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SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4

Sharpness 
 9.2
Aberrations 
 8.1
Bokeh 
 9.4
Handling 
 9.0
Value 
 9.2
Reviews Views Date of last review
54 258,033 Mon March 15, 2021
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $105.02 9.19
SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4

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

Description:
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
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 8 blades
Optics
7 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
KA
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F1.4
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
45 cm
Max. Magnification
0.15x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 32 ° / 27 °
Full frame: 47 ° / 40 °
Hood
Various types
Case
Hard case HA-90B
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 37 mm
Weight
235 g
Production Years
1984 to 1989
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:1.4 50mm
Product Code
20887
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
Lens was sold without hood. Several hoods will fit like PH-S49 (50mm) and screw-in type metal and folding rubber hoods
Features:
Manual FocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4
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New Member

Registered: August, 2020
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 15, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, white matching, versatility.
Cons: Nothing if used properly.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

I use it on the K-1 and I love it so much.


I am mainly a landscape photographer, then I also do a few portraits but I use this lens a lot for urban nights, where closed it gives me record sharpness (even without post production), and fabulous stars (light at f-5.6 f-16).



For the landscape, the -A mechanism then allows me to manage the shots from a smartphone (for landscape), because the position of FOCUS at INFINITY is perfect and accurate, corresponding to the end of the ring.

Backlight needs protection but you already know it, its green / purple chromatic aberration is very low, almost non-existent, on K-1 the white is perfect and faithful and the photo has a neutral "COLOR", which I consider worthy of a lens of excellence.
The distortion is obviously very contained and it is not a drama not to have a raw camera profile.

Open at f1.4 it is very usable for small animals, children, close-ups, macros but this is an obvious thing because we know what its depth of field is at f1.4 where its sharpness is acceptable and immediately improved in post production.


I also fell to the ground, its body is made of metal, really qualitative, in the hand it gives a beautiful feeling of quality.


I also use this lens with the Panagor Auto Macro 1: 1 adapter and its rendering is professional.

It's a prime lens to HAVE in the collection.

I bought it used for 135 euros (2019).

P:S Forgive me for the bad English, I hope I made myself understood.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2020
Location: Derbyshire
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 16, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, electronic contacts, handling, optical quality
Cons: Sometimes overpriced by the market
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: KX , MZ5n   

Having used both the Zuiko and Nikkor 50mm 1.4's I think that this is my favourite of any brand I have ever had (the Zuiko silver nose I had was sharp but suffered from severe internal reflections in bright light at wide apertures).

I actually think it is better than the Nikkor at wide apertures below 2.8, and the 8 bladed aperture means that the bokeh is not as nervous looking as the Nikkor either. However BOTH are useable in order to make great pictures at wider apertures. And yes - make sure it has a hood which I find helps to make pictures taken wide open or slightly stopped down look much better.

As for build quality, I'd agree that the K series Pentax's certainly rivalled their Nikkor counter parts - but make no mistake, this fast A series 50mm is a wonderful, wonderful piece of glass and an extremely handsome looking lens. The design also includes a really useful focusing scale and you can use to set trap focus at f4 whereas the Nikkor's scale starts at f5.6.

Focussing is lovely on my version, as is the aperture selection which is notchy without being a hinderance.

I also like the low distortion which in my opinion is lower than the Nikkor's barrel distortion.

My 50mm A 1.4 lives on my KX because it is so easy to focus on its viewfinder. Even focussing off the centre prism on the grey matt area on this camera is easy with the 1.4 A. It replaced the 50mm M 1.7 that came with the KX which I could just not deal with. The M lenses are too small for me, and look silly on the KX. The bulk and handsome design of the 50mm A 1.4 means that it looks and feels at home on the KX.

I've had three 50mm A 1.4s. I should never have let any of them go.

They are consistent, well made, sharp and great to handle. They also attract some ridiculous prices on the internet - but that's the market's fault - not the lens.

A fantastic, fast, nifty fifty and a truly under-appreciated lens.
   
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2017
Posts: 41

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 14, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, fast, sharp, low CA
Cons: None
Camera Used: Pentax K-3II   

I have been using this lens strictly for astrophotography. For that purpose it is one of the best lenses I have. From f/2.5 onwards, star quality in the corners on APS-C is very good and improves modestly at smaller apertures, CA is fairly low (when focused correctly) and vignetting is minimal. Here are a several astrophotos taken with it (tracking by Astrotracer), the first at f/2.8, the second mostly at f/2.8 and the third (of Comet NEOWISE) at f/2.5.





   
New Member

Registered: January, 2020
Posts: 19

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 13, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very usefull with Astrotrcer
Cons:
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax KP   

They come in different prices. Mine was below everage, but not in quality. A very nice lens to suit my KP. Recently puchased a used GPS unit. So this is a greate combination in aperture and Astrotracer, allthough 50mm on a APS-C isn't quite the wide angle you want to cover the whole universe.

Overall sharpness is best from 2.8 upwards, but on 1.4 is best from the centre ± 40% radius.

I still wish for an original hood.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: February 5, 2020 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Lovely image
Cons: "M" series equivalent is better
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 6    Camera Used: Film   

Go with the metal "M" series equivalent and get as good images at less than half the price of this "A" Series lens. Otherwise, it's a great lens if you have cash to splash. Just make sure it handles well before you buy one and that you are not buying a less-than-smooth focus and aperture mechanism. "A" Series lenses really are prone to ageing, and shining, while the metal "M" series go on and on through time.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2018
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: January 21, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $85.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: High sharpness and contrast, good build and handling
Cons: Lots of aberrations
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: MX, X-T3   

Out of all the Pentax 50mm 1.4 lenses, this version is my least favorite. I think Pentax sacrificed too much in this resigned version, specifically in the aberration correction department. Compared to the previous M version, this newer version shows a lot more spherical aberrations at bright apertures which robs the image of contrast and resolution and also affects bokeh. It fringes like crazy too, there's lots and lots of purple on high contrast edges. Thankfully, these problems clear up when you close the aperture down. It's a little bit sharper in the mid-frame when compared to the previous M version, but not so much that it makes or breaks a picture. Finally, the new plastic body isn't nearly as nice as the old metal body. Other than those details I found it similar in performance to the previous version. I guess the selling point of this lens is the Auto setting which is compatible with modern Pentax DSLR's. I'd say that if you need Auto then this may be the lens for you, but if not then you should pick up the older M version.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Saskatoon
Posts: 2,931
Lens Review Date: January 10, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: pleasure to manually focus, beautiful bokeh, sharp and fast
Cons: CA, especially at f1.4, weak contrast
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-30   

I got the itch to try f1.4 photography and buying a used, manual focus lens was the cheapest way to scratch that itch. I have tried the A50 f1.7 on my camera and was happy with how it handled and performed.

At f1.4, this lens is not as sharp, but it isn't bad either. Much higher resolution images can be seen if you click on them.



Where this lens falls down compared to larger (and newer and much more expensive) lenses like the DA * 55 and DFA * 50 is in contrast and chromatic aberrations (especially at f1.4 to f2).



Nailing focus at f1.4 is hard, but the focus ring can move almost 3/4 of a turn and allows for finer adjustments than focus peaking or focus confirmation can detect. What LiveView or the viewfinder won't show you is how smooth the out of focus areas look, even at f5.6.

f1.4


f2.8


f5.6


At this point in time, I'm not planning to do studio work, my camera's AF is not very effective at wider than f2.8 and for general photography, I have this focal length covered with other lenses. For experimenting with, I am very happy with this manual focus lens.
   
Banned

Registered: November, 2018
Posts: 75

1 user found this helpful
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

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 24,032

2 users 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:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pepperberryfarm/albums/72157680930924384/page1


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: 698
Lens Review Date: February 24, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $92.50 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp as a tack. Aperture range
Cons:

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: 7,092

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.

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

Focal Length:
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.

Build:
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.

Usage/Handling:
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.

Speed:
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.

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

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 Varanasi, India.


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



Camera: SF1n Film: Kodak Ektachrome 100 ISO: 100
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2016
Location: Silverstone
Posts: 242
Lens Review Date: January 7, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp, value
Cons:
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.

   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,433
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.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4



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