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09-16-2018, 02:49 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Modern fifties: Samyang vs Sigma vs DA*

The new D FA* 1.4/50mm is finally giving us a prime that can be the envy of users of other brands.
It is very expensive though. Too much for my finances and (I imagine) for other people too.
As an exercise in wishful thinking, I'm considering the alternatives to the new Pentax.
The DA* 1.4/55mm is not considered full frame compatible by Pentax (no embedded profile in K-1/K-1 II), but it covers and has AF.
The Sigma EX DG HSM is expensive, not easy to be found second-hand, and has AF. It is bigger than the DA* though.
The Samyang is MF, bulky, but not expensive if you can find one second-hand (not easy!). Performance on the K-1 is still kind of a mystery. Not many pentaxians have posted first hand impressions or reviews.

The DA* seems to be the most interesting alternative to the new Pentax, cause it has AF and prices are dropping (already available second-hand for around 350 USD). I am afraid that sooner or later all SDM lenses will eventually fail, which would be a bummer
The Sigma is great... if it wasn't for the price asked by the few people who sell one!
I don't mind using MF lenses, if the Samyang was good enough to compete in sharpness with the other two I could wait for one at the right price (hugely inferior to the Sigma, and also quite cheaper than the Pentax). Though this lens is an incognito, if I check MTF figures on other cameras it seems disappointing. Which is a surprise, cause the 35mm and the 135mm are stellar lenses.

Any first hand experience about the Samyang? Anybody had the chance to compare it with any of the other two?

cheers
Paolo


Last edited by cyberjunkie; 09-16-2018 at 03:26 AM.
09-16-2018, 03:53 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
The DA* 1.4/55mm is not considered full frame compatible by Pentax (no embedded profile in K-1/K-1 II), but it covers and has AF.
The DA* is perfectly FF. Only the hood is a tad long and accentuates a bit the vignetting.

Adobe programs have a profile for it. Works perfectly.

QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
Any first hand experience about the Samyang? Anybody had the chance to compare it with any of the other two?
Never used the other two, can't help you about that.
09-16-2018, 03:58 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
The Sigma EX DG HSM is expensive, not easy to be found second-hand, and has AF. It is bigger than the DA* though.
The old Sigma 50 HSM suffers from quite visible focus shift.
09-16-2018, 04:13 AM   #4
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The DA*55 is not *perfectly* full frame, but for all intents and purposes it is good enough.

I have been very happy with the DA* as my full frame fast fifty. But then I saw what the DFA* can do.

09-16-2018, 04:16 AM   #5
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Wait for Black Friday deals and get the Fatty (DFA*50), you won´t regret it..
09-16-2018, 05:31 AM   #6
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Do you need that wide open aperture? If not look at the DFA 50 2.8 macro, I've seen samples on threads that some it going head to head with the DFA 50 1.4 and it is very hard to tell them apart at f stops they have in common.

I don't have a k-1, but if I did, I'd look to the DA* 55 or DF A 50 macro depending on my needs.
09-16-2018, 06:04 AM   #7
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recently went through this myself, but did not consider the Samyang/Rokinon variant because I wanted autofocus...

there are a couple of threads here on PF that compare and contrast the Sigma 50/1.4 with the DA* 55/1.4 - both produce amazing shots, even wide open, etc.... but I could not get over the SDM issue with the Pentax...

I placed a wanted ad here on the Marketplace, and within a few days of that, another member had listed a Sigma 50/1.4 for sale..... I have it now and it's stupendous...
09-16-2018, 01:27 PM   #8
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FA 50mm f1.4

Hi

If you want a small lens, the FA 50mm F1.4 is a cheap and good option. If you work over F2.8 you can get very good results. It's old and also a bit slow in focus.
Everything depends on how you intend to use the lens. There is better lenses with a little longer focal length if it is intended for portrait photography or macro.

Below some examples of what to expect from the old FA 50/1.4.
The first two pictures are at f4. No 2 is 200% crop from the lower feft side.
No 3 and 4 are at f8. No 4 is 200% crop. I used K-1. The post prosessing and sharpening was made in Digital camera utility 5.

I have no experience of the other lenses raised here in the thread.
Good luck with your search for a fixed focal lens.

Attached Images
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PENTAX K-1  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-1  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-1  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-1  Photo 
09-17-2018, 06:22 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Livio Quote
Hi

If you want a small lens, the FA 50mm F1.4 is a cheap and good option. If you work over F2.8 you can get very good results. It's old and also a bit slow in focus.

Good luck with your search for a fixed focal lens.
I already have the FA.
I want to find a 50mm at a decent price, second hand, that has good performance wide open, and is at least f/1.4.
I have plenty of lenses in this focal range (50/58mm) but none of them is really sharp wide open.
Only very recent designs can offer this level of performance.
Over time my purchases have almost always addressed my interest for bokeh. I hate the word, but I can't find another way to generalise without going too much in detail.
Maybe I should just say that I value smooth/pleasant rendering over absolute sharpness.
At this point I want to play with a fifty that has other characteristics. I have covered the soap bubble bokeh, swirly bokeh, the strong separation of plains of focus. Now I want to shoot very sharp keeping the aperture as wide as possible, cause I like to blur backgrounds (and sometimes foregrounds).
Last minute I decided to go for the Samyang (I have a few Sammyes, and I love them!), and bid $177.
I knew it was too low, cause the lens was really like new. I expected a price much higher.
In the end it got sold for only $180!
I found a raving review of the Samyang (non-AF) only after the auction was over. Maybe it is for the better, maybe I'll find a DA* for a dirty cheap price, who knows...
Though I'm just afraid that all SDM lenses will eventually fail one day. It's possible, maybe even very likely.
This thought bugs me a lot. Good lenses have to last!
My A* 1.4/85mm works exactly as the day I bought it, long long ago, and its performance can still be considered almost as terrific as when it was released. Back then I had the funds to buy it second-hand, now it would be out of reach, so I am glad I could afford such a beautiful, durable optic.
I guess you understand why buying a lens that has (or could have) an expiry date makes me feel uneasy, especially if it's not dirty cheap.
I feel it is time to enjoy the pluses of modern AF primes. Fast and super sharp. Though I don't know if I'm ready for the minuses, that I've already found do exist.
The Samyang could have been a sensible choice, being sharp and manual, but I've been too cautious.
I guess I wasn't really fully convinced.
I have no idea when a new opportunity will arise, it seems very very few Pentax users have bought one.
At $299 new (close-out price) it's too close to the current price of a good used DA*.
I've already asked a few vendors about the health of the SDM. All say it's fine... but I'm still doubtful

Last edited by cyberjunkie; 09-17-2018 at 07:20 AM.
09-17-2018, 06:27 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
The DA* seems to be the most interesting alternative to the new Pentax, cause it has AF and prices are dropping (already available second-hand for around 350 USD). I am afraid that sooner or later all SDM lenses will eventually fail, which would be a bummer
Eventually all lenses will fail. Especially those with internal drive motors. Screw drive was a better bet , because every time you buy a new camera body you get a new AF motor. So if that's an issue, go for screw drive. But claiming anything but 1st gen 10 year old SDM fails more than any other electric motors is unsupported by fact.

You have a penchant for singling out SDM motors in this regard. It's annoying. The electric drive motors from every company fail. Quit picking on Pentax.

SDM is like a brand name, many different motors are called SDM just as many different cameras are called Pentax.. Your inability to grasp that is quite irritating.

I was going to provide some input on the DA* 55 , but because it's SDM, it would be wasted on you. I won't bother.

I own three SDM lenses, one for almost 6 years now with a combined use of 10 years with no failures. Your attitude is your loss.

Last edited by normhead; 09-17-2018 at 06:42 AM.
09-17-2018, 08:16 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Your attitude is your loss.
I could say exactly the same.
Though I prefer to register your opinion for what is worth: an opinion.
I respect it, as I respect any opinion.
I am happy enough at this point of my life to bother if others think in a different way.
Actually, I love differences, of any kind. I find them enriching

Btw, I do believe HSM motor can fail. in fact, I have only two of them.
The only difference is that in the USA I can buy parts from Sigma, and in Italy my independent repairman can fix the problem at a lower price, if the problem arises.
That makes a difference.
I use Pentax since the time photography was not an hobby, and I never used any other DSLR.
Though I'm not deaf and dumb, and fortunately Pentax is not a religion

Last edited by cyberjunkie; 09-17-2018 at 08:26 AM.
09-17-2018, 09:10 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
Now I want to shoot very sharp keeping the aperture as wide as possible, cause I like to blur backgrounds (and sometimes foregrounds).
Get your credit card out, Paolo, the DFA*50 seems to be for you.

It does have an "SDM" in lens motor, if you're fearful of those three letters.



09-17-2018, 09:36 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Get your credit card out, Paolo, the DFA*50 seems to be for you.

It does have an "SDM" in lens motor, if you're fearful of those three letters.
Yes. I can hear my credit card crying
I'm not fearful of acronyms, just cautious (because of the failure rate of some early SDM lenses).
I'd be happier if the lens had a screwdrive system too... you know, as a backup
Call me old fashioned, I am still fascinated by the carefully designed mechanics of some old lenses.
Like the one at the bottom here. I could not resist:
Your latest acquisition - Page 924 - PentaxForums.com
09-17-2018, 12:21 PM   #14
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JDI

In my opinion the D-FA*50/1.4 is a different class to any other "standard" focal length lens I have used. Other lenses have their own qualities and strengths, with the DA*55/1.4 probably being the closest to the new 50 overall, but for the aspects that are important to me my gamble on such a large, heavy & expensive lens have really paid off.

Sharpness at maximum aperture is excellent. Bokeh is simply gorgeous. AF accuracy is the best I've seen.

I will be selling my K50/1.2, Voigtlander 58/1.4 and F50/1.4 shortly (I'll keep the FA 43/1.9 for travel/compactness) - all with a tinge of sadness I suspect - but I haven't used any of them since the D-FA* purchase.

If you are teetering on the edge of buying I would use those three letters....

...J.D.I. ! (Just Do It )
09-17-2018, 01:03 PM   #15
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SDM is a type of motor, not a motor and gears model.

One SDM motor can be as different from another SDM as night and day, and in fact they might be made by completely different supplier with completely different materials.

As I understand, the issues with early lenses was more because the motors and gears were underengineered and could not deal with the weight and friction of the elements they are moving, especially if the lens hasn't been used in a while and things start to get "sticky".
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