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06-30-2008, 03:46 PM   #1
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Kinda need some help deciding please! (FA 50 F1.4 or take it back?)

I have been looking for a new lens. I don't have GREAT Len's, just the kit 18-55mm and the under 200$ 50-200mm.
I am very interested in doing stock photography (once I figure out how) and do portraits as well as Zoo/wildlife. =)

I was pointed in the 100mm Macro direction. But think it would be limited on what I could use it on. The lady at the store said she used hers on portrait/weddings and hardly macro.
Though I have been asked, I never see me as a wedding photographer. Kids, YES! Weddings, no! =)

I have under 600$ Canadian to spend.

I had a spur of the moment buy with the PENTAX FA50mm F1.4 for under 200$
but after reading up on it, do you think I should buy something like the 77 limited for portrait and take this back?
I LOVE to take up close pictures.
Some of my samples are in the photo board here.

I really need help deciding!

I use my speedlite indoors ALL the time.
I don't use it outside.

So, RETURN the 50mm 1.4 and put the money toward a better lens that is not soft before 2.8? Or keep it? I am having doubts! LOL!

06-30-2008, 04:13 PM   #2
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First, if your FA50/1.4 is'nt reasonably sharp wider open than 2.8, it's got something wrong, either with it or the focusing of the camera. In another thread, I mentioned that I bought the FA50/1.4 with the intent of it being my front line portrait lens, decided it was too short, and so I went to the DA70, which I do like better. The 77 is about the same for image quality, but the extra ~2/3 stop of speed is nice, and does allow some depth of field control that is lacking on the 70mm lens.
I hold both the 70 and 77 in very high regard. Right now I am leaning a bit towards the 70, but the truth is, they are virtually interchangable with regard to the pictures they produce.
06-30-2008, 04:45 PM   #3
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FA 50mm Portrait at f2

I have posted this here before but here goes again



Shot at f2 in a bathroom with no windows and 3 40w incandescent bulbs. I have applied a bit of sharpening but you can't sharpen something that doesn't have detail there in the first place.
I won't knock the DA70 for the FA77 as portrait lenses but you have to give the $200 FA50 a chance. I love this lens!

Steps down off of the soap box.

Russell
06-30-2008, 04:58 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by DuckysDoll Quote
I have been looking for a new lens. I don't have GREAT Len's, just the kit 18-55mm and the under 200$ 50-200mm.
I am very interested in doing stock photography (once I figure out how) and do portraits as well as Zoo/wildlife. =)

I was pointed in the 100mm Macro direction. But think it would be limited on what I could use it on. The lady at the store said she used hers on portrait/weddings and hardly macro.
Though I have been asked, I never see me as a wedding photographer. Kids, YES! Weddings, no! =)

I have under 600$ Canadian to spend.

I had a spur of the moment buy with the PENTAX FA50mm F1.4 for under 200$
but after reading up on it, do you think I should buy something like the 77 limited for portrait and take this back?
I LOVE to take up close pictures.
Some of my samples are in the photo board here.

I really need help deciding!

I use my speedlite indoors ALL the time.
I don't use it outside.

So, RETURN the 50mm 1.4 and put the money toward a better lens that is not soft before 2.8? Or keep it? I am having doubts! LOL!
Keep the FA 50mm 1.4 and go shooting with it. If you don't like it, you can always sell it for nearly what you paid for it. Consider it rental.

If it's not sharp, your camera is back focusing.

06-30-2008, 05:23 PM   #5
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I'm kinda a value for money guy so I don't use great lens, just budget lenses that gives me the result I want. Here's a suggestion on how to use that 600 CAD.

The FA 50mm f1.4 normally gives u sharp result when u step down to f2. It's kinda like my doggie portrait lens. It can focus in lowlight better than most f2.8. If 50mm f1.4 can't help u catch some kids, it's likely you need more practise. So it's worth keeping for the price.

IMHO stock photography is more about creativity, how original and lightings. For products I enjoyed using the old FA 35-70mm macro. It's cheap, sharp and lightweight. You should be able to get a used for under US$100.

If you like to own a value for money f2.8 zoom, there's the Sigma 24-60mm f2.8 in Amazon going for US$199.
myLBA, Sigma DG 24-60mm 1:2.8 EX, many pics [Page 1]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

Best macros are normally done with MF, so if u keep the 50mm f1.4 for portrait. You can try grab an old MF macro lens with the rest of the 600CAD.

Above are just my personal view, hope it'll be useful for u.
06-30-2008, 06:12 PM   #6
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Keep the 50mm IMO. It's short enough and fast enough for great indoor candids and long enough for true portrait work. Having owned this lens for several months, I don't understand why you're second guessing your choice.
Here's one taken at F2 in tungsten light, ISO 400, 1/60s.


Last edited by audiobomber; 06-30-2008 at 07:04 PM.
06-30-2008, 06:22 PM   #7
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Keep the FA50 for a while, use it - you'll be pleased.

After a time RENT the DA70 and/or FA77Ltd. from these guys: Online Camera Lens Rental for Canon, Nikon, and PENTAX Cameras for comparison purposes.

If the 50 is less than what you need there is a ready market for them at just-below retail on this board and other places - literally people buy them on ebay all the time for MORE than the Adorama and B&H price - and then buy one of the longer lenses.

Last edited by monochrome; 07-01-2008 at 07:02 PM.
06-30-2008, 09:26 PM   #8
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The suggested solution to your Lens Buying Angst: keep the 50 but figure out why your wider-than-2.8 images aren't sharp enough!

There are several reasons you might be getting poor results at f/1.4 (some may be obvious):

(1) You don't have enough depth of field for your subject. Even a perfect lens, perfectly focused, wouldn't be able to get the shot.

(2) Your camera isn't autofocusing on what you want it to autofocus on

(3) Moderate overexposure-induced purple fringing (especially if used outdoors)

(4) Your camera/lens is systematically autofocusing too close

(5) Your camera/lens is systematically autofocusing too far

Problems (4) and (5) would require an adjustment to your camera that you may not want to deal with.

None of these problems are unique to the 50/1.4; you could just as easily encounter them on the FA77/1.8. Best to work this stuff out now before you acquire a taste for expensive lenses .

06-30-2008, 10:17 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DuckysDoll Quote
So, RETURN the 50mm 1.4 and put the money toward a better lens that is not soft before 2.8? Or keep it? I am having doubts! LOL!
My advice is stop reading nonsense from the pixel peepers and take some pictures. The FA50mm is a great lens that can take beautiful images, especially with someone as talented as you behind the camera.

Post some photos so we can see what it is you don't like about it.
07-01-2008, 01:44 AM   #10
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Hello Duckysdoll,

Think about the Pentax 100mm Macro. It can serve you well as a portrait lens, allowing you to obtain some reasonable distance between the camera a subject (nice when you want to introduce lighting), as well as explore the macro possibilities around you. It is razor sharp and will offer you all kinds of DOF control with f2.8 - f32
Tarmron make a competing 90mm Macro lens that also performs well.

The 77mm limited, would be a good choice for portrait work, but it does not offer the macro possibilities. I have shot with this lens on two occasions. It is one of those lenses that you can form a close relationship to (some lenses just have that spell). When you think of the 35mm film photographer’s choice in portrait lenses the 105mm came very highly recommended. If you consider the crop factor of 1.5 with today’s digital cameras a 77mm is about as close as you are going to get to the proven range.

The 50mm f1.4 I owned one for about 6 months and sold it. You remember the story about the tortoise and the hare, and how sometimes speed isn't everything.... same applies here in my opinion. It was an ok lens. I took it on a few nature hikes due to its small size and weight, and ability to shoot in lower lighting conditions. I found that I spend more time trying to convince myself that it was better than my 18-55 kits lens. As a portrait lens..... buy a pack of gum for you and your subject as you be getting a lot closer than you might have wanted. Toss in some lighting devices and it is like 3 drunk people trying to dance. (awkward to say the least) Ok a bit much, but you get the point I am trying to make. An ok lens, has some speed, but not a portrait lens. Money could be better spent. I think that the your kit lens (when given ample light and opportunity) will challenge the 50mm 1.4 in most area other than wide open speed (which tends to yield images that are a bit soft). I can feel the hairs on the necks of a few 50mm owners starting to stand up – Sorry if I offended any owners, not my intention.

One nice thing about buying used lenses is that someone else already took the depreciation hit, you can use them for a while and generally get the majority of your money back, and trial and exploration is really the only true means to find the perfect fit for you.
07-01-2008, 02:09 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
My advice is stop reading nonsense from the pixel peepers and take some pictures...
I'm a pixel peeper when it comes to compare lenses I buy. If you judge lens on 10 by 12 cm paper print, you will find all of them the same.
So it's the photograph and the photographer that we don't judge by pixel peeping, not the lens or the camera.
07-01-2008, 05:19 AM   #12
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A studio is one thing, but isn't 100mm simply too long for most domestic scenes? I use the 50mm at cocktail parties and family occasions. 50mm is just right for this IME. I can't imagine getting far enough away to use a 70mm, let alone 100mm.
07-01-2008, 12:54 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by troyz Quote
The suggested solution to your Lens Buying Angst: keep the 50 but figure out why your wider-than-2.8 images aren't sharp enough!

There are several reasons you might be getting poor results at f/1.4 (some may be obvious):

(1) You don't have enough depth of field for your subject. Even a perfect lens, perfectly focused, wouldn't be able to get the shot.

(2) Your camera isn't autofocusing on what you want it to autofocus on

(3) Moderate overexposure-induced purple fringing (especially if used outdoors)

(4) Your camera/lens is systematically autofocusing too close

(5) Your camera/lens is systematically autofocusing too far
I would also add:

(6) You move the camera after focusing and before taking the shot, which moves your plane of focus behind or in front of where you wanted it.

#6 is increasingly likely the closer you are to your subject. To test if you might be affected by this, simply set the camera to AF-C, then focus on something while keeping the shutter-release half pressed (or the AF button pressed, depending on how you autofocus). Do you hear the caera adjusting focus continually? If so, that's because you're moving ever-so-slightly back and forth.

I own the FA 50mm and routinely use it at f/2 and wider. I get sharp pics, but I'm very aware of problem #6, but even so, I also get a few fuzzies every now and again. That's the price you pay for a shallow depth-of-field.

My advice: Keep the FA 50, put the remaining $400 away, and keep saving until you can buy the DA 70 or FA 77. You'll find uses for both focal lengths.
07-02-2008, 05:05 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miserere Quote
I also get a few fuzzies every now and again. That's the price you pay for a shallow depth-of-field.
I agree, you can't blame the lens for that. Looking at the baby photo I posted above, total DOF using the calculator Online Depth of Field Calculator, 50mm at 4 ft distance, F/2.0 is 1.8 inches. I focussed on her closest eye, which meant that there was only an inch of acceptable DOF on either side of the focus point, not enough to focus her other eye. It's still a nice photo AFAIC, and I got great colour without an intrusive flash, which is the whole point of using wide apertures.

Last edited by audiobomber; 07-02-2008 at 07:37 AM.
07-02-2008, 06:45 AM   #15
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