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01-20-2008, 07:45 AM   #1
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Which 50 to keep?

Just looking for a second opinion. I'm waiting for delivery of a 4-lens package that I figured I could sell off the extras from. Included is a 50mm f1.4 M. I already have an f1.7 A that is in perfect shape. I'm just wondering what the general consensus was regarding the ease-of-use of the A vs. the 1/2-stop faster of the 1.4. I had thought that the 1.7A was thought to be marginally sharper than the 1.4M but I'm not sure the reviews here bear that out. Also, I have to consider the condition of the lenses, the 1.4 is completely unkown to me at this stage.

A scattering of 2 cent opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!

01-20-2008, 08:09 AM   #2
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I currently own both A50/1.4 and M50/1.4. In the past with my ME I was using M50/1.7 which is identical optically to other f/1.7s (A, F, FA). All are very fine lenses and optically you can not go wrong with any of the 50s. However, mechanical construction or M series and especially M50/1.4 is outstanding and a pure joy to use. You will more or less get down to deciding between M50/1.4 and A50/1.7 based on metering convenience.

Perhaps not relevant to you: I have done extensive testing and to my eyes there is absolutely no difference between M50/1.4 and A50/1.4 (and consequently F and FA). So M50/1.4 is as good as A/F/FA50/1.4 to my eyes.
01-20-2008, 09:26 AM   #3
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I ditched the A 50/1.7 for the M 50/1.4 for the build quality and overall "feel" of the M-series lenses. The A 50/1.7 is made of plastic, with a ratchety aperture ring (I know, doesn't matter on digital) and cheesy 80's-vintage florescent numbers. The M 50/1.4 is gorgeously constructed out of brass, with a nice aperture ring and focusing ring. And who doesn't love that giant front element?

I can't tell much difference between the two IQ-wise, and using M lenses is really not a hardship. It just involves one extra push of a button before a shot. And not even before every shot -- only when the light changes.
01-20-2008, 10:53 AM   #4
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I don't really have an issue with the metering convenience. Personally I find that the M42 lenses are a little too troublesome, but the M lenses are fine, reminds me of my old Spotmatic. When I bought my K100 I had thought that I'd be able to use my old M42s but I hadn't considered that they'd have to be manually stopped down. I've sold off almost all my old lenses, including an 85mm that broke my heart to see it go. I hadn't thought about the difference in build quality between M's and A's. Perhaps that and the little bit of extra speed will push me in the direction of the M. I remember seeing something somewhere that established a pecking order of IQ for 50's as follows:

A 1.4
A 1.7
M 1.4
M 1.7
M 2
A 2

That's why I was a little worried that I was moving down a rung on the IQ ladder. This is the kind of pixel peeping masturbation that I usually detest. My work is of such dubious quality that fractional measures of sharpness are a moot issue. But, I figure that as long as I have two lenses it makes more sense to keep the superior one. I've owned SLRs for the last 37 years (Mamiya/Sekor, Nikkormat, Nikon, Pentax, Canon) so manual metering and focusing is not an issue. And I've always got the 16-45 DA for when I'm not in the mood for that. I'm just looking for second opinions and points I hadn't thought about (like the build quality, for example.) Keep them coming, and thanks to those who have already responded!

01-20-2008, 01:54 PM   #5
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The optics between all three are the same. The only difference might be coating. You can't go wrong with any of them. A lot of people keep a 1.4 and a 1.7 because they render pictures different.
01-20-2008, 03:14 PM   #6
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I would rate the M1.4 higher than the A1.7, but you A lens is easier to use with a digital body!
I have tested some of the Pentax primes recently, and I would rate them as follows:

FA1.4 > M1.4 > K1.2 > A1.7 > A2.0

Maybe the colour and contrast is a little better with the newer lenses due to improved coating.
But the FA 1.4 is a keeper, but the build quality of the K and M lenses are superb.

Mike
01-20-2008, 03:50 PM   #7
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why not keep both?

use the f1.7 when you have light and want apature control but the 1.4 if you want to walk around in the middle of the night.
01-20-2008, 03:54 PM   #8
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I agree about keeping both unless you absolutely cannot afford to, or if you have an AF version.

I had the same two, and I kept the M50/1.4 since it was my father's, and gave the A50/1.7 to a friend since I already had the FA43.

01-20-2008, 04:11 PM   #9
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I will keep both (I have got FA50/1.4 and M50/1.7 myself), or sell the A50/1.7 and get the FA50/1.4 =)

cheers
Kenny
01-20-2008, 04:22 PM   #10
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That's an interesting possibility I hadn't really considered. But I wonder what would be my criteria in deciding which lens for a given application. Keeping in mind that I do have the 16-45 for auto exposures (admittedly 5mm shorter than a 50, but I could always crop). I don't mind the extra button-push to take a meter reading. I had originally thought I'd just sell the M, but I think the lenses each bring about $95 on eBay, that would recoup almost half my original outlay. Perhaps the build quality will astound me, probably some testing would be in order.
01-20-2008, 04:33 PM   #11
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Good as the older lenses may be, I would opt for the A lens because you can shoot at any exposure mode. A big plus in my opinion.
01-20-2008, 04:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by G_Money Quote
That's an interesting possibility I hadn't really considered. But I wonder what would be my criteria in deciding which lens for a given application. Keeping in mind that I do have the 16-45 for auto exposures (admittedly 5mm shorter than a 50, but I could always crop). I don't mind the extra button-push to take a meter reading. I had originally thought I'd just sell the M, but I think the lenses each bring about $95 on eBay, that would recoup almost half my original outlay. Perhaps the build quality will astound me, probably some testing would be in order.
M 50/1.4 and M 50/1.7 have experienced extreme price drops on eBay. I purchased my M 50/1.7 on eBay in mid-December for about $61. Right now, some of them barely go for $40. The M 50/1.4, which usually sold for about $90, sells for about $60 now. I'd just keep them both. Remember, have LBA with pride!
01-21-2008, 09:31 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Finn Quote
The A 50/1.7 is made of plastic, with a ratchety aperture ring (I know, doesn't matter on digital) and cheesy 80's-vintage florescent numbers. The M 50/1.4 is gorgeously constructed out of brass, with a nice aperture ring and focusing ring. And who doesn't love that giant front element?
Are you sure you don't mean the F? My A looks and feels identical to my M with the small exceptions of the a larger grip on the aperture ring on the A, two rows of larger grips on the A as opposed to 3 smaller rows on the, and the obvious A setting on the aperture ring.
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