Kalimar 50mm f1.7 Lens
Kalimar 50mm f1.7 Lens

Review: Kalimar 50mm f1.7 Lens (Canon FD-Mount)

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Kalimar 50mm f1.7
AT A GLANCE
While a bit soft wide open, this lens offers unique color rendering and gorgeous bokeh at a remarkable value
Our Score
3.4
Where to buy

The Kalimar 50mm f1.7 is a vintage manual focus lens that features focus and depth of field scales for maximum precision and control. With it’s ultra-bright maximum aperture, sharpness, and point of view similar to the human eye, this lens is a must have for any classic lens collector.

In my field tests, I found this lens to be more on the soft side wide open. An attribute that gives skin a sheen that is often desirable in portraiture, but not so much in landscape or architectural applications. I found the color rendering to be unique and it seemed to favor greenish hues.

Weight wise, this is a perfect travel lens. It’s light and compact and fits easily into a camera bag. It felt very well balanced mounted on my Sony a7r3 and wasn’t tedious at all to hand hold for extended periods of time. This lens features and all metal body enclosure and overall exceptional build quality, especially when compared to today’s standards.

The images produced by this lens in tandem with my camera body were pleasant with an unmistakable vintage ambiance to them. The fast and ultra-bright f/1.7 added a good sense of depth and contrast was generally very good as well. Micro-contrast, on the other hand, was fairly weak, making this a forgiving lens for portraits, but not ideal for high detail shooting scenarios. Results did improve pretty significantly by f/2.8 though, and by f/8, this lens is respectably sharp across the frame.

Kalimar 50mm f1.7 overview

  • 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

Sample images

Technical Specifications

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

Equipment

The sample images in this post were captured using a Sony A7r, Mark III

The product images (below) were captured using a Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Image quality
Bokeh
Build quality
Micro contrast
Ergonomics
Center sharpness (wide open)
Edge sharpness (wide open)
Reader Rating1 Vote3.65
Pros
Light and compact
Razor thin depth of field
Pleasing bokeh
Unique color rendering
Excellent build quality
Cons
Micro-contrast is not a strong point of this lens
Sharpness wide open is not a strong point of this lens
Manual focus may present a challenge to first time users
3.4
Where to buy