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11-28-2008, 06:56 PM   #1
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Please school me on 50's

Hi, I got great responses on my last post with regards to what lenses to look for THANKS ! I realize I've made a few less than fantastic choices but fortunately these were used lenses purchased cheap (other than the FA 28-105). I'm going to keep thinking about how I'm going to go long and wide but from what I've read here it seems that I definately need a 50mm ( the least used lens in my film stuff). So here is the question ,I see reviews on the f1.4 and the f1.7 in both the F and FA series and each group of reviews speaks highly of that* particular lens so if one of each of these lenses was sitting on a table in pristine condition which one would you choose?* ***** By the way it seems that the A series lens is well respected too but these are the first AUTO FOCUS SLR's I've ever owned and after playing with them a little , AF is kind of a nice option.

11-28-2008, 07:18 PM   #2
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In the A series, I believe the 1.7 is a very nice compromise. I have both f/2 & f/1.4, and the price gap is HUGE.

The A f/1.4 is a very sexy and nice piece of glass...


Now coming to the AF era... the FA f/1.4 is indeed very reputable and nicely priced, so i am not sure how one could go wrong with it...



Now regarding the 50mm.. just make sure u are buying the right FL! i, for instance, bought the (2) 50mm just to realize I dont like the focal lenght... nah nah nah...
11-28-2008, 11:09 PM   #3
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Hi seacapt,

I don't know that you NEED a fast fifty, other than from an LBA standpoint. I have both an F 50 f 1.7 and an FA 50 f1.4. I'm primarily a tele shooter, and really don't use them all that much, but one or the other is always in the bag, which isn't much of a problem because they're small. Many users find that the FL is a bit long for general low light use indoors on an APS-C crop digital, preferring a more "normal" perspective that something closer to 28-35 would give with the crop factor, but it really depends on how you'd like to use it. I like it for candid head shots and busts, and for this they do a very nice job, pretty much the same as you'd expect from a short tele portrait lens, which is what 50mm is with the crop factor (75mm Eq). I'd suggest that you shoot your 28-105 at 50 mm exclusively for a while and see if a significantly faster lens in this FL (with it's corresponding shallow DOF) will be useful to your style of shooting.

FWIW, the F 50/1.7 is a bit sharper wide open, but they even out at @ f2, and are both very sharp starting at this aperture -- this is from pretty casual observation, not any specific tests, nor is it from ultra critical use. Personally, I use them pretty much interchangeably.

I bought the F 50/1.7 used for a very good price soon after getting my DS over 3 years ago, and picked up the FA50/1.4 a couple of years ago, during a period when they were very scarce new, and thought to have been discontinued (some profiteers were buying the few that became available from dealers and selling them for 1.5-2x MSRP on ebay).

Just my $.02 worth. . .

Scott
11-29-2008, 07:40 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote

I don't know that you NEED a fast fifty, other than from an LBA standpoint. I have both an F 50 f 1.7 and an FA 50 f1.4.
bingo! if you like the focal length then get one.
if you're shooting in situations where you always need F1.4, get one. otherwise there's no neeeed.

11-29-2008, 08:38 AM   #5
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There are a zillions 50's out there, so here's a very short summary:

If you want AF, the *only* one still in production is the FA50/1.4. People like it a lot, and it's quite cheap for a brand new "fast" AF lens (around $200). While people might debate whether the old F series (as opposed to FA) was marginally better in some obscure way, or whether the old f/1.7 was marginally better than the f/1.4 version in some obscure way, to my mind this is a no-brainer. Why go out of your to find a discontinued lens that probably won't be any cheaper and certainly won't be noticeably better? Just get the FA50/1.4 if you want AF.

Now, if you *don't* need AF, the choices are a bit fuzzier. None are really going to give you noticeably better quality, and the f/2 versions will be noticeably worse. So really, the main ones to consider are the 1.7 and 1.4 "M" and "A" versions. The A50/1.4 is usually no cheaper than the FA, so I can't imagine why anyone would choose that. But the A50/1.7 is usually under $100 and "A" is enough more useful for metering than "M" that I'd recommend going that way. On the other hand, some like the build quality of the "M" series a little better, so you could save a little more with the M50/1.7. And f you're *really* concerned about the difference in speed, the M50/1.4 is usually around the same price as - or only a little more than - the A50/1.7.
11-29-2008, 09:09 AM   #6
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So am I to gather that the primary use is a studio / portrait lens and if so why is there soooo much discussion about these lenses? I do use my 85mm on film camera on a semi regular basis and this sems like the lens to fill it's shoes.
11-29-2008, 09:29 AM   #7
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The F 50 1.7 can be had for between $100 and $175, and is an excellent choice for AF.

I still think the S-M-C Takumar 50 1.4 might be the best Pentax 50, however.
11-29-2008, 10:41 AM   #8
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If it's sexy you want as BBear suggests, go for the A series 50mm f1:1.2, it does it for me.

11-29-2008, 01:52 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
So am I to gather that the primary use is a studio / portrait lens
That and any time you want good low light capabilities (and don't need it to be particularly wide angle) or want shallow DOF.

QuoteQuote:
if so why is there soooo much discussion about these lenses?
Because all of the above (eg portraits, low light, shallow DOF) are pretty common concerns, and because the 50's are by far the most common, cheapest, and often highest quality primes out there.
11-29-2008, 02:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
.....why is there soooo much discussion about these lenses?....
Because we're a bunch of gearheaded guys for the most part and no matter the area of interest (photography, Nascar, NFL, etc) there's nothing such a bunch would rather do than sit around and discuss the most obscure and arcane bits of trivia to the point of absurdity.

Every now and then we pause long enough to actually go take a picture of something.
11-29-2008, 05:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
So am I to gather that the primary use is a studio / portrait lens and if so why is there soooo much discussion about these lenses? I do use my 85mm on film camera on a semi regular basis and this sems like the lens to fill it's shoes.
Well, that's always been a favorite of mine, too. (Happy am I there with the digital addition: so many nice choices in my favorite range) Of course, an 85 1.4 would tend to be quite large: I think the new popularity of short portrait length is really mostly a function of the fact that nearly everyone can have one for a fast lens without shelling out for some made-for-digital 30mm, and the size is convenient.

I think the short portrait lengths weren't so popular in film days in large measure cause you had to know you wanted one: there's little 'wow factor' for people to walk in stores, see, and want, especially when popular zooms could cover that range. A lot of Canon shooters love em cause Canon's old 85s were just so nice.
11-29-2008, 08:47 PM   #12
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.

To help you decide, here's a flavoring of 50 - 55mm images from various
lenses I've owned over the past couple years:

.

C Zeiss Jena 50 f/2, M 50 1.4


FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro:


A 50 1.7, S-M-C Takumar 50 1.4


S-M-C Takumar 50 1.4 (fungal version)


FA 50 1.7:


F (not FA) 50 1.7:


M 50 f/4 Macro, A 50 f/2


S-M-C Takumar 55 f/1.8, K 55 1.8:


S-M-C Takumar 55 f/1.8:

11-29-2008, 08:58 PM   #13
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Why not go for the DA 40mm f2.8 Limited
11-29-2008, 10:43 PM   #14
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Fast 50's are great because there are so many different types widley available thus expanding your creative possibilities as they all render images differently, especially in the bokeh department.
11-30-2008, 06:58 PM   #15
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OK I'm starting to get it , you can do alot with these little lenses. Natural light , shallow DOF and would work as a short "studio portrait lens". JSHERMAN999 Nice work thanks for sharing.
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