10 out of 10 points and recommendedsharp, usm, excellent bokeh, great valuemoderate amount of chromatic aberration, vignetting
usage: mostly portrait photography on a Canon 5D or 1DsMkII.reviewed November 20th, 2006 (purchased for $330)
This is the first lens I reach for when I want to take potraits. The sharpness is very good at f/1.8 (I rarely use it beyond f/2.8) and the bokeh is amazing. The autofocus is fast and accurate, build quality is good. One of the best values in the Canon lineup.
The only significant downside is the chromatic aberration, but it's only a problem in high contrast scenes. There is a fair bit of vignetting at 1.8 (full frame) and it doesn't focus as close as I'd like, but these are fairly minor issues for me.
vs Canon 50/1.4 - 85/1.8 is sharper and has better bokeh. I prefer this focal length for portraits.
7 out of 10 points and recommendedlarge aperture, good bokehsoft at max aperture
usage: Canon 5D and Canon 1DsMkIIreviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $310)
I was somewhat disappointed by the results of this lens. It's very soft at 1.4, even for portraits. It gets very sharp by f2.8-4, but the whole point of buying a 1.4 lens is to use it at 1.4. In addition to the softness, there is also a glowing or soft-focus look to the pictures taken at the largest apertures.
The bokeh is decent though, so if you need a 50mm, this is probably the one to get. Just don't expect much resolution at the max apertures.
If the focal length works for you, I'd recommend the 85/1.8 instead. It's about the same price, but sharper at equivalent apertures (at least below f2.8)
8 out of 10 points and recommendedsmall, light, very useful focal length, very sharp slightly stopped downexpensive, soft at f/3.2, may back/front focus on some cameras
Because of the focal length, this lens is on my camera more than any other.reviewed January 4th, 2007 (purchased for $500)
The lens is really well built, as are all Pentax limiteds. I'm not aware of any other lenses of this focal length that are even close to as small and light as this lens. It makes for a very compact SLR. The lens has quick shift so you can readjust the focal point after autofocus.
The lens is somewhat soft at f/3.2, but one stop down (f/4.5) it is perfectly sharp. There are a lot of reports of focusing problems with this lens in combination with K100D/K110Ds, but is seems fine with my K10D.
The lens hood is very small, only adding a few mm to thickness of the lens, not that lens flare is a problem with this lens. I never saw any lens flare until I tried to produce it by shooting into the sun. Even then it was barely visible.
This is a great lens, but at times I did wish for a faster lens.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedaffordable, very good for the price, decent bokeh, 1:4 macroslow (f/4-f/5.6), seems fragile when fully extended
I bought this lens as a cheap way to cover the 100-200mm range and the 1:4 macro, not expecting much from it in the image quality department. I was very surprised by how well it performs, even at 200mm. Images are much shaper than I expected and the bokeh is not bad either. I haven't really used the 50mm side as I have primes in that range.reviewed January 10th, 2007 (purchased for $180)