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06-26-2009, 08:37 PM   #1
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Not a FA5 50mm fan... am I ok?

So for Christmas I got the FA 50mm f1.4 and for some reason, I don't have good results with it. It is hard for me to get used to the very shallow DOF. I have the 40mm f2.8 and I love that lens... it is so sharp and I have never had any issues with it. If I focus on a subject's nose with the 50 at F2 the eyes are blurry. My husband uses the 50 and has no problems... what am i doing wrong? I want to love this lens because it is so fast and I wanted the nice bokeh but seriously.. I want sharp pictures too sometime...

help!!

06-26-2009, 09:26 PM   #2
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Well, I guess the first thing to ask is if you are always shooting wide open? If the DOF doesn't carry from the nose to the eyes, you need to stop down, simple as that. From in close, f/2 is not going to give you much DOF.

Lots of people say the FA50 is not that sharp wide open. I actually don't really agree; I think it is sharp enough for the types of photos you take at that aperture, though it lacks contrast wide open. Curves and levels can help with the contrast (and the perception of sharpness), but too shallow DOF is simply the result of making the wrong choices when shooting.
06-26-2009, 10:10 PM   #3
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the DA 40 is awful at f/2 and f/1.4 though, so the 50 is your only choice

I don't hate the FA fifty but I don't love it either (not a big fan of fixed tight people shots). If you have enough distance from your subject the DOF will increase, so try that trick out first. You can't fool around with optical physics, if at the distance you shoot f2 sharp eyes makes the nose blurry, nothing is going to change that. YOu can try shooting at different angles etc and see if that helps.
06-26-2009, 10:12 PM   #4
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try using a hood. it might help. then tell me if it works.

06-26-2009, 10:12 PM   #5
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Having the option of going f/1.4 doesn't mean one should use it at that aperture, as enticing as it may seem...

Stop down, and you'll start to see some positive results.
It really is a great lens.
06-26-2009, 10:16 PM   #6
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FA 50mm f1.4 lens on K200d body with no cropping or processing.

Last edited by Blue; 06-26-2009 at 11:50 PM.
06-26-2009, 10:46 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
the DA 40 is awful at f/2 and f/1.4 though, so the 50 is your only choice

I don't hate the FA fifty but I don't love it either (not a big fan of fixed tight people shots). If you have enough distance from your subject the DOF will increase, so try that trick out first. You can't fool around with optical physics, if at the distance you shoot f2 sharp eyes makes the nose blurry, nothing is going to change that. YOu can try shooting at different angles etc and see if that helps.
The Da 40 at f2 or f1.4 doesn't exist since it is a f/2.8. LOL funny. I probably do need the extra distance. I have mostly tried using it on babies and have been close to them...
06-26-2009, 10:47 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
DA 50mm f1.4 lens on K200d body with no cropping or processing.
Great shot! I have to be too close..

06-26-2009, 10:48 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by madisonphotogrl Quote
The Da 40 at f2 or f1.4 doesn't exist since it is a f/2.8. LOL funny. I probably do need the extra distance. I have mostly tried using it on babies and have been close to them...
There is no rule that says you have to shoot with the aperture wide open because you are close to them. In fact, this lens should do quite well on babies.
06-26-2009, 11:17 PM   #10
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Also the bokeh is not the best with this lens, even at 1.4, so don't be dissapointed in this regard.
The 1.4 aperture is very usefull for quick focusing.
06-26-2009, 11:41 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
DA 50mm f1.4 lens on K200d body with no cropping or processing.


I think you meant FA 50, right?
06-26-2009, 11:44 PM   #12
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FA50 is very soft on the larger apertures. It actually needs F5.6 or F8 to get very sharp. This even causes problems for the AF system, and it is known to be one of the slowest focusing lenses. When adding the shallow DOF for the larger apertures, this is a difficult lens to use sometimes. Having said all this, the FA50 is still a great lens, and has been one of my favourites for over 10 years. A colensuple of weeks ago I got the DA55, and that is my new fav lens in this focal length. It is also soft at 1.4, but not as soft as FA50, and at 1.7 it is already very sharp.

I should also add that with sharp I talk about pixel sharpness as shot on a K20. I would say that on a 6Mp camera the difference between FA50 and DA55 is probably much smaller, but on K20 it is huge. This is of course still not important unless you are going to print pictures in very large size.

So FA50 is a great lens, but if you are looking for super sharpness (pixel peepable) you should shoot at F5.6 as a minimum. Using F1.4 at close distance is difficult with any lens as the DOF is some 4-5 mm at 50 cm. You need to take lots of pictures an as long as you are not too stable on your feet, hopefully some of them will have the sharpness where you want it.

Here is a URL with a test I did between FA50 and DA55, not so much text,. and all in swedish. Test only looks at center sharpness so far, even though I have looked at edge sharpness and bokeh to some extent. http://www.fotosidan.se/forum/showthread.php?t=109251 FA is the first of each pair of pictures, DA the second. All 100% crop on K20D.

Last edited by quarc; 06-26-2009 at 11:56 PM.
06-26-2009, 11:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
I think you meant FA 50, right?
Yes . . .
06-27-2009, 12:05 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by quarc Quote
FA50 is very soft on the larger apertures. It actually needs F5.6 or F8 to get very sharp. This even causes problems for the AF system, and it is known to be one of the slowest focusing lenses. When adding the shallow DOF for the larger apertures, this is a difficult lens to use sometimes. Having said all this, the FA50 is still a great lens, and has been one of my favourites for over 10 years. A colensuple of weeks ago I got the DA55, and that is my new fav lens in this focal length. It is also soft at 1.4, but not as soft as FA50, and at 1.7 it is already very sharp.

I should also add that with sharp I talk about pixel sharpness as shot on a K20. I would say that on a 6Mp camera the difference between FA50 and DA55 is probably much smaller, but on K20 it is huge. This is of course still not important unless you are going to print pictures in very large size.

So FA50 is a great lens, but if you are looking for super sharpness (pixel peepable) you should shoot at F5.6 as a minimum. Using F1.4 at close distance is difficult with any lens as the DOF is some 4-5 mm at 50 cm. You need to take lots of pictures an as long as you are not too stable on your feet, hopefully some of them will have the sharpness where you want it.

Here is a URL with a test I did between FA50 and DA55, not so much text,. and all in swedish. Test only looks at center sharpness so far, even though I have looked at edge sharpness and bokeh to some extent. Jämförelse mellan FA50 och DA*55 - Fotosidans Forum FA is the first of each pair of pictures, DA the second. All 100% crop on K20D.
how bout the FA 50 1.7 as opposed to the DA 55 at 1.7? which one is sharper?
06-27-2009, 12:23 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
how bout the FA 50 1.7 as opposed to the DA 55 at 1.7? which one is sharper?
Da 55 is much sharper all the way to F4, on F5.6 is it close, and F8 might have an advantage to the FA, mainly because the DA is starting to lose it there. F1.7 make almost no difference for the FA but it is a huge improvement for the DA.

Again this is pixel peeping on a 15Mp camera. It does not make FA a bad lens ( I still like it a lot), it just shows that the DA is an exceptional lens.

Last edited by quarc; 06-27-2009 at 12:47 AM.
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