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12-12-2013, 09:14 AM   #1
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FA 50mm F1.4 or DA 50mm f1.8

Hello dear Pentax users,

I'm looking for portrait lense. Choosing between FA 50mm F1.4 or DA 50mm f1.8, and its very hard to decide which one to pick.
Dxomark scores is in favor for DA 50mm f1.8 Pentax smc FA 50mm F1.4 versus Pentax smc DA 50mm f1.8 - Side by side lens comparison - DxOMark

already looked at this review and it is still hard to decide https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/198274-fa-5...mm-f1-8-a.html

Maby there is people which used both these lenses for portrait use?
I know reviews tells much, but i do not trust only numbers or sample photos taken by people with different skils

12-12-2013, 09:45 AM   #2
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If I am on a budget, I would get the Pentax DA 50mm f1.8. If I am on an even smaller budget, I would get a Pentax M 50mm f1.7
The FA 50mm f1.4 is probably better for portraits. Hopefully you get it with the nice lens hood. It also has DoF scales and aperture ring, which can be useful. And it probably has better overall construction. So it has a couple advantages over the DA 50mm f1.8. Just set camera to Av, set f1.4, jpeg mode to portrait, and you have insta-art portraits.
The DA 50mm f1.8 has the advantage of rounded aperture blades (might not really be significant, but some people like it) and maybe has better lens coatings (though I doubt there is a difference). I think the DA 50mm f1.8 does not come with a hood.

Where I live the FA 50mm f1.4 is significantly more expensive than the DA 50mm, so I would probably get the DA. Though, I use my M 50mm f1.7 (no AF, no A-mode), and don't think I need another 50mm. But the FA 50mm f1.4 offers you the most. The other portrait lens that Pentax makes is the DA* 55mm f1.4, but that one is a little higher priced. The DA* 55mm is apparently made for portraits, though. You might also want to look at the Sigma 50mm, but that is a huge lens. You can always check the lens reviews section of the forum or the sample photo gallery. The thing with 50mm lenses is that you almost can't go wrong in terms of optics - all produce great images. Its other features that can tip the scales.

Last edited by Na Horuk; 12-12-2013 at 09:57 AM.
12-12-2013, 09:52 AM   #3
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Both will do just fine (as would an F 50mm F/1.7) - just pick the one that seems to emit the most pixie-dust from where you're standing... I'm only half-kidding. Both lenses have a fine reputation, and neither one costs an arm or a leg. Both have plenty of satisfied users. Only one has an aperture ring, but do you shoot film? FA is (officially) full-frame compatible, so if you lust after a (Pentax) FF digital and believe the rumors that it will happen in 2014, then that might tip the balance... Other options to think about are the DA * 55mm F/1.4 and Sigma 50mm F/1.4.
12-12-2013, 10:40 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
If I am on a budget, I would get the Pentax DA 50mm f1.8. If I am on an even smaller budget, I would get a Pentax M 50mm f1.7
The FA 50mm f1.4 is probably better for portraits. Hopefully you get it with the nice lens hood. It also has DoF scales and aperture ring, which can be useful. And it probably has better overall construction. So it has a couple advantages over the DA 50mm f1.8. Just set camera to Av, set f1.4, jpeg mode to portrait, and you have insta-art portraits.
The DA 50mm f1.8 has the advantage of rounded aperture blades (might not really be significant, but some people like it) and maybe has better lens coatings (though I doubt there is a difference). I think the DA 50mm f1.8 does not come with a hood.

Where I live the FA 50mm f1.4 is significantly more expensive than the DA 50mm, so I would probably get the DA. Though, I use my M 50mm f1.7 (no AF, no A-mode), and don't think I need another 50mm. But the FA 50mm f1.4 offers you the most. The other portrait lens that Pentax makes is the DA* 55mm f1.4, but that one is a little higher priced. The DA* 55mm is apparently made for portraits, though. You might also want to look at the Sigma 50mm, but that is a huge lens. You can always check the lens reviews section of the forum or the sample photo gallery. The thing with 50mm lenses is that you almost can't go wrong in terms of optics - all produce great images. Its other features that can tip the scales.
Thank you for opinion. Where i live price difference between between FA 50mm F1.4 and DA 50mm f1.8 is not so different and i can afford that.
DA* 55mm is too expensive.
To buy sigma 50mm im afraid because it's autofocus. A lot rumors that autofocus is bad with pentax bodies, there is huge chance to buy sigma with bad focus.

When buying lense im interesting in lense built quality, accurate focus

12-12-2013, 11:23 AM   #5
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The differences are fairly small, but for portrait use, I think most of the differences lean towards the FA 50/1.4. The wider aperture allows use in lower light and/or less depth of field. It's softer at wide apertures with more field curvature which generally is preferred for portraits.

Price is a big factor now. The Sigma is sometimes pretty close to the FA. Last time I looked it was $350 vs. $400. That would be a tough decision.
12-12-2013, 12:02 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The differences are fairly small, but for portrait use, I think most of the differences lean towards the FA 50/1.4. The wider aperture allows use in lower light and/or less depth of field. It's softer at wide apertures with more field curvature which generally is preferred for portraits.

Price is a big factor now. The Sigma is sometimes pretty close to the FA. Last time I looked it was $350 vs. $400. That would be a tough decision.
Where i live sigma costs more then FA.
But what advantages sigma have against FA ?
12-12-2013, 12:25 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vejas Quote
Where i live sigma costs more then FA.
But what advantages sigma have against FA ?
Everything, except size and price.
12-12-2013, 12:36 PM   #8
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A 50 1.4, F 50 1.7, FA 50 2.8 Macro
My three best fifties. I'm unlikely to upgrade to the FA 1.4 and only buy Full Frame lenses so the DA is out. Portraits and flash go together so pre A lenses are also out.

My opinion only and ymmv

12-12-2013, 12:44 PM   #9
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surprised if the DA hasn't better coatings ?
surely in 23 years?
12-12-2013, 03:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Transit Quote
surprised if the DA hasn't better coatings ?
surely in 23 years?
QuoteOriginally posted by Transit Quote
surprised if the DA hasn't better coatings ?
In the bag Hoods may matter more than Limited.
12-13-2013, 02:45 AM   #11
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Hm, do you think the FA might have gotten silent coating updates? I doubt its still exactly the same lens as when it was introduced. This might also explain some of the price fluctuations

Edit: And I would still take the Pentax FA 50mm over the Sigma 50mm.
12-13-2013, 07:56 AM   #12
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As an owner of the FA 50 f/1.4, I'd advise you to buy a hood if you buy this lens. It's really not flare resistant at all.
12-13-2013, 02:41 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Hm, do you think the FA might have gotten silent coating updates? ..
no I meant the DA over the FA
Totally benefits from a hood
12-21-2015, 09:09 AM   #14
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Just got a K30 with 18-55 WR and 50-200WR kit lenses, after years of using an ME Super. Amongst my old lenses I have M-50 F1.7 and A-50 F1.7, which are fun to use, but as focusing is tricky in dim light, thought I might go for an autofocus lens.
With a used FA 50 costing about 21/2 to 3 times what the DA 50 costs (here in the UK), is the extra f-stop worth it?
12-21-2015, 01:12 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by toonpointnine Quote
Just got a K30 with 18-55 WR and 50-200WR kit lenses, after years of using an ME Super. Amongst my old lenses I have M-50 F1.7 and A-50 F1.7, which are fun to use, but as focusing is tricky in dim light, thought I might go for an autofocus lens.
With a used FA 50 costing about 21/2 to 3 times what the DA 50 costs (here in the UK), is the extra f-stop worth it?
First of all, it isn't a full f-stop, and digital sensors lose a lot of light-gathering capability when you go beyond f/2. If portraiture is your primary use for the lens (the topic of this very old thread), then you shouldn't be opening up beyond about f/2.4 unless you really like the look of super-soft noses and ears. The FA 50 will render quite similarly to your older MF lenses, but possibly not quite as sharp in the center until you reach at least f/4. The FA 50 is considerably sharper across the frame than the DA 50 in the f/2-4 range (typical portrait apertures). The DA 50 has greater contrast, nicer bokeh, less CA, but the edges are soft until at least f/4. The main reason the DA 50 has dropped in price so much in recent years is that the AF is very nervous and often makes the wrong decision! It seems to do this on most bodies, although I sold the K30 before I bought the DA 50 - so didn't test that combo. It is still nervous on the K-01, so similar focus system to the K30 (at least in live view).

Many Pentaxians feel the two MF 50s you have are optically and physically the best non-macro 50mm lenses, and I tend to agree (I actually have the m50 f/1.4, but pretty much concede that the f/1.7s have a little better sharpness and contrast near wide open based on the various tests and images I've seen). Have you tried focusing in live view with the focus peaking enabled? You probably will nail focus more consistently than with the DA 50 and its nervous AF.
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