on 18 May 2009
Absolutely brilliant. Yes, it's not absolutely tack-sharp when wide open, but with my K10D's shake reduction turned on, you can pretty much shoot under candlelight if you have steady enough hands or a monopod. It also has lovely bokeh: an astonishing number of the shots I've taken that make people go "ooh" are with this lens. Best money I've ever spent on anything to do with my camera. Magic.
on 27 November 2012
I absolutely love this lens, I'm not going to lie I'm mostly a portrait photography and so the depth of field this lens offers is perfection. This is only a quick review but I have had it for almost a year now so I feel I'm in a better position now to assess it's performance, I can't talk about the AF because I typically manually focus my images. But it's a quick lens and works Brilliantly under low-light, as I took it to a convention and there was very little light but it still produced images I was proud of.
Regardless for any Pentax camera fanatic I'd suggest this lens, it's brilliant and it's affordable.
(Not to mention it's only a little light-weight lens!)
on 1 October 2012
I was not going to buy this lens until I read the Amazon reviews. It is perfect for portraits. In my opinion it is genuinely five star. At f2.8 it has a very shallow depth of field but the portraits are sharp. There is very little distortion. The colours are very natural provided you get exposure and white balance right.
It performs reasonable well at f1.4 but sometimes there is some purple flare when used in very bright light outdoors. The wide aperture allows plenty of light in to aid automatic and manual focus. It looks a bit ugly until you turn it around and look down the metal barrel. Then you will see a huge unblemished lens with a beautiful purple and orange sheen from the lens coating.
It has a strongly made plastic casing with a metal lens mount. It balances perfectly on both of my DLSR bodies. I am sure that this would also be a great prime lens for a K1000 or ME film camera body. I recommend that you buy it before it goes out of production.
If you are not bored read on. Before I bought this lens I was using an M42 screw 55mm f1.7 Super Takumar lens from my 1964 Spotmatic SP2. The Spotmatic lens is still highly rated and it is pin sharp provided you use a fast enough shutter speed or a tripod. However, I found it difficult to focus when using it on my DLSR camera bodies.
The limitations of using the Spotmatic lens are made worse by having to use an adapter for a K mount camera. Then you have to use the lens in manual mode and stop it down for the camera to read the exposure. Sometimes it is better to use a manual exposure meter. Doing all this is OK if you have got plenty of time to set things up. It is a pain in the neck if you have moving subjects such as children or pets.
This was brought home to me when my wife and I visited Dymchurch with some kids to ride on the steam railway. There were lots of out of focus pictures. I could not focus the Spotmatic lens quickly enough to capture the movement of the kids or the trains.
The Pentax K Mount 50 mm lens solves all these problems and more. I have given it a thorough test under all sorts of lighting conditions. It focuses fast in automatic mode. When used with a DLSR it has a medium telephoto effect. This means that you do not have to get too close to the subject to fill the frame.
The K Mount lens proved itself at a recent family party. I set the lens at F2.8 and fired away for some great pin sharp portraits. There was no need for a flash. The background was always out of focus. I did not need to crop the pictures or use the blur function in Photoshop. It saved me loads of time in the electronic dark room.
The lens is also good for landscapes when a medium telephoto is needed. The colours are very natural provided you get the exposure correct. It does not focus much closer than half a meter but that is still good for close ups.
The Spotmatic, which still takes great photos after all these years, will keep its lens permanently screwed on. My new lens is almost certainly as good and much more convenient.
Rather than pay £50 plus pounds for the plastic Pentax lens hood, I bought the replacement rubber hood from Amazon for £10.
There is one thing to be careful of, the lens almost protrudes beyond the rim of the barrel. You are best advised to fit a UV filter immediately to protect it.
I am delighted with the performance of this lens. I recommend it highly.
on 13 March 2009
It's not just me saying this, time and time again the 50mm f/1.4 lenses from Canon, Nikon, Minolta (Sony), Olympus and Pentax are put against each other (although, now Oly no longer makes it's offering due to it's four thirds system). The result, the FA 50mm f/1.4 pretty much always comes out top or close to top. It's also cheaper than any of the others, often by a country mile. It has an aperture ring, meaning that it can be used on any Pentax camera since the evolution of the K mounnt (circa 1975) with no compatability issues. It's brilliant, right! So, why not five stars? read on...
As with pretty much all fast fifties, the lens is 'dreamy' wide open rather than tack sharp, sharpness falls off in the corners quite a lot (not quite such a big issue on digital) and it only starts to get very good corner to corner at around f/5.6 (on my copy). It's construction is plasticy, the manual focus ring is better than a lot of AF lenses but still nothing on a good 'ole metal MF lens.
That said, if you are operating in marginal light an extra stop or two worth of light can really mean the difference between a shot and no shot. It's a lens that deserves a place in anyones bag, and can get you out of holes other lenses couldn't even see. So long as you recognise it isn't a miracle cure, you should be able to use it, enjoy it and best of all, take some great photos with it.
on 12 June 2011
I have owned this lens for a number of years now, having originaly bought to use with a Pentax Z1 35mm camera. It's not a lens i use often, but in low light the results are wonderful, well worth the money. Buy it, forget the flash!