New versions of the FA 50mm F1.4
Ricoh announces an HD and a Classic version of the FA 50mm F1.4 Lens
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on May 17, 2023
Based on the smc Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 "normal" lens, Ricoh on May 16, 2023 announced two new versions. The original version from 1991 was discontinued earlier this year.
The smc Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 Classic is basically identical to the original except from a different lettering on the lens barrel. Ricoh claims, though, to have tinkered with the optics so as to enhance the tendency to produce "rainbow flare" in backlit images at large apertures (an ND filter is included to support using large apertures even in good light). We will examine this claim when we get the opportunity to lay our hands on this variant of the lens. The front element has received SP coating making it easier to clean and keep clean compared to the original.
The HD Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 has received HD coating which enhances the contrast. Moreover, the lens barrel has been redesigned in line with the looks of D FA lenses.
Both lenses retain the softer rendering of typical film era lenses rather than the super sharp rendering of today's "designed-for-digital" lenses like the HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4. As opposed to the original version the new siblings have rounded aperture blades.
We are pleased to see these new lenses in particular since they are pegged at a much more affordable price point than the HD Pentax-D FA 50mm F1.4 lens. And they are much lighter and more compact than the D FA and hence perhaps more suited for travel and street photography.
The technical data are found in our database by fowwing the links in the descriptions above.
The lenses will become available mid-June and will retail for USD 379 for the smc version (which includes an ND filter) and USD 349 for the HD version.
Ricoh's press release is found below:
Ricoh announces two 50mm F1.4 lenses, each offering a uniquely distinct design concept
Contemporary…or nostalgic? New HD PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 and smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 Classic allow photographers to choose the standard lens that best fits their style, creative aesthetic and applications
PARSIPPANY, NJ, May 16, 2023 — Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation today announced the HD PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 and the smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 Classic lenses. Developed for use with PENTAX K-mount digital SLR cameras, these new compact standard lenses are similar…but different. Each offers a uniquely distinct design concept, allowing photographers to choose the lens that best fits their style, creative aesthetic and applications.
The new lenses are based on the legacy smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 lens, which was launched in 1991 as a standard lens for film-format SLR cameras. In recent years, this base model has gained popularity because it delivers a distinctive image rendition at open and larger apertures — a rendition completely different from those produced by today’s digital-specific lenses.
Both feature the same focal length and open aperture, and—despite the lenses’ compact dimensions—both incorporate large-diameter optical elements that cover the full-frame image circle of K-mount cameras. However, the lenses are designed to produce distinctively different image renditions, allowing photographers to choose the lens that best meets their needs.
• The HD PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 adds the latest, high-grade, multi-layer HD Coating to ensure high-contrast images with edge-to-edge sharpness, while retaining the dimensions of its base model — the smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 — this lens features a totally new exterior design, similar to that of the latest DA- and D FA-series lenses. This makes it a perfect match for the latest PENTAX digital SLR cameras.
• The smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 Classic produces a unique image rendition commonly created by lenses designed 50 years ago. When set to open aperture and against strong backlight, it produces a unique visual effect commonly known as rainbow flare. The photographer can change the position and size of the rainbow flare by shifting the relative position of the subject and light source, creating a one-and-only visual expression not available with the latest lenses. By closing down the aperture to F4 or smaller, the photographer can capture sharper, crisper images that are free of not only rainbow flare, but also ordinary flare and ghost images. The smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 Classic retains the exterior design of the original smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4, with a black matte finish and a matte-black focus ring. It has no green ring — the symbolic design of recent PENTAX digital-specific lenses — to recreate the nostalgic appearance of an old-time lens from the film-format SLR era.
| Pricing and Availability |
The new lenses will be available mid-June at www.us.ricoh-imaging.com as well as at Ricoh Imaging-authorized retail outlets. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices are $349.95 for the HD PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 lens and $379.95 for the smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 Classic lens.
| Main Features of the HD PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 |
- HD Coating* to enhance imaging power After a thorough review of the lens coatings applied to the ever-popular smc PENTAX-FA 2 50mm F1.4, PENTAX decided to apply the latest, high-grade, multi-layer HD Coating to this new lens. Compared to conventional multi-layer coatings, this high-performance coating effectively reduces average reflectance and improves light transmittance, delivering clear, high-contrast images with minimal flare and ghost images, even in demanding lighting conditions such as backlighting.
*HD stands for High Definition.
- New exterior design to match the latest digital SLR models While retaining the dimensions of its base model — the smc PENTAX-FA50mm F1.4 — this lens features a totally new exterior design, similar to that of the latest DA- and D FA-series lenses. This makes it a perfect match for K-series digital SLR cameras.
| Main Features of the smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 Classic |
- Distinctive imaging characteristics Through intentional fine-tuning of the lens design, this lens produces a unique visual effect commonly known as rainbow flare when it captures an image at open aperture* and against strong backlight.** It lets the photographer change the position and size of rainbow flare by shifting the relative position of the subject and light source, creating a unique, one-and-only visual expression not available with the latest lenses. By closing the aperture down to F4 or smaller, the photographer can capture sharper, crisper images that are free of not only rainbow flare, but also ordinary flare and ghost images.
* It may be difficult to create rainbow flare when the lens is mounted on an APS-C-format digital SLR camera, because the camera’s image sensor is designed to use only the central area of the image circle.
** During shooting, the user is advised to mount an ND (Neutral Density) filter (included as a standard accessory), or a commercial ND filter designed to reduce light transmittance to lower than a 1/16 level, on the lens. When observing an image through the camera’s optical viewfinder, the user is advised to avoid looking directly at strong light sources.
- Nostalgic design This lens retains the exterior design of the smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4, featuring a black matte finish and a matte-black focus ring. It has no green ring — the symbolic design of recent PENTAX digital-specific lenses — to recreate the nostalgic appearance of an old-time lens from the film-format SLR era.
| Common Features |
① When mounted on a PENTAX digital SLR camera body, these lenses can be used as 50mm standard lenses in the full-frame format or 76.5mm medium-telephoto lenses in the APS-C format. With a full-frame camera, they provide an angle of view close to that of the human visual field, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of applications, such as snapshots, scenic images and portraiture.
② The large F1.4 open aperture produces images with a very shallow depth of field.
③ Water- and grease-repellent SP (Super Protect) Coating has been applied to the front surface of the lenses, making it easier for the user to wipe off water or stains.
④ The eight-blade diaphragm control mechanism produces a soft, natural bokeh (defocus) effect from open aperture to F2.8 and also minimizes the streaking effect of point light sources.
⑤ Designed to be fully compatible with older K-mount digital SLR cameras and film-format AF SLR cameras, these lenses allow the photographer to retain all camera functions, thanks to the aperture ring installed on the lens body, and the mechanism designed to couple the lens with the camera’s motor-driven, in-body AF system.
| About Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation |
Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation is a subsidiary of Ricoh Company Ltd., a global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Company Ltd. is part of Ricoh Group, which operates in about 200 countries and regions.
The company operating now as Ricoh Company Ltd. was originally founded in 1919, under the name Asahi Optical Joint Stock Co. and launched its first SLR camera in the 1950s under the PENTAX name. Today, the company continues to produce the heritage-rich, award-winning line of PENTAX DSLR cameras, lenses and sport optics equipment as well as Ricoh’s offering of stylish and compact digital cameras, known for their wide-ranging, rich set of features.
For further information, please visit www.us.ricoh-imaging.com
© 2023 Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation. All rights reserved. All referenced product names are the trademarks of their respective companies.
For More Information, Contact: Stephannie Depa
Breakaway Communications for Ricoh Imaging
+1 530-864-0136 – mobile
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