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04-12-2010, 04:20 PM   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tuner571 Quote
I'm surprised that you were underwhelmed by this lens as the copy I used was very sharp. Perhaps you could send it to pentax to see if something is out of alignment.
I think that's what I'm going to do. I just did some informal comparisons with the FA43 I have on loan at several different apertures, and the FA50 is not only noticeably soft, but it's missing focus quite frequently. If I have a bad copy that could explain the problems I'm having. I see that it's a highly rated lens and most claim that it's sharp at f/2.8 and up.

04-12-2010, 04:29 PM   #62
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Have you considered the Sigma 50mm f1.4 HSM? I'm not sure whereabouts you are in the world, but here in the UK they are actually cheaper than the post-price hike FA 50. They are quite sharp and contrasty wide open (described as more of a rival in that regard to the DA*55 rather than the FA 50).

The big problem with these is Sigmaitis: ie poor quality control. In particular, these have a reputation for appalling front focus issues so make sure that you buy from a retailer which will pay for return shipping on faulty items! However, if you get a good one they're supposed to be stellar (if you can tolerate the weight) - I returned mine (the FF was beyond even my K20D's focus adjustment) but am thinking of getting one again.

Last edited by MrCynical; 04-12-2010 at 04:30 PM. Reason: Forgot that Sigma also do a 'macro fifty', so made my reference more specific
04-12-2010, 04:32 PM   #63
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I had the Sigma 50 when I had a Canon 5D and it was the best 50 I've ever owned. However, it did take two tries to get a good copy, and as I only have a K-x (no focus adjustment), I'm a little wary of trying. Also, I'm in the U.S. and they run about $500 here. At that price I would be more inclined to get the FA43 for $100 more.
04-12-2010, 07:07 PM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I agree the "fast" 50's have excellent contrast in general, and near centre, yes, sharp, but of what? Tip of nose sharp, but ears fuzzy wuzzy?
Of course shallow DOF means that a lot of the image will look soft and that's intentional. What is not intentional is that the area within the DOF plane loses a lot of contrast in case of all Pentax fast 50's. The DA* 55 has better performance regarding the "in focus" contrast and that's no accident.


QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I find the my FA 50/1.4 extremely sharp at 3.5 90% across the frame in portrait use, ...
Yes, the softness of areas which should remain sharp only starts kicking in below f/2.8.

QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I'm surprised that no one's mentioned the front-focus problem with Pentax cameras (not the K-7) at large apertures under Tungsten light. IME this is the source of many complaints of soft FA 50's.
Maybe some fall into that trap but there is no denying that there is real loss of sharpness near f/1.4.
Just have a look at the f/1.4 vs f/2.8 comparison in the DPreview test.

QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
...the FA50 is not only noticeably soft, but it's missing focus quite frequently.
At which aperture ratios is it soft? It should not have a problem after f/2.8. Regarding focus operation, I think this lens can be sometimes a bit finicky (but so can the FA 31, I've read) but under reasonable lighting conditions, I personally haven't experienced problematic behaviour.

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