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04-23-2010, 05:36 PM   #1
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Lens talk

Hey guys, not really planning to buy anytime soon, but interested in talking about the DA 40mm 2.8, DA* 55mm 1.4 SDM, any of the M or A 50mms, and the FA 1.4. Which one would you prefer and why? Any major differences?

04-23-2010, 06:10 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
Hey guys, not really planning to buy anytime soon, but interested in talking about the DA 40mm 2.8, DA* 55mm 1.4 SDM, any of the M or A 50mms, and the FA 1.4. Which one would you prefer and why? Any major differences?
price and auto-focus, if those makes any difference to you. WR and SDM for the DA*, if you really need those.
04-23-2010, 06:16 PM   #3
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I haven't used my FA50 for a while now. Whenever I'm about to pick it up, I pick up the DA40 instead.

The DA40 is compact, sharp, fast focusing with quick shift to boost. I normally don't use the FA50 wide open, but close it down to F/2.8 (and bump the ISO if needed) anyway. The DA40 is very usable even at F/2.8.

I don't have the DA* 55mm 1.4 SDM (yet), so don't know if I'm missing anything.
04-23-2010, 06:25 PM   #4
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If you don't have any of these, the general consensus is that the DA 40 is the pick of the bunch, but I already have the FA 50 and don't feel the need to do for the DA 40 - I also do use f/1.4 and f/2 occasionally with good results.

The DA* 55 is another notch up from both of these in IQ, but with regards to AF performance, I'm not sure it'd be any advantage (other than it being quiet).

04-23-2010, 07:26 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
If you don't have any of these, the general consensus is that the DA 40 is the pick of the bunch, but I already have the FA 50 and don't feel the need to do for the DA 40 - I also do use f/1.4 and f/2 occasionally with good results.

The DA* 55 is another notch up from both of these in IQ, but with regards to AF performance, I'm not sure it'd be any advantage (other than it being quiet).


eventhough I don't need the DA40, I'm still considering of having one just because it so darn cute. but I would only buy it if I have a lot of money to waste, but from my current economic status, I would rather reserve that money on a lens that I really need.

and Yes, I would vouche for the DA40 since the OP already have 2 fantastic fast 50mm. a 40mm autofocus looks to be the way to go.
04-23-2010, 07:46 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
Hey guys, not really planning to buy anytime soon, but interested in talking about the DA 40mm 2.8, DA* 55mm 1.4 SDM, any of the M or A 50mms, and the FA 1.4. Which one would you prefer and why? Any major differences?
The DA*55mm beats all the others on your list for image quality, sharpness, and bokeh - but then so it should for that money! Of the lenses you've mentioned I'd have that (I actually have the 50 macro, since I don't take many indoor photos in flash-not-allowed situations), however you could also consider the Sigma 50mm f1.4: here in the UK (not sure where you are) it's about 200 cheaper than the DA*55.

EDIT: You do, of course, have your location listed next to your post *facepalm* Not sure what Pentax's comedy price hikes are like in Canada, but the Sigma is still likely to be significantly cheaper than the DA* and better wide-open or near to it than the FA 50
04-23-2010, 08:19 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
Hey guys, not really planning to buy anytime soon, but interested in talking about the DA 40mm 2.8, DA* 55mm 1.4 SDM, any of the M or A 50mms, and the FA 1.4. Which one would you prefer and why? Any major differences?
I have a Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 and I would recommend it highly. Very nice IQ, extremely sturdy and basically WR. A pleasure to use ...

The Nokton is value for money, with the same price as the FA50mm. It is also a full format lens, as such not limited to the APS-C scope.
04-23-2010, 08:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I have a Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 and I would recommend it highly. Very nice IQ, extremely sturdy and basically WR. A pleasure to use ...

The Nokton is value for money, with the same price as the FA50mm. It is also a full format lens, as such not limited to the APS-C scope.
I've had suggestions for this, but is it AF like the FA?

04-23-2010, 09:47 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
I've had suggestions for this, but is it AF like the FA?
The Nokton is an MF lens.
04-23-2010, 11:16 PM   #10
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Although the DA40 was not in it (FA43 is), it might be interesting to read this thread started by cgoudie about lenses in the 50mm range.
04-23-2010, 11:51 PM   #11
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The Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 is MF.

Honestly the MF is fairly easy with the shallow DOF. The Nokton was my first MF lens and I had no problem. Very easy to use. A few examples follow (thumbnail, with link to photo):


04-24-2010, 04:25 AM   #12
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I used to have DA40, F50/1.7, had A50/1.7 for a while. Now have 50/1.2 and 55/1.8 (old K series). Frankly, they are different lenses to me.
40 is probably the best walk around lens I've owned (though 43 is just as good but tad bigger).
Colour reproduction, sharpness, contrast, AF speed, flare resitance all top notch and in ultra small package. The FOV is long normal. Very natural very pleasing. One great thing is the even distribution of sharpness even at f2.8 and by f8 this lens outresolves both 31/43 IMO.
All the 50s and 55s are short tele/portrait lenses. Faster with less even sharpness distribution. Bigger lenses too. Although not by much. In general Pentax 50/1.7 (and 55/1.8 which shares the same optical formula) is consieredd one of the best 50s across the brands!
The 50/1.4 (and 50/1.2) design trades bit in sharpness (at wide f stops) for better bokeh. Owners of these are very pleased though. You'll find some saying that they tend to stop f1.4 variant down a bit as they think it's soft wide open. On other side I haven't heard/read that f1.7 variant would need this though it'll only improve on sharpness when stopping down.
I for one have no problem using either wide open. To my eye f1.2 is blisteringly sharp considering it's 1.2 and providing it's correctly focused.
Best of both worlds IMO is A series in combination with DA and K.
Idealy: DA40, A50/1.2 (or 1.4) and K55/1.8. Three lenses for three different reasons and purposes....


I can't comment on DA*55 as I tried it only once.
My first impression though (after reviewing samples I took) was that it's teriffic lens!
Maybe one day I'll sell my 50/55 and get the DA*.

my 2p

Peter
04-25-2010, 04:56 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
Hey guys, not really planning to buy anytime soon, but interested in talking about the DA 40mm 2.8, DA* 55mm 1.4 SDM, any of the M or A 50mms, and the FA 1.4. Which one would you prefer and why? Any major differences?
I prefer the FA 43mm Limited, but that is not on your list. That said, I think you will do well with any of them. There is a whole host of info on normal lenses in these forums if you do some searches. Or start with the reviews database.

Key advantages:

DA 40mm: smallest
DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM: weather-sealed
FA 50mm f/1.4: fast and auto-focus
A 50mm: inexpensive
FA 43mm Limited: build and rendering
04-25-2010, 06:41 PM   #14
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The DA 40 is the cheapest of the auto focus primes, in the US right now, not sure about anywhere else. The FA 50 is about 30 dollars more. Both are good lenses, although I would echo that I felt like I needed to stop the FA 50 down a little bit to get it sharp. I didn't like the colors quite as well on it as the 40 and the focal length felt odd to me, so I ended up selling it and keeping the 40 and getting the DA 70 (which you didn't ask about).

I really think the biggest question is one of focal length. What do you enjoy shooting? Remember that a prime is the length that it is -- you can love the rendering, but hate the length and you'll never use it.

Robin does a good job of summarizing the differences. Just remember that they are all degrees of good -- anyone of them can take great photos in the right hands.
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