Pentax-M smc 50mm F1.4

I considered buying an AF Sony 50mm, but seeing as the Sony FE 50 1.8 is not considered very good (source), and the Zeiss 55mm 1.8 is a bit pricey, I opted for a used manual focus variant which cost me just €60 ($70)!

Features

There’s not much to say really about this lens. It is what you can expect from it, after all! Soft at F1.4, as most lenses are, but it gets better when you decrease the aperture. Focussing is easy as there’s a lot of travel on the focussing ring, and do most manual focus lenses from the MF era.

For video, this is quite a useful lens. Because of the large focus travel range, you can precisely adjust focus, which comes in handy when filming. Focusing by hand is quite easy on this lens, and if you want to step your game up, you can easily adapt this to work on a follow focus system.

One thing that is interesting is that most people that use MF lenses on a Sony E-mount body opt for the Canon FD 50mm 1.4 variant. However, even after using one for only one day, I can safely say that this Pentax is superior to the Canon, especially in sharpness and CA. At 1.4, the Canon was barely usable, as it was way too soft and CA was all over the place. While the Pentax is only a little sharper, CAs are a lot better controller by this lens.

If you have the choice between the Pentax 50mm 1.4 and the Canon FD 50mm 1.4, you should definitely choose the Pentax!

There’s a couple of interesting reviews of this lens out there, I’ll link back to them here. Here’s a comparison between the 50 1.4 and other Pentax lenses from that era with similar focal lengths (link). The author goes into great detail comparing the lenses, offering a lot of interesting insight!

Conclusion

Pro

  • Small, light and cheap
  • Very good for low-light
  • Large focus travel range makes for easy MF focussing

Con

  • A bit soft at F1.4
  • Manual focus
  • Set IBIS manually

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