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04-24-2011, 05:15 AM   #1
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Hmmmmm I am Pondering a lens Comparison

Hey folks I was just a ponderin (like I always do)
I have an SMC 50mm 1:1-4 M lens and I have had it for over thirty years and it has been the work horse of all my photo equipment over the years, this little lens is my favorite out of them all.
The question I have is~Should I go and get a new Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 Lens?
does it have better IQ than the older lens? I am asking this because I don't know the difference between the quality on a 35mm body as compared to the the K-x smaller sensor. The newer lens is designed more for the smaller sensor on the newer DSLRs.
I really don't care about auto focus or auto aperture that the new lens has because I mostly do everything manually anyways. The only time that all this automatic stuff would come in handy is at parties and other similar functions because I usually am at those functions having a good time and not even thinking about setting my camera up with all the manual settings, although I still use the fast fifty at parties sometimes.
Would it be worth the 300 bux to get one of these lenses? or just continue using the old lens?

04-24-2011, 07:44 AM   #2
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I used to own the FA 50/1.4, but in my opinion it didn't seem that exceptional. And while I have not had the "M" version to compare, I did have and compare the M 50/1.7 vs the F 50/1.7, and that M lens held its own very well against its autofocus sibling; both lenses are very sharp even wide open. However, the manual focus ring on the F lens was very small poorly damped, and had a very imprecise feel, compared to any M lens (IMO). Strangely enough, when pixel-peeping the comparison between the two, they were identically equal in sharpness, but only when using autofocus on the F lens- again, the quality of the manual focus on the F kept it from doing its best.

So, based on my experience, and with your plan to still mostly use manual focus even with the new lens, I would say that it wouldn't be worth the expense. But if you have the money to burn right now, you might consider a slightly different lens than the FA 50/1.4. Especially for your party scenario, maybe something wider? You might be able to find a good used FA 35/2 for that price, (or consider even the DA 35/2.4). And despite the its poor manual-focus attributes, if you want to stick with a 50, the F 50/1.7 can often be found for about $200 (savings! ), and it IS sharp and does have great autofocus, even in lower light. Something to consider. Good luck with your decision!
04-24-2011, 07:45 AM   #3
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both lenses are similar, 7 elements on 6 groups. I tried the FA 1.7 and the A1.7 (that i own). pictures are exactly the same in rendering color, bokeh contrast. so i guess it's the same with your M and FA. don't go with it. keep yours especially if you use it manual only.
04-24-2011, 07:48 AM - 1 Like   #4
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if you don't care about AF, I'd recommend A50/1.4.
best of both worlds IMO. Built is halfway between M and FA. It has A contact of FA and long focus throw of M.
Regards...

04-24-2011, 07:58 AM   #5
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If your managing with your "M" and like the photos it is giving you stick with it.
If you want auto focus and to control aperture on the body then upgrade.

I don't think you will see a difference in IQ. And there is the possibility that due to minor variation from lens to lens you might have a good copy of your current lens that would out perform an FA upgrade in the 50mm.

I have an A 50mm 1.7 image quality is outstanding but I want autofocus so I am getting a 43mm, but keeping the a 1.7 I just too many good shots with it to give it up.

Last edited by 1r0nh31d3; 04-24-2011 at 07:28 PM.
04-24-2011, 09:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
if you don't care about AF, I'd recommend A50/1.4.
best of both worlds IMO. Built is halfway between M and FA. It has A contact of FA and long focus throw of M.
Regards...
+1
Couldn't have said it better. Love my A50/1.4 for the MF, still use a FA50/1.7 sometimes but never with MF.
04-24-2011, 10:15 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BirdDude007 Quote
...
~Should I go and get a new Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 Lens?
...
The newer lens is designed more for the smaller sensor on the newer DSLRs.
No, it's not. The FA is still a lens from the film era.

For a dSLR you might be better of with a 35mm lens if you're used to the filed of view of the 50mm on film. But if you're currently happy with a 50mm on a dSLR, there is no need to change from that perspective.
04-24-2011, 10:49 AM   #8
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The FA50/1.4 was my first lens for my K20D, and is still among my most-used. Fast, agile, good optics. I've since acquired the ST50/1.4 and M50/1.7 and ST55/1.8, and the FA is still my favorite for either MF or AF. But if you don't do AF, you don't really need it -- the optics are virtually identical to your K50/1.4. If you *want* to spend money, consider: I just bought a K50/1.2 for US$250. You *will* notice a difference between f/1.4 and f/1.2, yes you will.

04-24-2011, 07:23 PM   #9
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Original Poster
Thanks everyone for all your advice, I am just going to stick with my old lens, it has been a good lens and I am not going to abandon it. If I am going to use an auto focus lens at a party or event I will just bring my kit lenses, they actually take good shots that actually amaze me as well as my friend who has a new Nikon DS3100, he is having a hard time trying to figure out how I get such nice images(maybe I will break him in on my secret of PP, I shoot in RAW and PP all my images all the while he shoots everything in JPEG) Besides that........I use Pentax equipment.....that really helps.
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