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The 50mm f/1.4 lens: Photography's Magic Bullet
Posted By: Damn Brit, 02-06-2009, 02:38 AM

This is an interesting article in PopPhoto about these lenses and a comparison between brands. Good to see film era FA50 still holding it's own against the more expensive and modern competition.
The 50mm f/1.4 lens: Photography's Magic Bullet - - PopPhotoFebruary 2009
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07-21-2011, 01:11 AM   #31
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I dont see the FA50 holding it's own against the more expensive and modern competition in that article, in fact i dont even see "FA 50" even mentioned.
Looks more like they are talking bout fast 50's in general....

07-21-2011, 08:16 AM   #32
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Maybe I will go out with only the 50 this weekend and give it another try. I've never gotten the warm fuzzies with it. It's not one I keep in the daily bag, and I never seem to think I will have an occasion to use it instead of the 40...
07-24-2011, 01:07 PM   #33
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I've mentioned this elsewhere: I now have ~215 lenses, of which almost 50 are Fifty's. (Hay, some members here have more Fifty's than I have total lenses!) Of those, my fast ones are K50/1.2, SuperTak and FA 50/1.4, Yashica ML 50/1.4, and Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4. I also have a pile of 50-55mm f/1.7-1.8 glass. All are sharp (more on that below) and useful and different. Even the ST and FA 50/1.4's, with virtually the same optics, feel different to use, and I see differently with each. There is ALWAYS a Fast Fifty in my carry-bag.

Complaints about 50/1.4 softness? Blame thin DOF, especially when working close. Any of these used at a greater distance, or stopped to f/2 or beyond, is damn sharp. Yes, compared to a 50/1.4, a 50/1.7 is likely sharper wide-open. And the MacroTak 50/1.4 is sharper wide open. So is my Simmon Omega Anastigmat 51/4.5 enlarger lens on extension. Almost ANY slower lens will be sharper than almost ANY faster lens, wide-open.

But we don't usually use a Faster Fifty wide-open when ultra-sharpness is our goal. We use it to grab light, to exploit the thin DOF, to shoot high-speed action. For such tasks, NOTHING ELSE WILL DO! Of all my lenses, I have just one AF prime, the FA50/1.4 -- it is my gotta-get-the-shot lens. I care not for bokeh concerns (and I like its bokeh). Like exposure / ISO and WB and composition / framing and sharpness and many other details, bokeh can be fixed in PP. But I can't fix a shot that I didn't get. IMHO 50/1.4 is indispensable.
08-03-2011, 02:07 PM   #34
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FA50 is absolutely brilliant!
It gives Nikon and Canon fast 50s a good run for the money!

08-05-2011, 04:05 AM   #35
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Mike Johnston article is great, take a look:
My Favorite Lens
08-20-2011, 05:49 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
I dont see the FA50 holding it's own against the more expensive and modern competition in that article, in fact i dont even see "FA 50" even mentioned.
Looks more like they are talking bout fast 50's in general....
It's in a sidebar link called Battle of the 50's. See here.
08-20-2011, 07:13 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Basset Quote
It's in a sidebar link called Battle of the 50's. See here.
Tests pretty damn well, too!
08-21-2011, 07:04 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Tests pretty damn well, too!

Yeah, I'm definitely sold on getting one now; I hate using a flash indoors, and this sounds like the answer. (Now I have to think about which fountain pen I sell on another forum to raise the $.)

09-08-2011, 05:04 PM   #39
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I have the SMC M 50 1:1.4 that I have had over the last thirty years, I learn a lot using it and it is still in mint condition even after thousands of film and digital shots. This lens is always in my bag, I have recently been messing around with portrait photography and this lens is actually doing the job for me, ya the manual aperture is a bit tedious but I like the challenge of using this lens.
04-05-2012, 02:48 PM - 1 Like   #40
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I've had the 50mm f/1.4 FA for some time now. I've been writing for firearms publications for years, and when I want to photograph something to publish, it's the lens I turn to most. I usually employ a screw-on lens hood and stop it down to f/8. I mount my K5 on a tripod and proceed to shoot manually. This lens is far and away the sharpest I own. Here's one example of the results I typically get - the subject is a Luger pistol made in 1936. Every detail is sharp as a tack; this reduced-size image doesn't do it justice. I often catch details and markings on things that I would not see with the naked eye, or even with my ever-present reading glasses.



Here's the hood I employ on the lens - I think it really does help to eliminate flare and softness.



The lens' light-gathering ability is phenomenal, coupled with the high-ISO capability of the K5. This shot was done at ISO 4000 indoors with natural light through a nearby window; f/2.8 at 1/200 sec. Perfect for impromptu flashless pictures.



If you don't have one of these in your kit, you're overlooking something really special, useful and versatile. You'll not get the capabilities of this nice prime lens in any zoom made.

John

Last edited by PALADIN85020; 04-05-2012 at 03:19 PM.
04-19-2012, 09:29 PM   #41
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Have the smc A f/1.4 Love it!
05-24-2012, 12:02 AM   #42
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Here's a VERY fun AND addictive way to use the 50mms.. Much more applicable to right eye shooter..

It's good to have a magnifier, perhaps the OME-53 magnifier to bring up VF magnification to near x1.

Once that is done, look through the VF and focus to infinity.
Now still keeping your right eye on the VF, open your left eye.. You'll see a double image, it's ok and it is normal..
Now while STILL doing this, feel around and adjust your diopter till the image formed with both eyes open are no longer blurred/fuzzy..

So, what's the fun in it? You are literally shooting with both eyes open, AND if you notice, you kinda get a "phantom" frame with that vision. Go ahead and walk around and shoot like nutz that way and you will see what i mean by fun.

It's 10x better if you have a Katzeye or an Ee-S focusing screen installed. You DEFINITELY can see whether your subject is in focus, no kidding..

12-14-2012, 09:15 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by dibilio Quote
Thanks for the link!
I ordered mine used & it's under the Christmas tree awaiting my grand opening (the kids have to wait, so i'll wait too) 'twill be the 1st thing I open & I'm anxiously waiting to try it out!
12-15-2012, 06:19 AM   #44
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The article link had change to here
The 50mm f/1.4 lens: Photography's Magic Bullet | Popular Photography
12-28-2012, 03:16 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
This is an interesting article in PopPhoto about these lenses and a comparison between brands. Good to see film era FA50 still holding it's own against the more expensive and modern competition.
The 50mm f/1.4 lens: Photography's Magic Bullet - - PopPhotoFebruary 2009
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