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SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4

Sharpness 
 8.9
Aberrations 
 8.3
Bokeh 
 9.4
Autofocus 
 8.5
Handling 
 8.7
Value 
 9.2
Reviews Views Date of last review
144 412,177 Tue August 28, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
97% of reviewers $248.11 8.90
SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4

SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4
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SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4
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Description:
The SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 is the only film-era 50mm still in production by Pentax. It is fully compatible with all Pentax DSLRs as well as film bodies.



SMC Pentax-FA 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
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F1.4
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
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
PH-SA49, PH-RA49, RH-RC49
Case
S70-70
Lens Cap
Lens Cap F 49mm
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
65 x 37 mm (2.5 x 1.5 in.)
Weight
220 g (7.8 oz.)
Production Years
1991 to present (in production)
Pricing
$274 USD current price
$219 USD at launch
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:1.4 50mm
Product Code
20817
Reviews
User reviews
In-depth review
Notes
Various hoods with 49mm thread will fit.

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame Support
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 144
New Member

Registered: August, 2018
Posts: 17
Lens Review Date: August 28, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Cheap and realy good. small size.
Cons: A lense of this quality should be built in metal.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-x   

Incredible bokeh on digital camera. Short, lightweight, this lense is essential for me.
For exemple, family photos, without flash, camera in hand.


   
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2016
Location: Gislev
Posts: 84
Lens Review Date: August 22, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $425.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, Build Quality, Ergonomics, Weight and Size
Cons: None

A perfect short tele on the K-3 II, and a gem in available light situations.

IQ is wonderful - and it's hard to fault stopped down from 2.0. I actually find the rendering of the lens at full 1.4 rather charming. There's some film photography rendering in the way it depicts things ... Yeah, I am an analog photographer, too.

I really love this lens for all its perfection and virtues: It's sharp as hell, it's got stellar resolution, It has a lovely bokeh, aberrations are neglectable in real life situations, and the autofocus performance is great.

It's an old design, but it more than holds its own.

Pentax - please don't discontinue this lens, just because you've made a 50mm/F1.4 behemoth: This is the way a nifty fifty (for APS-C and Full Frame) should be!!

Highly recommended!
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2018
Posts: 5

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 4, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Old film magic
Cons: 1.4 not usable
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP   

The interesting lens with some old school magic. I love using it for the portrait at f 2.8 At f 5.6 they good for the most situation. At f 1.4 this lens is unusable, no sharpness at all. But I never sold it, all pictures taken on this lens have magic pictures

   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 47
Lens Review Date: April 9, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness
Cons: looks
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

This lens has been to me the one I use as first choice, and also when all else fails. Rarely ever fails me in nailing the focus. Even better with later technology.
I'm not an advanced photographer that was tried tons of lenses, so I can't attest to the color, but bokeh is pretty decent, and again, sharpness is amazing, dead on, and consistent.
If a photo from this lens is not usable, it is almost always my fault.
Had it stolen once, replaced with a "rare legend" but did not satisfy my sharpness requirements (not as dead on or consistent), so bought this 1.4 again. Even though my second copy was older than the first, the performance was just as I remember. Happy to own it again.
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2017
Posts: 1

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 19, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $170.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Colour, Price
Cons: Build Quality, Inconsistent focus (at least my copy)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1   

Overall, it's a great lens for the price. Picked mine up for around 170USD (which is admittedly quite a steal). I'd recommend this as the first lens you get, if you get the full frame K-1. It makes for a great walkaround lens.

At f/1.6 (I haven't actually shot this lens wide open yet), it's already pixel sharp in the centre, and the corners are pretty decent, but it suffers from halation (soft glowy edges) that most 50 1.4s are prone to. At f//2.2 you could consider it sharp, throughout the frame already. Stop it down to f/4 and it's great. Somehow, it gets even sharper as you stop down further to about f/8. Haven't tested it past f/10 though.

Aberrations and fringing are pretty well controlled too.

I think I am unlucky, but my copy of the lens suffers from inconsistent focus. Worst of all is that it can't be corrected, because sometimes it's back focused, sometimes front, and sometimes on point. The misfocus is microscopic though, and hard to tell past f/2.2. There's a slight bit of play in the barrel which I'm sure isn't supposed to exist, so probably just a bad copy.

Compared to the Canon and Nikon 50 f/1.4, the Pentax is definitely inferior in terms of build quality and focus. The while the Pentax has a good weight to it, it still looks cheap, especially with the tiny rubber focus ring squeezed at the front of the lens. (It doesn't make manual focus hard, it just makes the lens feel low budget.)

Autofocus is fast enough for most uses, but is still slower, and definitely noisier than the Canon 50 1.4 I've used.

I guess those two are trade offs to make the Pentax 50 so much cheaper than the competition. For the price, it's definitely worth it.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2017
Location: Kiev
Posts: 7

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 25, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $210.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent luminous lens, with a beautiful aquarium bokeh! One of the best lenses in the ratio of price and quality.
Cons: Use very desirable with a protective lens hood. Without it, the lens collects a lot of parasitic lighting and glare. No waterproof and dustproof. The front lens is too close. And it's easy to get stained with your fingers. An inconvenient, narrow manual f
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

This is a very good lens! High aperture, beautiful aquarium bokeh, good sharpness and color transfer.
To use a lens I highly recommend with a blend. Without it, there will necessarily be problems with backlight, highlights, and photo contrast.
Portraits this lens perfectly! I advise everyone to have this lens in their collection.

Postscript: When writing a review about the lens, I noted that I recommend its "yes" for the acquisition. But after saving the message, it is automatically written "no", instead of "yes", which I wrote initially. I do not know what this is connected with. I can not fix it.







   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 1,062

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 18, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: bright and compact
Cons: build quality, flare resistance
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3II   

I got this lens for concert photos in smaller venues that are generally poorly lit. The relatively short focal length works well for this on apsc, and with a little care at f1.4 it still has enough depth of field to get usable results of artist+instrument not blurred into oblivion. Sure, you can get very blurry portraits when focusing very close, but for my needs I'd rather use f2.8 for greater dof if lighting would allow. AF is a little slower than my other screwdrive lenses, nonetheless precise and consistent, no complaints. Handling is nice because it's compact and light, but I'm taking some points off since it lacks quick shift.

It's softer and has less contrast compared to modern lenses, especially at f2.8 and larger; stopped down it's sharp though. Highlights, for example reflecting off of polished metal, have a nice glow, I like the look. Despite the relative softness, it is worth using in low light at f1.4. Compared to the DA limited 40mm under the same light and shot in RAW at ISO 3200, the final image quality is clearly better with this one because noise washes away any extra detail that the DA lens might have captured (f1.4 and ISO 3200 for the 50mm vs f2.8 and ISO compensated in pp from 3200 to 12800).
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: March 24, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, good autofocus a pleasure to use
Cons: small focus ring if manual focusing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K100d   

Like the previous reviewer, I picked mine up in Japan while on holiday for almost 50% of what it would have cost in Australia.
I have the Pentax M 50mm f1.4 so I was looking forward to comparing them. I felt that the lens had exactly the same image quality, but the convenience of the Autofocus and aperture control make me think that it is tme to say good bye to the old M 50mm the only time the M had any advantage was when I mounted them on an m4/3 camera for a test. The FA's small focus ring was no match from the M's big beautiful manual focus ring.
See review here:
https://youtu.be/TDfiIHZPwKQ
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 577

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 6, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light, sharp, colour rendering
Cons: AF sometimes hunts, some fringing
New or Used: New   

I like this lens. I was lucky enough to grab one here in Japan for a very good price in very good condition, and I've given it a good workout on my K-S2 over the last two weeks, including a whole afternoon's portrait shooting.
My first observation would be that this lens is still good at f1.4, it really is just a matter of nailing focus. Centre AF points on DSLRs are only optimised for f2.8, so it's important to remember that the camera may well not nail it every time. When it does, though, it's possible to take some ace portraits wide open with this lens. Stopped down it gets very sharp, and bokeh is still acceptable - blades aren't rounded, but there are plenty of them. Colours are Pentax perfect and personally I don't mind the lens being plastic - it keeps it nice and light as a combination with my K-S2, and I don't have any concerns about its build quality.

On the negative side, the AF does sometimes hunt if it can't grab onto a a really clear subject first time - my F50/1.7 exhibits the same behaviour, so I'm not going to single this one out for too much criticism. This lens, as you will read elsewhere, does also suffer with some fringing, but I have found it easy to remove in post.

Overall, this lens is worth it, although I wouldn't pay too much more than I did for it, especially as the DA50/1.8 is very very good for less.

f1.4:
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: December 16, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Really Sharp, Excellent Bokeh
Cons: Very thin DOF wide open
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-50   

I have the M version of this lens which I love but, it is nice also to be able to utilize auto focus and exposure at this aperture level. Glad I purchased and added to my collection.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 1,331

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $163.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, fast aperture, sharp stopped down, great bokeh if stopped down a little
Cons: A little soft W/O
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5, K-1   

This is one of the smallest fast 50s around and even fullframe.
Personally I don't mind the FA build (more than adequate but certainly far from being a Limited) and I really appreciate the compact size.

Its very sharp at f5.6. Although I sometimes use it wide open (still good images with a good hood), I most often use it at f2 - f5.6. I find that sharpness and contrast are significantly better at f2 (over f1.4) and good enough for most low light / shallow depth. Also I find that bokeh can be a little "edgy" at f1.4 and better at f2.

Definitely great value for money.

Samples (K-5):
UPDATE: I have now being using my FA50 on my K-1, and I have to say that the FA50 is an even happier combination on the K-1 due to:
  • Such a useful focal length now (very general purpose)
  • Details are better than i see on the K-5 (probably due to there being no low pass filter)
  • Autofocus is better (faster and quieter)

Samples (K-1):
   
Inactive Account

Registered: August, 2014
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 21, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: just perfect
Cons: no
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

This lens are perfect. Just need a big Hood to show what they really can do.




Exposure Time 1/125s (0.0080)
Aperture F/2.2
ISO Equivalent 100

Exposure Time 1/80s (0.013)
Aperture F/1.4
ISO Equivalent 200
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 4,857
Lens Review Date: March 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small, wide apperture
Cons: Really soft below f/2.8, unreliable AF except on K3
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5, then K3   

I brougth this lense new. It was my second AF prime after the DA35 f/2.4. I had it for 1 year more or less and now sold it.

This lense is a old fast 50 design. The great things is that stopped down (>=f/4) it is at sharp as it reasonably possible to get. The bokeh can be really great and the wide apperture allows for some creative effects.

And that all for the great things.

All in all you think you buy an AF f/1.4 lense, so it justify it's price toward the DA50 f/1.8 or M50 f/1.4....

Well not so much. Let say first the AF is working but is far from great on the K5. Wide apperture are nearly unusable maybe due to low contrast of the lense wide open. The practical outcome is that why AF work OK on the K3, on the K5 this is not great at all.

The f/1.4 is great for the bokeh and light gathering but the issue is that even what is focus is lacking contrast and sharpness. You need f/2 to have something usable and f/2.8 to have something okish. Only does at f/4 you get great pictures from this lense.

And even stopped down where it is really sharp, it still can have some purple frigging, and other aberations.

Don't think it is still a prime so it would beat all zooms. The 50-135 is better at 50mm and f/2.8... It is also even sharper even at f/5.6

The FA77 is another prime. Much more expensive, but also far better. I understand why people buy it. I loved the FA77 from the day I tried it. It is really fine, and performing very well. Since I had it, I never used my FA50 again and that why I sold it.

FA50 f/1.4 It is not bad, but the f/1.4 bring nothing to the table and the price is so unjustified. If you can get used for a bargain, that would be ok through.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2013
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 244

15 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 16, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $199.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast sharp great short portrait lens on cropped sensor
Cons: Takes skill to use
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3   

As another reviewer noted this is a lens that needs a lens hood to cut down on flare wide open. The contrast really goes up with a lens hood.

Purple fringing is not "chromatic aberration". We forget that light is electro - magnetic radiation. When light is bright enough the electric field can become so intense as to take optical elements out of the linear range and into the non-linear. Non linear elements cause frequency doubling and infra-red gets doubled into blue-purple visible light. Laser experimenters sometimes use this effect to double infra-red lasers into visible light. I suspect the optical element causing purple fringing is the optical cement used to glue lens elements together - although some glasses could go non-linear in bright light. In any case the Nikon 50 F1.4 is a much worse offender as far as purple fringing goes. Stopping down greatly reduces the purple fringing because it lowers the intensity of the light.

Others have noted focusing problems at f1.4; this is really operator error. While shake reduction handles left-right and up-down body motion, it can't do anything about the fact that the human body sways toward and away from the object we are photographing. Because of the shallow depth of field at f1.4 it doesn't take much sway for the actual taken shot to be focused off the subject even though the lens was focused when the indicator light lit.

Using any fast lens wide open - hand held - is a bit like firing a sniper rifle; breathing and heart beat matter, as does foot placement. If you are right eyed put your right foot forward, pigeon toe your feet in to lock in place. This will help turn your body sway to left right - which the shake reduction can handle - instead of to and fro - which it can't handle. Squeeze the 'trigger' instead of stabbing it. Bottom line: we can't blame a lens for our lack of shooting skill.

Because I use the single spot in the center to focus and then shift to compose, I have had to learn to see my body sway happening in the viewfinder and take the picture in rhythm with it. Remember the subject sways also.

Forget about live view wide open and hand held; the camera needs to be welded to the head for you to have a decent chance of hitting focus. I braced my elbows on the bar for this shot of bartender Kai taken with a K3 - iso 100 1/13 sec @ f1.4.

   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2014
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,177
Lens Review Date: January 6, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, durable
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

Probably the sharpest lens I own. I did a comparison between f1.7 Ricoh, f2 Ricoh and Pentax FA1.4. My conclusion is...from f2.8 through f8 all three lenses are just about the same in resolution and contrast. The Pentax was sharper below f2.8, even f1.4 the Pentax was sharper than the Richohs at maximum aperture. All lenses were usable wide open but the Pentax being better. I have added a link to show the difference from f1.4-f8. I shot the pictures at a slight angle to show dof and focused on the center "n". The pictures are 100% crop, shot .jpg at ISO 3200 with my K5. https://www.flickr.com/photos/24877856@N00/sets/72157651826063910/
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4



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