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

SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.7

Sharpness 
 9.8
Aberrations 
 9.3
Bokeh 
 9.2
Autofocus 
 9.3
Handling 
 9.4
Value 
 9.9
Reviews Views Date of last review
38 231,687 Fri October 18, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $178.09 9.61
SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.7

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

Description:
This is a fast, compact standard lens.

SMC Pentax-FA 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
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F1.7
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
170 g (6 oz.)
Production Years
1991 to 2004
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:1.7 50mm
Product Code
20907
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
Various hoods with 49mm thread will fit
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.7
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 38
New Member

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 3

7 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 11, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $270.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, speed autofocus, bokeh,...
Cons: Plastic, to find something.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Kr   

This lens is extraordinary. Nothing to complain about.
A must for the portrait.

Sharpness at f5.6


Bokeh at f1.7


More examples here
   
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Ajman, United Arab Emirates
Posts: 55

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 3, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $280.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Clear, sharp look, not arsty.
Cons: Plastic finish, not the plastic itself. Fiddly, older type front cap is flimsy.
Sharpness: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

My first 50mm lens was/is a Pentax Super-Takumar 50 mm f/1.4 (M42 screwmount) lens. That lens is arsty, not soft like others say.

This lens is sharp (too clear at times if you prefer artsy). It's not artsy like the Super-Takumar 50 mm f/1.4. It looks and feels plasticky, but it's strongly built.

Samples (JPEG quality was set to vibrant)











Laid back at ZanziBar, Kempinksi Beach, Ajman, UAE


























   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 317

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 8, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Corner Sharp Wide Open, very usable wide open, AF lock is confident.
Cons: The bokeh against its 1.4 cousin. AF isn't always correct.

The rare FA 50mm F/1.7

She can produce some pretty nice corner sharp results wide open.. which is this lenses primary appeal I suppose. However when the time came to move from the FA to the DA, the 6 aperture blades of the 1.7 didn't quote produce the bokeh effect of the 8 blades in the 1.4.. thus the 1.7 was discontinued. Wide open (both at 1.8) she is sharper than the 1.4 but lacks the bokeh.

This was taken with the 1.7 at F1.8


This was taken with the 1.4 at F1.8


The 1.4 produces a better Bokeh while the 1.7 is sharper in focus.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Vermont
Posts: 922

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 23, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, quick focus, fast
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

Truly an amazing lens. I actually sold my DA 50 1.8 to get this lens and I am happy I did. Focusing seems to be more precise, quieter, and locks focus with more confidence than the DA 1.8. Too bad this one is so rare. It is, in my opinion the best 50 1.7/1.8 autofocus lens Pentax has made.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2010
Location: New Berlin, WI
Posts: 519

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 16, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast
Cons: prone to flare
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5, K-3   

Very good 50mm f/1.7 from Pentax.

It may lack a little bit of contrast wide open but it surely is a very capable lens. It's sharp, bokeh is good and the autofocus is accurate.

If you do not have a fast 50mm lens yet and are looking for a big step up in IQ and depth of field control from your kit lens, this FA50 f/1.7 will make you happy.


@f/2.2 with PP in Lightroom


@f/2.2 with PP in Lightroom
   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 514

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 13, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $175.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp! Quick focus, fast, Monet masterpiece bokeh
Cons: hard to find, Monet masterpiece bokeh

I will never sell this lens. Wonderful performance all around. Useful focal length. This is the lens on my camera by default. Love it. Only comes off when I need zoom versatility or longer focal length.

The color saturation is very satisfying and the sharpness is consistant through the entire aperture range from edge to edge of the frame. You just have to learn to manage the depth of field to master it.

The bokeh is the debate for this lens. It renders out of focus backgrounds like a Monet painting. It is not creamy smooth, but neither is it harsh and distracting in most conditions (wide open it can be a tad obnoxious). I like it a lot. The rendering is very unique in that people have at first glance mistaken some of my portrait work for paintings rather than photographs. I don't know if that's good or not, but it makes for interesting discussions and its pictures get attention & generate more work for me. That says something.

Frankly, I like the bokeh a lot for it's uniqueness and for the fact that background often sets the stage giving context to a scene. Creamy smooth color transitions can make an exciting portrait into a plain picture. Besides, if you find it a bit harsh, a little software work can fix it in a snap, however it's significantly more difficult to bring definition out of a background that is too soft.
   
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 233

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 12, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $155.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast. Super Sharp Wide Open. Light. Autofocus.
Cons: none

I have owned so many 50mm's (and multiple samples of almost all of them). The M1.4, M1.7, A1.7, FA1.4, DFA2.8 as well as numerous 3rd party 50's.

This one is the best.

Wide open, this lens will beat any 1.4 in terms of sharpness up to f2.8. After that, it is about even. This lens is a bit cooler in color than the 1.4, but I like that. Some prefer the bokeh produced by the 8-blade 1.4, but I personally think the 1.7 still renders out of focus beautifully.

Compared to the DFA 50mm f2.8 Macro, it is about the same in terms of center sharpness. The macro has the added benefit of excellent corner and edge sharpness. However, the macro is a large lens (almost double in size and weight) and it is slower. The macro is much more a special purpose lens.

Optical formula-wise, all the 1.7's are almost the same. The F and FA have autofocus, and life is just a bit easier with autofocus. However I have found the FA version to perform even better than the M and the A versions. The reason for this is that the FA1.7 and the FA1.4 are identical in size. (Normally the 1.4's are larger lenses). This results in the FA1.7 having a recessed front element almost like some macro lenses. (It is quite a bit recessed). The result is a built-in hood effect which helps increase sharpness and contrast even without a hood. In fact, this is one of very few lenses where adding a hood only gives a very marginal improvement. I'm not sure about the F version (I think it is also similar).

This lens took me a very long time to find (thanks Tom! for giving me a great deal), but of all the 50's definitely my favorite.
   
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 47

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 27, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $139.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Fast AF, DOF scale
Cons: Lack of quick shift, plastic
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

This is my second copy of the lens. The first was sold after getting the 70mm Limited lens. I regretted that decision and finally picked up another one of these gems.

Fantastic lens, great performance with its sharpness, contrast, bokeh, fast screwdrive AF (on a K-5), great colors, lightweight and non-intimidating to a subject, etc. Just a great lens.

Notes:
Front element does not rotate when focusing, but the focus ring itself does rotate during AF. Fortunately, it is easy to avoid contact. No quick shift adjustment after autofocus

This lens actually has a usable depth of field scale for hyper focusing and maximizing DOF. Adjust for a APSC sensor if needed.

I picked up the 49mm screw-in Asahi Takumar lens hood designed for the 135/150/200mm lenses. It is deep and dark, eliminating lights from getting in from the sides and affecting the image. Even though the hood seems long, on a APSC sensor there is no vignetting from the hood. Find them online (here?) for less than USD $15 in great condition.

If this lens had WR sealing, additional (rounded) aperture blades, and a quiet DC style motor, it would be a nearly perfect lens. As is, it is still a great lens. Perhaps the D FA* 50mm will pack all of the features…

If you see this lens, pick it up. You will not be sorry.
---
Pics with the Asahi Takumar lens hood attached


   
New Member

Registered: May, 2017
Location: Kiev
Posts: 12

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 25, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness, already starting from the diaphragm 2,0. A small and not a heavy lens. Beautifully removes in various genres (and portraits and objects and nature).
Cons: No waterproof and dustproof. Modern coating the glass lens, now began to do much better. Without the use of a lens hood, this lens can collect many highlights (although not as much as 50 1.4).
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

For its value, it's a great lens! Photographing with this lens is best if you use it with a blend. Otherwise, the contrast of the photograph deteriorates. And you can collect a lot of highlights. With the blonde, everything is very good! Good sharpness begins already with a diaphragm 2,0. And with a diaphragm 4, the lens has the most good parameters.
In comparison with 50 1,4. , This lens has better sharpness on open diaphragms. Boke is different from him. U 50 1.7, bokeh more torn and expressive. And at 50 1.4 bokeh has a watercolor blur.
I have both of these lenses. Photos from each of them, like me in their own way.

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.


   
New Member

Registered: September, 2015
Posts: 2

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, fast, great colors and bokeh, lightweight.
Cons: none, maybe plastic body is a little unattractive
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax ist DS   

Best normal lens from Pentax, sharp and fast focusing. Sharper than the FA50mm f1.4, is overall preferable if f1.7 is enough fo you.

Great lens overall, beats other famous lenses also one the value side.

Absolutely recommended!

   
New Member

Registered: May, 2014
Posts: 1

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 16, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $102.50 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: ultra sharp, small, fast focus, low light, bokeh
Cons: CA, hard to find one
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K50   

I bought mine on ebay. It was stated as mint but at the arrival there were several fungus threads between elements. Unfortunately after disassembling the lens I found that front and back elements are factory sealed and fungus can't be removed. Even plastic part of the front element was damaged. Anyway I killed the threads using concentrated sunlight, I washed each parts in medical alcohol and it stopped spreading. I'm not a professional photographer but it isn't influencing the image quality and I can shoot insanely sharp and good pictures.

Overall it's a really good value. I hesitated between F1.4 and F1.7. Maybe I'll invest in a F1.4 later but right now I'm satisfied with its sharpness, low light shots and bokeh.

You don't need to close aperture for sharpness because it's sharp at 1.7. But at 2.8 it goes insanely sharp even at the edges.

Fungus at front element:


It was a surprise at cleaning. Force damage on plastic of the front element:


After this shock I'm still satisfied with the results:






Taken at night (no additional lighting) on f1.7 ISO 3200 1/10s:
   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2014
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,647

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 17, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $129.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, smooth, Bokeh, Fast AF
Cons: Plastic, weak focusing ring
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-5 IIs   

I had this lens for about 2 months and was wondering what everybody was raving about. The lens seemed sharp enough especially at long distances but I was not really impressed. I also own the DA 50 1.8, but I wanted something a little better in the 50mm range which is about a 75mm equivalent on my K-5 IIs. The other day I decided to test this lens against my manual 8 element 50mm f1.4 Takumar lens.

I could not believe how much sharper my Takumar lens was and this at every single aperture ! I wondered what the heck the reviewers were talking about, or that maybe I got a bad copy ?

While testing this lens, that's when I noticed that everything that was a few inches behind my subject was in sharp focus, but my main subject was slightly out of focus. I tried closing down the lens, but unfortunately, that did not work. That's when I decided to try my hand at Fine Focusing. This is the first time I had to do this for any of my lenses.I adjusted my lens all the way up to +10 to bring it up to speed. When I was done, the difference was like night and day !

Right now I can say that I'm a happy camper. This lens renders more smoothly than my DA 50mm f1.8(and is quite a bit sharper) and less clinical than some of my more expensive lenses. I would not hesitate using it on portraits. The colors are not dramatic, but very accurate and clean. Again great for portraits on an APS-C camera. The Bokeh is not bad either, not as good as my Takumar 50mm which is the King of Bokeh, but pleasing enough.

Instead of sitting in my bag, now I have a lens I can trust and be happy with in a variety of situations...
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 3

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 26, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, light, fast
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K1 (FF)   

For me, the best for my Pentax K1 in trekking, small, light, with a FA100mm F:2.8 macro in the Backpack, and a FA28mm F:2.8 AL.

   
New Member

Registered: October, 2014
Posts: 14

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 26, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Definicion, contraste, color, bokeh
Cons: flare, reflejos indeseados
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k50, k5, k200   

Gran rendimiento, desenfoque monstruoso (hasta algo molesto en ocasiones). Versatil (para ser un 50), liviano, pequeño. La construccion no esta mal, mejora a bastante de la serie FA. La unica gran contra es el flare con el sol de contra. Esta definitivamente mal resuelto en ese sentido y hace imprescindible el uso de parasol (no incluido) para poder trabajar con el sol presente. el elemento optico tan cerca del borde externo hace que se filtren luz y eso termina perjudicando la imagen que toma la camara.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 3,718

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 29, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very sharp, fast, compact design
Cons: Plastic feel
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-7   

This lens is very sharp and I am very impressed, especially considering its cheap price. The plastic feel is obvious but should not be a deterrent IMO because the lens has a lot to offer.

When I was first looking for a fast 50mm lens, I considered the FA50mm f1.4 but felt that the photographs were a bit soft. So I bought a Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 and I love it. 3 years later, I bought the FA50mm f1.7 because I was curious (LBA). Hence my comparison may be biased because I tested the FA50mm f1.7 against the VL58mm f1.4.

The verdict: Overall and independently of price, the VL58mm f1.4 is a clear winner, but not be that far. Hence I rate the FA50mm f1.7 as 8/10 overall. But ... if I consider the price (the VL58mm costs more than twice the price of the FA50mm f1.7), the comparison is much closer and an overall rating of 8.5/10 would be fairer for the FA50mm f1.7.

EDIT - Since I bought also the Pentax A50mm f1.2 (LBA). Thus I have now three fast 50mm lenses.

The VL58mm is faster and I prefer its colour rendition. But the FA50mm f1.7 is as sharp IMHO. The photographs are tack sharp, and sharper IMHO than the FA50mm f1.4. The sharpness is possibly one of the most important asset of the FA50mm f17 and it is very important to me. The AF is fast. The lens is very compact and light. It is a pleasure to use it on my K-7. The FA50mm f1.7 suffers from the plastic feel, compared to the all-metallic VL58mm f1.4. The colour rendering is disappointing with the FA50mm f1.7, especially compared to the VL58mm f1.4, but also compared to the A50mm f1.2.

In summary I may be biased for the VL58mm f1.4, and to some extent to the A50mm f1.2 for its speed, but I am not too disappointed by the FA50mm f1.7. I can recommend it highly for someone on a budget, or anyone who dares to have a different lens!
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.7



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