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05-19-2010, 10:15 PM   #1
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F 50mm f/1.7 or FA 50mm f/1.4...

Which is the better 50:

F 50mm f/1.7 or FA 50mm f/1.4?

I found a F 50mm f/1.7 for $160 CDN used or there is a brand new FA 50mm f/1.4 at $399 CDN (typical price locally I have found).

05-19-2010, 10:20 PM   #2
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F 50mm F/1.7 is sharper at F/1.7 than the FA 50mm is at F/1.7.... You can decide whether a little less sharpness and 1/2 a stop faster is worth the extra $
05-19-2010, 11:18 PM   #3
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I like my FA 50 f/1.4 but I would have a hard time spending $400+ tax for one (I bought in at $200 with tax and could have bought an FA 43 for $400 at the time). If the F 50 is in good condition it's a better buy at 2/5 the price of the FA 50.
05-19-2010, 11:48 PM   #4
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F50/1.7 for sure. Sharper wide open and no chance falling apart by itself.

05-20-2010, 04:50 AM   #5
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For that price, the F50 f1,7. clearly. I'd say both are excellent, the f1,7 being slightly sharper, the f1,4 having a slightly smoother bokeh. I'm sure you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish between the two just by looking at real life pictures, however. They are both stellar performers.

As for me, I like the look of the A line. But that's personal. I suggest you go for the cheaper option. And if you don't like the F50 f1,7, you can resell it here for a profit!
05-20-2010, 06:24 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ajuett Quote
Which is the better 50:

F 50mm f/1.7 or FA 50mm f/1.4?

I found a F 50mm f/1.7 for $160 CDN used or there is a brand new FA 50mm f/1.4 at $399 CDN (typical price locally I have found).
If you decide against the F 50/1.7, buy it and sell it to me
05-20-2010, 07:21 AM   #7
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Thanks for the help and opinions everyone
I'll go look at the F 50mm f/1.7 later today to see the condition and go from there.
05-20-2010, 09:05 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
F 50mm F/1.7 is sharper at F/1.7 than the FA 50mm is at F/1.7.... You can decide whether a little less sharpness and 1/2 a stop faster is worth the extra $
I really want to see the MTF data on this for the F/1.7. Otherwise this just becomes anecdotal.

Here it is for the FA f1.4.




Edit: Here is some data for the F f1.7 lens but its from a different test and in a different format.

http://www.photodo.com/lens/Pentax-SMCF-50mm-f17-87

and the F 50mm f1.4

http://www.photodo.com/lens/Pentax-SMCF-50mm-f14-85


Last edited by Blue; 05-20-2010 at 09:39 AM.
05-20-2010, 09:07 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
F50/1.7 for sure. Sharper wide open and no chance falling apart by itself.
I doubt that. The real reason to go with the f1.7 lens is the price difference. $160 cdn is a good price if the lens is in good shape.

Edit: Just for reference, BH has the FA 50mm f1.4 for ~$359 Which is $158 more than before it was temporarily out of production.

Last edited by Blue; 05-20-2010 at 09:57 AM.
05-20-2010, 09:32 AM   #10
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since the F50/1.7 and FA50/1.7 are optically the same, I'd say that it's a great fast prime lens. I got the latter version. very sharp and very bright. the bokeh can be a bit harsh at times. although between it and the FA50/1.4, I prefer the FA50/1.7.
05-20-2010, 09:34 AM   #11
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I seem to recall 3 individual tests comparing the two (might have been FA 50mm F/1.7 though) since i've been on this forum, all showing what I stated. There was one recent which had to do with hoods IIRC which showed the F/1.7 sharper wideopen than the F/1.4 stopped down.
05-20-2010, 09:42 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
I seem to recall 3 individual tests comparing the two (might have been FA 50mm F/1.7 though) since i've been on this forum, all showing what I stated. There was one recent which had to do with hoods IIRC which showed the F/1.7 sharper wideopen than the F/1.4 stopped down.
Here is the mtf from the test of the F f1.4 and f1.7 from above.

F 50mm f1.4 Weighted MTF 50 mm: f1.4 0.52 | f2 0.71 | f2.8 0.80 | f4 0.85 | f8 0.87
F 50mm f1.7 Weighted MTF 50 mm: f1.7 0.65 | f2 0.71 | f2.8 0.75 | f4 0.82 | f8 0.86
FA 50mm f1.4 Weighted MTF 50 mm: f1.4 0.50 | f2 0.66 | f2.8 0.75 | f4 0.82 | f8 0.84
FA 43mm f1.9 Weighted MTF 43 mm:_______ |f1.9 0.56 | f2.8 0.72 | f4 0.75 | f8 0.81

They don't have the data for the FA 1.7 lens.

Edit: I don't know anyone on this forum that has done a scientific test on these lenses. My point is that there's not a lot of difference in the capabilities of these lenses except for the maximum aperture goes. The rest is likely specimen variation.

Last edited by Blue; 05-20-2010 at 09:55 AM.
05-20-2010, 12:39 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
I seem to recall 3 individual tests comparing the two (might have been FA 50mm F/1.7 though) since i've been on this forum, all showing what I stated. There was one recent which had to do with hoods IIRC which showed the F/1.7 sharper wideopen than the F/1.4 stopped down.
Not sure if this is one of the comparisons you're talking about, but I did a quick comparison between the 1.4 and 1.7 (with and without hoods) last year. Here's a link to that thread.
05-20-2010, 01:05 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue:
I don't know anyone on this forum that has done a scientific test on these lenses. My point is that there's not a lot of difference in the capabilities of these lenses except for the maximum aperture goes. The rest is likely specimen variation.
Better wide open performance for a fast prime, isn't that enough reason to go for the 1.7? I once had the A50/1.4/1.7 (A50/1.7 was poorly build btw). Back then everyone was shooting film and I was still using manual focus only. I remember vividly that manual focus was a snap with the 1.7 but just couldn't quite achieve with the 1.4 w/o split image. The projected image on the focus screen was just diffused and soft. Of those lenses I owned back then, 50/1.7 was sharper wide open, 50/1.4, 43/1.9 & 24/2 were soft until f4. That was especially obvious when post-processing wasn't an option. Time flies. Now you can tune up the contrast and sharpness in software and the difference is being minimized.
05-20-2010, 01:22 PM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
I really want to see the MTF data on this for the F/1.7. Otherwise this just becomes anecdotal
I don't have MTF data, but I owned an A50 f1.4 and an F50 f1,7, and the difference between the two was obvious until f2.8. You can believe me or not, that's up to you.

Now, of course, both lenses are fine by themselves. But since we're comparing, I'll telling you what my experience taught me.
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