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10-01-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
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Not feelin it for the 50?

I finally got me an F 50 1.7 a couple of weeks ago and although it is a great lens with great IQ I'm just not feeling the love. I find myself grabbing my 55-300 for the birds or my 18-55 for general use. It just seems like the 50 (75) is too long for a walk around lens and definitely too long for most stuff indoors. After getting the 55-300 I've seen the difference in the quality levels of the zoom lenses above the kit lens. I'm considering selling the 50 and trying to find a 17-70 or 16-45 to replace it. I'm on a tight budget so I really can't afford both right now. And we have a trip to the southwest coming up where I'd really like to have a wider lens with better performance than the kit.

Am I an oddball not getting the lure of the 50?

10-01-2009, 10:09 AM   #2
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You're not the only one, on aps-c 50mm is somewhat odd... After getting the DA35, I've kinda stopped used 50 at all... it was always either something way shorter, or way longer...

I'd go for the 16-45 is you want to replace the kit lens... it's a bit short on the long end, but it's sharper than the 17-70 and cheaper...
10-01-2009, 10:13 AM   #3
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I personnally own the Siggy 17-70, a tele zoom, a macro lens, and the F50/f1,7. The f1.7 doesn't see that much use, however there are things you can only do with a fast lens. The Pentax 16-45 and 17-70 are f4, and you cannot, for instance, take handheld night city scapes with those lenses. That's when the fast lenses shine. For portraits the shallow DOF is also fantastic.

My f1,7 is perhaps my less used AF lens, but I would never part with it. Each lens serves a purpose, and this particular lens is fantastic for its own purpose.
10-01-2009, 10:32 AM   #4
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I must agree, but not entirely. Since it's a limited (single) focal length and not at normal length its uses are limited in the same way. It wont replace a zoom. It will complement it, with much less limited aperture, that can come handy in many ways.. even when reverse mounting the lens for macro use on 55-300 or kit lens for example.

I own a 70/2.4 for af, punchy images and pretty bokeh, but still have M50/1.4 for the speed, FL and other qualities i'm unable to define (color, build feel?).
From a practical point of view, zooms are the way to go.
If photography for you is more than that, you will find that using such limited focal length for some time and finding out the special character prime lens has, gives you interesting experience and creative results.


Pentax SMC-M 50/1.4 / k200d / Picasa.


10-01-2009, 11:03 AM   #5
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I find a 50mm on a APS-C sensor a nearly perfect focal length for a head and shoulders portrait lens. The shallow DOF works wonderfully for blurred backgrounds and it gives a very neutral flat but not too flat perspective for a more intimate look.

I would agree that it's a bit long for a walkaround lens. That's exactly why I picked up a 35mm LTD... love it.
10-01-2009, 11:09 AM   #6
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In '84 I bought an Oly OM2s with a 50/1.7. Wonderful camera, excellent lens.

But I wasn't feeling the love. Too ordinary. Even on a real 35mm camera. I wanted some zoom!

I bought a Tamron SP 35-80 which was a super lens, still is, and was happy for the next 15 years. (While it may lose out on contrast and distortion, the 35-80 I've verified is much closer to a good prime than most such zooms.)

Using primes is something of a learned behavior, especially when you're used to zooms. I've had to train myself by going around with just one lens. Now I kind of like the 50ish focal length, whether on film or digital. (I still have a love/hate with the 35mm length.)

Point of the story - make yourself happy, the 16-45 is a great lens, my daughter uses it almost exclusively... but keep on playing with the primes, as they still offer things you don't get with zooms.
10-01-2009, 11:25 AM   #7
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28mm is great for a walkaround lens on a crop. Although, I find I like the magnification with a 50mm on any size photographic medium I use (crop or film).
10-01-2009, 12:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote
I must agree, but not entirely. Since it's a limited (single) focal length and not at normal length its uses are limited in the same way. It wont replace a zoom. It will complement it, with much less limited aperture, that can come handy in many ways.. even when reverse mounting the lens for macro use on 55-300 or kit lens for example.

I own a 70/2.4 for af, punchy images and pretty bokeh, but still have M50/1.4 for the speed, FL and other qualities i'm unable to define (color, build feel?).
From a practical point of view, zooms are the way to go.
If photography for you is more than that, you will find that using such limited focal length for some time and finding out the special character prime lens has, gives you interesting experience and creative results.


Pentax SMC-M 50/1.4 / k200d / Picasa.
That is one bright, punchy photo. I love it!

10-01-2009, 12:49 PM   #9
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I have a lot of 50s...too many, if the truth be known (9?). Most are attached as normal lenses to various old film cameras, but that still leaves 4 that only see use on the K10D. One is a dedicated macro lens, so I guess that leaves 3 for general shooting!

That being said, those three don't see a lot of use since I am more of a wide-angle kind of guy. So, what do they get used for?
  • Portraits
  • Table-top photography
  • Mounted on a bellows for macro
  • Plants/flowers, water features, still life, that kind of stuff
With such limited usage, why do I keep all three of them? Good question...and the answers are:
  • Helios 44M 58/2 -- perfect focal length for portraits on APS-C along with great image quality with a special certain something (pixie dust?)
  • Pentax-M 50/1.7 -- I have had this lens forever. The sentimental value alone is worth more than it would bring at market.
  • Pentax-A 50/1.7 -- To be honest, I probably should sell this one. It duplicates the M 50 and has so-so build. Its redeeming qualities are excellent optics and the "A" contacts.
Would I buy any more? Depends on what lens! Cosina 50/1.2 or any Pentax 50/1.2 at a good price on a day when I have the cash...you betcha! CZJ Pancolar 50/1.8 or Biotar 58/2, yep. Helios 44-3 MC 50/2 for less than $30, no question. Voigtlander Nokton 58/1.4...ummm...would probably sell the others if this one fell into the quiver .

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-01-2009 at 12:56 PM.
10-01-2009, 01:12 PM   #10
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On the APS-C format 50mm is a little long. 50mm's really shine on their intended format, 35mm film or Full-Frame Digital. I can't wait for Pentax or Samsung to bring out a FF DSLR!
10-01-2009, 01:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimH Quote
That is one bright, punchy photo. I love it!
Thank you very much. It was severely over exposed by the way, thankfully i was shooting in RAW, but you can still see blown highlight artefact on one of the apple, and maybe some odd colour PP because of my cheap LCD.

Back to 50's and primes, even if it is known that fast lens does not produce brighter and lighter pictures, still when shooting with primes i found my results always are much crisper, cleaner and lighter. Maybe because of the faster aperture i don't steal so much from the shutter speed, and the better contrast adds for clarity.

I think one must have both, primes and zooms. Zooms to cover all general photography areas and some primes for favourite uses which may be macro, wide (landscapes, indoors), portrait, tele (birding, nature, events) or whatever suits you best.
And one long-wide to short-tele fast prime (something faster or equal to f/2.0, no f/2.8..3.5 LTD/wide landscape type lenses) for indoors available light (for atmospheric events) or prohibited flash uses (museums). Preferably very small (similar to 35/2, 50/1.7, 50/1.4 - not Sigma30/1.4 or DA55/1.4), always with you, just in case lens.

I had a F50/1.7 and i still regret selling it. Other than it being loud it is one of the nicest lenses i've used. Sharp, fast AF (in enough light), small and reasonably priced.
If you still have the DA18-55 kit, use it and keep the 50. The 16-45 wont make THAT much difference. F4..F5.6 you still have to use flash in most cases.
Additional 2mm may come to use sometimes, but do you need them so much?
A little wait and money saving and you could simply then sell 18-55 and get the 16-45.

As for the feel, it may feel a bit odd, but the 70/2.4 FOV feels even more odd to me.. but i've learned to work with it, because after such "oddity" normal ~28mm lenses or zooms feel too plain and simple. They don't throw you a challenge to imagine the world.. then it usually goes like see, zoom to fit, move around a bit and snap. Prime lens makes you learn more about the scene, evaluate it in finer detail, see things unseen from the zoom or normal FOV and your current POV.

I apologize, if someone finds it annoying, but for me it feels like a must to include some photos in my posts now and then, in a photography related forums. Autumn greetings:

/ Pentax SMC-M 50mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4 / k200d / Picasa /

Last edited by ytterbium; 10-01-2009 at 02:09 PM.
10-01-2009, 02:22 PM   #12
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I agree 50mm is not the most generally useful FL on APS-C. It's great for a certain type of portrait, and a few other fairly specialized situations. But msot 50mm lenses - your included - are *great* lenses, just in terms of pure IQ, and hence are perfect choices for situations when you have some flexibility in terms of focal length. For instance, an sort of still life or product photography when it's OK to just change distance to subejct in order to get the framing you want. No zoom on your list is going to compete with your 50 for that.

On the other hand, you probably paid more for that lens than the value it brings you. So I'd sell it, pick up an M50/1.7 for probably a tenth the cost so you have one *extremely* high quality optic in your collection, and put the *rest* toward a more generally useful lens if you so desire.
10-01-2009, 02:28 PM   #13
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I'm in kind of love/hate relationship with my copy of F50/1.7. I don't tend to use it often, because as others have said, it's kind of not long enough, not short enough. Thoug I do like it as portrait lens but couple of extra mm would be nice.
But every time I put that lens on my camera it delivers great shots, and that's the reason I'm keeping it. I got it for very cheap so it doesn't bother me.
All in all great lens, just not the greatest FL on APS-C.
10-01-2009, 02:31 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
I'm in kind of love/hate relationship with my copy of F50/1.7. I don't tend to use it often, because as others have said, it's kind of not long enough, not short enough. Thoug I do like it as portrait lens but couple of extra mm would be nice.
But every time I put that lens on my camera it delivers great shots, and that's the reason I'm keeping it. I got it for very cheap so it doesn't bother me.
All in all great lens, just not the greatest FL on APS-C.
For some reason, I really love the 50mm on my camera. I guess it is really dependent on different people, but I do agree that a couple less or more mm would be much better. It sits between a nice street lens and a nice portrait. You have to get real close for portraits and real far away for SOME (not all) street shots.
10-01-2009, 02:33 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GLXLR Quote
.... It sits between a nice street lens and a nice portrait. .....
Very nicely said...
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