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04-23-2011, 12:16 PM   #1
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M 50 1.7 and FA 43

Hello knowledgeable forum members! I currently have a Pentax 50mm 1.7 and I love it for it's low light performance, bokeh, build quality and size-- these are all things that I value. However, I don't have the greatest eyesight which makes focusing difficult, and I think I would greatly appreciate an AF around this focal length. Like many Pentax owners, I've come to the point where I am considering the FA 43. This lens just gets me excited. But I want to know, what differences could I expect from the FA 43 besides the AF? In short, it seems that the M 50 1.7 has the reputation of being a great lens, and the FA 43 is a superb lens with a legendary status. What differences in image quality would I notice? What would I gain in the upgrade? Thanks in advance for your responses.


Last edited by Vote4Pedro; 04-23-2011 at 12:37 PM.
04-23-2011, 12:32 PM   #2
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You won't really lose much except for some money.

Lets compare the F 50 1.7 (200) with the FA 43 1.9 (550 ish).

1) 43 is sharper, but the 50 isn't exactly soft.
2) Both lenses have really busy bokeh, but the 43 has more aperture blades, so less hexagons in the background.
3) 43 has nicer colour. With the 50, you will need to shoot RAW and post-process to get the same nice colours.
4) The build quality of the 43 feels luxurious. The 50 is very utilitarian. However, as far as durability is concerned, they are equal.

The 43 is has some advantages. The questions is, what do you plan on using it for?

(IMHO, if you are interested in bokeh / low depth of field, have a second look at the 50mm 1.4).
04-23-2011, 12:56 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
You won't really lose much except for some money.

l.

The 43 is has some advantages. The questions is, what do you plan on using it for?

(IMHO, if you are interested in bokeh / low depth of field, have a second look at the 50mm 1.4).
I mainly want to use it for indoors to take pictures of the wife and baby daughter, but, when I'm not doing that, I would like it to be my general use lens for lots of different outdoor things... parties, hiking, astronomy, the beach... whatever.

Last edited by Vote4Pedro; 04-23-2011 at 01:04 PM.
04-23-2011, 01:02 PM   #4
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Catch In Focus is your friend and will save you a lot of money. Of course, if you just Want the 43, I can understand that too.



04-23-2011, 01:48 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
Catch In Focus is your friend and will save you a lot of money. Of course, if you just Want the 43, I can understand that too.

Thanks for the tip, I should have learned this sooner. Probably the best feature I wasn't using on the camera. Is there any way to get it to work outside of the center focus point?
04-23-2011, 02:37 PM   #6
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I don't know what camera you are using but just the other day I checked this on the K5. It will work on Any of the AF points but it must Be a single AF point. My camera is practically glued to Center AF however so that's the one I use.

04-23-2011, 03:33 PM   #7
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Coming back to the original post, I feel that 43m and 50mm are very close. Nothing wrong with the FA43mm... But I would consider to keep the 50mm and to get a FA31mm f1.8.

The 31 mm is a superb lens with outstanding IQ. It has the highest score in the in-depth lens review of this forum. I have a FA31mm and this is an impressive prime.

Hope that the comment will help...

Last edited by hcc; 04-23-2011 at 05:26 PM.
04-23-2011, 03:35 PM   #8
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+1 on JeffJS's comment. Never used the feature myself, but it makes the most sense.

For your purposes, I think catch in focus would do quite well. The 50 1.7 is a great lens.

04-23-2011, 04:08 PM   #9
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You will not be sorry to own the FA43. No one is. Whether you actually need it is for you to decide. At times like these, I always tell myself that life is short, and that money is useless, if I don't spend it on things that are really important to me. Those are two great all-purpose rationalizations.

Rob
04-24-2011, 12:02 AM   #10
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Just a little warning regarding Catch-in-Focus:

I assume it uses the AF mechanism in the same way as the Focus Indication symbol (and beep). Now, I don't have any experience with C-i-F, but I have experimented with Focus Indication, and it is in general NOT TO BE TUSTED!

To elaborate a little, using a 135mm lens, focus indication will appear very plausible, but actual results will be all over the place - gross back and front focus depending upon which particular 135 I've used. Using a 28mm lens, focus indication is very sloppy, obviously useless. Only with a 50mm lens have I had any success, but you need to do some thorough testing before you can trust focus indication for any given lens.

But don't let me put you off - do give C-i-F a try with your 50/1.7. It may work a treat!
04-24-2011, 12:08 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
To elaborate a little, using a 135mm lens, focus indication will appear very plausible, but actual results will be all over the place - gross back and front focus depending upon which particular 135 I've used. Using a 28mm lens, focus indication is very sloppy, obviously useless. Only with a 50mm lens have I had any success, but you need to do some thorough testing before you can trust focus indication for any given lens.
Red dot is inaccurate, green hexagon is accurate.
04-24-2011, 12:25 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Red dot is inaccurate, green hexagon is accurate.
Well, my K-m has only a green hexagon, and it certainly isn't accurate for MF confirmation (not with most of my lenses, anyway).

Actually, I don't think it's all that surprising that the AF mechanism doesn't appear to cope with all FLs, apertures and lenses. After all, it seems to need to know exactly which AF lens is mounted for accurate AF (and even then may need to be tweaked), so why should it be able to give good focus indication for any old MF lens?

Basically, the phase-detect AF mechanism, whilst being straightforward enough in principle, actually needs a large dose of black magic to work properly.
04-24-2011, 12:28 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vote4Pedro Quote
I mainly want to use it for indoors to take pictures of the wife and baby daughter, but, when I'm not doing that, I would like it to be my general use lens for lots of different outdoor things... parties, hiking, astronomy, the beach... whatever.
I also have the M 50mm f1.7 and I wanted a different lens that was wider and with autofocus. I went with the new and cheap (<$200) 35mm f2.4 and absolutely love it for the uses you mentioned. You will get better performance from the more expensive lenses, but there are cheaper alternatives if you want them.
04-24-2011, 06:44 AM   #14
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to OP:

I never had M50/1.7 but used to have F50/1.7 and A50/1.7 and now have 43ltd.
IQ wise, wide open it's a toss of a coin IMO. OOF can be as busy on one as another. If, then the 50s rendered slightly cooler (especially the F). Stopped down, however, the 43mm pulls away pretty quickly in terms of IQ, whether it's sharpness or OOF. Also, shorter length and narrower max aperture make for slightly deeper DOF. Which may play to your advantage. The 43 is MFable just fine (for AF lens) but no comparison to K, M or A generations of standard lenses. It's one of the slower lenses in terms of AF but it's still faster than DA*55. Many praise the "3D" effect on this lens as one of the best. Built quality of FAltd will be at least on par with M series prime. All in all worthy upgrade if you ask me... if budget comes to it, then I'd recommend F or FA50/1.7. Excellent lenses!
04-24-2011, 08:10 AM   #15
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After experimenting with catch-in-focus for a day or so, I think it gets me about halfway there. It seems to be pretty accurate in decent lighting. However, in low light it seems to struggle to find the focus point, and then I can't even try to take a picture. One other big problem is that I like to compose a lot of my shots so that the subject of interest isn't always in the center. I like to follow the rule of thirds frequenlty. Catch in focus only works on the center focus point, unless you manually change which point it uses, but who has time to do that for each shot? So like I said, it is a nice feature to know how to use, and I will probably use more than regulary manual shooting, but it doesn't replace AF with multiple AF points for me.

Seems like most people feel the actual image quality of the 43 won't be a huge improvement over the M 50 1.7. I thought more people would come out of the woodwork to say why the FA 43 was that much better. I was kind of hoping that would happen, because I really want that lens, but I can't justify the price yet.

The 35/2.4 seems like a good bang for the buck, but I really do value build quality and I especially like shooting with the M50 if not for that reason alone. It just feels like a littel gem mounted on the end, not too big, but solid as a rock. On the rock-solid K-7 it just feels like a match. I don't doubt the image quality that the 35/2.4 would produce, I just hope it would feel nice on the camera too.

Anyone out there want to defend the 43 before I put the idea of buying it on the shelf for a while?
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