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Thread: Why I buy FA..

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Why I buy FA..

    Got a several emails and PMs in the last week from individuals wanting to know why I was buying FA lenses. The answer is twofold:

    The two purchased so far are the 31mm FA Ltd and the 77mm FA Ltd... both have the reputation of having been sprinkled with Pixie Dust, produce great images (color and contrast), great bokeh, cover a range I enjoy and are small primes whose build is only surpassed by Zeiss & Leica.

    The second reason is that IF Pentax ever produces a K-FF I will have those two focal lengths covered with the best available lenses and not have to buy new lenses for such a full frame system... of course who knows if it will ever happen.. but in the meantime I have two very special lenses and I'm looking at buying two more.

    I continue to be happy to have sold all my Canon gear and switched to Pentax even though I was giving up FF for an APSC system.

    My GH2, which arrived 3 months after I ordered it, is staring at me from across the room.. guess I should take it out and use it a bit but the K5 will have to go as well.
    Jim Radcliffe
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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Hi Jim,

    The two FF lenses you have purchased are inded superb. Until not too long ago I was shooting Pentax 35mm for over 30 years and when it comes to their DSLR bodies and past FA lenses, one has to be very careful choosing which ones perform as good on digital as they did on film and which ones don't. Many FA FF lenses, even their specutacular high end pro lenses often were incredbale disappointments when making the transition onto DSLR bodies. In some cases it was more than optics but the inability to focus correctly or reduced optial performance and with regard to focusing, no amount of front/back focus adjustment would correct for some of the anomolies. This comes from first hand experience with these lenses over many years. With that said, many of the FA FF lenses are excellent with build quailites to match. You most definitely started out with two of their best. Have fun!

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    You should also try the FA43/1.9 Limited :: my personal favorite of all Pentax lenses. I'd unfortunately sold mine by the time Micro-FourThirds came around otherwise I'd still be using it. At the end of my time with Pentax, the only two lenses I used were the FA43 and DA21.

    The 31 was not to my taste for a variety of reasons, but the 77 is another brilliant lens. While I strongly doubt that a so-called "full frame" Pentax DSLR will ever happen, the 43 and 77 are just superb lenses and worth having.

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Radcliffe View Post
    Got a several emails and PMs in the last week from individuals wanting to know why I was buying FA lenses.
    Oh, I see ...

    The thing is, writing on fora being an international thing sometimes leads to linguistic misinterpretation.

    To an Englishman the title would suggest an explanation as to not buying anything.


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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by m3photo View Post
    Oh, I see ...

    The thing is, writing on fora being an international thing sometimes leads to linguistic misinterpretation.

    To an Englishman the title would suggest an explanation as to not buying anything.

    FA - Sweet

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Radcliffe View Post
    Got a several emails and PMs in the last week from individuals wanting to know why I was buying FA lenses. The answer is twofold:

    The two purchased so far are the 31mm FA Ltd and the 77mm FA Ltd... both have the reputation of having been sprinkled with Pixie Dust, produce great images (color and contrast), great bokeh, cover a range I enjoy and are small primes whose build is only surpassed by Zeiss & Leica.


    My GH2, which arrived 3 months after I ordered it, is staring at me from across the room.. guess I should take it out and use it a bit but the K5 will have to go as well.
    Jim...another reason (and I haven't tried it yet myself) is that these two lenses can mount on the GH2 (with adapter, of course). Way different focal lengths......but for ~$22 for an adapter, what the heck.

    R

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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    I'm with ya! I am eyeing the 43 FA, but have the lovely 40 DA...tough choice, as I am very impressed by the DA option here...what are the 2 other FA's you are eyeying, Jim?

    I am guessing that the 43 is one of them, but the other? 50?
    Ashwin Rao
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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinrao1 View Post
    I'm with ya! I am eyeing the 43 FA, but have the lovely 40 DA...tough choice, as I am very impressed by the DA option here...what are the 2 other FA's you are eyeying, Jim?

    I am guessing that the 43 is one of them, but the other? 50?
    Yes, the 43 is on the list... as well as the 100mm D FA... then I need a wide prime which I have not decided on. the 18-235 really does work quite well.
    Jim Radcliffe
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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Radcliffe View Post
    ..........The second reason is that IF Pentax ever produces a K-FF I will have those two focal lengths covered with the best available lenses and not have to buy new lenses for such a full frame system... of course who knows if it will ever happen.. but in the meantime I have two very special lenses and I'm looking at buying two more.

    ............
    Very rational and I agree. I think Pentax made a mistake discontinuing most of the FA lenses and introducing the DA line and thereby backing themselves into an APS-C corner; a decision made I'm sure based on the price of sensors several years ago. The fact that the new 645 lenses are DFA (full 645 frame) seems to indicate that Pentax learned a lesson.

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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    I think many many Pentax users over the last few years have bought FA and other "full frame" capable lenses hoping that Pentax will eventually release a 35mm sensor camera. But IMO it's beginning to look less and less likely.

    Pentax seems to be mainly concentrating on three fronts:
    - cheap colorful entry level cams
    - weather resistant high quality APS-C DSLR
    - 645D

    Not much place for 35mm DSLR. Especially considering that while FA lenses are still sold, most Pentax lenses today are not 35mm compatible. And in the long run I suspect that K mount will be history as the EVIL concept will probably take over eventually for its reduced size and flange range.

    However, having said this, I'd definitely get an FA 31mm if I could afford it.

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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Radcliffe View Post
    Yes, the 43 is on the list... as well as the 100mm D FA... then I need a wide prime which I have not decided on. the 18-235 really does work quite well.
    My favorite wides were the DA21/3.2 and DA14/2.8. They out-perform the older A and FA series lenses with similar focal lengths (20mm f/2.8 and 16mm f/3.5) on the digital sensor. The FA28/2.8 was a good performer on the digital sensor, but not as outstanding as the much older K28/3.5.

    The DA14 is the lens that brought me to Pentax in the first place: a DA14 and an *ist DS together were two-thirds the price of a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 L and proved to have superior performance.

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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinrao1 View Post
    I'm with ya! I am eyeing the 43 FA, but have the lovely 40 DA...tough choice, as I am very impressed by the DA option here...what are the 2 other FA's you are eyeying, Jim?

    I am guessing that the 43 is one of them, but the other? 50?
    Ashwin

    Both my 40 and 43 arrive today and I will be testing them to see which I should keep. The 40 fascinates me because of the size and weight, but the 43 is supposedly a superior lens and of course faster.

    I'll try to post some comparison pictures for all to see.

    I can only keep one so i'll have to do the comparisons quickly

    Woody

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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Radcliffe View Post
    Yes, the 43 is on the list... as well as the 100mm D FA... then I need a wide prime which I have not decided on. the 18-235 really does work quite well.
    I just received my (silver) 43FA and it is superb to my eye.

    However I will keep the DA43 because when a one lens kit with size and weight as a consideration, it can't be beaten.

    I wonder if anyone has experience with both the 31FA and the DA 35Macro would be able to share opinions/experiences?

    Thanks

    Woody

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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    ... I wonder if anyone has experience with both the 31FA and the DA 35Macro would be able to share opinions/experiences? ...
    I wasn't overjoyed with the FA31 when I had it and sold it fairly quickly in preference for the FA35/2. The 31 was clumsy in use, heavy and overly expensive for its added performance over the 35/2. The 35/2 was 98% of the performance, half the weight, at 1/3 the price.

    The DA35/2.8 Macro was released after I had sold off my Pentax gear so I have no direct experience using it, but friends from the Pentax community love it.

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    I wonder if anyone has experience with both the 31FA and the DA 35Macro would be able to share opinions/experiences?

    Thanks

    Woody
    Woody, I have the 31FA and the 35 Macro. The 35 macro is a great double duty lens. I find it to be very sharp and a joy to use for closeup shots as well as regular work with the K5. The 31FA is larger but I find it very good for low light work and have had no problems with it to date.
    Jim Radcliffe
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    Re: Why I buy FA..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Radcliffe View Post
    Woody, I have the 31FA and the 35 Macro. The 35 macro is a great double duty lens. I find it to be very sharp and a joy to use for closeup shots as well as regular work with the K5. The 31FA is larger but I find it very good for low light work and have had no problems with it to date.
    Thanks so much Jim. That is very helpful

    Woody

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