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07-31-2018, 03:44 PM - 17 Likes   #1
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Fat Fifty - DFA*50/1.4 First Impressions - WOW!!

After days of waiting for it to arrive - and getting calendar-slammed at work - I finally got to mount my HD D FA*50/1.4 SDM AW on my K-1 for the first time and shoot some around-the-house snaps and flower shots.

When I pulled it out of the box I thought it was a beast and Iíd end up selling it. But mounted and pointed in anger, while definitely the Fat Fifty (@johnkrumm credit), it is comfortable, maneuverable and not overly heavy. It seems intentionally designed to be a natural part of the K-1. In about 45 minutes of goofing around with just hand carry (no strap attached) I never noticed the weight like I do with the 24~70 or 70~200. It is smaller than I imagined, smaller than the 24~70, though the petal hood is very long. The hood attaches easily, unlike the 24~70 and 70~200. K-1 with DFA*50/1.4 fits nose down in the larger insert compartment of a Domke F-3x, my usual carry bag, so Iíll not be tempted to leave it home..

The focus is very fast - very fast - and is a one-shot, nearly silent deal, not a BANG, chuff chuff like an FA Limited or other screwdrive lens. Exposure (on the LCD) in P looks excellent, both viewing and from the histogram, so the lens profile is good. I have FW 1.50 (most recent, anyway) installed (more on exposure when I process images tonight). Pink, yellow and red colors, most of what I shot, look great. On the LCD I was stunned by the sharpness even at 16x magnification (200%) - looks outstanding. I had forgotten how thin f/1.4 is. I had to use f/2 or 2.[/COLOR]8 to avoid too much OOF on the nearest flowers in a vase - thereís a new problem!! Practice required, so it isnít coming off the camera for a while. Iíll take it and K-1 to Colorado next week instead of KP and the pancakes.

Tactile xperience is a large part of the hobby for me and why I keep so many manual lenses and film cameras. The focus ring is nicely damped - not stiff, but not loose like the FA50. It reminds me of my SMC Takumars or M50/1.4 in feel and smoothness.I can imagine manual touch up will be easy and accurate.

I believe it is perfectly assembled - no adjustment needed, no issues, no fit and finish problems. The attention to detail in design and production is quite apparent. If this is what Pentax means by wanting all of them perfect and taking so long to get it out then IT WAS WORTH WAITING!!! Can we arrange to promote that on Google Search? IT WAS WORTH WAITING!!

Iím happy! This is a superb lens and it was a good decision. It is a large investment and Iíll need to sell some things to pay for it, but if you are considering buying the lens and havenít decided - I assure you, just buy it. Youíll be happy.

{EDIT} Got out in some soft light and shot Rose of Sharon. f/1.4 was too thin to catch the stamen and petals, so Iíll do it again tomorrow night. A set of images, I hope, later tonight.

I want to add that I think there are now two Pentax experiences. 1. The traditional legacy lenses on K-mount cameras, from early film through modern digital, that so many of us pursue and enjoy. I hope that never goes away - it is such a joy to use a K or Takumar lens on a modern camera, or to keep a mechanical camera going for posterity. 2. This emerging experience of really fine, modern optics (from the * lenses to just D FA like the 28~105) on very good cameras with the Pentax color profile, optical engineering, ergonomics, menu logic and special features.

This lens is an epiphany. Pentax will be fine. They had to start slowly and build their momentum from virtually nothing, but theyíve started. The vision is emerging, I think. Truly exemplary * optics, excellent optics for enthusiasts, good value in the everyday optics and feature-rich, creative dSLRís optimized for the lenses.

The future is bright, I think. Be cheerful and positive. Pentax is different - embrace the difference. Be different yourself. Be joyful for the Canon and Nikon people - they like their tools too, but in my experience the open-minded ones appreciate Pentax for what it is. I donít know whatís going on with the doom and gloom people, but I think theyíre wrong. Weíre in early - enjoy the new Pentax. Itís really, really good.


Last edited by monochrome; 08-01-2018 at 09:45 AM.
07-31-2018, 03:55 PM   #2
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I can't wait to see some of your photos, but for now, that's high praise! Exciting stuff!
07-31-2018, 04:51 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I have only taken it off to take a couple wide angle shots at a conference. For now my K1 is a 50mm camera. A big one.

But I'm with you. It does not take long to get used to it on the camera. I even like the way it feels on my shoulder, since it's heavy enough to pull the nose down and out of trouble as I walk. Also it's just a nice big barrel, and I often walk with it around my neck but supported with both hands, resting nose-down on my diaphragm, left hand on the lens, right on the grip, ready to shoot.

Last edited by johnkrumm; 07-31-2018 at 04:58 PM.
07-31-2018, 04:51 PM   #4
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Very cool to hear! Sounds like the frustrations of delay were worth it. Nice when it works out that way.

07-31-2018, 06:18 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Thanks for sharing my initial thoughts on crop mirror them too. So much so I might need a K1 II in my bag as well.

Truly an amazing piece of glass.
07-31-2018, 08:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
enjoy the new Pentax. It’s really, really good.
Thanks for this review, and I'm glad it is being such a positive experience for you. As for your quote, I've felt that way for quite some time. I don't have K-1 and don't know when I'll get that. I'm very happy with APS-C.
07-31-2018, 08:27 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
Thanks for this review, and I'm glad it is being such a positive experience for you. As for your quote, I've felt that way for quite some time. I don't have K-1 and don't know when I'll get that. I'm very happy with APS-C.
I said that too... Now with two DFA * lenses I am considering the plunge to FF. Plus the DA 300 is covers the entire frame, needless to say I am considering it.
07-31-2018, 08:44 PM   #8
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Thanks for posting and great to hear the lens is performing well!
Look forward to seeing some photos. Something tells me this is a lens I won't be able to resist for long as I can feel a few tickles of LBA coming on!

07-31-2018, 08:59 PM - 7 Likes   #9
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Web Sized images. Couldn't post from Flickr.

Quick and dirty. I'm slammed this week and I can't put a lot of time into more than just snaps. Last should be f/2.8 Second too many light points in background for clear round bokeh balls. First is OK. Also, counldn't make flickr work, so these are resized for web and uploaded to album here - sorry no EXIF. I'm monochrome_KX on flickr if you want to look for the full size files.







07-31-2018, 09:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Quick and dirty. I'm slammed this week and I can't put a lot of time into more than just snaps. Last should be f/2.8 Second too many light points in background for clear round bokeh balls. First is OK. Also, counldn't make flickr work, so these are resized for web and uploaded to album here - sorry no EXIF. I'm monochrome_KX on flickr if you want to look for the full size files.






Followed on Flickr, thanks for sharing Paul.
07-31-2018, 11:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
After days of waiting for it to arrive
That lens is great, still hard to get (currently out of stock at amazon E.U). Availability may improve in September. Hopefully the D-FA*50 lens price won't increase over time.
08-01-2018, 04:47 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gm4life Quote
I said that too... Now with two DFA * lenses I am considering the plunge to FF. Plus the DA 300 is covers the entire frame, needless to say I am considering it.
Once you shoot with a K1 you won't ever be tempted to use a crop sensor camera again. Other than keeping the batteries charged my K3 backup has seen no use since the K1 got here. Go look in the K1 and K3 "post your pictures" threads and notice how many more likes there are in the K1 thread. Just my observation - but a lot of K1 shooters agree with it.
08-01-2018, 04:49 AM   #13
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I’m happy to see this lens coming out. I think that the full frame lineup will be great as long as people can wait a couple of years for things to get fleshed out. I think it’s going to be a great system within about 5 years.
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