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01-08-2008, 08:07 PM   #1
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43 and 50s.. who has both?

One of the issues I had with my silver 43 when I sent it in to Pentax was how soft the images were. Even the 18-55 kit was sharper at all settings. My F-50 1.7 is fairly sharp at 1.7 and my A-50 2.0 is very sharp wide open. I am considering skipping the 43 and just getting either the FA-50 1.4 or the Zeiss 50 1.4 to fill in the 50 area.

My question is this:

For those of you who have the 43 and any of the auto focus 50 lenses. Which lens gets your vote for sharpest at f2?

01-09-2008, 05:10 AM   #2
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I've just taken these shots at f2 with my FA43; perhaps you can compare in general with your F50 and tell me the good or bad news

All were cropped then resized to 50% using Irfanview
eg. cropped from 3000x2000 to 1240x1600 then resized to 620x800


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01-09-2008, 05:57 AM   #3
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At f2, 50mm would be sharper than 43mm. However, sharpness is not the only criteria in assessing a lens. People buying 43mm usually go for its depth of field, contrast and occasional 3-D rendering ability.
01-09-2008, 06:01 AM   #4
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I have owned both the FA 43 and FA 50. The 50 is definitely "sharper" at f/2, but overall I prefer the 43. Beyond f/2.8 or f/4 the image quality is truly amazing, with that 3-D quality you really don't see with anything but the FA Limiteds. The build quality is also outstanding, much better than the cheesy plastic of the FA 50.

But if you're looking for a low-light portrait lens, I'd have to say the FA 50 is a better lens.

01-09-2008, 06:02 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
At f2, 50mm would be sharper than 43mm. However, sharpness is not the only criteria in assessing a lens. People buying 43mm usually go for its depth of field, contrast and occasional 3-D rendering ability.
Argh, you beat me to it!
01-09-2008, 06:26 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Finn Quote
Argh, you beat me to it!
Hehe... I talk really fast in reality too

The plasticky feel of Fa 50 is something that bothers me too. As you stated in another thread, photography is not all about image quality of photos but also the photographing experience including the feel of lens, the appearance and its charm that is associated with the reputation.

It is like enjoying a good glass of cognac, the look, the smell and the taste. All blend into something surreal...
01-09-2008, 06:27 AM   #7
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The images on top look great! As for reasons other than sharpness, I know why the 43 is great. It's just that I am on the fence on whether or not to buy a FA-50 1.4 or the Zeiss 50 1.4 in place of the 43 Limited.

I had a 43 Limited that was pretty bad in image quality. I sent it in to Pentax for service and they damaged it. They replaced it with a black one which I do not care for as I wanted silver to match my 31 and 77. I did not bother to use the new 43 they sent me and am selling it to buy either the 43 silver, FA-50 or Zeiss 50.

My main issue with the 43 is that the one I had the first time was very soft. Even the kit zoom was sharper at all settings. I did not try my new 43 as I would rather sell it as new, so this is why I asked about the sharpness. I am just torn as to which lens to buy.
01-09-2008, 06:39 AM   #8
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For Fa 43, shooting it wide open is really deliberately looking for an artistic look either in abstract landscape or soft focus protraits. If you are really after a sharp lens, all you need is a sigma 17-70 which will do the job for you very well even wide open.

Fa 43 ltd also renders a coating of silky smooth colour to an image. When needed, a heavy contrast can be inflicted to the image to give a retro look if necessary. This lens gives a lot of possibilities in terms where you want the photos to become.

Comparing to Zeiss 50 f1.4 (I held off my desire to purchase this one, going for Voigtlander 58/1.4 instead), Fa 43 would not lose the bokeh department side of things. Fa 43 has autofocus which is really a bonus. It is considerably smaller and more classic look like voigtlander look.

My Fa 43 is silver and it is less intimidating for a lot of people especially with females. Obviously you have 2nd thoughts regarding this prime. Why not try out Zeiss lens as well and consider the following

1. Do I want to AF or MF?
2. Bokeh VS image rendering - which one is more important for you?
3. A convinient lens or a lens for creativity and versatility?

01-09-2008, 07:10 AM   #9
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I don't have a modern 50/1.4, but rather one of the radioactive Takumars. I haven't done a well controlled test between them, save one that higlights out of focus CA, which the 43 avoided and the 50 had in spades. But that was a torture test.

I have compared the 43 with the 16-45 - now, maybe I have a poor example of the zoom - and found that on every setting the 43 out resolved the 16-45. Pictorially the difference isn't as great, as the 16-45 is good at making photos that 'make sense' to me.

A general impression: on digital and F/4 or wider, my adaptall Tamron SP 90 and my DA 70 are somewhat more detailed, and have creamier bokeh. This is confirmed by the jpeg sizes, the 43 produced smaller size jpegs.

But as is so well expressed above by roentarre, as a photographic tool the 43 is excellent. Almost like on digital, the DA 70 is an automatic transmission and the 43 is a manual one, if that makes sense. On film, the 43 is more of the automatic and the 70 more of the manual... go figure.
01-09-2008, 07:15 AM   #10
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The 43 is perfect other than the sharpness of the lens. Even at 2.8 I was unimpressed, but then again, there was something wrong with mine to be beaten by the kit zoom at all settings. I have not seen what a good 43 can do at 100% f2 and am worried that even my cheap A-50 2.0 does a better job in sharpenss. My 43 was very soft even at f4 and I am worried that a new one will not be much better.

As for the Sigma 17-70, I am really not too interested in zooms. Anyway, I want to have lenses in around the f2 or faster range if I can.

Autofocus is great, but not a must have. I did not consider the Voigtlander 58/1.4 as I thought it might be a bit long. I will give it another look, but I might not want to go over 50mm.
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