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12-22-2011, 06:29 AM   #1
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Favorite Fast Fifty and questions......

Why should I consider the F 1.7 over the FA 50 1.4 or vise versa?

If the 1.4 is "must have" why is it only rated at 8.6? Albeit....the reviewers whose opinion I value praise its capabilities.

I have the A 1.4 but want an auto focus lens at this focal length.
FWIW...I'm aware of the perceived softness wide open comparatively speaking.

Chew the fat please........

12-22-2011, 07:04 AM   #2
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ratings like these are not really for comparing two lenses, since it is rare that the same reviewers will have compared both under similar conditions. that said, these ratings are certainly invaluable to identify the recurring problems or inherent design issues and warn potential buyers before they spend money.

that said, if you look at the reviews, the 1.4 actually has far more 8,9,10 scores than the F1.7 due to larger sample population. However, there are also a couple of 6's, a 5, and a 1 rating which drag down the overall. The F1.7 has no low ratings to skew the average. again, if i were comparing the two, these ratings would have almost no influence on my decision unless many people consistently called the lens a dog and the sample pictures could substantiate that.
Since you have narrowed it down, i say buy both and use them side by side for a bit and keep the good one. Afterall, sample variation among copies is enough to cause one person to love a lens and another to hate it.
good luck.
12-22-2011, 07:15 AM   #3
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Since you already have a Pentax 50/1.4, why not try the F 50/1.7? The respective optical formulae for the Pentax 50/1.4 and 50/1.7 lines have apparently remained quite steady over time, so an FA 50/1.4 would probably be quite similar to what you already have. Whereas the 1.7s have interesting differences. Different bokeh, for one (six aperture blades vs. eight for the 1.4s). Reputedly better overall sharpness, especially at larger apertures.
12-22-2011, 07:27 AM   #4
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I have no clue why people dislike the FA50/1.4. I've tried two copies recently (Made in Japan and assembled in Vietnam) and compared them to DA*55 and there was very little to tell those three apart. The 50s were as each other and compared to DA* they were as sharp (in the centre) as the 55, they had touch less contrast, and more yellow tint in their hues. If I didn't have the 55 or could sell the 55 for decent price, I wouldn't mind keeping the 50.
Couple of years back I used to have F50/1.7. I still regard it as fine lens, with great rendering but...6 bladed aperture is not enough for me anymore (I hate seeing hexagons in OOF when stopped down, I much prefer octagons) and the prices went stupid. I bought my copy (with luck), mint, for 25 (average price at that time was 2x as much), sold it year later for 100 and could get as much as 150 for it these days. On the other forum I saw FA50/1.7 for 170. Unboxed FA50/1.4s in decent shape cost as much (little). Which makes it an easy decision IMO. The 1.4s can shoot at f1.7 if needed. But you can't force f1.7 to go to 1.4....

12-22-2011, 07:35 AM   #5
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Axl....I know you've shot both as I've seen some of the pics you through up on the F lens club. I was hoping you'd chime in. Bottom line.....you're saying go with the 1.4?
I know I'm splitting hairs but at least want to give this some thought.
12-22-2011, 07:46 AM   #6
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I love my fa50/1.4 and it is plenty sharp wide open. I assume you've seen the sample thread for the lens. I recently got an a50/1.7 and it seems fine so far. I have only tried it in low light.
12-22-2011, 07:54 AM   #7
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Like I said...I have the 1.4 in manual A series. I love the IQ but hate the shallow DOF @1.4. I believe though that the shots I miss with the shallow dof are because of the manual focus. Take a look at Keshas pics on this page. His shots at 1.4 are keeping the subject in focus. My lens would keep the eyes in focus...or nose.....but the rest of the body would be very soft. I want something that when I delve into the realm of wide open.....I can keep a distance in focus rather then a specific target.
12-22-2011, 07:58 AM   #8
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actually....after looking at those pics again..there's no way he's at 1.4. I think he was just listing the lens model. My bad, although I hope to be proven wrong.

12-22-2011, 08:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deiberson Quote
Like I said...I have the 1.4 in manual A series. I love the IQ but hate the shallow DOF @1.4. I believe though that the shots I miss with the shallow dof are because of the manual focus. Take a look at Keshas pics on this page. His shots at 1.4 are keeping the subject in focus. My lens would keep the eyes in focus...or nose.....but the rest of the body would be very soft. I want something that when I delve into the realm of wide open.....I can keep a distance in focus rather then a specific target.
[Edit: too slow; you caught it yourself!] Are you sure those shots are at f/1.4? There's no exif data and he doesn't say. Most people here prize the shallow DOF of 1.4 or faster, so you're bucking the trend. If your reason for going wide open is low light, you'll simply have to use flash or bump the ISO to get greater DOF. And then the advantage of the faster lens becomes pretty small, especially for an AF lens. Unless you want the 1.4 bokeh. Otherwise go on price/availability.

Last edited by baro-nite; 12-22-2011 at 08:04 AM. Reason: typo, strikethrough
12-22-2011, 09:19 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deiberson Quote
Why should I consider the F 1.7 over the FA 50 1.4 or vise versa?

If the 1.4 is "must have" why is it only rated at 8.6? Albeit....the reviewers whose opinion I value praise its capabilities.

I have the A 1.4 but want an auto focus lens at this focal length.
FWIW...I'm aware of the perceived softness wide open comparatively speaking.

Chew the fat please........
the difference lies in color rendition and sharpness. the 50/1.7 is really really sharp at wide open. at similar apertures, it is still way sharper than the 501/.4. I'm nor just talking about newspaper text print testing but real world test shots. consider the 50/1.4 if bokeh consistency and better highlights is what you are after.
12-22-2011, 10:13 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
I have no clue why people dislike the FA50/1.4. I've tried two copies recently (Made in Japan and assembled in Vietnam) and compared them to DA*55 and there was very little to tell those three apart. The 50s were as each other and compared to DA* they were as sharp (in the centre) as the 55, they had touch less contrast, and more yellow tint in their hues. If I didn't have the 55 or could sell the 55 for decent price, I wouldn't mind keeping the 50.
Couple of years back I used to have F50/1.7. I still regard it as fine lens, with great rendering but...6 bladed aperture is not enough for me anymore (I hate seeing hexagons in OOF when stopped down, I much prefer octagons) and the prices went stupid. I bought my copy (with luck), mint, for 25 (average price at that time was 2x as much), sold it year later for 100 and could get as much as 150 for it these days. On the other forum I saw FA50/1.7 for 170. Unboxed FA50/1.4s in decent shape cost as much (little). Which makes it an easy decision IMO. The 1.4s can shoot at f1.7 if needed. But you can't force f1.7 to go to 1.4....

Your comments are consistent with my reasoning for going from my manual 50/1.4 to my FA50/1.4. All I can say, and I sound like a broken record on this, is that you REALLY need to use a hood with the 1.4. The recess in the front element on the 1.7 is the main reason that I can see that people think its better. Once you add a good hood to the 1.4 it makes a world of difference and, as you said, its 1.4 and you can not make the 1.7 do that ever.
12-22-2011, 10:43 AM   #12
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If you use the 50 as a macro--with extension tube(s) or macro TC, certainly at m>0.5--the f/1.7 is a much better choice. On the other hand the f/1.4 resolution at f/1.4 is a lot higher!! For me this is the significant difference.
12-22-2011, 10:47 AM   #13
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I hood all my 50 Fifties whenever I use any -- except those few whose deep front indents function as hoods, like the Meyer Oreston 50/1.8 and CZJ Tessar 50/2.8s and MacroTak 50/4.

I find the main difference between my SuperTak and FA 50/1.4s is tactile, not optical. The M50/1.7 and SuperTak 55/1.8 also feel different, and render different, as do all my Fifties.

I find all my fastest Fifties -- K50/1.2, ST and FA and Yashica ML 50/1.4s, Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 -- are very sharp wide-open, BUT ONLY WITHIN A RAZOR-THIN SUBJECT FIELD. Stop them down to f/2, and they're as sharp or sharper than my various f/1.7-1.8-1.9-2.0 lenses.

Reasons to use the slower glass have more to do with rendering|bokeh|size than sharpness. Reasons to use faster glass include DOF control and grabbing otherwise-impossible shots. We don't use an f/1.2 wide-open for edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness. Not if we're rational.

I love all my Fifties, even the humble Domiplan. The K50/1.2 renders best. The FA50/1.4 is the most flexible, my gotta-get-the-shot lens. My little CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (alum, 12 iris blades) has the niftiest boheh. The big Tomioka 55/1.4 and Helios-44 58/2 give unique renderings.

Each lens is a different brush with which to paint images.
12-22-2011, 11:08 AM   #14
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Which hood for the FA50?

Square one like: Lens hood 4 PENTAX PH-SA49 Smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 F1.7 | eBay

Or...

Just a round 49mm screw in hood?

Does the square shape do anything different/good/bad?

Cheers
Dave
12-22-2011, 11:18 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
Does the square shape do anything different/good/bad?
A shorter square or tulip hood provides the same protection as a longer round hood without vignetting -- that's the difference. A hood prevents stray light from reaching the objective. A longer round hood is more likely to vignette the image; square|rectangular and tulip hoods of the same length leave the image corners unimpeded. And a longer hood (of any geometry) lets you aim the lens closer to a light source.

My preference: collapsible rubber hoods, for compactness and convenience. But I'll use whatever is available.
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