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08-30-2018, 01:38 AM - 8 Likes   #1
LennyBloke's Avatar

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Can the D-FA*50 really improve your photography?

I'm not sure how this will sound to Pentax users (and others - bless them) who haven't got the new D-FA*50/1.4 but I thought it would be worth saying to see if others feel the same....

When I get a new lens there is always the usual excitement and fun of trying all sorts of angles, lighting, extremes, etc. to work out the qualities and potential uses for it. The "special" lenses have always fitted neatly into their categories and have always matched my expectations (A*85/1.4, K28/2.0, F*300/4.5, etc.) but I wasn't sure what to expect from the D-FA*50/1.4! Of course it was going to deliver the IQ but how does a "50" fit into my shooting style? I have always owned "standard" lenses and have always been happy with my favourites (K50/1.2, F50/1.4) and although one of them is often in the camera bag I very rarely reach for it. I was aware of this in the run up to the launch, and even when I placed the order I knew in the back of my mind that it was likely to be a bit of an expensive "White Elephant", so now the honeymoon is over how do I feel?

Firstly, it was expensive but certainly not a mistake - it's truly a pleasure to use, from the feel of the lens to the sharpness and IQ to the bokeh and AF accuracy - I can find nothing to complain about apart from the size & weight - but I knew about these before purchasing so that was my choice.

Secondly, if I didn't make the most of my other "standard" lenses would I really use this one, or would I feel I was just proving a point (to me? to other Pentax users?). The answer to this one is a definitive Yes - I do use it, I can see where it suits, and it has improved my photography (yes I did say that - even though I've never been of that view before!). I'm mainly using it for portraits/people - not so much the close up head shots that the 85's are so well suited to but the wider shots, shots that never seemed to work so well for me on other lenses. A similar use is for Pets - if you've seen pshlutes beautiful dog photos you'll know what I mean!

"Improved my photography" - Yes! The focus accuracy, sharpness and bokeh combined allow me to capture portraits that I wasn't getting before with a fifty, and the fact that I can crop significantly (thanks to the high MP count of the K1 and the IQ of the lens) has given me the confidence to try shots that I never pulled off before. I know this lens won't improve results for everyone (particularly the higher skilled - of which there are many on here) but I'm sure some will benefit significantly.

It's been a busy few weeks so I haven't done as much with the lens as I would like, but I know I haven't even scratched the surface (Eeeeek - not literally!!!) - Landscape, Townscapes, etc. are next on my list - and I think I'll be selling most of my other 50's soon!

Anyone feel the same? Feel the opposite? Think I'm an idiot (Don't answer that!) ?

08-30-2018, 01:49 AM - 5 Likes   #2
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I of course think only *you* can improve your photography, Lenny.

But psychologically, if you're inspired by a new toy - and this is just about as good as it gets in K-mount or anywhere else - to do more photography and get better as a result, that's obviously a win. You're clearly loving the honeymoon period, so there's no point being The Grinch and wondering about the oh so many ways we can improve without spending cash at all.

Congratulations, mate - look forward to seeing some pics!

Last edited by clackers; 08-30-2018 at 01:55 AM.
08-30-2018, 01:57 AM - 1 Like   #3

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When I win the K1 (or mk II) and when I buy the FA*50 decisive moments will occur right in front of me as soon as I bring the viewfinder to my eye. The light will be perfect because every hour will be golden hour. Or so I keep telling myself.
08-30-2018, 01:58 AM   #4
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good onya man

08-30-2018, 01:59 AM - 1 Like   #5

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QuoteOriginally posted by LennyBloke Quote
Think I'm an idiot (Don't answer that!) ?
I don't think a new lens by itself improves anybodys photography, but hey - I don't own the new 50 f1.4

But your final comment made me laugh so you get a well earned Like
08-30-2018, 02:08 AM   #6
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Maybe not better, but certainly different.
08-30-2018, 02:27 AM - 1 Like   #7
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It can't improve anybodies photography. The lens itself has a certain quality to it, but that isn't your photography. The better autofocus works in conjunction with the camera the more it will take over your photography from you. So it will improve your photo's as far as getting the right part in focus goes. Subject choice and composition and lighting are still up to the photographer, who will be able to focus on those when he or she doesn't have to worry as much whether the subject is in focus or not.
08-30-2018, 02:29 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
I of course think only *you* can improve your photography, Lenny.

But psychologically, if you're inspired by a new toy - and this is just about as good as it gets in K-mount or anywhere else - to do more photography and get better as a result, that's obviously a win. You're clearly loving the honeymoon period, so there's no point being The Grinch and wondering about the oh so many ways we can improve without spending cash at all.

Congratulations, mate - look forward to seeing some pics!
I don't want to be The Grinch and I completely agree with clackers that sometimes new equipment can inspire you to get out more. But I am intrinsically opposed to the idea that equipment can make you a better photographer. It can help you achieve your vision in better ways, but I feel that it's more about things like vision and composition

08-30-2018, 03:14 AM - 1 Like   #9
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The lens will certainly improve your photographs, from a technical point of view, if used correctly - but I think it can, at least indirectly, improve your photography because it can inspire you to try new things - actually just inspire you to get out and take more pictures! and give you more confidence in the results which, in turn, can make you take more of an effort to get everything just right, to push beyond what you normally do, because you have a greater certainty that the results will be worth it.
08-30-2018, 03:26 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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First, thanks for the compliment Lenny.

Secondly, I agree that new (expensive ?) equipment won't make anyone a better photographer per se. You make a good point about the DFA*50's IQ meaning that one can crop more and that is a real plus point. The bokeh and light discs the lens can produce are also elements where an owner can deliberately shoot to showcase them. That and the fact that it is fun to play with a new "toy" can mean that the photographer thinks more, uses the lens more, and his photography may well improve as a result.

Your thought process about the new lens was identical to mine. I did not need it, but am lucky to be in a situation where I can afford it, so I bought it. I love it.
08-30-2018, 03:28 AM   #11
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DFA*50 can produce more sharp details even with the widest aperture and new coatings can help against flares and those ugly low contrast veils. I don't know about color production because DFA*50 is the first and only lens I have at the moment.
08-30-2018, 03:32 AM   #12

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Well, I’d say that new gear which does what you need and is high quality will make you try harder. Also one might run out of excuses, no more gear to blame. So you might push your self harder than before. Yes, it will improve you and your photography
08-30-2018, 03:39 AM - 1 Like   #13
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If it increases your enthusiasm and therefore your 'practice' time, then you become better (and have more fun). At least for me.
08-30-2018, 05:59 AM - 1 Like   #14

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It wont improve YOUR photography. But the images that are captured might be a bit better for sharpness , flair , ghosting , etc.
I shoot with film era Primes and often end up wanting what the DFA 50 can deliver.
So is possible.
Also.....since it is autofocus and the most modern technology for a Pentax body , there wont be as many missed opportunities as say with a manual focus prime , and IQ issues will be hopefully less.
I believe it actually can improve the keeper rate just being a top shelf lens.

HelenJo has one sitting on her kitchen table that was delivered yesterday by Fedex while she is on vacation…….too bad I don't have permission to use it....Yet !

Last edited by Ronald Oakes; 08-30-2018 at 06:11 AM.
08-30-2018, 07:05 AM   #15
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Better quality equipment will always improve your photographs by improving the technical quality of whatever parameters have been improved. In the case of the D FA* 50/1.4, every imaging metric has been vastly improved over what it is superseding (the very old FA 50/1.4). If you are after sharpness, the new lens is sharper. If you are after smoother out of focus rendering, the new lens is in a completely different league. If you want better flare control, the new lens gives you that. Better contrast? You've got that too.
If you want bigger arm muscles the new lens can help with that as well.
Whether it makes your photography better, maybe, maybe not.
But it will make your photos technically better, and for me, that was ample reason to purchase one.

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