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SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7

Sharpness 
 9.2
Aberrations 
 8.5
Bokeh 
 8.8
Handling 
 8.8
Value 
 9.5
Reviews Views Date of last review
127 424,466 Fri June 29, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
99% of reviewers $61.23 9.00
SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7

SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7
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SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7
supersize
SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7
supersize

Description:
The SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7 is a fast standard lens shipped with many 1980's Pentax bodies. It supports all exposure modes.



SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
6 elements, 5 groups
Mount Variant
KA
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F1.7
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 31 mm
Weight
165 g
Production Years
1984 to 1989
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:1.7 50mm
Product Code
20897
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 F1.7
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 16-30 of 127
New Member

Registered: October, 2015
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 12, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, Smooth bokeh, Nice 1.7 maximum aperture, Smooth focus ring
Cons: None!
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D5000 with Pentax PK mount to Nikon F adapter   

I love this lens, it's great for almost everything! I like how the focus ring is nice and smooth since I love doing macro video work. I use this lens with a Pentax PK mount to Nikon F on a Nikon D5000, and it works great! It is full manual on the D5000, unless your doing video in Live View. In my opinion, this lens is the best 50mm f/1.7 lens for video.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 5,686

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 12, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Excellent optics, “A’ setting.
Cons: Terrible plastic build and a bit too compact for my taste.
Camera Used: Pentax film bodies (K1000, KM, KX, K2, K2DMD, MX, LX, Super A, P50)   

The A50/1.7 was released in 1984 and was a direct replacement for the M50/1.7. The A50/1.7 was in production until 1989. The similar Auto focus F50/1.7 was available along side the A50/1.7 from 1987 onwards.


Optics:
Excellent optics and the A50/1.7 is sharpest at f/8 & f/11.

Focal Length:
On film this is a normal/standard lens and your go to prime focal length. On APS-C you get the FOV of a short telephoto, interesting but less useful.

Build:
Unfortunately when Pentax introduced the A Series lenses in 1984 they also started using plastic on some of the “budget” lenses. The A50/1.7 has the same design/optics as the M50/1.7, but is 20 grams lighter, so the difference is the plastic used in the construction of the A50/1.7. The Achilles heal of the A50/1.7 is the plastic aperture ring/assembly, which is extremely prone to breaking and limiting the movement of the aperture ring.

This was a terrible design by Pentax and the A50/1.7 has the roughest moving aperture ring of any of my 70+ Pentax lenses and that’s after I spent $20.00 on a CLA. Yes you can leave the aperture ring in the “A” setting (if you can get it there) and use it happily on a DSLR or “A” Series & newer film camera, but that’s just not acceptable in my books. Would you want a lens that could only focus to infinity, as it was stuck there?

Usage/Handling:
The A50/1.7, like the M50/1.7 is a bit small for my taste and doesn’t handle as well compared to the bigger K Series normal/standard prime lenses. As I only use this lens on film cameras, this FL is the one you interact with the most and handling is a big part of the usage of any manual focusing normal/standard prime lens. I tend to use hyperfocal focusing & aperture priority a lot with the A50/1.7 to compensate for the lenses size and flaky aperture ring.

There were four lens hoods that were available for the A50/1.7, 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:
Normally f/1.7 would be considered a fast maximum aperture, but as this is the third slowest normal/standard prime at the time of the A Series release, f1.7 is just adequate. However the faster A50/1.2 & A50/1.4 were higher priced, so more people ended up with the A50/1.7 as their go to prime than the other two. There was also an even slower A50/2 in the A Series line-up, but it was only available as a kit lens for the K1000 camera.

The A50/1.7 vs my other similar FL normal/standard primes:
I also own the M50/1.7 and both lenses are basically identical except for the construction and the “A” setting on the A50/1.7. I like the optics a bit better on the A50/1.7, but would still choose the M50/1.7 over it, due to its metal construction.

Summary:
If the A50/1.7 was built like the “M” Series version then I would have given it a 9. However its excellent optics are wasted on a plastic lens with a design flaw, so I can’t recommend the A50/1.7. There are many other manual focus Pentax 50mm-55mm primes that are better built with similar optics, so I would pick one of those instead. (Also avoid the A50/2 as it’s also a plastic build.) Having a broken lens, or one that breaks down when you are on holidays is just not worth the hassle.

Price:
I bought a Pentax Super A and the A50/1.7 came with the camera, so I don’t have a price for just the lens.

Sample shots taken with the A50/1.7. Photos are medium resolution scans from original negatives or slides. Shot one was taken in Vancouver, Canada and the second shot in Maupiti, French Polynesia.


Camera: Super A Film: CineStill 50 ISO: 50




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

   
New Member

Registered: June, 2015
Posts: 11

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 1, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, compact size.
Cons: None for the price
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K200D   

If you know how to use manual focus, this is excellent low-cost prime.
Very soft at 1.7, but stopped down becomes very sharp.
Beautiful colors.
Bokeh is really nice.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 30, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: colours, contrast
Cons: aberration
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, ME Super   

Probably my most favourite Pentax lens.

I bought this little gem in a small second-hand camera store about a year and half ago for a price low that much that I haven't seen it that low anywhere else in my country since that. And I immediately felt in love with it.

The outputs are simply stunning - great colours, great contrast and solid bokeh thanks to low aperture. If properly focused then the sharpness is unbeatable. Solidly built too. Useful for low-light and indoors (well, the focal length is sometimes limiting) and portraits at DSLR. My walking lens for film camera except for landscapes.

I'm giving 7 to aberration just because it behaves weird. On some shots the aberration is virtually non-existent and some others shows heavy aberration even on higher apertures. And I mean the aberration differs between the shots taken in same time at the same place with unchanged camera settings. But still, it is quite easy to remove that (or most of it) in software and it doesn`t matter that much on film.
   
Inactive Account

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 2, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, very sharp
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax k20d   

I bought this lens 6 years ago and have been using with Pentax K20D. The price was not high. It's very nice lens. Small, lightweight and extremely sharp. As for me, has a very nice bokeh and colors. I would recommend to anyone.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2014
Location: Bratislava
Posts: 6

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 12, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: build quality, A setting, sharpness, coatings
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K10D   

Another never-made-mistake lens in my collection. Sharp even at wide apertures. I'm very happy with A setting and it's very addictive. It's good all-around lens. You can shoot portraits, landscapes but if you need it will serve well on celebrations, marriages and etc...

Btw I don't understand ppl who gave "no AF" comment as a cons of MF lens. Imagine you are reviewing your car eg BMW with what you are satisfied but you will mention "it's not Mercedes" as cons.. Really? o.O

   
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 1

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 'A', sharp stopped down, beautiful wide-open, price
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k30   

If you shoot with a Pentax and you don't have this lens, you need to have a word with yourself.

If you want sharp, it really does sharp; if you want dreamy pixie land, it does dreamy pixie land; flare resistant; Pentax colours. ! Its small, it has all the exposure automation and data, and it's cheaper than going for a curry! Much cheaper. Oh, and also with a macro ring its the shizzle.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Copenhagen
Posts: 9

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 20, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small, portable, sharp
Cons: No AF, not as well built as other 50's
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 7   

I like this 50 mm 1.7 lens; its small, has a nice dampened focus ring, light and bright, but if it didn't have the "A" designation for coupled aperture I'd probably take the M or K lens any day because of their better "feel" and built quality. This one has more plastic parts and a plasticky feeling to it - yet the optics are great.
   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Wild-Nord-East Hungary
Posts: 109

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 5, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, colors, bokeh, price
Cons: -
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: MX, P30n, K-x, K-30   

I like to use the full aperture; it also very sharp.
When I have to take photo in low light, I use this prefer.
(not the DA 50/1,8)
I use Eyecup O-ME53, set focus manually faster than the AF.
   
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Rotterdam
Posts: 124

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, compact, build quality, colors
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

I give this lens a 10 even though I rated a 9 for most of its characteristics. These lenses are very easy to find 2nd hand for a reasonable price. I paid around $45 and its worth much more! To repeat the previous post, don't penalize for manual focus. If you want auto focus, then just get an auto focus lens

Besides this 50, I also own a SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4. Optically the M is more attractive, but it always stays home since I have the Pentax-A 50mm F1.7. This is pure for the benefit of controlling the aperture from the camera. In fact, i stopped buying M lenses and pure focus on the A series now. Thanks to this beauty.


(background of this photo here)

   
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2014
Posts: 241

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Colors, sharpness and a 'A' setting
Cons: manual focus in dimmer light is a challenge without split-ring viewfinder
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-50   

I don't penalize for manual focus because you know that is required going in. With that in mind, I give this lens a 9 only because there are a couple other 50-55 K/M/A era lenses that are a bit better in my mind.

I first used this while filming some teens at a rock-climbing wall. It was under trees and early evening so the light was not great. Standing back about 40-50 feet and using at f2 I was surprised later to notice that zooming in on the computer I could clearly see not only the blue/white pattern on the climbing rope but also the weaving pattern. It is very, very sharp in the center and very good at the edges when stopped down f8.

Next chance to use it was on a trip to the coast. In the pictures below you can get a feel for the nice color and bokeh of this lens at f2.5 and f2 handheld. The EXIF shows 28mm but this was a mistake on my part. I was using a M 28mm f2.8 before this and apparently didn't tell the camera I switched to the 50mm lens.

I learned on a manual focus SLR back in the days of film so it doesn't bother me to shoot in manual focus mode for non-action photography. I think having to compose and focus like this makes you think more, which for me is usually a good thing.

IMGP8096 by tw0759, on Flickr

IMGP8099 by tw0759, on Flickr

This lens is only a little more than the many M 50mm f2 lenses out there (mine was $40 on ebay) and worth your patience if you are ready to experiment with these beautifully built older lenses. The lens cost to IQ is an easy 10.
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 76

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 3, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good image quality, sharp after f2, build quality, fast
Cons: soft wide open, to narow FOV (75mm)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-500   

Overall great lens for small price.
Soft at f1.7, sharper at f2, razor sharp after f5.
Great lens when there is not too much light, unfortunatelly offers to narrow field of view (75mm) quite difficult to shot indoors like at family parties etc.
At f2 you will be able to take photos with literally four times smaller ISO then when using for example kit lens.
Not to versatile but much sharper than any zoom.
It is worth to pay more and get A instead of M, exposure automation makes life much simpler.
Grate build quality, great value for the price, highly recommended.








   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Banja Luka
Posts: 319

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 23, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Great Colors, Wonderfully creative, great bokeh
Cons: FOV on DSLR, minimum focus distance
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-x   

This is my first prime, and it's really fun to use. Since it's manual focus, it's not so good for action moments (or I'm not fast enough with it ), or moving stuff (except when you get the catch-in-focus to work), but it's a great lens for portraits, for close up photos of flowers and insects. It's not macro, but still produces some great photos. Planning to get an old extension tube and try it with that.

Field of View is rather limited on crop sensor, so you have to choose your subject carefully. It will not be very good for group photos, unless you move away like 10 meters. Planning to get 24mm or 28mm for that, or just go for DA 35 2.4 for general use.

Recommended!

Adding some photos:


==
   
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2009
Location: Lithuania
Posts: 344

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 6, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great color rendering, good contrast, sharp as knife stopped down
Cons: Lacks micro contrast at 1,7, focus throw could be shorter
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-5   

I give it a strong 8, because of lack of character in terms of bokeh and some aberrations. Otherwise it small nice lens, deadly sharp when stopped down, provides very good color rendering and nice overall contrast (much better than most M42 lenses, like Helios 44-2 and similar). Good value for money.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 101

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing piece of glass!
Cons: None!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-01, K-30   

I share the previous reviewer's musings about whether this is the sharpest lens ever. Perhaps, perhaps not - I certainly have not tried every lens ever made for Pentax. But it is by far the sharpest I have ever used! I thought the 50mm M F1.7 was sharp (and indeed it is), but this one even beats it's venerable older brother. It truly is an amazing piece of glass. It's not just sharp, it also gets nearly perfect scores in bokeh, CA, distortion, you name it - this lens can do no wrong. And the fact that you can use it with full auto-aperture functionality is an added plus - no green button metering necessary! If you can find one, don't part with it!
Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7



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