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07-27-2010, 12:43 PM   #1
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FA 31mm limited, FA 43mm limited, 40mm F2.8

Just bought K-x with the two-lens kit. Family member has 31mm ltd, which I have inherited.

Several questions:

--in searching for reviews/info of the 31mm ltd, can't find much. Is this lens out of production, not liked or .......Would like input on what I have here. DOF limited but seems very sharp.

--Assuming away cost, which would be more useful as "daily" lens: 43 f1.9, or 40 2.8 "pancake."
Or other suggestions for daily use. Used mostly city street, some architecture. Seen some samples on site of 43 1.9, but all extreme close up...how would it do on street, buildings, etc?

--Looking for higher quality long-ish zoom, better than the kit (I know you get what pay for, but still ok), something out to 200 or so, Pentax or other, down to 40-50 mm.

Thanks. Look forward to the world of Pentax.

07-27-2010, 12:49 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sheridan Quote
Several questions:

--in searching for reviews/info of the 31mm ltd, can't find much. Is this lens out of production, not liked or .......Would like input on what I have here. DOF limited but seems very sharp.
Are you kidding? Many Pentax users think that's one of the best lenses ever. Of any brand.
07-27-2010, 12:51 PM   #3
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I'll let others chime in because I have the FA43, but I'm not really experienced with it (yet!).

But I do have the FA31 Limited and I guess you did the wrong search, but the FA31 is easily one of the best primes ever made (regardless of brand). Period.

Personally I would gladly use the FA31 for street shooting.
07-27-2010, 12:58 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sheridan Quote
Just bought K-x with the two-lens kit. Family member has 31mm ltd, which I have inherited.

Several questions:

--in searching for reviews/info of the 31mm ltd, can't find much. Is this lens out of production, not liked or .......Would like input on what I have here. DOF limited but seems very sharp.

--Assuming away cost, which would be more useful as "daily" lens: 43 f1.9, or 40 2.8 "pancake."
Or other suggestions for daily use. Used mostly city street, some architecture. Seen some samples on site of 43 1.9, but all extreme close up...how would it do on street, buildings, etc?

--Looking for higher quality long-ish zoom, better than the kit (I know you get what pay for, but still ok), something out to 200 or so, Pentax or other, down to 40-50 mm.

Thanks. Look forward to the world of Pentax.
You've inherited a $1000+ lens (new) and you can't find any info? You're kidding right? Just teasing the people who drool over that lens and cannot afford one. Right?

A few from My FA31mm f1.8 Limited on various camera bodies.

FA 31mm Limited - a set on Flickr



07-27-2010, 01:05 PM   #5
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It is considered one of the best AF lenses ever made, in any brand. It costs about twice as much as your camera and the kit lenses put together.

If your kit zoom is the 55-300, then that is a fine lens, if you want faster and a notch higher in qulaity you have Pentax DA* 60-250/F4. The DA* is as good as it gets.

I consider the FA43/1.9 as my favorite lens, so I am biased towards that, but the DA40/2.8 is a superb lens as well.....you can't go wrong with either, but my vote obviously go for the FA43. You can see samples at pixelpeeper.com and various other sites (Pbase lens data base etc.)

Last edited by pcarfan; 07-27-2010 at 01:16 PM.
07-27-2010, 01:15 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sheridan Quote
Family member has 31mm ltd, which I have inherited.
Wish I had that kind of family member!
07-27-2010, 01:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sheridan Quote

Several questions:

--in searching for reviews/info of the 31mm ltd, can't find much. Is this lens out of production, not liked or .......Would like input on what I have here. DOF limited but seems very sharp.
It's sharp wide open, gets even sharper at f/2.8 and beyond. My favorite aperture setting is probably in the f/2.0 to f/2.4 range so the DOF is a little more forgiving while still giving you that 3D look.

QuoteQuote:
--Assuming away cost, which would be more useful as "daily" lens: 43 f1.9, or 40 2.8 "pancake."
I don't know if you can go wrong with either lens. The DA40 is smaller, focuses faster, its sharpness is better balanced across the frame and produces vibrant color. The FA43 gives you the option of shooting f/1.9 and has a unique look to its images.

QuoteQuote:
Or other suggestions for daily use. Used mostly city street, some architecture. Seen some samples on site of 43 1.9, but all extreme close up...how would it do on street, buildings, etc?
It might not be wide enough for most full buildings if you are close to them, although you can use it from far away. Street it would work well. It does a very good job at people photos.

QuoteQuote:
--Looking for higher quality long-ish zoom, better than the kit (I know you get what pay for, but still ok), something out to 200 or so, Pentax or other, down to 40-50 mm.

Thanks. Look forward to the world of Pentax.
So you're looking from something better than the DA50-200? The Pentax DA55-300 is very good. Quite a bargain for its price. Like someone said if you have the 55-300 already that is very good, but if you want even better, Tamron makes an excellent 70-200 f/2.8 that usually sells used for around $625 on here.

Good luck and welcome to Pentax
07-27-2010, 01:43 PM   #8
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About the 43mm limited

QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote

I consider the FA43/1.9 as my favorite lens, so I am biased towards that, but the DA40/2.8 is a superb lens as well.....you can't go wrong with either, but my vote obviously go for the FA43. You can see samples at pixelpeeper.com and various other sites (Pbase lens data base etc.)
Do you consider 43mm f/1.9 limited to have that magic look on the 77mm f/1.8 limited. I am thinking of down-sizing from 15/21/35/40/70/77 limited plus FA 50mm f/1.4 and Cosina 55mm f/1.2 to 15/35/43/77. But I am not so sure if 43mm limited f/1.9 will work its charms on K7, k20D or k-x. I need inputs. Without the 43mm limited, I can keep my FA 50mm f/1.4 in the down-sizing act to 15/35/77 plus one fast 50/55mm.

Thanks,
Hin

07-27-2010, 02:03 PM   #9
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Here are a couple of reviews for you.

Pentax Lens Review Database - SMC Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited Lens Reviews
07-27-2010, 02:05 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Are you kidding? Many Pentax users think that's one of the best lenses ever. Of any brand.
I think there may be a few non-Pentax users who think the same thing.
07-27-2010, 02:36 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sheridan Quote
--in searching for reviews/info of the 31mm ltd, can't find much. Is this lens out of production, not liked or .......
Well, it's relatively old, so most "professional" reviews predate most digital photography sites. But still, there are tons and tons of user comments out there, including 27 reviews in the Lens Review section of this site (link above). I think those plus the responses above should lay to rest any concern it isn't liked.

QuoteQuote:
DOF limited
Not sure what you mean by that. Sure, if you shoot wide open, but no more so than any other 31mm lens shot at f/1.8. And nothing to prevent you from shooting at whatever aperture you want to get whatever DOF you want.

QuoteQuote:
--Assuming away cost, which would be more useful as "daily" lens: 43 f1.9, or 40 2.8 "pancake."
Not sure how experienced you are here with the basics of focal length and aperture, but would suggest reading up on the fundamentals of photography if the meaning of these numbers is fuzzy. Both of these lenses are slight telephoto on your camera; the 31 is just on the wide side of normal. Most would say none of those would be wide enough for architecture, but any could be fine for other general purpose use. You really want to gain some experience with a zoom to find out for yourself what *you* personal favorite focal lengths are, though.

QuoteQuote:
Seen some samples on site of 43 1.9, but all extreme close up...
See the FA Limited Club thread here on this forum - should be tons of examples there.

QuoteQuote:
--Looking for higher quality long-ish zoom, better than the kit (I know you get what pay for, but still ok), something out to 200 or so, Pentax or other, down to 40-50 mm.
One obvious choice here: DA55-300.
07-27-2010, 04:43 PM   #12
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Well, I certainly must have put in a bad search term! And just got back from taking first shots--wow. Sometimes you get lucky. Thanks for all the input.
07-27-2010, 05:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
Do you consider 43mm f/1.9 limited to have that magic look on the 77mm f/1.8 limited. I am thinking of down-sizing from 15/21/35/40/70/77 limited plus FA 50mm f/1.4 and Cosina 55mm f/1.2 to 15/35/43/77. But I am not so sure if 43mm limited f/1.9 will work its charms on K7, k20D or k-x. I need inputs. Without the 43mm limited, I can keep my FA 50mm f/1.4 in the down-sizing act to 15/35/77 plus one fast 50/55mm.

Thanks,
Hin
Hin,

Thanks for asking me, but when the "lens man" himself asks me a question I am sort of puzzled , but, I will give you my humble opinion.

I rarely use the 77 due to it's focal length and I also consider it a specialty lens. At the sweet spot (like for portraits taken at wide apertures) neither the FA 31 nor the FA43 can match it (there strength is elsewhere). I consider the 77 a hard lens to use and suitable for only specific instances, but when the situation is appropriate and the shot is taken well nothing in the universe can match it.

I am only now getting used to the FA31. I've seen it's magic with some shots but as I've only had it for a couple of months, I haven't fully utilized it, and thus I have to wait for my skills to catch up to the lens before I can form my final opinion.

The FA43 is the first prime I got. It is a lens that is perfect for every situation I can imagine, and I am sure it is up to the task for shots I can't even imagine yet. The only thing it can't do is macro, but even at 100% crop it is so good that I can crop the hell out of an image and still get good close-ups. This lens has never let me down, if I can think of a shot it WILL deliver (most of the time better than I had imagined), it's as simple as that. On top of all this, it's a small lens.

All three FA limiteds are great and IMO truly have that magic/pixie dust....the 43 in many ways is even better than the 77, but then again the 77 in a limited sense is better than the FA43. In terms of bokeh, the 43 is no where near the league of the FA77 though.....but, the 43 is more than fine with boekh as well. Neither can do the others job.

I think going from 15 to 35 is not a good idea, even with my 31, I need the DA21. It took a while for me to appreciate this lens, but It also never let me down (I of course don't use it for anything other than landscapes and group shots...nothing real fancy), It doesn't have the magic of the FA limiteds, but it delivers each time I take a shot. I will lose my DA 15 before the DA21.

So, 15/21/35/43/77 would be a nice kit. (But the 31 instead of the 35 is what I prefer, as you can see from my lenses)

Last edited by pcarfan; 07-27-2010 at 05:22 PM.
07-27-2010, 05:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
Hin,

Thanks for asking me, but when the "lens man" himself asks me a question I am sort of puzzled , but, I will give you my humble opinion.

I rarely use the 77 due to it's focal length and I also consider it a specialty lens. At the sweet spot (like for portraits taken at wide apertures) neither the FA 31 nor the FA43 can match it (there strength is elsewhere). I consider the 77 a hard lens to use and suitable for only specific instances, but when the situation is appropriate and the shot is taken well nothing in the universe can match it.

I am only now getting used to the FA31. I've seen it's magic with some shots but as I've only had it for a couple of months, I haven't fully utilized it, and thus I have to wait for my skills to catch up to the lens before I can form my final opinion.

The FA43 is the first prime I got. It is a lens that is perfect for every situation I can imagine, and I am sure it is up to the task for shots I can't even imagine yet. The only thing it can't do is macro, but even at 100% crop it is so good that I can crop the hell out of an image and still get good close-ups. This lens has never let me down, if I can think of a shot it WILL deliver (most of the time better than I had imagined), it's as simple as that. On top of all this, it's a small lens.

All three FA limiteds are great and IMO truly have that magic/pixie dust....the 43 in many ways is even better than the 77, but then again the 77 in a limited sense is better than the FA43. In terms of bokeh, the 43 is no where near the league of the FA77 though.....but, the 43 is more than fine with boekh as well. Neither can do the others job.

I think going from 15 to 35 is not a good idea, even with my 31, I need the DA21. It took a while for me to appreciate this lens, but It also never let me down (I of course don't use it for anything other than landscapes and group shots...nothing real fancy), It doesn't have the magic of the FA limiteds, but it delivers each time I take a shot. I will lose my DA 15 before the DA21.

So, 15/21/35/43/77 would be a nice kit. (But the 31 instead of the 35 is what I prefer, as you can see from my lenses)
Thank you for the valuable inputs. I need those insights in my down-sizing decisions. Believe it or not, I had Pentax FA 31mm f/1.8 limited for about a month. I sold it after a month of use and I have never looked back as I love my usage with Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 limited. 31mm is a weird focal length in digital for street shooting for me as I prefer wider as in 21mm or 24mm.

Strange about the love with 77mm. Some people hates it for its occasional moderate fringing and surreal color but I find it very unique. Yes, it is a bit too long to be used daily as I don't shoot all portraits. In that use, the DA 70mm f/2.4 is actually easier to use as it is closer to 105mm in the view after the crop factor. I have to decide to trim one over the other in 70 vs 77mm -- it is going to be a nightmare that I knowingly incurred at purchase of 70mm after 77mm ownership.

Last edited by hinman; 07-28-2010 at 01:19 PM.
07-28-2010, 12:30 PM   #15
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My 2 cents worth...

I'd send that 'family member' a very nice bottle of their favorite beverage. and I wish had family members like yours. I've only inherited a used lawn mower
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