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01-24-2022, 08:26 PM   #1
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PENTAX-DA 50mmF1.8 vs. SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8

Curious question,

What are opinion(s) on the new PENTAX-DA 50mmF1.8 lens quality vs. the vintage SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8 lens

Comments please. If you were to choose between the 2, which would you choose. I know a big difference is the new lens has auto focus... Will be using on the k-s2 aps-c crop sensor body.




Reference(s): https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/smc-pentax-da-50mm-f1.8.html

and https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-K-55mm-F1.8-Lens.html


Last edited by Michael Piziak; 01-24-2022 at 08:48 PM.
01-24-2022, 10:10 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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I own both and while the DA 50/1.8 is a fun lens, the Pentax-K 55/1.8 is a much more capable optic, both on crop and on 24x36mm FF.

Pentax-K 55/1.8 on Kodachrome 64 (last production batch)



Sorry...I have no DA 50/1.8 shots to share, though the lens does see some use where its combination of light weight and quick AF are sure assets.

My suggestion is to include the Pentax-M 50/1.7 for consideration as well as the Pentax-F 50/1.7.


Steve
01-25-2022, 12:01 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
My suggestion is to include the Pentax-M 50/1.7 for consideration as well as the Pentax-F 50/1.7.
Steve
I can only weigh in regarding the M 50/1.7, but it is truly one of the best, if not the best, of the various "normal" vintage lenses I own. I could only compare it to the "plastic fantastic" DA 50/1.8, where I find the M 50/1.7 superior. But no AF, which doesn't often bother me. I think the M version has more 'depth' than the newer lens.
01-25-2022, 04:13 AM   #4
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It really depends on what you want.

Choose the K 55mm f/1.8 is you are not in a hurry with your photography, you don't need AF or auto exposure modes and enjoy using a well-designed and built item.

Choose the DAL 50/1.8 if you need AF and auto-exposure modes or appreciate something that's very light weight.

There's a middle ground if you want auto-exposure but don't need AF - the A 50/1.7, which is an excellent optic (but make sure the aperture rings works properly).

If I had to choose between both I'd get the DAL 50/1.7. But then I'd also get an M 50/1.7 for when I have time to enjoy the photographic process.

01-25-2022, 04:40 AM   #5
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I do not own the DA 50/1.8, but I have the 55/1.8 and it is a very nice lens stopped down. But very soft at 1.8. My SMC A 50/1.7 is much better in this regard, thus for APS-C I would vote for the DA 50/1.8 without a second thought.
01-25-2022, 05:27 AM   #6
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I no longer have a DA 50/1.8 - very sharp, very capable, but did not have much character for me....

I do have a K 55/2, which I've read is the same as the K 55/1.8, and I love it.....

one lens to consider - an SMC A 50mm f1.4 - one of the few I do regret selling and am currently thinking of buying another copy....

I think it is better than the A 50/1.7, plus it's better built so fewer issues with the aperture ring....
01-25-2022, 06:51 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I've had both and the K 55 f1.8 or f2 is the better lens. The M 50 1.7 is close.
The issue with the K 55 and the reason I don't have one anymore is that its copies develop amalgam separation and that makes the lens useless.
I might pick one up again but I've been looking at the Helios 44 instead... Just haven't pulled the trigger yet.

01-25-2022, 08:56 AM   #8
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I own K 55 f/1,8 and A 50 f/1,7. Both are excellent manual lenses , but the build and handling of K 55 is miles ahead the other one. But of course K 55 hasnīt A position in the aperture ring , therefore you must use the green button .
If you prefer and AF lens , I would recommend F or FA 50 f/1,7. Both are stellar performers, concerning sharpness, colours, etc , but without the charm of a "K " lens.
01-25-2022, 10:53 AM   #9
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I own the F 50/1.7 and briefly owned the DA 50/1.8. The DA's AF seemed louder and the barrel had less dense, more cheap-plasticky feel. I never gave the DA much of a chance simply because I was satisfied with the performance of my F 50/1.7.
01-25-2022, 10:55 AM   #10
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I would pick the 50 1.8. I love my K55, and it certainly has superior image characteristics, but it doesn't get much use in comparison with the 1.8. Purely down to ease of use and AF, plus I am able to use the 1.8 without a hood due to the recessed front element, making it a lighter and more compact setup. I find manual focus quite enjoyable with the 1.8 too, nicely dampened for a modern lens.
01-25-2022, 11:54 AM   #11
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I'll say that, when it comes to manually focusing and general ease of use with a digital SLR, I would rather have the lens with AF any day (unless we're talking about a wide-angle, 20mm or wider lens, at which point it's more of a wash).


The K 55 1.8 seems to offer quite nice images that probably are a half-step ahead of the DA 50 1.8 but I doubt I would reach for the K very often if I was using it on my K-5 II or your K-S2. If I was adapting it to a mirrorless body (like a Fuji which I keep teasing myself about for no good reason) I'd be going for the K 55 1.8 in a heartbeat.

I also use pre-A Pentax lenses on my K-5 II and I don't mind using the green button or playing with exposure in post. Non-issue for me in my experience in my opinion; others may vary greatly.
01-25-2022, 03:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
The issue with the K 55 and the reason I don't have one anymore is that its copies develop amalgam separation and that makes the lens useless.
I am curious as to whether this is was your personal experience with balsam separation on the K 55/1.8? If so, how did it present?


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01-25-2022, 03:35 PM   #13
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There's complaints of separation in the user reviews for the K 55 1.8. Anecdotal and not my issue, but something I noticed when I was looking through reviews for the lens earlier today.
01-25-2022, 05:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michael Piziak Quote
Curious question,

What are opinion(s) on the new PENTAX-DA 50mmF1.8 lens quality vs. the vintage SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8 lens

Comments please. If you were to choose between the 2, which would you choose. I know a big difference is the new lens has auto focus... Will be using on the k-s2 aps-c crop sensor body.


Reference(s): SMC Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8 Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

and SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8 Reviews - K Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
I don't have any experience with these two lenses, but just based on my experience with the A50/1.7, I'd say you have to consider your skill at manual focusing and decide at least partly if not mostly based on that. Personally I can't focus the 50 fast enough on my APS cameras with sufficient accuracy at f1.7 or f2. I thought I did pretty well (not perfectly of course) with 35mm bodies using split image especially. Even with just microprisms on 35mm I did better than with APS. Obviously if you have time you can focus on the LCD using magnification.
01-25-2022, 10:51 PM   #15
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I have two 55 f 1.8 SMC Takumar lenses (M 42), first acquired with my SP II in 1971 and later with my ES II that I got at clearance at a big box store that was there before it's time. Both lenses are still in service.. I did a lot pf B&W in those days and on one trip, I photographed a memorial from the deck of the Battleship Texas using Panatomic X film. There was a head in parking lot behind the memorial and the cars were approximately 75 yards from my position. When I examined the negatives with a medical Microscope on "scanning Power", I was able to read the license plates of the cars.

I don't have any other lenses in my kit with that resolution, but neither do I have Panatomic X anymore. I still have both lenses and continue to enjoy them.
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