Pentax users - Limited Lens or 50mm f1.4 ?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TheReef, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    Hi All, I've seen a few Pentax users in various threads lately so I thought I might try my luck asking here.

    I'm currently after a low light lens for use in restaurants, indoors and such without a flash.

    All this time I've been looking at the FA 50mm f1.4, I currently own a manual focus f1.7 but find I miss too many shots (not enough time to focus).

    However I've read about the limited series and their image and great build quality etc and seen them in some of your signatures.
    Problem is, at a slower f2.8 is there any advantage or point in spending the extra?

    How is the f1.4 in terms of build and image quality? I have an old SMC Pentax powerzoom that I never use that looks similar to the FA f1.4 50mm, my powerzoom feels cheap and plastic, wondering if it is the same for the f1.4.

    Any great reason why I should go for a limited DA lens instead? I understand they are a stop or two slower, do they still perform well indoors?
    If so which would you recommend or do you like using most?

    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated,
  2. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
    I've got the 50 mm you're talking about. It's built like a rock, solid and heavy.

    Mine misfocuses now and then though.

    If you've got the money for a limited, I'd get an FA limited prime, they're plenty fast (aperture), f/1.7 mostly

  3. jpfisher macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2006
    New Jersey
    Is the 50mm a comfortable field of view to work with in the conditions you wish to shoot? If so, the FA 50mm is a nice, inexpensive lens. It's not going to beat the equivalent offering from Zeiss in terms of sharpness wide open (althought at f/2.8 they are pretty close -- I've tested the Zeiss side-by-side with a K50 f/1.4, which has the same optical formula as the current FA 50), but then again it's less than half the price and the Zeiss -- and the Zeiss is manual focus only.

    If you find yourself wanting to to go a *little* bit wider, consider the FA 43mm f/1.9 -- it outperforms the FA 50mm at f/2.8 in terms of sharpness, and has a very special rendering quality in terms of contrast and color reproduction. (That is a subjective opinion.) It's about twice the cost of the FA 50, though.

    You might also want to consider the FA 35 f/2 -- I haven't shot with it, but it's wider than the 50mm and 43mm, right between them in cost ($300ish), and would serve you well in low light. On an APS-C camera it will give you a normal field-of-view.

    I really recommend taking a look at the reviews of any lens your considering at Photozone -- -- they concentrate on quantitative figures such as sharpness, vignetting, etc....

    You should also head over to and take a look at sample images from each lens. These give you a better idea of the subjective qualities of the glass -- rendering, bokeh, contrast, color reproduction, etc.

    For what it's worth, my "go-to" lens is the FA 31mm f/1.8. It's very expensive as far as prime SLR lenses go, but it's worth it -- at least in my eyes.

  4. TheReef thread starter macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    Thankyou both for your input.

    SLC Flyfishing, good to know about the quality that's reassuring.

    jpfisher, thanks for that site and advice, that's a great site I've never seam to come across before.

    Based on that, and being happy with the focal length of around 50mm, I am tempted for the FA 43mm f/1.9 but I will stick with the FA 50mm on it's merits of low light and low cost until I become a more experienced shooter.

    Thanks for your help :)

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