Mar 27, 2016
Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8
The 50mm focal length has long been considered a sweet spot in the photography world. Many cameras in the film days came equipped with a 50mm lens by default, and this focal length continues to be a popular choice today. 50mm lenses are commonly referred to as "normal lenses", since the magnification seen in the viewfinder is close to the size the naked eye sees.
Most brands offer many choices in the 50mm range and Pentax is no exception. With the FA 50mm F1.4, D FA 50mm macro, DA* 55mm, (and even the FA 43mm limited if we stretch things a bit), there is no lack of options. Legacy autofocus lenses, like the ubiquitous F 50mm F1.7, are also viable alternatives. This is not surprising, as it is very easy to create a pretty good 50mm lens from an optical design perspective.
DA 50mm F1.8 lens with lens cap mounted
However, many of these lenses are quite expensive. The big players in the industry all offer a very inexpensive, modern version of the 50mm design. Pentax responded in 2012 with the introduction of the SMC Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8. Designed to be a reliable but very inexpensive lens, this new 50mm currently sells for under $90 new in the US — cheaper than many used lenses with the same focal length. It is thus an excellent starter prime lens and a good supplement to the 18-55mm kit lens thanks to its fast aperture.
The DA 50mm is a very small and light lens with a plastic mount, no supplied hood, no weather sealing, and no full-time manual focus override (quick-shift). As of January 2016, it has an average user rating of 9.26 in our review database. This lens has become quite popular and many regard it as the "plastic fantastic". It is also among the cheapest lenses currently available new for the K mount. Can you ever go wrong with the DA 50mm? How well does it perform in the studio and in the field? Read on to find out.
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