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04-29-2018, 11:50 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
For those recommending the FA 50 f1.4, this review may give some pause: Pentax SMC FA 50mm F1.4 Review & Rating | PCMag.com
[...]
I dont know what was wrong with the lens they used, but mine works miles better! Looking at the example photos I see pictures worth than with my very first kit lense.

04-29-2018, 12:18 PM   #17
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I was going to buy an FA 50mm 1.4 until I found a super takumar 50mm 1.4 at a local pawn shop for cheap and decided I could manually focus it sufficiently enough. I've heard the FA 50mm 1.4 uses the same optical design of its older 50mm predecessors, so I'd say go ahead and get one! For any lack of contrast and sharpness will be made up for more character than the newer lenses.
04-29-2018, 01:56 PM - 1 Like   #18
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I recently bought a new D FA 50mm f2.8 Macro and am very happy with it's clarity, sharpness, bokeh, and color rendition...
04-29-2018, 02:05 PM - 1 Like   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
For those recommending the FA 50 f1.4, this review may give some pause: Pentax SMC FA 50mm F1.4 Review & Rating | PCMag.com
I don't go to PC Magazine for computer or peripherals reviews...just saying...


Steve

(...perhaps for small appliances like microwaves, but not for lenses...)

04-29-2018, 02:17 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I don't go to PC Magazine for computer or peripherals reviews...just saying...


Steve

(...perhaps for small appliances like microwaves, but not for lenses...)
Steve - if you haven't try reading the article linked. I was impressed by this person's other reviews of Pentax equipment including the FA 43 and the comparison he drew.
04-29-2018, 02:42 PM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Steve - if you haven't try reading the article linked.
Thanks for the reminder...my bad

I have just generally been disappointed with the editorial rigor at PCMag in their area of expertise and given that they consider digital cameras to be peripherals, I avoid their reviews. I will read the article and report back.


Steve
04-29-2018, 03:00 PM - 3 Likes   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
For those recommending the FA 50 f1.4, this review may give some pause: Pentax SMC FA 50mm F1.4 Review & Rating | PCMag.com
What that review doesn't mention is how beautifully the FA50/1.4 renders colours and out of focus areas. Glowy soft-focus at wide apertures, central sharpness from f/2.8 and wall to wall sharpness from f/5.6 sounds like a versatile lens to me
04-29-2018, 03:10 PM   #23
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I just recently received the DA55* 1.4 to replace four of my 50's, the DA 50mm 1,8, FA 50 2,8 Macro, Takumar 50mm 1.4 and Takumar 55mm 1.8 lens. I wanted a fast lens for shooting inside of our church, low light, and about 50 feet from the stage. The four mention lens all did a pretty good job, sharp enough for me. Since I had to move around a little I didn't care for the two manual lenses, but that was just me. Normally for the depth of field, I needed to keep it at 3.5
Today was the first day I used the DA 55* 1.4 in church. I took about 35 pic's and ended up deleting all of them, all too soft. I was shooting at 2.8 and 3.5, distance about 50 ft, the camera was the KP.
I took a lot of photos around the house with the lens and even at 1.4 it was good, but this was in good light and on a tripod when I was checking the fine focus adjustment. Holding the DA55* handheld I couldn't be consistent above 1.8.
I am going to practice some more with the 55*.

Again, this is with the KP camera. I wanted the 55* for its weather resistance in the rain. I sometimes get caught in wet weather and the only two WR lens I have is the 20-40 and the 18-135 which I only keep because of it is WR.


Last edited by Wingincamera; 04-29-2018 at 03:21 PM.
04-29-2018, 03:24 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wingincamera Quote
I am going to practice some more with the 55*. Again, this is with the KP camera.
With no images to judge from, I suspect you'll need to do a careful comparison between PDAF and CDAF, and do an appropriate micro-adjustment. What sort of shutter speeds were being used?
04-29-2018, 03:58 PM - 1 Like   #25
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Cost to performance is easy, get hold of either the FA50/1.7 or DA50/1.8 depends on how much you feel you need to use either an aperture ring or if you feel a plastic mount is beneath you.
You haven't said what the proposed usage is, if you want f/1.4 get the DA*55/1.4 as it has the nicest rendering but can be a bit bold with purple fringing. I adore the 43/1.9 but it is expensive and it is not a lens that offers all it capabilities on a plate for free, you need to invest time and talent to understand and learn its strengths and weaknesses. The FA50/2.8 Macro is a hand grenade sized bundle of goodness, marvellous bokeh, delicate OOF transitioning but slower at f/2.8 and focusing is concentrated at closer objects at a distance less than a meter away. Get over the speed and slower focusing and it is pretty faultless optically.
Ref the PC mag review, all the 50s but especially the f/1.4s benefit from a hood to boost contrast which may explain relative lack of resolution wide open.
DA50/1.8 = 100
FA50/1.4 = 150
FA50/2.8 Macro = 150-300
FA43/1.9 = 350+
DA*55/1.4 = 350+
Buy one of each second hand and sell on once you get bored for little or no loss. Combined, all will be cheaper than the DFA*50/1.4 new. For me the standouts are 43, followed by 50 Macro then the DA*55 then DA50/1.8 but the 50/1.4s do have better bokeh than the 1.7s and 1.8s if not quite as sharp wide open.
04-29-2018, 04:08 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Steve - if you haven't try reading the article linked.
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Thanks for the reminder...my bad
I read the articles (both the FA 50/1.4 and the FA 43/1.9) and this is my take:
  • They really like the Tamron SP 45/1.8 and called it out in preference over both the FA 43 and FA 50/1.4 despite it not being available in K-mount
  • I appreciate that the reviewer actually had the lenses in hand despite most of the review for both cameras reading like a spec sheet
  • I was surprised that the reviewer believes the FA 43 to be the oldest lens in current Pentax offerings (off by six years from the true oldest)
  • The recommendation of the FA 43 as editor's pick for the K-1 was by default. It was the only FF normal they had tested at that date.
  • Apparently the minimum standard for FF resolution is flexible. For both Pentax lenses the number was 2200 l/ph regardless of aperture. For the favored Tamron, it was 1800 l/ph.
  • As noted in other comments above, I wondered if the reviewer had a bad copy of the FA 50/1.4. The center measurement at 1109 l/ph on the K-1 is far less than photozone got with the K10D (1669 for APS-C, uncorrected)*. Mind you, the FA 50/1.4 reputation for softness wide-open is very well-deserved, but I would not consider it to be THAT bad. Conversely, I wonder if the FA 43 used in the recent review on this site had similar problems. After seeing the test images here, I was not encouraged to purchase that lens.
  • Two images, one for each review (B&Ws) were done on film, though not documented as such...there are a (white) dust spots
  • If the FA 50/1.4 offers 1/3 stop aperture increments on the K-1, it has nothing to do with the lens
  • Both reviews were terse and liberally sprinkled with product hooks
To be clear once again, I am no huge fan of the FA 50/1.4, though I still wish I had bought one back in 2007 when they were less than $200 ($160 at lowest IIRC). The reason I didn't was that I already had an M 50/1.7 and was cash poor after buying K10Ds for both myself and my daughter. Which brings me back to the original post. My basic advice was to use the fast 50s at hand and to wait for the D FA* 50/1.4 if one must. The suggestion of the FA 50/1.4 was based on the fact that they are cheap and not that truly bad and readily available used in good condition to be sold for same. Truth be told, the D FA 24-70/2.8 on the OP's signature would be my preference at zero additional cost until the new lens debuts.


Steve

* Yes, I know, it is not good to compare Imatest results across formats/sensors
04-29-2018, 04:14 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by robbiec Quote
Cost to performance is easy, get hold of either the FA50/1.7 or DA50/1.8 depends on how much you feel you need to use either an aperture ring or if you feel a plastic mount is beneath you.
The OP already has the DA 50/1.8. The FA 50/1.7 is an excellent suggestion except that it is hard to come by and tends to be overpriced. That being said, if I came across either that of an F 50/1.7 in reasonable condition, I would probably buy it.


Steve
04-29-2018, 04:28 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The OP already has the DA 50/1.8. The FA 50/1.7 is an excellent suggestion except that it is hard to come by and tends to be overpriced. That being said, if I came across either that of an F 50/1.7 in reasonable condition, I would probably buy it.


Steve
One sold in the UK Pentax user forum over the weekend for 50 quid. Could pick one up within a few days for under €150 without too much hassle. The DA has better coatings so the OP shouldn't waste time tbh.
04-29-2018, 05:52 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I read the articles (both the FA 50/1.4 and the FA 43/1.9) and this is my take:

They really like the Tamron SP 45/1.8 and called it out in preference over both the FA 43 and FA 50/1.4 despite it not being available in K-mount
In the 50mm article they literally only say that the 45 is a better example of a macro at close to this focal length. The exact same type of comparison - on macro capability not image quality is made in the FA 43 article. In the Tamron's own review they call out color fringing, edge performance losses and that it is heavy for the size as cons. I never got the impression this lens was preferred over the K mount 43 or 50.


QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I appreciate that the reviewer actually had the lenses in hand despite most of the review for both cameras reading like a spec sheet
Me too. I don't like meta reviews.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I was surprised that the reviewer believes the FA 43 to be the oldest lens in current Pentax offerings (off by six years from the true oldest)
It's a fairly easy mistake to make.


QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The recommendation of the FA 43 as editor's pick for the K-1 was by default. It was the only FF normal they had tested at that date.
I didn't look to see what else they reviewed but the commentary on the lens is quite positive:

QuoteQuote:
The Pentax SMC FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited is just as much a gem today as it was when it was introduced nearly two decades ago. It's small, light, nicely built, and, most importantly, deadly sharp. You don't expect such a compact lens to capture images at f/1.9, or if you do, you expect quality to suffer when shot wide open, but this a lens you can shoot at any aperture without worry of quality loss. Simply put, the FA 43mm is one of the best lenses in the Pentax lineup.
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Apparently the minimum standard for FF resolution is flexible. For both Pentax lenses the number was 2200 l/ph regardless of aperture. For the favored Tamron, it was 1800 l/ph.
How We Test Digital Cameras | PCMag.com I can't say why they used another value in the Pentax reviews - perhaps the standards are evolving or this writer has changed over time to this standard? The standard the magazine uses is 1800 which the FA 43 easily exceeded.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
As noted in other comments above, I wondered if the reviewer had a bad copy of the FA 50/1.4. The center measurement at 1109 l/ph on the K-1 is far less than photozone got with the K10D (1669 for APS-C, uncorrected)*. Mind you, the FA 50/1.4 reputation for softness wide-open is very well-deserved, but I would not consider it to be THAT bad. Conversely, I wonder if the FA 43 used in the recent review on this site had similar problems. After seeing the test images here, I was not encouraged to purchase that lens.
This I can believe. The fact is multiple samples are never tested except by a few rare folks. However the consensus on the FA 50 even in the film era was that it was quite soft wide open - this never said otherwise. I don't think the lens at f/2.8 is a slouch at all. The wide open performance is very soft - which is a trait that can be leveraged for good artistic reason - but in today's world of brutal over sharp expectations it's worth understanding the limitations of this lens. At the same time - it might be worth someone with a copy they think is better to do the same Imatest work and show the results.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Two images, one for each review (B&Ws) were done on film, though not documented as such...there are a (white) dust spots
The article for the 50mm says this right under the B&W... and while there is an image in the 43 review that "could" be film the type of shot it is makes me wonder if that spot is film or not. I'm unclear. The number of shots shown seems comparable to the other reviews however.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
If the FA 50/1.4 offers 1/3 stop aperture increments on the K-1, it has nothing to do with the lens
? Not sure if this is a complaint about the review, the reviewer uses many systems and seems familiar with Pentax mainly from Film Era - he appears to be one of the faithful who moved on mentioning his LX in the review of the FA 50. Perhaps he didn't think clearly about this wording.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Both reviews were terse and liberally sprinkled with product hooks
That's how they pay for the site, like so many others. But sure these weren't the most detailed. I was happy to see them in a mainstream publication however.

QuoteQuote:
To be clear once again, I am no huge fan of the FA 50/1.4, though I still wish I had bought one back in 2007 when they were less than $200 ($160 at lowest IIRC). The reason I didn't was that I already had an M 50/1.7 and was cash poor after buying K10Ds for both myself and my daughter. Which brings me back to the original post. My basic advice was to use the fast 50s at hand and to wait for the D FA* 50/1.4 if one must. The suggestion of the FA 50/1.4 was based on the fact that they are cheap and not that truly bad and readily available used in good condition to be sold for same. Truth be told, the D FA 24-70/2.8 on the OP's signature would be my preference at zero additional cost until the new lens debuts.

* Yes, I know, it is not good to compare Imatest results across formats/sensors
At the cost of a used FA 43 vs. a used FA 50 f1.4 I'm not sure, but I do agree either lens could be useful in the right hands. However, I'm shooting APS, and I have an F 50 f/1.7 already and no intention to get the FA 50 1.4. I do admire the DA 55 1.4 and the FA 43 (as my other thread mentioned) but I haven't got a K-1 to put either on at this time so my thinking is more APSC centric.

Overall I feel like we took two completely different views of this review. I felt it was fair and rational, and that the reviewer found the FA 43 to be more than adequate and the FA 50 to be fine from 2.8 on but very soft before then. As you said, the sample variation could be a problem.
04-29-2018, 08:15 PM   #30
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I love the 40mm xs for candid shots. Even something like my A50 1.4 just isn't inconspicuous enough to get natural pictures of people doing stuff.
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