Lens review

Pentax smc FA 50 mm f/1.4

14 June 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

Usually the ordinary classic 50 mm lenses are one of the sharpest devices in any system. In the f/4-f/8 aperture range they give results even high-end zoom instruments can only dream about. How does the Pentax fare? Let’s have a look at the graph below where we present MTF50 values, measured on the strength of RAW files from a Pentax K10D.

Pentax smc FA 50 mm f/1.4 - Image resolution

The Pentax performs very well here. Some reservations you can have when it comes to the image quality at the maximum relative aperture but every 50 mm device experiences some problems there. By f/2.0 we see the situation improve a lot in the frame centre but you can express still some serious reservations about the edges. Only by f/2.8 we get a very good sharpness both at the edge and in the centre. On further stopping down the situation even improves as the lens notices some record-breaking results on 10-megapixel sensors of the APS-C/DX format.

It is clearly seen that in this category the 1.4/50 surpasses the 2.8/40 Limited model in practically every aspect. For the same price we get better fastness, better maximum results and better frame edge performance but we must admit honestly that a bit longer focal length helps the 50 mm lens to perform better, especially at the edge.

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The crops below show what the situation looks like in JPEG files straight from the camera (neutral settings, which, in the case of the K10D, sharpen the image just slightly).

Pentax smc FA 50 mm f/1.4 - Image resolution