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01-30-2012, 11:38 AM   #1
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55mm f/1.4 is a stunning lens.

I owned one of these lenses the first time I had a Pentax camera, back in '09-'10 with the K-7. What an amazingly sharp lens. I have a few 16x20's from that lens and they are stunning. Switched away from Pentax and bought a 60D.

I just ordered another one for my K-5 (yes, back with Pentax. Couldn't stay away), and I came back mostly for this lens. I remember how sharp and beautiful it is.

What have your experiences been with it? It seems like it may be a less popular choice on this site. Everyone raves about the 16-45 and 17-70 and of course the limiteds, but I don't see much love for the 55 1.4. I think it's perhaps one of Pentax's best.

01-30-2012, 11:46 AM   #2
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I'm considering picking up this lens so I'd also be interested in hearing people's feedback on it.
01-30-2012, 11:53 AM   #3
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I think people shun it because it's so expensive compared to the FA 50 f/1.4, but that isn't weather sealed, and the build isn't nearly as good as the DA* 55.

And the DA* 55 has the AF-MF switch, which is one thing I seriously wish I had on the FA 50 >.<. If the price dropped I'd consider selling the FA 50 on and getting the DA* 55, as the autofocus on the FA 50 doesn't seem all that reliable anyway.

Though it is a LOT smaller.
01-30-2012, 12:24 PM   #4
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I tried two DA* 55mm lenses before going with the Sigma 50mm F/1.4. If I could get a good copy I would for the weather sealing and smaller size. Hopefully Pentax QC improves under Ricoh.

01-30-2012, 12:37 PM   #5
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One heck of the lens, colors like heaven and sharpness up form 1.4, also one important note, lens not extending during focusing, internally front element, which is retracted inside, visibly travel forth and back but length of the lens do not change, and just put good filter in front and make robust and solid piece of equipment. I'm very happy with my.
01-30-2012, 12:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mareket Quote
I think people shun it because it's so expensive compared to the FA 50 f/1.4...
This is probably the main reason it's not as popular. Other factors could be its field of view, which on APS-C is at about 82mm. Nice for portraits, but not quite as versatile as the 16-45 or 17-70 mentioned by the OP. Lastly, the SDM, although quiet, is a bit slow to focus. It's still a great lens and renders images beautifully. I just don't think most are willing to pay $640 new (BH/Adorama price) vs. the FA 50mm.
01-30-2012, 12:53 PM   #7
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Like Winder says..... good if you can get a good copy ! Better to buy local in that respect.
I would also look at the 43 1.9, which has a better performance and poss a bit cheaper to boot.
Having said that.... a bit of difference in 43 and 55mm so maybe not such a good idea lol
The 55 is a tad sexy .....
01-30-2012, 02:56 PM   #8
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When I got my first 55 1.4, I ordered it open box from Amazon. I did the same with this next one. I saved about $100 off a new one, and I get a 30 day replacement/refund guarantee. Incidentally, I did the same with the 16-50 2.8 as well. Both will arrive tomorrow.

I've always thought that glass is glass, sure one lens may be more or less sharp than another, but they all pretty much render color in the same way. Absolutely not true with the 55 1.4. Many lenses (particularly the Tamrons I've used) have been fairly flat and lacking in character.

01-30-2012, 02:58 PM   #9
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Most Pentax users will never experience the stunning image quality the DA* 55mm f/1.4 offers. My top 10 reasons:

1) can't afford this lens or not prepared to pay for it
2) will make do with the cheaper and inferior FA 50mm f/1.4
3) have an irrational fear of SDM to appreciate how quiet it focuses
4) think the focusing is slow, which it isn't
5) can't appreciate the color rendition and superior optical performance compared with most other lenses
6) think the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is better, which it isn't
7) have the mistaken belief the FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited is as good (close but not quite)
8) can't appreciate bokeh (err, what's that?)
9) don't think better build quality and WR is a big deal
10) have too many old manual focus 50mm lenses lying around to consider it

Last edited by creampuff; 01-30-2012 at 03:13 PM.
01-30-2012, 04:18 PM   #10
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I would be in the irrational fear of SDM category. I've heard too many issues with spotty Pentax QA on those things to consider buying a lens with a SDM motor. Plus I already have a Pentax K 55mm f/1.8, and it is a great lens. It's half a stop slower, but that's not too bad.
01-30-2012, 04:38 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Most Pentax users will never experience the stunning image quality the DA* 55mm f/1.4 offers. My top 10 reasons:

1) can't afford this lens or not prepared to pay for it
2) will make do with the cheaper and inferior FA 50mm f/1.4
3) have an irrational fear of SDM to appreciate how quiet it focuses
4) think the focusing is slow, which it isn't
5) can't appreciate the color rendition and superior optical performance compared with most other lenses
6) think the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is better, which it isn't
7) have the mistaken belief the FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited is as good (close but not quite)
8) can't appreciate bokeh (err, what's that?)
9) don't think better build quality and WR is a big deal
10) have too many old manual focus 50mm lenses lying around to consider it
11) Shoot film and need a FF lens with an aperture ring, so use a FA50 instead.
01-30-2012, 06:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
11) Shoot film and need a FF lens with an aperture ring, so use a FA50 instead.
Why pander to film users using discontinued and obsolete gear? This is 2012 and photography today is all about digital, has been for quite a number of years already. Legacy users can choose plenty of old lenses with image circles covering FF (which the DA* 55mm does btw). Newer 35mm film cameras like the MZ-S don't need an aperture ring. Unfortunately most Pentax users are still somehow stuck in the past in one way or another (old bodies, old lenses, old mindset).
01-30-2012, 06:50 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Why pander to film users using discontinued and obsolete gear? This is 2012 and photography today is all about digital, has been for quite a number of years already. Legacy users can choose plenty of old lenses with image circles covering FF (which the DA* 55mm does btw). Newer 35mm film cameras like the MZ-S don't need an aperture ring. Unfortunately most Pentax users are still somehow stuck in the past in one way or another (old bodies, old lenses, old mindset).
Actually, the MZ-S (which I believe is what twitch has), does require an aperture ring. The PZ-1p series of film bodies do not. Regardless, I don't think he was suggesting that the lack of an aperture ring on the DA*55 was a problem, just that "reason 11" was a specific reason that a small set of people might choose to buy an FA50 over the DA*55.

Personally I loved the DA*55, and strongly preferred it over the FA50. In fact, I'm the one who bought the OP's original copy of the DA*55 a while back
01-30-2012, 06:52 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Most Pentax users will never experience the stunning image quality the DA* 55mm f/1.4 offers. My top 10 reasons:

1) can't afford this lens or not prepared to pay for it
2) will make do with the cheaper and inferior FA 50mm f/1.4
3) have an irrational fear of SDM to appreciate how quiet it focuses
4) think the focusing is slow, which it isn't
5) can't appreciate the color rendition and superior optical performance compared with most other lenses
6) think the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is better, which it isn't
7) have the mistaken belief the FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited is as good (close but not quite)
8) can't appreciate bokeh (err, what's that?)
9) don't think better build quality and WR is a big deal
10) have too many old manual focus 50mm lenses lying around to consider it
I owned and sold one in favor of a 50/1.2 only to find that I couldn't contain myself on eBay and ended-up buying a bunch of other lenses instead!

Anyways, that was almost 4 years now and I still never got the 1.2 I was dreaming of, but when I do... I will likely complete my normal lens collection by replacing my original 55/1.4
01-30-2012, 07:10 PM   #15
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12) For less than the cost of a new DA*55, I got a FA50 and a K50/1.2

LOL, now I'm just being a trouble maker aren't I I still would love a DA*55, but it's hard to justify even for me.
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