Art & Character
Of all the cheap 50mm lenses out there, the Pergear 50mm f1.8 does a great job of captures the magic of the classic retro lenses of the past. The cheaper coatings allow for those cool lens flare, yet it’s still sharp with little distortion and vignetting. Even chromatic aberrations are fairly well controlled.
All the right things are correct in this lens but Pergear kept all the flaws that we like. Even the 10 bladed aperture is a nice addition to get that smooth bokeh when stopped down.
However, getting consistent results with this lens can be challenging. You have to learn what it likes and doesn’t like, but you also have to learn to accept what it gives you.
Bokeh is nice, not too busy, you get some cats eyes along the edges with some swirl in some situations.
Fringing is also well controlled in the out of focus highlights although sometimes you can catch a little fringing in some situations.
When the subject is nice and close, you get some very smooth background bokeh, as the subject moves further back it gets a little busy but still, I would consider it smooth and usable.
I’m not seeing any onion rings or soap bubbles. Bokeh for the most part is clean and the rounded aperture keeps the bokeh decently rounded even when stopped down.
ISO 400, f1.8, 1/4000
Micro-Contrast / Lens Pop – Contrast and Color
Like it or not, Micro-Contrast is a real thing, although I think it has a lot to do with photon coherency since it typically shows up better in daylight rather than in dark environments.
The Pergear 50mm f1.8 only has 6 elements which is great for getting that classic punch, but you do need to be very careful with your lighting since there is a big tendency for the lens to flare which can wash out your image. Did I mention this lens flares?
Here are some straight out of camera RAW samples. Very high micro-contrast and pop.
Here are some colored shots using presets on RAW.
Here are some flaring samples.
You get some great blooms, but of course, any modern lens reviewer would mark this as a severe problem and knock points off the lens. I personally love it.
What is interesting with this particular lens compared to many of my other retro or third-party lenses, is you really only see the blooming and flaring when the sun is outside of the frame. When you shoot directly into the sun, it actually handles it pretty well.
Here are a few more samples, you can see what it looks like in the first two images when the sun is in the frame.