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Old Dec 2, 2006, 3:10 PM   #1
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Went out this morning at sunrise and took 2 cameras and the two manual 50mm lenses I have, a 1.4 and a 1.7. I put one lens on one camera and took some pictures, then switched cameras, to see what the differences are.

This picture was taken with the 1.4 lens stopped down to about 2.8. The white balance is off - I had previously set the WB to shade and forgot to change it. I left it the way it was - the color difference doesn't affect the sharpness of the picture. This is the full sized picture, resized with Photoshop.



This is the picture from the other camera with the 1.7 lens on, also set at something like 2.8. The focus point isn't quite the same.



Now here are 100% crops of these pictures. If you are interested, the exif data should still be associated with the pictures.

1.4:



1.7:



Then I switched the lenses and took another tire track. By this time I had changed the WB on one of the cameras.

1.4 full sized:



1.7:



1.4 100% crop:



1.7 at 100% crop:



I didn't think there was a huge difference between the two lenses (there is a difference between the cameras).

To back up my impression that there isn't much difference between the lenses when stopped down, here's 100% crops of a large forest service sign. I didn't think there was that much difference between the lenses, but did notice a difference between cameras.

1.4 lens, 100% crop:



1.7 100% crop:



The big difference between the two lenses is when they are wide open. The 1.4 is much softer than I like when wide open, while the 1.7 is still really sharp.

1.4 wide open, full frame (no cropping):



1.7 wide open, full frame (no cropping)



The 1.7 picture was taken at a slower shutter speed but is much sharper than the 1.4.

Conclusion - the 1.4 is too soft wide open for me. The speed you gain with it is minimal. When stopped down there isn't much difference between the two. I'll keep the smaller 1.7 in my bag and either sell the 1.4 or else put it with my film camera body, in case my niece ever decides to borrow the camera again.

What do others think of the differences - either between the lenses or between the cameras?
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Old Dec 2, 2006, 6:47 PM   #2
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Hi Harriet,

I've seen a lot written about the 1.4 and 1.7 50s, but can't recall too many comparison pics, so kudos for doing this at a time when it might benefit a lot of new Pentaxians (and there seem to be a lot of them lately, with more to come). I have an FA 50/1.4 and an F 50/1.7 and the differences are similar. The 1.7 is sharper wide open, but the softness of the 1.4 can sometimes work in your favor for portrait shots. Stopped down, they are virtual twins, and the half stop difference isn't much -- except when you need it. . . and with SR, it is almost a non-issue, if you don't consider subject motion . Now that I've gotten the K10D and have two Pentax DSLR bodies, I can rationalize keeping them both :-)!

I, however, never tested them at the break of dawn -- break of noon would prolly be more like it. :lol:

Scott


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Old Dec 2, 2006, 8:45 PM   #3
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Harriet,

Thank you for the meticulous comparison

There is a bit of hype even about A or FA50mm 1.2 (not to mention 50mm1.4) . The F1.2 version is even rarer and more expensive. With the paper thin DoF, it is really argumentive as to how useful they are

Daniel

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Old Dec 2, 2006, 11:17 PM   #4
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When I traded up my lenses to M's this Fall, I went with the M50-f1.7, mainly because it was much more available at a reasonable price. I managed to get one with almost perfect glass and am very happy with its performance. I have seen the F50-f1.4 going on Ebay for more then what you could get a new FA50-f1.4 for, although I understand they are hard to find new lately. I also have the M50-f4 macro and like it for wildflowers, but it does not have the speed for in the shade type shots. The M50-f1.7 is a very sweet lens as is the M28-f2.8, both very sharp. I find the 50mm is to much telephoto for many outdoor scenes, so oftengo to the 28mm.

Harriet, I appreciate the time you took to do this and it makes me feel that much better about getting the 1.7. I have three of the M lenses now and they focus so nicely, although on action shots the autofocus is nice. I'm looking forward to finishing out my setup with the DA50-200mm. Christmas is coming- Bruce
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Old Dec 3, 2006, 10:48 AM   #5
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Nice comparison, thanks for sharing it. I have been extremely happy with my two 1.7 lenses and, based on your comparison, I don't see any need to "upgrade." You noted a difference between the two camera bodies. Was this mainly the color balance difference (that seemed to persist even after you reset WB) or was there another difference as well? Which body did you prefer?

Thanks,

Tim
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Old Dec 3, 2006, 8:42 PM   #6
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I wondered if anyone would pick up on that little comment of mine. I thought (if you look closely at the 100% crops) someone would notice that one covered a smaller area than the other, as well as the superior white balance. Both cameras were set to AWB, and the one taken by the K10 is the more accurate than the one taken by the K100. As far as overall quality/sharpness when reduced/compressed to forum size, I didn't think there was a huge difference - the difference can be seen at 100% crops where the K10 shows more detail.

As far as which body I prefer - I'm quickly becoming a K10 convert. Many of the things that were buried in the menu system are now on dials and buttons on the body, and that's nice. I spent the day taking pictures at the LA Auto Show with another M lens (24mm 2.8 and have gotten used to where the metering button is for manual lenses (now a separate button near the shutter, which seemed too far away yesterday, but far more natural today).

While the pictures I took weren't particularly challenging, it seems to me that the K10 has a bit more dynamic range - could me my imagination or be based on its slightly better white balance. Here are two pictures where I liked the K10's picture over the K100, and thought there was some additional dynamic range, reason why I took what is an otherwise rather boring tree. Perhaps what I'm reacting tois the WB, there was probably too much dynamic range for either camera.

K10, 1.4



K100D, 1.7:


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Old Dec 3, 2006, 8:55 PM   #7
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Hi Harriet,

Is it that you want to start another thread on K10 instead of M50mm 1.4 cf 1.7?

Daniel
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 6:04 AM   #8
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the DR in these two shots appear to be identical but the k10 seems to produce a slightly better color range.

roy
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