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02-18-2017, 01:40 AM   #1
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Pentax F 50mm f1.7 or .........?

I probably know the answer to this but I thought it wouldn't hurt to have the opinions of others.

I already own a Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8 (M42mm thread) SMC/S-M-C/Super-/Auto-/Takumar 55mm F1.8 Reviews - M42 Screwmount Normal Primes - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

and an SMC Pentax-A 50mm f1.7 SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Both are great but I'm wondering if it's worth buying a Pentax F 50mm f1.7 SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7 Reviews - F Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database which is, according to the lens database, optically identical to the Pentax-A above - just to get the autofocus feature.

The Pentax-A is a bit hard to focus at wide apertures and, from reading the reviews, the Pentax F isn't that accurate in focussing at wide apertures so one probably needs to switch to manual focus anyway.

I'm not sure that it is worth it. I suppose I could sell the Pentax-A to offset the cost. I wonder if I really need the 55mm f1.8.

Oh, I should add that I recently bought a Z-1 AF 35mm film camera so the Pentax F 50mm would mate nicely with it.

Can one have too many Nifty Fifties?


Last edited by p38arover; 02-18-2017 at 02:02 AM.
02-18-2017, 02:00 AM - 1 Like   #2
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If you accept that the answer to your last question "Can one have too many Nifty Fifties?" is No, then you probably have the answer to your first question

The F series 50mm is my personal favourite of the non-ultra fast standard lenses. For some reason it's a little heavier than the others. The Autofocus is noisier than the FA series. The cosmetic colour scheme is a bit Marmite (you love it or you hate it). It's sometimes more expensive than the FA (and 2 to 3 times the price of the A series equivalent) - so deciding with the head would probably indicate "No", but then again deciding with the heart may well swing you to a "Yes"
02-18-2017, 02:06 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I have never used the F50 1.7, but I am pretty sure that it will be a pig to manually focus compared to the A 1.7 or your 55mm 1.8. It's focus "throw" will be much shorter than the older lenses and will not be damped and smooth. Plus the focus ring is much smaller. If you are worried about it's autofocus ability you would do better with a FA 50mm (1.7 or 1.4).

Manual focus takes a bit of practice, and you can use the focus confirmation (green hexagon) to help you as long as the lens/camera combo does not front/back focus....you will need to do some testing with a focus chart to find out. Alternatively consider a split prism focus screen if your camera has interchangeable screens .
02-18-2017, 03:09 AM   #4
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If you have to ask, you do need another 50. :-)

I don't know if the Z-1 requires an aperture ring. If it does not, you can probably get a new DA 50 f/1.8 for the same price as a used F 50 f/1.7. OTOH I own a F 50 and it is easily my most used 50-ish lens on digital; I don't think I ever had focus issue with it, even though it is quite soft wide open.

02-18-2017, 03:35 AM   #5
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I thought the DA 50 was a crop sensor lens. It's certainly not that expensive. The Z-1 is "full-frame". I'll have to check if it requires an aperture ring.
02-18-2017, 03:54 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by p38arover Quote
I thought the DA 50 was a crop sensor lens. It's certainly not that expensive. The Z-1 is "full-frame". I'll have to check if it requires an aperture ring.
Opinion is divided on the DA50; some seem to have no issues on full frame while others report minor vignetting. I've shot it on film a little bit (on a P3, which has a program mode that can handle the aperture) and it's close enough that there is no "black ring of doom" as with the DA zooms, while darker backgrounds will hide minor vignetting.
02-18-2017, 06:08 AM   #7
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As far as nifty fifties I have the M 50 F1.7 and the FA 50 F1.7 There is no comparison when it comes to build quality the M 50 feels like a DA limited with a very smooth manual focus. The FA 50 has an overall plastic construction except for the lens mount. Manual focus is not the best with a very thin ring and short throw on the FA as I would expect the F version would be. This lens is far better as autofocus which is fast and accurate on my K-5 and K-3 cameras. Image quality is fine overall with both lenses. I would expect the F version of the 50 would be very similar overall to the FA version. The only F lenses I have or had are the long gone 35-70 zoom and the 28 f2.8 which I still have. If you can get a good copy of the F or FA 50 f1.7 it would be worthwhile. I got the FA at a reasonable price and I was not looking for another 50mm lens but when an M 50 f1.7 in like new condition popped up at $10 USD, I could not pass it up.
02-18-2017, 06:16 AM   #8
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The FA 50/1.7 - I own one- is just a perfect lens. The same stands for the FA 35/2. They are both between my favorite lenses. I think the new DA 35/2.4 and 50/1.8 are the same. So you'd probably better go for the DA versions.

02-18-2017, 06:17 AM   #9
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I have 10 nifty fifties in total not counting my 2 55s.
If that helps your LBA.
02-18-2017, 06:34 AM - 1 Like   #10
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From the images I've seen, the DA 50 doesn't vignette on a K-1 any worse than my 18-135 does on my K-5. My 3 50s are the FA 50 1.7, FA 50 macro 2.8 and SMC 50 1.4. For my use, a lens that doesn't have AF isn't worth taking out. I'm more a smash and grab kind of guy when it comes to photography, and I'm usually moving, shooting, and moving on. I spent 40 years doing manual focus. It holds no particular appeal.
02-18-2017, 11:25 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by p38arover Quote
I thought the DA 50 was a crop sensor lens. It's certainly not that expensive. The Z-1 is "full-frame". I'll have to check if it requires an aperture ring.
The Z-1 doesn't require an aperture ring. In fact, it (with the Z-1p) is the only film Pentax that has two separate dials for changing aperture and shutter speed, therefore offering the most flexibility over changing the aperture on a ring-less lens.
02-18-2017, 01:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by p38arover Quote
Pentax F isn't that accurate in focussing at wide apertures so one probably needs to switch to manual focus anyway.
Most of my faster lenses need some af calibration and adjustment on Pentax cameras, but I don't have any problem after AF fine turning on K5II and K1. Many reviewer's comments were based on very old camera bodies. I don't think you need to worry about it if you own K5II or later models, and are wiling to spend sometime calibrate it.
02-18-2017, 05:55 PM   #13
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I made up the calibration charts suggested by Yvon Bourque quite some time ago (see Charts for Auto-Focus Check acknowledged by Pentax. - Page 2 - PentaxForums.com) and most of the lenses I tried needed no adjustment. I must admit I haven't checked all my lenses. Perhaps I should.

Norm, I hear what you say about AF vs MF and that's why I'm tempted. My biggest problem is getting my bum into gear to sell off all the lenses I no longer use or need. I have far too many.

---------- Post added 19th Feb 2017 at 12:25 ----------

An issue I do have is that I have a Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DC which I just don't use (I thought I would when I bought it) and which could probably cover, for most work, what the 50mm would do - or is that vice versa? If the latter, I could sell the 30mm.
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