Pentax-A 50mm F1.7

The little lens that could

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Dec 4, 2012

I am a 31 year old photographer from Romania, a Pentax K-x owner since 2 years and a member of the photo club in my town,  Arad. I have to tell you right away, when I saw the giveaway title I thought  to jump and write something. But, as diamonds need time to settle in the  deep entrails of the earth, I thought to let this composition settle in  my mind some time before taking the time to write it.

So far, I accumulated experience in the field of photography, working and photographing just for a hobby. I have a regular day job that has nothing to do with photography and I usually can't wait for the week-end to come to go somewhere and shoot. The piece of equipment that had the most powerful impact on my images is this Pentax-A 50mm 1.7 that I bought from forum fellow dcshooter. Here is the item, the photo is taken from the marketplace listing. A sturdy, sharp, lens with plenty to offer, DOF and sharpness-wise.

It's a very handsome lens and it feels and looks just right. Like almost all 50mm fixed, or prime lenses, it is sharp (I know I am repeating my self, but it is). Not so sharp at 1.7 but clearly improving from f2 on, up to f5.6. As for the impact it had on my pictures, since I was accustomed to shoot with the kit lens (the trusty 18-55 mm), I can only say, wow, the difference is huge. Just being able to use faster shutter speeds is an improvement, very useful for low light interiors or theatre. Then, taking in consideration the crop factor of the K-x's sensor, you get (in 35mm slang) a 85mm lens, great for portraiture given you have the right subject. As you can see, it offers so much and it is so little. Be ready to receive some weird glances from by-standers, it looks a bit retro when mounted on the K-x.

At first I could not believe that this little thing was capable of so many great things. I like how it feels in the hand, how it fits on the camera. You can keep shooting for days and still not want to push that little black button to remove it. This particular model has the A on the aperture ring which means that the camera can read the F value of the lens and you can adjust the other parameters and settings accordingly. Because you can work with such a small value for the aperture, 1.7 you can shoot in low light using a much lower ISO value, hence less noise. Using this large opening, you also get a clean, creamy bokeh that you only see in cinematography. I got a lot of positive reviews for the pictures I took using this lens. Of course there is still room to improve, regarding both composition and technique, but I am happy with the lens, with its performance and I would definitely recommend it to anyone asking about it.  Here are some examples, but not all are taken at F1.7:

In closing I would like to add the fact that due to the smaller viewfinder of the K-x some people might find it difficult to get that narrow line of focus spot on at wide openings such as 1.7 or 2 but it is worth trying several shots, especially if you cannot return that place again to shoot some more if you do not get it right for the first time. So, here it is my first submission at this giveaway, I hope you enjoyed reading it as it was fun for me to write it and I will keep my fingers crossed for that K-30!


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