Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
06-22-2010, 09:29 AM   #1
New Member




Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 16
how to train FA 50mm f1.4 (or train myself) to get the best ouf of the lens

I recently acquired a FA 50mm f1.4. I bought this lens so I can catch my hyperactive 2 year old in action - tried f2.8, will not do. Cosmetically and mechanically the lens does not seem to have any issue. I took about 200 photos so far with this lens, mostly indoors or low light conditions. The results are very disappointing. Very soft at wide aperture - up to f2.8 - even then the images still look flat, no color punch, plain bokeh, etc.

I read the reviews from others and it seems most people experience similar issues - soft until f2.8. I don't understand.... What good is 50mm f1.4 if you cannot use it indoors or in low light conditions.

Perhaps I'm missing something here? I played with different ISO settings and apertures but can't find a magic way to mate this lens with my K10D. Is there a trick or a particular setting that makes this lens work? My wife has me on very short leash these days so I cannot afford anything more expensive like DA 55mm.

06-22-2010, 10:00 AM   #2
New Member




Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 6
QuoteOriginally posted by aquashin Quote
I recently acquired a FA 50mm f1.4. I bought this lens so I can catch my hyperactive 2 year old in action - tried f2.8, will not do. Cosmetically and mechanically the lens does not seem to have any issue. I took about 200 photos so far with this lens, mostly indoors or low light conditions. The results are very disappointing. Very soft at wide aperture - up to f2.8 - even then the images still look flat, no color punch, plain bokeh, etc.

I read the reviews from others and it seems most people experience similar issues - soft until f2.8. I don't understand.... What good is 50mm f1.4 if you cannot use it indoors or in low light conditions.

Perhaps I'm missing something here? I played with different ISO settings and apertures but can't find a magic way to mate this lens with my K10D. Is there a trick or a particular setting that makes this lens work? My wife has me on very short leash these days so I cannot afford anything more expensive like DA 55mm.
A 50/1.4 can be very difficult in the beginning. I myself have the sigma 50/1.4, which i love very much, only its not that handy indoors though. Anycase, as photozone tests show,Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis & Verdict the resolution of the lens only gets to the "good" or "very good" level after it has been stopped down a bit. I dont think the sigma produces very excellent colors wide open either, so there isn't much you can do about the lens itself. Depending on the prices over there, you might want to switch to sigma (at least here in finland the two lenses cost pretty much the same) if weight is not an issue.

I find it very difficult to shoot any moving target wide open since the focus seems to always be a bit off, especially in darker conditions. You might want to look for a solution somewhere else, like stopping down to f/2.8 and doing a bit of panning while the kid is in motion or getting some more lights or something to increase the amount of light in the room.

Dont give up on that lens, just get more creative
06-22-2010, 10:09 AM   #3
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: on the wall
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 715
The kid's moving too fast. Were you able to take photos of still objects that looked good?
06-22-2010, 10:26 AM   #4
Pentaxian
bdery's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,831
I used the A50 f1,4 before, and found that it became very good at f2, and excellent at f2,8. The FA 50 is somewhat similar.

The "good" of having an f1,4 lens is that sometimes a flat image is better than a blurred image. You should also consider using a lens hood, it greatly helps with contrast on that particular lens. Or you shop for an f1,7 version, it's sharper at wide apertures.

06-22-2010, 10:38 AM   #5
Loyal Site Supporter
imtheguy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Virginia Beach
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,950
I am now using Bdery's A50/1.4 lens wide open for low-light portraiture and think its grand but the DOF is way too slim for a moving target even if it was tack sharp at 1.4. For kids, i crank it up to f4 and use a gentle bounce flash off a wall to get the shot without making it look like a flash shot. Often that means warming it up a little in post. No, shooting moving kids with DOF of a few inches is torture.
06-22-2010, 10:56 AM   #6
Site Supporter
Aristophanes's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,922
QuoteOriginally posted by aquashin Quote
I recently acquired a FA 50mm f1.4. I bought this lens so I can catch my hyperactive 2 year old in action - tried f2.8, will not do. Cosmetically and mechanically the lens does not seem to have any issue. I took about 200 photos so far with this lens, mostly indoors or low light conditions. The results are very disappointing. Very soft at wide aperture - up to f2.8 - even then the images still look flat, no color punch, plain bokeh, etc.

I read the reviews from others and it seems most people experience similar issues - soft until f2.8. I don't understand.... What good is 50mm f1.4 if you cannot use it indoors or in low light conditions.

Perhaps I'm missing something here? I played with different ISO settings and apertures but can't find a magic way to mate this lens with my K10D. Is there a trick or a particular setting that makes this lens work? My wife has me on very short leash these days so I cannot afford anything more expensive like DA 55mm.
You need a bounce flash.

You are trying to do with Depth of Field and ISO what only a lighting solution can do.

To stop action with sharp images you simply need more light. That is the sole solution.

I got a 360 flash, aim it at the ceiling, get a nice sharp aperture at 180/sec (usually f/4-5.6 which are ideal portraits settings), and have no regrets. This is indoors with any reasonable lens.

For a low-light f/1.4 - 2/8 sharp shot you really need a non-moving subject in constant or near-constant light. If you try and catch kid playing across lighting zones, no lens can help you.

ISO can marginally assist, but you lose DR and add noise. It also messes up DOF. I sometimes use the K-x for this, but much, much, much prefer the bounce flash.

Light, light, light.

P.S. I second getting a lens hood for the FA 50/1.4. A $10, 49mm rubber screw-in is very helpful. Not necessarily for indoor shots only, but it really helps control flare outdoors or with a nearby flash. It also adds front element protection (+ the UV filter).
06-22-2010, 11:55 AM   #7
New Member




Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 16
Original Poster
Wow... thanks guys. I think I'm getting there. So I will start looking out for a hood (i'm pretty sure she'll allows extra $10 , and just wait for the kid to take a breath...I'm not in the market currently for a flash...never liked the color tone it creates in my house...but sounds like one of those will become inevitable.

I actually have owned a superb copy of A 50mm f1.4 for long years, which produces great images shutter by shutter all the way down to f1.4 - when in focus that is. Lately I notice my hand getting slower and the kid getting faster, decided MF is no longer working for me.

As a general rule, what is the minimum shutter speed that would allow capturing running kid, assuming the AF speed is not an issue? I never seem to get anything better than 1/60 in the house, w/o flash.

Last edited by aquashin; 06-22-2010 at 12:01 PM.
06-22-2010, 12:25 PM   #8
Site Supporter
Aristophanes's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,922
QuoteOriginally posted by aquashin Quote
Wow... thanks guys. I think I'm getting there. So I will start looking out for a hood (i'm pretty sure she'll allows extra $10 , and just wait for the kid to take a breath...I'm not in the market currently for a flash...never liked the color tone it creates in my house...but sounds like one of those will become inevitable.

I actually have owned a superb copy of A 50mm f1.4 for long years, which produces great images shutter by shutter all the way down to f1.4 - when in focus that is. Lately I notice my hand getting slower and the kid getting faster, decided MF is no longer working for me.

As a general rule, what is the minimum shutter speed that would allow capturing running kid, assuming the AF speed is not an issue? I never seem to get anything better than 1/60 in the house, w/o flash.
1/125 to 1/160.

For a running kid you need a shutter speed of 1/1,000,000,000 + f/.001.

...with a flash.

06-22-2010, 12:43 PM   #9
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Owego, NY
Posts: 976
QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
1/125 to 1/160.

For a running kid you need a shutter speed of 1/1,000,000,000 + f/.001.

...with a flash.
Not sure if that's fast enough...
06-23-2010, 05:02 AM   #10
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Adelaide, SA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 273
theres such thing as a hood for the FA50?

what, a generic 49mm thread thing?
06-23-2010, 05:17 AM   #11
Pentaxian
bdery's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,831
QuoteOriginally posted by JayR Quote
theres such thing as a hood for the FA50?

what, a generic 49mm thread thing?
I'm not sure there is a dedicated hood for that lens, but any standard screw-on hood should help.

Bounce flash does not create the same effect as direct flash illumination. It actually duplicates an evenly lit room. You could shop for a used AF280T, an olderr Pentax flash working very well with current models. It's relatively inexpensive.
06-23-2010, 05:20 AM   #12
Veteran Member
Andi Lo's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,925
QuoteOriginally posted by JayR Quote
theres such thing as a hood for the FA50?

what, a generic 49mm thread thing?
There is, but I've only seen it come up once in the marketplace. Generic hood is just that... generic hood that you can use for any lens. lens rubber hood - Google Search
06-23-2010, 05:20 AM   #13
Pentaxian
audiobomber's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sudbury, Ontario
Photos: Albums
Posts: 6,688
QuoteOriginally posted by JayR Quote
theres such thing as a hood for the FA50?

what, a generic 49mm thread thing?
There are two styles of Pentax hood sold at B&H for the FA 50mm; a rectangular hood and a round rubber hood. Or you could buy a generic 49mm rubber or metal hood. You really do need some kind of hood with this lens because the front element is very close to the front of the lens. There have been some test shots on this forum that show what a huge difference in sharpness and contrast a hood makes on an FA 50 1.4.

Aquashin, which camera and what ISO are you using?
06-23-2010, 05:30 AM   #14
Site Supporter
Aristophanes's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,922
QuoteOriginally posted by JayR Quote
theres such thing as a hood for the FA50?

what, a generic 49mm thread thing?
Instead of a lens hood that rotates onto and clips into the dedicated slot on the front of lens barrel assembly, a generic lens hood is simply a rubber flange (better than metal IMNSHO) fitted to a screw-in plastic or metal thread.

Like a filter, you simply screw it in on the filter threads. If you have a filter already, it should have its own filter threads for stacking, and it screws into that.

They work very well, are cost-effective, and come in many sizes, and add extra protection.

Search at B&H for "rubber lens hood".
06-23-2010, 06:33 AM   #15
New Member




Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 16
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
There are two styles of Pentax hood sold at B&H for the FA 50mm; a rectangular hood and a round rubber hood. Or you could buy a generic 49mm rubber or metal hood. You really do need some kind of hood with this lens because the front element is very close to the front of the lens. There have been some test shots on this forum that show what a huge difference in sharpness and contrast a hood makes on an FA 50 1.4.

Aquashin, which camera and what ISO are you using?
K10D, ISO 800 in the house. That's about how far I would go with K10D.

Found this at B&H. Looks good to me, but how do I put the cap back on on top of the hood?
Pentax - 49mm Round Rubber Lens Hood - 34260 - B&H Photo Video
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
50mm, conditions, f1.4, f2.8, fa, fa 50mm f1.4, k-mount, lens, light, pentax lens, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Machinery Derelict Train kalison Post Your Photos! 3 06-05-2010 06:18 PM
At the train station Rense Post Your Photos! 19 03-18-2009 02:24 PM
Train Tracks jmbradd Photo Critique 4 03-15-2009 04:24 PM
Boss the train eccs19 Photo Critique 3 03-01-2009 07:38 AM
Moving Train JohnnyDop Post Your Photos! 12 02-13-2009 05:54 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:34 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top