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08-06-2009, 10:24 AM   #76
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QuoteOriginally posted by melander Quote
Or you got the optioin to crop your picture if you shoot with a sharper lens than with a softer lens.

Its funny how it is. First - OMG its terribad!! Then - OMG, Its too sharp
There are always people that complain isnt there
hehehehe...yeah ya got that right...but maybe it is because people are fickle on the best of days. Me, I just want a lens I can have fun with and that challenges me to get the best out of it. I think that best describes the idea I was posting...but you are so right, no matter what, someone will find fault. Which, btw, was not what I was trying to point out or do...I was trying to explain why it is nice just to have choices and chose which works best for the individual.

08-06-2009, 11:17 AM   #77
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
Come on, people. We all know the 50/1.4 is soft at wider stops. But then that is what gives it such a great dreamy portrait personality. If you want macro tack sharpness, buy a macro.
Hmm. You should work for Pentax marketing......

P*ss poor sharpness and contrast at F1.4 --> "Dreamy portrait personality".

You're hired!


PS. Some folks want a fast lens for things other than portraits. Low light photography comes to mind. The 50 is sadly no better for this than a fast zoom.
08-06-2009, 03:26 PM   #78
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Hmmm...I haven't met a F1.4 zoom. I love shooting in low light, and I'd take my FA50 1.4 for low light over any 2.8 zoom in its range any day (and I do!). Way, way faster shutter speeds. Small DOF also.

My FA1.4 ...not even the *55 ... has gotten me some wonderful night shots at 1.4 that look more than ample sharp and not at all dreamy. In fact, it consistently captures beautiful night images with luscious colors wide open. When pixel-peeping, not as sharp as at 5.6, true, nor as sharp wide as the Nikon equivalent, but in both cases, what is? Still, sharpness really isn't a problem -- the highlight circles being haloed and blue with CA cause me more bother (which of course can be fixed in PS).

I have also seen samples on the net from some copies that appear less sharp than mine wide open even in focus, and I'd be unhappy with one of them.
08-06-2009, 03:54 PM   #79
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A co-worker of mine, a new Pentaxian, just recently bought an FA50, and I warned him not to use it wide open due to poor optical quality (so I've read). To prove the point, we did some test shots together - but they actually turned out pretty damn good, very useable. So much for my expertise! I wouldn't hesitate to use the FA50 at f1.4 if necessary. YMMV.

08-06-2009, 04:39 PM   #80
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If you want to shoot at f1.4, buy a 50mm f1.2. If you're going to complain about a lens wide open, then stop whining and buy one a stop faster.

Can all those who complain about 1.4 lenses being soft wide open post a link to any well known shots taken by any famous photographers over the years that were shot at f1.4? I'll be damned if I know any. It's such a rarity that anyone shoots this wide open. If .02% of all shots ever taken are at f1.4 than why would lens manufacturers care about making a lens sharp at that f stop?

Even in the lowest of low lights I would never take a shot at f1.4. I'd just brace the camera or tripod mount it and shoot at a slower shutter speed. The effect of the shots with depth of focus is so miniscule, I can't think of any sound applications in photography other than abstract experimentation that this f stop can be consistently used for. Yah, I can see it now, that magazine finally calls you back asking for a cover shot, but they have one stipulation ... make sure it's taken at f1.4. Never gonna happen guys, so keep shooting your one-eye in focus low light portraits because that f stop is just about useless to me.
08-06-2009, 05:04 PM   #81
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Well, I'm not complaining at all -- mine is good at 1.4 -- and I use it a fair bit wide open. At infinity DOF is not a big deal. Plus, 1.4 makes it possible to get a bus that looks like a bus driving by at night with 1/30 or 1/60, and not several streaks of light at say 1/5. Bracing doesn't help catch the bus! These kinds of pics are lots of fun to some of us, and pretty standard fare in busy city shots in magazines. I don't use 1.4 for portraits. I would like a 50 1.2, though!
08-06-2009, 05:14 PM   #82
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I wonder if the Leica guys complain that the 50mm f1.0 is soft wide open?
08-06-2009, 05:24 PM   #83
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QuoteOriginally posted by *isteve Quote
Hmm. You should work for Pentax marketing......

P*ss poor sharpness and contrast at F1.4 --> "Dreamy portrait personality".

You're hired!


PS. Some folks want a fast lens for things other than portraits. Low light photography comes to mind. The 50 is sadly no better for this than a fast zoom.
Your remark above is, I am sure, made tong in cheek. However, one needs to recognize that in designing a lens, as with most things, there are always trade offs. A lens designed for optimum performance as a portrait lens, is not going to provide optimum performance as a macro lens and vice versa. Yet there are folks who think they can purchase an 18-300 zoom and have it do all things well.

An earlier poster that said "horses for courses" made a point that is well taken. If you chose to compromise, that is fine, just accept the compromises that go with your decision.

08-06-2009, 05:45 PM   #84
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikePerham Quote
Your remark above is, I am sure, made tong in cheek. However, one needs to recognize that in designing a lens, as with most things, there are always trade offs. A lens designed for optimum performance as a portrait lens, is not going to provide optimum performance as a macro lens and vice versa. Yet there are folks who think they can purchase an 18-300 zoom and have it do all things well.

An earlier poster that said "horses for courses" made a point that is well taken. If you chose to compromise, that is fine, just accept the compromises that go with your decision.
Tong in cheek? Sounds painful

Sorry to disagree, but the 50 F1.4 has particularly low contrast at 1.4 and this and resolution do not improve until F4. At F2.8 its not notably sharper than the 50-135 (wide open) and the zoom has more contrast. If indeed it had improved by F2 then I would feel more sympathetic towards the old soldier, but when I am shooting a gig I am quite happy to use the zoom wide open.

The FA77, 43 and 31 are all (much) better in contrast terms. The advantage of F1.4 over F1.8 in this case is zero. The 55 on the other hand (at least the one I tried) was quite usable at F1.4 in the centre and very good at F2.

Now I quite agree with those that say I never use a lens wide open for a portrait. I dont. However others do, and thats up to them. But I dont think the 50 F1.4 was ever designed as a portrait lens, so one may wonder what exactly it was designed for if not speed and low light shooting?

Fact is the newer lens benefits from optics designed on a modern computer, not on a slide rule in 1983, and it shows.

And what any of this has to do with macro shooting, where you normally have to shoot well stopped down to get any DOF at all, I dont know.

Last edited by *isteve; 08-06-2009 at 06:45 PM.
08-06-2009, 05:58 PM   #85
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
I wonder if the Leica guys complain that the 50mm f1.0 is soft wide open?
Yes they do.

Everyone can find something to complain about.
08-06-2009, 07:00 PM   #86
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QuoteOriginally posted by nostatic Quote
Everyone can find something to complain about.
Like about proper metering on the K-7?

Sorry, that was cheap.
08-06-2009, 07:38 PM   #87
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Like about proper metering on the K-7?

Sorry, that was cheap.
I never claimed to be a saint and I certainly make mistakes. I do however try to see both sides of the argument.

As long as both sides are mine.

And I also can take a joke at my expense. Unlike some here.
08-06-2009, 07:51 PM   #88
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Wow .. 6 pages of hyperbole!

I know forums are for discussion and offering points of view and personal experience but this thread about a less-than-glorious lens review nicely demonstrates why I'm seldom inclined to participate (I know, I'm contradicting myself with this post).

6 pages of hyperbole (4 of which have nothing to do with the OP), folks getting hot under the collar, insults, pontifiers coming out of the woodwork .. what going on?

People .. it's just a lens, not the cure for cancer!

Want the DA* 55/1.4? Buy it.
Don't want it? Don't buy it.

Gotta go .. I've got 20 images to process and print for a new gallery submission portfolio .. and I didn't use the DA* 55/1.4 for any of them!
08-06-2009, 08:27 PM   #89
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
It's such a rarity that anyone shoots this wide open. If .02% of all shots ever taken are at f1.4 than why would lens manufacturers care about making a lens sharp at that f stop?
I can't tell if you are being serious or not? There was a page linked in to another part of the forum recently with a guy that shot portraits with a 200mm F2 lens and always shot it wide open. On full frame (Canon 1Ds) the DOF is thinner than on our crop pentax. Here's his gallery.
Senior Portraits with 200/2 wide open. - FM Forums
You may or may not like the shots but he is apparently somewhat successful and seems to shoot wide open quite a lot. Fortunately for him his 200mm F2 is sharp wide open. I guess thats why fast and sharp lenses cost so damn much eh?
08-06-2009, 08:55 PM   #90
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QuoteOriginally posted by kunik Quote
On full frame (Canon 1Ds) the DOF is thinner than on our crop pentax.
Only just, though:

APS-C, 50/1.4, d=1.5m -> 5.1cm DOF
FF, 200/2.0, d=3.99m -> 4.8 cm DOF
(using reasonable assumptions about output size and viewer acuity)

Even on a FF camera, you have to use a larger distance (d=3.99) to get the same FOV of a 50mm on APS-C at 1.5m. This increase in distance also increases the DOF.

Last edited by Class A; 08-06-2009 at 09:14 PM.
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