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12-08-2009, 05:53 PM   #1
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Ready for my first fast 50.

I have a K2000 with the kit lens. I'm on a budget so I'm looking at the A series.

I'm looking at the Pentax SMC A 50mm 1.2/1.4/ or 1.7 lenses. (Or possibly the Takumars)

Basic questions:

1) Would I need some adapter to mount these? ( can see on the chart that I have a cripple mount but I don't really understand what I'm looking at. )

2) Why would I want a 1.4 or a 1.7 when I can still find 1.2's available used?
As the newbiest of newbs, it just seems to me that wider would be better. Is this not the case? What would the benefit of the 1.7 be over the 1.2?

Thanks, guys.

12-08-2009, 06:02 PM   #2
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You should be able to find a M series 50mmf1.4 or 1.7 on Ebay going for a resonably good price.It's all manual,but learning in M mode is great for your focus skills.I have both M 50's and they take an excellent sharp image.
12-08-2009, 06:19 PM   #3
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It will all depend on why you want that fast fifty. Do you want to take shots of still objects or do you want to try and catch moving kids or critters, indoors? If this will be your first prime, and you are primarily used to using the 18-55 kit lens, then I would strongly suggest that you start with an autofocus lens and you probably wouldn't regret buying an FA 50 1.4. And the price is not bad.
12-08-2009, 06:37 PM   #4
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In response to your first question: You will not need an adaptor for any A or M Pentax lens. These will mount the same as your current lenses. You will need an adaptor for screw mount (M42) lenses.
You will need to change one of the parameters in your camera set up so the camera will accept these lenses. Please read the sticky at the top of this forum.

12-08-2009, 06:39 PM   #5
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The only lenses you'd need an adapter for would be Takumar screw mounts. But, you can get a Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 pretty cheap on ebay if you are patient. The Genuine Pentax K to M42 mount adapter is the best to get. It'll set you back about $36 including shipping from the Pentax web store. And if you don't need the F1.4, you can get the 55 1.8 even cheaper, and it is by no means a slouch. I have one, and love it !!!
12-08-2009, 08:09 PM   #6
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I'll echo Pioneer in that I would recommend the F or FA versions of the 50/1.4 or 50/1.7... Sure MF lenses are great and you can have a ball with 'em, but when you want to shoot someone blowing out their birthday candles it's nice to just let the camera focus rather than potentially missing the shot while you try to get the focus just right manually. The F50/1.7 had a notoriously weak filter ring on the front - hence many have that ring partially or totally broken off and sell pretty cheaply on ebay and here. Otherwise, the F or FA 50/1.4 are a half stop faster and great lenses...

Personally on the APS-C / Crop sensor format (like your K2000) the 50mm focal length really didn't excite me whereas on Full frame I find it very useful. If I were to move back to APS-C camera, I'd want a fast 30mm like the FA 31mm f/1.8, or the Sigma 28mm f/1.8.
12-08-2009, 08:19 PM   #7
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Thanks all for the responses.
heliphoto, explain why you'd want a 33mm over the fifty. I'm not sure I understand why.
12-08-2009, 08:51 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
Thanks all for the responses.
heliphoto, explain why you'd want a 33mm over the fifty. I'm not sure I understand why.
I just find the field of view it gives me more useful indoors, which is where I often want a very fast lens. I'll break it down a little further...

There are two big advantages to a fast lens, yeah?.. They let in more light for low light photography, and their shallow depth of field can allow us to isolate our subjects by obscuring the background in blur... If your primary goal is to blur backgrounds, the longer, faster lens is superior, so the 50mm would prevail here, but in my small house, 50mm is almost always too telephoto for me to really fit much in the scene, so I would prefer the usefulness of a wider fast lens. Of course the question is really just which to get first, rather than which to get period ...

Luckilly with your kit lens, you can easily work out how you feel about these focal lengths. Just set the zoom at 50mm (and tape it there with masking tape so you don't cheat ), and go shoot some of the things you think you want the 50mm for, and then do it agian at 30mm (and again at 24mm since sigma makes a fast 24mm too). If you find that 50mm is a useful focal length for you (and many people do), then you win, since fast 50s are more common, smaller, and cheaper than the the wider alternatives, and since they have shallower depth of field, they can better isolate a subject with "bokeh".

They types of applications where I didn't like the 50mm on my pentax were indoors trying to photograph my son playing with his mom, or with some other kids. At 50mm, you need to get a fair distance back to include more than one person in the shot, and in a small room (the only kind my house has ) you often can't do it.

12-08-2009, 09:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
I have a K2000 with the kit lens. I'm on a budget so I'm looking at the A series.

I'm looking at the Pentax SMC A 50mm 1.2/1.4/ or 1.7 lenses. (Or possibly the Takumars)

Basic questions:

1) Would I need some adapter to mount these? ( can see on the chart that I have a cripple mount but I don't really understand what I'm looking at. )
The crippled mount means the camera has a hard time working with lenses older than the Pentax-A series. That means lenses labeled "Pentax-M" or just "Pentax", or screw-mount lenses. With the older lenses, you can mostly work around the limitations, but it will be some extra work. The Pentax-A series lenses allow the camera to control the aperture, which allows many features to work or work better.

QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
2) Why would I want a 1.4 or a 1.7 when I can still find 1.2's available used?
As the newbiest of newbs, it just seems to me that wider would be better. Is this not the case? What would the benefit of the 1.7 be over the 1.2?
If you are seeing Pentax-A 50mm f1.2 lenses for prices that aren't giving you sticker shock, you are probably seeing f2.0 lenses advertised by careless or shady people. I saw a couple of f1.2 lenses on eBay, one for $800 new in box and one for $440 with two big dents in it. The confusion comes from the way these lenses are labeled:
SMC Pentax-A 1:1.2 50mm (expensive)
SMC Pentax-A 1:2 50mm (cheap)
There are no Takumar f1.2 lenses because the screw-mount was not big enough for the required rear element.

Besides price, the lenses are a bit different. The f1.2 or f1.4 lenses have more aperture blades, and a generally better quality of out-of-focus areas (smoother with less distractions). Depth of field is really small wide open, so focusing can be a challenge to get exactly right. The f1.7 lenses are sharper wide open, and have a flatter field, so the in-focus area is a predictable line, not curved. The extra sharpness and six-blade aperture make the out-of-focus areas less smooth. It would be a good lens for taking a photo of a painting. The f2.0 lenses have the six-blade aperture but not the wide-open sharpness. Keep in mind that these differences are small. They will all look better than the kit lens.
12-08-2009, 09:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
I have a K2000 with the kit lens. I'm on a budget so I'm looking at the A series.

I'm looking at the Pentax SMC A 50mm 1.2/1.4/ or 1.7 lenses. (Or possibly the Takumars)

Basic questions:

1) Would I need some adapter to mount these? ( can see on the chart that I have a cripple mount but I don't really understand what I'm looking at. )

2) Why would I want a 1.4 or a 1.7 when I can still find 1.2's available used?
As the newbiest of newbs, it just seems to me that wider would be better. Is this not the case? What would the benefit of the 1.7 be over the 1.2?

Thanks, guys.
The f1.2 lens is about $450-$600 depending on condition. They are also not nearly as common as the f1.4 or the f1.7

Don't confuse the f1.2 with the f2.

The f1.2 will read 1:1.2 on the lens, while the f2 will read 1:2

A 1:2 or f2 is worth about 50 bucks.

So why a 1.4 or 1.7 over the 1.2? Cost mainly.
12-09-2009, 03:07 AM   #11
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Ok, wow. Lotsa of great info in no time flat. You guys rock!
One more. I'm not afraid to manual focus, ...but I'm really liking the light meter.
With that in mind I should stick with the F, FA, and A's. Correct? Once we get to M lenses I lose my light meter?
12-09-2009, 03:09 AM   #12
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...and now that I look at my bookmarked ebay items I see that they are indeed 1:2 and NOT 1.2
So that information just saved me a screaming fit.
12-09-2009, 05:08 AM   #13
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One thing that might be helpful to do, would be to look at the focal lengths that you use already. If you notice that indoors you normally use a wider angle than 50, than it might be worthwhile looking more in the 25 to 35mm length. On the other hand, if you usually have your kit lens at the long end, than the 50 is for you.

As mentioned above, 50 mm is almost a short telephoto lens. I like it for head and shoulders portraits, things like that, but it's not so good at taking group photos indoors.
12-09-2009, 09:33 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
Ok, wow. Lotsa of great info in no time flat. You guys rock!
One more. I'm not afraid to manual focus, ...but I'm really liking the light meter.
With that in mind I should stick with the F, FA, and A's. Correct? Once we get to M lenses I lose my light meter?
Yes, those F, FA, and A lenses will have fully auto exposure modes, while M and older lenses will not. Like you, I love the auto metering modes, especially Av and TAv, so I would prefer at least an A lens (if I couldn't have my AF lens )... However, the M and K (PENTAX) lenses will use a sort of manual Av mode in M by setting the aperture on the lens and pressing the "green button" on the camera which will stop down the lens, and meter through it to set the shutter speed based on the ISO you have chosen - this works pretty well really.
12-09-2009, 10:11 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
I'm not afraid to manual focus, ...but I'm really liking the light meter.
With that in mind I should stick with the F, FA, and A's. Correct? Once we get to M lenses I lose my light meter?
You don't lose it completely with "M" lenses (or "K" lenses, which are functionally identical); you just get somewhat more limited access to it. See the sticky thread at the top of this forum on using manual lenses. Basically, you need to press a button and the camera will momentarily stop down the lens, take a meter reading, and set an appropriate shutter speed for you. So if you're accustomed to using Av mode, this is basically the same thing but you need to hit a button every once in a while (when the light changes).

With all Pentax models *except* the K2000, you can also use DOF preview to get the camera to stop down an M/K lens for as long as you want and show you a "live" meter reading, just as you get in M mode with more modern lenses. But the K2000 lacks that ability, so there is no way to get a "live" meter reading.

So with any model but the K2000, I wouldn't hesitate to get an M or K lens. But with the K2000, while the M/K lenses can be used, I would hold out for the "A".

BTW, regarding MF versus AF - I think it's great you're willing to go with MF. Yes, occasionally a shot might be missed because you couldn't focus in time. On the other hand, shots are missed using AF too, because the camera picked a different focus target than you intended or wouldn't lock in time.

Josh's birthday example is actually a prime example. With MF, you can pre-focus on the cake and be ready to go at the moment of the blowing - and it's "obvious" this is the way to do it. With AF, you can of course use the same technique of pre-focus, but the unfortunate tendency is to simply wait for the moment and then try to shoot, and you may well find AF doesn't lock quickly enough to get a shot off at all - or if it does, it locks on the subject's shoulder or someone standing behind the subject. Having AF available is great, but it doesn't necessarily solve your problems for you. And actually, I find AF without "quick shift" - the ability to instantly switch to manual focus without needing to reach around to the front of the camera to move the lever - to be more trouble than it's worth at times. And unfortunately, the F & FA lenses lack this feature. So the FA50 doesn't strike me personally as being worth 5 times the price of an A50/1.7.

On the other hand, I totally agree with Josh about 50mm being not a great focal length on APS-C. Presumably you became attracted to the idea of a fast 50 because others have written about it, but much of what people have written about fast 50's is in the context of 35mm film, not in the context of APS-C digital. On your K2000, a 50mm would be too long for most of the kind of pictures one might otherwise want a fast lens for. Due to the "crop factor", it's a 33mm lens (or anything "near" that focal length) that provides the field of view for your DSLR that made 50mm the preferred focal length in the "old days".
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