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03-09-2009, 08:01 AM   #1

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FA50/1.4 vs DA*55/1.4 vs Voigtlander 58/1.4

Probably most have already seen these photos on the other forum.

I asked in my usual shop if I could have a DA*55 for testing for a few days, and I was abel to pick it up on friday. I tried to compare this lens to the FA50 and Nokton 58/1.4 SLII.

I set the camera to manual focus and used a KatzEye splitscreen to set the focus point as precisely as I could to get comparable shots.

Here are the resulting photos. (on each series, the order is FA50, DA*55, Nokton 58):

1 f/3.2

2 f/2.5

3 f/1.6

4 f/2.8

5 f/4.5

The shots have just been converted from RAW using silkypix and are in full resolution under DA*55/1.4 vs FA50/1.4 vs Nokton 58/1.4 - a set on Flickr

03-09-2009, 08:05 AM   #2
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got any brick wall tests to showcase corner performance?

i'm liking all the middle shots....
03-09-2009, 08:15 AM   #3
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Those all look virtually identical to me.

Makes me glad I got my $150 FA 50 instead of the DA* 55.
03-09-2009, 08:32 AM   #4
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Nice side by sides, thank you.

Without them side by side you'd never know so unfortunately, $200 (FA) vs $900 (DA*) is a no brainer. (Canadian $ btw) $700 for weather seals and a * ...for that money I'd rather have a DA 70 and 40 Ltd.

03-09-2009, 09:13 AM   #5
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As Gooshin said, I'm liking the middle photos. A bit contrastier and a bit sharper than the others, but to be honest, not so big difference with the first photos of each batch (FA50/1.4) that can justify the price difference. I am glad too, that I have the FA50/1.4 (from my film days) and haven't had the urge to sell it. Great piece of glass ideed.
03-09-2009, 09:16 AM   #6
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Based on the second set of yellow flower shots, I still think the DA* 55 background bokeh is a bit too frantic for my taste...
03-09-2009, 09:34 AM   #7

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It would have been interesting and more meaningful if each series of shots would have been in an unidentified random order and than take of poll of which shots viewers thought best. Perhaps even go so far as to not reveal which lens' were involved. Just a straight up or down vote for the "best" pic in each series.

Let it run this way a few days than reveal which is which.

As it is I don't see enough practical difference to get heartburn over.

Last edited by wildman; 03-09-2009 at 09:43 AM.
03-09-2009, 09:48 AM   #8
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Thanks to TCOM for showing these images, i don't visit the other forum much.

I get more compliments on images taken with my FA50 than any other lens i have. Now i can see why. As someone else pointed out, i prefer the bokeh on the FA50.

03-09-2009, 09:56 AM   #9
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What these shots mostly say to me is that all three of those lenses have pretty nice performance optically.

Other considerations are build quality, price, auto focus/manual focus, and how significant or insignificant the difference seems between 50mm and 55mm on APS-C. I would have to think about these things a bit before I made a decision between them, but at the current price I don't see myself jumping at the DA* 55 f/1.4.
03-09-2009, 10:57 AM   #10
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I find the Nokton renderings most appealing to my eye. It just blurs the background smooth enough.
03-09-2009, 11:05 AM   #11
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Man, that FA50 really sucks....I am glad I only paid $190 new for mine...

03-09-2009, 11:11 AM   #12
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Unfortunately, the DA*55 has obviosly the worst OoF rendering
03-09-2009, 11:34 AM   #13

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Original Poster
Thank you for all your comments.

Here my observations about these three lenses:

- between f/1.4 and f/2.8, the larger the aperture, the more details and contrast the DA*55 brings out in comparison to the FA50 at the same aperture.
- the DA*55 is in general a tad sharper, has a bit more details and contrast over the FA50.
- regarding the bokeh, the best one is the Voigtlander. Interestingly, the DA*55 which provides the better contrast and sharpness features also a less appaeling bokeh.

What the photos do not say, is handling and build quality.

The build quality of the DA*55 and Nokton are both very high, the FA50 is clearly not on the same level.

I did have some problems to accurately find the correct focus manually on the FA50. The focus ring is too narrow and offers no resistance at all, it moves much too easily to be focussed precisely. The two other lenses are clearly much easier to focus.
03-09-2009, 11:37 AM   #14
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Problem is, all shots will look pretty much the same downsized for the web - bigger prints or crops will show more or less detail based on lens resolution...
03-09-2009, 11:43 AM   #15

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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Problem is, all shots will look pretty much the same downsized for the web - bigger prints or crops will show more or less detail based on lens resolution...
You can click on each image to get the full sized photo.

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