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03-04-2012, 09:17 PM   #1
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Is my cheapest lens also my sharpest?

So I went hiking in beautiful Torrey Pines yesterday, and it was a typical gorgeous day. However, it was high noon so of course the sun was way too harsh for good landscape photos.
But I decided to take pics anyway (that's the beauty of digital, it doesn't cost money to experiment).

What I found out is that my FA 50mm f/1.7 is razor sharp!

These are links to the full size images:

All sizes | IMGP5531_DxO | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
All sizes | IMGP5530_DxO | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
All sizes | IMGP5543_DxO | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

You can also click on the smaller sizes to orient yourself.

I Highly recommend getting your hand on this lens. Its small enough to throw in your pocket, its super sharp, and its fast enough to use indoors in low light.

03-04-2012, 11:28 PM   #2
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Not razor sharp like my Vivitar Komine 200 3.5 but is more than enough sharp for me (and i am into sharp/good IQ lenses than all other things).
If i had to chose? i would even sell my Revuenon (Cosina) 55mm 1.2 than this lens...

@cali92rs: you forgot to mention how smooth and buttery the bokeh of this lens.... its a killer (you've got to find and keep one)...
Sorry guys for pushing LBA on each one of you...
03-05-2012, 12:14 AM   #3
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great stuff!

will be interesting to compare it to the new DA50 that comes out which is almost the same in speed (f1.8 vs f1.7)
03-05-2012, 12:19 AM   #4
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50mm f/1.7 is one of the sharpest Pentax fast 50mm
It applies to FA, A, M, of course.

03-05-2012, 08:41 AM   #5
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Fast fifties are from the film days when the "kit" lens was often the sharpest lens.
03-05-2012, 08:59 AM   #6
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I see from demitrov's pages Pentax Normal Prime Lenses. that the F:1.7 is very similar to the FA:1.7, except the front element is a little larger. Is the image quality as good?
03-05-2012, 10:50 AM   #7
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Apparently the basic optical formula is unchanged since its introduction in the M series. Coatings have changed over time, and there are reports that an optical tweak in the A series version resulted in improved sharpness. In short, the M version remains an excellent performer, but the newer versions may be slightly better.
03-05-2012, 12:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
Fast fifties are from the film days when the "kit" lens was often the sharpest lens.
Nowadays, camera manufacturers offer their least sharp lenses in the kits so that you will be "forced" to buy their better lenses.

The marketers have become the most important sector of every corporation it seems like.

03-05-2012, 12:56 PM   #9
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Let's see, my cheapest lenses (not counting freebies) with superb sharpness include:

* Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 (US$2)
* Argus-Chinon 55/1.7 (US$3)
* Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 macro (US$3)
* various enlarger lenses for under US$5 each
* Enna Sandmar 35/4.5 & Tele-Sandmar 100/4.5 (US$7 each)
* CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (12 iris blades) (US$7)
* Nikkor 85/2 (modded for PK) (US$9)

I tried sharpening a lens with a file but it didn't work too well.

But I digress. I am very interested in primes from what I call the Kodachrome era, say about 1955-1975, before printing Kodacolor images on textured paper was popular. Kodachrom era lenses *had* to be sharp or they didn't survive. Sure, trash glass was produced then too. But the better lenses were *really* good.
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