What's better, Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 or Pentax DA 50mm f1.8?

Started Jan 27, 2013 | Questions
Cane
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What's better, Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 or Pentax DA 50mm f1.8?
Jan 27, 2013

Is the FA a screw drive as well? Which focuses faster, better wide open, and better bokeh?

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Ari Aikomus
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Pentax 50mm Prime Lens Shootout !
In reply to Cane, Jan 27, 2013

New Pentax DA50mm/1.8 compared to the FA 50mm/1.4 and the DFA 50mm/2.8 Macro:

http://wwwdot pentaxforums dotcom/reviews/pentax-50mm-fa-da-dfa-lens-comparison/introduction.html

FA50mm F1.4 vs. FA50mm F1.7 test:

http://www.pbase.com/dgaies/fa50_test

Ari

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liviutza
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Re: Pentax 50mm Prime Lens Shootout !
In reply to Ari Aikomus, Jan 27, 2013

However, both are inferior in image quality to the Sigma 50mm f 1.4; as much as I like the Pentax brand (and my K-30) their 50mm glass, especially the f 1.4, is overpriced compared to the competitors without any significant benefits. It's a bit of a special situation anyway - one of the few cases where 3rd party manufacturers have a 'best in class' lens - in this case the Sigma 50mm comes on top of all big names.

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DrewE
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Re: What's better, Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 or Pentax DA 50mm f1.8?
In reply to Cane, Jan 27, 2013

Note:  I don't own either lens, so take these comments with a grain or two of salt.

Cane wrote:

Is the FA a screw drive as well?

Yes; all of the FA lenses are screw drive AF.

Which focuses faster

Probably the DA 1.8.

better wide open

I would guess that they have similar performance at similar aperture settings.  The DA at f/1.8 is probably somewhat better than the FA at f/1.4, but the FA at f/1.4 is infinitely better than the DA at f/1.4.

In general, your choice of aperture (with either lens) will have a much greater impact on the image quality than your choice between the lenses.  At moderate apertures (say around f/4 or so), either one will have excellent performance.

and better bokeh?

I don't know offhand.  Wide open, both should have pretty decent bokeh; stopped down, the shape of the apertures differ (seven rounded blades for the DA vs. 8 blades for the FA).

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Twong
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Re: Pentax 50mm Prime Lens Shootout !
In reply to liviutza, Jan 27, 2013

I have quite a few 3rd party lenses in my collection. Some recent Sigma fixed are extremely good, and 70mm f2.8 macro is one of them. The discontinued 100-300 f4 is another top performer. As for the 50mm, I am not about to dump FA f1.4; it is still a good performer and great value - I already own one.

liviutza wrote:

However, both are inferior in image quality to the Sigma 50mm f 1.4; as much as I like the Pentax brand (and my K-30) their 50mm glass, especially the f 1.4, is overpriced compared to the competitors without any significant benefits. It's a bit of a special situation anyway - one of the few cases where 3rd party manufacturers have a 'best in class' lens - in this case the Sigma 50mm comes on top of all big names.

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Wanganuilad
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Re: What's better, Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 or Pentax DA 50mm f1.8?
In reply to Cane, Jan 27, 2013

Newest is always better

Pete

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Gary Martin
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Re: Pentax 50mm Prime Lens Shootout !
In reply to liviutza, Jan 28, 2013

liviutza wrote:

However, both are inferior in image quality to the Sigma 50mm f 1.4; as much as I like the Pentax brand (and my K-30) their 50mm glass, especially the f 1.4, is overpriced compared to the competitors without any significant benefits. It's a bit of a special situation anyway - one of the few cases where 3rd party manufacturers have a 'best in class' lens - in this case the Sigma 50mm comes on top of all big names.

Fortunately, I got my FA50/1.4 when it was only $200 brand new. Also, the Sigma is a BIG beast, whereas the Pentax 50s are small and compact like their bodies. Still, it's nice to have some good quality 3rd party glass available.

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Wang Hung
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Re: Pentax 50mm Prime Lens Shootout !
In reply to Gary Martin, Jan 28, 2013

I opted for the Sigma 50mm EX DG version as well, its for full frame and not crop. But yeah it's a nice setup.

I'm thinking of eventually getting the new Sigma 35mm to have an effective 50ish mm on my K-30 and still have plenty of life in the future if Pentax ever release a full frame.

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awaldram
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Re: Pentax 50mm Prime Lens Shootout !
In reply to liviutza, Jan 28, 2013

liviutza wrote:

It's a bit of a special situation anyway - one of the few cases where 3rd party manufacturers have a 'best in class' lens - in this case the Sigma 50mm comes on top of all big names.

Whilst the Sigma is a nice piece of glass it will never be top class the onion bokeh that is its Achilles heal will always lower its ability to compete at the top flight.

Most if not all manufacturer top offerings have the Sigma beat on IQ if not price.

Of cause neither the fa501.4 nor the da50 1.8 are top offerings and the Sigma handsomely bests s them in the IQ stakes.

But then again the Fa50 is £100 cheaper and the da50 £150 cheaper than the Sigma the same for other manufacturers offerings the Sigma is expensive compared to these mid tier lens.

You put it against the DA* 55 or Zeiss T* planar 50mm 1.4 ZE at only £200 dearer and besides 'sharpness' it is struggling in all areas.

Lucky for Sigma many new to photography consider 'sharpness' the start middle and end of what makes a good lens.

In answer to the OP.

The da50 looks over priced (UK) unless it can offer some above average IQ for its target market (bottom prime) .

The going rate for this class of lens is around the £140 mark so £235 seems a little high where the fa50 @ £299 seems a much better return.

for reference

Bottom = £150

Mid = £350

Top = £600

elite =£1000-£4000

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KL Matt
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Re: What's better, Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 or Pentax DA 50mm f1.8?
In reply to Cane, Jan 28, 2013

You might find the lenstip review of the DA 1.8 useful:

http://www.lenstip.com/360.1-Lens_review-Pentax_smc_DA_50_mm_f_1.8.html

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KL Matt
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Re: What's better, Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 or Pentax DA 50mm f1.8?
In reply to KL Matt, Jan 28, 2013

They also reviewed the FA 1.4. M

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DAVID MANZE
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Re: What's better, Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 or Pentax DA 50mm f1.8?
In reply to KL Matt, Jan 28, 2013

Hi,

Lenstip have done a review of the DA50mm 1.8 lens as well as SLR camera,,I thought the results could have been better fully open,personally I don't like plastic mounts,construction of the FA 50mm 1.4 is much better with a metal mount,reviews can be found on most sites, sharpness is fair wide open but it's dreamy,low contrast and flares very easily,from 2.8 up it's super sharp and compact, neither lens has quick-shift focus.The bokeh on both lenses is similar.For good bokeh one needs to look at the DA*55mm 1.4, but it's in another price league, weather sealed with SDM focusing and it's a lot bigger. The Sigma is a monster of a lens and has great resolution on APS-C,to me size is against it. I have the FA 50 mm 1.4 and I love it, I am always amazed by it's sharpness and compactness it's only flaw is it's lack of quick-shift focus, AF is rapid and certainly not an issue,probably faster than the DA* 55mm SDM.

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KL Matt
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Considered the FA 43?
In reply to DAVID MANZE, Jan 28, 2013

You might want to take a look at the (controversial) FA 43 as well.

This lens is very different from all the other 50s mentioned here. At mid apertures, it outresolves all of them I think (possibly with the exception of the DA 50). Wide open, it's perhaps not as sharp in absolute terms, but it also does not show the dreamy haze of the FA 50 f/1.4 - contrast is there from wide open, which I think is a more important criterion than edge resolution at max aperture. You don't open up your lens all the way to capture details in the corners.

It is overpriced though, and the bokeh is not as magical as it is with the FA 31 and FA 77. It is, however, more compact than those two lenses. I purchased mine to have a two-lens walkaround kit with the DA 15.

Of course the DA 40mm is always an excellent choice if it's fast enough for you. Also consider the DA 70 for something really special if it's not too long for you. It's a better portrait focal length for many people (24mm is about right for me...)

Matt

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Fl_Gulfer
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Re: Considered the FA 43?
In reply to KL Matt, Jan 28, 2013

I went with the Pentax F 50 1.7  for $190.00  Is has better IQ than the FA 50 1.4. I don't know about the new 50 or the Sigma. But I love all my Sigma glass.

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awaldram
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Re: Considered the FA 43?
In reply to Fl_Gulfer, Jan 28, 2013

Fl_Gulfer wrote:

I went with the Pentax F 50 1.7 for $190.00 Is has better IQ than the FA 50 1.4. I don't know about the new 50 or the Sigma. But I love all my Sigma glass.

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Yep it has many charms the F50 1.7 IMO the best of the 50mm bunch but some don't like its 'harder' bokeh.



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JeffAHayes
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Re: Considered the FA 43?
In reply to awaldram, Jan 28, 2013

That your daughter there, awaldram? Cute and coy looking... bet she's a handful, now, considering that pic is 5.5 years old -- probably got ALL the guys chasing her -- and YOU pulling your hair out!

Great shots, by the way!

I owned that FA 50 F 1.4 back in the mid 90s before someone stole most of my gear out of my car one night in a smash-and-grab (pretty sure that's still the same lens they made then -- looks the same). I didn't use it that much, but when I did, it seemed to perform pretty well, although I rarely found a use for the F 1.4. Then again, in those days I was shooting primarily for my weekly newspaper and rarely trying to do anything artistic; these days, that's about ALL I'm doing, and I pretty much avoid taking pics of people (unless it's family, or for my garden club or some other charity with which I'm involved) LIKE THE PLAGUE, since I had more than my fill of that during 5 years in the newspaper business, plus shooting weddings on the side!

I'd LOVE to get that DA* 55, but I'm still waiting for a reasonable price. Pricegrabber recently showed Newegg having it for $669, which is about $130 LESS than Pentax has been forcing everyone else to sell it for, lately... I ALMOST bit, but I want to finish paying off my last lens purchase (DA* 300 F4, and a couple other things -- like components I bought to build up a new Core i7 system -- reusing some of what's in my current Core i7 system case). Getting close. At any rate, I may be persuaded to get an F1.7 lens IF it's worth having -- especially for much less money... Half a stop is negligible, and currently my FASTEST lens is F 2.8, although I have 3 that fit that category.

Going to see if Amazon has that lens now.

Jeff

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awaldram
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Re: Considered the FA 43?
In reply to JeffAHayes, Jan 28, 2013

JeffAHayes wrote:

That your daughter there, awaldram? Cute and coy looking... bet she's a handful, now, considering that pic is 5.5 years old -- probably got ALL the guys chasing her -- and YOU pulling your hair out!

She's at university and has a steady boyfriend , but your right that look pretty much represents her character.

She looks more like this now (da*16-50)



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fakuryu
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Re: Pentax 50mm Prime Lens Shootout !
In reply to Wang Hung, Jan 28, 2013

As far as I know and from I've seen, the DA 35 f2.4 and DA 50 f1.8 covers FF

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JeffAHayes
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Re: Considered the FA 43?
In reply to awaldram, Jan 28, 2013

awaldram wrote:

JeffAHayes wrote:

That your daughter there, awaldram? Cute and coy looking... bet she's a handful, now, considering that pic is 5.5 years old -- probably got ALL the guys chasing her -- and YOU pulling your hair out!

She's at university and has a steady boyfriend , but your right that look pretty much represents her character.

She looks more like this now (da*16-50)



You must be so proud, man! Now that she's in college, with a steady boyfriend, I imagine all the rebellious, "terrible teen" years are past (or maybe you got lucky with that). I checked on that F 1.7 Pentax lens, but no dice -- at least not on Amazon... I'm guessing it's no longer available new, maybe somewhere used (or maybe it's a version more available "across the pond" than on this side). Since my post I checked at Newegg and the DA* is still at $669 there, which is still $130 less than most everywhere else. But that's also still almost twice the going rate for the older F 1.4 lens, which has been selling steady at Amazon for $359 for as long as I've been checking. If I had to choose between that or the new, plastic F 1.8 lens that's not even WR, which isn't much less expensive, I'm thinking I'd go for the older, better built F 1.4 lens, as others have suggested.

Jeff

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