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11-25-2013, 08:13 AM   #16
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I say go for the FA 50 1.4.

I think the reason that most people say that it isn't as sharp as the 1.7 wide open is because of the shallower depth of field at 1.4.

Plus, if you are comparing sharpness, you need to do so at the same exact f-stop.

A lens hood is a must for outside shooting in order to get great contrast as is true with just about any lens. A lot of the time, poor contrast is mistaken for poor sharpness.

I have the FA 50 1.4 and the A 50 1.7. Both are plenty sharp at their widest f-stop and are both great lenses.

11-25-2013, 08:48 AM   #17
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The FA 50 1.4 isn't as sharp until 2.8. I've had both, two K5s, same time and compared them. The FA 50 1.4 is soft until 2.0. 2.0 is its sweet spot. Bokeh is going to be better on the FA 50 1.4. I've done the hood thing too. If you have any desire for portrait bokeh, stay away from the 50 1.7! The 50 1.7 is extremely sharp though! As is the Sigma 50 1.4.
11-25-2013, 08:50 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by krissow Quote
SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 - I've read that this lens is soft wide open but I've also heard that this lens produces the best bokeh.
I still consider it 'pretty good' wide open. It's just that it's brutally sharp by the time you stop down to f/2.8 so by comparison it seems soft wide open (it's also 'pretty sharp' at f/2.0). At f/1.4 the DoF is so very shallow that the focus is very unforgiving, and this is exaggerated if you're trying to take photos in the dark (harder to focus).

Lack of quick shift focus is a bit of a con if you're used to using it, but I generally manual focus with this lens anyway.
11-25-2013, 09:38 AM   #19
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Wide open the FA 50 1.4 is very soft. It doesn't become "sharp" until after 2. F/2 is its sweet spot (and it looks good). It isn't a soft wide open comparison - it is just soft wide open. I've shot will all the 50s pentax has made and wide open it is much softer than the 1.7. The 1.7 is sharp all the way through. They don't match until 2.8.

11-25-2013, 10:00 AM   #20
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I have M50/1.7 and DA50/1.8 , DA50 is far better at 1.8 in contrast, also the bokeh is more desirable between 2 - 2.8
11-25-2013, 09:14 PM   #21
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If you want Bokeh - stay away from the 50 1.7! The 1.8 is one of the greatest deals in photography right now. It is a can't miss with its price point.
11-26-2013, 01:36 AM   #22
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I have had all the f2, f1.7, f1.4 50mm in A and M as well as the FA50/1.4
They are all sharp enough if focus is right.
But often its not, due to AF tolerance and subject shifts.

The f1.7 are optically the same to the FA50/1.7, and the bad thing is the hexagonal oof highlights when used stopped down.

The 50/1.4 is the best balance of max aperture, AF and bokeh.

I'd just settle on the DA50/1.8 for the AF, better bokeh and price over a FA50/1.7
12-01-2013, 09:31 PM   #23
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My biggest issues with the FA50/1.4 is that it has the worst CA's I've seen in any of the 50mm's I've used (all wide open) and it's quite soft @ 1.4. As such, I often find the FA50 sitting on my desk, while the A50/1.7 stays at my side. (That and I'm a MF guy, so the FA really doesn't suit me...)

Although I haven't tried it, I'd recommend the DA50/1.8 as it looks to have the best balance of price, AF, sharpness, and bokeh. It's actually one that I'd consider if it wasn't for the fact that I have too many 50mm's...

12-02-2013, 07:06 AM   #24
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This is a crop from the Pentax F 50mm 1.4 @1.4

This is a crop from the Pentax F (not FA) 50mm 1.4 @1.4
I owned the M1.4, M2.0, the K1.2 and the F 1.7........ this one so far seems the best! Shot with the K20D
the picture is a 100% crop BTW.....
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PENTAX K20D  Photo 

Last edited by Steelski; 12-02-2013 at 07:24 AM.
12-02-2013, 09:42 AM   #25
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Even wide open the 1.7 is absolutely hideous when it comes to bokeh. It is a nervous/harsh bokeh. It is vibrant and sharp, but if you won't good or better bokeh the 1.7 is the worst in the bunch.
12-02-2013, 09:57 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by zbrueningsen Quote
If you want Bokeh - stay away from the 50 1.7! The 1.8 is one of the greatest deals in photography right now. It is a can't miss with its price point.
QuoteOriginally posted by zbrueningsen Quote
Even wide open the 1.7 is absolutely hideous when it comes to bokeh. It is a nervous/harsh bokeh.
Comment like these are misleading.

The bokeh of the various f1,7 lenses out there is not as creamy as that of the f1,4 lenses. So IN COMPARISON it is harsher. But in itself, in absolute terms, it is not harsh. Not at all. There are many lenses with less smooth bokeh on the market (take the fantastic DA21 LTD as an example).

And speaking of the DA21, its bokeh is seen as a flaw by some, and as a perk by others. The same can be said of a f1,7 50mm lens.

So let's keep calm and not exaggerate, shall we?
12-02-2013, 10:17 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Comment like these are misleading.

The bokeh of the various f1,7 lenses out there is not as creamy as that of the f1,4 lenses. So IN COMPARISON it is harsher. But in itself, in absolute terms, it is not harsh. Not at all. There are many lenses with less smooth bokeh on the market (take the fantastic DA21 LTD as an example).

And speaking of the DA21, its bokeh is seen as a flaw by some, and as a perk by others. The same can be said of a f1,7 50mm lens.

So let's keep calm and not exaggerate, shall we?
While I know you are trying to explain something here, I think you are trying to be an antagonist more than anything. If you go back to the OP I am pretty sure this was about "in comparison". It was "in comparison" of the fast 50s available. While I do believe bokeh is subjective in "absolute terms", you can't tell me that the 1.7's bokeh is desirable compared to the 1.4 or the 1.8. This is what we are talking about. I've used all these lenses, and bokeh is an extremely important factor into portrait photography (which is what I do). Look at the reviews overall - the bokeh is rated higher on the 1.4 compared to the 1.7. The 1.8 and 1.4 are probably closer (which the forum review said the 1.4 had the best). While I agree that this is all "subjective", this was about comparison, and I have shot all these lenses quite a bit. The 1.7 is very sharp and vibrant, but it's bokeh (my subjective desire is pleasing and smooth, buttery) is not on par with the other 50s.

P.S. I am calm, and I did not exaggerate. Thanks for the wink. And the DA 21 was not one for the comparison.
12-02-2013, 01:26 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by zbrueningsen Quote
While I know you are trying to explain something here, I think you are trying to be an antagonist more than anything. If you go back to the OP I am pretty sure this was about "in comparison". It was "in comparison" of the fast 50s available. While I do believe bokeh is subjective in "absolute terms", you can't tell me that the 1.7's bokeh is desirable compared to the 1.4 or the 1.8. This is what we are talking about. I've used all these lenses, and bokeh is an extremely important factor into portrait photography (which is what I do). Look at the reviews overall - the bokeh is rated higher on the 1.4 compared to the 1.7. The 1.8 and 1.4 are probably closer (which the forum review said the 1.4 had the best). While I agree that this is all "subjective", this was about comparison, and I have shot all these lenses quite a bit. The 1.7 is very sharp and vibrant, but it's bokeh (my subjective desire is pleasing and smooth, buttery) is not on par with the other 50s.

P.S. I am calm, and I did not exaggerate. Thanks for the wink. And the DA 21 was not one for the comparison.
I hope you did not interpret my comment as being mean, angered or anything of the like.

I've owned all sorts of 50 : f1,4 / f1,7 / f2 / f2.8 macro. I stand by what I wrote, but I will phrase it differently. There ARE differences between these lenses. The f1,7 and f2 both have busier bokeh than the other two. That is perfectly true.

However, the differences are far from meaning that the f1,7 cannot be used for portrait. I did use it for many years before deciding I prefer 40mm. In no way did the out of focus rendering prevent me from creating the pics I wanted.

The 21 was used as an example. Compared to it the f1,7 is butter-smooth

No harm intended, hut sometimes maybe our choice of words carry more weight than what we intend.
12-02-2013, 01:51 PM   #29
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I had the F 1.7 and I had it for my 2nd daughter's newborn pictures. I regret not having the FA 50 1.4 at the time. While I concede again that bokeh is subjective - the bokeh of the 50 1.7 is not near as smooth. I have shot a Sears 135 2.8 (non-macro) and I think they have very similar bokeh. If the DA 21 is worse than the 1.7 50, I am glad I didn't purchase it recently (which I almost did instead I purchased a FA* 24). The pictures I saw did not give me the impression the bokeh wasn't as smooth as the 1.7. The Pentax SMC 50mm 1.7's created bokeh because of the isolation of the background because of the aperture. The 1.4 and 1.8 create better bokeh because of the rounded blades (1.8) and 8 blades (1.4). I'm not saying blades dictate the smoothness of bokeh (although it often seems), but none of these are in the park of the DA* 55 1.4.
12-02-2013, 06:04 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
I still consider it 'pretty good' wide open. It's just that it's brutally sharp by the time you stop down to f/2.8 so by comparison it seems soft wide open (it's also 'pretty sharp' at f/2.0). At f/1.4 the DoF is so very shallow that the focus is very unforgiving, and this is exaggerated if you're trying to take photos in the dark (harder to focus).

Lack of quick shift focus is a bit of a con if you're used to using it, but I generally manual focus with this lens anyway.
I'm with you on this one. It is so sharp by 5.6 that I can just about put away the longer lens and crop the K5 shots. It will probably be even better eventually on the K-3.
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