D FA 50 On Its Way

Started Aug 16, 2018 | Discussions thread
OP candgpics Regular Member • Posts: 171
Re: First Impressions

I received the D FA 50 f1.4 on Friday.

I used it at a shoot on Saturday. Have not had too much time to play around with it, but I can make some observations. It was the only lens I used at the shoot (at the ocean), although I brought other lenses with me. I shot about 375 images.

And—I really will eventually post some examples and link to Dropbox comparison images to other lenses!

Build Quality

As other have noted, it is a heavy lens, but a bit less so than perhaps I was expecting based upon what I had read. It is a little slimmer and slightly less tall than the D FA 24-70. In use, it kind of feels like shooting with the DA*200: solid, a hunk of glass and metal, but well built and balanced. It operates very smoothly.

The petal hood is of decent size, but, again, slightly less in size than I had expected.

Nonetheless, this is no Limited or DA*55 lens. It is has heft to it and size. It is well balanced, though, on my K1 (have not used it on the K3 or K5ii yet)

Lens Performance – the raison d'être

I did make some informal comparisons to the Lmtd 43 and Lmtd 77. Cannot say too much right now, but the D FA 50 is noticeably sharper at similar apertures (I tested wide open through f4 so far). That is not to say the 43 and 77 are not sharp, but when looking for sharpness, and trying to keep in mind depth of field and auto-focusing accuracy, I found the D FA 50 to be noticeably sharper and have a larger area of sharpness at similarly wide apertures. Having said that, the 43 and 77 are very good lenses, particularly for their size. So, as with all new equipment these days, the differences are often small or at least not terribly great. Noticeable perhaps to all of us, but in the grand scheme of things, not night and day.

I did look for purple fringing and Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration (green and magenta fringing). Yes, if pushed in very high contrast areas (picture of my youngest son against a bright blown out window) you can see some purple fringing and LoCA at very wide apertures (1.4 – 1.8). Of course, LoCA can show up even under not blown out backgrounds in front of and behind the plane of focus. Nevertheless, it is when looking at high contrast scenes that forms of chromatic aberration tend to be more visible.

The purple fringing is pretty minimal in any event and really only obvious at fully wide open (f1.4). I took some pictures of some tall trees against a bright sky and did not see any purple fringing. At close up distances I could find it if looked for it, particularly at 1.4.

I think the lens is very well corrected for chromatic aberration and a little bit of Camera RAW (or whichever RAW editor you use) and the issue is gone. LoCA is perhaps harder to correct for, but I see it as not really an issue and if it was noticeable enough to be problematic an adjustment layer and masking in Photoshop should resolve it. And, at least in my opinion, even as a bit of pixel peeper, I think the D FA 50 looks like it has a similar level of chromatic aberration as the high end 50s from Canon and Nikon (as seen on photozone.de).

I did some quick centering tests and the lens looks perfectly spot on. At least from my quick shots I saw no difference in sharpness across the frame.

Bokeh—I did a senior picture shoot this weekend. Not really what I usually do. I typically photograph Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu events and do some fitness photography. I tend to live at f2.8 and wider since I am in low or at best modest lighting, but I usually do not notice bokeh too much. Looking over the pictures from this weekend’s shoot, however, shows nice smooth buttery bokeh.

The lens needed a +1 correction for the K1 to make it spot on when wide open.

I did not do any formal testing, but focusing seems reasonably fast and very accurate.

Conclusion—so far

I only have had the lens for a couple of days. All in all, so far, the D FA 50 looks like an extremely high quality lens. Well built, handles like a peach, accurate and sharp (I do not have my DA*55 anymore, but the new D FA 50 looks noticeably sharper and I had a good copy of the DA* 55). When I have a chance to look through my images I will compare it to DA*55 images I have taken in the past.

That's about it for now!

 candgpics's gear list:candgpics's gear list
Pentax K-5 II Pentax K-3 Pentax K-1 Pentax KP Pentax smc DA 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 ED (IF) Fisheye +11 more
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