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04-09-2010, 02:35 AM   #16
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You could also try the F50/1.4 which is said to be a bit sharper. Mine is quite OK from 2.0 onwards.

04-09-2010, 03:46 AM   #17
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I love the FA50, in fact I think it is THE lens every Pentaxian SHOULD own. Does it have faults? Sure it does, all lenses do. Does it excel? In almost all regards.

If you don't like the FA50 you either don't understand the lens, or have a boner for owning a limited/DA*/Voigtlander. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but the FA50 is excellent value for the money (even though it is more expensive now), and is anything BUT unimpressive.

c[_]
04-09-2010, 03:57 AM   #18
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I love my FA50. In fact it is the lens that got me my first PPG entry. and I used it for nearly half of my 365 project. I agree with with Coffee, i would not consider this lens as unimpressive.

my FA50 PPG entry:
04-09-2010, 04:06 AM   #19
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It's all about value for money - and that's what the FA 50 offers. No other $250-300 lens offers f/1.4 and its associated good AF in low-light.

I've got quite a collection of good f/1.4 shots, some in my 'best of the best' group. It took me just under a year of regular use to 'know' the lens well enough to get good results reliably wide open, but it is definitely possible.

Then again, from f/2 on, it delivers very well.

04-09-2010, 04:11 AM   #20
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FA 50 is a "difficult" lens to master.
You need to have it a couple of months or more on all the time and study well your results.
It misfocuses easily mostly due to human error so I some times step it down a little to widen DOF

FA 35 is my favorite all around lens, its on my K-7 all the time !
04-09-2010, 04:41 AM   #21
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I ended up selling my FA 50. I really felt like my copy was soft from 1.4 to somewhere between 2 and 2.8. Not talking focus issues, just not sharp. Stopped down it was quite sharp. I seldom shoot more wide open than f2.8 anyway due to small depth of field, so that wasn't a big issue. The bigger issue was the focal length. It wasn't wide enough and it wasn't long enough. I end up shooting much more with the DA 40/70, both of which fit my shooting style a lot better.

I guess I am saying that your experience fits with mine and that I am a lot more satisfied with the limiteds that I own.
04-09-2010, 05:15 AM   #22
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On a digital body, the 35 is just a better choice for me. I have the FA35/2 now, but I am sure I would be happy with the DA.

Once I picked up my film bodies again, the 50s jumped right back on the mount. My 30 year old M 50 1.4 has never left me with much to desire, even on Kodachrome or Agfapan 25. I don't know if the AF versions are up to that level.
04-09-2010, 05:20 AM   #23
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Looking for a lens with more character than the FA50/1.4, with a much much sturdier build but still under the same price range? Get the Nokton Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 SLII. It'll make you fall back in love with manual focusing.

04-09-2010, 06:54 AM   #24
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

For the record I'm not inexperienced with a 50/1.4. In fact, I shot with a Canon 5D and Canon 50/1.4 for several years. Obviously the DOF is razor thin with that combo, because of the full-frame. But I never had any problems at all, except for the occasional missed focus. So I do not think the "underwhelm" I feel is due to user error.

I had forgotten about the 35/2. Somehow I thought it was out of production or difficult to find used? I've heard that some people think it's nearly comparable to the FA31. That's an impressive comparison.

I do like the slightly longer focal length (40/43), but of course there's the benefit of an extra stop with the 35/2 and from what I gather it's entirely usable wide open.

I see that used FA43s are going for $550 at times, which is only $100 - $125 more than I'd pay for a DA40. I'm tempted to save up for it. I'd prefer the FA43 to the Sigma 50/1.4, and since a used 43 is only $50 more than a new Sigma 50, it makes sense for me to go with the 43.

Seems like my choice is between the 35, 40 and 43. Hmmmm.... What are the 35s selling for these days?
04-09-2010, 07:03 AM   #25
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I think I mentioned this earlier but AF speed is important to me. That's why I'm not considering the DA35 f/2.8.

I recall that the AF speed with the K10D + FA43 wasn't so great. Does anyone have the FA43 with a K-x? Is the AF speed improved? I know that the FA40 is one of the fastest (if not the fastest) focusing Pentax lenses, so that's another advantage to going with it.
04-09-2010, 07:19 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
I had forgotten about the 35/2. Somehow I thought it was out of production or difficult to find used? I've heard that some people think it's nearly comparable to the FA31. That's an impressive comparison.

I do like the slightly longer focal length (40/43), but of course there's the benefit of an extra stop with the 35/2 and from what I gather it's entirely usable wide open.
I really like the FA35/2. I actually sold mine when I sold my original K10D and have since repurchased a copy to use with my Kx and really like the results. The 31 is one of the few lenses I have yet to try, so I can't personally compare them. That being said, I have found the FA35/2 to be perfectly usable wide open and don't hesitate to shoot it at f/2.

QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote

I see that used FA43s are going for $550 at times, which is only $100 - $125 more than I'd pay for a DA40. I'm tempted to save up for it. I'd prefer the FA43 to the Sigma 50/1.4, and since a used 43 is only $50 more than a new Sigma 50, it makes sense for me to go with the 43.

Seems like my choice is between the 35, 40 and 43. Hmmmm.... What are the 35s selling for these days?
Typically an excellent condition FA35/2 (w/ box, pouch and hood) sells for around 375-400. Once in a while you can find one that's new for another 100 or so.

QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
I think I mentioned this earlier but AF speed is important to me. That's why I'm not considering the DA35 f/2.8.

I recall that the AF speed with the K10D + FA43 wasn't so great. Does anyone have the FA43 with a K-x? Is the AF speed improved? I know that the FA40 is one of the fastest (if not the fastest) focusing Pentax lenses, so that's another advantage to going with it.
I have the DA35 also. The AF speed (on the Kx) isn't terrible, espeically if you aren't going back and forth between close focus and distant focus. Same goes for the FA43, which I don't own but recently borrowed for the weekend. That being said, the DA40 is probably the fastest AF lens I own. It also focuses very well in low light. Aside from being a stop slower, it's tough to fault the DA40.
04-09-2010, 07:27 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
I did shoot for several weeks with the FA50 in low light, most of the time at f/1.4. It's not at all soft but you have to get the focus right...
There is no denying that the FA 50/1.4 is soft below f/2.8. It just loses a lot of contrast towards wide open. Some claim a hood helps but I believe the main problem is the simple spherical design. The F 50/1.4 has the same design so one shouldn't expect big differences.

Having said that, the lens is extremely sharp at f/5.6 and while the bokeh can be busy below f/2.8, starting from f/2.8 one can really achieve great results with this lens out of the camera.

I haven't tried an FA 43 yet but judging from images I've seen it has more pixie dust than the FA 50/1.4 which of course doesn't make the latter an uninspiring lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
I recall that the AF speed with the K10D + FA43 wasn't so great. Does anyone have the FA43 with a K-x? Is the AF speed improved?
I cannot speak from experience but there have been improvements in AF speed with the K20D, then K-m and then K-x. You'll find that locking focus will be quicker and also the AF motor turns more quickly. I'm pretty sure that's the case for the K-x, it definitely is true for the K-7.
04-09-2010, 08:47 AM   #28
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43mm is awesome. I haven't used the 50mm in a while, but I like it's bokeh in most situations, particularly with leafy trees in the background against sky. It's not the best wide open, but at f/2 and f/2.8 it can give you sharp yet dreamy images.
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04-09-2010, 11:31 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
There is no denying that the FA 50/1.4 is soft below f/2.8.
For my main use of shooting portraits, I found that eyes were rendered sharp enough at f/1.4. I know the lens would come out soft if I'd shoot a chart, I just can't say it shows when shooting portraits.
04-09-2010, 11:34 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by xjjohnno Quote
Well I sold my FA 50 f1.4 to fund a Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 so I guess it didn't do much for me either.
Yes, the Nokton makes the FA redundant and it's much nicer to focus.
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