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07-06-2010, 10:12 AM   #16
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Thanks for all the responses, folks. I appreciate the feedback. I still haven't made any final decision, so any further thoughts on the matter are welcomed. I did want to address a couple of points, FWIW.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
As for FF, that's kind of irrelevant since Pentax doesn't offer a FF camera. If you are planning to buy FF, you might as well not invest in Pentax at all - know knows if they'll ever off it, and even if they do at some point, then indeed, few of their currently lenses would work except in crop mode.
Actually, all other things considered equal, I consider a FF lens to be more valuable because it's more versatile. Even though I'm trying to go digital, I don't imagine I'll ever stop shooting film entirely. Buying FF lenses preserves that. If I get a Canon digital, I keep my old EOS-1 film for days when I feel like a slide or some black and white. By the same token, if I were to go to Pentax, I would gladly pick up a bargain-priced Pentax film body and keep it handy. That has a big influence when I consider Pentax DA vs Pentax FA vs Canon.

I'm getting the feeling that you think I'm slamming or picking on Pentax ... I'm not. Nor am I looking to rehash an extended debate that's already happened a thousand times. I'm just trying to make the right decision while considering a nearly overwhelming number of variables.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
OK, that explains part of your frustration, but you've got to realize, occasional duds happen with all products. That one rare isolated experience - unfortunate as it might be - should not reflect on Pentax.
QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
That's not moving forward, then - that's continuing to live in the past. Moving forward would be accepting this as a fluke that could have happened with *any* lens, especially a used one, and not letting that fluke cause you to irrationally avoid buying another such lens that happens to be of the same model if that's a spec that interests you (it doesn't me - I don't find 50mm all that useful on APS-C). But the fact that the lens that failed on you happened to be a Pentax FA50 is no more significant as a predictor of future behavior than the fact that you happened to buy it on Tuesday (or whatever) - you might just as well swear off ever buying anything on the same day of the week you bought that lens.
Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be just one rare fluke. After my lens fell apart, all I did was search this very forum for "FA 50 fell apart" and I had a thread with five prior failures identical to mine, making me the sixth. There may well be other references on this forum, and there are certainly references on other forums as well. Once again, I'm not bashing Pentax because of one lens, I'm bashing *one lens* because of one lens. One lemon out of an entire line may not be bad, but this lens does seem to have a fatal design or manufacturing flaw, and I'm not being irrational by saying I'd prefer not to gamble another $300 and just hope for the best, when there are plenty of examples to cite. How many instances of an identical failure are required before deciding to pass on a particular model can be considered rational?

07-06-2010, 12:16 PM   #17
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To be honest, the Pentax lens lineup is nothing compared to the Canon one, itīs far, far smaller. Sure, there are some very unique lenses in the Ltd lines, but they are expensive for what they are & the new ones (the DAs) are not FF or even fast. There are more gaps in the Pentax lens lineup than there are lenses, and itīs incredible that they have not been filled. Pentax DSLR bodies are becoming more & more advanced, but their lenses lag far behind.

To be entirely honest, it sounds like Canon would be your best bet as your concern is over lens availability, which will never be an issue with them.
07-06-2010, 12:25 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by sataraid1 Quote
Actually, all other things considered equal, I consider a FF lens to be more valuable because it's more versatile. Even though I'm trying to go digital, I don't imagine I'll ever stop shooting film entirely.
Fair enough, then.

QuoteQuote:
Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be just one rare fluke. After my lens fell apart, all I did was search this very forum for "FA 50 fell apart" and I had a thread with five prior failures identical to mine, making me the sixth.
Out of how many tens of thousands of units sold? Do you have similar statistics for any other lens? There is basically no evidence whatsoever that this is any more common an occurrence for this lens than any other ever made.
07-06-2010, 01:08 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
...Out of how many tens of thousands of units sold? Do you have similar statistics for any other lens? There is basically no evidence whatsoever that this is any more common an occurrence for this lens than any other ever made.
My thinking as well, only I think the number of units may be in the hundreds of thousands. I tried to find the other posts the OP referred to, but his search term only returned messages on this thread. I tried some other search terms but with similar results. However, I do remember at least one other post with a similar complaint and I have a theory on the matter. I suspect that the lens may be weak if an attempt is made to "quick-shift" or manually focus when the AF drive is engaged. Any internal break of that sort might well extend into the parts that hold the lens together. It is hard to say without seeing the lens.

As I noted to the OP, I would have had absolutely no issue with asking the seller for a full refund if a lens failed in that way on first use. It should never happen.


Steve

07-06-2010, 01:46 PM   #20
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I just found the other post regarding a disintegrating FA 50...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/76666-%5Bwtf%5...-my-hands.html

Five users on this site (the OP, dmtsn, tricon, troywhite, and thirdofthree) and a single report from a Chinese forum, all with a similar issue. The failures all happened within a fairly short period of time Is it possible that there was a bad manufacturing run?

From what I could tell from scanning the posts, the issue was repairable in at least one instance. In that case, there was a failure of a glue bond between two metal components. The owner felt that the glue failed because of the stronger focus motor in the K-7 body. If that is the case, then we may be reading more of accounts of failing Pentax-FA lenses since the non-limited primes apparently share a common build.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-06-2010 at 02:00 PM.
07-06-2010, 09:54 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
If that is the case, then we may be reading more of accounts of failing Pentax-FA lenses since the non-limited primes apparently share a common build.
I'm sticking to FA* and FA limited glass on this account. the plastic FA just seems less than sturdy.
07-07-2010, 11:10 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clinton Quote
I'm sticking to FA* and FA limited glass on this account. the plastic FA just seems less than sturdy.
The weird part is that it was not the plastic that failed in the one case where a repair was made. The failure was a glue joint between two metal pieces.


Steve
07-07-2010, 01:13 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
FWIW, I think you'd be a fool to switch systems if you've already a good collection of high-quality Canon lenses that meet your needs. Just get a digital Canon body and you're done, it seems. But if you've got to buy all new lenses either way, it would be about a wash long term. Reasons to go with Pentax would be if they have particular lenses that interest you that no one else makes (eg, virtually all the DA Limiteds), or to get "free" stabilization on all your lenses. One 50mm lens - if that's all you've got right now - doesn't seem like reason to stay with Canon.
I agree. Stick with Canon. ALL three systems (Nikon, Canon, Pentax, I don't really follow Olympus and Sony) have their pluses and minues, and if you need long fast glass AND already have some Canon stuff, going Canon seems like a no brainer.

FWIW, The Canon 200mm f/2.8 is $769.

2529A004 Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L-II (USM) Auto Focus Telephoto Lens with Case & Hood - USA

07-08-2010, 02:17 PM   #24
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By what I have read, the FA 50 f/1.4 seems to be the flimsiest lens that Pentax makes. However, it still doesn't usually fall apart in your hands, so expecting that is going a bit too far. It is, however, a lens that I would hesitate to buy used because I don't know how it may have been treated and I would get no warranty.

If long primes are what you really want to shoot the most, then I would hesitate to go with Pentax, since anything over 300mm is not part of their line-up right now, and used Pentax telephoto lenses are in high demand. Also, third party alternatives that are available for Pentax are generally available for other mounts as well. The only thing going for Pentax at those lengths is that every lens becomes a shake reduction lens.

Pentax strengths:
In-body shake reduction that works with any lens (even adapted M42 lenses)
Small, unique, and well built primes (in focal lengths from wide to short telephoto)
Focus confirmation with any lens (even adapted M42 lenses)
Backwards compatibility even with very old lenses
Weather sealing
Well laid out controls

Canon strengths:
More lenses available, especially at lengths of more than 300mm
Availability of full frame digital cameras
Wider array of compatible third party equipment
Generally good high ISO performance (at the cost of some sharpness)

Of course, if I didn't prefer the qualities of my Pentax cameras to my Canon camera, then I would have more Canon equipment than Pentax. You may have other opinions about the relative merits of buying into the two systems.
07-09-2010, 10:29 AM   #25
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Continued thanks for the cogent replies. I'm glad this thread hasn't turned into a P vs C flame-fest, because the result has been some good comparisons on the relative merits of each system looking at it from where I stand now.

I wish the decision was getting easier, though.

Pentax does not make this easy. I handle the K10 and find it to be a competent camera. Then I ponder the fact that I can't put a simple standard prime on it for less than $500, and it makes me cringe. It's not *all* about fast tele primes.
07-09-2010, 10:40 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by sataraid1 Quote
I ponder the fact that I can't put a simple standard prime on it for less than $500
Actually, you can, if you don't need the camera to focus it for you. Quite a few manual options for cheap. Also, the DA40 - admittedly on the long end of the normal range, but I find this a plus - is a fantastic lens that nothing for Canon or Nikon else can come close to matching, and it's well under $500.
07-09-2010, 12:16 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Actually, you can, if you don't need the camera to focus it for you. Quite a few manual options for cheap. Also, the DA40 - admittedly on the long end of the normal range, but I find this a plus - is a fantastic lens that nothing for Canon or Nikon else can come close to matching, and it's well under $500.
I may have to concede that one. A Google shopping search turned up $499.95 as the lowest price, but I see now that some sellers on eBay claim to be selling it new for $399.

Though IMHO, even $400 for a slow fixed lens that *should* be as common as grass is a bit pricey. Other manufacturers are making similar lenses two stops faster for considerably less.

On a less-than-serious note, I find myself wondering how anyone can use those "pancake" lenses anyway. Part of my grip of the camera, even when using AF, is the underside of the lens. What do people hang on to when using one of those?
07-09-2010, 01:40 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by sataraid1 Quote
I may have to concede that one. A Google shopping search turned up $499.95 as the lowest price, but I see now that some sellers on eBay claim to be selling it new for $399.

Though IMHO, even $400 for a slow fixed lens that *should* be as common as grass is a bit pricey. Other manufacturers are making similar lenses two stops faster for considerably less.

On a less-than-serious note, I find myself wondering how anyone can use those "pancake" lenses anyway. Part of my grip of the camera, even when using AF, is the underside of the lens. What do people hang on to when using one of those?
You dont... I use my DA 40 with one hand with K10d + grip The balance of this combination is perfect. Try holding your camera without a lens and see if you can hold it sturdy.

If I feel that I have to use my left hand, I hold on the body / Grip
07-09-2010, 03:38 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by sataraid1 Quote
I may have to concede that one. A Google shopping search turned up $499.95 as the lowest price, but I see now that some sellers on eBay claim to be selling it new for $399.
You can't trust quick Google searches for Pentax prices, since Pentax apparently requires sellers to advertise at the "list" price for all lenses. You have to actually add to cart to see the real prices on virtually all Pentax lenses.

The two main dealers in the US are B&H and Adorama; these are the first two places one should always look for Pentax gear. They both sell the DA40 for under $350.

I suspect you are getting greatly inflated notions of all Pentax prices if you haven't been checking B&H or Adorama but are relying only on Google searches and Ebay scammers.

QuoteQuote:
Though IMHO, even $400 for a slow fixed lens that *should* be as common as grass is a bit pricey. Other manufacturers are making similar lenses two stops faster for considerably less.
Two stops faster? I think not. You won't find any f/1.4 lenses for considerably less than the DA40 at *any* focal length. *One* stop faster, yes, there are a handful of f/1.8-f/2 lenses available for less. Mostly these are old film-era 50's not optimized for digital and now *well* outside the normal range. There is exactly *one* normal lens for digital sold right now that sells for significantly less than the DA40 - Nikon's 35/1.8, which has only been on the market a year or so (before that, they had nothing any more appropriate either). So yes, you can get faster lenses if you are willing to compromise on focal length and quality. But those are both hugely important considerations, and none of those other lenses can touch the DA40 there.

Anyhow, the point being, yes, others have lenses Pentax doesn't but the reverse is just as true. And personally, I wouldn't trade my DA40 for anything anyone else makes, although I do admit that Nikon with their 35 offers a great choice if you don't mind the lesser quality and lack of stabilization. That would be my reluctant second choice if I had to give up Pentax and the DA40.

QuoteQuote:
On a less-than-serious note, I find myself wondering how anyone can use those "pancake" lenses anyway. Part of my grip of the camera, even when using AF, is the underside of the lens. What do people hang on to when using one of those?
With a pancake lens, you don't *need* the second hand to support the lens. The camera can be held with one hand, or with the second hand on the camera itself.
07-09-2010, 04:31 PM   #30
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I think you should try and make up your mind by choosing the system you would buy if you had no prior investment.

For long fast affordable glass pentax has the advantage of in body Shake reduction.
This means you can chose from pentax 50-135/2.8, sigma 50-150/2.8, sigma 70-200/2.8 or tamron 70-200/2.8 and have stabilisation
In cannon you can get cheaper fast glass(including tokina clone of pentax 50-135) but at the loss of stabilisation. You can get lens stabilised options from cannon but they are pricey. IS does work slightly better at long focal lengths mind you, although it does increase the chances of the lens breaking in the future, and chews up you batteries. That being said i would definitely buy the 70-200/4L IS if i owned cannon.
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