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Pentax adds high-performance f/1.4 50mm lens to its premium Star series

Create: 11/01/2018 - 17:11
HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW


  • Can be used on certain full-frame or APS-C cameras
  • Has an electromagnetic aperture
  • Lens is dustproof and weather-resistant

Every major digital system has a premium normal lens, and now Pentax is among them with its HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW.

The lens is part of the Pentax Star line and is dustproof and weather-resistant. The lens is priced at US$1,199.95.

It uses the KA4 mount, which means that it lacks an aperture ring. That limits its use to Pentax cameras that can provide electromagnetic aperture control.

It is compatible with the K-1 Mark II, K-1, K-3 II, KP, K-70, K-3, K-S2, K-S1 and K-50. Some of those cameras will require a firmware update before it works correctly.

The electromagnetic aperture precludes its use on earlier Pentax DSLRs, such as the K10D, as well as on any film camera.

When mounted to a camera fitted with an APS-C sensor, it becomes a full-frame equivalent 75mm lens, which makes it useful for portraits. Keep in mind that the field of view might be equivalent to a 75mm lens, but it will perform optically as a 50mm lens. The close-focus distance is about 15½ inches (0.4 meters).

There are 15 elements in nine groups, including one aspherical element, and the aperture is formed by nine blades.

This lens has a bit of heft, reflected by its requirement for 72mm filter, as well as its 32.1-ounce (995 grams) weight. It is 4.2 inches long and 3.1 inches wide (106 x 80mm).

The lens kit also includes a petal lens shade, front and rear caps and a soft case.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.