The 50mm focal-length lens is a true photographic icon and an essential piece of kit for any photographeru2019s kit bag, but there are quite a few to choose from. Richard Sibley and Andrew Sydenham test 12 such optics to assess their particular qualities

Specifications: Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM

RRP: £759.99Street price: Around £610
Filter diameter:
58mm
Lens elements:
9
Groups:
8
Diaphragm blades:
9
Aperture:
f/1.4-22
Minimum focus:
45cm
Length:
66mm
Diameter:
70.5mm
Weight:
375g
Lens mount:
Pentax K

Chart analysis

Tested on a Pentax K-5 II

Pentax’s SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM lens has an impressively low level of curvilinear distortion. In fact, it’s the third best result for a lens in this test. Vignetting is also kept to a bare minimum.

Resolution is good, although the f/1.8 is better, particularly at 1 stop down from the minimum aperture. The light-green line is quite far from the dark green, showing that there is quite a difference is sharpness between the centre and edge.

Score: 4 out of 5

  1. 1. 50mm lens test - Introduction
  2. 2. Page 2
  3. 3. Page 3
  4. 4. Specificiations: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
  5. 5. Specififications: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
  6. 6. Specifications: Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
  7. 7. Specifications: Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
  8. 8. Specifications: Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM
  9. 9. Specifications: Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
  10. 10. Specificiations: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
  11. 11. Specifications: Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG
  12. 12. Specifications: Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 SSM
  13. 13. Specifications: Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM
  14. 14. Specifications: Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4
  15. 15. Specifications: Zeiss Makro-planar T* 50mm f/2
  16. 16. Our verdict
Page 8 of 16 - Show Full List