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02-19-2010, 05:27 PM   #1
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the 50mm f/1.4 prime choice

I'm looking at either the Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM, now at $637 at Amazon, and the older, Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 one, at $360 there as well. The latter looks slim, and I'm looking for a compact package for my K7 when I need smallness. The DA* looks all new and shiny though. Is it much bigger? What are the pros and cons?

02-19-2010, 06:02 PM   #2
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50mm 1.4

I am a newbie myself. Had a kx for about 3 months. I cant speak for the 55mm, however, I just bought a Pentax 50 mm 1.4 and I like the lens a lot. Its small, takes great pics in low light, is quite sharp. Its a great little lens for sure and I am glad I got it. I dont think you can go wrong with this lens and its relatively cheap compared to some other primes.
02-19-2010, 06:28 PM   #3
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Hope this helps a little in terms of comparing size.


EDIT:

Figured I might as well add the lens comparison done by whoever owns those lenses

Pentax DA55 and FA50 Comparison
02-19-2010, 06:49 PM   #4
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Be sure a 50 1.4 is what you need. I have three 50s, but I find I am only using them on film, where they are still very useful.

02-19-2010, 06:56 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by braver Quote
I'm looking at either the Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM, now at $637 at Amazon, and the older, Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 one, at $360 there as well. The latter looks slim, and I'm looking for a compact package for my K7 when I need smallness. The DA* looks all new and shiny though. Is it much bigger? What are the pros and cons?
An easy choice IMHO: The FA is cheaper, smaller, lighter and focuses faster. And it is full-frame should Pentax change their mind and come out with a full frame camera
02-19-2010, 07:06 PM   #6
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FA 50mm /1.4

I've had mine for ages and while I'm planning on getting rid of it in the next few months has served me well (I've finally decided to jump to the 77mm limited).

I think even at $360 (the current used price) it is well worth it.
02-19-2010, 07:27 PM   #7
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My advice is to get an F or FA 50/1.7. Cheaper and better IQ wide open.
02-19-2010, 07:38 PM   #8
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I'm hankering for an FA 50/1.7 but I can't find any.. do you have any tips where to look deadwolfbones?

02-19-2010, 08:21 PM   #9
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They are somewhat different lenses. I bought a 55/1.4 and decided that I liked it enough to keep it, and to use it in situations that would have called for the 50/1.4 prior to it's purchase.
The 50/1.4 is an excellent lens once stopped down to f/4. It is a very good lens at f/2.8, an OK lens at f/2 and it rather soft wide open.
The 55/1.4 is fairly sharp wide open and gets better in fairly large increments until f/8, where it can cut a subject at 10 feet.
But honestly, at f/8, the FA 50/1.4 will slash the subject open as well.

If you can live without the much improved open aperture performance of the 55/1.4, the FA is an excellent lens.
But... 50mm le4nses is something that Pentax excels at. All of their 50mm lenses are very good. My A50/1.4 stands up to my 55/1.4 veyt well indeed, for example.
So, if you can live with manual focus, the A lens is a good choice for a 50.
The DA* is HUGE when compared to the 50.

To VIXEV, I had the 55, 58 and FA50 as well, and decided that I could live with just the 55.
I really liked both of the other lenses (in some ways I wish I'd kept the Nokton). What's your take on that trio that you have?
02-19-2010, 10:29 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by fractal Quote
I'm hankering for an FA 50/1.7 but I can't find any.. do you have any tips where to look deadwolfbones?
I'm afraid I picked mine up here on the forum. (Sold my 50/1.4 the same night.)

Not sure where else I'd look. Set up an alert on eBay, I guess?
02-19-2010, 10:30 PM   #11
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FA 50 1.4 is my fav lens On my kx its a great portrait length.
02-20-2010, 12:51 AM   #12
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An alternative to the FA50mm is the Voigtlander Nokton 58 mm f1.4. See review at Photozone.de {http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/360-voigtlander-nokton-58mm-f14-sl-ii}. It is available with Pentax mount (eg Adorama.com and B&H). The Nokton 58mm is about the same price as the FA50mm and it is built like a tank, Very robust and excellent for outdoor. I took it during rainstorms and solid rain with my K-7 last month: an excellent low-light lens during the storm conditions, and I had no trouble despite the harsh weather.

The Nokton is not auto-focus but the aperture can be set to Auto (A position). It is an excellent performer, possibly in between the FA50mm and DA* with the price of the FA and the weather resistance of the DA*.

Hope that the suggestion can help. I definitely recommend the Nokton for outdoor: it is rugged and provides nice IQ.
02-20-2010, 10:55 AM   #13
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I've owned a M50 1.4 and A50 1.4, but believe my current FA50 1.7 is sharper than either of those (for sure wide open). If you can find a 1.7 at a good price, grab it immediately. Bought mine new as a close out at Fry's approx ten years ago for $75.00 (sitting all by itself on a lower shelf). Edit: Actually at the time, I believe the place was still owned by Radio Shack & called Incredible Universe. Doubtful that Fry's would ever be so generous!

Last edited by bobore; 02-20-2010 at 11:04 AM.
02-20-2010, 11:26 AM   #14
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QuoteQuote:
braver: I'm looking at either the Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM, now at $637 at Amazon, and the older, Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 one, at $360 there as well. The latter looks slim, and I'm looking for a compact package for my K7 when I need smallness. The DA* looks all new and shiny though. Is it much bigger? What are the pros and cons?
If you are looking for great portrait performance, at large apertures, at least take a few and read up on the new Sigma 50mm f 1.4 HSM. It is a marvelous hunk of glass, priced between your 2 choices. There is an in-depth, 6-page review on it @ DPreview.com and already it is gathering a following in our lens review database, here, at Pentax Forums. This beauty was specifically engineered by Sigma for large aperture performance. It has beautiful bokeh and is sharp, sharp, sharp. The 2 downsides are its price ($500 us) & it is large. It was made large, in large part to reduce vignetting @ large apertures. You should look at this choice--you do not want regrets.
02-20-2010, 02:57 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
If you are looking for great portrait performance, at large apertures, at least take a few and read up on the new Sigma 50mm f 1.4 HSM. It is a marvelous hunk of glass, priced between your 2 choices. There is an in-depth, 6-page review on it @ DPreview.com and already it is gathering a following in our lens review database, here, at Pentax Forums. This beauty was specifically engineered by Sigma for large aperture performance. It has beautiful bokeh and is sharp, sharp, sharp. The 2 downsides are its price ($500 us) & it is large. It was made large, in large part to reduce vignetting @ large apertures. You should look at this choice--you do not want regrets.
Here's a size comparison. They're about the same length but not the same girth.

The second image is a personal reason why I don't like the Sigma at f/1.4-f/1.9.
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