photos, tips, tricks, and thoughts from an avid amateur photographer


Posts tagged 50mm f/1.7 SMC-A

line of defense

line of defense

Pentax K10D, SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, ISO 320,  f/1.7, 1/100 sec, +0.7 EV, IS on

Well, the two weeks of spring in Alabama are over and now it’s pretty much summer. Time to start greasing up!

This image was shot with my Pentax K10D and old manual focus 50mm f/1.7 lens. The RAW image was uploaded to Adobe Lightroom for processing. First off I had to correct the white balance as my K10D has never been able to make heads nor tails of our comact flurescent lighting in the bathroom. One click of the WB eyedropper tool on the white portion of the bottle in focus did the trick. Next, I dialed in a tad of positive exposure compensation (+0.17) and then tweaked the Tone Curve by bumping up the Highlights and Lights and down the Darks and Shadows. The resulting S-curved tone curve created the high contrast image seen here. Lastly, I added in a bit of vignetting to further darken the edges of the image and add depth to the shot. To me, the super saturated colors and high contrast feels like a summer beach scene…all from a quick snapshot taken in my bathroom.

Pentax SMCP-DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited User Review


Ever since I started shooting DSLRs with APS-C sized sensors I have struggled to find the perfect go-to lens for the majority of my photos. I love the speed and image quality of my old A series 50mm f/1.7 but the lack of autofocus and relatively tight F0V (75mm equiv.) makes it less than ideal for a lot of my shooting. When my friend Stephen said he was sending me his DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited to take for a spin I was pretty sure that it was going to be the lens I have been looking for. I had read all the reviews so I knew that it was a sharp lens with top-notch build quality. All that remained was for me to live with it for a few days…


  • Razor sharp starting at f/2.8.
  • Virtually no flare and very low CAs or fringing.
  • Wonderful bokeh (especially during macro use).
  • Impeccable Limited build quality.
  • Smaller and lighter than most 1:1 macro lenses.
  • Durable*
  • Ultra close focusing capability.
  • Built-in lens hood.
  • Excellent bang-for-the-buck.

*I didn’t test this lens’ durability but my friend Stephen did. Within minutes of opening the box he dropped it from a height of 1M onto concrete. The filter mount ring took the brunt of the impact (note silver filed away area in these shots) but the function of the lens was not otherwise affected. Wow!


  • Slow focusing due to extremely long focal range.
  • Lack of focus limit switch (might correct previous point).
  • Focus ring spins during autofocus operation.
  • Included lens cap falls off too easily.
  • Extremely limited stand-off distance at 1:1 magnification (read: “none”).
  • Diffraction may be a problem above f/8 with non-macro shots.


Turns out this is not the do-it-all lens I’ve been looking for. Now, before all you Pentaxians out there start accusing me of bashing Pentax again, let me explain…

The DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited is one of the best macro lenses I have ever used. It absolutely blows everything away within 2 feet of the front of the lens. I love the natural look the 35mm (52.5mm equiv) FoV provides. I can easily see this being one of the best lenses available for shooting products in a studio setting. If I were still walking the floor at Asian electronics trade shows it would be my go-to lens (lots of close-up shots of products held in my hand). However, the things that make this lens so good at what it was designed to do also make it less than perfect for my everyday use. If your primary interest is up-close hand-held macro photography, look no further. Buy this lens. If, like me, you are thinking that this lens might double as a good medium focal length lens for everyday use, please read the rest of my review and decide for yourself:

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a couple of recent macro shots


Pentax K10D, SMC Pentax-DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/1600 sec, +0.7 EV, IS on

Heavily processed in Lightroom. Started with the Direct Positive creative preset then poked and prodded for a few minutes until I got what I wanted. The detail however, is all from the lens. I’ve got the review worked out in my head but just have to find the time to put it all together.

Tears of loves lost in the days gone by

Pentax K10D, Pentax SMC-A 50mm f/1.7 (manual focus), ISO 125, f/1.7, 1/100 sec, +0.7 EV, IS on

This time shot with my old manual 50mm and heavily cropped to get the macro effect. Processing was limited to some WB and saturation/vibrance tweaking and the addition of some vignetting. This crop is basically a 100% magnifcation of the original 10MP image. Note the slight purple fringing around the droplet from shooting wide open? That’s how you know this image is real ;-)

Pentax vs Canon AF Performance


I’m a little concerned about the focus performance of my Pentax K10D DSLR. Before I get too far into it, let me  establish a little background first…

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at the DMV

at the DMV

Pentax K10D, Pentax SMC-A 50mm f/1.7 (manual focus), ISO 200, f/1.7, 1/100 sec, +0.7 EV, IS on

Had to drop by the DMV office yesterday to trade in my Tennessee driver’s license for an Alabama version. Of course I took my camera with me ;-) I didn’t take any pictures of the folks waiting with me in the lobby. It was too quiet and crowded and they were a bit of a surly looking bunch. I tried to take a picture while I was at the Trooper’s desk but she said it was “against the law.” Anyway, after a relatively brief 30 minute wait I was on my way out the door when I snapped this quickie.

This image is as close to SOOC (straight out of the camera) as I get. All I did was import the RAW image into Lightroom using my mild default import processing and exported it as a JPEG to Photoshop where I added the black bars. I’ve started adding black bars to make my uncropped images square. Being an avid Flickr-er I prefer square crops as I think they look best as thumbnails and in my photstream.


I'm an industrial designer and an avid hobbyist photographer. People are always asking me "how'd you do that?" So, I decided to create this site as a place to share my experiences and insights about photography, the gear and what it all means to me. I'm not sure if this site will make anyone besides myself a better photographer but I figure it's worth a try. Take a look around and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by!


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