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07-15-2010, 01:05 AM   #1
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Low/available light lens : 35 f2 or 50 f1.4/1.7?

for owners of both the 35 f2 and 50 f1.4 and/or f1.7
> which is sharpest at widest ap?
> which focuses/locks on faster?
> which gathers more light?
> which has smoother bokeh?

thanks in advance..........

07-15-2010, 01:23 AM   #2
axl
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very different lenses but:

> which is sharpest at widest ap? FA35 > 50/1.7 > 50/1.4
> which focuses/locks on faster? F/FA50/1.7 > FA35 > 50/1.4
> which gathers more light? 1.4 > 1.7 > 2
> which has smoother bokeh? 50/1.4 > 50/1.7 > 35/2

these are my opinions based on the research and limited use of those lenses...
Bigger question is:
What for?

Portraits, heads and shoulders, bigger spaces = 50mm
Whole bodies, groups, smaller spaces = 35
Ideally get lenses in both segments, i.e 35/2 + 50/1.7 or 31 + 50 or 28+50
One that is somewhere in between is 43/1.9...

BR
Peter
07-15-2010, 01:30 AM   #3
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the 1.4 is a little soft at 1.4 but at 2 it is very close to the 35 if not better... the 35 IQ is 'better' as noted by the AL, but I personally don't notice a difference...

in low light both can be hard to AF, but that is true of most lens...

Personally, I like the 35 better on my kx as it is normal and I like the 50 on my various 35mm... funny how that works out!!

If I only could have one and I was shooting digital, 35mm for me...

OH ... bokeh can be better on 50 1.4 as it can have more control of the DOF and it has 8 blades vs 6 so highlights are closer to round...

but the trouble with such a small DOF can be seen in this photo... her right eye is in focus and her left is not...

07-15-2010, 05:54 AM   #4
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I think most is said already, I'd just like to add that although the 35/2 is a bit slower, you're able to shoot it in roughly the same conditions as a 50/1.7, as the shorter focal length allows slower shutter speeds. I have no experience with the AF versions of these lenses, but for the 35/2, focusing is less critical because of the wider DOF, so perhaps it's more likely to provide you with keepers.

07-15-2010, 05:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kit p. lang Quote
for owners of both the 35 f2 and 50 f1.4 and/or f1.7
> which is sharpest at widest ap?
> which focuses/locks on faster?
> which gathers more light?
> which has smoother bokeh?

thanks in advance..........
I can't offer comment about AF as all my fast primes are MF, BUT

any F1.4 lens will gather more light than an F1.7 or F2 lens, that is just life and physics.

As for sharpest lenses, I have SMC Tak 35, SMC Pentax (K) 50mm F1.4 and Super Tak 50mmF1.4 (8 element early version)

I would say of these 3 lenses the tak is the sharpest wide open, but the others are pretty good also.

Bokeh would go to my 50mm Tak, but the 35 might be more useful indoors due to the field of view. a 50mm is a bit long indoors.

as for AF performance in low light, regardless of lens, this can be an issue, and is why my primes are all MF. I rely on manual focus in low light because AF performance (and this applies to all brands) is soo poor
07-15-2010, 07:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kit p. lang Quote
for owners of both the 35 f2 and 50 f1.4 and/or f1.7
> which is sharpest at widest ap?
> which focuses/locks on faster?
> which gathers more light?
> which has smoother bokeh?

thanks in advance..........
I have both the FA 35 f/2 and the FA 50 f/1.4.

I cannot comment about sharpest at widest aperture. Both of them do a fairly good job wide open. But for overall sharpness across apertures, my 35 mm seems to do a better job. I have been amazed at how tack sharp it renders some of my pictures.

Focusing speed - no noticeable difference to me.

Light gathering - it's just optics, the f/1.4 can potentially gather much more light.

Bokeh - To me, it seems much easier to get good bokeh on the 50 mm. I think that is a matter of optics as well; with the 35 mm, I have to get much closer to the subject (and the background has to be correspondingly further away) to get bokeh like on the 50 mm. It seems with my 50 mm that as long as the background is a good distance away, I will get good bokeh.

They both have their uses, as Axl stated. I just got the 35 mm f/2 a couple of weeks ago so I have been exclusively using that one to learn the lens. Although the 35 mm does produce nicely sharp images, there have been several times where I've been tempted to put the 50 mm back on.
07-15-2010, 07:57 AM   #7
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My experience: note I don't own the 50 f1.7

Sharpest at widest ap I'd say the 35mm is sharper at F2 than the 50 is at F1.4, but the 50 is VERY close to the 35 at F2

AF locking is a wash, the 50 is very slightly faster in bright light, the 35 is very slightly faster in dimmer light. Neither do very well in dim light.

As others have said, F1.4 gathers more light than F2.0. This is actually noticable in dim light looking thru the vf between the two lenses

Smoother bokeh... here is where the 50mm way outperforms the 35mm. The 50 has great nice smooth bokeh, the 35 has only OK bokeh.

NaCl(bokeh is the FA 35 achilles heel)H2O
07-15-2010, 09:56 AM   #8
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I just bought a 28mm f2.8 for a "close to normal on APS-C" low light photography, and I'm very happy with the close to normal part, and reasonably happy with the low light.

Remember that digital cameras allow us to do some pretty special things in low light situations. We might complain about noise at ISO 1600 but my grandfather laughs because in the film days that kind of photography was absoloutely impossible without rediculously expensive lenses and lights.

The 1.4 was a big deal in the old days to get those shots, but nowadays you can bump the ISO and still get something you could be happy with. Are you shooting for print? If not, I think you would be much happier with the 35mm because 50mm is a pretty big zoom on a crop sensor and can be fustrating indoors. Having to move positions might mean you miss the shot, while the difference between f1.4 and f2 is simply ISO 800 --> 1600.

My 2 cents (I'm an amateur).

07-15-2010, 09:58 AM   #9
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Like Lowell, I don't have an AF 50/1.4. I do have the FA35/2. It is sharp, fast to focus and quiet. The focal length is more useful to me than the 50mm, so I have not added a "fast" (<2.8) autofocus 50 to my collection.
07-15-2010, 10:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kit p. lang Quote
for owners of both the 35 f2 and 50 f1.4 and/or f1.7
> which is sharpest at widest ap?
> which focuses/locks on faster?
> which gathers more light?
> which has smoother bokeh?

thanks in advance..........
Check out the following reviews:
Pentax Lens Review Database - SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 Lens Reviews
Pentax Lens Review Database - SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL Lens Reviews

Both are really fast to focus, but I'd sat the 50/1.7 is sharper than the 50/1.4.

Adam
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07-15-2010, 10:57 AM   #11
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I agree with those implying/suggesting the questions are not really all that relevant - you either want a 35mm lens (for most typical use indoors) or you want a 50mm lens (more specifically for portraits, since it's rather narrow for many of the typical uses one would want - althoug it's really pretty short for portraits). The other differences between the lenses are insignificant in comparison.

If it were me, I'd get FA35/2 as the *much* more versatile focal length, but then pick up a cheap manual 50 for the occasions when I do really want that focal length.
07-15-2010, 11:10 AM   #12
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> which is sharpest at widest ap?

35

> which focuses/locks on faster?

35

> which gathers more light?

1.4 is wider than 2.0

> which has smoother bokeh?

8 blades (FA50/1.4) better than 6 (FA35/2.0)
07-15-2010, 11:33 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
If it were me, I'd get FA35/2 as the *much* more versatile focal length, but then pick up a cheap manual 50 for the occasions when I do really want that focal length.
Even if you clearly pointed out "if it were me" ...
I have to say that's very subjective. For one, I shoot my K50 a lot more than 31. For me the 31mm still feels very wide on APSC, 43 (or 40) is just about spot on but I generally prefer 50mm FOV and find it just as versatile as 31....
anway, until op states what does he want the lens for, it's all just wash
07-16-2010, 12:14 PM   #14
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Original Poster
appreciate the replies and comments
other than fuelling my lba, i need something 'faster' than my da 40 for small group shots in available light
the 31 and/or a 43 are still off my reach right now
thanks again
07-16-2010, 01:51 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kit p. lang Quote
appreciate the replies and comments
other than fuelling my lba, i need something 'faster' than my da 40 for small group shots in available light
the 31 and/or a 43 are still off my reach right now
thanks again
then an FA35 would be your obvious and ideal choice. although for small group shots, I would look for something around the 24mm end that would give you enough room for such. the Sigma 24/1.8 would be your best choice and it is also much cheaper than the 43 and 31, though a bit pricey than the FA35 (about a $100 bucks more). it is not as ultra-sharp as the FA35, but has the aperture speed, good bokeh, moderate sharpness and focal length wideness that you are looking for.

I shoot small groups around the 24mm focal length.
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