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03-17-2010, 06:13 AM   #1
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There was a time when FA50mm/F1.4 was under $200? Retail?

Just got myself a K-x, and I read the lens review for the FA50mm/F1.4. Is it true that this lens, which now goes for about $350 new in retail, used to be priced UNDER $200? WTF happened?

- Sung

03-17-2010, 06:16 AM   #2
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When i joined Pentax it was pretty stable around $200 but I dont recall it being less. Sadly at the Time I was 14, and obviously had no income..... Man I wish I could have gotten the DA 40mm when it was $250!
03-17-2010, 06:18 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
When i joined Pentax it was pretty stable around $200 but I dont recall it being less. Sadly at the Time I was 14, and obviously had no income..... Man I wish I could have gotten the DA 40mm when it was $250!
What happened? Why in the world did the price just about double? Aren't things supposed to get CHEAPER? Egads...
03-17-2010, 06:20 AM   #4
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well iirc the Yen is strong..... and the economy tanked.... so yeah. Its happening/happened with every brand, just more shockingly so with Pentax

03-17-2010, 06:24 AM   #5
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And yet Nikon has those f1.8 primes for a pretty reasonable price. I mean it's a few steps down from 1.4, but egads, I'd much rather payy $150 for a new prime than almost $400...
03-17-2010, 06:39 AM   #6
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There have been a bunch of threads about the price increases, and there are a ton of threads about the Pentax fast 50mm lenses. If you are not locked into AF, then there are many MF options, like A and M 50/1.7, and A and M 50/1.4. All cheaper than their AF counterparts.

That said, while I am not familiar with the comparable offerings from Canon, Nikon, etc., the Pentax 50mm/1.4 was probably underpriced at $200. It is not just a very fast lens, it is also an excellent lens (taking into account some softness wide open). Yeah, I understand the frustration of knowing what it was priced at before, but this applies frankly to virtually all lenses out there which have also gone up in price. You can bite the bullet and buy it new, look for a used copy for cheaper, buy one of the AF alternatives (keep an eye out for the F and FA 50/1.7 lenses, which are AF, awesome, and generally priced used at $200 or less), go with one of the MF options, or ditch the idea altogether.
03-17-2010, 06:54 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffrey r Quote
There have been a bunch of threads about the price increases, and there are a ton of threads about the Pentax fast 50mm lenses. If you are not locked into AF, then there are many MF options, like A and M 50/1.7, and A and M 50/1.4. All cheaper than their AF counterparts.

That said, while I am not familiar with the comparable offerings from Canon, Nikon, etc., the Pentax 50mm/1.4 was probably under priced at $200. It is not just a very fast lens, it is also an excellent lens (taking into account some softness wide open). Yeah, I understand the frustration of knowing what it was priced at before, but this applies frankly to virtually all lenses out there which have also gone up in price. You can bite the bullet and buy it new, look for a used copy for cheaper, buy one of the AF alternatives (keep an eye out for the F and FA 50/1.7 lenses, which are AF, awesome, and generally priced used at $200 or less), go with one of the MF options, or ditch the idea altogether.
Not anymore.... people on this forums market place have gone berserk with used prices, thinking they can get almost the same as new. I know me and gus already posted in another thread about this, but its just really been nagging at me. Normally I'd suggest the M 50mm F/1.7 for a great MF fast fifty (PM me if you want samples) but that was when this lens was supposed to be sold in the $20-35 range depending on condition. Now people here are trying to get $75+ in *decent* condition for something I doubt they paid more than $40 for originally.

The days where one bought a lens, tried it, and if they didn't like it put it up for sale for another to try are gone. Its all about raking in the cash now, instead of giving someone else an opportunity to try that lens and not worry about the significant other getting mad.

Anyways, like I said earlier I was only 14 when I joined the forum, and $100 was a crazy amount to me for a lens..... so I bought a good condition Pentax M 50mm F/1.7 for $30. It has only recently been dethroned as my favorite lens to use for normal shooting by the Pentax M 85mm F/2

Last edited by yeatzee; 03-17-2010 at 07:05 AM.
03-17-2010, 07:16 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sjwoo Quote
And yet Nikon has those f1.8 primes for a pretty reasonable price. I mean it's a few steps down from 1.4, but egads, I'd much rather payy $150 for a new prime than almost $400...
Errrr...go look at Canon system. Compare the price between the 50/1.8 and 50/1.4.
And their 85/1.8 and 85/1.4.
Just a few steps?

03-17-2010, 07:55 AM   #9
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Yes, my FA50/1.4 was US$197 from Beach Camera just 23 months ago. No, it ain't no more. The USD started free-falling soon after; stock markets crashed, Yen stayed high, Hoya bought Pentax and decided to reprice some items, etc. That's market capitalism, folks! Now we have great new Pentax cams that achieve popular attention and demand, fueling price increases in old and new Pentax lenses. Bother.

It's still a good time to buy old other-name Pentax-compatible lenses. Good manual lenses can be had (see the many threads here). Some other glass can be adapted to Pentax mounts. Here Manual Focus Lenses - Photo taken with a vulgar magnifying glass. is a guy who just held a magnifying glass on a bellows on his lens mount. There are many ways to shoot, cheap.
03-17-2010, 07:59 AM   #10
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I've had the pleasure of handling an FA 50 at local camera shops. To me the build quality just isn't there. I'd much rather have an old pentax or super takumar lens or one of RioRico's favorite Zeiss ZK.
03-17-2010, 08:07 AM   #11
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That price (~$189) stayed unchanged until early 2009.

When I bought my first SLR (in year 2000), lens price was one of the two leading factors that made me to join Pentax. The other one was backward compatibility.

At one time, I remember the lowest price you could get a new Pentax FA50 F1.4 was $169 (with a $25 rebate) - maybe in year 2005. This price created a shortage of FA50 in US around that time.

OT: Right now DA 14mm F2.8 is an under-priced lens. You can get one @ ~$450.
03-17-2010, 08:59 AM   #12
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You know, I'm just not used to this...I'm used to buying electronic gadgets at full price then seeing it devalue to 50% in two years. Crazy.

There are some A-series 50mm/1.7primes on eBay, but yeah, they're all going for about $70. Who knew -- instead of buying stocks, I should've been buying Pentax lenses! I'll get one of these and if I really end up liking it, I'll get the AF50/1.4 at some point. Maybe in another 2 years, the dollar will rise and the yen will sink. Ha!
03-17-2010, 09:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tokyoso Quote
I've had the pleasure of handling an FA 50 at local camera shops. To me the build quality just isn't there. I'd much rather have an old pentax or super takumar lens or one of RioRico's favorite Zeiss ZK.
1) So don't drop-kick the FA50.
2) It's still a deal for AF+IQ.
3) I love my old Taks too.
4) I had to look up Zeiss ZK. Those guys cost as much as a root canal or two.
5) My Toyos are calling your name.

QuoteOriginally posted by sjwoo Quote
You know, I'm just not used to this...I'm used to buying electronic gadgets at full price then seeing it devalue to 50% in two years. Crazy.
I've had expensive electronics devalue by 50% in two MONTHS. That hurts. But lenses ain't electronics (except that chipped Canikonympus sh!t) and they don't get obsoleted so fast. Electronic design and production are EXTREMELY fast-paced and automated. Lenses take more time, especially if they have to survive clumsy-stupid-vicious humans (don't drop-kick the FA50, etc).

Last edited by RioRico; 03-17-2010 at 09:12 AM.
03-17-2010, 09:43 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Yes, my FA50/1.4 was US$197 from Beach Camera just 23 months ago. No, it ain't no more. The USD started free-falling soon after; stock markets crashed, Yen stayed high, Hoya bought Pentax and decided to reprice some items, etc. That's market capitalism, folks! Now we have great new Pentax cams that achieve popular attention and demand, fueling price increases in old and new Pentax lenses. Bother.

It's still a good time to buy old other-name Pentax-compatible lenses. Good manual lenses can be had (see the many threads here). Some other glass can be adapted to Pentax mounts. Here Manual Focus Lenses - Photo taken with a vulgar magnifying glass. is a guy who just held a magnifying glass on a bellows on his lens mount. There are many ways to shoot, cheap.
I have bought ($210) and sold ($150) my FA50/1.4 and now I have mainly used MF 50/1.4 (more than 8 of this beast) in K mount and M42 mount. For cropped sensor my K100D, K10D and soon to be K-7, the 50mm focal length is not my favorite, 28-31-43mm are. I have heard those m42 50/1.4 were so cheap before the K10D came out - that one can scoop them up by dozens without breaking the bank. If I can get "select focus point" option on MF lens, I don't really need AF lens. Does anyone know that we have that feature on K-7? Thanks in advance..
03-17-2010, 11:05 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by sjwoo Quote
You know, I'm just not used to this...I'm used to buying electronic gadgets at full price then seeing it devalue to 50% in two years. Crazy.

There are some A-series 50mm/1.7primes on eBay, but yeah, they're all going for about $70. Who knew -- instead of buying stocks, I should've been buying Pentax lenses! I'll get one of these and if I really end up liking it, I'll get the AF50/1.4 at some point. Maybe in another 2 years, the dollar will rise and the yen will sink. Ha!
The devaluation is not so bad after a while. My camera cost $750 new in August 2005. Its value plummeted when the K100D was available about a year later, and declined further as you'd expect. At about 30 months old, it reached the $250 level. Two years more, it's maybe $200 now, and I expect it will retain that price for a while.

I have made money on lenses, but not that much on appreciation. Most of it was honest effort. Stocks are a better investment and less work. My computer desk is not covered with partly disassembled shares of Citibank.
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