Thanks and a lot of effort put into providing a review, much appreciated to read. It would be a pleasure to see comparison against some popular 50mm 1.4’s maybe a Nikkor or Takumar real world comparison or even against the Fujinon 55mm 1.8? BTW, the X-E2 and X-T1 since have made manual focus, manual assist, and metering much improved. Sony still leads the pack in using manual focus older glass though but I find the X-E2 more than capable and a joy to use. If you can’t find a 1.4 I highly recommend the 55mm 1.8, I have both an EBC and non-EBC marked M42 versions neither had the tab and the 3D character is remarkable. At F8 I have found the Nikkor 50mm 1.4 SC and Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 8 element to be indistinguishable from the 55mm 1.8 in outdoor use but since I have no 50mm 1.4 Fuji ? Rainbow Imaging has the most inexpensive adapters I can find and have not had a single issue with any (I have 18 for 4/3’s, Sony E, and Fuji – Exacta, Nikon F, MD, AR, M42, PK, M)

  14. Looks like your non-thoriated non-EBC Fujinon is sharper wide open than my thoriated version.

    On my blog, I compared the first version with the last one, although I guess I’d love to get my hands on the thoriated EBC-Fujinon.. 🙂

  15. How do you deal with the small extension on the diafragma ring? I have a Fuji M42 55 mm 1.8, but when I try to fit it on the M42-FX converter this small extension fixes the diafragma ring :-(.
    Do I have to remove this small extension, or is there a more elegant solution?

  16. Sir, you first learn to make photoos with a analog camera and read some Kodak Job Sheets on black and white printing. Your photographs are of very poor quality. Try to understand the differences between the processes of D76, C41 and E6. Every country has its photographic masters, so get inspired by them. Delete these examples of your Fujinon optic.
    It is not “nearly endless”, every optic and even a Linhof Master Technika can be mounted to a Fui X body. It is M42, scrwemount, first introduced bij Zeis for the Contax a postwar SLR. The codename is COA. You forgot to mention all the other M42 optics , made in Western Germany, France, Switserland, England, Japan etc. At least there are four Zeiss works, The pre war Germany, the DDR, Western Germany and France.
    This old type Fujinon 1,4 / 50 has a half clickstops diaphragmaring. The new EBC coated Fujinons perform even better.

    1. I’m glad that you took the time to write such a nice lengthy post about how I should photograph, and how the M42 mount came about.

      Now go do something positive. It helps. Trust me 🙂

  17. 50mm 1.4 on an APS-C camera is more like 75mm 2.5, not 75mm 1.4 as you stated in your article.

    1. “Now go do something positive” Against what does it help ? Is this your advise to me ? So you think you are infallible ?
      Compare your non-sharp prints to professional photographs. Your black and white photoos are no good your whites are bleached and your blacks are dead. If you live on a Danish, go to Gothenborg and pay a visit to the Hasselblad Factory. Do admire the sharp and briljant classical Hasselblad prints. Some are made with Ektar, Ross, Kilfitt, Zeiss, Schneider, Rodenstock and even Fuji. So for you it must be possible to raise the quality of your photography. Perhaps a handheld lightmeter and a greycart offer you some big advantages. Google to the Dane mr. Arne Jacobson, he is a desigher and a architect. Sharp and well exposed photoos can be seen. Greetings, Jaco van Lith

      1. Go eat a dick Jaco that will help your ego and your massive snobbery and elitism. Absokutely No way this is well intended.

        1. Dear mr. Jonas Dyhr Rask, you are right. You think you know me, so this is the vocabulary of a well educated person ?
          Your family must be very happy, knowing that you are an ex-MD, but now a great Danish photographer.
          What will Fujifilm think, after having read your nice letters.
          Did I hurt your ego? Did my stone, thrown into the pond, damage the image of the young photo Narcissist? Hotchkiss identified the seven deadly sins of narcissism. Anyway it is a blessing for mankind, that you traded in your stethoscope for a camera.
          Sorry, I could not remember your name. So I had to check the problem of my opinion on your photographs. I refound your photoos, made with the superb old Fujinon 1 : 1,4 – 50 mm. Your photoos are not so bad. They are the worst photographs I have ever seen.
          You had better trade your camera for a broom to clean your SD-cart and start a collection of Viking stamps.
          Being a Viking is your style. Greetings, Jaco van Lith

          1. That wasn’t Jonas you incoherent dumbass this is just someone who shares his enthusiasm for photography, comes here and is immediately disgusted by some old miserable fart who thinks he is highly educated. First, education doesn’t equate to intelligence, which you obviously lack. Secondly your momma should have raised you better. Idiot. Snob. Rude fuck. Thirdly go get some real friends.

          2. Why would you bring me into this, Jaco?

            I’m not the one writing you. I ignored you a long time ago 🙂 – that’s more my style.

          3. Oh and btw. I’m still an MD, so my stethoscope hasn’t been traded.
            But why are you attacking me like this Jaco? Have I done something to you at some point? I really don’t understand where all the anger and hatred comes from.

          4. Sorry Jonas but I cannot stand for internet bullying of this type especially when it is targeted at someone whose articles i enjoy.


            “oh fifty years ago i did bla bla bla” “i studied the masters bla bla bla”

            Look. nobody cares about you or your opinion. we look at action. Have you left a legacy? A legacy of belittling people online maybe. Thats what everyone will remember about you. Not your opinions. Not what you did fifty years ago. NOt your “experience in photography”.

            Oh Jaco van lith…yeah the online bully!

  18. Fujinon 1 : 2,8 -100 mm made in 1974 ( non EBC ) is much more better than the Fujinon XF 1 ; 2.0 – 90 mm.
    Printed at super large format !

  19. I am considering using the Fujinon 50mm 1.4 with my Sony A7 sii if possible with the use of an adaptor.
    Would that be nice for shooting independent documentary for festivals? Any 28mm and 35 mm from the vintage lenses that could be nice for shotting documentary films.

  20. Yitzchal( ( 21 – 01- 2018)
    An camera optic of 1,4 -50 mm from a full frame ( 24 x 36 mm) camera
    can never change into a 75 mm optic with an aperture of f/2,5.
    The focus stays 50 mm, but mounted on an APS-C the effect looks like
    a 75 mm. And so the value of the aperturen does not get smaller.
    A simple example. When you change the A12 back of your Hasselblad
    for a A16 back nothing changes. Neither the focus of optic nor the aperture.
    You are just “croppin” from a 6 x 6 to a 4 x 4.

  21. “The era of plastic certainly isn’t doing anyone any favours in terms of durability and look & feel!”

    Plastic degrades constantly. It becomes brittle when the volatile chemicals have gassed off. Lead in CRT monitors may be very toxic but that is inside the glass. OTOH all the plastic items people are nearby gas out constantly. Government and industry is all “huss huss” about this but they are finally admitting it because they have no choice – affordable lab gear is becoming sensitive enough to detect the gasses and databases become available to specify what the gasses are.

    From what industry sources claim, best plastic available should have lifetime of 100 years, if you believe industry mouthpieces.

  22. I restored the outer elements of the lens using silkmatté spray car-finish and white+green acrylic paint for the markings.

    Jonas, I would love to learn how you did that. I have a few Pentax M42 mount lenses that I would like to “restore.” Can you help me?

  23. Hej Jonas!

    Mycket spännande läsning och jag blev så sugen på att prova en Fujinon 50mm EBC 1.4 så jag köpte en idag. Kommer att använda den på en gammal Fujica ST801 och min Sony A7R.

    Tack för spännande läsning och inspiration.

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