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04-23-2008, 07:14 PM   #1
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The Utimate 50.

I've heard that the Supreme 50 is the FA 1.4. I've also heard it's the A 1.7. I've also heard it's the Tak 1.4. Personally I like my Sigma 50/2.8 macro, finding it very sharp but pretty slow for a 50.

Whether it be Pentax, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, or whatever other brand (Sears? ), what is the SUPREME 50? And WHY?

04-23-2008, 07:32 PM   #2
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Since you name yourself Fastphotography, you might as well go with the fastest 50: A50/1.2 . Sean did a test of his 50s collection, and it's the best of the lot.
04-23-2008, 07:41 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by aegisphan Quote
Since you name yourself Fastphotography, you might as well go with the fastest 50: A50/1.2 . Sean did a test of his 50s collection, and it's the best of the lot.
Hahaha well my last name is Fast (seriously!)
But if I were to get a lens, I think I wouldn't get the 50/1.2, because it's only a tiny bit faster than any 50/1.4. And the price jump is HUGE Nevertheless, I don't doubt it's a very nice lens!
04-23-2008, 07:43 PM   #4
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i posted this on another thread, but check these out
LBA: A50mm f1.2 vs FA 50mm 1.4: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
Comparison of Pentax Fast 50s: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
the Normal Lens Shootout Photo Gallery by Sean Carpenter at pbase.com

04-23-2008, 09:03 PM   #5
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Interesting opinions in here. Seems to me lens selection is not usually an all-or-nothing proposition. While one lens may be prised for its resolution & low distortion, it may produce less than optimal results for depth of field, speed, or color rendition, etc. I'll gladly live with a little barrel distortion if it comes with great color. I'll also give up a few stops of speed if the faster lens has so little DOF that I can't snap a good low light portrait. It matters.

I find the really fast lenses tend to have a too narrow depth of field for my liking, so I migrate toward the mid-speed and slow end of the scale. I also looked at the gallery of pictures from the pbase.com shootout and found the f1.2 photos a bit cool and the color subdued compared to what I'd expect from the subjects. The photos were plenty sharp, but that's only part of the formula for a good lens. The Takumar 1.4 pictures were warmer & had a more pleasing bokeh, IMHO.

That shootout is a good source of comparison photos if you're in the market. My preference (as you might guess) is for the A series 1.7, and I like the A series 2.0 equally as much.

Here's more data on lens comparisons for the pentax 50s from jcolwell.ca - home :

- OK, but not particularly notable performance
* good
** very good
(!) excellent
(!!) great, exceptional, best of the (!)
x poor, and/or low resolution (relative to similar f, Av)


Last edited by TourDeForce; 04-23-2008 at 09:08 PM.
04-23-2008, 09:07 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by aegisphan Quote
Since you name yourself Fastphotography, you might as well go with the fastest 50: A50/1.2 . Sean did a test of his 50s collection, and it's the best of the lot.
I tend to disagree, I have found the F50 1.7 to be the very best on digital because of DOF. But I do agree the A50/1.2 is one heXX of a good lens and do not discount the kit lenses of the M50/1.2's. I am very close to posting the image differences at P-base in the next week or so with both the k10 and 20.

Before you flame, spring is a very special time in the area where I live for photography. So I have focussed my time on on my family, spring travel, work and photography plus the estate/tag sales and a bit of eWay Pentax finds.
04-23-2008, 10:08 PM   #7
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I can understand color rendition, sharpness, contrast. But you dislike the 50/1.2 simply because of DOF? You can always stop down your 50/1.2 to 1.7 so you can comfortably take your pictures. Best is very subjective since no one has really done an extensive quantitative/qualitative test of all the 50s available for Pentax.

For what I know, if you want the fastest: A 50/1.2 is your choice (9 blades would give smoother bokeh)

Sharpest: FA 50/2.8 macro (like the test Jim posted above or from Mr. Takinami test)

Bokeh: From what I heard, the later 50/1.7 (A, F, FA) has the most pleasing one.

Color Rendition: I don't get into this. Unless it's outright too cool or too warm, color rendition is also up to personal liking.

And FWIW, I suggest the 50/1.2 half-jokingly since his ID is Fastphotography. I know everyone has at least a few 50s they've tried so he would get more than just my opinion.
04-23-2008, 10:23 PM   #8
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One of our forum members (carpents) has an interesting normal lens shoot-out on his pbase site:

the Normal Lens Shootout Photo Gallery by Sean Carpenter at pbase.com

Enjoy!!

Steve

P.S. I am a fan of older glass and the slightly slower f/1.7 and f/1.8 lenses. My fav for general excellence?

Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 (compact, light, old-school build, and great IQ)

And if I am looking for something special in the image, I will pull out my old M42 Rikenon 50mm f/1.7. The diaphragm blades are a little askew, but gives excellent color rendition and lends a sort of 3-D quality to the images.


Last edited by stevebrot; 04-23-2008 at 10:36 PM.
04-23-2008, 11:03 PM   #9
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I have M50mm/2, A50mm/1.7, F50mm/1.4, and FA50mm/2.8macro.
Coming soon is FA50mm/1.4 (I assume this is the same with F50mm/1.4)

Among all, I like the bokeh from F50mm/1.4 not so sharp wide open but very sharp starting from f/2.
FA50mm/2.8 is very fast in focusing (not so accurate w/AF for macro better use MF) and very sharp wide open.
A50mm/1.7 is pretty sharp wide open, but I prefer AF most of the time - cannot compare speed since I can't use AF

That's from my personal opinion.
04-24-2008, 03:46 AM   #10
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Since we're on this academic exercise, the faster 50mm lens may not necessarily be the best (best for what?) since lens aberrations such as coma become more prominent for very large aperture lenses. That f/1.2 may be able to render very thin DOF but it could just as easily flunk when shooting something like coloured lights at night (lights start looking oval). Detail wise, I dare say the f/1.7 or f/1.4 might even resolve more detail than a f/1.2. The upshot is no one particular lens can be the best in every dept.

Some months ago I bought 2 pieces of the FA 50mm f/1.4 for a client and for myself. I tested no less than 6 pieces before I made a selection. Even though the serial numbers were very close, there were slight but subtle differences between the 6 pieces tested. As lenses are made in batches and assembled by hand, there is always going to be small differences. So when one says lens xyz beats lens abc, we should actually be saying lens xyz (serial no xxxx) beats lens abc (serial no yyyy). Making generalisations that lens f/1.7 or whatever is the best is quite meaningless in my opinion.

Last edited by creampuff; 04-24-2008 at 03:54 AM.
04-24-2008, 04:03 AM   #11
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it depends really .. fastest ? F/1.2

best value ? F/1.4

Ultimate in terms of resolution and sharpness ? DFA / FA 50mm ...

I have the F/1.4 and the DFA 50mm , the DFA is MUCH better in terms of resolution... no comparison... even near infinity ... let alone near the macro range...

Also the 50mm DFA beats the F/1.2 in terms of resolution , although they are different purpose lenses . But thats something to be expected ... the 50mm DFA is more expensive .

PS My DFA 50mm is MUCH better than the DFA 100mm . The 50mm is practically free of PF and CA and shows much better resolution .
04-24-2008, 04:11 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mer Quote
it depends really .. fastest ? F/1.2

best value ? F/1.4

Ultimate in terms of resolution and sharpness ? DFA / FA 50mm ...

I have the F/1.4 and the DFA 50mm , the DFA is MUCH better in terms of resolution... no comparison... even near infinity ... let alone near the macro range...

PS My DFA 50mm is MUCH better than the DFA 100mm . The 50mm is practically free of PF and CA and shows much better resolution .
I agree fully. Have the FA50 Macro and it is so good, definitely a tad better than the DFA50. The DFA 100mm is in my opinion a disappointment. Rival 100/105mm macro lenses from Minolta/Sony, Canon and Nikon trounce the DFA 100 hands down. But we've got no other choice if one wants a 100mm AF macro/tele. Pentax slimmed down the lens but compromised on optical performance. Hopefully Pentax can resurrect the FA100 Macro and redesign it to add SDM.
04-24-2008, 08:46 AM   #13
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The sharpest 50 I have ever personally used is my SMC-M 50 f/4 Macro (I've used FA 50 1.4, M 50 1.4, A 50 1.7, M 50 1.7, A 50 2, M 50 2, SMC Takumar 50 1.4)

I like this link, also --> The Online Photographer: Great 50mm lenses

(The SMC Tak 1.4 is #3, and The Pentax 1.7 variants are #7, and the 1.4 #8 - ahead of some Leica's, Nikkor's, etc - very impressive.)



.

Last edited by jsherman999; 04-24-2008 at 09:30 AM.
04-24-2008, 09:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by WendyB Quote
I tend to disagree, I have found the F50 1.7 to be the very best on digital because of DOF. But I do agree the A50/1.2 is one heXX of a good lens and do not discount the kit lenses of the M50/1.2's. I am very close to posting the image differences at P-base in the next week or so with both the k10 and 20.

Before you flame, spring is a very special time in the area where I live for photography. So I have focussed my time on on my family, spring travel, work and photography plus the estate/tag sales and a bit of eWay Pentax finds.
But is the F50/1.7 an AF lens?
04-24-2008, 09:55 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by FastPhotography Quote
But is the F50/1.7 an AF lens?
Yes, the F and FA lenses are autofocus.
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