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10-11-2020, 10:44 PM   #1
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HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW - happy with this lens? What are you using it for?

The modern 50mm, the dfa, is highly rated. I've had some excellent landscape results from it as well as some portrait photography. But sometimes I find the results from this lens a bit, I don't know, too neutral? Anyone else feel like that? For portrait photography, I am not feeling it. I know there are more optimal focal lengths than 50 for portraits, but I don't know. The Zeiss 55 1.8 for Sony is a good portrait lens, so is the 35mm f/1.4 for Fuji (50 mm equ on ff).

I tend to prefer the rendering of the 43mm...


Why am I not raving about this lens as everyone else? The AF is precise, so it's not that. And as I said, I am getting great results some times.

10-12-2020, 12:12 AM   #2
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I sometimes have that feeling with other modern lenses like the 16-85 on the K3-II. It is not the neutralness but sometimes it annoys me that it is too perfect. Nowadays we are so far off of what we could achieve with film. Through its perfectness one may feel that the stills do not live anymore. It has not so much to do with the lens itself, but with all the technique around it. I just bought the HD DA 11-18 and pictures are fabulous, but on the other hand if you look at them, everything is perfect. It is a perhaps something that takes it away from the experience one had with photographing in the film era.
10-12-2020, 12:47 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I feel a revolt coming along against this crazy must have centre to corner sharpness at F1.4 coming along.

I'm a landscaper but if I feel the OP should sell the DFA 50 and get a FA 77mm Limited as it is the best portrait lens Pentax made. I love the amazing 3d pop it makes and who looks at corners of portraits? Who looks at any photographs corners?

I have seen good portraits with the DFA* 50mm though.
10-12-2020, 01:20 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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I think Ricoh needed to make this lens - precise, accurate, modern etc. However, Pentax do have so many options that don't display these characteristics, or not all of them, and this can make then excellent lenses too.

I used the DFA 50 macro for landscapes when I sold my prints, printed to A1 size. This lens is uniformly sharp across the frame and many customers commented how much detail there was "right to the edges". Perhaps it lacked the 'something' the Limiteds possess, but it is a great lens for some types of landscapes. I suspect the DFA* is similar in characteristic - a tad smaller, though ;-)

Personally, I'd always go for the DFA 77mm for portraits for that 3D rendering that is hard to identify, but exists - not always, but when it does I still gasp a little. The 43mm is similar, though I find it less impactful.

Guess, modern lenses have fantastic specs and consistency, but they may not throw up those surprises that the older lenses do. This is why I enjoy using Pentax lenses - surprises and now a few excellent, modern lenses. Soon the odd hole in the range will be filled and nobody will find a reason to complain. <- Nor saying the OP is complaining, to be clear, but just occasionally a voice does pop up for a moan ;-)

10-12-2020, 01:31 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by nocturnal Quote
I feel a revolt coming along against this crazy must have centre to corner sharpness at F1.4 coming along.
Hahahah!

I actually do have the 77mm. And while I sometimes drool after seeing people comparing the new 85* against the Zeiss Otus, I remind my self that the 50mm* doesnt beat my 77 or 43 in terms of creating images. So maybe I shouldn't get the 85.

Yes, I have a friend who gets great portraits from the 50mm*. Myself, I'm getting a lot more 3d, portrait rendering, magical touch from the 77mm.

---------- Post added 10-12-20 at 01:34 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
I think Ricoh needed to make this lens - precise, accurate, modern etc. However, Pentax do have so many options that don't display these characteristics, or not all of them, and this can make then excellent lenses too.

I used the DFA 50 macro for landscapes when I sold my prints, printed to A1 size. This lens is uniformly sharp across the frame and many customers commented how much detail there was "right to the edges". Perhaps it lacked the 'something' the Limiteds possess, but it is a great lens for some types of landscapes. I suspect the DFA* is similar in characteristic - a tad smaller, though ;-)

Personally, I'd always go for the DFA 77mm for portraits for that 3D rendering that is hard to identify, but exists - not always, but when it does I still gasp a little. The 43mm is similar, though I find it less impactful.

Guess, modern lenses have fantastic specs and consistency, but they may not throw up those surprises that the older lenses do. This is why I enjoy using Pentax lenses - surprises and now a few excellent, modern lenses. Soon the odd hole in the range will be filled and nobody will find a reason to complain. <- Nor saying the OP is complaining, to be clear, but just occasionally a voice does pop up for a moan ;-)
You're right. The 50* is precise and sharp. Neutral. Works great for paid work like product photography. But for me personally, it's not very artistic. But I guess it's a concious choice from Pentax. The limited lenses are for creativity and the 50* is for precise accurate work :/ And like the other guy said, they needed to have that in their arsenal as well to stay competitive in the DSLR market...

---------- Post added 10-12-20 at 01:36 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Quote
I sometimes have that feeling with other modern lenses like the 16-85 on the K3-II. It is not the neutralness but sometimes it annoys me that it is too perfect. Nowadays we are so far off of what we could achieve with film. Through its perfectness one may feel that the stills do not live anymore. It has not so much to do with the lens itself, but with all the technique around it. I just bought the HD DA 11-18 and pictures are fabulous, but on the other hand if you look at them, everything is perfect. It is a perhaps something that takes it away from the experience one had with photographing in the film era.
I know what you mean. But I find the rendering on the 70-200mm f/2.8 different from the 50mm*, but also suitable for profesionnal and creative work. It sort of has that 3d pop, but more modern look (good just different) than the 77mm for example It's all subjective though I guess
10-12-2020, 01:51 AM - 7 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by nocturnal Quote
I feel a revolt coming along against this crazy must have centre to corner sharpness at F1.4 coming along.

I'm a landscaper but if I feel the OP should sell the DFA 50 and get a FA 77mm Limited as it is the best portrait lens Pentax made. I love the amazing 3d pop it makes and who looks at corners of portraits? Who looks at any photographs corners?

I have seen good portraits with the DFA* 50mm though.
In case you shoot portraits using central composition there is no need of sharp edges or corners. But if you like shooting f1.4 and recompose e.g. the face to the area near the corner, then sharp corner is must for quality, detailed image. Or simply try to shoot whole height portrait with FA 50/1.4 and look to details near the edge. I think you will be disappointed. But DFA*50/1.4 will do the job.
Good sharpness near the edge is advantage if you shoot with face detection AF (it works almost near the edge of the frame) and position the face not in the center of the frame, because good sharpness near the edge is achieved due to no or very few spherical aberrations. This same could be said about phase detection AF points that are closer to the egde even Pentax AF system has just 33 points. But who knows, how much AF points will be in next models.
I agree that less or no spherical aberrations of DFA* 50/1.4 could be the reason why this lens produces different pictures compared to FA 77 Ltd or other older 50-55 mm lenses, but you still can achieve 3D pop using better lighting.

DFA* 50/1.4 @f1.4

Last edited by Medex; 10-12-2020 at 02:29 AM.
10-12-2020, 02:53 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medex Quote
DFA* 50/1.4 @f1.4
That is a really good portrait my friend! Well done. Shows the possibilities too. I've used my 50mm* at events, also using flash and it helps a lot!

You're a real good portrait photographer!

How do you compare the 50mm* and the 85mm*? Both for portraits and in general?
10-12-2020, 03:09 AM - 6 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by norwegianoutdoors Quote
That is a really good portrait my friend! Well done. Shows the possibilities too. I've used my 50mm* at events, also using flash and it helps a lot!

You're a real good portrait photographer!

How do you compare the 50mm* and the 85mm*? Both for portraits and in general?
Thank you.
These two star lenses (85 and 50) are similar in rendering. I use 85 outside (on locations) and 50 - in studio or when there is less space available. They are great really. I can't compare to 77 Ltd or DA* 55, or FA 50 directly. Those who use 77 Ltd or DA*55 are satisfied according to some posts in FB groups.
Here is a example of *85 at f1.4. There is more examples in dedicated Flickr group or in the link below (juzaphoto), where there are some full resolution samples
https://www.juzaphoto.com/recensione.php?t=pentax_hd85_f1-4#fotoesempio



10-12-2020, 03:11 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medex Quote
Here is a example of *85 at f1.4. There is more examples in dedicated Flickr group
This one is even better!! Amazing colors and everything. Now I almost wish I bought that lens like I was suppose to instead of buying that Canon pro 1000 printer, haha!
10-12-2020, 03:22 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Was going to say something, but luckily Medox did bring up those photos.

I have DA*55, DFA50/2.8 macro and FA trio. Also DFA*70-200

I'm still having DFA*50 and 85 on my shopping list because of not just 2 examples above, but also because of that. Amazing quality edge to edge even wide open or little stopped down. This is not actually what you can do with any other of lenses I listed above(except 70-200, which is in league of DFA*). Using good light/lighting does bring every lens up couple notch. When it is great lens already even more so.

10-12-2020, 04:41 PM   #11
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That girl on the motorbike is my kind of babe Medex, don't care about motorbikes though

Great picture!
10-12-2020, 09:00 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by nocturnal Quote
That girl on the motorbike is my kind of babe Medex, don't care about motorbikes though

Great picture!
Thank you. She would like to ride this bike even she is not real bike girl.
BTW she is real pentaxian girl 😊. She shoots K3
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