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12-30-2010, 07:29 AM   #1
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50mm shootout: F1.2, F1.4 or F1.7?

Does this article hold true for Pentax?

50mm Lens Shoot-Out: f/1.8 or f/1.4? from Adorama Learning Center

12-30-2010, 11:31 AM   #2
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Check out the review section here for the M 50mm f/1.7 and 1.4 lenses...you'll see the comment echoed over and over that the slower lens is better for the same reasons listed in the article.

Are f/1.4 lenses terrible? f/1.2 horrible? No...just that f/1.7 is more than adequate (and 50% and 85% cheaper, respectively ). Not to mention lighter, with fewer aberrations...
12-30-2010, 12:29 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
Check out the review section here for the M 50mm f/1.7 and 1.4 lenses...you'll see the comment echoed over and over that the slower lens is better for the same reasons listed in the article.

Are f/1.4 lenses terrible? f/1.2 horrible? No...just that f/1.7 is more than adequate (and 50% and 85% cheaper, respectively ). Not to mention lighter, with fewer aberrations...
Could not disagree more, and don't know where you came up with this stuff.
12-30-2010, 02:28 PM   #4
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I've seen amazing shots from the 1.2, but only actually tried the FA 1.4 and A 1.7.

The 1.2 looks incredible wide open with a very special look that the 1.4 does not have, in general. The 1.2 is also sharper that either alternative at any aperture. I think if you can afford it, the 1.2 is the one to have.

Between the more affordable options, the 1.4 is better for dreamy portraits, while the 1.7 is best for low light, because it is sharper at f2 - 2.8 when compared to the 1.4 (which is pretty soft itself until f2). The soft rendering and bokeh is generally better with the 1.4 over the 1.7, for that dreamy look. The softness of the 1.4 is the reason why some people compare it with the 1.7 favorably, but I think they both have their applications.

Apparently the SMC tak 1.4 is sharper, but I've never tried.

12-30-2010, 11:35 PM   #5
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There is an extra element required in the f1.4 to enable the larger aperture ratio. I read that the Ultron lens design (which these lenses use) is physically limited to about f1.8/f1.7 without it. An extra element means additional surfaces for reducing contrast. Simple solution is to buy both, the f1.7 lenses are so cheap...
12-31-2010, 01:26 AM   #6
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Well, I have 50/1.2 and used to have F50/1.7, A50/1.7 and K55/1.8 (which is based on the same optical formula as 50/1.7s). I have also been trying DA*55 and FA50/1.4. Out of these six lenses I would pick in this order: K50/1.2, DA*, F50/1.7, K55/1.8, FA50/1.4 and A50/1.7.
Why?:
The 50/1.2 is the best optically if you ask me. Sharp (enough for me) wide open. Sharper then 1.4 at the same aperture, and as sharp as 1.7s at f2 (K50 can't do f1.7 or 1.8 so I could only check at f2). It's OOF rendering is the best out of the bunch. DA* is tack sharp, quiet, and from f 1.7/1.8 it has good OOF. Wide open the OOF is too nervous for me. WR is nice to have too if you are out there... F50 is terrific lens, one of those I regret selling. Wide open sharpness is great, OOF is typical for this optical formula (nowhere near as smooth as 1.2 or 1.4 but really nice) and I liked it, and it has really nice cool tones. K55, as for F50 but with warmer tones and extra 5mm. Downside of these two (and any 50/1.7 or 50/2) is that they only have 6 blades so when stopped down they create hexagons on OOF and I find that annoying. FA50, it's nice lens but didn't find anything about it to make me want it really. A50, as F50 but MF.
Ideal solution is to have 2 50s. The superfast and the slower, i.e. 50/1.2 and 50/1.7 (or 55/1.8) then you are getting best of both worlds in terms of optics.
12-31-2010, 09:45 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Does this article hold true for Pentax?
Generally speak, no. (I'm not sure it holds true for other brands, either.) According to one lens resolution test of various Pentax normal range lenses, the M 50 1.7 is slightly sharper than the M 50 1.4 at center resolution under f2.8 and sharper in the corners at all apertures. But the A 50 1.4 is sharper wide open than either of the manual focus 50 1.7s, and at f8, the K 50 1.2 is sharpest of all.

But really, the sharpness is so close among all these Pentax lenses that making comparisons based on that one factor is misleading. I have both the M 50 1.7 and the K 50 1.2, and while the K 50 1.2 is a tad sharper at equivalent apertures, that's not the reason people spend a great deal more for that lens than the 50 1.7. Nor is it merely an issue of lowlight, as the Adorama article implies. The faster lenses sell at higher prices primarily because their narrower DOF and superior bokeh enable photographers to produce more attractive photos. Lowlight is merely an added bonus.
12-31-2010, 10:05 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Does this article hold true for Pentax?
There is something funny about the pentax 50mms.

The pentax 50mm f2 was their budget prime, and preforms similarly to many other maker's 50mm f1.8. The 50mm 1.7 is much better than other maker's f1.8's.

While the 1.4 has the edge over the 1.7 in some respects, it is not as cut and dry as "the faster lens is better overall", unlike the other lines.

12-31-2010, 11:08 AM   #9
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Just for sheer bragging rights get the f1.2

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 12-31-2010 at 11:22 AM.
12-31-2010, 12:00 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Just for sheer bragging rights get the f1.2
I'm humble. although I can brag about me losing weight.
12-31-2010, 12:14 PM   #11
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Funnily enough today I was just running comparison shots between my FA 50/1.4 and 43 Ltd (hey - I see people talking about the 55 so the 43 is only an extra 2 mm the other way) !

I was checking for BF/FF and ended up just shooting different subjects and then using the K7's shot comparison feature to pixel peep. The 43 Ltd blew the 50/1.4 away.
12-31-2010, 12:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
Funnily enough today I was just running comparison shots between my FA 50/1.4 and 43 Ltd (hey - I see people talking about the 55 so the 43 is only an extra 2 mm the other way) !

I was checking for BF/FF and ended up just shooting different subjects and then using the K7's shot comparison feature to pixel peep. The 43 Ltd blew the 50/1.4 away.
I think I need to start saving for the FA43 (among everything else). FA50 is probably my most used lens, but I mostly use it at > f2 anyway, and then FA43 seems better in every way.

Priorities, priorities... Well, back to new year's celebration. Happy new year everyone!
12-31-2010, 12:34 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
The 43 Ltd blew the 50/1.4 away.
WHOAH ! that's unbelievable.

just kidding. basically I'm not even surprised anymore considering I wasn't impressed by the 50/1.4 when I used it. 55/1.4 however is a different story.
12-31-2010, 12:37 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wowtip Quote
I think I need to start saving for the FA43 (among everything else). FA50 is probably my most used lens, but I mostly use it at > f2 anyway, and then FA43 seems better in every way.

Priorities, priorities... Well, back to new year's celebration. Happy new year everyone!
I'm considering an FA31. tomorrow, I'll be renting both FA43 and FA31 just to confirm some issues I'm having with focal length and busy bokeh. if the FA43 would suffice, then I'll go for it and say goodbye to both my FA35/2 and FA50/1.7.
12-31-2010, 12:53 PM   #15
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I don't usually pay too much attention to the finest points - rather, I let the subconscious make its own conclusions about which I prefer. But for what it's worth, here are two data points: In a vintage 70s or early 80s "too hot to handle" column in Modern Photography, someone asked just this about Pentax lenses. The answer? Typically the slower lens is better, but that wasn't the case for the Takumars.

Second data point: Here's a group test of fast 50s vs 'normal' 50s, you can see several makes and draw your own conclusions. If you click through to flickr there's a huge 150DPI version to ogle






Again, these are the K lenses, not the M's.
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