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Old Jul 19, 2005, 10:51 AM   #1
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I'm a happy *ist DS owner, except I'm finding it really hard to understand why pentax stopped making the 50mm F/1.4 SMCP-FA lens (among others). According to all of the information I'm finding online, it would be a superb lens. I want to go down to the corner camera store and buy it, and I can't.

Instead, it has been replaced (I'm guessing) by the Pentax 43mm F/1.9, a lens that costs around 2-1/2 times as much, doesn't match my camera's looks and doesn't have as high a rating, based on what I'm seeing online:


So, now I scour around eBay and try to find a 50mm FA f/1.4 left over on the back shelves somewhere, as I wonder...

What the heck got into the Pentax execs making these decisions? The technology was fully amortized, so it wasn't like there was an unbearable cost involved.

What other jewels in the stellar cast of Pentax lenses got ended before their time?

Has Pentax lost its way? They keep coming out with new digital SLR's that are marching further down the cost-curve, and there is no sign of any pro-level, "halo-effect" hardware on the horizon, at least from where I'm sitting. I would LOVE to trade up eventually, but I can't.

It's not confidence-building that I made a good long-term choice. I mean, I sure do like buying used lenses on eBay, but:

- When third-party lens manufacturers are increasingly making superb new lenses for Nikon and Canon, but not for Pentax, such as the Sigma 30mm F/1.4:


- When I hear that there are 30 Nikon or Canon digital SLR's sold for every Pentax, and

- When the salesmen at the biggest camera-store in San Diego tell me that there isn't enough public interest to stock anything (especially lenses) for Pentax,

I wonder if I have bought an excellent, high-quality, MUCH-loved orphan camera.

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Old Jul 19, 2005, 3:49 PM   #2
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I think you're really going to have difficulty with this particular lens (everybody wants one). Bought mine at digitalfotoclub sevral weeks ago but it's out of stock at the moment. Try looking for an 'A' or even an 'M' version. It's optically the same quality. There are also wider Pentax primes available which is not that much more expensive than the Fa 50/1.4.

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Old Jul 19, 2005, 6:31 PM   #3
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i've got a M 50 1.4 that i bought in '78. it's great and also works backward as a great macro. i see them on ebay occasionally..
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 11:47 PM   #4
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Both the Pentax F 50/1.4 and F 50/1.7 are actually sharper than the FA version of the 50/1.4, and sometimes show up on ebay for (relatively speaking) a decent price. In fact, my observation is that many of the "F" lenses out-perform their newer "FA" counterparts; perhaps Pentax began theirpoor decision makingway back then...

I agree - the "A" manual 50/1.4 is a great lens, too.

Thank goodness the DS works so well with the "F" and "A" lenses - they are fun to find for (again, it's all relative) attractive prices. Having said all that, someone will have to pry my 77/1.8 Limited from my cold, dead hands! Yeah, they are expensive (got mine on ebay for under $500) - but they are a marvel. One reviewer referred to a Limited lens as a "work of art" and asserted it to be among the handful of the sharpest (with Summicron, Zeiss, etc.) lenses ever made.

Another "lost jewel," if you will, is the F (again, not FA) 70-210mm; sometimes it's hard to believe it is a zoom - the image quality rivals the primes.
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Old Jul 21, 2005, 11:25 AM   #5
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I agree the 'F' series are very good, I pick up the 50/1.7 in the used section of a camera store for less than CAN$85. I also have the FA-J 18-35 /4.0-5.6 and this lense if also good! Some times I can't tell if the pictures were taken with the 50mm or the 18-35mm.
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