Vintage Lens Review - Zeiss Pancolar 50mm f1.8

Much to Mrs T's dismay, I love camera gear. Especially old lenses. So this is the first of hopefully many reviews that I hope to share with you over the coming months. 

The lenses that I'll be reviewing will be ones that you'll be able to pick up for under £100 as, being a stereotypical cheap Scottish bastard, that's the kind I'll mostly be buying. If you want to see reviews of old 50mm f1.2 lenses that cost upwards of £200, I recommend taking a look at Jonas Rask's site. He has some great reviews and great pictures, whereas I can't promise either. My reviews wont be especially technical. I just hope to give you a good idea of the quality of these lenses and the images you can achieve with them when attached to your modern digital camera (In my case, a Fuji X-T1).

So, to get started finally, the first lens up is the Pancolar 50mm f1.8. 

Here are a few shots of the lens and also what it looks like when attached to an adapter and then when mounted on a Fuji X-T1. I've also shot it together with the Fuji 18-55mm so you can get a good idea of the size as I'm sure that will be a lens that many people looking at this review may own.

As you can see, the lens with adapter attached is close in size to the 18-55mm, though being all metal in construction, it is a little heavier (around 350g compared to the 310g of the kit lens).

My copy has a nice firm aperture ring and a smooth focus ring. With a minimum focus distance of 0.35m, I've found that I can get a good bit closer to a subject than with a lot of other vintage 50s that I've tried so far. I also really like the bokeh that the lens renders, which I find gives a smooth painting style effect that I tend to favour over something like the Helios 44m. 

As I said previously, I'm not going to get technical with focus charts and brick wall shots etc. Instead I'll just share below some of the images I've captured with the lens so far... 

This is probably my favourite of all vintage 50mm lenses that I've used so far. The construction, image quality and bokeh are all very good and it says a lot that it's a lens that I fully intend to keep in my collection.

As I hope to do with all future reviews, I intend to update this as I spend more time with the lens and will add more pictures accordingly. If you have any questions or image requests, please drop me a comment below and I'll do my best to update as soon as possible.