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09-27-2009, 08:16 AM   #1
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Whats A Better Fast Prime? The Sigma 50mm Or Pentax FA 50MM? Or Another Option?

I'm looking to get a good f1.4 prime.

So at the moment i'm looking at these two, I have thought about the DA* 55mm but the price is a MAJOR put off.

So any suggestions I'd love to hear them, cheers.

09-27-2009, 08:31 AM   #2
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Have you read the reviews?

Pentax Lens Review Database - 50mm F1.4

PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 50mm F1,4 EX DG
09-27-2009, 08:54 AM   #3
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I have......its the 0.7 difference which is making the decision harder lol.

So far the reviews ive found comparing the FA50 to the Sigma seem to favour the Sigma.

Seems that @ 1.4 the FA is a tad soft and doesn't improve until its stopped down, which somewhat defeats the purpose of having a f1.4 lense?
09-27-2009, 09:07 AM   #4
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"A tad soft" isn't the same as useless. The shallow DOF can make the area that is in focus appear to be quite sharp in comparison. And many of the situations where you migth want f/1.4 are situations where you are shooting high ISO and thus wouldn't be getting maximum sharpness anyhow.

But if you want a little more sharpness at or below f/2, the various 50/1.7's are supposedly better at f/1.7 than the 50/1.4's are.

09-27-2009, 01:17 PM   #5
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I dont know but if it is soft at low iso, like iso100 what will hapen if you add grain from iso3200 to it?
To me it sounds like it will get even vers but i am no expert.
09-27-2009, 01:32 PM   #6
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$250 vs. $500? Do you really think it's twice as sharp? If not, is whatever extra sharpness worth twice the price?
09-27-2009, 01:56 PM   #7
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Have you considered the FA 43mm Limited?
09-27-2009, 02:15 PM   #8
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Cheap and small VS expensive, huge, heavy and a tiny bit better.

Pick one

09-27-2009, 03:15 PM   #9
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I've had my eye on the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 for a while, it's HSM and it's meant to be great from f/1.4 and it's spoken very highly of across all DSLR brand owners. I can't find a reason to fault it give how much cheaper it is over the FA 43 LTD and the DA* 55mm (certainly here in the United Kingdom anyway).

My only beef with the Sigma is that it's apparently very big and heavy which might be a problem if you're looking for small, compact and light.

I've also been thinking about the Pentax 40mm f/2.8 LTD "pancake" lens for it's light weight and absolutely tiny profile, but f/2.8 might not fit with your requirements.
09-27-2009, 05:07 PM   #10
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I already have the DA40 and whilst it's a fantastic lense it's just not really suitable for low light conditions IMHO @ 2.8 its just not fast enough.
09-27-2009, 05:42 PM   #11
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Should add my biggest gripe with the DA40 is its really unusable with manual focus due to its size.
09-27-2009, 05:58 PM   #12
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Unusable, or just difficult to use?
09-27-2009, 06:17 PM   #13
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I find it really difficult to use.

I actually have an F1.7 Ricoh 50mm, which i've just been playing with now and really happy with the results. Although it is manual focus I think I am getting the hang of it.
09-27-2009, 06:22 PM   #14
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Some quick outdoor shots I just took with the 50mm at f5.6 (seems to be its sweet spot)

I've had this lense laying around for ages and really haven't bothered with it until now, looks like it may be worthwhile hanging onto.

These photos are cropped, you can make out the clipsal logo when you zoom in.
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09-27-2009, 11:43 PM   #15
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There was one poster on this forum who said he found the 50 f1.4 just as sharp as f1.7 ver if one used an adequate hood with it, blamed the side lighting/no hood for the supposed softness. He noted that the exterior lens on the FA 50 is much closer to the outside edge than it is on the 1.7 version.

In any case, in any practical work, i don't like to go below f2.8 due to the lack of DOF. I've gotten remarks on the sharpness of the FA50 f1.4 pictures i've submitted to my local photo club. Unless you know that you will be using that F1.4 aperture a lot, its probably not worth worrying about, i'd buy the Pentax 50 F1.4 again if i had to do it over.
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