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04-22-2020, 06:27 AM   #1
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Which 50mm 2.8 Macro would you pick.

The options are the SMC Pentax-A 50mm 1:2.8 macro and the SMC Pentax-FA (or F) 50mm 1:2.8 Macro. I want to take 1:1 magnification and AF out of the equation.

The A has 6 elements in 4 groups, the F/FA has 8 elements in 7 groups. 6 vs 8 elements. FA is heavier and larger. But all those things I want to out of the equation.


Purely on IQ (sharpness (center and across the frame, character, and bokeh). What are the differences and which one do you like more and why?.

04-22-2020, 06:47 AM   #2
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I have used lots of macros and I love both the F and the FA. They are relatively light and very very sharp.
04-22-2020, 06:58 AM   #3
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are those two the only options?
04-22-2020, 07:28 AM   #4
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yup. 50mm Pentax 2.8 not digital age. Is was looking for a Pentax-A when I saw the FA isn't going for much more.

04-22-2020, 07:42 AM   #5
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I bought the FA about a year ago, and I consider it my best lens purchase ever (particularly since it was under $250). The lens renders colors beautifully and produces beautiful bokeh. It is a very sharp lens, and I find it very easy to get it into focus. The focus target just pops out almost like a 3-D image.
04-22-2020, 07:43 AM   #6
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Out of the options you mentioned I would probably get a Tamron Adaptall 90mm f2.5.

EDIT: I would really like to try shooting with an M 50 f4 Macro but I've never used one so grain of salt with that one.
04-22-2020, 07:48 AM - 13 Likes   #7
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Here are a couple of samples from the FA50. Not necessarily macro shots, but show how it renders.
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04-22-2020, 08:03 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ToddK Quote
Here are a couple of samples from the FA50. Not necessarily macro shots, but show how it renders.
Well, nothing wrong with those shots! I've only used my DFA 50 f2.8 to photograph circuit boards and some other details for documentation purposes (related to art installations---don't ask...), all pretty dull sorts of stuff, completely utilitarian. These images show the overall rendering better than mine do...


Last edited by texandrews; 04-22-2020 at 11:47 AM.
04-22-2020, 08:15 AM - 4 Likes   #9
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I love my SMC Pentax-A 50mm 1:2.8 macro!

04-22-2020, 08:29 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
I love my SMC Pentax-A 50mm 1:2.8 macro!
Fantastic image! It is really splitting hairs when you start comparing the two lenses. I don't know how anybody couldn't be happy with either one.
04-22-2020, 08:35 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
The options are the SMC Pentax-A 50mm 1:2.8 macro and the SMC Pentax-FA (or F) 50mm 1:2.8 Macro. I want to take 1:1 magnification and AF out of the equation.

The A has 6 elements in 4 groups, the F/FA has 8 elements in 7 groups. 6 vs 8 elements. FA is heavier and larger. But all those things I want to out of the equation.


Purely on IQ (sharpness (center and across the frame, character, and bokeh). What are the differences and which one do you like more and why?.
Another lens to consider is the Vivitar 55mm F2.8. Kind of big and beefy. And not common. But it's really nicely built. Stiff focus dampening, no focus creep. Here's a shot from mine in a Nikon F-mount, Fuji Provia 100F at somewhere around F5.6 and 1:1.3 magnification.


Last edited by murrelet; 04-22-2020 at 08:49 AM.
04-22-2020, 08:37 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Out of the options you mentioned I would probably get a Tamron Adaptall 90mm f2.5.

EDIT: I would really like to try shooting with an M 50 f4 Macro but I've never used one so grain of salt with that one.
I have the M50/4 macro. It is very good indeed. It made me tons of money doing copy work when I was running my own custom lab, and now that I am just shooting for fun on digital, I am finding that it is still a very good lens. I can't compare it to the A series or autofocus lenses, I don't own any of those, but it satisfies my needs.
I've never met a macro lens that wasn't a very good lens.
04-22-2020, 08:38 AM   #13
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I'm assuming that when you write SMC FA 50mm f2.8 macro, you mean the D FA 50mm version. If so, I would highly recommend that version. Its very sharp, flat field and has great color. Unlike the SMC A 50mm version it has auto-focus.
04-22-2020, 08:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by BryantCP Quote
I'm assuming that when you write SMC FA 50mm f2.8 macro, you mean the D FA 50mm version.
Actually there are some FA 50mm f2.8 lenses on the used market quite frequently. I bought mine from KEH last year and have seen them there a few times since.
04-22-2020, 09:20 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
Which 50mm 2.8 Macro would you pick.
QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
I want to take 1:1 magnification and AF out of the equation.
The Pentax-A 50/2.8 does not support 1:1. Based on reviews and sample photos, the FA 50/2.8 offers fine performance, but the focus ring leaves much to be desired, IMHO. Is there any reason why 50mm is the target? Working distance at that focal length is unavoidably close at higher magnification and can interfere with lighting due to the lens shading the subject.


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