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12-20-2017, 06:54 PM   #1
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Pentax Modern AF Lenses VS. MF Older Lenses Shoot Out Which Is Better?

So I have been shooting on AF Pentax lenses for a while now and decided to invest into the MF Pentax-A lenses to see how they stacked up to newer equipment. I have a Pentax K-S2 which I have been really happy with but I felt like I was missing something...until now. I have to say that the older MF Pentax-A lenses are producing better shots. Especially my new Pentax-A 50mm f1.2. Just blown away by what this lens can do and the other A lenses I have purchased. I did pay $500+ for the f1.2 but holy, this thing is amazing. Even the Pentax-A f2 is impressive and a steal at $30. Curious about other peoples opinions on this. Am I crazy?

12-20-2017, 07:11 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Well, the 50mm F1.2 is still Pentax's best fifty by far. Only the upcoming D FA* may prove to dethrone it, and even then it'll be at the expense of a lot more bulk and (imo) pixie dust. There's just something about vintage lenses that's hard to substitute. Happy to hear you're enjoy it!
12-20-2017, 07:21 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Well, the 50mm F1.2 is still Pentax's best fifty by far. Only the upcoming D FA* may prove to dethrone it, and even then it'll be at the expense of a lot more bulk and (imo) pixie dust. There's just something about vintage lenses that's hard to substitute. Happy to hear you're enjoy it!
Agreed on the vintage lenses. The quality and build is really nice. Feels really solid and they are built in Japan. There is something unique and special about the craftsmanship.
12-21-2017, 07:45 AM   #4
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Among the various K-mount lens series, there's just something about the F-series over the FA, D, and D FA series.

Because of the crippled mount on all the DSLRs (grrr...) the A series is much more practical than the K or M series. However, the K and M series are generally better put together.

My favorite lens series, though, is the S-M-C Takumars: all the multi-coating goodness, and solid metal grips.

12-21-2017, 08:56 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Well, the 50mm F1.2 is still Pentax's best fifty by far. Only the upcoming D FA* may prove to dethrone it, and even then it'll be at the expense of a lot more bulk and (imo) pixie dust. There's just something about vintage lenses that's hard to substitute. Happy to hear you're enjoy it!
I think the DA*55/1.4 is better than the A50/1.2 see this test: Test SMC PENTAX-DA* 1:1.4 55mm und Vergleich mit einigen Pentax-50mm-Objektiven
The test is in german language, but the pictures show everything very clear.
That doesn't mean, the A50/1.2 is a bad lens at all, no it is also fantastic, but it is clearly outperformed from the DA*55/1.4 until f4.0

Last edited by pid; 12-21-2017 at 09:03 AM.
12-21-2017, 09:49 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by owlman Quote
Am I crazy?
I'll hold the door open for the possibility that we're both crazy.

I am absolutely that guy who bought a $2000 camera to use with $50-or-less manual lenses. Low-element-count manual lenses are the best IQ value going (at 35+ mm, anyhow) and last forever. My best lenses are mostly well older than I am. My newest lens is old enough to vote. The whole pile cost less than a new DFA 70-200 2.8.

QuoteOriginally posted by pid Quote
The test is in german language, but the pictures show everything very clear.
Based on that comparison I'd put down $50 for an A 50/1.7 and call it a day.
12-21-2017, 11:26 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by zjacreman Quote
Based on that comparison I'd put down $50 for an A 50/1.7 and call it a day.
... you are free to do that. All Pentax Fifties are worth their money. But if you want sharp pictures with good contrast at f1.4 and a super smooth bokeh you will take the DA*55 ;-)
12-21-2017, 12:02 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pid Quote
... you are free to do that. All Pentax Fifties are worth their money. But if you want sharp pictures with good contrast at f1.4 and a super smooth bokeh you will take the DA*55 ;-)
I have not tried that lens but I will be sure to check it out.

12-21-2017, 12:07 PM   #9
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AF better anything. MF stay with tripod for adjust focus. MF can't walk anything.
12-21-2017, 12:15 PM   #10
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Eh - 1.4 vs 1.7 isn't that big a deal, and based on those test photos (I don't have direct experience with either lens, my 50s are all much older), there's very little daylight between those two lenses in terms of sharpness wide open. The 50/1.7 appears to have preferable color characteristics. I'll give the 55 a point for bokeh.

It's basically an IQ toss-up and the 50/1.7 costs a literal order of magnitude less.
12-21-2017, 01:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by zjacreman Quote
Eh - 1.4 vs 1.7 isn't that big a deal, and based on those test photos (I don't have direct experience with either lens, my 50s are all much older), there's very little daylight between those two lenses in terms of sharpness wide open. The 50/1.7 appears to have preferable color characteristics. I'll give the 55 a point for bokeh.

It's basically an IQ toss-up and the 50/1.7 costs a literal order of magnitude less.
you can trust me, I have all of them. The DA*55 is the best out of that bunch, no doubt.
And there is no doubt about it, that each of them are good lenses. No of them is really bad.
The differences are very subtile ... except: DA*55/1.4 and A 50/1.2 do have a little bit of pixiedust ;-)

Last edited by pid; 12-21-2017 at 01:47 PM.
12-22-2017, 04:06 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pid Quote
I think the DA*55/1.4 is better than the A50/1.2 see this test: Test SMC PENTAX-DA* 1:1.4 55mm und Vergleich mit einigen Pentax-50mm-Objektiven
The test is in german language, but the pictures show everything very clear.
That doesn't mean, the A50/1.2 is a bad lens at all, no it is also fantastic, but it is clearly outperformed from the DA*55/1.4 until f4.0
But it's not a fifty :P

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12-22-2017, 05:17 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
But it's not a fifty :P
Ha! True.
12-22-2017, 09:58 PM   #14
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I much enjoy the A series also. I like the solid feel and great image characteristics, color etc, Have owned many of them over the years and have 6 now including 50 1.2, a fine lens indeed. One stands out above the rest for me, that being the A* 85 1.4. Truly an outstanding lens and IMHO worth the price. To me it has been more impressive than any Pentax lens I have ever owned or used. Build, handling and IQ are superb. Sharpness, contrast, bokeh, color all outstanding. 2 cents worth.
12-23-2017, 07:04 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PKMike Quote
I much enjoy the A series also. I like the solid feel and great image characteristics, color etc, Have owned many of them over the years and have 6 now including 50 1.2, a fine lens indeed. One stands out above the rest for me, that being the A* 85 1.4. Truly an outstanding lens and IMHO worth the price. To me it has been more impressive than any Pentax lens I have ever owned or used. Build, handling and IQ are superb. Sharpness, contrast, bokeh, color all outstanding. 2 cents worth.
Looks nice, but a bit out of my price range. Have a spare for $500?
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