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10-26-2011, 09:35 PM   #1
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Pentax 50mm 1.7 impressive so far - Pixel-peepers welcome!

I acquired a Pentax M 50mm f/1.7 last night, and it's really impressing me so far. I bought the lens together with a Pentax MX 35mm film camera, a Takumar 28-80mm lens, and a "Phoenix Samyang" 500mm f8 mirror lens all for $80. I really only wanted the lens and will be selling the other items.

Not only is this my first prime lens, it's my first lens faster than f/2.8, and it's my first manual-focus lens. Needless to say, my technique will need a little work. I just brought it home last night, and haven't shot too many pictures yet, but I've already gotten some good ones.

I've really only shot at f/1.7 so far, so I can't comment how it does stopped down, but I'm extremely impressed with the sharpness and overall image quality wide open at f/1.7.

Click on the pictures below for the full size image. All of the pictures are full sized, and the only cropping was on the two portraits just to reformat them to 8x10 aspect. The pictures were shot in RAW, and were developed in Adobe Photoshop CS5 with the normal minor adjustments including minor Smart Sharpening.

And lastly, here's a picture of the lens mounted on my white Pentax K-x:

10-26-2011, 09:57 PM   #2
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You're going to get a lot of use out of that lens. It's a resolution king from that era. It's even quite effective indoors at f/2.8 on the K-x at ISO 800/1600. Have fun with learning the art of manual focus -- I'm still learning myself.
10-26-2011, 10:07 PM   #3
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Looks awesome. Sometimes I miss my 50 1.7, they are so damn tiny and look great.
10-26-2011, 10:11 PM   #4
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The 50 f/1.7 is a nice lens, and a excellent choice for people who havent got a fast lens.
You think this is sharp wide open, wait until you try a FA LTD or a DA*55

I have the A series version, havent used it in a very long time so its going on ebay very soon...

10-26-2011, 10:23 PM   #5
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I still have my M50/1.7 just because it is tiny and very good. Enjoy yours.
10-27-2011, 04:36 AM   #6
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This is definetely a great lens! Enjoy yours!
It was my first prime and manual lens too, and I have taken some nice pictures with it, specially portraits at low light situations.
It is indeed a hard work using manual focus with a K-x, and since I use this and my other manual lenses very often, I am thinking of getting a split focusing screen to ease things.
10-27-2011, 05:20 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by amrocha Quote
It is indeed a hard work using manual focus with a K-x, and since I use this and my other manual lenses very often, I am thinking of getting a split focusing screen to ease things.
You're not kidding. The focus indicator helps, but it doesn't always seem to be 100% accurate at f/1.7. The biggest problem seems to be the small viewfinder. It's just really hard to tell when focus is perfect. I've gotten a lot of pictures where the tip of the nose or the eyebrows are in perfect focus, but the eyes are a little soft. Of course, some of that is probably also due to slight subject movement between the time I acquire focus and release the shutter.

I put the lens on the MX body and looked through the viewfinder, and I can now see one of the reasons people want Pentax to release a full-format camera. The viewfinder was huge! It was much, much easier to judge focus with the bigger viewfinder.
10-27-2011, 05:36 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Try the "catch in focus" option a few times. If you get close to the range and then turn the focus very slowly after that, you should achieve some excellent results.

10-27-2011, 06:42 AM   #9
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Very nice shots. You've discovered the "Gateway to LBA" lens . You'll be amazed at the sharpness when you stop it down a bit. Manual focusing can be tricky, but it gets better with practice. I have the same problem using my K100D. The larger pentaprism focusing screens of the flagship Pentax models (K5, K7, K20D, K10D, *istD) make it quite a bit easier IMO.

Last edited by paulh; 10-27-2011 at 04:22 PM.
10-27-2011, 12:50 PM   #10
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I have recently started using mine again, and am ecstatic with the results on my K20! As I don't have many prime lenses (yet), it was nice to rediscover zooming with my feet. I am also having focusing issues, but hope that with some practice it will improve.
10-27-2011, 01:18 PM   #11
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This is one lens I will never get rid of. Played with M 50/1.4 before getting this one, much harder to nail focus, not a leap in results. Sold the 1.4
10-27-2011, 04:20 PM   #12
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Nice results, enjoy.
10-27-2011, 07:06 PM   #13
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I love that lens too. With the shake reduction and high iso performance of the K-r, I had a blast taking casual snapshots downtown one night.
10-27-2011, 08:33 PM   #14
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My girls are going to be in a Halloween program tomorrow at their preschool, so it might be a good opportunity to try the lens out some more. I'll need to read up on this "catch in focus" feature before I go.

Their preschool is at a church, and their performances are usually held in the sanctuary/chapel, and the lighting isn't very good in there. I usually switch back and forth between my Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 and my Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8, so I don't know how I'll like using a prime. Zooming with my feet won't really be an option since I'll be seated. But the faster aperture might come in handy, since motion blur can be a problem due to the dim lighting.

I've been planning on buying a fast autofocus prime, probably either the Pentax 50mm 1.4 or 77mm 1.8 or the Sigma 50mm 1.4 or 85mm 1.8, but I'm torn about which type of focal length to choose. So shooting with the 50mm tomorrow should also help me to decide between getting a 50, or the longer 77 or 85.
10-28-2011, 01:52 AM   #15
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I have the M, A & FA versions of this lens & they´re all great, but the M is the one I most enjoy using.

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