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04-09-2010, 10:07 AM   #1
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not sure which 50mm to go with?

hi folks,

There's a gent who is selling an older Pentax camera with 2 lens - 50mm M 1.4 (or 1.7..can't remember), plus a 80-200 single zoom lens - he wants $100 for it all.

then there is another gent who is selling a SMC F 50mm 1.7 for $170. cdn prices.

finally another fellow is selling this lens Pentax SMC-A 50mm f/1.4 - $200

i haven't seen them at all so i don't know the condition, but all claim to be in fine working order.

so one is a bit faster and another is manual - are there any other glaring differences?
all the reviews seem to be fine although alot of ppl said the sold their manual lens for the SMC F for the auto focus?

what would you do?

any suggestions are welcome b/c i'm a noob at buying lens and want to make the smartest decision.

thanks,
keebler

04-09-2010, 10:14 AM   #2
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If AF is a make or break thing for you then the F50 1.7 is the only choice. I think eventually nearly everyone wants to have an AF ~50mm option. If AF is not that big of an issue, my opinon is that he "A" series lenses are just easier to work with since you can use your on-body dials to control aperture. So personally for me i'd put it in this order:

F50 1.7 > A50 1.4 > M50 1.7/1.4

Of course this all depends on the condition of the lenses. All things being equal however that is the order I'd have them in.
04-09-2010, 10:18 AM   #3
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I know what I would do in that situation--assuming it is in good or better condition, I would snap up that F 50mm/1.7. Of course now that they are no longer in production, the Pentax 50mm/1.7 lenses (M, A, F and FA) have taken on a sort of cult status. But the lenses back this up--they are that good. The going rate for the F 50mm/1.7 is generally about $150-$200, so your buy price is right in that range. You'd be able to sell it likely for what you paid, but I doubt you'd be doing that.

All that said, there are people who swear by their M 50mm/1.4 and 1.7 lenses, and those are outstanding as well, but being M lenses, you lose the metering in the camera, and they are of course MF. I wouldn't consider the A 50mm/1.4 for $200. You can get an A 50mm/1.7 lens routinely for around $50-$100, which is a better buy imho.

But snap up that F 50mm/1.7 before someone else does. There are many people who prefer the rendering and sharpness of the Pentax 50mm/1.7 lenses over the Pentax 50mm/1.4 lenses.
04-09-2010, 10:23 AM   #4
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F 50mm f1.7. I have one and think it's a wonderful lens. I'm not a great fan of the FL but it does come in handy from time to time.

04-09-2010, 10:39 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffrey r Quote
... M 50mm/1.4 and 1.7 lenses, ... being M lenses, you lose the metering in the camera, and they are of course MF.
That is not quite accurate. You lose auto exposure, but you still have manual stop down metering via the green button.
04-09-2010, 10:42 AM   #6
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And exactly what 80-200 is he selling with this lens???????
04-09-2010, 10:44 AM   #7
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I guess it depends on 2 things... your budget and the cmaera you are planning to use this lenses.
Optically none of them is bad, and I assume the 1.7 or 1.4 in either model is identical optically.
The 1.7 is very very sharp and if you so not need the extra 1/2 stop do not consider the 1.4

Now I'll assume you want to use them in a DSLR,
F/FA lenses are autofous, and they communicate with the camera in distance, aperture, etc....
their prices have gone thourgh the roof lately.

A lenses are manual focus but have electronic contacts so information is conveyed to the camera, I assume this work perfectly with modern cameras

M/K lenses are manual focus and manual diaphragm
04-09-2010, 10:54 AM   #8
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It is certainly not easy decision to make (1.7 or 1.4 max aperture; manual or AF etc).

Here is my take on it (but it may not necessarily apply to you).
50mm focal length prime lens is very common (used to be the standard lens in film days. Two things you have to keep in mind. First, there is an abundance of supply of 50mm lens both AF or manual focus because of that - so look for the best price. Second, the focal length 50mm applied to film (full frame) as standard - normal perspective), however, with APS-C camera, it is not as useful any more (too tight for wide angle walk-around lens and too short for portrait shots) - again, look for bargains.

I would start with the cheapest you can find 50mm 1.7 manual focus lens to see if you like first. Pentax SMC lens have better coating than other brands. On the other hand, if the price is right (e.g. F50 1.7 etc.) than get it, and even if you don't like it later, you can always sell it to recoup the cost (most of the time) -that is just my thoughts, YMMV. (I have collected over 15 of these 50-55mm lenses ranging from 1.4 to 2.8 in both k-mount and m42 mount).

04-09-2010, 11:13 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by song_hm Quote
That is not quite accurate. You lose auto exposure, but you still have manual stop down metering via the green button.
Yeah, I was typing too fast for my brain on that one. I meant the typical M lens metering, which is not ideal (though of course usable).
04-09-2010, 02:14 PM   #10
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I'd suggest checking out the lens review section of this site, and also the very many existing threads on this exact subject in this as well as the beginner's forum.
04-10-2010, 04:32 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone. I ended up buying the SMC F 50mm 1.7. There's a bit of dust inside, but i read a page which included some hints on what to look for and the blades were fine, there's no mold and I did some test shots which didn't show the tiny dust particles. Everything works fine.

Thanks again for the suggestions and recommendations.
I had read the lens review section, but wanted some personalized experience feedback instead of some reviews.

Cheers,
keebler
04-10-2010, 05:48 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Keebler Quote
Thanks everyone. I ended up buying the SMC F 50mm 1.7. There's a bit of dust inside, but i read a page which included some hints on what to look for and the blades were fine, there's no mold and I did some test shots which didn't show the tiny dust particles. Everything works fine.

Thanks again for the suggestions and recommendations.
I had read the lens review section, but wanted some personalized experience feedback instead of some reviews.

Cheers,
keebler
Congratulations Keebler for a very nice acquisition.
04-10-2010, 05:53 PM   #13
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You got the 50mm f/1.7 for how much again? I don't know how much it has depreciated since I had one but that's a pretty good deal.
04-10-2010, 07:06 PM   #14
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If I had to choose. I would go with the F and then the M, lastly the A. In terms of price. 100$ more for an A is too steep for me. Optically the M 1.4 and the A 1.4 are the same I believe only difference is aperture control. But that is just me.
04-10-2010, 07:14 PM   #15
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I've had FA f1.4 and F1.4 and F1.7. Plus a few MF f1.4s and f1.7s. Of all, I liked the F1.7 the best, although I have only kept the FAf1.4 and Mf1.4.

Never had a chance to use any of 50mm A lenses. I've heard FAf1.7 is quite nice also, but have never had a chance to use one of them, either.
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