Is the new Pentax HD FA 50mm 1.4 WR significantly better than my old SMC Pentax-A 50mm 1.7?


Link Posted 29/10/2019 - 02:00
Have just found and joined this "PentaxUser" site, although I have used Pentax cameras and lenses for several decades. Moved up into Pentax with an MX back around 1984(?). I'm not a professional, but have published a few images and done weddings, along with a huge collection of B&W and Kodachromes--using mostly three prime lenses of the film era. Also, I've shot quite a bit of medium format (I have a Pentax 6x7 film camera and a Mamiya 6).

I Just purchased a K1-ii and am quite surprised at the difference between film and digital. So I have a question--
The new, very pricey Pentax HD FA 50mm AW 1.4 lens looks huge! But will it outperform the old 50mm SMC Pentax-A 1.8? Almost ready to purchase the new one to go with the digital sensor, but first I want to be sure the new glass is really an improvement worth that much capital outlay.

Specifically, I want to ask you folks if the new Pentax F-DA 50mm 1.4 WR is a necessary improvement over the old 50mm 1.7 for an experienced non-professional photographer?


Link Posted 29/10/2019 - 07:40
Welcome, by all reports the new 50mm f1.4 is outstanding and if I recall the Cameraville on YouTube did a comparison review which favoured the new lens over others. I picked one up at launch and the focus was impressively fast and quiet, however I opted in the end for a smaller 50mm prime simply because I wanted a lighter more portable lens as an alternative to my 24-70 f2.8 zoom. I am inclined to think the new lens is aimed primarily at studio and fashion type shoots although would obviously perform excellently in other situations. Maybe others who have actually bought the lens can report on how they find it.


Link Posted 29/10/2019 - 08:09
The 1,4 WR is a super sharp lens. Don't be put off using older, known performers though. The photographer has a substantial input to how sharp an image turns out. A good example is here:

Best regards


Link Posted 29/10/2019 - 10:06
It's the best lens I've ever owned , it's also one of the most expensive and one of the heaviest


Link Posted 29/10/2019 - 10:09
Same as above, heavy and expensive, but the sharpest lens at all apertures across the whole frame.

Is it necessary ? Of course not and the FA 50mm 1.4/1.7 will do a great job too.

My Flickr page


Link Posted 29/10/2019 - 10:39

Yes, it is significantly better. I did the field shots in the pouring rain at Pickering and the lens delivered some stunning results whilst the AW (All Weather) construction held the rain at bay with ease. A brilliant lens, albeit it big, heavy and expensive.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 29/10/2019 - 20:21
LennyBloke wrote:
It's the best lens I've ever owned , it's also one of the most expensive and one of the heaviest

says the man who has owned more Pentax lenses than Mike-P
AKA Welshwizard/PWynneJ
Assorted Pentax/Nikon/Mamiya stuff


Link Posted 29/10/2019 - 21:33
I must thank all of you kind folks for helpful responses regarding this lens.
It is indeed a very tempting lens, but perhaps a bit better than I deserve, considering the price.
Mr. "K10D" made the point very well with his link to some outstandingly sharp images where the photographer outshines the lens!
Thanks for the inputs I received from all of you--each of them sharpening my own focus on the matter.
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