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08-08-2013, 05:33 PM   #1
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Fantastic Fifty! The DA 50mm F/1.8

Greetings!
This thread is dedicated to a recent prime from Pentax, the DA 50mm f/1.8, the second 'Plastic Fantastic', after the DA 35mm f/2.4AL.
I recently acquired a copy of this little gem, at the instant rebate price of $181.00, quite a deal for a new lens. My initial impression is that it's light, small and well-made. The 7 curved and rounded aperture blades are nicely machined and the manual focusing action is smooth without being stiff or 'notchy'. It seems tiny in the hand but looks right mounted on a body. No lens hood is supplied but 52mm hoods are easily available and inexpensive.
The past few days have been cloudy with on-and-off rain, not ideal weather for lens testing. I managed to snap a few frames, some closeups, one shot at maximum aperture and a couple at mid-distance and mid-aperture. I found the AF fast and accurate, a slight bit of hunting with low contrast subjects but overall very good. Even at 100% crop is shows fine detail and I.Q. Colors are bright and vivid, especially considering the weather! The one f/1.8 photo demonstrates fringing around the flowers, a thin white 'glow' above the brighter blossoms, but other details are very sharp-edged.
Hopefully we'll see many good examples of this lens in use, for now here's my initial offerings;
1) Red Flowers. K-7, f/7.1, 1/100s, +3/10EV, on-camera fill flash, ISO 100.
2) Yellow Flower. K-7, f/7.1, 1/160s, +3/10 EV, on-camera fill flash, ISO 100.
3) Painter on ladder. K-7, f/5.6, 1/50s, ISO 100.
4) Flowering vines on fence. K-7, f/1.8, 1/80s, ISO 100. This is the wide-open shot and is reproduced here at about 95% full frame.
5) Cobwebs with rain. K-7, f/5.6, 1/100s, on-board fill flash. This photo is full frame from the original.
All photos taken in RAW+ and PP'd with LR4.
Ron

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08-08-2013, 07:07 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Excellent examples of what this new affordable lens can do! Those colors really pop!
08-09-2013, 03:55 AM   #3
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New Fifty

Thanks, seventysixersfan, I'm enjoying this lens so far. Hopefully the weather will break so I can test it for sun flare and would also like to try some candid portraits to see how it renders skin tones. So far I've been pleased with the sharpness, color accuracy, AF, overall I.Q. and bokeh.
In the meantime, if anyone's got sample photos, post' em!
Ron
08-09-2013, 04:37 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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I also have this lense for about one month and i'm in love with it. I'll posted these pics in the 50mm lense club, because there wasn't a thread for this lense. All pics out of cam. No crop. Exif's in the other thread. By the way, i'm a newbie and critic is welcome






08-09-2013, 04:43 AM   #5
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A few more




08-09-2013, 04:48 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Two more of my beautiful girl
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08-11-2013, 10:49 AM   #7
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Good Samples of the DA 50mm f/1.8

Hello dieterbo, Welcome to the Forum!
Thanks for posting those, you've done a good job of providing examples of the depth of field, sun flare and detail/I.Q. of this lens. Very pretty girl, too!
Ron
08-11-2013, 11:08 AM   #8
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Hello Ron,
Thank you very much! This weekend i was at another family reunion and took about 400 pics with this lense there must be at least 3-4 good ones. I'll post them the next days.

08-12-2013, 09:06 PM   #9
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Street Fifty?

Here's a few more photos taken with the DA 50mm f/1.8. This time I used my K10D and went to an outdoor market, downtown mall and a couple trips around my neighborhood. I generally use a wider lens for 'street' photography, a 24mm or the DA 35mm f/2.4, but wanted to see how the longer FL would work out.
Long story short, the plastic fifty did just fine; Very fast AF, nice 'isolation' factor up to about f/5.6 and good bokeh too. Very sharp detail and I.Q., even as wide as f/4.0, and overall a handy short tele (75mm equ. in 35mm terms) for tighter shots, whether people, scenes or candids.
One thing I noticed while PP' ing these photos in LR4, they required less (in some cases, none) of the sharpening and contrast enhancement I find needed with other lenses. In the example of the street drummer, absolutely NO sharpening applied, for a photo taken at f/4.0, that's a fine testimony to the quality of the lens.
1) K10D, f/9,5, 1/125s, ISO 100, this is a 50% crop of the original photo. What I liked was the horizontal stripes worn by mom and both girls, but when another lady walked into the frame wearing a striped top, well, I had to catch that! The smiling produce lady caught me shooting and asked to see my photos later. The dog didn't mention it, but he saw me, too.
2) Oh, sure, another flower shot with dew. Yawnnnn...Hey, I like macro, OK? f/8.0, 1/60s, ISO 100, on-camera fill flash.
3) Peaches from Colorado, look tasty, don't they? Notice the fine detail in this photo, the colors and rendering. f/5.6, 1/500s, + 1/2 EV, ISO 100.
4) Mom and Kids playing, 16th Street mall. f/11.0, 1/350s, ISO 200.
5) Street Drummer on the Mall. f/4.0, 1/125s, ISO 200, + 1/2 EV. The slow shutter speed created just enough blur for the drumsticks, but the rest of the photo is sharp. The man in the t-shirt (background, left) is playing air drums! No sharpening in PP.
Well, hope you enjoy these, I'm happy with my Fantastic Fifty and will be using it regularly.
Ron
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08-13-2013, 02:08 AM   #10
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Beautiful shots! I like the sharpness and the colors. Look at the water drops in pic 2. Wow! I like street photography with the 50mm more than with a wider lense. Good job!
08-13-2013, 02:28 AM   #11
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The one thing that is sad about this lense is, that it seems that not too many people have it. Because there is not really much going on here and even on the biggest german board there is almost nothing about this lense. That it something, that i don't understand.
#1 a girl at a wedding 2 weeks ago. I like the bokeh of the lense
#2 a pic that my girl's sister took of us last weekend at a birthday. I like the colors in this pic. They look so natural.
All pics out of cam with natural sunlight.
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08-13-2013, 03:23 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I picked up this lens a few weeks ago at my local camera store and it is well worth the $246, even better at $181!!
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08-13-2013, 09:46 PM   #13
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oops posted in the wrong thread

Last edited by Salagubang; 08-13-2013 at 10:00 PM.
08-14-2013, 10:43 AM   #14
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I guess I got spoiled by Soviet lenses to much as I don't like my copy at all, there's simply no comparison to even cheap Helios 44's. The only positive about it is the AF vs MF but optical quality if way inferior.
Thinking of selling mine.
08-20-2013, 09:27 AM   #15
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Low-Light, High ISO Samples of the Fifty

Hello dieterbo, Thanks for the kind comments. That's a great photo of the happy couple, nice warm feeling!
Hi EricBrown, thanks for posting that 'macro' flower shot, very sharp and colorful.
Hello fiveseven, well, if you're dissatisfied with the DA 50mm f/1.8, you should have no trouble selling it. As for sharpness, everyone has their own priorities, some believe it's the end-all of lens value, others rank rendering, ease of use, contrast, Bokeh and yes, even AF and auto-aperture capability highly. YMMV.
Back to samples; Here's a recent batch from a couple of music venues I attended, low-light and stage lighting, monopod, (fairly) slow shutter speeds and ISO's ranging from 400-1600. F/Stops from f/4.0 to wide-open. I'm happy with the color rendering, contrast and ability to handle extremes of dynamic range.
Ron
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