This article contains affiliate links, for more information see the disclosure here. Using these links won't cost you a thing, may save you money, and it helps us to keep putting out great material for you to read while remaining ad free. Thanks for your support!

Kalimar 50mm f1.7 Lens

While a bit soft wide open, this lens offers unique color rendering and gorgeous bokeh at a remarkable value.

Search eBay for this lens!

The Kalimar 50mm f1.7 lens: a vintage marvel for modern photographers

In the world of photography, the quest for the perfect lens is an endless journey. Among the myriad of choices, the Kalimar 50mm f1.7 lens emerges as a vintage classic, revered for its unique character, exceptional value, and versatility. This in-depth article explores the nuances of this remarkable lens, offering insights into its performance, build quality, and practical applications in today's digital age.

At a glance

While a bit soft wide open, this lens offers unique color rendering and gorgeous bokeh at a remarkable value.

The Kalimar 50mm f1.7 is not just another lens in the photographer's bag; it's a bridge to the past, bringing with it a distinct flair and a set of capabilities that stand out even in the modern era. Designed as a manual focus lens, it encourages photographers to engage more deeply with their craft, blending technical skill with artistic vision.

Unique Optical Performance

One of the hallmark features of the Kalimar 50mm f1.7 is its optical performance. The lens's ultra-bright f/1.7 aperture not only facilitates shooting in low-light conditions but also offers a shallow depth of field, making it ideal for achieving that sought-after bokeh effect in your images. This lens is particularly noted for its:

  • Softness Wide Open: An attribute that lends a dreamy, ethereal quality to portraits, softening skin tones and imperfections. This characteristic, while less desirable for landscapes or architectural photography, adds a layer of versatility to the lens, catering to a wide range of creative needs.
  • Unique Color Rendering: The lens has a propensity for greenish hues, offering a distinct color palette that can add a vintage or unconventional twist to your images. This unique color rendering sets the Kalimar 50mm f1.7 apart from its contemporaries, making it a valuable tool for photographers looking to achieve a specific aesthetic.
  • Build Quality and Usability: Featuring an all-metal body, the lens boasts exceptional build quality that rivals, if not surpasses, many of today's lenses. Its lightweight and compact design make it an excellent travel companion, perfectly balanced on cameras like the Sony a7r3. The inclusion of focus and depth of field scales enhances its usability, allowing for precise control over your images.

Practical Applications and Performance

The Kalimar 50mm f1.7 lens excels in various photography genres, making it a versatile addition to any photographer's arsenal. Its performance characteristics include:

  • Bokeh and Background Compression: The wide aperture not only allows for excellent low-light photography but also renders beautiful bokeh, making it perfect for portraits and street photography where background separation is key.
  • Color and Contrast: The lens renders colors and contrast in a way that brings a classic, timeless feel to images, ideal for those looking to imbue their work with a distinct vintage ambiance.
  • Sharpness: While the lens starts off soft at its widest aperture, stopping down to f/2.8 and beyond yields significant improvements in sharpness, achieving very sharp results across the frame by f/8. This makes the lens adaptable to a variety of shooting conditions and requirements.

Optical assessment

  • Wide aperture offers excellent background compression for superb bokeh
  • Renders breathtakingly unique classic colors and contrast
  • Fast and bright f/1.7 maximum aperture allows for razor thin depth of field and for spectacular results in low-light photography
  • Sharp at center at f/2.8 and very sharp across the frame by f/8
  • Great walk around lens, ideal for portraits, street photography, landscapes, and astrophotography
  • Rugged metal body construction


The Kalimar 50mm f1.7 lens stands as a testament to the enduring value of vintage lenses in the digital age. With its unique optical characteristics, solid build quality, and versatile performance, it offers photographers a distinctive tool for creative expression. Whether you're a portrait photographer seeking that perfect bokeh, a street photographer in search of a compact companion, or simply a collector looking to explore the rich history of photography, the Kalimar 50mm f1.7 is a lens that deserves a place in your collection. Its combination of classic aesthetics, modern usability, and exceptional value makes it a lens that transcends generations, bridging the gap between the past and the present in the art of photography.

Images captured with Kalimar 50mm f1.7

Images of Kalimar 50mm f1.7

Technical Specifications

Specification Details
Focal Length (35mm format) 50mm
Maximum Aperture f/1.7
Minimum Aperture f/16
Mount format Canon FD-Mount (Breech)
Format 35mm Film
Angle of View (35mm format) 47°
Focusing Distance 0.05m to infinity
Elements/Groups 7/5
Number of Blades 6
Focus type Manual
Filter size 52mm
Manufacturer Kalimar
Country of Manufacture Korea
Weight 316g
Share this post