SMC A50mm f1.2 vs FA 43mm f1.9 limited


bjolester

Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 15:00
I am contemplating investing in a high quality prime. Is the SMC A50 f1.2 a "special purpose" lens (portrait, macro, etc) because of its legendary bokeh and shallow DOF, or does it also have special qualities as a landscape/general purpose lens? I already have a SMC M50mm f1.4 and a SMC K55mm f1.8, will the SMC A50mm f1.2 beat them in the landscape/general purpose area? What kind of price must one be prepared to pay for the SMC A50mm f1.2?

I already know quite a lot about the FA 43mm f1.9 limited, and that this lens would fulfill my needs perfectly

Do any of you have any advice concerning the SMC A50mm f1.2?

Regards
Bjørn
Bjørn

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George Lazarette

Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 15:19
I have both, and see them as complementary rather than competing.

The 50 is remarkable for its depth of field, which even on digital is extraordinary. It gives a lovely creamy look to skin as it goes out of focus, not unlike the legendary 77mm. Otherwise it is just another Pentax 50mm, so if you don't want to use the DOF, there is little point in buying it.

The 43 is a lens which I have to say I use seldom, though it comes into its own as a very discreet lens for some types of "street" photography. I am sure Cartier-Bresson would have loved it. It's quality, of course, is unsurpassed. AP rated it above the Summicron and Nikon's best 50mm when they tested all three.

G
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bjolester

Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 16:10
Thank you for valuable information about these lenses George!

The reason for me to ask these questions was that I had found a mint SMC A50mm f1.2 at the Leica Shop in Austria for 450 EURO. Believing this was a good price, I purchased it The FA43mm can still be bought new. The SMC A50mm f1.2, on the other hand, is becoming quite rare and often command very high prices.

Bjørn

PS: The Leica Shop has lots of Pentax lenses in at the moment, amongst them a SMC 30mm f2.8, but it is quite expensive (330 EURO).
Bjørn

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robbiec

Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 16:14
Different animals altogether. A50 f/1.2 is a bit specialized in that it is MF and capable of navigating the dreamy world of wider than f/1.4, but it is worth it for that alone. Stopped down and its sharpens up nicely. I have a sneaking suspicion that at f/2.8 it is actually sharper than the other 50s.
The 43, half the size, half the weight with AF, very very sharp in the centre with great contrast. Put it on the camera and it just delivers time and time again. At f/4 or f/5.6, it is so sharp it will make you cry.

A50 f/1.2



FA43 f/1.9



You will be looking at £300 or above for an A50 f/1.2. It will immediately make your M50 obsolete in your bag and while the K55 is possibly a better portrait lens, the A50 will still deliver. If it was me?
I would sell the K55 for £50 to £60, the M50 for £120 or so and beg, borrow and save for the FA43. Give it a couple of weeks usage, and it will sink in just how good it actually is. Keeper rate wise it is in another league compared to the A50 f/1.2. Don't get me wrong the 50 is marvelous but it can be hard work whereas the 43 is effortless.
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bjolester

Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 17:47
Thanks Robbie for sharing your experience with these lenses! I have already plunged into a purchase of a SMC A50mm f1.2 But I hope someday I will be able to add a FA43 to my collection.

Your suggestion about selling the M50 f1.4 makes sense, I will try to sell it here in Norway together with my MX cameras, and in this way finance my latest acquisition

Very nice images, by the way!

Best regards
Bjørn
Bjørn

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Algernon

Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 18:01
bjolester wrote:
The reason for me to ask these questions was that I had found a mint SMC A50mm f1.2 at the Leica Shop in Austria for 450 EURO. Believing this was a good price, I purchased it

Possibly a bit high, but it is mint so it's is unique enough to make it worth more than the ebay norm. When the market picks up it should go for a lot more and eventually you should make a profit.

It was still in production last time I checked, but listed at something like 700 Euros+
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi
Last Edited by Algernon on 16/05/2013 - 18:04

bjolester

Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 18:59
Algi: I have recently noticed a few Pentax 50mm f1.2 for sale.

Rockycameras: SMC K50mm f1.2 = GBP 399,- (mint)
KEH: SMC K50mm f1.2 = USD 645 (LN-)
SMC A50mm f1.2 = USD 789 (EX+)

London Camera Exchange (Bristol) had a very nice SMC A50mm f1.2 in stock last week for GBP 256,-, but it was sold in short time. The price I paid for mine was maybe a bit high, but at least I got one in good condition (hopefully...).

I did not know Pentax still made these lenses.

Regards
Bjørn
Bjørn

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Smeggypants

Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 23:04
I have an A50/1.2 and love it. Paid £250 for mine. Lucky to be honest.
[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

bjolester

Link Posted 17/05/2013 - 00:21
GBP 250 is a very good price - lucky you! I am very much looking forward to exploring the f1.2 magical universe

Regards
Bjørn
Bjørn

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Frogfish

Link Posted 17/05/2013 - 05:23
I had both lenses but got much more use out of the fantastic 43. Personally I preferred the rendering of the Cosina 55/1.2 (esp. the OOF highlights) to the A 50/1.2 and I sold the Pentax and kept the Cosina. All are superb lenses though.
http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0

Frogfish

Link Posted 17/05/2013 - 06:54
robbiec wrote:
FA43 f/1.9



Nice work Robbie - it looks like a building in Central, Hong Kong to me !
http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0

robbiec

Link Posted 17/05/2013 - 09:58
Tks! Not Hongkong though, it was in Lucca, Tuscany on my honeymoon a few years back
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robbiec

Link Posted 17/05/2013 - 10:26
bjolester wrote:
Thanks Robbie for sharing your experience with these lenses! I have already plunged into a purchase of a SMC A50mm f1.2 But I hope someday I will be able to add a FA43 to my collection.

Your suggestion about selling the M50 f1.4 makes sense, I will try to sell it here in Norway together with my MX cameras, and in this way finance my latest acquisition

Very nice images, by the way!

Best regards
Bjørn

Congrats on your purchase, welcome to the F/1.2 club!
I have one of my K-5's kitted out purely for MF with a KatzEye focusing screen and the O-ME53 magnifying eyecup to really nail focus @ f/1.2
Other useful addon would be from Nikon... a NH-3 lens hood to protect the big front element.
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bjolester

Link Posted 17/05/2013 - 11:00
Thanks Robbie! I will look for the Nikon hood.

Bjørn
Bjørn

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Algernon

Link Posted 17/05/2013 - 11:42
With an f/1.2 lens you want to keep as much light as possible
off the front element.... so the bigger the hood the better,
even if it means using a 52-55mm step up ring to take
a bigger hood.

For a small hood this one ebay_link is quite good and it's
threaded to take a lens cap on the end. I've got the 49mm
version and it takes a 58mm lens cap. Made of metal. £5.50

Heliopan also make one that's 52mm thread at both ends.
Good quality but expensive.
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi
Last Edited by Algernon on 17/05/2013 - 11:56
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