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05-30-2011, 11:27 AM   #1
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FA 50mm f1.4 or 43mm f1.9? Which do you prefer and why?

I have a FA 50mm f1.4 and I love it but sometimes I get soft images at 1.4-2.4. I want something that makes images pop more and also be sharp wide open. Is the 43mm f1.9 that much better than the 50mm f1.4? Is it worth the price difference and does the 43mm f1.9 really render images that much better than the 50mm f1.4?

05-30-2011, 12:17 PM   #2
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No, the FA 43 is also a tad soft wide open. It is the Da*55 you are looking for.
05-30-2011, 12:19 PM   #3
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If you only *sometimes* get soft images at f1.4-2.4, it's NOT the lens. The DOF at 1.4 is very thin, and often AF isn't up to it, particularly in low light (because contrast is also very low wide open). The 43 certainly tests out very sharp (at photozone.de) stopped down a bit, but the FA50mm 1.4 is also very sharp stopped down a bit.

Many people do suggest the 43 renders images better than the 50mm 1.4; they're different focal lengths, though.
05-30-2011, 12:20 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by elho_cid Quote
No, the FA 43 is also a tad soft wide open. It is the Da*55 you are looking for.
Depends on the copy. Mine are sharp from the wide open.

05-30-2011, 12:24 PM   #5
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Better is a very relative thing - I shoot both and love them both. If you are after sharp wide open then maybe the 31 is a better bet in the FA lineup, or the 40mm - the DA limiteds are really sharp - sharper than I tend to like for portraits - I like shooting the 43 at f2 - it's still a little soft, and that's nice for what I do.
05-30-2011, 01:08 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by elho_cid Quote
No, the FA 43 is also a tad soft wide open. It is the Da*55 you are looking for.
No it isn't. Do a proper lens calibration, and I assure you that the FA43 is plenty sharp at F1.9. It is even sharper stopped down, but still quite sharp wide open. Lens AF adjustment and careful focusing technique are of critical importance with ultrafast lenses, where the DOF can be paper thin.

As an aside, sharpness is merely one of the attributes that makes the FA43 so prized. Its image rendering is legendary.

Rob

FA43, f1.9, K-7, handheld, 100% crop. Does this look soft?

05-30-2011, 01:15 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
Depends on the copy. Mine are sharp from the wide open.
I don't think it depends on a copy. Or precise focusing (which is of course merit of the great DA*55 SDM). It depends on each photographer standards, expectations and requirements.
And I wrote a tad soft. Still very usable and definately better contrast than what I had from the Fa50.
BTW I do not own neither of these lens currently. I tried them all but finally the DFA50 macro was my choice.
05-30-2011, 03:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
FA43 is plenty sharp at F1.9
This shouldn't be a shocker, the lens is only f2.

50 1.4 is plenty sharp at f1.4, but you need to get the damn thing in focus.

Buy the lens with the focal length you want. 43 is going to be a short telephoto, not good for traditional portraits, better for environmental portraits. 50 is going to be borderline for traditional portraits, and the 55 is going to be ideal for that.

If this is your motivation, realize all three lenses have killer bokeh, colour, and sharpness. It's the focal length you need to think about.

If it's just about "sharp wide open", you should just set the AF adjustment on your FA 50, and shoot it at F2. Other then some differences in bokeh rendering and focal length, the 50 and 43 will render very similarly in this particular circumstance.

FA 43 is best for shooting stopped down for extreme sharpness. Nothing particularly special about this lens wide open IMHO.

05-30-2011, 05:13 PM   #9
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I've had both, and to me there's little comparison. The FA 43 had be sold right from the beginning. The only reason I'd keep an FA 50/1.4 is for the f/1.4 capability, which I don't need, and as such I do not have it anymore. The FA 43 is everything I'd want in a 'normal' lens for portraiture in particular. Images produced by that little lens just pop.
05-30-2011, 11:10 PM   #10
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My take IMHO

My personal opinion. I would not argue with anyone who disagrees with me.

I have a FA43 borrowed, a FA77 borrowed, DA*55, A50 f1.4 (similar formula as the FA50 f1.7), F50 f1.7, A50 f1.2, and K55. FA77 and DA*55 have the highest resolution at the largest aperture. There are however, evidence of CA--purple bluish color. CA is more evident in FA77. Interestingly, I like the feel of CA and lower saturation and contrast at the maximum aperture. It gives a lot of flavor to the picture if one can properly focus.

I would rank FA43 at f1.9 lower than F50 at f1.7 or A50 at f1.4 in terms of resolution. FA43 is certainly smaller and more precise than the other two 50mm lenses. I feel that FA43 does have higher resolutions than the other 50s at f2.5 or smaller.

A50 f1.2 has the highest level of CA at f1.2. Images can be very soft. At 1.2, it is much more sensitive to ambient light and shooting angles.

BTW, I often MF when shooting at the largest apertures. The DOF is razor thin. I normally focus on the eyes. Split screens certainly help. Pentax O-ME53 Magnifying eyepiece helps too. I use both of them. But practice is even more important. One must have a constant awareness of the distance between the camera and the object. The closer they are, the thinner the DOF. The objects can not move. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to get a perfect focus.

Finally, I do not have a strong preference for any of my lenses. They are all unique in their own ways. I use them for specific occasions. But I do hate bad lenses. I have had plenty of them.

Last edited by yyyzzz; 05-30-2011 at 11:20 PM.
05-30-2011, 11:15 PM   #11
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Does this look soft?
FA43 Wide open-


100% CROP-
05-30-2011, 11:18 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Does this look soft?
FA43 Wide open-


100% CROP-
Soft, soft soft. Cat fur usually is, right? LOL

Thanks again for ... validating my choice to purchase one of these wee beasties. (The FA43, not the cat!)
05-30-2011, 11:35 PM   #13
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Now Simon, we'll not have any proof against the soft wide-open FA 43 assertion - it might attract an infraction!

Seriously, the 43 is as sharp in the centre as I've seen any lens wide open. Plenty of shots in my collection that can show this too.

Any hesitation about the A50/1.2's sharpness wide open can be allayed by this thread: Post your 1.2 Photos! (1.2 ONLY!) - PentaxForums.com. But this thread is between the 43 and the 50/1.4 - the 50/1.4 is less sharp wide open, and probably similar at f/2, but there's more to it than sharpness...
05-30-2011, 11:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by yyyzzz Quote
...
I have a FA43 borrowed, a FA77 borrowed, DA*55, A50 f1.4 (similar formula as the FA50 f1.7), F50 f1.7, A50 f1.2, and K55. FA77 and DA*55 have the highest resolution at the largest aperture. There are however, evidence of CA--purple bluish color. CA is more evident in FA77. Interestingly, I like the feel of CA and lower saturation and contrast at the maximum aperture. It gives a lot of flavor to the picture if one can properly focus.
...
The A50 f1.4 is optically the same as the F 50 f1.4 and the FA50 f1.4. The A50 f1.7 is optically the same as the F 50 f1.7 and the FA50 f1.7. the 1.4 and the 1.7 formulas are very different - they don't even have the same number of elements or aperture blades.
05-30-2011, 11:54 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Soft, soft soft. Cat fur usually is, right? LOL

Thanks again for ... validating my choice to purchase one of these wee beasties. (The FA43, not the cat!)
Yes very soft..... when you pat her, and also very sharp if she bites back
No worries mate

QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Now Simon, we'll not have any proof against the soft wide-open FA 43 assertion - it might attract an infraction!

Seriously, the 43 is as sharp in the centre as I've seen any lens wide open. Plenty of shots in my collection that can show this too.

Any hesitation about the A50/1.2's sharpness wide open can be allayed by this thread: Post your 1.2 Photos! (1.2 ONLY!) - PentaxForums.com. But this thread is between the 43 and the 50/1.4 - the 50/1.4 is less sharp wide open, and probably similar at f/2, but there's more to it than sharpness...
Thanks Ash I might post that example in the my review in the user review section too, I think the reason why most say its soft wide open because they hav'nt calibrated the fine tune correctly, my copy has a fair bit of FF and I first noticed that on my K200D which has no fine tune.
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