50mm lense choice


robbieclark

Link Posted 10/04/2011 - 14:03
Hi
I have been using an smc A 1.7 50mm for a while and been very happy with it. Recently I bought an smc M 1.4 50mm, I like this even more and it has got me thinking about buying an smc A 1.4 or even one of the newer autofocus ones. Autofocus would be a bonus, but only if its still usable manually and ideally would be able to use autofocus then adjust.
Which lens should I go for? are they're any big differences or are they the same with slow improvements?
Rob

womble

Link Posted 10/04/2011 - 15:01
The main advantage of the A over the M is the ease of use by having the A setting on the aperture ring. They cost cost a bit more, however. The 1.4s tend to have a more curved field of focus than 1.7s (hence 1.7s are better for copy work). I rather like my K50/1.2 I was lucky to pick mine up relatively cheaply as both the K and A series 1.2s are usually very pricey. Some people rave about how lovely the K55/1.7 is, and some swear by the Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 first version...

The F/FA lenses also have a very good reputation. I get the subjective impression the 1.4s are easier to find, however. Having not used one I can't comment, all my 50s (of which I seem to have accidentally accumulated rather a few) are manual focus.

I don't think there is a bad Pentax 50/55mm lens, but they do all have subtly different attributes and their own fan clubs...

Best wishes, Kris.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website

johnriley

Link Posted 10/04/2011 - 15:35
The different 50/55mm lenses do have different characters, but they are all good lenses. The AF ones do not have QuickShift focusing though, but only the new and very expensive SDM 55mm does.
Best regards, John

gartmore

Link Posted 10/04/2011 - 18:50
The Pentax-F f1.7 is aotofocus and an excellent performer
Ken
We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole. - Henri Cartier-Bresson -

MattMatic

Link Posted 10/04/2011 - 19:39
It also depends what you want it for
The smc-F 50/1.7 is an incredibly sharp lens. I found it sharper than the smc-F 50/1.4. However, the rendition is different to the 1.4. The 1.7 has 6 aperture blades, and the 1.4 has 8 - this seemed to produce a much smoother bokeh when rendering out of focus subjects.

If you want to do copy work, then the flat-field 1.7 is superb.
If you want to do portraiture, then the smc-A 50/1.4, smc-F 50/1.4 or smc-FA 50/1.4 are all beautiful lenses (I've had them all - currently have the smc-FA version)

HTH!
Matt
http://www.mattmatic.co.uk
(For gallery, tips and links)

Jonathan-Mac

Link Posted 11/04/2011 - 09:44
Id say, on the whole, the differences are minor between 1.7 & 1.4, but they all have their own character. Id say youd gain little getting an A1.4 when you already have the better-built M variant. The A convenience is not all its cracked up to be, at least on older DSLRs, as metering is not very reliable anyway.

All AF lenses are useable with manual focus, but they dont give anything like the pleasure of using a finely built, smooth-operating MF lens.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X and Panasonic L digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

petrochemist

Link Posted 11/04/2011 - 10:53
Jonathan-Mac wrote:
Id say, on the whole, the differences are minor between 1.7 & 1.4, but they all have their own character. Id say youd gain little getting an A1.4 when you already have the better-built M variant. The A convenience is not all its cracked up to be, at least on older DSLRs, as metering is not very reliable anyway.

All AF lenses are useable with manual focus, but they dont give anything like the pleasure of using a finely built, smooth-operating MF lens.

Thanks Jonathan perhaps your opinion will stop me looking for an A50-1.4 as they all seem to go out of my price bracket at the end

[I've been lucky enough to grab a M50-1.4 at a good price, to add to the collection of old M&A 50 1.7s I've inherited]

I must admit there was a lot of satisfaction in using it without any metering a couple of weeks ago (several times my first guess looked ideal on the histogram, and the others wern't too far out). In a few months I might feel ready to see if my old Zenit can actually take photos!
Mike
.
Pentax:K5ii, K7, K100D, DA18-55, DA10-17, DA55-300, DA50-200, F100-300, F50, DA35 AL, 4* M50, 2* M135, Helicoid extension, Tak 300 f4 (& 6 film bodies)
3rd Party: Bigmos (Sigma 150-500mm OS HSM),2* 28mm, 100mm macro, 28-200 zoom, 35-80 zoom, 80-200 zoom, 80-210 zoom, 300mm M42, 600 mirror, 1000-4000 scope, 50mm M42, enlarger lenses, Sony & micro 4/3 cameras with various PK mounts, Zenit E...
Far to many tele-converters, adapters, project parts & extension tubes etc.

.[size=11:].Flickr WPF Panoramio

Jonathan-Mac

Link Posted 11/04/2011 - 13:32
FWIW, Ive only ever seen one A 50 1.4 for sale, ever, and it was for 150 pounds. This is almost double what I paid for my M version. In my opinion its not worth it, if I really need the A setting Ill use my 1.7.

But I always have an eye open for a 1:1.2 version...
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X and Panasonic L digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

MattMatic

Link Posted 11/04/2011 - 14:55
Quote:
But I always have an eye open for a 1:1.2 version...

SRS have the smc-A at 499
Matt
http://www.mattmatic.co.uk
(For gallery, tips and links)

Don

Link Posted 11/04/2011 - 16:11
I have both the m and fa 50mm 1.4's.
for video shooting, I am very glad I never got rid of the m version.
it is on my kr, which is used primarily for video shooting.
you can't beat that smooth even throw for focusing manually.....
the fa lives on one of my k10's as my primary studio lens for still photography.
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

Jonathan-Mac

Link Posted 11/04/2011 - 21:36
MattMatic wrote:
Quote:
But I always have an eye open for a 1:1.2 version...

SRS have the smc-A at 499
Matt

I meant for the right price, of course...
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X and Panasonic L digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

Dangermouse

Link Posted 11/04/2011 - 21:40
IIRC you can still buy a new SMC-A 50/1.2 to special order? At least I'm pretty sure someone found that it was still in the Pentax price lists recently.
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

Cayman

Link Posted 11/04/2011 - 21:46
Quote:
IIRC you can still buy a new SMC-A 50/1.2 to special order? At least I'm pretty sure someone found that it was still in the Pentax price lists recently.

Yes you can get them new in Japan....

Jonathan-Mac

Link Posted 12/04/2011 - 09:42
So how much does a new one cost?
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X and Panasonic L digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

Smeggypants

Link Posted 12/04/2011 - 16:17
petrochemist wrote:
Jonathan-Mac wrote:
Id say, on the whole, the differences are minor between 1.7 & 1.4, but they all have their own character. Id say youd gain little getting an A1.4 when you already have the better-built M variant. The A convenience is not all its cracked up to be, at least on older DSLRs, as metering is not very reliable anyway.

All AF lenses are useable with manual focus, but they dont give anything like the pleasure of using a finely built, smooth-operating MF lens.

Thanks Jonathan perhaps your opinion will stop me looking for an A50-1.4 as they all seem to go out of my price bracket at the end

OTOH I find the A setting a huge benefit and the metering is fine in my experience I have an A50/1.2, an A50/1.4 and an FA50/1.4 - I alos had an M50/1.4 but sold it as I never used it.
[i]Bodies: 1x K-5IIs, 2x K-5, Sony TX-5, Nokia 808
Lenses: Pentax DA 10-17mm ED(IF) Fish Eye, Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.2, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, Sigma 135-400mm APO DG, and more ..
Flash: AF-540FGZ, Vivitar 283
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