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07-27-2009, 03:04 AM   #1
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A or M 50mm 1,7

Hello,

I intend to buy a Pentax 50mm 1,7, but I don't know exactly which one is better, A or M? I supposed "A" will be easier to handle, but what about optics?
Thank you,
Edi

07-27-2009, 06:12 AM   #2
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Afaik the optics are identical. I prefer the A on digital, but the M on film.
07-27-2009, 06:50 AM   #3
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It depends upon how you intend to use it. The A can utilize all of your digital camera's metering options, while the M, lacking any electrical contacts, cannot. The M, however, has a better build quality & can be had for less money than the A.
07-27-2009, 07:05 AM   #4
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Like most A lenses vs. their M and K counterparts, the A lens really does add a great deal of functionality on the newer DSLRs. The M 50/1.7 generally seems to go for about $50 USD. The A 50/1.7 generally seems to go for about $65 USD. For that price difference, I truly think the A 50/1.7 is the better buy. The optics are reported to be the same or similar (outstanding in both cases), but for the small premium in price, you'll get that better functionality of the A lens. You can't lose with either one though--the Pentax 50/1.7s are great lenses--underpriced IMHO.

07-27-2009, 08:40 AM   #5
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I have both lenses. Here are my observations:
  • Both lenses have excellent optical performance
  • As noted above, the A 50/1.7 is much handier to use on a Pentax dSLR
  • The M 50/1.7 is a fair bit smaller than the A, though both weigh about the same
  • Build quality of the M is on a par with the Pentax-K and Takumar lenses that proceeded it. The A, on the other hand has plastic parts and is below the mark for build in my opinion.
  • With the A, there is a common defect where the click detent mechanism for the aperture ring breaks. The result is that the ring does not move smoothly between stops. If you decide on the A, check that the aperture ring functions properly when off the A position. While this does not affect usage when on the "A" position, it is good reason for a solid discount on price.
  • In my opinion the A 50/1.7 is often overpriced compared to the M. Taking a quick look at eBay, there is a nice M with a BIN price of $36.95 while the A was going at $80+.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-27-2009 at 08:53 AM.
07-27-2009, 02:13 PM   #6
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ive had both on my K200D

i found the A to meter much more accurately in all modes than the M did just using the "Green" button for metering in M mode. Can also use the flash at other than full power with the A.

I can find no difference in focusing feel in the 2 i had. So I now just have the A lens.
07-27-2009, 02:22 PM   #7
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My take

- they are optically identical
- the "A" version allows for f/2.0 and f/2.4 (and you can presumably use one-third stops to if your camera is set up that way); the "M" has only one stop between 1.7 and 2.8, and it seems to me to be around f/2.
- the "A" version gives you full access to all metering modes, as well as full use of all flash modes (whereas M forces the built-in flash to fire full power; not sure about other flashes that rely on camera control)
- this is the cheapest "A" lens you are likely to ever find
- to the extent it is slightly more expensive than the "M", it also has better resale value

To me, it's a clear win for the "A". The difference in build quality is negigible to me, *except* that I agree the aperture ring seems fragile, and there have too many stories of people having problems getting the lens in or out of "A" position to completely discount. my solution: I put it in "A" position when I bought it and have no intention of ever moving it from there. You do have to be careful not to knock it off "A" accidentally when mounting/dismounting the lens.
07-27-2009, 09:23 PM   #8
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Original Poster
thank you

thank you for these informations.
you are doing a great job here.


Last edited by mec17; 07-27-2009 at 10:43 PM.
07-27-2009, 11:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
- this is the cheapest "A" lens you are likely to ever find
I think you might have forgotten the 50mm f2 A.
07-28-2009, 10:51 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
I think you might have forgotten the 50mm f2 A.
True! Let me rephrase then - the best *value* in "A" lenses? I say this because the cost differential between the M and A versions of the 1.7 is relatively small - for some lenses it can be a couple hundred dollars or more, because the "A" version is so much more rare. Also, the 50/1.7's in general aren't much more expensive than the 50/2's - maybe a $20 price difference on average? - but really do perform a lot better.
07-28-2009, 11:07 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
...the "A" version gives you full access to all metering modes, as well as full use of all flash modes (whereas M forces the built-in flash to fire full power; not sure about other flashes that rely on camera control)...
That is why I have kept my copy. I have lots of 50s, but this and the Sigma Macro are the only ones that I can truly mount on the K10D and forget about meter issues.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
...I agree the aperture ring seems fragile, and there have too many stories of people having problems getting the lens in or out of "A" position to completely discount. my solution: I put it in "A" position when I bought it and have no intention of ever moving it from there. You do have to be careful not to knock it off "A" accidentally when mounting/dismounting the lens.
Your solution is my solution as well. My aperture ring went bonky the first time I tried to use the lens with my bellows. The nice thing is that it truly makes little difference in daily use. Leave it on "A" and forget about it. The main thing is to avoid paying top dollar for a lens that has the aperture ring issue and to be aware that you have to deal gently with it if used on a pre-A mount.

Steve
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