Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-01-2007, 11:32 AM   #1
Inactive Account




Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Tacoma, WA USA
Posts: 14
Best 50mm Lens for a Newbie

I am a bit new to the SLR world having had my K100D for about 6 months now. I am starting to move beyond the 18-55mm kit lens and looking at getting my first prime. The 50mm lens is a relatively inexpensive and plentiful lens and I think a good place for me to start. My question is which one? I have briefly used a Pentax-M 50mm F2 lens but am still going through the P&S to SLR learning curve so I think a full manual lens is beyond me at this point.

I was wondering which I should be looking at? The Pentax-A 50mm f2 or f1.7 or f1.4 or an autofocus lens? I wish cost was not an issue, but it is for me.

What real world difference does the aperture size matter from f2 f1.4? I will be taking a trip to Italy next May and will be shooting indoors (museums and such) and also want to shoot some at night.

Thanks


Last edited by nathanjberry; 11-01-2007 at 11:39 AM.
11-01-2007, 11:43 AM   #2
Site Supporter
filmamigo's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 668
I use two non-autofocus primes (a 28mm and a 55mm). The image quality is superb, and focussing with a real manual focus ring is great. Unfortunately, you have to be realistic about not always nailing the focus... The viewfinder ground glass in the DSLRs don't offer any niceties to assist. That's one of the reasons I like my MZ-M, it's a modern camera with a split-field ground glass. It makes a big difference for focussing accuracy, especially in dark or available light situations.

I'm tempted to put a Katz-Eye focussing screen in my DL, but the focussing screen would cost almost as much as the camera.

I really wish manufacturers would face the engineering challenge and put a split screen back into modern autofocus SLR/DSLRs. (Even when autofocusing, the split screen would offer perfect focus confirmation of the features you want in focus, like the eyes. Just because the AF focus light comes on, doesn't guarantee that the camera hasn't achieved focus on the nose instead of the eyes. With a plain ground glass, it's tough to tell.)

All of that is a roundabout way to suggest that, if you can afford the AF prime, I would go for it.
11-01-2007, 11:45 AM   #3
Veteran Member
volosong's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Antelope Valley, SoCal
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 660
QuoteOriginally posted by nathanjberry Quote
I am a bit new to the SLR world having had my K100D for about 6 months now. I am starting to move beyond the 18-55mm kit lens and looking at getting my first prime. The 50mm lens is a relatively inexpensive and plentiful lens and I think a good place for me to start. My question is which one? I have briefly used a Pentax-M 50mm F2 lens but am still going through the P&S to SLR learning curve so I think a full manual lens is beyond me at this point.

I was wondering which I should be looking at? The Pentax-A 50mm f2 or f1.7 or f1.4 or an autofocus lens? I wish cost was not an issue, but it is for me.

What real world difference does the aperture size matter from f2 – f1.4? I will be taking a trip to Italy next May and will be shooting indoors (museums and such) and also want to shoot some at night.

Thanks
Nathan
Hi Nathan,

Definitely consider the FA50/1.4 lens. You can still purchase that one new for about $200, but probably for not much longer. When the new DA55 becomes available, you can expect to see this one discontinued.

I went to Italy last Spring (see various other posts on this site), and the FA50/1.4 came in very handy. I'm very glad I had it along with me. As you suspect, you will use it extensively for indoor shots, (churches and museums disallow flash photography). You'll be glad you have the speed. Also, don't be afraid to get out at nighttime. Italy is a whole different place at night.

In general, and this holds true for all series, the f/1.4 and f/1.7 50s are 'better' than the f/1.2 and f/2.0 versions. I'm talking optics here. The A series are okay, but you will have to manual focus. The FA will give you autofocus, which may or may not be frustrating in dim light situations. I didn't have much problem.

To your question...to me, there is a big difference between f/2.0 and f/1.4. You're talking a whole stop. A f/1.7 lens is a half stop. For example, on your K100D, it could be the difference between shooting at ISO 3200 and ISO 1600. A big noise difference between those two. You might even be able to get away with ISO 800.

Make sure you bring some type of backup device or extra cards. I shot over 1,600 images over the two-week trip and filled up 30Gb worth of cards. I shot RAW+, and am glad that I did. Saved a few shots when I forgot to reset the white balance from the previous evening when I was indoors. Take your kit lens too. That will be most useful during daytime. Use the 50 when the sun goes down.

Have fun, wish I was going with you. Can't wait to get back. So much to see. Just last night, on a Samatha Brown program, I learned that Leonardo DaVinci has a museum in Milano. How could I have missed that??!? He is one of my heroes! Gotta get back, if just to see that.

- - - - -

This thread might give you some pointers/ideas.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/5636-experiences-p...taly-tour.html

Last edited by volosong; 11-01-2007 at 11:52 AM.
11-01-2007, 05:55 PM   #4
Veteran Member
Finn's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Phoenix
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,056
In my opinion, the best buy is the M 50 f/1.7, which can be had for $50 or so. True, you have to use it in M mode and use the stop-down metering technique (a breeze once you get the hang of it), but it is wonderful and tiny. As was mentioned before, the f/1.4 and f/1.7 versions are of MUCH higher quality than the f/2 lenses.

That said, it is hard to argue against the stunning value of the FA 50 f/1.4. Ridiculously sharp and fast.

11-01-2007, 06:02 PM   #5
Veteran Member
lapeen's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: bangor, maine
Posts: 379
I am about as new as you are. The my pentax-a 50mm 1.7 was one of my first purchases after the kit and that lens pretty much lives on my camera. I LOVE that lens... BUT... I would like to upgrade to have the option of being lazy and auto-focusing sometimes. Sometimes I just want to shoot and not worry about all the settings and manual focusing and stuff, you know?

So... costwise, I don't regret one bit buying the 1.7, but if I were a girl of less limited means... i would replace it with an FA 1.4 in a second!
11-01-2007, 07:02 PM   #6
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Chester, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,420
If you have a couple hours to kill, I did a tournament-style Shootout with 16 of my 50mm-ish lenses. You can probably skip some of them since I doubt the non-Pentax brands (especially the hacked Nikkor!) are of much interest, but I tried to make them short, sweet, and to the point.

The Normal Lens Shootout

(If you don't have a couple hours to kill, I like all of the f/1.4 lenses a lot and the Pentax-A 50/1.2 lens the best. The f/1.7 lenses are fine and the f/2 lenses are really inexpensive. The Pentax 50s were 'better' than other brands, although the Helios-44M-4 58mm lens was a dandy.)
11-02-2007, 10:43 PM   #7
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Hamilton ,New Zealand
Posts: 24
Metering Technique?

FINN, I too have a M50 f/1.7 (bought for $45 NZD off Trade -Me) and have found it to be a great low light-quick lens but you have me wondering what do you mean by "stop down metering technique".

Cheers Stew
11-03-2007, 05:17 AM   #8
Veteran Member
Finn's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Phoenix
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,056
QuoteOriginally posted by Stewart Minnis Quote
FINN, I too have a M50 f/1.7 (bought for $45 NZD off Trade -Me) and have found it to be a great low light-quick lens but you have me wondering what do you mean by "stop down metering technique".

Cheers Stew
All I mean by that is that you have be in M mode and stop down the lens using the AE-L button (on a K100, that is) to get a meter reading. If use it in Av, the only aperture you can use is f/1.7. Try this for more info:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-photography-knowledge-base/32-can-...ist-ds-dl.html

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, 50mm lens, f1.4, f2, k-mount, lens, pentax lens, slr, slr lens, world
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New Pentax-FA 50mm--Newbie Susan Post Your Photos! 13 05-01-2009 06:38 PM
Newbie here lens help beehman Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 1 12-18-2008 05:59 PM
Lens Help for Newbie! stormdore Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 18 06-05-2008 07:19 AM
Macro Newbie - 50mm or 100mm jswcpm Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 17 03-28-2008 11:33 AM
my first lens - please help a newbie out n8cas Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 24 01-23-2008 08:39 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:53 PM. | See also: NikonForums.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