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SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4

Reviews Views Date of last review
47 225,550 Fri November 9, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $105.82 9.24
SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4

SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4
SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4
SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4

Like all A-series lenses this very fast standard lens supports P and Tv exposure modes in addition to Av and M. The lens is shown above with a filter and a metal screw-in lens hood. A rectangular clip-on plastic hood was also available as well as a folding rubber hood.

SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 8 blades
7 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
45 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 32 ° / 27 °
Full frame: 47 ° / 40 °
Various types
Hard case HA-90B
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 37 mm
235 g
Production Years
1984 to 1989
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:1.4 50mm
Product Code
User reviews
Lens was sold without hood. Several hoods will fit like PH-S49 (50mm) and screw-in type metal and folding rubber hoods
Manual FocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4
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Registered: November, 2018
Posts: 75
Lens Review Date: November 9, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp as a diamond; A-Series A+ on modern Pentax DSLR’s
Cons: Not actually a Leica Summilux 1.4 M 75mm...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5, Pentax Super-A (European Camera of the Year Edition)   

If you shoot street photography on a Pentax DSLR and you don’t own his lens, you are missing out—the electronic functionality minced with the vintage optics is VERY understated on these forums. Quite possibly one of the best prime lenses manufactured.

Altogether I have 4 other Pentax 50mm prime lenses:

Asahi-Pentax SMC Takumar 55mm f1.8
Pentax-M 50mm f1.7
Pentax-M 50mm f4 (Macro)
Pentax-A 50mm f1.7

Additionally, I use the Pentax 18-55 WR (v.ii) in iffy Canadian weather.

For work, if I had my druthers, I would never take it off the camera... Fastest run and gun option for manual focus professional still photography on the ENTIRE PENTAX SYSTEM—I cannot recommend the m42 stuff as readily, as it exposes the electronics and tends to be a bit too artsy-fartsy for assignments. As for the Pentax-M series they are no joke—the internals are a facsimile of the “A” generation that followed... Yet time and time again the “A” series is much more expedient to use, with it’s utilization of the modern control dials and live metering.

Frankly, with the exception of my preconceived notions about the elusive Pentax-A 35mm f2 (a true 50mm on the crop), there is no better option in the Pentax APS-C ecosystem.

On the critical side, every time I make the mistake of trying to take it off of the camera, I cut myself on it...
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: Naples
Posts: 10

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 26, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great Colours, very sharp and contrasted with lens hood from f2, great bokeh
Cons: Needs a lens hood from 1.4 to 2.8 to be sharp and contrasted, some CA
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: k5 - pentax film srl   

This SMC 50mm A 1.4 is not so good as his great ancestor. the SMC Super Takumar K, as all the M series prime compared to K series and some Takumar are a step back because of being smaller (more compromise) and not radioactive (less contrast)... but it is a good performer if well used. And well used means 2 things:

- a proper lens hood from f:1.4 to f:2 - (on APSC it should be the lens hood suitable for a 75mm)

- from f:2.8 also without a nens hood

...because from the M series pentax's engineers started to design and calculate optical schemes of pentax lenses with lens hood as a permanent part of the project and not as an optional for "counter light" shots... and if it's true for all pentax lenses, in this and other 1.4 pentax prime it's even more important, counsidering the great aperture.

If you put a proper lens hood this lens, in EVERY SHOT between f 1.4 and 2.8, you gain some "stop down" of performance:
- 1 stop of sharpness and contrast at the center and 2 stop at the edges and corners, at F: 1.4
- half stop at center and and one stop at edges at f2... and one stop and a half at corners on film
- a bit less improve at 2.8 and on APSC Digital slr.

From f4 on film and from f2.8 on apsc digilal, there is no more need of a hood, it improves only a bit in the corners of the frames or with a light source inside the scene.

Without a lens hood this lens is a bit too soft at edges and lacks of contrast from 1.4 to 2.8 (and to f4 in the corners on film)... so, it's perfect for portrait or dreamy effect... but may be not so good in other shots. On APSC there is less evidence of this behaviour because of the crop factor (the edeges are out of the picture), but on film it's very evident and harder to correct. But on APSC, the crop factor that gives you 75mm of view, the center sharpness and the great "soft transition" to the edge, with the great colour rendition similar to the stellar Takumar SMC 50 1.4, yuo can shot wonderfull portraits with this lens. That's why I got it (and also at a small price).

Colours are great, micro-contrast too, bokeh is very very good (as others 1.4 50mm), tone to tone transition are very pleasant, and SMC works well from 2.8.

Some vignetting on film, not on APSC. Some Chromatich Aberrations (purple fringing), some flares and lack of contrast until 2.8 with light source in the scene.
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 32
Lens Review Date: November 28, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $165.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Well built, Light, I.Q. similar to the best
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K70, KP   

This lens is well built, has a smooth focusing ring, and it is among the sharpest 50/1.4. The Canon FDn and Contax Zeiss are a little bit sharper at 1.4, but not anymore at 2.0 and above. The Nikon AIs at 1.4 is a little bit inferior. Colors and flare resistance are second to none. Compared to the Pentax 50/1.7 A, as expected, the 50/1.4 is slightly less good at full aperture (1.4 versus 1.7) but still usable, a little bit better at 2.0, equivalent at 2.8 and above. Vignetting is visible but negligible on an APS-C digital camera.
amateur dirt farmer / mod

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 14,336

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 3, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: color rendition, clarity, sharpness, bokeh, handling
Cons: nothing
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-3, K-50   

purchased used and recently CLA'd by Advance Camera (highly recommended) due to wear and tear, she came back to me in fine fettle...

the A50/1.4 is a bit heavier and larger than the A50/1.7 it is regularly compared to, but not negatively so... it's still a smallish prime on your camera that gives you a utilitarian focal length, A-ring convenience, and a large 1.4 aperture should you need it...

nothing but positive aspects to this lens - color rendition, clarity, bokeh, handling - all are aces for me... add a small hood on the end of her and leave her on the camera....

I like the slightly longer barrel of the 1.4 vs the 1.7; to me it gives the lens a small advantage in handling and eases the use of the focus ring... the 1.4 has given me the thought to sell off my A50/1.7 since I like the handling, color, bokeh, and sharpness so much more...

but the pictures....

snickerdoodles by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

color in the garden by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

zinnias by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

light-trails and starbursts by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

orb weaver by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

and the rest of my album for this lens:

so - as a Nifty Fifty, definitely a lens to keep in your bag/on your camera....
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2016
Location: Shelton, CT
Posts: 620
Lens Review Date: February 24, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $92.50 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp as a tack. Aperture range

I just started shooting with a DSLR about a month ago. I soon realized that the lenses I owned were a little slow for low light photography and I also wanted something that would let me explore very shallow DOF. I thought about purchasing the DA* 55 1.4 but I could not justify the cost of $500 for a used lens without being certain that it was what I wanted plus possible SDM issues. Reading posts through the forums I kept seeing posts about people using vintage lenses with amazing results and amazing prices and I started researching in the lens reviews. I decided that I wanted a Pentax-A series or later as I could control the aperture via the camera and did not have to play around with exposure. I was a little worried about manual focus as I am no longer a twenty year old and am probably over due for an eye appointment and a new pair of glasses. But I figured if I could get a lens for the right price it was worth it to find out if it would work for me. I can now say that manual focus was not an issue without my glasses. So if manual focus and your eyesight is a concern to you, take a chance on this lens. I believe you will be more than happy with your decision as was I.

I am not a lens expert and I am also just a beginner with DSLR's. But, I do have eyes and I can tell you that this is the sharpest lens that I own. When I use my auto-focus lenses I find that the focus seems just a little soft 30 to 40% of the time. With this lens it is amazingly sharp every time even focusing with my eyes. It is about 3/4 of a turn from minimum focus distance to infinity. So it is very easy to get the focus spot on even with less than perfect eyesight. The only blur that I get from this lens is when I want a shallow depth of field and the bokeh with this lens is great. As to handling the lens is small and light and I had no issues or complaints. As to CA I only new about this from reading lens reviews. I did have one shot where it was extreme because of how and what I was shooting.

I have attached 3 shots including the CA shot which I happen to like the effect. Let your eyes be the judge.

Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,093

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 20, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent optics, speed, “A’ setting.
Cons: Build not as good as with a K or M series lens.
Camera Used: Pentax film bodies (K1000, KM, KX, K2, K2DMD, ME, MX, LX, Super A/Program, P50)   

The A50/1.4 was released in 1984 and was a direct replacement for the M50/1.4. The A50/1.4 was in production until 1989 and was replaced by the similar Auto focus F50/1.4 that same year.

Typical excellent optics for a Pentax standard/normal prime film era 50mm-55mm lens.

Focal Range:
On FF this your go to “normal” prime focal length. On APS-C you get the FOV of a short telephoto, interesting but less useful.

Much better than my A50/1.7, but not quite as good a K or M Series lens. The A50/1.4 does not have a plastic aperture ring assembly like the slower A50/1.7 or A50/2, so that's a big plus.

The A50/1.4 is also bigger/heavier than my A50/1.7, so it’s much easier to handle. Pretty close to my “K” Series normal/standard primes, so no complaints.

There were four lens hoods that were available for the A50/1.4, 49mm square plastic, round plastic, round metal and round rubber. These hoods will also work on the other M, A, F & FA normal/standard 49mm filter thread primes.

F/1.4 was one of the two fast normal/standard primes at the time of the A Series release, so it’s excellent in all lighting conditions. This faster speed also came at a higher list price for the A50/1.2 & A50/1.4, compared to the slower more budget friendly A50/1.7 & A50/2.

The A50/1.4 vs my other similar FL normal/standard primes:
I also own the K50/1.4 and would say that the A50/1.4 is sharper wide open as well at apertures from F/4 to F/1.4. At the middle apertures both lenses are basically the same. The older K50/1.4 is better built and overall I prefer its handling. The bokeh on both lenses is also about the same. I rated my K50/1.4 a 9 and I would do the same for the A50/1.4.

The A50/1.4 is another excellent fast Pentax normal/standard lens which you can purchase used at a reasonable price.

I bought my A50/1.4 on eBay and it was in excellent + condition.

Sample shots taken with the A50/1.4. Photos are medium resolution scans from original slides. The first shot was taken in NYC and the second in Vancouver, Canada.

Camera: K2DMD Film: Fuji Provia 100F ISO: 100

Camera: KM Film: Fuji Velvia 50 ISO: 50
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2016
Location: Silverstone
Posts: 155
Lens Review Date: January 7, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, sharp, value
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-S2   

This is still, after 30 years or so, my go-to lens for available light photography.

My DA16-85 is wickedly sharp at 50mm, but is about f/4.5 at that focal length. Once indoors, the A50 comes into its own.


Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,415
Lens Review Date: July 14, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $41.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, communicates with DSLRs, sharp, color transmission, IQ in general
Cons: None

I have the Takumar SMC 50mm 1.4, SMC-M 50mm f/1.4, and now the A 50mm 1.4. All are spectacular lenses. Right now, I'd give a slight sharpness edge to my SMC-M, but it's also an amazing copy of that lens. The SMC-A is the best readily affordable 50mm 1.4 option for most DSLR users. Because it talks directly with the DSLR, the aperture can be controlled by the camera. This is a huge advantage for most people. It's still manual focus, but if you're okay with manual focus, you'll be in good shape with this lens.
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2014
Posts: 191
Lens Review Date: May 27, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp, compact, sturdy design
Cons: I am still trying to find one

I am making this post as an advice for the future and current owners of this gem lens. I purchased this lens recently as a part of a fun project of portrait photography using manual lens. The initial test of the lens on my K3 was somehow disappointing in terms of wide open shots and following in camera focus conformation. However friend of mine (hardcore pentaxian) suggested "in camera correction" for the focus and even did a small demo with my lens. I did the calibration at my place later the same day and here are the results:

IMGP1287 by Pavel Zhelev, on Flickr

IMGP1291 by Pavel Zhelev, on Flickr

The lens needed -6 correction since it was front focusing, now the catch is that you can’t do the correction for the "single lens" since there is no chip on the lens and in order for camera to get it you have to do "all lenses" and turn it off when you are not using it. I understand that this still leaves the inconvenience of remembering the value in case of another old lens calibration need; however I think we all can agree that it is small compromise.
I am attaching some portrait shots done with the lens all are @ 1.4 and use of “in catch focus” function except the last one which is done before calibration but disregarding in camera guidance for focus (you need to have really sharp eye to do so and even in this case I would end up with a lots of missed shot wide open).

IMGP1303 by Pavel Zhelev, on Flickr

IMGP1316 by Pavel Zhelev, on Flickr

IMGP1319 by Pavel Zhelev, on Flickr

IMGP1301 by Pavel Zhelev, on Flickr

IMGP1297 by Pavel Zhelev, on Flickr

Having said all above, I need to clarify that I am using the "catch in focus" option on my K3, this makes the lens very usable in shots demanding faster manual focusing. I highly recommend that option to all the owners of Pentax that supports it.
Stopping down the lens with or without correction does not make a huge difference after f 2.
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2015
Posts: 71

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 3, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpest 50mm I have used
Cons: Build quality compared to M and K counterparts
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-50   

This is the sharpest 50mm lens I have ever used, and the list of vintage normal lenses in my collection is pretty extensive. Here are just the 1st party models I own or have owned and tried on my K-50.

SMC-A 50mm f/1.7
SMC-A 50mm f/2
SMC-M 50mm f/1.4
SMC-M 50mm f/1.7
SMC-M 50mm f/2
SMC-K 50mm f/1.4
SMC-K 55mm f/1.8
SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4
Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 (newer version)
Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 (older 8 element version)
SMC Takumar 55mm f/1.8

There have been perhaps a dozen other 3rd party lenses (Chinon, Rikenon, Sears, Fujinon etc.) in addition to the list above. The SMC-A 50mm f/1.4 is simply the sharpest, and is in the lead pack (but behind the 8 element Super Takumar) in color rendering. Images are very useable at f/1.4 if you nail the focus, but it lacks contrast and the colors lose their punch. The center is decent to good and the edges are soft. The contrast and colors can be fixed in post to a degree depending on the shot. From f/1.6 and up my copy is wonderful. The center is sharp at f/1.6 with much improved colors and contrast and a little softness in the edges and corners. At f/2 the center is tack and the edges start to look pretty good, and the colors and contrast improve further. At f/2.8 the center improves even more and it is sharp all the way to the corners. At f/4 and f/4.5 it is perfectly tack from edge to edge and corner to corner. Diffraction is already the limiting factor by f/5.6 so I don't recommend stopping down past f/4.5 if you don't have to. If you stop down past f/8 it's also possible to get sensor reflections, though they are usually not a practical concern. When I really need the extra DOF I reach for my SMC-M 50mm f/4 Macro instead, which is probably just as sharp but is considerably slower and does not belong in this comparison.

The "A" setting is a nice bonus, considering I went deep into the M42 well in my search for the best 50.

There is nothing wrong with the build quality, but earlier Pentax lenses are better in this regard. The SMC-K series for sure, and probably the M's and Takumars as well.

If you can find a good copy of this lens pick it up, you won't be disappointed.
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 44
Lens Review Date: December 31, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, Compact, good color
Cons: Loose focus ring
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3   

1.4 ISO 100
Great lens for the price. I paid $50 for mine with an attached film camera. Can be difficult to get sharp image wide open but it is possible especially in live view. Focus ring is nice and smooth just a bit loose for my taste(this could just be my copy of the lens).

If you can get this lens GET IT. I would have easily paid double what I paid for mine.
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 480

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 15, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: So sharp f/2 and above
Cons: none

It's the last lens I originally bought with my K-1000 30 years ago that I still own. Loved it with my K-1000 love it even more with my K-30. Before I got my DA* 50-135 I used it for portraits, sports! (my son's basketball shooting directly from the side line) and astronomy. Corners are not so sharp at f/1.4 but when closed at f/2 the magic operates.

The picture below was shot at f/2. Stars are unforgiving when it comes to coma, CA and vignetting. On this one, even when pixel peeping on the original image, virtually no aberration can be seen. This is a 90s exposure of the Milky Way in Cygnus constellation. The lens is so fast numerous nebulas and star clusters can be seen even though the exposure time was short.

Senior Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: Washington, USA
Posts: 147
Lens Review Date: October 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, color & contrast, fast, smooth focus
Cons: manual focus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k   

I got this lens in my pursuit of an inexpensive "nifty 50." It was the first quality lens that I bought after the starter kit lens. It was awesome to have such good IQ!

It feels awesome. The focus ring is smooth and the build quality is great. It's an older lens so the look of it isn't modern, but the quality and smooth operation outshine the "look."

In terms of IQ, the images this lens produces are probably my favorite of all my lenses (I also own a DA 15, FA* 80-200, and a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4). I am often blown away by this lens and the quality of images it produces. I sometimes get used to "lesser quality" photos from other lenses, without even realizing it, and then when I put this thing on my k-5 I'm reminded of what I am missing. It has great color and contrast, captures detail in the shadows, and produces astoundingly sharp images with wonderful bokeh!

My biggest complaint:
Manual focus. But it is what it is.

Final word... beautiful images (sharp with great bokeh) and smooth autofocus make it totally worth the $130 I paid for it. It's a great 50 to have.

Registered: March, 2014
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 890

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 19, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp. Fast. Very good contrast. Excellent color rendition
Cons: Not all metal like an M or K lens.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K500   

I stumbled across this MINT condition lens at a bargain and had to go for it as my 1st A lens (I was previously using a M50 /f:2). This lens opens up a new level of possibilities for low light indoor shooting given its wider aperture. DOF is much narrower wide-open which is good or bad, depending on the situation. It can be difficult to get focus close-up or in Macro situation wide-open, but that is to be expected -- Live View with Focus Peaking is a big help in these rare situations. The lens doesn't feel as "bullet-proof" as the M lenses or the Helios, but it certainly not fragile by any means. Images are crisp with very good contrast and the typical Pentax color excellence. A great lens and in A mode all you have to do is FOCUS. It would be a toss-up between this lens and my Helios 44-K4 58/2 but the A has won me over.

IMGP0740 by Ripper2860, on Flickr
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Torino
Posts: 71
Lens Review Date: May 15, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $164.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Contrast,Ink Blacks,Sharp at wide Aperture,build,fast AF
Cons: purple fringing at wide aperture
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

I love the bokeh of this amazing glass ,outstanding blacks and manual Focus,I got also the f 1.7 but this one is a step forward ,to be honest at wide open has some purple fringing but I could fix it closing a little bit and maybe(have to check better) use uv filters..these lenses have change my way to take photos!
Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4

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