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12-29-2010, 10:06 AM   #1
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DA* 55mm or FA 77mm

I am aware of the FA 77 as a LTD and it's reputation. I do not hear (read) much on the DA* 55.

12-29-2010, 10:15 AM   #2
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The DA* is weather sealed and has SDM focussing. So, if those things are important to you then they will be a primary consideration. The DA* is new, so not nearly as many opinions have been formed about it yet.

But so far, it seems reasonably clear that the reputation of the 77LTD isn't really so much under attack from the 55...
12-29-2010, 10:58 AM   #3
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FA77 - no weather sealing or SDM to fail. And it's a magical lens.
12-29-2010, 11:21 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Focal length is going to be a big part of this. Look at this image, and remember that we are comparing 85 and 115mm effective focal lengths (for portraits)



Typically, I would suggest that the DA* 55 is going to be better for looser portraits (upper-half) while the FA77 is going to be better for headshots and tight shots of one's face (as seen above). Different faces demand different lengths for optimal compression, however.

Now if this is to be a general-purpose lens, I would go with the DA 55 just because I find the mild telephoto more useful overall than something close to 80. However, for portraits, the FA 77 would likely pull ahead depending on your needs.


Last edited by paperbag846; 12-29-2010 at 12:38 PM.
12-29-2010, 11:44 AM   #5
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The stars are the pro grade pentax equipment while the ltds are road photographers.
12-29-2010, 12:10 PM   #6
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The biggest difference between these two (other than the obvious focal length) is going to be rendering styles. The 77 is known for its "pixie-dust". A sort of romanticized, magical style of rendering that is unique to the Limiteds and that most people find to be highly desirable. The 55 is more what you find from other top-quality lenses, less magical, perhaps, but IMO, no less desirable. It was apparently designed to be a portrait lens and I assure you, it excels at it. It gives you a technically wonderful "blank slate" to which you can imbue whatever type of character you wish with PP. Its brand of bokeh is also highly desirable for portraits.
12-29-2010, 02:28 PM   #7
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I think the reason you don't hear much about the DA* 55 is because most people would rather opt for the FA 50mm or FA 43mm limited given the price to performance aspect. Is there something about the 55mm that you like versus the other two I mentioned? I'm guessing it's not weather sealing if you're also interested in the 77mm.
12-29-2010, 02:34 PM   #8
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Thanks for the great replies. Very informative.

12-29-2010, 03:05 PM   #9
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Or the Voigtländer 58/1.4.........
Mine will arrive soon.
Exact manual focussing is essential in portraiture.
12-29-2010, 03:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by climit Quote
The stars are the pro grade pentax equipment while the ltds are road photographers.
So if I'm a pro the 77 isn't for me? What if I had both, but sold the * lenses in favor of the Limiteds, does that make me a former pro?

WRB, take a look at what you'll be using the lens for, they are both quite different lenses. Don't worry about designations like * and Limited. If you need a lens with weather-sealing in the 55mm range, buy the DA* or rent it to see if it meets your needs. If you're looking for what the 77 has to offer and it meets your photography needs, go for that one. I'm guessing you won't be disappointed by either.
12-29-2010, 03:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by climit Quote
The stars are the pro grade pentax equipment while the ltds are road photographers.
Not sure what a "road" photographer is exactly, but if the Limiteds are designed for them, then they must be a pretty special group, and one I'd gladly be a part of.
Seriously, I'm assuming that you mean street photography. While the Limiteds are excellent for this, saying that they are "for" this is really not giving them their just due. They are wonderful for any type of photography that is in their focal length range.
12-29-2010, 04:00 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by einstrigger Quote
I think the reason you don't hear much about the DA* 55 is because most people would rather opt for the FA 50mm or FA 43mm limited given the price to performance aspect. Is there something about the 55mm that you like versus the other two I mentioned? I'm guessing it's not weather sealing if you're also interested in the 77mm.
Actually, the price difference between the 55 and the 43 isn't all that great, and sometimes it isn't much at all. IMO, the 55 is worth every penny. (As is the 43) The FA50 is of course much cheaper but is no longer available new, and never really "did it" for me the way the 55 does.
12-29-2010, 04:06 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by WRB Quote
I am aware of the FA 77 as a LTD and it's reputation. I do not hear (read) much on the DA* 55.
The *55 is exquisite, though sometimes it has slightly funny bokeh. The 77 is nice, but anything you read about it's magical pixie dust qualities are highly romanticized. I have both the 77 and the 70LTD and I just haven't used my 77 all that much since I got the 70.
Personally, I think the 70 is the better lens.
12-29-2010, 04:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
Actually, the price difference between the 55 and the 43 isn't all that great, and sometimes it isn't much at all. IMO, the 55 is worth every penny. (As is the 43) The FA50 is of course much cheaper but is no longer available new, and never really "did it" for me the way the 55 does.
On digital, the FOV difference between the 43 and 55 is pretty large. Maybe not enough to warrant owning both, but they are fairly different lenses. 43 is much closer to general purpose, while the 55 is a better portrait lens. I would want the 55 over the 43 for a wedding, but the 43 over the 55 as the stills photographer for a film shoot. Depends on your application.
12-29-2010, 04:19 PM   #15
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The 77LTD lacks Quickshift focus. It really is an excellent asset for fine adjustments while in autofocus mode.
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