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01-31-2010, 07:46 PM   #1
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Price factor aside, what's the best "fast 50"?

On my film cameras I've found that no matter what lenses I buy my trusty old 50mm 1.4 would end up on the body 90% of the time. I'm often shooting in low light, and like the field of view of a 50mm. Since this lens is probably going to be used the most I want to set aside prices and simply buy the best of the best.

I'm looking for a really sharp 50-55mm prime with superb build quality and wide max aperture. From what I've read apart from the price and some CA's (that most lenses in this category suffer from anyways) the DA* 55 1.4 sounds like the best lens in this area.

Am I wrong in that assumption? What suggestion do you guys/gals have?

01-31-2010, 07:49 PM   #2
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A lot really does depend on what you are going to be shooting. Once you get to f/4 there probably isn't going to be a lot in it.
Having said that, my vote would probably go to the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4
I also very much like the Pentax M50 f/1.7
The old M55 f/1.8 is also a very good lens and can't be beaten on price.
If you're looking for AF then your choice becomes more limited.
01-31-2010, 07:53 PM   #3
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I don't own any 50, let alone a fast 50...this is proof that I am immune from LBA. But, this is not going to stop me from giving you my opinion

DA55/1.4 and the sigma 50/1.4 HSM are remarkable AF lenses. Then there is the Zeiss 50/1.4 and Nokton 58/1.4 both of which are MF. IMO, these four are the best of the best.
01-31-2010, 08:06 PM   #4
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Let me clarify a little more.

I would very much prefer an autofocus lens however if the IQ is significantly better I'd be willing to go strictly manual. Most of my shots with this lens will be taken inside abandoned buildings / steel mills with natural light and studio lit portraits (Lots of contrast, right?).

01-31-2010, 08:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by noahpurdy Quote
Let me clarify a little more.

I would very much prefer an autofocus lens however if the IQ is significantly better I'd be willing to go strictly manual. Most of my shots with this lens will be taken inside abandoned buildings / steel mills with natural light and studio lit portraits (Lots of contrast, right?).
With tripod? If so, any of them should do the job.
Are you sure that is the right focal length though. I would have thought 35mm would be a better option. In that case, probably the DA 35 LTD would probably be the number one choice.
01-31-2010, 08:16 PM   #6
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In terms of features, DA* 55 wins--its only competitor in terms of weather sealing is Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM. So far, there is not enough snow this winter for me to really test it.
01-31-2010, 08:41 PM   #7
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Start buying and selling to find the one you want. It's a pain in the ass, but at least you will know which one is for you.

The closest thing I have to a 'fast 50' is the Super Takumar 55/1.8. It's a bargain and a great little lens. Build quality is superb but it's manual focus. I'm starting to dig this kind of lens & would also like to know other's opinions besides the obvious DA*55.
01-31-2010, 08:55 PM   #8
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Honestly, I cannot tell the difference in terms of IQ between FA 50 f/1.4 and DA*55. My preference goes to Zeiss. An AMAZING lens if you don't mind manual focusing. Just amazing. Something about 50mm on APS-c that I just cannot dig. 35mm seems to fit better to my taste too.

01-31-2010, 09:10 PM   #9
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Or maybe the FA 31mm f1.8 on digital...
01-31-2010, 09:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ltdstar Quote
Or maybe the FA 31mm f1.8 on digital...
Yes. 31mm on APS-C is a comfortable length for me. Love that lens too.
01-31-2010, 10:41 PM   #11
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Fast 50? nuthins fasta than the 1.2's

Check out sean carpenter's treatise on the A50/1.2:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/12247-super-mu...out-final.html

If you want 55mm then how about the Cosina:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/41357-cosina-55mm-1-1-2-club.html
01-31-2010, 10:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentHassyKon Quote
Fast 50? nuthins fasta than the 1.2's
OP is asking which is best, not fastest.
01-31-2010, 10:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
OP is asking which is best, not fastest.
Yes he did.
Of course, not only are the 1.2's the fastest but IMHO they're also the best

Of course as you've already said - if the OP wants AF then that rules out the 1.2's
Sean Carpenter's work is a must read IMO for those looking at 50's.
01-31-2010, 10:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentHassyKon Quote
Yes he did.
Of course, not only are the 1.2's the fastest but IMHO they're also the best
Best at 1.2 anyway
01-31-2010, 11:04 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Best at 1.2 anyway
You mean at 1.2 and 1.4

But kidding and ribbing aside....
Best is a personal choice and depends on what criteria.
OP has numerous choices: DA40, FA43, FA50, DA55, Voigtlander 58 (MF BTW) and the many legacy MF choices (even Nikon glass) pointed out by Sean's "normal" shootout.
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