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02-14-2007, 04:11 PM   #1
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50mm/1.4 vs 55mm/1.8

I have an old 55/1.8 that came with my KX years ago.
I'm comfortable with manually focussing it and setting exposue manually.
I've read very positive things about the 1.4 and seen great shots from it.

Apart from the 1.4 vs. 1.8 aperture would I see a lot of difference in image quality betweem these two lenses?
If yes in what respect?

02-14-2007, 04:23 PM   #2
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Yes.

Most notably the bokeh is different, with the 1.4s generally regarded as being more pleasant.

While I am happy with the sharpness of all my 50s, I know the 55/1.8s are generally well-regarded here. Some are critical of the 50/1.4s although the DOF is so thin that often times focus errors account for the softness.

You'll also notice a brightness difference between the two in the viewfinder.

I have an old Auto-Takumar 55/1.8 that performs well, and this without the SMC coatings!
02-14-2007, 04:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for the fast reply!

QuoteQuote:
You'll also notice a brightness difference between the two in the viewfinder.
You mean due to 1.4 / 1.8 difference, or due different glass/coatings etc.?
02-14-2007, 04:36 PM   #4
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Both, depending on which 50/1.4 you're comparing to. Pentax has updated even its SMC coatings over time, so there is a difference between the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50/1.4 that I have and the smc Pentax-FA 50/1.4 that I also have.

...and they are both different from the SMC Takumar 50/1.4 and both of my Super-Takumar 50/1.4s.

02-14-2007, 04:56 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by baw Quote
I have an old 55/1.8 that came with my KX years ago.
I'm comfortable with manually focussing it and setting exposue manually.
I've read very positive things about the 1.4 and seen great shots from it.

Apart from the 1.4 vs. 1.8 aperture would I see a lot of difference in image quality betweem these two lenses?
If yes in what respect?
Yes you would. I have an old 55/1.8 and I have had several different A and FA 50/1.4 lenses. In my experience the 55/1.8 is a bit soft (both contrast and resolution) up to around f/5.6. Maybe not by much but there is a difference that sometimes will make you wish the 55/1.8 really was an FA50/1.4.

Last edited by Jonas B; 02-15-2007 at 03:49 AM. Reason: picture removed
02-14-2007, 05:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by baw Quote
I have an old 55/1.8 that came with my KX years ago.
I'm comfortable with manually focussing it and setting exposue manually.
I've read very positive things about the 1.4 and seen great shots from it.
Apart from the 1.4 vs. 1.8 aperture would I see a lot of difference in image quality betweem these two lenses?
If yes in what respect?
IMHO, the 50/1.4 (K, M, A, F, or FA) will, despite being the faster lens, be sharper at apertures wider than about f/8. The K 55/1.8 is a bit soft below f/8, but is quite good from f/8 and narrower.
02-14-2007, 05:09 PM   #7
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Soft, huh?

Now I know. Is this the general consensus on the K55/1.8?
02-14-2007, 05:22 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
Soft, huh?
Well, only at wider apertures. At mid-apertures and smaller, it's really quite sharp.

02-14-2007, 05:34 PM   #9
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55mm f 1.8

QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
Soft, huh?

Now I know. Is this the general consensus on the K55/1.8?
Don't know about the K55/1.8 but - I have both the 50 f1.4 SMC m42 (later version) and the 55 f1.8 SMC m42. The bokeh on the 1.4 is definitely better, the difference being noticeable in the rendering of out of focus points of light. (the 1.8 sometimes has clashy disks or rings of light, the 1.4 less so). The 1.8 is not at all soft, even wide open (don't know about corners full-frame, since I use a DS) and may be a bit sharper at 1.8 that the the 1.4 is at f1.8. Also, I think that at infinity the f1.8 might generally be sharper than the 1.4, at least at the wider apertures (based on test photos I did of distant brick walls). They are both great lenses with the 1.8 having less "personality".
02-14-2007, 05:38 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
Well, only at wider apertures. At mid-apertures and smaller, it's really quite sharp.
LOL, I consider f/8 to be the smallest aperture in existence.
02-14-2007, 06:07 PM   #11
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I have used a SMC-K 55/2 and I now own a SMC-M 50/1.7. I find the 55 is a little softer wide open and at 2.8 as well. The 50 is sharper by a touch, but that could be me still getting used to trying MF.
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