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07-24-2011, 12:14 PM   #1
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50mm Lenses for Pentax

I was wondering what the best 50mm lens (or near thet focal length) is for a K5.
i've read the the Sigma 50mm 1.4 is superb. Also i noticed pentax do a 50mm 1.4, and a 55mm 1.4 which has weather sealing but is also quite expensive as is the sigma, i'm confused on which one is the best, in terms of optical quality, build and price...
Any help would be appreciated.

07-24-2011, 12:20 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by guppy350 Quote
I was wondering what the best 50mm lens (or near thet focal length) is for a K5.
i've read the the Sigma 50mm 1.4 is superb. Also i noticed pentax do a 50mm 1.4, and a 55mm 1.4 which has weather sealing but is also quite expensive as is the sigma, i'm confused on which one is the best, in terms of optical quality, build and price...
Any help would be appreciated.
Really depends what you're looking for and what your priorities are. Assuming you want an AF 50mm lens, the Sigma 50/1.4, Pentax FA50/1.4 and DA*55/1.4 are you main three choices in terms of new lenses. If you would consider a used lens, the F/FA50/1.7 would also be good AF options as well.

The FA50/1.4 is the least expensive of the three lenses, also the smallest. The IQ is good, although wide open either of the other two choices are a bit better. The focus is pretty quick, although unlike the other two options it is screw driven and a little noisier.

The Sigma has the fastest AF of the three, but is also the largest of the bunch. Some people have some objections to the bokeh at certain apertures, but overall I think most people find the IQ of the Sigma to be excellent.

The DA*55 is usually the most expensive choice and has the slowest AF. However, it is weather sealed and has outstanding IQ; IMO the best of the three in terms of IQ.
07-24-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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My biggest priority would be image quality, and good ergonomics. I'm guessing the DA*55 and the sigma 50mm are going to have good handling and build quality as the sigma is in the EX range and the pentax is in the DA* range. I'm not sure which is better in terms of construction and ergonomics, any help/experiences would be good to know. My local photography store doesn't have any of the lenses stated for me to try out......
But I am starting to warm to the DA*55mm.........
07-24-2011, 12:55 PM   #4
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MF ? Maybe Voigtlander 58/1.4 ...... or if you want super fast how about a Cosina (who make Voigtlander and some Zeiss lenses) 55/1.2 ?

07-24-2011, 01:06 PM   #5
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The worst thing about the DA* 55 is its slow AF. I'd go for the FA 50 unless you need weather sealing. The DFA 50 macro is also insanely sharp- but obviously not your first choice as a walkaround.

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07-24-2011, 01:27 PM   #6
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I'd recommend the DA* 55mm. It's IQ outshines the rest. The Sigma definitely has faster AF but it is bigger and not WR, nor does it have as good of IQ. I can't comment on the FA 50 since I've never owned it.

If you want killer bokeh, then go for the A 50mm f/1.2. Only down side is that it's not quite as sharp as the DA* and it doesn't have AF.
07-24-2011, 01:38 PM   #7
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The A50mm 1.2 I tried was not as sharp and contrasty as the old K50 f1.2. But it may be a sample variation.
The old F version of the 50mm f1.4 is supposed to be very good, but I didn't like the FA50/1.4.
I was very positively impressed with the IQ of the DA*55, but I finally settled for DFA50/2.8.
Btw if price should influence the decision a lot, then A50/1.7 delivers great for the money asked.
07-24-2011, 01:45 PM   #8
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Decision factors, besides those mentioned above: AF or MF? How will you use the lens? And how much do you want to spend?

Usage (AF): To slog around in mud, get the WR. To chase fast action, get the Sigma. To save money, get the FA50/1.4 -- best bang-for-the-buck. For more sharpness wide-open, get a slower lens. To get close, get the DFA macro.

Then there's MF. You can save MUCH money going this way. I have a zillion lenses: just one AF prime (FA50/1.4), and 4 MF Faster Fifty's: K50/1.2 (US$250), ST50/1.4 (US$55), planar Yashica ML 50/1.4 (US$10), and Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 (US$25 for the first, TWO BUCKS! for the second). For ultimate thin DOF, and stopped-down sharpness and IQ, nothing beats a Pentax 50/1.2 (K or A).

For IQ on a budget, scads of great sharp MF 50-55mm f/1.7-1.8 lenses abound -- mine include Pentax, Yashica, Meyer, Olympus, Ricoh, Petri, Mamiya, Chinon. More than a few people swear that a Petri CC 55/1.8 is their sharpest lens. My M42 copy cost US$15. And my ultimate-IQ bokeh-monster lens is an aluminium CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (12 iris blades) that cost US$7 shipped. It's in Exakta mount, VERY easy to (non-destructively) mod for PK.

Which Fifty for your camera? ALL OF THEM! I have nearly 50, which is a good start. (Some here have many many more.)

07-24-2011, 02:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Then there's MF. You can save MUCH money going this way. I have a zillion lenses: just one AF prime (FA50/1.4), and 4 MF Faster Fifty's: K50/1.2 (US$250), ST50/1.4 (US$55), planar Yashica ML 50/1.4 (US$10), and Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 (US$25 for the first, TWO BUCKS! for the second). For ultimate thin DOF, and stopped-down sharpness and IQ, nothing beats a Pentax 50/1.2 (K or A).
For IQ on a budget, scads of great sharp MF 50-55mm f/1.7-1.8 lenses abound -- mine include Pentax, Yashica, Meyer, Olympus, Ricoh, Petri, Mamiya, Chinon. More than a few people swear that a Petri CC 55/1.8 is their sharpest lens. My M42 copy cost US$15. And my ultimate-IQ bokeh-monster lens is an aluminium CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (12 iris blades) that cost US$7 shipped. It's in Exakta mount, VERY easy to (non-destructively) mod for PK.
I see, so many to choose from...........!!
Ummmmm AF isn't really a must but helpful at times..... and weather sealing was a must, but now i've seen the price of the DA*55 i'm rethinking needing weather-sealing and looking at a lens with good image quality but not too expensive. I'd rather not go macro as if I'm going to get any macro it'll probably be the 100mm wr. My uses would mainly be carrying around doing general photography, still life, landscape, animals. what i'm willing to pay: under 500($800)
07-24-2011, 02:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Decision factors, besides those mentioned above: AF or MF? How will you use the lens? And how much do you want to spend?

Usage (AF): To slog around in mud, get the WR. To chase fast action, get the Sigma. To save money, get the FA50/1.4 -- best bang-for-the-buck. For more sharpness wide-open, get a slower lens. To get close, get the DFA macro.

Then there's MF. You can save MUCH money going this way. I have a zillion lenses: just one AF prime (FA50/1.4), and 4 MF Faster Fifty's: K50/1.2 (US$250), ST50/1.4 (US$55), planar Yashica ML 50/1.4 (US$10), and Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 (US$25 for the first, TWO BUCKS! for the second). For ultimate thin DOF, and stopped-down sharpness and IQ, nothing beats a Pentax 50/1.2 (K or A).

For IQ on a budget, scads of great sharp MF 50-55mm f/1.7-1.8 lenses abound -- mine include Pentax, Yashica, Meyer, Olympus, Ricoh, Petri, Mamiya, Chinon. More than a few people swear that a Petri CC 55/1.8 is their sharpest lens. My M42 copy cost US$15. And my ultimate-IQ bokeh-monster lens is an aluminium CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (12 iris blades) that cost US$7 shipped. It's in Exakta mount, VERY easy to (non-destructively) mod for PK.

Which Fifty for your camera? ALL OF THEM! I have nearly 50, which is a good start. (Some here have many many more.)
I have 48... My most favorite ones are the Tomioka design Chinon 55 1.4 (one with older type of focus ring, like leather, one with blue-gold letters, and the other one made for GAF film camera). Wow you got a gem for the Sears-Tomioka 55 1.4 for $25, that's a steal.
07-24-2011, 03:14 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
I have 48... My most favorite ones are the Tomioka design Chinon 55 1.4 (one with older type of focus ring, like leather, one with blue-gold letters, and the other one made for GAF film camera).
Hmm, maybe my Argus-Chinon 55/1.7 is Tomioka also. It was on a Chinon-made M42 SLR that was badged Argus but also appears as Agfa and others.

QuoteQuote:
Wow you got a gem for the Sears-Tomioka 55 1.4 for $25, that's a steal.
That was the first one. The second one was US$2.25 shipped. THAT was a steal!

QuoteOriginally posted by guppy350 Quote
Ummmmm AF isn't really a must but helpful at times..... and weather sealing was a must, but now i've seen the price of the DA*55 i'm rethinking needing weather-sealing and looking at a lens with good image quality but not too expensive. I'd rather not go macro as if I'm going to get any macro it'll probably be the 100mm wr. My uses would mainly be carrying around doing general photography, still life, landscape, animals. what i'm willing to pay: under 500($800)
Well, for a new AF 50/1.4, that leaves the Sigma or the FA. I do not know how 'sealed' the Sigma is. I have shot in moderate rain with the FA on my K20D with no ill effects. But I also wore a wide-brim hat to divert water. No, the FA isn't WR, but it's a pretty tight fit.

If "AF isn't really a must but helpful at times" then focus throw may be a consideration. I don't know how it goes on the Sigma. But one reason to avoid short macro lenses for general work is that the throw from 1m to infinity can be VERY short, only a few degrees. Careful manual focusing at distance with, say, my MacroTak 50/4 is VERY difficult. (Yes, I know a 50 macro isn't on your list; I just posed that as an example.) That throw on my FA50/1.4 is much better, maybe 1/8 turn; on my SuperTak 50/1.4 it's nearly 1/4 turn, very easy for precise focusing.

AF lenses are designed with shorter focus throws so they will AF faster. MF lenses are designed for hands-on focusing. So you may want to think about two lenses: an FA50/1.4 for low-light and fast-action work, and maybe an M or A50/1.7 or a cheap SuperTak 55/1.8 for precise manual work. Just something to explode your head, eh?

Last edited by RioRico; 07-24-2011 at 05:21 PM.
07-24-2011, 04:13 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by guppy350 Quote
I was wondering what the best 50mm lens (or near thet focal length) is for a K5
Probably the K or A 50/1.2. I bought a K version last November for $360. Of course, these lenses are always going up in price, so you might have to pay more today.

A good second choice is any Pentax 50/1.4, from the K version to the FA. Indeed, with the possible exception of the old manual focus 50/2s, you can hardly go wrong with Pentax 50mm or 55mm lens. They are all excellent.
07-24-2011, 05:54 PM   #13
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If you can afford it, get the DA*55/1.4 - it's nice to have weather sealing. That's what I would get if I would start from scratch.
07-24-2011, 05:56 PM   #14
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Another one for the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4.

A great lens with outstanding IQ, very sturdy (built like a tank).
07-24-2011, 06:28 PM   #15
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I think the top choice for me would have to be the Leica Summicron 50/2, followed by the Voigtlander Ultron 40/2, followed by Pentax-K 50/1.4 and the Pentax-K 55/1.8.
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