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08-25-2008, 09:13 AM   #1
Pure Captures
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Fast Lenses

I'm looking for a fast lens for low-light photography. I've heard good things about the 50mm 1.4 Pentax lens, and for what it is the under $200 price sounds like a great deal. I was wondering if anyone had any feedback on having owned that lens, or if there are any off-brand equivalents of this lens. Thanks

08-25-2008, 09:17 AM   #2
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Almost everyone who has it loves it, and I'm not aware of any other (cheaper) alternatives that are AF (you could pay twice as much for the new Sigma). On the other hand, Pentax is not exactly famous for fabulous low light AF performance, and I don't really trust an AF system to lock onto the subject I have in mind anyhow. So I personally am happy with a manual focus 50/1.7 (M or A) that runs for well under $100.
08-25-2008, 09:22 AM   #3
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Depending on budget and what it will be used for, you may want to consider the FA 35/2. I've owned it and the FA 50 1.4 and much preferred the FA35. The 50 1.7 is also an excellent lens if you are okay with manual focus. Dave

QuoteOriginally posted by Pure Captures Quote
I'm looking for a fast lens for low-light photography. I've heard good things about the 50mm 1.4 Pentax lens, and for what it is the under $200 price sounds like a great deal. I was wondering if anyone had any feedback on having owned that lens, or if there are any off-brand equivalents of this lens. Thanks
08-25-2008, 09:34 AM   #4
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Favorite lens of many many here. It's not my favorite (I don't have a favorite) but it's almost always in my bag and used alot! It's even better stopped down a bit.


here's an example of it wide open: Inuit kayak made the traditional way but with modern materials (nylon skin) Shot at the Museum of the Native American in Washington DC. The museum wasn't terribly brightly lit.


NaCl(very good lens. When price is factored in it's a super excellent lens)H2O

08-25-2008, 09:43 AM   #5
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The 50/1.4 was the first lens I bought when I first got my K10D (which also was my first SLR). I do like mine very much. It works well in low light, but it is a little long when working in tight spaces.
08-25-2008, 10:48 AM   #6
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The FA 50mm f/1.4 was the first lens I bought for my K10D (I bought the kit lens later). I absolutely love it! I have never tried the 50/1.7 or the 35/2, but I've heard great things about both. Perhaps the biggest reason I upgraded to a DSLR was to be able to get a fast lens for portraits and for indoor photography without a flash. This lens transformed my portrait photography, enabling me to do things I could never do with a slow lens. I almost never shoot wider than f/1.8 with it. I'd like to get another fast lens that is a bit wider, but this lens is fantastic.
08-25-2008, 11:18 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pure Captures Quote
I'm looking for a fast lens for low-light photography. I've heard good things about the 50mm 1.4 Pentax lens, and for what it is the under $200 price sounds like a great deal. I was wondering if anyone had any feedback on having owned that lens, or if there are any off-brand equivalents of this lens. Thanks
That is a excellent lens. I have had it for many years. Use it a lot. Bought the 35/2.0 this year, and that is also a great lens. As sharp, slightly less light, more universal focal length on digital. Usually I shoot with two bodies, and usually the 50 or the 35 is mounted on one of them.
08-25-2008, 11:36 AM   #8
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I have that lens. BUY IT ... set it to manual focus ... and start shooting away. Great lens. Practice some quick manual focusing first.

08-25-2008, 11:36 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by davef Quote
Depending on budget and what it will be used for, you may want to consider the FA 35/2. I've owned it and the FA 50 1.4 and much preferred the FA35. The 50 1.7 is also an excellent lens if you are okay with manual focus. Dave

Exactly my thoughts. I have (2) 50mm and the FA 35mm, I the 35mm resides in the K10D.
08-25-2008, 11:38 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by BBear Quote
Exactly my thoughts. I have (2) 50mm and the FA 35mm, I the 35mm resides in the K10D.
I guess with the 35mm, you also don't have to stand too far away from your subjects to get all of it in the frame. That's my only issue with the 50mm and in a small room. You need at least 10ft to get a decent frame.
08-25-2008, 12:27 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by innershell Quote
I have that lens. BUY IT ... set it to manual focus ... and start shooting away. Great lens. Practice some quick manual focusing first.
Care to share any tips in improving MF speed and accuracy?

I love the old “A” lens for them being fast and affordable, but my MF skills is FAR from tapping the potential of these fine lenses. Getting into focus takes much longer than I would’ve liked, so any pointers helps here. Thanks.
08-25-2008, 12:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kei Quote
Care to share any tips in improving MF speed and accuracy?
I love the old “A” lens for them being fast and affordable, but my MF skills is FAR from tapping the potential of these fine lenses. Getting into focus takes much longer than I would’ve liked, so any pointers helps here. Thanks.
Get a split image matt screen from Katzeye optics or Virtualvillage (China). I've got one from VV and am very pleased with it. Just like the old times.
08-25-2008, 01:01 PM   #13
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Really looking into a focus screen, since I have a couple fantastic manual focus lenses. Just have a hard time spending over 100.00 for a katzeye!

Uli: do you find the chinese screen affects AF or metering in any way? I want to be able to hand the camera off to my wife with AF lenses when need be.

Also, not sure if the K10D version of their screen at virtual village will fit the k100D (I have a super)- from what I have seen, the K100D screen has different dimensions than the 10D and the iST series.

Any ideas anybody?
08-25-2008, 01:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by virgilr Quote
Uli: do you find the chinese screen affects AF or metering in any way? I want to be able to hand the camera off to my wife with AF lenses when need be.
Also, not sure if the K10D version of their screen at virtual village will fit the k100D (I have a super)- from what I have seen, the K100D screen has different dimensions than the 10D and the iST series.
AF is not affected in any way, since the AF-unit is below the mirror in the base plate of the body. Only the exposure metering is done on the focus screen. And exactly here is the only problem with the alternate screens: The matrix and integral metering is not affected, but the spot metering get a serious impact from the wedge in the split screen. When the split image dims on closed aperture, the metering is way off. You can get extreme overexposure because the wedge gets dark. But this is the area that is used for spot metering.
Everything else is imho better. Even the matting of the full screen is better for viewing the "focus jump", when the target gets in focus. The normal screens are optimized for brightness, not for the "focus jump". As far as i know, the focusing screens are interchangeable between all Pentax DSLRs.

Last edited by UliBär; 08-25-2008 at 01:18 PM.
08-25-2008, 04:28 PM   #15
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I've had the 50 for a few months, and just recently got the 35. Still adjusting to the FOV with the 35. They're both great lenses, and a must have for low light photography (only other lens I have is 18-250 f/3.5-6.3).

50 is great for portraiture, but a little long for indoors or group shots, as people have said.

AF can be pretty terrible, but I switched to MF for a while and learned to be better at MF, so now when I switch to AF I can tell if it's in focus or not a little better. If the focus is off, sometimes I just have to hit the focus button again and it gets it right the second time.
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