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08-21-2018, 04:02 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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D FA 50 First Impressions

I received the D FA 50 f1.4 this past Friday.

I used it at a shoot on Saturday. Have not had too much time to play around with it, but I can make some observations. It was the only lens I used at the shoot (at the ocean), although I brought other lenses with me. I shot about 375 images.

My plan is to post examples and link to Dropbox comparison images to other lenses such as the 31, 43, 77, D FA 24-70, and D FA 28-105. All different price points, focal lengths, and purposes, but hopefully helpful to others.

So far:

Build Quality

As other have noted, it is a heavy lens, but a bit less so than perhaps I was expecting based upon what I had read. It is a little slimmer and slightly less tall than the D FA 24-70. In use, it kind of feels like shooting with the DA*200: solid, a hunk of glass and metal, but well built and balanced. It operates very smoothly.

The petal hood is of decent size, but, again, slightly less in size than I had expected.

Nonetheless, this is no Limited or DA*55 lens. It is has heft to it and size. It is well balanced, though, on my K1 (have not used it on the K3 or K5ii yet)

Lens Performance – the raison d'être

I did make some informal comparisons to the Lmtd 43 and Lmtd 77. Cannot say too much right now, but the D FA 50 is noticeably sharper at similar apertures (I tested wide open through f4 so far). That is not to say the 43 and 77 are not sharp, but when looking for sharpness, and trying to keep in mind depth of field and auto-focusing accuracy, I found the D FA 50 to be noticeably sharper and have a larger area of sharpness at similarly wide apertures. Having said that, the 43 and 77 are very good lenses, particularly for their size. So, as with all new equipment these days, the differences are often small or at least not terribly great. Noticeable perhaps to all of us, but in the grand scheme of things, not night and day.

I did look for purple fringing and Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration (green and magenta fringing). Yes, if pushed in very high contrast areas (picture of my youngest son against a bright blown out window) you can see some purple fringing and LoCA at very wide apertures (1.4 – 1.8). Of course, LoCA can show up even under not blown out backgrounds in front of and behind the plane of focus. Nevertheless, it is when looking at high contrast scenes that forms of chromatic aberration tend to be more visible.

The purple fringing is pretty minimal in any event and really only obvious at fully wide open (f1.4). I took some pictures of some tall trees against a bright sky and did not see any purple fringing. At close up distances I could find it if looked for it, particularly at 1.4.

I think the lens is very well corrected for chromatic aberration and a little bit of Camera RAW (or whichever RAW editor you use) and the issue is gone. LoCA is perhaps harder to correct for, but I see it as not really an issue and if it was noticeable enough to be problematic an adjustment layer and masking in Photoshop should resolve it. And, at least in my opinion, even as a bit of pixel peeper, I think the D FA 50 looks like it has a similar level of chromatic aberration as the high end 50s from Canon and Nikon (as seen on photozone.de).

I did some quick centering tests and the lens looks perfectly spot on. At least from my quick shots I saw no difference in sharpness across the frame.

Bokeh—I did a senior picture shoot this weekend. Not really what I usually do. I typically photograph Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu events and do some fitness photography. I tend to live around f2.8 and wider since I am in low or at best modest lighting, but I usually do not notice bokeh too much. Looking over the pictures from this weekend’s shoot, however, shows nice smooth buttery bokeh.

The lens needed a +1 correction for the K1 to make it spot on when wide open.

I did not do any formal testing, but focusing seems reasonably fast and very accurate.

Conclusion—so far

I only have had the lens for a couple of days. All in all, so far, the D FA 50 looks like an extremely high quality lens. Well built, handles like a peach, accurate and sharp (I do not have my DA*55 anymore, but the new D FA 50 looks noticeably sharper and I had a good copy of the DA* 55). When I have a chance to look through my images I will compare it to DA*55 images I have taken in the past.

That's about it for now!

08-21-2018, 04:16 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing your experience with the DFA*50. No doubt the DFA*50 is an excellent lens. A must have for photographers who master the 50mm on full frame. I'm looking forward to see your images posted.
08-21-2018, 04:18 AM - 1 Like   #3
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thanks for the review

please consider adding it to the " user reviews " accessible to those who research the lens

HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW Reviews - D FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
08-21-2018, 04:59 AM   #4
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Any image would be nice too, even if it was nice sum up in text

08-21-2018, 05:10 AM - 1 Like   #5
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By this weekend I'll post some images of my most cooperative model-our Golden Retriever.
08-21-2018, 05:21 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by candgpics Quote
I received the D FA 50 f1.4 this past Friday.

I used it at a shoot on Saturday. Have not had too much time to play around with it, but I can make some observations. It was the only lens I used at the shoot (at the ocean), although I brought other lenses with me. I shot about 375 images.

My plan is to post examples and link to Dropbox comparison images to other lenses such as the 31, 43, 77, D FA 24-70, and D FA 28-105. All different price points, focal lengths, and purposes, but hopefully helpful to others.

So far:

Build Quality

As other have noted, it is a heavy lens, but a bit less so than perhaps I was expecting based upon what I had read. It is a little slimmer and slightly less tall than the D FA 24-70. In use, it kind of feels like shooting with the DA*200: solid, a hunk of glass and metal, but well built and balanced. It operates very smoothly.

The petal hood is of decent size, but, again, slightly less in size than I had expected.

Nonetheless, this is no Limited or DA*55 lens. It is has heft to it and size. It is well balanced, though, on my K1 (have not used it on the K3 or K5ii yet)

Lens Performance – the raison d'être

I did make some informal comparisons to the Lmtd 43 and Lmtd 77. Cannot say too much right now, but the D FA 50 is noticeably sharper at similar apertures (I tested wide open through f4 so far). That is not to say the 43 and 77 are not sharp, but when looking for sharpness, and trying to keep in mind depth of field and auto-focusing accuracy, I found the D FA 50 to be noticeably sharper and have a larger area of sharpness at similarly wide apertures. Having said that, the 43 and 77 are very good lenses, particularly for their size. So, as with all new equipment these days, the differences are often small or at least not terribly great. Noticeable perhaps to all of us, but in the grand scheme of things, not night and day.

I did look for purple fringing and Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration (green and magenta fringing). Yes, if pushed in very high contrast areas (picture of my youngest son against a bright blown out window) you can see some purple fringing and LoCA at very wide apertures (1.4 – 1.8). Of course, LoCA can show up even under not blown out backgrounds in front of and behind the plane of focus. Nevertheless, it is when looking at high contrast scenes that forms of chromatic aberration tend to be more visible.

The purple fringing is pretty minimal in any event and really only obvious at fully wide open (f1.4). I took some pictures of some tall trees against a bright sky and did not see any purple fringing. At close up distances I could find it if looked for it, particularly at 1.4.

I think the lens is very well corrected for chromatic aberration and a little bit of Camera RAW (or whichever RAW editor you use) and the issue is gone. LoCA is perhaps harder to correct for, but I see it as not really an issue and if it was noticeable enough to be problematic an adjustment layer and masking in Photoshop should resolve it. And, at least in my opinion, even as a bit of pixel peeper, I think the D FA 50 looks like it has a similar level of chromatic aberration as the high end 50s from Canon and Nikon (as seen on photozone.de).

I did some quick centering tests and the lens looks perfectly spot on. At least from my quick shots I saw no difference in sharpness across the frame.

Bokeh—I did a senior picture shoot this weekend. Not really what I usually do. I typically photograph Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu events and do some fitness photography. I tend to live around f2.8 and wider since I am in low or at best modest lighting, but I usually do not notice bokeh too much. Looking over the pictures from this weekend’s shoot, however, shows nice smooth buttery bokeh.

The lens needed a +1 correction for the K1 to make it spot on when wide open.

I did not do any formal testing, but focusing seems reasonably fast and very accurate.

Conclusion—so far

I only have had the lens for a couple of days. All in all, so far, the D FA 50 looks like an extremely high quality lens. Well built, handles like a peach, accurate and sharp (I do not have my DA*55 anymore, but the new D FA 50 looks noticeably sharper and I had a good copy of the DA* 55). When I have a chance to look through my images I will compare it to DA*55 images I have taken in the past.

That's about it for now!
I wonder how it would compare with the very old smc 50mm F1.4? Be very interesting to see.
08-21-2018, 06:26 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by peggers Quote
I wonder how it would compare with the very old smc 50mm F1.4? Be very interesting to see.
I am sure it is better than the old 50 1.4 in sharpness. The 1.7 is sharper than the old 1.4.
08-21-2018, 06:27 AM   #8
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thanks Michaelina2

well that is a visual comparison

but I think we were hoping for something more

08-21-2018, 09:38 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
How's this for starters?

K-1+D FA50/1.4 vs. SV+Super-Tak 50/1.4

I know which rig I'd rather carry casually around town all day. Then again, I also know which one I could rely on to get great pictures when the chips were down and I needed guaranteed results... and which one would still work if the power was out!
08-21-2018, 12:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I know which rig I'd rather carry casually around town all day. Then again, I also know which one I could rely on to get great pictures when the chips were down and I needed guaranteed results... and which one would still work if the power was out!
And which one would you rather have for the zombie apocalypse?
08-21-2018, 12:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoutHans Quote
And which one would you rather have for the zombie apocalypse?
Bigger would be better for that. Much more impact damage.
08-27-2018, 06:37 PM   #12
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Hi:

I posted the below in the "other" forum.

I had meant to upload pictures this past weekend, but work and family have made life very busy. I will be uploading images soon and linking to RAW images, but thought I would add some additional observations.

I took my K1 and K3 to a local park and then to the Kennebec River here in Central Maine (in the US).

I compared the new D FA 50 to the 43 and 77 Limiteds, the D FA 24-70, and the D FA 28-105. I have not looked at the 28-105 images yet, but it is very clear that the new D FA 50 outperforms the 43, 77, and 24-70 in a very noticeable way at all comparable apertures--of course, looking closely at test images. Things even out a bit as you get to the more narrow apertures, but the D FA 50 is the clear winner (at least to me).

Funny thing happened with the D FA 28-105. Not sure if anyone else has noticed this. I could not get it to take a 50 mm image. It was either 48 mm or 53 mm--and, I tried several times making very slight adjustments.

I have used the 43, 77, and 24-70 to take great pictures and I think we all know these are all very nice lenses. The new D FA 50, though, really does squeak out better contrast, more sharpness (over a greater area of the frame), and has extremely pleasing bokeh. It is of course, bigger, heavier, and more expensive (well, comparable in price to the D FA 24-70). And, so far I have not noticed any weak areas in images suggesting all elements are properly in place (i.e., no de-centering).

I did (sometimes) notice more LoCA--but I was looking for it (pretty noticeable at f1.4 at times and other times when I would have thought it would be apparent at 1.4 it was barely noticeable). Using Photoshop CC 2018 Adobe Camera RAW I clicked the lens profile, clicked "Remove Chromatic Aberration," and under the manual tab under lens corrections I defringed green by +2 and any remaining magenta/purple by +1 or +2. And, I did this for testing. I may not have chosen to remove anything unless it was obvious.

A few years ago chromatic aberration was more problematic for me. I was over thinking things, I am sure. I tried the DA* 200 and obtained one of the best pictures of one of our children, which I printed and have framed in our living room. I returned the DA* 200 due to the very noticeable purple fringing. If I had it back I might be more patient with it.

I will post pictures soon and link to either Dropbox or Google Drive so you can review the RAW images.

So far, looking good.
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