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

SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4

Sharpness 
 9.0
Aberrations 
 8.4
Bokeh 
 9.4
Autofocus 
 8.6
Handling 
 8.8
Value 
 9.3
Reviews Views Date of last review
158 478,549 Sat May 15, 2021
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $240.52 8.96
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
$346 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.
Variants

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 31-45 of 158
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 8
Lens Review Date: November 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: very sharp
Cons: some few CA's wide open
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k-x,k200,k2,sfx,z20p,mz5,mz-10   

what a nice lens with full glass elements.stopped down to f4, excellent sharp.

maybe that the modern edition give a few more of resolution contrast or color rendition.

but at this low price there is nothing comparative on the lens market.

very content with it. for converter use,too
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Paris
Posts: 1,931
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ
Cons: not as smooth as my Helios
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

I get this lens and resell after get my Helios 44M, this lens is sweet and faster (1.4) so if you want to shoot portrait in-door or want a super fast lens, this is for you
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 17
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $470.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: large aperture, small,sharp,
Cons: plastic,
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k-30,k-x   

I have this lens for 3 years and it is my most use lens. i use this lens for general purpose from portraits to landscapes. it is always in my bag on holidays trips parties. It is sharp from f2.0 but usable from 1.4. overall I am happy with this lens.



   
New Member

Registered: September, 2010
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $280.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: large aperture
Cons: very soft at f1.4
Sharpness: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

I'm very satisfied with this lens. I have bought it few years ago and used it with my K10D. Unfortunately the autofocus was very unaccurate, so it was unable to use it wide open. Bud the price at that time was simply wonderful

As long as I have K-30 I am very happy with this piece of glass. AF is very accurate now and if you stop it down to f1.8 or f2.0 even the sharpness increases to better values. The aperture has only 6 blades, so the bokeh is not as smooth as it could be. If you stop it only a little, the blades are only partly visible and your bokeh is still good enough. Nowadays it is my favourite portrait lens and moreover in combination with high ISO of K-30 you are able to take pictures in very hard conditions.
   
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 7

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 11, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Aperture ring, bokeh
Cons: Very noisy AF, AF difficult in normal indoor lighting conditions
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k-30   

I really have a hard time assessing this lens. I've had some really mixed results. At times I'm impressed and almost stunned by the sharpness but at other times I'm disappointed on how out of focus and dull my pictures end up being. I used it once for my daughter's indoor birthday party and was left with deleting half of them because the focus wasn't fast enough.

The small focus ring didn't bother me as much as how fast it moved. I don't mind manual focus but its really hard to do with this lens because the ring moves too easily-- with no smooth resistance.

The great sharpness usually came in bright outdoor conditions and not only when stopped down, as some others post.
I achieved this sharpness on the dog's nose at f1.4
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gregslr/11455175443

It does certainly get better stopped down as seen in this crop at f3.5
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gregslr/13177984034/in/photostream/

Here's a good example of the beautiful bokeh and that certain stylized look it sometimes provides
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gregslr/13178090453

I feel like I'm rating this too low, but I recently realized I only achieved good results when in bright outdoor conditions, which for me defeats the reason for having a fast 50mm. I do understand the unique "character" this lens can create but for less money I get that and better sharpness from my manual takumar 1.4 50mm.

I'm writing this after convincing myself to sell it. I'm torn because I will probably miss it. It just wasn't consistent enough.
   
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Queensland
Posts: 91
Lens Review Date: June 8, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Amazing brokeh
Cons:
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K10   

Great lens, great brokeh, great size, great for portraiture and worth having.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2011
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Posts: 4,438

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 31, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $330.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Small, Light, really sharp stopped down, decent price second hand, solid, fast focus, nice oof
Cons: Soft wide open, ugly, bad focus ring, no hood bayonet
New or Used: New   

It's a small, light but still solid lens. It feels quite compact and is built with quality plastics. The plastic design doesn't seem to affect the lens in use but the lens looks really ugly. The focus ring is narrow with no real friction, a bad design. The absence of any kind of hood bayonet makes screw in ones tho only option and a hood is important to protects the quite close front element.

It's quite soft wide open but gets really sharp stopped down. Colors are a bit muted compared to my DA* 55mm F1.4 but still good. Contrast increases from decent to good when stopping down. Out of focus areas are soft and nice.

It's an extremely fast focusing lens as the throw is relatively short, low friction and large aperture. Accuracy is not a problem.

The new prices seems to jump around a lot but the second hand prices are quite good, at least here in Sweden.

In short it's a good lens but nothing really special. It will do the job but it's not a lens that ever became a favorite for me.

Cold Bike by A.Sundell, on Flickr
Glittering tree by A.Sundell, on Flickr
Waiting tunnel by A.Sundell, on Flickr
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Posts: 631
Lens Review Date: May 30, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Light, Fast
Cons: Flares a bit, loud AF
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

Picked up a used copy locally, pleased with the results. Smooth bokeh, fast AF (Albeit loud indoors), and perfectly usable with a hood (Without it, you'll get some flaring at times).
   
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2008
Location: Nelson, BC
Posts: 37

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 27, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Bokeh, sharpness
Cons: Aesthetics
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5iis   

I wanted to write this review to complement this lens. I researched extensively and read many 50mm 1.4 vs 1.7 threads. Looking back, I now believe I over thought my purchase too much.

Now I may just have a good copy, but This lens is pretty damn sharp to me. I have a 40mm ltd and to my eye there isn't much difference.

It's bokeh is just awesome. If there is softness to this lens then the bokeh compliments it.

Here are some recent pics with the lens. Decent cross section of bokeh,isolation and colours.

Buy the lens. I feel it is terrific value.

   
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2012
Posts: 84

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 8, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $280.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Large aperture, FF coverage, color rendition
Cons: Plastic body, noisy AF, cheapo AF ring, no hood, no WR, narrow FOV on APS-C
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5, K-3   

Many people said that this lens is soft at 1.4. But I think it is mostly because of the very thin DOF and Pentax does not have very good AF bodies prior to K-5 II. If the focus is accurate, the sharpness is very good.

Wide-open, there may be glow in strong light environment, but that is not a big problem because we often need f/1.4 only in poor light situations.

The body of this lens is made from plastic, but it does not feel cheapy. In fact, it is solid and looks good when mounting on Pentax bodies. Anyway we should not expect to much from a consumer FA lens. For better build, we could go for FA limiteds which are more expensive.

Some people dislike the screw-drive AF. Yes it is noisy, but to me it is not a problem especially when using on K-3 which has a strong motor and then can improve the AF speed of this lens.

I like the "FA color rendition" of this lens which looks beautiful, at least to my eyes, with good saturation. In short, I am very happy shooting with this lens. I wish I could use it on Pentax FF bodies because on APS-C its FOV may not be wide enough for some normal shootings.

Below are some test shots at max. aperture (K-3).

1/


100% crop @ AF point


2/


100% crop @ AF point


Now are some field shots (K-5)

3/ @ f/1.4


4/ @ f/1.4


5/ @ f/1.8


6/ @ f/2.8


7/ @ f/2
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 4, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: f1.4 very useful in low light, sharp, size too small
Cons: Heavy (compare with size), front focus when close up.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

All is quite good.
useful for low light condition.
Issue : close subject is front focus. Far subject no problem.
I think above issue is lacking syncronize old lens 1990 & new body 2010.

Anywhere everything is quite good.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2014
Location: viking country
Posts: 276
Lens Review Date: January 15, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: size, f1.4, versatility, full frame
Cons: fiddly manual focus, soft(ish) until f4, needs hood
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

The thing with this lens is that sometimes it blows me away with wonderfully sharp pictures but then you open it up and it doesn't impress me with that any more. I could rate this lens anywhere between a 5 and a 10 on sharpness. To clarify I think that the sharpness from 1.4 - 2.5 is about the same as with the kit 18 - 55 lens, after that it starts picking up momentum so around 4 it is as good as many other primes and at f5.6 - 8 it can compete with the best lenses on the market. Since I use this lens for alot more than bokeh,bokeh and bokeh I give it a high rating here.

here is a 30 second exposure I took at f5.6


and here is the crop of the area in focus


But - you buy a 1.4 lens for the ability either to shoot with amazing bokeh or in low light situations otherwise you could just go for a much cheaper 1.7 or 2.0 but don't worry this lens got loads of bokeh and it handles low light very well.

at f1.4 cloudy day inside no artificial lights


at f1.4 in front of a christmas tree with different color lights


at f2.8 I think you have a great compromise between bokeh and sharpness - this was shot without a lens hood, unfortunatley I don't have a comparison with the hood on.


on the plus side, even if the lens is soft at f1.4 people won't notice it very well because of the nice bokeh on everything else.

On the negative this lens really needs a hood to work, I currently have the square plastic one, and it really, really sucks. I end up not using it at all many times because I can't attach it to my CPL and the fit on my B+W nano is so snug I can barely get it in place. So since it is now -10C (15F) where I live, I do not want to take my gloves off and fiddle for over a minute just to get the lens hood on. I strongly recommend that you buy the rubber hood, I know I have got one coming my way...

Bottom line is that the lens is great, very versatile and sharp as hell when you want it to be. Also, do NOT forget that this is a full frame lens, and if pentax does not drop their K-mount with the arrival of their first dSLR full frame this will be one very sought after lens.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 963
Lens Review Date: October 1, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $220.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Full of film-like character. Classic look
Cons: Lacks clinical sharpness below f/5.6
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-X   

If your primary reason for acquiring this lens is sharpness at all aperture, this lens will disappoint.

It only achieves clinical sharpness starting at f/5.6, and it will require a hood to hit that mark. Its bokeh is creamy f2.8 and below, but that is quite expected for a fast lens of this price. It acquires focus easily, but the thinness of the DOF will make f/1.4 a hit-and-miss affair. Unfortunately, the focus ring is not as good as it should have been, thin and dampening is definitely not up to FA-Limited standard. At contrasty lighting condition, purple fringing becomes a real problem as well.

With (almost) all the negatives said, this lens has character, and full of it. Something that the DA Limiteds sorely lack. It gives film-like aura and color to images, especially when taken under low light. Yes, it's not sharp, but this lens will tell you nicely that sharpness as the lone measure to a lens' greatness is overrated.

At the end of the day, this lens is a must-have for photographers who will appreciate a lens character more than the much-hyped sharpness.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 306
Lens Review Date: September 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Colors,contrast,sharpness,f1.4 usable
Cons: Much front focus,no lens hood,f1.4-f2 not so sharp
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

Good lens!
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Burnt Store Marina, Punta Gorda, Fl
Posts: 16

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 12, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast , sharp and bright. Good for portraits.
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: PZ1P / K5   

I was at at Sunday afternoon photo equipment show in Wayne N.J. Had a PZ1p film camera at the time. Spotted this lens on a sellers table. In the box with nice case. The case was marked F1.8. I thought it was new. Seller told me he never used it and that is why he was selling it. He was asking $125. I offered $75; he rejected it. I came back at closing. He still had it and took the $75. While I don't use it as a walk around lens I carry it with me for low light, portraits and when I want an extra sharp result. The best part it turned out to be the SA 50mm F1.4. What a bonus. It is still "like new".
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4



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