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08-21-2012, 04:28 PM   #1
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Pentax 50mm - please read if you own one.

I have an old Sears 50mm f1.7. I think it's pretty sharp compared to other old lenses I have.

I'm thinking of upgrading my Sears to a Pentax.

Problem is there's MANY 50's out there under the Pentax review database:

M 50mm F1.7
FA 50mm F1.4
A 50mm F1.7
M 50mm F1.4
F 50mm F1.7
A 50mm F1.2
A 50mm F1.4
FA 50mm F1.7
SMC Pentax 50mm F1.2
SMC Pentax 50mm F1.4
F 50mm F1.4
DA 50mm F1.8

If you own one of these, would you recommend the model you have?
I'm looking for a sharp lens. I've heard the M50 f1.4 is pretty sharp?

08-21-2012, 04:35 PM   #2

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I love my K50 f/1.2, as when you get a person in focus @ f/1.2, it will blow your find. I find that by f/4, it's as sharp as a macro, so I try to not go above f/8 with it. I think that the K50 f/1.2 even rivals the cheaper Sears 55 f/1.4 in sharpness @ f/1.4. I am selling my sharp copy of the Sears 55 f/1.4 due to having LBA and wanting to experience the speed and otherwordly character of a f/1.2. The only downside to the f/1.2 is that it's a pain to focus @ f/1.2 unless you use LV, but the results are worth it.
08-21-2012, 04:45 PM   #3
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I have an A50 1.7 and now a D-FA 50 2.8, I love both. The colours the A50 delivers are really quite unique compared to all of my digital era lenses, but I find manual focus a bit of a pain. Optically, it is superb, though. Definitely recommend it for the cheaper realm of older standard lenses. My D-FA cost almost 4x as much, though I favour it for closer focusing ability, and AF.

Most any of the fast 50s will be good, though I've heard the 1.4 is a little weak compared to the 1.2 and 1.7. The new DA 1.8 is reportedly the same optics as the older 1.7s (which were allegedly closer to 1.8 speed than 1.7, so the new version has been renamed accordingly). But given how common K/M/A 50s are on the marketplace here, I think you should try to get a 1.7, if you can't afford the 1.2.
08-21-2012, 04:45 PM   #4
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I have the Sears f1.7,M f1.7,A f2 and have had the F 50 f1.7 which I sold.I can't tell much difference in any of them.

08-21-2012, 05:30 PM   #5

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Other than the DA50/1.8, I've had virtually all of these (or the next/previous-series equivalent e.g. K50/1.2 instead of A50/1.2). I still have K50/1.2, A50/1.7, and F50/2.8 macro, so that may say something. F50 macro is the least used since I have DFA 100 WR macro.

K50/1.2 is the best overall. A50/1.7 has nice colors, sharpness, and is a great value.

The best AF 50's are actually the DA*55 and FA43. The F50/1.4 is the best AF lens of the true 50's and is rather nice, but is still a noticeable step down from the FA43, so I sold it.

The DA*55 is the only lens (of all these non-macro lenses mentioned here by either you or me) that gives nearly maximum IQ and obvious sharpness when wide open (the K50/1.2 is more about beautiful bokeh, while the DA*55 is more about everything else).

So your short list, roughly in order of increasing cost, should be:

A50/1.7 (or F50/1.4 if you must have AF)

Any of these is adequate in its own right, but all have distinctly different "personalities," so you must choose the one(s) you like.

Just a quick note on the AF 50's: It can be "kind-a fun" comparing them. For some reason, my FA50/1.7 really was slightly better than my F50/1.7, and my F50/1.4 was better than anything I saw shot with others' FA50/1.4s. I don't know why, except that the F50/1.4 shared most of the same great qualities that A and F glass often hold in common. But then if you get an FA43, you'll sell them all and forget the whole thing. So unless you think this would be fun, or insist on keeping the price lower, save youself lots of time and take a shorter route.

Last edited by DSims; 08-21-2012 at 05:49 PM.
08-21-2012, 05:32 PM   #6
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I've have or have had: M50-f2, M50-1.7, M50-1.4 (have 2 copies both equally good) A50-1.7 and finally FA50-1.4...

The M50-f2 is a dog... It was my first prime and I've had a couple now (with cameras I've aquired) but let them go quickly...

All the others (particularly the M50-1.4's) are great but if I had to choose one it'd be the FA50-1.4 hands down... IMO as good as the 'M' in IQ but the AF makes it much more usable.

However... I would add the DA*55-1.4 to your list of possibilities as well... The images I've seen from it look truly stunning...
08-21-2012, 05:35 PM   #7
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If you want a sharp and cheap and you can live with MF go for the M50/1.7, it's the best bang for the bucks out there.
If you want sharp and AF and have money to burn, go with DA* 55/1.4
If you have money to burn, go with A50/1.2
08-21-2012, 05:41 PM   #8
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FWIW, I have two seperate Sears 50mm f/1.7's of different make. Both are razor sharp. If you're uprgading from them, I'd at least get an A-lens if not an AF lens unless you're grabbing a 1.2 or 1.4.

08-21-2012, 05:43 PM   #9
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You can simplify your search by considering that all the Pentax 50/1.7 versions are based on the same optical formula; same goes for the Pentax 50/1.4 (and likewise for the two versions of 50/1.2). There have been improvements to the coatings and minor optical tweaks over time, but the old versions stand up beautifully. So in part it comes down to how much you value the A setting, autofocus, and aesthetics and build quality. Value king has got to be the M50/1.7, an excellent sharp lens that can be found for under US$50. The K 55/1.8 and 55/2 are also well worth considering -- 55mm is an especially nice FL for portraits on Pentax APS-C.

On the other hand, your Sears lens might be just about as good. Don't be fooled by the brand; these were manufactured by reputable lens companies.
08-21-2012, 05:59 PM   #10
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I actually recommend the new DA 50mm f/1.8. Not only is it cheap and has AF but the feel of the focusing ring when manual focusing is one of the best out well damped. Seriously!
08-21-2012, 06:00 PM   #11
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I own the ST50/1.4, 55/1.8, M50/2, M50/4 Macro, and FA50/1.4 and have used a few others. The rendering of the ST50/1.4 is really nice but the combinstion of adapter and MF make it far less used. The M50 Macro is used the most because MF is easier when doing static macro work and its a gem. The FA50 is sharp and great in low light but MUST have a hood or contast and general IQ suffer (its front element is SO much more exposed than any of the 1.7s). 1.2s have their mystique, and the price to goalong with them, but the A50/1.7s seem to be the best compromise among the MF 50s. With the hood the FA50/1.4 is fast, renders nicely, and has good overall performance.
08-21-2012, 06:07 PM   #12
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I can only comment on the SMC Pentax 50 1.4 and say its superb.
Tough choice from the ones listed cus I think everyone will have their favourite.
The 50 1.7 does seem spoken of in high regards on here.
08-21-2012, 06:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
On the other hand, your Sears lens might be just about as good. Don't be fooled by the brand; these were manufactured by reputable lens companies.
Echoing this, I can't argue with the quality of either of my Sears 50's. In fact, my Pentax-M 50mm 2.0 is probably the worst of the three 50's I own, mostly because I suspect whoever owned it before me used it as a hockey puck at some point. My Pentax 50 has a very, very oddball quality to it which I think comes from the fact it was obviously abused before I had it.
08-21-2012, 06:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mishmatta Quote

If you own one of these, would you recommend the model you have?
I'm looking for a sharp lens. I've heard the M50 f1.4 is pretty sharp?

I have a Sears 50mm f/1.7 myself, as well as the following Pentax 50mm lenses: SMC-M f/2 ; SMC-A f/1.7 ; SMC-M f/1.4.

My Sears 50mm f/1.7 is every bit the equal to the SMC-A f/1.7, except that the Sears lacks the A contacts. And it cost $5 rather than $70.

The SMC-M f/1.4 is sharp stopped down to f/2 and beyond. I use f/1.4 as a "trick" feature, for the bokeh and all that. It's not my sharpest lens wide-open.

The SMC-M f/2 is nothing special; certainly not better than the Sears.

If you have the same model Sears 50mm f/1.7 as I do (which is all metal construction, 52mm filter thread, and reads "AUTO SEARS MC LENS JAPAN 52 1:1.7 50mm" around the front lens element) then you won't find much of an "upgrade" in sharpness by getting a Pentax version.
08-21-2012, 06:44 PM   #15
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This is a fun read: My Favorite Lens

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