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09-29-2010, 04:02 PM   #1
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FA 50mm f1.4 and F 50mm f1.7 conundrum - which one should I keep?

I once again request the advice and expertise of my fellow PF members on a nice little problem I have:

I somehow ended up with both the FA 50mm f1.4 and the F 50mm f1.7
Both are in pristine condition. The F 50 1.7 actually looks brand new, I was almost afraid of putting it on my K-x to try it out. The original owner had bought a two lens kit, but did not remember ever really using the F 50, as he liked the flexibility of the 28-70 Takumar-f that came with it more.

Originally, the idea was to get the 1.7 and trade it or sell it to fund an ultra-wide lens or something better than the 18-55 kit lens.

Now I don't know which I need to depart with. The resell or trade value of the FA 50mm f1.4 seems much higher, but is the extra speed worth the significant price difference?

I wish I could keep both. But unfortunately, I want to become smarter with my LBA and target my gear's flexibility.

One needs to go to the marketplace. Which one should it be?

Any help will be appreciated!

09-29-2010, 04:16 PM   #2
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have them both and haven't use them for a while, that's wthat happens if you also have for example the 43/1.9. from what I remember for some reason I preferred the F50/1.7 over the FA50/1.4. I had the F50/1.7 first and maybe I expected too much of the 50/1.4.
09-29-2010, 05:04 PM   #3
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I'll buy either one off you if you want!
09-29-2010, 07:19 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by janneman Quote
have them both and haven't use them for a while, that's wthat happens if you also have for example the 43/1.9. from what I remember for some reason I preferred the F50/1.7 over the FA50/1.4. I had the F50/1.7 first and maybe I expected too much of the 50/1.4.
I've read a lot of comments that the 1.4 lacks contrast / is prone to flaring compared to the 1.7.

The reason for this is that they are often used without a hood, and the lens on the 1.7 is recessed, creating less flare.

I would do some test shots at various apertures with a proper hood to determine which one you keep. I hear that the 1.4 looks nicer, but might need to be stopped down a little more for optimum sharpness. The optical design of the 1.4 is supposedly better and it also has more aperture blades for nicer bokeh.

I would keep the 1.4, personally, as the shots I've seen from it look nicer, but I also can't afford a 1.4 right now so that might be why I'm envious .

09-29-2010, 07:25 PM   #5
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The F50/1.7 is a really sharp little lens, and is only something like 1/3 stop slower than the 50/1.4. I had one for the longest time, and while I rarely used it, it always impressed me when I did remember it.
09-29-2010, 07:30 PM   #6
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Keep the one you can get the least for. I don't think most could really tell the difference between them. If you Can, then keep the one you prefer.

09-29-2010, 07:33 PM   #7
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I guess the conventional wisdom is they're both excellent lenses: perhaps the 1.7 is a bit sharper at 1.7: some say so. I love the 1.4 I have, though, and I basically just love this lens and the look it gives me. I prefer the faster glass for snappier focusing with the old bodies, but I think on the digital I'd be just as happy with either one.

So, I'd vote for the 1.4 just on my personal preferences, (It's my favorite for Pentax) but I don't think you'll find there's a wrong choice to make.
09-29-2010, 07:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
The reason for this is that they are often used without a hood, and the lens on the 1.7 is recessed, creating less flare.
I had seen it in the comments about the FA 50mm f1.4, so I had bought a little rubber hood. You're absolutely right though, it is a bit recessed. I hadn't noticed. I tried and could switch the hood from one to the next if need be.

09-29-2010, 07:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
The optical design of the 1.4 is supposedly better and it also has more aperture blades for nicer bokeh.
I heard it's based on a Planar formula, while the 1.7 is based on a Tessar formula. I might be completely wrong. A member like Blue would know these things.

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I would do some test shots at various apertures with a proper hood to determine which one you keep.
I don't believe I'm qualified to make a test that would be detailed enough to show the difference. I searched but haven't found anyone who did make a significant test between 50mm 1.4s and 1.7s (of any denomination F or FA), but maybe I just didn't search for it properly.
09-29-2010, 08:05 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by frankarooney Quote
I'll buy either one off you if you want!
I will have one for sale or trade. I still don't know which.
09-29-2010, 09:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flickeroo Quote
I heard it's based on a Planar formula, while the 1.7 is based on a Tessar formula. I might be completely wrong. A member like Blue would know these things.
No, I am pretty sure they are both double-gauss designs. The Tesar and Planar designs are old technology and not suitable for lenses with fast aperetures of this kind. The FA 50 f/1.4 is a seven elements in six groups design, and the F 50 f/1.7 is a six elements in five groups design. In contrast the Planar is a double-gauss design with six elements in six groups and the Tessar is four elements in three groups (tessar-type design).
09-30-2010, 01:33 AM   #12
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In this economy, I'd sell the FA50 and keep the F50/1.7. In actual use, there is little tangible difference from 1/3 a stop.

edit: Grats on the 1,000,000th poster
09-30-2010, 04:43 AM   #13
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I never used the FA50 f1,4, but I owned the A50 f1,4 (same optical formula). I now own the F50 f1,7. The latter is the sharpest wide open, and equal when stopped down. I never used the f1,4 wide open (never wider than f2 actually) but I can use the f1,7 wide open.

The bokeh from the f1,4 is a tad smoother, but not that different for me. They are both grat lenses, so if I were you I'd sell the most valuable one.
09-30-2010, 05:30 AM   #14
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The generalities of which of these fine lenses will do what better is only of general interest. You have two specific copies which may or may not perform like the standard. Aside from that, you may find you prefer the rendering of one over the other if you look closely enough.

Some on this board say the 1.7 is sharper at 1.8, but the only objective test I've seen found otherwise. Nifty 50 Shootout ERPhotoReview Maybe the people who preferred the 1.7 didn't use a hood, maybe they confused contrast with resolution, or quite possibly their copy was sharper. Most who say the 1.7 is sharper are just parroting someone else. In a test dgaies posted showing the two, most thought the 1.7 sharper and some (like me) found the opposite. One thing for sure, they are both great lenses, so you can't lose.

Try a couple of tests, it's not hard. Get out your tripod and shoot a brick wall or newspaper to test for sharpness at different apertures. Shoot some photos that show bokeh and compare. Use both in the conditions you will use them for mostly. In the end you'll have a firm opinion and won't ever have to second guess your decision. Selling the one that will fetch more money is not necessarily a good strategy if your copy of the 1.4 turns out to be better than your copy of the 1.7.
09-30-2010, 07:06 AM   #15
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How to do a lens test:

1) Set up your tripod with a far away background and some stationary object close by.
2) Focus and shoot lens A on the stationary object wide open, at f4, and at f8.
3) Focus and shoot lens B on the stationary object wide open, at f4, and at f8.
4) Remember to keep white balance fixed (do not use AWB).
5) Use a proper hood.

Now you are done! Compare each lens at each aperture and see what you like best.

EDIT: No guarantee that this will help you much... I tried to figure out if I should sell the K 55 1.8 or the A 50 1.7, and i simply could not pick a favorite because they are both different enough! Gah!
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