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03-31-2010, 03:43 AM   #481
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should I get the Nokton 58mm or the Pentax SMC FA 50mm, both f/1.4?

Hi,

I'm relative new to DSLR (had a P&S for years).
I have a K-x with kit lenses (18-55 , 55-300).
I bought a SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/2. It's OK but nothing to be impressive about.

I read a lot about this Nokton 58mm and is really intrigued.
I know its build quality is better than FA 50mm.

but...
My main concerns...
- I'm a little daunted by the MF part. Having used the Pentax-M 50mm prime for a bit and I'd say I can get some keepers *only* if my target patiently cooperates
- I know the kytzeye but it adds significant cost (Nokton, which is MF, is already more expensive than FA 50mm, which is AF). Plus it seems not to be solve-all: even when you can focus more accurately, you can only focus so fast (OK, maybe Pentax in general, K-x and FA 50mm in particular, are pretty slow in AF anyhow.)
- I do intend to get a lens for portraits but NOT by any means exclusively - I really want to use it for general purpose as well whenever possible (eg, go out in the wild; in-door, etc.). In this regard it seems 58mm would be slightly better than 50mm but really by a stretch? I doubt it.


in short,
likes:
- 58mm better for portraits than 50mm (only according to my readings, no experience
whatsoever)
- Nokton better build quality than FA 50mm

concerns:
- MF pretty daunting


I had almost going to pull the trigger for a week now but the MF is still blocking me...

Maybe the real question I should ask is: is the FA 50mm really that much worse than Norkon 58mm for my purposes? (I've read a ton of reviews on the FA 50mm and most are pretty positive, even though dpreview only gave it ~82/100, which is actually not very high.)

FA 50mm was always in my picture until I saw this thread and noticed the Nokton. Sometimes you wish you knew less

Any opinion?

03-31-2010, 06:15 AM   #482
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QuoteOriginally posted by yuwlyuwl Quote
- I'm a little daunted by the MF part.
I believe rightly so.
  1. Pentax AF is sometimes called "slow" but this is in comparison to the practically instant AF of high-end Canikon bodies. The majority of MF shooters will be slower and less accurate than Pentax AF.
  2. A stock focussing screen won't allow exact focussing below f/2.8. In other words, for the range where the Nokton shines, you'll have to rely on focus confirmation by the camera (not ideal) or get a split screen.


QuoteOriginally posted by yuwlyuwl Quote
In this regard it seems 58mm would be slightly better than 50mm but really by a stretch?
IMO, 58mm is definitely better for portraits.
That's why the DA* 55/1.4 has 55mm, not 50mm.

QuoteOriginally posted by yuwlyuwl Quote
is the FA 50mm really that much worse than Norkon 58mm for my purposes?
The FA 50/1.4 is a great lens and you can do lots with it, including portraits. It isn't great in the f/1.4-f/2.8 range, where contrast suffers even in the in-focus areas. Also, the bokeh becomes busy in that range. You can still use these phenomena for making interesting images, but from a purely technical viewpoint, the Nokton is definitely the better lens in this range. BTW, the DA* 55/1.4 improves on the FA 50/1.4 in this range as well.

I think it really boils down to whether you can live with MF. If so, I think you should go for the Nokton. I personally wish the Nokton existed as an AF version, but note that I've never tried the Nokton myself.
03-31-2010, 06:45 AM   #483
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yuwlyuwl

not sure if I can help with your dilemma, but will share my experience of the Nokton and MF in general. Bear in mind I grew up with MF Olympus SLR kit and dont much like plastic lenses, 'clever cameras' or new fangled gadgets like AF

I have K10D with stahdard screen. The 18-55 ALII and DA 35mm Macro are my only AF lenses. I use the 35mm for some portrait/flowers/bugs stuff and while it is good resolution it is often a little too wide or too narrow for my needs

The Nokton is my commonest portrait and general use lens and I have to say it is still lovely to use. At or around f2 it is great for kids portraits with good contrast, sharpenss and bokeh (f1.4 gives 98% failure for me on MF). Dont use it passed f2.8

The trap focus was useful at first but I found I get better success rate on MF with a properly set up viewfinder, anticipation and lots of practice. With moving kids as targets I can get 60%+ success rate now (after 12 months practice). No idea if AF would be better but I love the challenge of MF, you might find it frustrating

If MF appeals maybe other lenses/routes may be good to explore. My first MF was a 28mm f2.8 Komine built close focus PKA. Cost me £20 for a minter and it is fab for stitched landscapes taken in portrait (where MF and manual meter is better)

My MF best buy so far is a £10 Tamron 103A 70-210, used wide open at 70mm (so PK fit is fine in use) it is a fab portrait lens as it adds a bit more working distance and looses only a little on bokeh

Next on my list is either a Jupiter or more probably Helios 44M-7, maybe they could be a possbility for you too. The -7 is the high resolution 44M and worth seeking out, it is probably as close to a Nokton as you can get for £40

If you are unsure of spending big bucks in the Voigtlander I can highly commend these sorts of lenses as a low risk place to go play - and if you dont like it you can get your money back easy enough

hope that helps
03-31-2010, 07:08 AM   #484
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The best way to respond to your query is through photographs..

These were shot at f1.4...





These were shot at F2...






These at f2.8...





And these at the optimum f5-f5.6...




I get a lot more keepers now using the MF Voigt. And to think I am severely farsighted!!

03-31-2010, 07:43 AM   #485
hcc
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QuoteOriginally posted by yuwlyuwl Quote
Hi,
I'm relative new to DSLR (had a P&S for years).
I have a K-x with kit lenses (18-55 , 55-300).
I bought a SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/2. It's OK but nothing to be impressive about.

I read a lot about this Nokton 58mm and is really intrigued.
I know its build quality is better than FA 50mm.
but...
My main concerns...
- I'm a little daunted by the MF part. Having used the Pentax-M 50mm prime for a bit and I'd say I can get some keepers *only* if my target patiently cooperates
- I know the kytzeye but it adds significant cost (Nokton, which is MF, is already more expensive than FA 50mm, which is AF). Plus it seems not to be solve-all: even when you can focus more accurately, you can only focus so fast (OK, maybe Pentax in general, K-x and FA 50mm in particular, are pretty slow in AF anyhow.)
- I do intend to get a lens for portraits but NOT by any means exclusively - I really want to use it for general purpose as well whenever possible (eg, go out in the wild; in-door, etc.). In this regard it seems 58mm would be slightly better than 50mm but really by a stretch? I doubt it.

in short, likes:
- 58mm better for portraits than 50mm (only according to my readings, no experience
whatsoever)
- Nokton better build quality than FA 50mm
concerns:
- MF pretty daunting

I had almost going to pull the trigger for a week now but the MF is still blocking me... Maybe the real question I should ask is: is the FA 50mm really that much worse than Norkon 58mm for my purposes? (I've read a ton of reviews on the FA 50mm and most are pretty positive, even though dpreview only gave it ~82/100, which is actually not very high.)
FA 50mm was always in my picture until I saw this thread and noticed the Nokton. Sometimes you wish you knew less Any opinion?
First you should read the detailed reviews at www.photozone.de of both lenses:
Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 - Review / Lab Test Report
Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II - Review / Test Report
The comparison of the verdicts is compelling in favor of the Nokton 58mm. (Do not be fooled by the Nokton listed in the Nikkon lens: it is available wiht K-mount.)

Second, I have a K-7 and I went through the same selection decision as you do now: FA50mm or Notkton 58mm. I was looking for a low-light lens for outdoor. After some research and input from Pentaxforums.com members, I bought the Nokton 58mm new. (It was the same price as for a new FA50mm, at www.adorama.com.)

Where am I after 3 months? I purchased the Nokton for outdoor low light conditions. And the Nokton delivers.... The lens is very sturdy, basically weather resistant WR. This is a great advantage with my K-7 when I work outdoor under the rain, wind, dust and mud. So I am not disappointed and I am very happy in that respect.

However, I discover the fantastic image quality of the Nokton : the pictures are really nice. And I found that I use now the Nokton almost 50% of the time, even in situations when I did not think that I would use it. For example, I did recently a series of shots of water splashing (PentaxForums.com - hcc's Album: Air-water flows) with some very nice results. Some were selected to be presented in a competition in June. I also love the Nokton for portraits and to take pictures of the children and family.

The MF is in fact a very nice feature that helps me to learn and improve, and that can be an advantage in some situations. Until then I was always using AF; now I start to see the benefits of MF.

All in all, I recommend very strongly the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4. The price for a new lens is comparable to the FA50mm, but the built quality and image quality are not comparable: the Nokton is fabulous.
03-31-2010, 05:48 PM   #486
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although the Nokton is a great lens, you may find that it's price is not worth the spending if you are worried about MF. unless you are really up to the task of fully focusing manually. otherwise other cheaper 50mm+ lenses are up to task of delivering high quality images. I believe you'd be better off with the FA50 f1.4 if you are concerned about focusing (it has both AF and MF capability) rather than having to spend the same amount of money or even more on a manual focus Nokton. if you want to try shooting manual, start it by buying the cheaper $40-$80 50mm lenses. those lenses are no pushovers themselves. the fuzz about the Nokton is more of personal preference, rather than shooting better pictures.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 03-31-2010 at 05:54 PM.
03-31-2010, 08:53 PM   #487
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For me, the fact that it is MF is one of the great features of the Nokton - the focusing ring provides more precision than the rings of AF lenses. Although, I'll have to add that for an AF lens, the FA50 also has a decent focusing ring. I've shot with both at 1.4 and I always use MF.
06-12-2010, 01:08 AM   #488
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Anybody home??

I've got my Nokton recently,
doing test shot only but loved it so far.
As said, fun to work with, and impressive at f/1.4





06-12-2010, 03:14 PM   #489
hcc
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Apemen,
Nice shots. Yes, the Nokton is a delight to work this.

Like some of us, I bought it for low light, large aperture shooting. Now I use it for anything: such a nice IQ and beautiful pictures .... I find also that it is an excellent lens to learn MF. Once you get it, you are rewarded by very nice images.

Good shooting...
06-13-2010, 02:13 PM   #490
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I really dig that lens... Had it on my Fuji S5, it was together with its little Sibling Ultron a really deadly combination, albeit by now beaten by a K7 and LTDs...
Heres a pic of my beloved Girlfriend, Nokton (F-Mount) on Fuji S5 wide open. I love the colors and the way it is soft and sharp to the same time

greetings from konstanz/Germany (4:0, hell yeah)

Luca
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07-03-2010, 03:35 AM   #491
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some f/1.4 samples












Last edited by apemen; 11-27-2010 at 12:58 AM.
07-28-2010, 11:47 PM   #492
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Last edited by apemen; 11-27-2010 at 12:59 AM.
07-29-2010, 08:31 AM   #493
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nice pics, apemen!!
07-30-2010, 09:35 AM   #494
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I still lust after this lens...
10-04-2010, 12:11 PM   #495
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From my first few shots with the Nokton. No PP, straight out of the camera (K-7):


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