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08-22-2010, 03:01 AM   #1
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another which lens question

The minister of war and finance has approved a lens acquisition. For a fair while i had decided my next substantial outlay would be on a FA77 Ltd, however during a particularly mundane day at work I foolishly throw a DA*50-135mm into the mix and now I am sitting on the fence, leaning towards the FA one day and the DA the next. These are the pros and cons i can see between them based on reviews i have read.

FA pros: small and lightweight, F1.8
cons: slow/noisy auto focusing (apparently according to one review i read), no weather sealing

DA pros: weather sealing, fl range, SDM
cons: F2.8, Heavy, zoom

I am not an avid fan of zooms but there is something alluring about the 50-135 and has great reviews. Both lenses produce great images but the brokeh of the 77 seems to be more pleasing from the many photos i have looked at. While the DA is larger it also covers a decent focal length range with seemingly great results. As the FA has an aperture ring I assume i would be able to put some extension tubes on and do some macro with it.
I will be using it for general photography, i don't do anything in particular just shoot anything and everything. I will be taking a bunch of photos at a wedding reception for my sister in-law so that is a consideration for my purchase but not the determining factor (indoors at night so will probably end up borrowing/renting/buying a flash)
I will probably end up with both one day, though hopefully somebody will be able to push me off the fence for now.

08-22-2010, 03:58 AM - 1 Like   #2
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tough choice indeed!
here are my 2p:

I used to own DA*50-135 and when finances and "minister" will allow, it's probably going to be the first zoom that I will re-buy. For zoom of that FL it's not big, neither heavy, SDM is a treat and FL itself is fantastically useful (IMO). Cons? could focus tad faster, could focus tad closer and possibility of SDM failing, although this seems to be problem less and less.... and on my personal part I consider con the typical DA rendering.

Now I have FA77ltd, it was the only one of the three that I paid full retail price for. My credit card still feels that, but oh boy is that lens worth every penny I paid for it! The combination of IQ, 3D pop, size and f1.8 makes it winner. I love the images it renders.

The IQ side of it is very personal though, I like what others may not. DA* delivers some great results, but not as many as FA ltd IMO. It may as well be that my technique and PPing skills have improved since I owned DA* and that's why I like the FA ltd more.

One big question mark is: do you need the range, are not? If yes, it's a no brainer. If, however, you are happy with what Tamron 18-250 gives you in that range, than I'd say 77 is the top pick.
Regards, Peter
08-22-2010, 11:44 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mibane Quote
FA ...
cons: slow/noisy auto focusing (apparently according to one review i read)
Noisy compared to the 50-135 or other SDM lenses, and slow compared to the DA70, perhaps, but not unusually slow or noisy by screw drive standards in general, at least in my brief experience with it.
08-23-2010, 01:12 AM   #4
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Oh Gosh! That is a REALLY tough question. I have both. And I use both. It really depends on the situation. But I can say that they very rarely go in the camera bag at the same time.

The FA77 in my mind has no cons. I think the autofocus and noise "issues" are exaggerated. Its just a tiny not to mention cute piece of glass that you can take anywhere to cover a short tele range with magical results. Its exceptional in low light and the bokeh is to die for.

And if you get used to it, the DA* might seem like a slouch but yet everytime the DA* goes in the bag, I'm pleasantly surprised. Its all about sharpness and rendering. It has this very true to life feeling that the FA77 doesn't have. And because it covers a nice FL range with the zoom, I'd much rather use it for a wedding or other fast-moving social event. I'd be restricted by the FA77.

That said if I'm at home with the family or going out on a walk somewhere I usually take the FA77. Traveling I usually take the DA*.

Oh and don't consider the DA* "heavy". You should view it as a lens that is nearly half the weight of the 70-200 F2.8 lens options out there with better rendering and IQ.

Personally, I would advise you to figure out which of those are your priorities buy that and then go to the Minister of War & Finance for a budget increase in some time to come. Its much easier to make the case for it when you know exactly how the complement each other.

08-23-2010, 01:15 AM   #5
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This is one tough choice. And without knowing your particular style and shooting habits it is very difficult to make a suggestion. Personally, I am not a big fan of zoom lenses. Neither do I hold not-FF lenses in high esteem. But these are my personal quirks. As such then I would recommend that you get an FA 77/1.8 Ltd. I have it and it is a dandy of a lens. But let me reiterate that what I recommend is based on my preferences. Yours may be different.
08-23-2010, 03:03 PM   #6
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Original Poster
Thanks for the input guys, I decided on the FA77mm and have a sale pending from a forum member... there is a chance i will also be getting a 50-135 from same seller, minister will probably enrage if i get it but it will be worth a few days or her wrath.
08-23-2010, 04:04 PM   #7
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. . . put some extension tubes on and do some macro with it.
This is where "gutted", glassless AE- and screw-drive AF-capable TCs can be an interesting acquisition. The less expensive ones are invariably older 2X items without the AF drive (I've never had nerve enought to gut a good 1.4X) and typically provide about 25mm of extension which is about the same as a #2 extension ring.

Stackin' two of 'em offers 1:1 macro with a fast-50 like the SMC-A 50/1.7 while retaining the AE-functions.

I'm lookin' forward to trying that with an FA 77 soon myself.


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