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View Poll Results: I own one or more of these lenses and
They are about the same 428.57%
The FA 50 1.4 is clearly superior   00%
The F 50 1.4 is clearly superior 321.43%
Save your money, The F 50 1.7 is good enough 750.00%
Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

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05-25-2014, 10:40 AM   #1
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F 50 1.4 v FA 50 1.4

I am considering upgrading my nifty fifty. Are there any compelling reasons that make one of these two a better choice?

They appear to have the same optical formula.

Is there a significant build quality difference?

Is there a significant difference in coatings?

Does one focus faster than the other?

Or is my F50 1.7 good enough?

05-25-2014, 10:56 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Many will argue that your F50/1.7 is a better lens than the 1.4s. I personally would take a 1.4 over a 1.7 any day. The 1.7 is a superb lens, I just prefer the rendering from the 1.4

As for the F50/1.4 vs FA 50/1.4, unless you find the F version for the same price as an FA, I'd buy the FA. Optically, they are identical. Of course you will find sample variation. Build quality wise, I think they are about on par.
The F version is somewhat rare, and therefore expensive. I think the rareness and expense are why it gets a slightly higher rating here at PF.
05-25-2014, 10:57 AM   #3
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For the half stop of light you get better protection of that front element with the F 50 ƒ1.7 (it is recessed somewhat from the filter rings on the ƒ1.7 version). i prefer the look of the F series over the FA.. and to be fair, if you dont need an aperture ring, I'd say just go for the DA 50mm ƒ1.8.

With my Kr, I found the FA 50 to be only about 50% accurate or less wide open (much better at ƒ2.0)

Stopped down they are both razor sharp IMO.
05-25-2014, 11:07 AM   #4
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The aluminium hood is a permanent fixture on my nifty fifty

QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
For the half stop of light you get better protection of that front element with the F 50 1.7 (it is recessed somewhat from the filter rings on the 1.7 version). i prefer the look of the F series over the FA.. and to be fair, if you dont need an aperture ring, I'd say just go for the DA 50mm 1.8.

With my Kr, I found the FA 50 to be only about 50% accurate or less wide open (much better at 2.0)

Stopped down they are both razor sharp IMO.
I only buy FF lenses. The DA* 55 1.4 would be attractive otherwise.

05-25-2014, 11:17 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by aoeu Quote
I only buy FF lenses. The DA* 55 1.4 would be attractive otherwise.
While intended for APS-C, the DA 50/1.8 and DA* 55/1.4 cover the full frame circle, and many have used them with film successfully.
05-25-2014, 11:27 AM   #6
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Aurelle has posted DA*55 photos in the FF compatibility thread shot on a ZX body. It is indeed fully compatible with 135 format - and I sold FA 50/1.4 and F 50/1.7 and acquired the * lens because of his posting (and have been very pleased). Also there are a number shooting DA 35 and 50 respectively in the Share your film shots thread.
05-25-2014, 11:43 AM   #7
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I had the F50/1.7, FA50/1.7, and F50/1.4. The F50/1.4 was the best, with the FA50/1.7 coming in second. From the images I'd studied, it wasn't even worth trying the FA50/1.4, and the user reviews concur.


The FA43 and DA*55/1.4 are both markedly better (I own/have used both). Like I did, you'll sell all your other AF 50s if you get one of them. But if you're determined to stay at the mid-level the F50/1.4 does manage to have a subtle, more pleasing quality to its images. I considered it "special" until I got the FA43.
05-25-2014, 01:53 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by aoeu Quote
I am considering upgrading my nifty fifty. Are there any compelling reasons that make one of these two a better choice?

They appear to have the same optical formula.

Is there a significant build quality difference?

Is there a significant difference in coatings?

Does one focus faster than the other?

Or is my F50 1.7 good enough?
They are all very similar to each other, with the two 1.4 lenses being identical optically. Get whichever one is the best value, IMO.


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05-25-2014, 02:44 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
Aurelle has posted DA*55 photos in the FF compatibility thread shot on a ZX body. It is indeed fully compatible with 135 format -
Yes i did ! The DA*55 might appear as expensive, but it's the best investement i've done so far. It's a bit big, yes, but damn me, i love everything of this lens


Back to the original question : Both F/FA are the same. Same noise, same AF, same optical formula, maybe the FA has a slightly better coating.

Why do you want to upgrade ?
- I've just the money to upgrade, who needs a reason ?
- You need the half stop ?
- You prefer the rendering of the 1.4 ?

Let's be honest : i've bought the DA*55 when i had the F50/1.7. Why ? just because i could at the time. It was a very lucky guess, i admit. But a lucky guess @400€ (550 US $). But other than that, i was completely happy with the F50 !
05-25-2014, 03:00 PM   #10
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I rarely used my FA50/1.4, it was good but not any special (a bit boring to use). On the other hand the DA*55/1.4 I switched it out for is always attached to one of my cameras and one of my most fun lenses to use. I use it in any weather for any occation.
05-25-2014, 09:10 PM   #11
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I have the F50 f/1.7. I like it a lot!

One advantage to the FA series is that new bodies like the K-5II/s and K-3 can automatically correct chromatic aberrations in camera. It's slow but it can be done. These old film lenses are nice and all but man...do they fringe like crazy when they're wide open. On film, it wouldn't be noticeable, but on digital, it's obvious even when you're not pixel peeping.
05-25-2014, 11:46 PM   #12
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As I said earlier, the premier issue is that there's a big jump up in optical performance when you go to the FA43 or DA*55.

With that in mind, you do realize that "optically identical" lenses from different generations produce slightly different results. While they may use the same optical formula, you can see slight differences in the output. The glass or coatings may be different, and possibly the different casings (bodies) of the lenses makes some small difference due to build quality or the way they hold the elements in place. But again, this is minor compared to moving up to a premium Ltd or * lens.
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