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02-20-2012, 10:53 PM   #1
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Decision Time for Prime

For some time I have been considering a new prime to accompany my DFA 100 mm macro WR and DA* 16-50mm limited linked to the K-5. Of course the 31mm is highly touted, but even to an old fart, c. $800 seems excessive. So, I dusted off my 1972 vintage A-50mm 1:1.4 and A-50mm 1:4 macro to retest these relics. Then I did some amateur comparison testing with all four lenses looking at focal length limitations and most important, sharpness, as most of my work is for botanical research.
Well, of course when it came down to sharpness the 100mm is a clear winner at 10. The A manual lenses were a clear 8, sometime 9, and the 16-50 not in the competition.
When it came to focal length consideration, 40 mm seemed to be a good compromise, but 50mm was not unbearable. What was unbearable was using a manual lens, no matter how sharp. So, it seemed the 40 mm pancake had all the good things necessary along with excellent price. But, then I thought about the superb sharpness rating given to the DFA 50mm macro=10 and even though it was a bit longer and a $100 more, the added capabilities seemed to push it out front. So, B&H are a bit richer
and the DFA 50 will be here in a few days. Hope the decision was a good one. The attached photo is with the ancient A-50mm macro.

02-20-2012, 10:55 PM   #2
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here is the pic.
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02-20-2012, 11:00 PM   #3
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if you want to keep with the trend of sharp macros, there's also the 35mm ltd to consider on your future lba course
02-21-2012, 12:01 AM   #4

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I thought this would lead you to the FA43 - a decision you'd probably be happy with.

I don't have experience with the DFA 50 macro, since I have the F50 macro. But I don't use mine often, since I also have the DFA 100 macro WR. What I do use fairly often is the FA43. I think it and the DA*55/1.4 are the more interesting choices here, unless you'll use the macro capabilities often.

I think you made a minor mistake in identifying your old lenses - I had to look it up myself to verify. The 50/4 Macro must be from the "K" or M series, which would be mid-70's to early 80's. The 50/1.4 may indeed be an A series lens, but that would make it from the mid-80's onward. Each of these series' has some nice lenses, of course.

02-21-2012, 12:31 AM   #5
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The DFA50 may well be the sharpest Pentax lens in production. If that is what you seek, it will deliver.
02-21-2012, 12:39 AM   #6
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DFA50 is suitably sharp. It may take a while to get properly focused. You may be get frustrated in the field for non-macro shot. I do not use AF when shooting macro.
02-21-2012, 04:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by john mood Quote
Of course the 31mm is highly touted, but even to an old fart, c. $800 seems excessive.
Where can I find the 31mm for $800? Ain't it $1000
02-21-2012, 05:16 AM   #8
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Botany means you are looking for a macro lens, so get the macro lens. For comparison the Zeiss 50 macro would be interesting f/2! You could also check out the DA 35 macro.
Btw I would not rate the reviews in this forum as very representative. A 10 only implies that many people are happy with a lens, most of them have never had the chance of working with the best lenses at all.

You can get the FA31 used for $800 :-)))

02-21-2012, 08:08 PM   #9
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THANKS ALL. I'm mostly macro, so the DFA 50 will be fine with the DFA 100. Sorry, the current two antiques I mentioned are are M series, c. early 70s. Anyone want the smc pentax M macro?

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