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09-29-2014, 06:37 AM   #1
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DA 50mm F1.8 and DA 55 F1.4, which one is better?

I have another stupid question

I'm thinking which one is the best for FULL BODY portrait photography between DA 50mm F1.8, DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM, and FA 50mm F1.4 if budget is not a problem.

I want to take full body portrait and i'm not sure which one is more suitable. 55mm one is more expensive but its got 1.4 also it is WR and has quick shift while 50mm one is not WR but it's a lot cheaper.

There are 2 offer from Adorama, the first one has k3body + grip + 50mm F1.8 and another one has k3body + grip + AF540 flash. I think if I buy the first one, i'm not going to buy 55mm 1.4 because I already have 50mm one. But if I buy the second one, i'm going to buy 55mm F1.4. So which one would you guys recommend to me? And which one is the best for full body portrait among the three?

please give me some suggestion


Last edited by ghiaauto; 09-29-2014 at 06:44 AM.
09-29-2014, 06:43 AM - 1 Like   #2
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If you don't need the WR and you really are on a budget, then get the DA 50mm F1.8. The DA*55 F1.4 is sharper and half a stop faster, but it isn't that much more amazing than the DA 50 F1.8 to warrant the cost difference unless you needed the WR or if you actually had the budget for it.

I have the DA*55 F1.4 and I love the lens for its sharpness and rendering - but I was able to get it used for relatively cheap.
09-29-2014, 06:45 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Both lenses are extremely good performers. the DA 50 f1.8 will satisfy your requirements 97% of the time. I don't know if you're doing any professional portraiture or studio work. If you need to shoot at f1.6-f2.0 the DA* 55 is your lens. This lens is sharp at large apertures with incredible bokeh/isolation (of course its better built, silent AF and WR but those are just extras that most people don't need usually). So DA* 55 is better from f1.4-f5.6, after that they're equally good. The question is whether you need to shoot at large apertures, and whether you need silent focus and WR (and pay 400+ extra for those features)
09-29-2014, 06:47 AM   #4
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I don't own either of these lenses so please take this with a grain of salt.

DA* 55 is a lens made for portraiture. It's qualities have very little to do with it having WR, QS of half a stop larger aperture.

If you want it and are willing to spend the cash you should get it regardless of the bundle you get with your camera. You can always sell either one you don't like.

09-29-2014, 06:53 AM   #5
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I want the best bokeh, so which one can give me? I think F1.4 will give a better bokeh, is that correct?
09-29-2014, 07:07 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I have the FA 50 f/1.4 lens and I do not have either of the DA lenses. The FA 50 is a very sharp lenses and give you the classic Pentax color rendering and contrast scheme. Some variation of this lens design has existed since the mid 60s and it's still being made today. Used prices hover at around $200 and new is much, much more than that.

The FA 50 f/1.4 at f/5 ...


IMGP9935
by Never Off, on Flickr
09-29-2014, 07:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
I have the FA 50 f/1.4 lens and I do not have either of the DA lenses. The FA 50 is a very sharp lenses and give you the classic Pentax color rendering and contrast scheme. Some variation of this lens design has existed since the mid 60s and it's still being made today. Used prices hover at around $200 and new is much, much more than that.
Thank you

what about full body portrait? is this lens good and can it produce wonderful bokeh?
09-29-2014, 07:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghiaauto Quote
I want the best bokeh, so which one can give me? I think F1.4 will give a better bokeh, is that correct?
For a full body portrait, you will be further from your subject than if it was a headshot or half body portrait. At a further distance, DOF becomes deeper in comparison when you are at F1.8 vs F1.4. As such, going F1.4 will be more beneficial when shooting a full body portrait - even though it's only half a stop. In addition, the DA*55 is slightly narrower and will make that DOF difference more pronounced.

09-29-2014, 07:41 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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I really like the 55. It is really sharp throughout the different apertures -- probably sharper than the 50mm f1.8. Out of focus rendering it quite nice as well -- this is probably the biggest thing. With portraiture, I live at f2 with this lens (just taking photos of my kids). Biggest negative is slow auto focus (none of these lenses is particularly zippy when focusing). It does pretty well for landscapes too, if you like that sort of thing.

(my daughter at f2.2).



sun burst at f9

09-29-2014, 07:57 AM - 1 Like   #10
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@rondec : I love the sun and smoke shot! Nice work!

@ghiaauto : The FA 50 will be soft at f/1.4 and you will find yourself shooting at f/2.8 on up. That's where the magic begins for this lens anyways. You may want to consider a longer focal length, like the classic 85mm, for better subject isolation and bokeh.
09-29-2014, 08:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
For a full body portrait, you will be further from your subject than if it was a headshot or half body portrait. At a further distance, DOF becomes deeper in comparison when you are at F1.8 vs F1.4. As such, going F1.4 will be more beneficial when shooting a full body portrait - even though it's only half a stop. In addition, the DA*55 is slightly narrower and will make that DOF difference more pronounced.
So you mean I should buy 55mm F1.4, is that correct?
thank you



QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
I really like the 55. It is really sharp throughout the different apertures -- probably sharper than the 50mm f1.8. Out of focus rendering it quite nice as well -- this is probably the biggest thing. With portraiture, I live at f2 with this lens (just taking photos of my kids). Biggest negative is slow auto focus (none of these lenses is particularly zippy when focusing). It does pretty well for landscapes too, if you like that sort of thing.
Wow I really like your sun photo, how do you have such a beautiful sun ray? did the camera produce it or you did some process?
Another question is that why you decided to use F2, what about F1.4? is it better to use F2?
09-29-2014, 08:20 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghiaauto Quote
So you mean I should buy 55mm F1.4, is that correct?
thank you





Wow I really like your sun photo, how do you have such a beautiful sun ray? did the camera produce it or you did some process?
Another question is that why you decided to use F2, what about F1.4? is it better to use F2?
Funny that it put JinDesu's name on my quote. At f1.4, the lens is sharp, but depth of field is narrow enough that not everything is in focus. Also, the background can get really busy -- not as smooth as at f2.

On the sun photo, we were camping and then sun was shining through the smoke from the fire and it made the rays stand out a lot. By stopping down to f9, I made a diffraction star on the sun, which I liked the look of.
09-29-2014, 08:24 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Funny that it put JinDesu's name on my quote. At f1.4, the lens is sharp, but depth of field is narrow enough that not everything is in focus. Also, the background can get really busy -- not as smooth as at f2.

On the sun photo, we were camping and then sun was shining through the smoke from the fire and it made the rays stand out a lot. By stopping down to f9, I made a diffraction star on the sun, which I liked the look of.
I c, I manually quoted it XD. If you say that F2 is good enough and no need to go for F1.4, then should I just buy the DA50mm F1.8 or FA50mm F1.4 instead for a better price?

---------- Post added 09-30-14 at 01:27 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
@rondec : I love the sun and smoke shot! Nice work!

@ghiaauto : The FA 50 will be soft at f/1.4 and you will find yourself shooting at f/2.8 on up. That's where the magic begins for this lens anyways. You may want to consider a longer focal length, like the classic 85mm, for better subject isolation and bokeh.
you mean that 85mm F1.4 is much better then these ones, is that correct? the price is also much higher. What does better subject isolation mean? I'm sorry English is not my first language XD
09-29-2014, 08:32 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghiaauto Quote
I c, I manually quoted it XD. If you say that F2 is good enough and no need to go for F1.4, then should I just buy the DA50mm F1.8 or FA50mm F1.4 instead for a better price?
The specs don't tell you everything about a lens' characteristics. Technically the maximum F stop will make a difference, the focal length will definitely make a difference, yet two different lenses with similar specs might take very different pictures.
09-29-2014, 09:41 AM   #15
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I loved my DA*55. Agreed, the DA50 will do 95% of what the DA* will do... but the star lens is worth owning, even if just for a bit IMHO!

(click all these for full-size)

Sharpness wide-open:



Sharpness and subject isolation at f/1.7:



And razor sharp at f/2:


However, I got rid of mine and kept my M50/1.4 - as I said, 95% as good for 20% of the price!
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