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HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW Review RSS Feed

HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW

Sharpness 
 10.0
Aberrations 
 9.2
Bokeh 
 9.8
Autofocus 
 9.5
Handling 
 9.3
Value 
 9.3
Reviews Views Date of last review
26 49,871 Fri March 6, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $1,085.78 9.79
HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW

HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW
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HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW
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HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW
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HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW
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Description:

The HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW is a professional full-frame prime lens designed to deliver impeccable image quality for today's demanding cameras.  It is the first star-series full-frame prime lens of the digital era.

The HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW covers the full frame (24x36mm) format. On APS-C it works like a short telephoto lens.  It features the latest KAF4 lens mount*, which incorporates electromagnetic aperture control.  In addition, this is the first Pentax lens to use a ring-type autofocus motor which delivers significantly more torque than previous SDM motors.

*  Cameras compatible with this system are K-1 Mark II, K-1, K-3 II, KP, K-70, K-3, K-S2, K-S1 and K-50. For K-1, K-3 II, K-3, K-S2, K-S1 and K-50, the camera’s firmware must be upgraded to the latest version. If this lens is mounted on a camera without proper firmware upgrade, its diaphragm control mechanism becomes inactive, making it impossible to obtain correct exposure.

Originally unveiled in February, 2017, the lens hit the market in July, 2018.


HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades (rounded)
Optics
15 elements, 9 groups
Mount Variant
KAF4
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F1.4
Min. Aperture
F16
Focusing
AF (in-lens motor)
SDM
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
40 cm
Max. Magnification
0.18x
Filter Size
72 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 32 ° / 27 °
Full frame: 47 ° / 40 °
Hood
PH-RBB72 (included)
Case
S100-140 (included)
Lens Cap
O-LC72 (included)
Coating
Aero Bright II,HD,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes (AW)
Other Features
AF/MF Switch
Diam x Length
80 x 106 mm (3.1 x 4.2 in.)
Weight
910 g (32.1 oz.)
w/ Hood: +45g
Production Years
2018 to present (in production)
Pricing
$1096 USD current price
Engraved Name
HD Pentax-D FA* 1:1.4 50mm SDM AW
Product Code
21260
Reviews
User reviews
In-depth review
Notes
Rated to work from -10C (14F) to 40C (104F) and in up to 85% humidity

Features:
Supersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedInternal FocusingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame Support
Purchase: Buy the HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW
In-Depth Review: Read our HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW in-depth review!



Add Review of HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW Buy the HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 26
New Member

Registered: May, 2017
Posts: 12

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 6, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros:
Cons:
New or Used: New   



   
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2018
Location: Telemark
Posts: 43

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 8, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, nice colors, good autofocus, not too large
Cons: Sorry but still K-1 and the new 50 is not a great autofocus system
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

It's a brilliant lens. But on Pentax forums with Pentax people everything Pentax is always +25% of actual performance.

Don't misunderstand, this lens is brilliant and well suited to all types of photography. I like the size, FF lenses can be beasts, but as other Pentaxians says: "it balances nicely with the K-1", and thats true.

The autofocus is better than most Pentax lenses. But I also use other systems and the autofocus isn't great, but good.

I wish the near focus limit was 30 cm instead of 40 cm. The colors are excellent. You don't get that vintage look of course, but you get beautiful colors that are easy to work with. I used this lens along with a bunch of other quality lenses to photograph gear for a company and after putting all the files into lightroom I saw quickly that this lens and the 70-200 stood above the rest in what were quite similar shots. One of the other lenses I used was Sigma 35 mm f/1.4 art. And while this is also a great and slightly wider lens, the 50 mm just made better photos. I guess it's a combo of color rendition, sharpness and autofocus. For me, although yes different focal ranges, it's better than the 35mm sigma art, which is a brilliant lens.

I also own the Pentax 43 mm lens which is a fantastic lens. This is slightly sharper than both the 43 and 77 as expected, but the colors and 3d effect of the limited lenses make them still relevant for me. They're also more portable. But shooting in low light with the poor autofocus of the limited lenses is difficult.

I have 1200 shots with the new 50 and look forward to having more.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 673

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 31, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing quality picture making ability
Cons: price, but it is worth it

The DFA 50mm 1.4 is a fantastic lens, more than capable of making my most uninspiring shots even have some pixie dust. The photos with shallow depth of field have the most lovely bokeh. The resolving power means this lens can easily act as a telephoto just by cropping down as the quality is there. Yes, it is a heavy lump of glass but when using it on the K1 it never felt heavy, certainly when I picked up the camera bag I felt the weight , however it is well balanced in the hand. The odd filter size of 72mm means I will most likely just use the 77mm filters with a step down ring. The hood works well and reverses nicely for storage. Every time I took a photo and examined it with this lens, the result was better than I expected , there is something magical about it. The only other lens I have that does that is the F*300mm 4.5. Sometimes a lens just works right and this 50mm is one of those. Is it value for money? I think so and it is staying in the bag full time from now on.
green dog by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr
saw painter crop by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr
sunset stitch by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr
dahlia by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr
   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Posts: 7,409
Lens Review Date: January 7, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros: Everything except the size
Cons: Size, some CA

As stated in the in-depth review, this lens heralds a new generation of high-performances, no compromises lenses.

Apart from some CA, there is literally nothing to complain about from an optical standpoint. Images have all the pop and clarity of the best that Pentax can offer, sharpness is stellar, AF is a step above everything else on K-mount. The comparison review with the Rokinon 50mm and DA*55mm show just how good this new 50 really is.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 6,439
Lens Review Date: December 23, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, silent, bokeh
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-1/K-1ii   

I remain ambivalent about this lens. I have purchased and sold it and then repurchased. As the photos posted here show it makes excellent images. But there is a cost and that is the size, weight and price. I also have the old DA*55 which vignettes a bit on FF, hesitates sometimes when focusing and occasionally shows some color fringing. But that lens is small and light compared to the DFA and usually will produce images that are almost as good as the DFA. I intend to keep working with and learning about the DFA but I find I grab the DA* more often. Best positive is it is an outstanding modern lens made by Pentax so we should encourage them by buying it if it is in our budget and we need a modern lens of this quality.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2018
Posts: 21
Lens Review Date: November 19, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $899.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, bokeh
Cons: CA
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K1   

Very nice lens, very cost-effective compared to the Canon RF50 and Panasonic 50/1.4. A shot that Pentax K1 users can't miss
   
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Prague
Posts: 1,199

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 4, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: simply amazing
Cons: only available for K-mount

I thought I do not need this lens.
I had FA*85, FA35 and DFA50/2,8 as fast primes and adding another 50mm was not in my plan.
I used to have FA50/1,4 which I sold, because it was quite disappointing.
I tried A*50/1,2 and DA*55 borrowed from my friends and while these were a lot better, I did not think I needed those.
Then another friend borrowed me this lens and I was immediately fascinated by it.
Before, I thought he was crazy for buying it, because 50mm so expensive and heavy made no sense to me. But then I understood and ordered my own.
On K-1 body this lens seems adequate is size and for me being used to DFA24-70 it does not feel too heavy.
The AF works like nothing else I tried in the Pentax realm, precise and fast. Even at f1.4 I can use AF expecting to have about 2/3 of photos usable and about 1/4 in perfect focus. That is not possible with FA*85. This lens does miracles shooting little children, which I do most of the time lately.
Stopped down it's as sharp as the other DFA50, which I regarded as my sharpest lens.
It's not an APO, but the fringing is pretty limited compared to for example the FA*85. Even in the bokeh.
Quite simply a brilliant lens. I only regret it does not come in EF mount, my wife would appreciate lens like this for her Canon.
   
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2013
Posts: 169

11 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 9, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything apart from the Negative Aspects
Cons: Weight and Size
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: APSC KP   

There have been some reviews lately about this lens (here and at dpreview). I find these review mostly not capturing what such a lens is about. Very technical and generic discussions.

If you need a wide aperture normal lens, this is a great option. The lens is a beautiful lens. The handling makes you like to handle it. None of the older lenses compares to it. The bokeh is magical.

A few images, mostly wide open.

















   
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2019
Location: Elyria, Ohio
Posts: 76
Lens Review Date: April 8, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $996.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Incredibly Sharp
Cons: Don't know yet
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

https://flic.kr/p/2e4T9ya
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2018
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 19

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 8, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, solid, silent.
Cons: Heavy, lacking manual aperture ring.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-1ii   

Behold the beast! This lens is a tool from another world (I haven't tried ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 yet, so I can't really say the last word, but...). I got it on December and I used it a while during my holiday in Italy, but I realized it does not let handle itself easily as other lenses or like I expected (beside not being me a frequent 50mm user and having some issue with this angle of view - I prefer 28~30mm or beyond 60mm). So, I am giving it time to grow on me. It is a cold, merciless perfection delivering machine that knows no compromises. You need to have a god-like pre-visualizing skill of what you are doing AND your subject need to be flawless, or it will teach you all the misery and imperfection of material existence. Particularly at f1.4. It gathers so much detail that nor you nor any viewer can actually enjoy it if not cropping the image to get close to the individual pixels. It just stay hidden into the image and it provides it a mystic glow/patina of beauty.The same single-point autofocus of K1 is unfit IMO to handle its precision: I mean, you have to decide between the pupil or few millimeters away from the eyelid...and you can't, because the small square pointer is too large and you do not know what it will end up choosing for you! We could really enjoy a sound focusing system on K-1 like in Hasselblad! Jokes aside, when you start getting handy and you nail it, there you get the bee's knees... the big-bang of beauty perfection. I am pretty sure no model will like this lens... human appearance is too fallacious to afford facing a portrait with it lightheartedly. As said, it has its learning curve (a long one) to use it and to understand what it can/will do before you fire the shutter, but it delivers the incredible. A bit low on contrast/saturation, perhaps, for my tastes...? Sometimes with an interesting green glow/halo from longitudinal chromatic aberration on the subject under certain situations (but you have to dive into the image to see it). It seems to me to be a characteristic of Pentax lenses (and one I like much).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveactionhero/32617959167/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveactionhero/40594521793/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveactionhero/40594522193/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveactionhero/46370565764/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveactionhero/40152630243/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveactionhero/40152630243/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveactionhero/46128064615/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveactionhero/46368851535/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveactionhero/40310850713/in/dateposted-public/
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2018
Posts: 5

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 3, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Almost everything
Cons: big and heavy, a small amount of chromatic ab green/red/purple at wide apertures and high contrast transitions
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K1   

Unbelievable lens - the best lens I've ever shot (and I've shot a *lot* of lenses from the 1950's era to current). This is a quick shot of my cat (overcast day even). F1.6, quick autofocus. I'm going to have to sell my 1950 Zeiss 58mm Biotar and my 50mm f1.4 8 element Takumar. Pentax + Tokina really did an amazing job building a cost-is-no-object world class lens - Happy 100th birthday Pentax! Check out the sharpness and out of focus and completely natural color. Slight foreground chromatic aberration in the metal grid in front of the cat's paws:



Overall after comparing results, this new 50mm is better than the 1950 Zeiss 58mm f2 Biotar, the 1964 50mm f1.4 8 element Tak and the 1970s era 50mm f4 Macro Tak which I also currently own. Sharpness is great on all when stopped down but the improvement is most obvious at the tougher wider apertures f2.8 and below, chromatic aberrations are good in all (sometimes very slightly worse in the newest one) but contrast is always best on the new 50 by varying margins depending on how close to the sun you shoot. While flare can be used for creative artistic shots and be superior in those cases, in general I avoid it and of course it can be added in post but not easily taken away. Autofocus, weather sealing and the coatings are the biggest areas of improvement when comparing to these similar focal length lenses from the past 70 years. Size and weight have gotten steadily worse so if you are backpacking, take the 1950 Zeiss 58mm f2 which is a tiny jewel of a lens with great results if not shooting into the sun. The flare difference in images (all shot at f4 with sun just outside upper right frame with a lens hood):

2019 Pentax 50mm f1.4 HD AW

1950 Zeiss 58mm f2


1964 Takumar 50mm f1.4 8 element


1970's Takumar 50mm f4 Macro 1:2 (Tessar)


The above is a stress test to show the biggest optical differences as the lens options have gotten better (flare), but as I mentioned, the size and weight of equivalent focal length lenses has grown enormously. The 1950 Zeiss 58mm is an early tiny M42 mount jewel that you can hide in your fist and is great for low weight and has gorgeous results when not shooting so close into the sun and when stopping down. Check out the natural color and fantastic sharpness in this sample shot with the oldie (based on the serial number, I think this lens was made in the East German area after the war just as the Cold War was beginning and was built using parts eventually rescued by the Russians from the Dresden factory after the war. The Allies had bombed it in the infamous Dresden bombing. Interestingly, I bought this lens from a guy in Russia - via Ebay): 1950 58mm Biotar f2



crop of bird in photo above (sharper Raw, this is a JPEG): 1950 58mm Biotar f2


Update: I kept the 1950 f2 Biotar 58mm for its portability to complement the 50mm 1.4 FA D. I also kept my 300mm f4 which is a very very nice Pentax lens that I've sent in and had repaired when the autofocus failed. I sold all my other lenses on Ebay.
   
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2018
Posts: 220

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Outstanding Compression, Beautiful Bokeh, Smooth Focusing
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-1II   

With the exception of size and weight (which is entirely subjective), this is a FANTASTIC lens that has exceeded all my expectations. The center sharpness of this lens at f/1.4 is incredible. Beautiful compression and the Bokeh is perfectly round (no hexagons, cats eyes, etc.) and creamy. Lovely colors and contrast.

In certain settings in bright light, some slight CA at f/1.4. Nothing egregious and easily addressed in Lightroom.

Focusing is smooth and quiet. It's not going to win any races, but it won't leave you frustrated and annoyed. Calibration was needed with my lens/body combination.

f/1.4


f/2.2


f/4


f/5.6
   
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2007
Location: Toronto/Victoria
Posts: 265

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 4, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,050.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Outstanding IQ, beautifully constructed, good AF
Cons: Relatively large and heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-1   

This is close to a reference quality lens. It is designed to excel at wide apertures where traditional 50mm lenses might struggle to produce good contrast and to a lesser extent good sharpness. Both weaknesses are mostly gone with this new lens. However you need to be careful because of the shallow DOF, which combined with a bit of LoCA can produce purply/green halos around bright out of focus objects. However, you need to really push the lens at F1.4 to see this. The colours are very punchy compared to traditional Pentax lenses.

I would say from a pure sharpness perspective, the FA50/2.8 Macro is almost as good. However, it has drawbacks such as a very sharp-edged 8-blade aperture, more blue/red CA, and finicky focus near infinity.

The DFA*50/1.4 is almost absurdly large; I think it's literally the size/weight/cost of 4-5 FA50/1.4 lenses or 2-3 DA*55/1.4 lenses. However, in addition to better IQ in all respects, it also has better AF (confident and quiet), and manual focus feel (similar to the DFA*70-200). The filter diameter is also a big step up to 72mm; compare against 58mm of the DA*55/1.4 and 49mm of the FA50/1.4.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 2,667

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 10, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,098.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: scary sharp; creamy bokeh; beautifully built
Cons: heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K1   

The impossible lens! When the first 1:1 images popped up on my computer screen from my first outing with this lens, I physically jumped. Wow, I never realised a photo could be that sharp. And when I scanned across to the edges, nothing changed. They are just as good! I didn't bother checking for front or back focus, as it was clearly spot-on.

And the bokeh is to-die-for. Creamy-smooth, perfectly accentuating the sharpness of the subject.

The autofocus is very accurate and fast. It didn't miss once (other than due to my own error). I haven't tried it yet with AF.S and targets moving toward me.

Colours seem consistent with other good Pentax lenses. Nothing to complain about there.

The only aberration I have noticed is some purple fringing in a few wide-open shots of out-of-focus dark features against a bright background. It is easily removed in post-processing, though unusually simply clicking the "Remove Chromatic Aberration" button in Lightroom doesn't do the job; I need to go to manual and use the slider. I don't know if this is a problem with the LR profile for this lens.

f/1.4 (575x419 crop)


Despite its heft, this is a lens that every Pentax shooter should aspire to .... unless they don't want to be spoiled.

Sorry, I don't have any portraits of dogs.

These are from my first proper outing with the lens, walking around the arcades and alleyways of Melbourne.

f/3.2 (click for flickr, and then click again for zoom)


f/3.2 (heavily cropped 893x1013; see thumbnail for full frame)
.

f/6.3 (click)


f/1.8 (click)


f/1.8 (click)


f/2 (click and zoom on the lady in the red dress to see how she pops from the mildly oof background)


f/2 (click)


f/8 (click)


f/8 (click for flickr and click again to zoom; notice sharpness across the frame from bottom to top)
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 151

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 21, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Rendition, Bokeh, WR, AF
Cons: Weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K1   

Only reason why i cant give it a 10 is the weight. After using it for coupe of hours with K1, i had to rest for sometime before resuming. Apart from that, this lens is a gem. The first thing that i love about this lens is AF.. in my experience, no other pentax lens was as fast as this one.

Heavily cropped image
Add Review of HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW Buy the HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW



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