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04-07-2009, 09:21 AM   #1
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pentax K 50mm f/1.2 - the agony and the ecstasy

I have been using this lens for a while now and I have grown to genuinely appreciate it's virtues...but I simultaneously wish I could hurl it at something and never see it again. It's VERY hard to focus this bugger (I'm using the stock K10D screen, I chronically back focus and I'm masochistic) it's a big lens,it's so big when you're taking photos in the street people smile and wave at you they can't help but notice it.

If it wasn't so damn fast I wouldn't want have anything to do with it!...but as painful as it is to use it, the Image quality is worth it...and the bright viewfinder is a sight to behold....and it's bokeh is superb.

There are so few people that use this lens. There aren't many images on Pbase or Flickr that were taken with it..but to be honest I really don't blame people for not using it....

Last edited by Digitalis; 04-25-2010 at 12:39 AM.
04-07-2009, 09:41 AM   #2
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I agree it’s a big bugger and I don’t use it as much as my other two primes.
(K50/1.4 & K55/1.8)

I can’t close the camera case on my KXs with this lens attached, so I don’t take it when I travel very much. I mostly use it for night shots at home on my K2s, which is too bad as it’s a superb lens, which can be seen in your pictures.
04-07-2009, 10:10 AM   #3
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With a monster like 1.2, shouldn't you invest in a split prism focus screen?

For me, my Super Tak 50/1.4 was enough to convince me to get a KatzEye. I'm sure if/when I get a 1.2 lens for my K20D, I'll appreciate the KatzEye even more.

In the mean time, I do have to check out how my Zuiko 50/1.2 is going to look in my 5D. If I have problems focusing there, I'll need me another KatzEye :-D
04-07-2009, 10:30 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
...and the bright viewfinder is a sight to behold....
If you're using the standard focusing screen then this lens won't appear any brighter in the viewfinder than a 50mm f/2 would. The microprisms in the focusing screen reject any light outside a light cone that's at an angle of around f/2 to f/2.8. You can test this by using the DOF preview function - when you activate it you won't see any reduction in viewfinder brightness or change in apparent DOF until you get the lens down to an aperture of around f/2.8 or smaller (ie, f/4, f/5.6, etc).

Of course none of this affects the image actually captured by the sensor in any way.

04-07-2009, 10:33 AM   #5
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oh yes... but it is quite relaxing as it makes you so focus on only taking picture and don't care about anything else, don't you think? I should take it out for a spin this weekend
04-07-2009, 11:02 AM   #6
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Your photos with this lens are impressive in composition, color and use of the unique character of the lens. I am especially fond of the grass photo and the BW glass image.

After 25 years of wondering, I finally gave in to the pressure to see what the fuss is all about and purchased a K50/1.2 last spring in the Marketplace.

Being a gear head and simply taking pleasure in holding such finely machined industrial artifacts (quality was a commonplace expectation in the 60's and 70's, but "Limited" today) I'm glad I bought the lens. I sincerely enjoyed just holding it, and using it was at once sublime and frustrating.

I found that it outresolved my photographic skill, so I sold it and obtained my other "what if" lens, the A50/1.4 - much more at my level.

My goal is to earn the right to buy another f/1.2 some day.

Last edited by monochrome; 04-07-2009 at 12:09 PM.
04-07-2009, 11:39 AM   #7
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The boké in those pics is giving me some serious LBA headache. And I thought I had already convinced myself I didn't need a faster 50mm...

... or simply put, I really like those photos!
04-07-2009, 11:41 AM   #8
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A few more examples of what the K50/1.2 can do wide open. Still working on getting a better crop of the second one, but I don't want to crop out any of that beautiful circular bokeh! Probably need to brighten the second one as well, but I'm at work so no time right now. These were near the close-focus limit of the lens, so you are really working with such a tiny DoF @ 1.2.

I agree it can be tough focusing. I also still have the stock screen in my K200D (not even pentaprism!), so I understand. Although I can nail focus pretty well now when I am outdoors. I have taken it out for several walks to practice exactly how the image should snap into focus. If I am not careful I can easily front focus it into oblivion. I still check focus after I shoot something I definitely want just to make sure I get the image.


04-07-2009, 11:46 AM   #9
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Ugh, I know how you feel, manual back-focus has ruined more wide-open photos from my FA 50 than anything else! Apparently I can't completely trust my eyes...
04-07-2009, 12:10 PM   #10
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everyone else on the forum got a split prism focusing screen at least a week ago

Get one! Couldnt live without mine.

the $20 ones on ebay are fine.
04-07-2009, 12:20 PM   #11
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Wow, arpaagent! Those are stunning!
04-07-2009, 12:27 PM   #12

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Great photos, Digitalis and arpaagent.

One thing thow, do you really find this lens that big?
04-07-2009, 12:33 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bart Quote
Great photos, Digitalis and arpaagent.

One thing thow, do you really find this lens that big?
Thanks for the compliments. As far as the size of the lens, it isn't that big, but it is really heavy. According to the specs, it weighs at least 50% more than the FA50/1.4. What really makes it look big is the front element. It is truly amazing to peer through the lens when it is wide open (and not on the camera), it's just a big hunk of beautiful clear glass. The focusing action also seems significantly smoother and more precise than some of the M50/1.4s I've held. Not sure why, but it's just butter smooth, just like the bokeh .

It's really fun to use wide open, and if you need to stop it down for extra sharpness, no problem. I'd really love to grab the "A" version one day, but since it's more of a "fun" lens for me (although with awesome results), I'll have to skip that for now.
04-07-2009, 03:14 PM   #14
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It is a wonderful lens. I read often that this lens is not sharp wide open, but I don't agree...

K10D 200iso 1/8" F1.2 handheld

K10D + Bellows 400iso 1/125" F11

K20D 100iso 1/4000" F8
04-07-2009, 03:43 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
...I found that it outresolved my photographic skill, so I sold it and obtained my other "what if" lens, the A50/1.4 - much more at my level.
If I had to follow those rules, I'd have to sell everything!

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