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01-24-2010, 01:29 AM   #1
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Confused with all the 50mm lens options

Hi Everyone

I have recently purchased the SCM-M 50mm f/1.7

Absolutely love this lens but it has it's limitations. The major one being able to use flash in wireless mode, and the on board flash being limited to 1/180 sync.

Now I know there are a myriad of 50mm primes out there from the K to FA versions, I just want to know which one to go for.

I am a sucker for optical quality so I am almost dismissing all the f/1.4 versions as they are soft until f/2.8. On the other hand, they have better bokeh.

I am trying to get my hands on a SMC-A 50mm f/1.7 but I hear it's not as good optically as the M counterpart.

the SMC-FA 50mm f/1.7 has no manual focus ring (as far as I can tell).

Any help would be appreciated.

01-24-2010, 01:33 AM   #2
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If you're looking for a lens that works automatically with your flash settings, you need an A-series or newer one (A, F, FA, FAJ, DA, DA*). Screwmount, K, and M lenses won't transmit the information needed to automatically adjust capable flashes. The A f/1.7 is a decent lens, but I've heard better things IQ-wise about the M version. Could be hearsay. The FA f/1.7 has a manual focus ring, which is the same as the AF ring. It's a thin ring that you can rotate in MF mode. (Just about) all lenses have this. The F f/1.7 version is also an option.
01-24-2010, 01:37 AM   #3
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Yeah...The SMC-F f/1.7 would be my pick of the bunch but they are rare as hens teeth.

I haven't seen any on ebay lately. There is one selling in the UK but don't have the cash right now to buy it.

What is the "going rate" for a SMC-F 50mm f/1.7
01-24-2010, 01:41 AM   #4
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Here is a listing of all the Pentax 50mm lenses: Pentax Lens Review and Specification Database - All Pentax Bayonet 50mm Lenses

and here is an article which explains the differences between the Pentax lens series: PentaxForums.com - The Largest Pentax-Dedicated Forum Community - Lens Reviews

The bottom line is that anything from the F series or newer can be used with full automation (focus and exposure). The A series can be used with auto exposure, and the M and K series are all-manual.

From my experience, the FA 50mm F1.7 is the best 50mm optically- better than the F1.4 counterpart, in fact. It's embarrassing, but I own all of the 50mm's on the page above except the K 50/1.2 and the D-FA 50/2.8 macro, so let's say I've done some testing


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01-24-2010, 01:50 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info Adam.

Looks like the FA-50mm f/1.7 is the best lens in the lineup.

I prefer the look of the M series lenses but as long as the FA still has a focus ring, I'm happy with that.

Now to find one that doesn't cost $500AU
01-24-2010, 02:43 PM   #6
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The problem with the FA is they're a little scarce. You can find them, but the supply is lower, so the price goes up a little. When the FA 50/1.4 was selling new for less than $200 US, it held the price down on other variations. Now demand is up for these lenses with the K-x, and the FA 50/1.4 isn't that cheap.

The optical formula with all the 50/1.7s is supposed to be the same, so you can make your choice on features and build quality. The M version is the best built. The A introduces some plastic, but it's generally OK in every area except the aperture ring, which can jam. On a DSLR, you can leave the aperture ring at A forever, so as long as it works once, that weakness doesn't matter. The only complaint I have with my F is a narrow focus ring. I keep seeing ones with broken filter rings, but as long as you don't drop it, it'll be fine. The FA has a wider focus ring.
01-24-2010, 02:59 PM   #7
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A note about F and FA.

FA's focus ring is bigger, but F's has more ridges and for me is easier to turn with 1 finger versus the FA's.
01-24-2010, 03:23 PM   #8
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funny that you guys are talking about the FA50/1.7. I had a hard time sleeping this morning, thinking about selling my copy inorder to finance a RICOH GR III. after much consideration, a $600 P&S is not worth it for a pocket/travel size camera that I intend on using for those situations that I don't want to carry or shoot with a bigger dlsr or hand it to someone to take a picture of me or/with my wife. surely the GR III does have a great IQ basing from the reports. but I'm not willing to lose a rare lens which could produce really sharp images with a shallow DOF.

btw, the EP-1 sounds like a good and better idea, but I dont think I'm willing to buy one at it's current price. especially, if I'm saving for a future lens or FF camera acquisition.

01-24-2010, 03:24 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
A note about F and FA.

FA's focus ring is bigger, but F's has more ridges and for me is easier to turn with 1 finger versus the FA's.
the F's filter or focus ring is quite fragile though.
01-24-2010, 04:38 PM   #10
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What is the "street price' for a FA 50/1.7?
01-24-2010, 04:43 PM   #11
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F 50 1.7 = about $180
FA 50 1.7 = about $225
F 50 1.4 = about $240
FA 50 1.4 = about $275
01-24-2010, 04:49 PM   #12
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Wow....that's not expencive at all.

Anyone got a link to where I could buy a FA 50/1.7 (that has the lens in stock and ships worldwide)?
01-24-2010, 04:53 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by CrazyNuts Quote
Wow....that's not expencive at all.

Anyone got a link to where I could buy a FA 50/1.7 (that has the lens in stock and ships worldwide)?
Oh sorry, that's street price used, since they're not manufactured anymore. Retail price for remaining new stock is impossible to find and about double the prices listed.
01-24-2010, 05:06 PM   #14
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Ahhh bugger.

So it's an EBAY search in that case?
01-24-2010, 05:18 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CrazyNuts Quote
Ahhh bugger.

So it's an EBAY search in that case?
This very forum would probably be the best place to look for one. Check out the Marketplace: Photographic Equipment for Sale - PentaxForums.com

You can also post a Wanted post in the Wanted Items section, they are usually answered quickly if someone has what you're looking for: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/wanted-items/

Also note my listed prices are in USD, and just an average of what I've seen.
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