Standard lens for Pentax autofocus cameras with a bright f/1.4 aperture. The SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 is an excellent choice for lowlight handheld photography, and effectively becomes a brilliant short telephoto portrait lens when used upon the *ist series of digital SLR cameras. The Pentax Super Multi Coating process provides the highest possible transmission of light.
If you use the SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 with an *ist series digital SLR camera and desire the light-shielding contrast benefits from a lens hood, Pentax’s RH-RB49 hood provides the most effective shielding. While this hood would cause vignetting with a full-frame 24 x 36mm-type camera(such as a Pentax 35mm SLR), the smaller 23.5 x 15.7mm sensor size of the *ist series makes the RH-RB49 an ideal shielding device. In such applications, a 49mm polarizer can be used at the front of the hood with no darkening of the image corners.
The Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 is an oldie but a goodie. At medium apertures the lens is capable to produce stellar resolution figures. Typical for such lenses the results are a bit soft at f/1.4 and less so at f/2 but still usable. Distortions and vignetting are very well controlled. Lateral CAs are a little on the high side for a fix-focal. The build quality of the lens is just fine – same goes for the AF performance. Regarding its very low price tag it remains a highly recommended lens.
Although the “cons” list consists of as many as five items, the overall performance of the lens should be assessed as good. This device seems to be a tad better suggestion than the Pentax 2.8/40 Limited, tested before – mainly because of better results at the edge of the frame. Up from f/2.8 aperture the lens generates outstandingly sharp images. By f/2.0 you can have some reservations about the frame edge and inadequate lighting conditions certainly might make some photographers use f/1.4. Doing so, they will not be exactly happy with the results but they can’t complain either because for this price the competitors offer you nothing better.