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04-17-2012, 01:18 AM   #1
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Yet Another 50mm Question... sigh.

Yes, I ask a ton of question, someday I'll actually contribute and answer some. Bare with me, I am but a humble newb.

That out of the way: The other day I went out to a local art fair for some street photography, and brought my DA 35 2.8, since many of the things I read said that 35mm was the perfect "street" length. I didn't like it. It seemed a bit limiting; I had a hard time being stealthy, I felt like I had to get into people's faces to get a good shot. It's IQ also was a bit soft for my tastes. I kicked myself in the pants for not taking my cheap F 35-70mm 3.5 (an oddly cheap and awesome lens that I always forget I own), for the versatility and longer focal distance.

I know people prefer the 35mm length for street style photography, but I kept feeling the need for something a bit longer. I would have brought my A 50mm 1.7, but I figured that manual focus would have been a bit of a detriment.

So... I decided that I probably should get a decent AF 50mm. I've seen several discussion here over the various options, all of which are very useful... But they still leave something in the air... Of the various fast 50s (F/FA), which are in my price range (no *), which renders the most like my A 50 1.7? I love the contrast and quality of color of that lens, of all my lenses it renders color and contrast the best. I read that the F and FA 50 1.7 are the same as the A, is this true? How close does the other AF 50's come? How big, also, is the difference between F and FA, IQ wise?

Further, how big of a mistake would it be to get a 2.8 50mm macro as a general purpose lens? I love sharpness, and I generally tend towards details. Though the speed is a bit worrying for many circumstances (parties, and such)

Right now the DA 40 is barely in my budget (used)... Would that be a better option? Though it seems a bit slow and expensive (awesome reviews though).

I swear, I'll be useful next time...

04-17-2012, 01:32 AM   #2
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If you look here and look at the element group and if you click on the lens you can look at drawing of the element arrangement, that will tell you most you want to know.
Pentax Normal Prime Lenses

About the macro.
If it's manual lens there is not much of a problem but with AF if it misses his focus it can take a long time for it to find it again...
Also Macro lenses are expensive and they are specialized to preform their best at close focus distance.

I don't have a problem with my DFA100 macro and the DA35 macro also seem to work fine for normal use but don't know if the same can be said for older macro lenses. I'm no expert in that.

The DA40 is a fine lens... you know there is an XS version of that lens now that is a bit cheaper then the limited model, no metal but plastic though for that price and you are missing some other things.
04-17-2012, 02:01 AM   #3
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My 2 cents worth--if you like the 50 f1.7 in manual focus, you should get the FA 50mm f1.7.

Although I have not used it I hear it is as good or better than the older f1.7 (and I think the M f1.7 is one of the 2 or 3 the best pentax lenses if value/price is considered).

If you decide to do macro it will be good on extension tube, with diopter, or with teleconverter.
04-17-2012, 02:06 AM   #4
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For an alternate discussion site on pentax lenses (look at "best normal lense discussion") I suggest following: stans-photography.info

04-17-2012, 02:27 AM   #5
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AF macro lenses have one disadvantage (as Anvh states) and that is that they have a long focus throw. Which can result in a longer time to achieve focus. It's definitely the case with the DAF100WR, no experience with others.

Difference between 35 and 40 would be 'minimal'; you probably still have to be in the peoples faces (gain will be about 15% in shooting distance for similar framing; e.g. 2 meter with 35mm vs 2.3 meter with 40mm).

I would not worry too much that f/2.8 is not fast enough; you have a K-x so crank up the ISO if necessary or use flash.
04-17-2012, 02:45 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Omestes Quote

So... I decided that I probably should get a decent AF 50mm. I've seen several discussion here over the various options, all of which are very useful... But they still leave something in the air... Of the various fast 50s (F/FA), which are in my price range (no *), which renders the most like my A 50 1.7? I love the contrast and quality of color of that lens, of all my lenses it renders color and contrast the best. I read that the F and FA 50 1.7 are the same as the A, is this true? How close does the other AF 50's come? How big, also, is the difference between F and FA, IQ wise?

Further, how big of a mistake would it be to get a 2.8 50mm macro as a general purpose lens? I love sharpness, and I generally tend towards details. Though the speed is a bit worrying for many circumstances (parties, and such)

.
I have the FA 50/1.7 and it is a versatile all rounder, optically excellent, and much faster focussing than a 2.8 macro.

The F and the FA are very very similar, the FA just coming out on top in formal reviews, but I doubt there would be noticeable in street photography.

If you can wait a while longer then Pentax-Ricoh have announced a DA 50/1.8 is to be released but not sure when

SMC Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8 Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

It should be optically very similar, if not identical, to the FA 50, but based on the same lower cost construction (plastic barrel and mount) as the DA 35/2.4. It should be a brilliant performer at very reasonable price... only problem is you can't buy one yet
04-17-2012, 05:51 AM   #7
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There is a HUGE difference between f2.8 and f1.4 (and 1.7 for all that) and upping the ISO does not compensate enough IMHO for that difference. I use my FA50/1.4 when I HAVE TO GET the shot no matter what the lighting. As someone else said, you can add tubes to your MF 50/1.7 if you want macro but you can't make the f any better on the 50/2.8. I'd stick with the 35-70 and a fast AF 50. I have the DA35/2.4 and its terrific but when I need lower light performance out comes the FA50/1.4.

Given the recent price increases I would not wait for the DA50/1.8. I agree that if it is like the DA35/2.4 it will be a very nice lens, but at what cost and how long until it is available? No, an f/fa50/1.7 or FA50/1.4 now is a much better performer than a DA50/1.8 that you don't have and don't know when you'll be able to get.
04-17-2012, 06:06 AM   #8
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I have tried several 28-70 zooms and generally been unhappy, but the 35-70s get very good reviews. As to the 50s, I have tried several manual fifties from f/1.4 to /2 and been quite happy (other than nailing focus with AF sensors). I've just received a Sigma 50/2.8 macro for testing both as macro and general-purpose lens. We shall see about focus speed, IQ and the like in the next few days.

04-17-2012, 06:34 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
There is a HUGE difference between f2.8 and f1.4 (and 1.7 for all that) and upping the ISO does not compensate enough IMHO for that difference. I use my FA50/1.4 when I HAVE TO GET the shot no matter what the lighting. As someone else said, you can add tubes to your MF 50/1.7 if you want macro but you can't make the f any better on the 50/2.8. I'd stick with the 35-70 and a fast AF 50.
I quite agree. The FA50/1.4 is my gotta-get-the-shot lens and my only AF prime. I certainly use my slower Fifties in adequate light, but nothing says GOTCHA! like an f/1.4. There are good reasons that 50/1.4s remain among the most popular of lenses.

As for street shooting: Sometimes 50mm takes you close enough; sometimes twice or half that focal length is needed. My F35-70 is a great tool... in adequate light. So my twilight kit also usually contains a 24/2 or 28/2, and an 85/2 or maybe a 135/2.5, all MF ('cause those are what I could afford). Even with its iris stuck wide-open, my Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 (PK-M mount) is quite adequate. Its decent DOF and bright VF image at f/2 make focusing easy. Its fairly wide 24mm focal length allows a slower shutter. But no, it's not for distant headshots. Those call for a fast 85-105-135mm.
04-17-2012, 07:09 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Omestes Quote
Yes, I ask a ton of question, someday I'll actually contribute and answer some. Bare with me, I am but a humble newb.

That out of the way: The other day I went out to a local art fair for some street photography, and brought my DA 35 2.8, since many of the things I read said that 35mm was the perfect "street" length. I didn't like it. It seemed a bit limiting; I had a hard time being stealthy, I felt like I had to get into people's faces to get a good shot. It's IQ also was a bit soft for my tastes. I kicked myself in the pants for not taking my cheap F 35-70mm 3.5 (an oddly cheap and awesome lens that I always forget I own), for the versatility and longer focal distance.

I know people prefer the 35mm length for street style photography, but I kept feeling the need for something a bit longer. I would have brought my A 50mm 1.7, but I figured that manual focus would have been a bit of a detriment.

So... I decided that I probably should get a decent AF 50mm. I've seen several discussion here over the various options, all of which are very useful... But they still leave something in the air... Of the various fast 50s (F/FA), which are in my price range (no *), which renders the most like my A 50 1.7? I love the contrast and quality of color of that lens, of all my lenses it renders color and contrast the best. I read that the F and FA 50 1.7 are the same as the A, is this true? How close does the other AF 50's come? How big, also, is the difference between F and FA, IQ wise?

Further, how big of a mistake would it be to get a 2.8 50mm macro as a general purpose lens? I love sharpness, and I generally tend towards details. Though the speed is a bit worrying for many circumstances (parties, and such)

Right now the DA 40 is barely in my budget (used)... Would that be a better option? Though it seems a bit slow and expensive (awesome reviews though).

I swear, I'll be useful next time...
I would rather be stuck with a 35mm lens than a 50mm lens anytime. I have possibly 10 - 50/55mm lenses starting with the F 50/1.4, I rarely use this focal length anymore. It's generally not wide enough outdoors and too tight indoors for me, it's in no man's land as far as FL...

Your F 35-70/3.5-4.5 is an excellent "street" lens, I have this one and it has not failed to produce. Plus, it has a decent "Macro" mode, nicely sharp and IQ is more than acceptable... The Pentax FA 28-70/4.0 is a surprisingly good lens alternative, more than capable but boring

I'll sell you one of my 50's well not really, I love them all...
04-17-2012, 07:15 AM   #11
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while doing the single lens challenge, I have to admit sometimes while trying to take a shot, I find the 50 is a little too much, and wished that I had a 35 for to compose the right shot.
I guess if you dont like getting up close for the close ups, then maybe the 50s would be a better choice...

However, the FA 50 1.4 Im using is pretty sharp and fast... while my M 50 1.4 is sitting neglected though :P
04-17-2012, 07:22 AM   #12
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I'll grant that 50mm on the cropped sensor is a bit tight for many shots but the alternative around 35mm that has <f2 is the 31/1.8 limited but it costs $1250 now vs the $350 for the FA50/1.4 (which is still faster than the 1.8). My compromise is the DA35/2.4 and the FA50/1.4. Photography is ALWAYS about tradeoffs, whether its dynamic range, color, perspective, etc. and so there is no "perfect lens".
04-17-2012, 07:24 AM   #13
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is the 35 2.4 perform better than the 2.8? I have been debating if I should sell the 2.8 to get the 2.4

Macro function is optional since I don't do alot of it...
04-17-2012, 07:28 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by okitoki Quote
is the 35 2.4 perform better than the 2.8? I have been debating if I should sell the 2.8 to get the 2.4

Macro function is optional since I don't do alot of it...
I don't have both so can't say. What I can say is that its an outstanding performer and costs 1/3 what the 35/2.8 macro does, but it is a plastic construction lens without macro. I find that the performance far exceeds its modest cost and it somehow keeps ending up on my K-5.
04-17-2012, 09:58 AM   #15
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I currently have the FA 100 2.8 Macro, so if I went for a 50mm Macro it wouldn't be my primary macro, so I don't need to worry so much about reversing rings and such. The only reason I brought up the macro option was because I generally find myself shooting small details when I should be worrying about the world. "Oh look, a bug!". Basically the macro ability in a AF 50 would be more a question of versatility (unless it has a big enough filter ring to stick a Raynox on it in the field), and I also figure macro lenses have the best IQ generally, I feel like the FA 100 spoiled me a bit, making all my other lenses feel a bit soft. Giving up the speed is a bit iffy though, since thats one of the things that keeps me from using the 35 2.4 as a general shooting lens, it just isn't quite fast enough. Obviously this is the same problem with the 35-70.

The 35-70 is a very strange lens. It seems really hit or miss, at times it really pops, and at other times it seems a bit lacking in contrast. Its bokeh (in macro mode) is absolutely bizarre with close backgrounds, not bad, but very interesting.

I prefer the 50mm length. I find it hard to get within a decent range to actually get a person comfortably in frame with 35mm. I get more scene than isolation of subject, I guess. This is probably wholly my fault, since I seen some awesome shots with 35s. Part of it is probably that I'm rather new to street and candids, so I don't really feel comfortable getting too close. 50 gives me a bit of range, so I can hover more unobtrusively on the side lines.

I've heard remarkable things about the FA 1.7 here, it seems to have more more buzz than the AF 1.4 variants.. How different do they feel in real life? If I got a 1.4 (there doesn't seem to be any 1.7s for sale around the interwebs), would it be as sharp as the 1.7 when stopped down to 1.7?

I'm off to try to dig up some comparison shots... Thanks for the help, again.
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