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01-08-2010, 08:59 AM   #1
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Is there a big difference between an f1.2 and an f1.4 lens?

I have been looking for an inexpensive f1.2 lens without much luck, so I bought a manual f1.4 lens on ebay.

I plan on hitting some flea markets this summer, and I'll probably still keep my eyes open for an "A" model lens because I'd like to have the autofocus, but I was just wondering if there is any big difference between an f1.2 and f1.4 lens.

I know technically, there is not much difference, but I was just wondering about photo-wise. Is there enough of a difference between the two to justify me saving my money up for the f1.2 in case I run across one, or would it be better to just get another f1.4 that supports autofocus?

01-08-2010, 09:12 AM   #2
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i may be incorrect but i thought "A" just means it works in automatic aperature mode???
01-08-2010, 09:43 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by p0opstlnksal0t Quote
i may be incorrect but i thought "A" just means it works in automatic aperature mode???
Mr. poop is right. "A" lenses are manual focus, but allow aperture to be controlled from the body. No Auto-Focus 1.2 lenses are made for Pentax.

1.2 lenses are fun because of the dramatic subject isolation you can achieve with them, and stopped down they tend to produce beautiful images with very nice out of focus rendering, but the difference may not be worth it to you over a 1.4 (which do the same but to a lesser extent). At f/1.2 it's very difficult to achieve correct focus. I'd get it for artistic purposes rather than for the extra low-light advantage.

I'd go for a 1.4 lens that supports Auto-Focus for starters if you like to shoot moving subjects (I have both an A 50 1.2 and an AF 55 1.4, which I use more often). If you have the time and want to try some interesting shots, go for the 1.2.
01-08-2010, 09:51 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeryst Quote
I have been looking for an inexpensive f1.2 lens without much luck, so I bought a manual f1.4 lens on ebay.

I plan on hitting some flea markets this summer, and I'll probably still keep my eyes open for an "A" model lens because I'd like to have the autofocus, but I was just wondering if there is any big difference between an f1.2 and f1.4 lens.

I know technically, there is not much difference, but I was just wondering about photo-wise. Is there enough of a difference between the two to justify me saving my money up for the f1.2 in case I run across one, or would it be better to just get another f1.4 that supports autofocus?
The biggest difference between the f1.2 and f1.4 is price. NOBODY NEEDS f1.2! It may have a slightly thinner depth of field, but I see alot of people out there that think that makes for better portraits (or subjects), when in fact it does nothing to help isolate the subject. In order to isolate, go a little longer in focal legnth (maybe up to 135mm). Not sure what you want to use it for, but IMHO, you'll never notice the difference between f1.2 and f1.4. Also, the "A" lenses are not auto focusing. It just means that the aperture ring can be set to "A" for auto controls and priority. Also, Pentax "A" 50mm f/2.0 can be got for very cheap and aside from what some photo-snobs might think, it's a seriously good prime lens at a great price.

01-08-2010, 10:11 AM   #5
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I am sure they are great lenses, but I personally don't think they are worth the price.
01-08-2010, 10:47 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeryst Quote
I was just wondering if there is any big difference between an f1.2 and f1.4 lens.
  1. In low light it might be easier to focus the 1.2
  2. You get braggin' rights with the 1.2
  3. You get more braggin' rights with the A version
01-08-2010, 10:55 AM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
Is there a big difference between an f1.2 and an f1.4 lens?
Yes. The A f1.4 will cost you about $140 whereas the f1.2 will hit you for $300-400.
01-08-2010, 02:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by portisrob Quote
The biggest difference between the f1.2 and f1.4 is price
true !



QuoteQuote:
NOBODY NEEDS f1.2!
guess I'm a nobody then. frankly speaking there are people that does need the 1.2 for certain purposes. it just happened that you are not one of them.

QuoteQuote:
It may have a slightly thinner depth of field, but I see alot of people out there that think that makes for better portraits (or subjects), when in fact it does nothing to help isolate the subject.
the highlighted part of the statement is completely false. it does in fact isolate the subject thru it's unique image rendering effect.
it is not a thinking but a preference on how they want their portrait images to appear. it's not called a specialty lens for nothing.


QuoteQuote:
In order to isolate, go a little longer in focal length (maybe up to 135mm).
and you can't use a 135mm really up close to shooting someone, you need to work your way when shooting in close and tight situations. I find the 50mm a bit long in a few instances, what more can a 135mm?

it is not a simple case of subject isolation nor a basic one but how your subject would appear against it's background or overall image rendering. we are talking about certain image rendering here that is a unique characteristic of the 1.2 lenses only. if you can find me a lens between 70-135mm that can reproduce the same rendering effect, I'd be happy to let go of my f1.2 the next day. btw, I have some fast 70/2.8, 85/1.4, and a 100/2.8 primes. they are awesome lenses that can produce beautiful bokehs and could isolate subjects without breaking a sweat, but none of them could reproduce the same image rendering effect of the 1.2.


QuoteQuote:
Not sure what you want to use it for, but IMHO, you'll never notice the difference between f1.2 and f1.4.
unless you have seen, tried and used both, you will never know and see the difference.
1/2 speed makes it much easier to focus in lowlight. 1.4 is fast and has a smooth bokeh but cannot render the same OOF effect of a 1.2. you could refer to the 1.2 photos and see in particular what photos cannot be reproduced by the 1.4.

QuoteQuote:
Also, Pentax "A" 50mm f/2.0 can be got for very cheap and aside from what some photo-snobs might think, it's a seriously good prime lens at a great price.
I'd be happy to learn if you only got the 2 kit lenses and a 50/f2 inside your bag and no other fast premium lens for that matter. otherwise, that would be hypocrisy.

my thoughts and findings regarding the 50/f2 (I don't have the "A" but have the better built "M" version), it is not a stellar lens and the OP would be better of with his manual 1.4. yet alone if he decides to get the AF version. if there were f2 lenses worth considering that would be the K55 and the SMC/Super Tak versions.


Last edited by Pentaxor; 01-08-2010 at 03:11 PM.
01-08-2010, 02:51 PM   #9
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I would agree with blue

F1.4 50mm lenses vary in price from $50 up depending upon maker and version.

F1.2 lenses will generally cost you ~$400 (although there is a really beat up one in the marketplace for $250

is it worth that much more for a half stop and a lens that is less sharp due to the huge front element. ? Only you can answer that
01-08-2010, 03:38 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by portisrob Quote
The biggest difference between the f1.2 and f1.4 is price. NOBODY NEEDS f1.2! It may have a slightly thinner depth of field, but I see alot of people out there that think that makes for better portraits (or subjects), when in fact it does nothing to help isolate the subject. In order to isolate, go a little longer in focal legnth (maybe up to 135mm). Not sure what you want to use it for, but IMHO, you'll never notice the difference between f1.2 and f1.4. Also, the "A" lenses are not auto focusing. It just means that the aperture ring can be set to "A" for auto controls and priority. Also, Pentax "A" 50mm f/2.0 can be got for very cheap and aside from what some photo-snobs might think, it's a seriously good prime lens at a great price.
QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I would agree with blue

F1.4 50mm lenses vary in price from $50 up depending upon maker and version.

F1.2 lenses will generally cost you ~$400 (although there is a really beat up one in the marketplace for $250

is it worth that much more for a half stop and a lens that is less sharp due to the huge front element. ? Only you can answer that
Lowell, if you meant less sharp at the wide opening, I kinda somewhat agree with you. although the sharpness difference isn't that really great but just a lil bit. honestly, it is unnoticeable if you are not going to take a closer look. but stopped down it can achieve great sharpness around f5.6. btw, the 1.2 is very nice when stopped down to f2.8 and it's very sharp. although even if this is a specialty lens, using it below the f1.2 opening would make it a great all-arounder because of it's great resolution and varying exceptional rendering in all different apertures, if you don't mind manual focusing. this lens is definitely one of Pentax's legacy lenses. could had been a LIMITED lens if only Pentax decided to make it AF/FA.
I can imagine people saving up money for it already.
01-08-2010, 03:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
Lowell, if you meant less sharp at the wide opening, I kinda somewhat agree with you. although the sharpness difference isn't that really great but just a lil bit. honestly, it is unnoticeable if you are not going to take a closer look. but stopped down it can achieve great sharpness around f5.6. btw, the 1.2 is very nice when stopped down to f2.8 and it's very sharp. although even if this is a specialty lens, using it below the f1.2 opening would make it a great all-arounder because of it's great resolution and varying exceptional rendering in all different apertures, if you don't mind manual focusing. this lens is definitely one of Pentax's legacy lenses. could had been a LIMITED lens if only Pentax decided to make it AF/FA.
I can imagine people saving up money for it already.
no argument and it is on my nice to have list, but it is a big cost difference for 1.2 stop over what I have now, and for that cost difference, depending on the person and their current cash conditions they might, for example, opt to get most of a really good M42 set of lenses.

It really comes down to need vs nice to have. For me, a 50mm F1.2 might be right up beside a 200mm F2.5, maybe behind the F2.5 because of the amount of wildlife I shoot presently.
01-08-2010, 04:16 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeryst Quote
I have been looking for an inexpensive f1.2 lens without much luck, so I bought a manual f1.4 lens on ebay.

I plan on hitting some flea markets this summer, and I'll probably still keep my eyes open for an "A" model lens because I'd like to have the autofocus, but I was just wondering if there is any big difference between an f1.2 and f1.4 lens.

I know technically, there is not much difference, but I was just wondering about photo-wise. Is there enough of a difference between the two to justify me saving my money up for the f1.2 in case I run across one, or would it be better to just get another f1.4 that supports autofocus?

yo can buy:
1. Pentax K 50/1.2 (52mm)
2. Pentax A 50/1.2 (52mm) or
3. Porst 55/1.2 (55mm) or Revue/Cosina (58mm)

1.2 - - A model is very similar in IQ to K model, just more usefull because of A position on aperture. Both are great performer at 1.4 and later and give amazing shots at f5.6 and bigger (sharpnes, good bokeh, great contrast)
3. - they are typically cheaper than Pentax. I don't have experience with them but you can find a lot of good opinions and examples.

My experience is that it is worth to have 1.2 beacuse you have always posibility to use magic aperture - means f1.2.

Pentax *ist DS ,Pentax smc P-A 50mm f/1.2
1/400s f1.2 at 50.0mm iso200
01-08-2010, 04:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
no argument and it is on my nice to have list, but it is a big cost difference for 1.2 stop over what I have now, and for that cost difference, depending on the person and their current cash conditions they might, for example, opt to get most of a really good M42 set of lenses.

It really comes down to need vs nice to have. For me, a 50mm F1.2 might be right up beside a 200mm F2.5, maybe behind the F2.5 because of the amount of wildlife I shoot presently.
that's true. you can also include the FA31 which is double/triple the amount of a 1.2. it has a much wider FOV but is 1 stop slower than it. it's a nice to have lens but the need for it isn't really warranted. you can get a 28,30,35,40 and 43 as good to great substitute for the FA31. the 30 and 43 probably the closest, followed by the 35/2 then 28,40, and the 35/2.8. FOV and performance are considered and influenced my ranking system.

the thing about 1.2's is that there is no substitute for them. they are a unique bunch.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 01-09-2010 at 02:02 AM.
01-08-2010, 04:48 PM   #14
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It's half a stop faster.
01-09-2010, 01:23 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by p0opstlnksal0t Quote
i may be incorrect but i thought "A" just means it works in automatic aperature mode???
Still learning about Pentax lenses, so I guess I got confused. I think I meant "F" series instead of "A" series.
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