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06-09-2013, 08:40 AM   #1
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Pentax D-FA 50mm f2.8 vs DA Star 55mm vs Da 70mm Limited??

Hi
I'm having a lot of trouble deciding which of these lenses I should get. Yes I would obviously like the 55mm the most but it is much more expensive than the other two (over 200 more) and I'm not sure whether it's really worth paying that much more just to get the 1.4 and weather sealing.The 70mm looks nice although it just seems a tad bit small for my large hands.
So preferably a comparison between the 50mm and the 70mm, although if there are any good reasons why I should go for the 55mm, then please feel free to say.
I really just want it as a general lens for all types of photos. Mainly portraiture and maybe some macro.
Please post your images!!! There arn't enough photos on the internet from tthese three lenses! Especially the 50mm macro
Oh and one more thing. Does the 50mm have a metal exterior?


Last edited by Takumar Matata; 11-09-2014 at 12:13 PM. Reason: Don't want real name shown for privacy reasons
06-09-2013, 09:04 AM   #2
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The D-FA 50 2.8 is half plastic, half metal -- It's a solidly built lens. I like mine quite a lot, though I've yet to deyellow my Takumar to compare them directly. The macro capabilities at 50mm are quite interesting compared to my 90mm, though. I don't have the 55 or 70, but I like my 50 a lot.

I participated in a thing here last year, so have some shots; Kona's Album: Single in October 2012 - PentaxForums.com all taken with the 50 2.8.
06-09-2013, 09:26 AM   #3
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I cannot imagine any of those three disappointing in the image quality area. However they are very different lenses. I have the DA 70mm Limited and love it. But it is a portrait lens with a MFD of 70cm, which at times has been an issue for me. The DA*55 has MFD of 45cm which is more reasonable, it also has sealing, and higher price tag. The DFA 50mm is a dedicated macro lens with a MFD of 20cm, not that you cannot use it for general photography but the long focus throw can be an issue.

So I'm not going to help you as you say you want macro and portraits and I don't think either of those does both well. But the 50mm is the best compromise.
06-09-2013, 11:20 AM   #4
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Since I already have a sizeable collection of various Pentax 50's and 55's, I would pick the DA 70 out of that group. For a macro, I prefer a longer length and the D FA100 would be more to my liking. All three are excellent lenses however and a choice such as this is going to vary according to individual choices. I have found that the 50-55mm focal length doesn't fit into my needs very often so I would hesitate to spend big $$$ on a lens that size right now. The DA 70 is on my purchase list as soon as I heal up and get working again.

06-09-2013, 12:57 PM   #5
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I have 55 and I had 50 and 70.
I like 55 a lot, fantastic lens, but I miss 50 macro a lot, i don't miss at all 70, it had to long minimum focus distance and I have 50-135 for portraits and also there is 55.
I sold 50 macro only because fragile construction when is extended to minimum focus distance but if u use hood that is not problem, inner barrel and elements extending and hood is fixed to outer barrel of the lens so length of lens+hood is constant. Best about of 50 macro what i can say is that I think to get one again.
06-09-2013, 01:35 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I would prefer the DA *55. I like its rendering, nice and sharp, even from f1.4. The DA 70 is the farthest from being able to do macro and it is the slowest one of all.

If you want macro, I prefer a lens that has a little longer focal length -- say, the FA 100, D FA 100 WR, Tamron 90, etc. These just give you a little more working distance which is awfully handy. While the 50 or even the DA 35 limited are capable of macro photography, it is a little hard with moving things because you have to get fairly close with the shorter focal length.







I just wanted to mention that the photo of my daughter was shot at f1.4. I used to the shoot with FA 50 f1.4 and never really got the same level of sharpness with that lens till f2.8 or so.

Last edited by Rondec; 06-10-2013 at 12:56 PM.
06-09-2013, 01:39 PM   #7
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I've got both the 70mm Limited and the 50 F 2.8 Macro. Like them both. The 70...don't have problems with regarding large hands. I'm 6'3"...245 lbs with correspondingly large hands and the 70 is fine for me to work with.
06-09-2013, 02:36 PM   #8
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You already received some worthwhile advice. I would like to share a different perspective on the OP. I tried briefly the D-FA50mm macro and I considered the two other lenses. At the end I selected other lenses for a range of reasons.

For macro, I prefer to use a 80-120mm focal range. The Tamron 90mm is a well-regarded macro lens with a small price. The Pentax D-FA100mm is a premium macro lens and it is equally liked, but with a higher price tag. For portrait, the DA*55mm is definitely a well-liked lens: a bit like of Rolls Royce.... (Rondec showed some superb examples.) As for the DA70mm, it is a different lens (IMHO).

Ultimately no lens will be perfect for macro and portrait. Personally I prefer the Voigtlander Nokton58mm f1.4 and FA77mm Ltd for portrait. Both lenses have outstanding IQ, and can be found secondhand for about $400 to $650 if you are patient. For macro, I used the Tamron 90mm, but I found that macro is not my style.

I may suggest that you consider expanding your selection, be patient and regularly the PF marketplace, as well as some well-respected ebay Pentax 2nd hand lens sellers (several are also PF members).

My 5 cents..... hoping that it may help.

06-09-2013, 04:46 PM   #9
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I got both the 70/2.4 and the 55/1.4 and they are both wonderful!

70/2.4 is one sharp lens in a tiny package with lovely rendition, super-fast focusing and great flare resistance! It and the 40/2.8 are two lenses great at concerts since they can handle all that lighting with ease.

















55/1.4 seems to have become my new walk around lens due to it's slight tele focal lenght (I'm a tele guy) and speed together with weather sealing. I can just take it with me no matter rain or darkness. It's a lot more bulky and it's a lot slower (though quieter) focusing than the 70/2.4. Just like the 70mm I really like the colors, contrast and bokeh it produces. At least my lens is dangeroustly sharp when stopped down and when I'm shooting out cockatiels I often have to soften the images, shot stopped down to F4-8, in post processing due to them looking over-sharped even without sharpening.




















06-09-2013, 05:31 PM   #10
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I have some tripod mounted test images on a K-5 for 2 of the lenses -

DA* 55

DFA 50 Macro
06-09-2013, 05:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
I have some tripod mounted test images on a K-5 for 2 of the lenses -

DA* 55

DFA 50 Macro
Wow, the 55mm really has a nicer look to it, especially in the background, in my view. 50mm looks sharp too though but a bit messy in the background. Though that's a pretty brutal background to work with for any lens. Thanks for the links storm, your a real trooper! (Pun intended)
06-10-2013, 12:50 PM   #12
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Cheers everyone, you have all been very helpful and I appreciate you spending the time to help me out here.
Especially to Rondec and visual darkness for uploading such briliant images. Also big thanks to Stormtech for that nice, clear comparison of the 50 and 55.
So I have decided to go for DA star 55mm 1.4 mainly because of the stunning colours and sharpness it produces. (However, it may take me some time to gather the money together ;D, or I might just get a used one.

But there's one more thing I'd like check. How common is it to get a 55mm 1.4 sdm lens where the sdm has failed??
It will be annoying for me to get a used one then the sdm breaks and its out of it's warranty.
Should I take that risk?

Last edited by Takumar Matata; 11-09-2014 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Don't want real name shown for privacy reasons
06-10-2013, 12:58 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vincent Caetano Quote
Cheers everyone, you have all been very helpful and I appreciate you spending the time to help me out here.
Especially to Rondec and visual darkness for uploading such briliant images. Also big thanks to Stormtech for that nice, clear comparison of the 50 and 55.
So I have decided to go for DA star 55mm 1.4 mainly because of the stunning colours and sharpness it produces. (However, it may take me some time to gather the money together ;D, or I might just get a used one.

But there's one more thing I'd like check. How common is it to get a 55mm 1.4 sdm lens where the sdm has failed??
It will be annoying for me to get a used one then the sdm breaks and its out of it's warranty.
Should I take that risk?

Vincent
Judging from the survey it is very uncommon: SDM Reliability Survey - PentaxForums.com
I haven't had any problems and my lens was bought used, I only know that it's at least one year old and probably about three. Not that I got mine way bellow market price for the lens here in Sweden!

The SDM is a bit slow partly due to the long throw and it has that slight lag in one direction, just like most SDM lenses seem to have (at least the 55 and the 50-135). Other than that it's just lovely and I've used mine in slight rain without a problem. The deep hood is fantastic when it comes to keeping the front lens moisture free in bad weather.
06-10-2013, 01:01 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vincent Caetano Quote
Cheers everyone, you have all been very helpful and I appreciate you spending the time to help me out here.
Especially to Rondec and visual darkness for uploading such briliant images. Also big thanks to Stormtech for that nice, clear comparison of the 50 and 55.
So I have decided to go for DA star 55mm 1.4 mainly because of the stunning colours and sharpness it produces. (However, it may take me some time to gather the money together ;D, or I might just get a used one.

But there's one more thing I'd like check. How common is it to get a 55mm 1.4 sdm lens where the sdm has failed??
It will be annoying for me to get a used one then the sdm breaks and its out of it's warranty.
Should I take that risk?

Vincent
Honestly, the lenses that seem to have SDM failure are the DA *zooms, particularly the 16-50 and 50-135. I have seen a couple of folks who had their SDM fail on the 55, but seems to be really uncommon. If you could get an extended warranty (like Mack) for cheap, maybe go with that, but I think you're safe without that.
06-11-2013, 09:16 AM   #15
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Thank you everyone

Thanks! I think I'll wait till I can find a used one then get some sort of warranty on that. Buying it new would be horrendously expensive.

Last edited by Takumar Matata; 11-09-2014 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Don't want real name shown for privacy reasons
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