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03-02-2010, 11:44 AM   #1
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Keen idea: replace SMC 1.4/50 and F 1.7/50 with A 1.2/50 (?)

Having both of these lenses is great but having one that merges them and adds something to it would be better.

But before I really get into that idea I'd like to know for how much they sell right now. Selling the SMC and F I could gather something around $340 (F: $270, SMC: $70). On Ebay there is one right now but the seller proposes 499,99 (for anyone interested: SMC PENTAX-A 50mm f1.2 K Lens K-7/KM/K200D/K10D/LX Etc bei eBay.de: For 35mm SLR (endet 13.03.10 00:27:32 MEZ) )
My personal limit is at $380. If it's worth it I'd be ready to pay some additional $40 ($340+40).

While I like the F really for its sharpness I prefer the old SMC 1.4 for its all-metal build (as opposed to the toy-like F series), addditional 0.5EV bigger aperture and also important, its nicer bokeh.
So my question is: Can the A 1.2/50 replace these lenses?

The reviews I've read differ strongly regarding sharpness - everything from very poor to useably wide open can be found. I don't expect it to be as sharp at f/1.2 as the F-series at f/1.7. But they should be about even at the same settings.
So, assuming it was in my price range - is this a good replacement?



Last edited by Egg Salad; 03-02-2010 at 12:05 PM.
03-02-2010, 12:44 PM   #2
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I think the F50/1.7 is as good as a Pentax 50mm gets optically.
03-02-2010, 02:02 PM   #3
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I own an f1.2 50mm. I guess the drawbacks are that it is manual focus and very hard to focus at f1.2 .... still a very nice lens and you will get images that you will never get with your other 50mm lenses.
03-02-2010, 02:08 PM   #4
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The SMC tak will knock a small dent in the price of an A f1.2. Since the F is af, I would keep it unless I had an FA 43mm ltd laying around. Don't expect the A f1.2 to out do the smc Tak f1.4 except below f1.4.

03-02-2010, 02:48 PM   #5
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my take

I have them all. F f1.7 is as good as Pentax 50mm gets. It is lighter than the alternatives. f1.2 is quite weighty in comparison. f1.7 is more widely available than other AF 50mm lenses.

The only downside is that it has a plastic filter ring and it is not the best to manually focus. f1.2 is a trophy for most people. It is better to use with a lens hood. While I shoot a lot with f1.2, I doubt about the value of doing that. You can always get a KX with better ISO and shoot with high ISO.
03-02-2010, 02:50 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Egg Salad Quote
...On Ebay there is one right now but the seller proposes 499,99 (for anyone interested: SMC PENTAX-A 50mm f1.2 K Lens K-7/KM/K200D/K10D/LX Etc bei eBay.de: For 35mm SLR (endet 13.03.10 00:27:32 MEZ) )
Don't buy that one; it has no aperture lever.

I think anyone considering the 50/1.2 should evaluate their ability and desire to manually focus first. Any advantages of the lens only happen if the user can focus. In your case, also consider that you'll give up your AF option.

I think your reasons for upgrading work. It is nice to have one lens per focal length. I'm not sure about the money aspect.
03-02-2010, 02:54 PM   #7
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Right now my initial question is if it even worth thinking about.
Before I don't know what the actual cost of that lens would be thinking about its (dis-)advantages is pointless.
Sure it's still good to know about its qualities.

Additional info: It's not the M42 Takumar 1.4/50 I'm talking about but the K-Mount 1.4/50 (pre-M).

Edit: Maybe I should have written more about my skill level and requirements. So here you go...

I'm a metal-fetishist so I'd value a decent build way higher than light-weight. And if the f/1.2 lens would weight 1kg/~2lb - I wouldn't care. Even more - as already said I hate the F-series (same goes for FA) look and feel. It looks and feels cheap. Its focus ring has no feel and the front barrel wobbles. If it wouldn't be so good optically I wouldn't use it at all. The "K" series feels so much better but using it is pretty cumbersome. To work around stop-down metering I'm using it not fully mounted like a M42 lens (but with all camera modes thanks to aluminium foil on the mount).
The A series positions itself pretty nicely: great build + all the benefits of program modes.
My eyesight is nearly perfect (2 years ago it was 100%) and I have a split prism + viewfinder loupe installed. I don't have a problem with manual focus. Of course I like the F 50s AF but it's not my priority.

I always use lens hoods outsides and have no problem using them inside as well (I'm using the hood for the Takumar 3.5/135 and 5.6/200 on my 50s - not pretty but giving best stray light protection).
I have a Samsung GX20 which does the job pretty well and this thread is about lens choices - so I'm not even considering to downgrade to a K-x - especially not if it's all about focusing.




Dave: I have seen this auction in a thread before and if I had read its text I'd have seen it misses the aperture lever. But for 500 pound sterling it is out of my price range anyway.

Last edited by Egg Salad; 03-02-2010 at 03:13 PM.
03-02-2010, 03:10 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Egg Salad Quote
Right now my initial question is if it even worth thinking about.
Before I don't know what the actual cost of that lens would be thinking about its (dis-)advantages is pointless.
Sure it's still good to know about its qualities.

Additional info: It's not the M42 Takumar 1.4/50 I'm talking about but the K-Mount 1.4/50 (pre-M).
I have Auto-Tak 55/1.8; S-M-C 50/1.4; K50/1.4; M50/1.7; A50/1.4; FA50/1.4. (Selling M50/1.7 and A50/1.4) I had a K50/1.2 once upon a time.

K50/1.2 should be about $300-$350 in Ex Condition
A50/1.2 should be about $75 more.

I would not buy the lens on ebay under any conditions.

I would keep the lenses you have under all conditions, but add a 50/1.2 if you want the stated benefits. It is much heavier than any other 50 and a specialized lens for low-light and tiny DoF photography. Under ordinary conditions and apertures it is no better nor worse than a 50/1.4.

Understand Pentax 50/1.7 lenses are generally optimized for a flat field across the entire image area and are very sharp. 50/1.4's are generally optimized for center sharpness and bokeh, but are softer in the corners. 50/1.2 magnifies the 1.4 characteristics.

03-02-2010, 03:27 PM   #9
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Problem is Ebay is the only site I'm registered on. KEH might be great for people within the US but I guess with all the fees and taxes I'd have to pay any bargain will get expensive.

And no, if I don't sell the lenses I have I won't buy another one. The plan is to reduce the amount of lenses not to pay more for something I don't really need - and still end up with 2 lenses (Of course I'd go for the SMC "K" 1.2 then. But one of the reasons I'm after the A series are its 9 blades).

I already assumed the f/1.2 would behave similar as f/1.4 lenses but I wasn't sure because f/1.2 are the top of the lens line so I had the hope of them being better.
Low field curvature is something I prefer (who doesn't ?). The F 1.7/50 is my only macro lens right now (when coupled with Vivitar's Macro TC).
03-02-2010, 05:23 PM   #10
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The 50 1.2 is outstanding. Having owned many of the 50s in all four speeds the 1.2 has disadvantages only in price and size and lack of af. I do not think the 1.7 is much better wide open.

I don't think you'll find one for 380 unless it's in rough condition or you get lucky.
03-02-2010, 06:24 PM   #11
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I agree with most of what people have said here.

I have owned at one point but no longer do: Pentax 50/1.4, Pentax-M 50/1.4, Pentax-A 50/1.4, Pentax-A 50/1.7, Pentax-F 50/1.7, Pentax-FA 50/1.4

I have currently: SMC Takumar 50/1.4, SMC Pentax-A 50/1.2, Pentax-M 50/1.7, FA 43/1.9 Ltd

I had the F50/1.7 and it was my go to fast 50 for a while, kept it over most of the other 50s I have had because it was a good compromise between all of them at a decent price. But eventually I really wanted something that had better build quality and MF capability...so...

The FA 43 serves as my fast AF normal-short-tele. Outstanding lens. I would rather use it than any of the AF 50 primes, unless I desperately need F1.4 or below. It is also tiny and lightweight. But $$$.

The SMC Pentax-A 50/1.2 is a special lens. What you WON'T get with ANY other Pentax 50mm (except the Pentax-DA* 55/1.4) is 9 aperture blades. Not a huge dealbreaker when compared against 8 blades like most of the F1.4s, but I do believe that it helps to create extra smooth OOF areas, even when stopped down. I think the 1.7s even have only 6 blades. You can tell a difference, but how much it matters to you is up to you. So it DOES have advantages over other 50s when stopped down. And it is just as sharp as the other 50s at equivalent apertures. But $$$ (especially considering MF) and heavy. I love using this lens, but it isn't for everyone. If you do get it, prepare to practice manual focusing if you want to shoot at F1.2, or you will just get frustrated and wish you didn't buy it.

The M50/1.7 is a cheap enough lens (but still really great optically) that I can throw it on my older *IstD body and have a small light kit that I don't worry much about. So it has it's own purpose.

The SMC-T 50/1.4 has it's own qualities. Small for a 50/1.4, smoother focusing action than any of the others. I don't use it too much these days, but it keeps my other Taks company, so I don't see it going anywhere unless I desperately need $$ or space.

Anyways, those are my 2c on the road I've travelled. I am now happy with my selection of 50mm-ish lenses, and no longer need to scour eBay or the marketplace in search of those lenses . However, I have other parts of my kit that are less content , and I'm still working on those. Hope it helps.

F1.2 (although to be fair, F1.4 would not have produced a much different picture).
03-02-2010, 06:39 PM   #12
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Also F1.2 w/ A50/1.2


For comparison, this was F1.8 (same lens)
03-02-2010, 06:59 PM   #13
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Hi EggSalad.

the A1.2 costs at around 450-600 USD, price you pay for auto-aperture. the K version is about a 100 USD less, if you don't mind stop down metering.

the one selling on eBay is overpriced, not to mention that it has been mutilated which should had significantly depreciated the lens' value. a lens with cosmetic wear would cost more than that one.

I had considered the thought as well regarding my 50s'. and if ever I had to keep one 50mm, it would be the 50/1.2. it is a great lowlight lens. it is really bright and produces surreal bokeh that is only unique to 1.2 lenses. anyway, another cheaper alternative would be the Cosina 1.2.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 03-03-2010 at 02:37 PM.
03-02-2010, 07:18 PM   #14
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I have sold an SMC tak, M and A 50/1.4; I've kept the F 50/1.7 and the A 50/1.2 (and an M 50 1.7 for sentimental reasons and fisheye work). The 1.7s are sharper wide open, I can't see giving one up. Maybe you should swap your F 50 1.7 for an A version and some change, to see how you like those. Some knock the build quality of A lenses, some praise them.

I don't think, unfortunately, that the 2 you have will add to an A 50/1.2 wihout some additional capital.
03-03-2010, 09:47 AM   #15
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I've had most of the 50mm lenses out there (incl. Pentax M 1.7, A 1.7, F 1.7, FA 1.4, Nikon f/1.4, Mamiya 55mm f/1.8, Leica Summicron, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, Zeiss ZK 50mm f/1.4, Volna-9, Topcor 58mm f/1.4, Voigtlander Nokton)

I finally settled with two 50s. Pentax K 50mm f/1.2 for low light and great bokeh, and Leica Summicron 50mm f/2 for it's sharpness and colors. My FA 43mm Limited does the job when I need autofocus.

So yes, I would say get the 50mm f/1.2 and sell the rest of the 50's. I also hated the plastic on my FA 50mm f/1.4, FA 35mm f/2 and F 50mm f/1.7 that's why I sold them and bought all the FA Limiteds.
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