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01-02-2011, 09:34 AM   #1
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Pentax and it's reputation

I just finished reading this review on the Pentax FA 43 F1.9 Limited. It seems that Pentax is really frowned upon by this reviewer and I'm guessing in general a lot of other people in the industry. Why is that is my question? Personally I love using my Pentax lenses and I have no problem with them but this just makes me wonder. Am I missing some information?

Pentax 43mm f/1.9 Shooter's Report - SLRgear.com!

Please read the Cons in the review and you will see why I'm confused.

It seems that the reviewer bashes Pentax more than just giving an unbiased review.

01-02-2011, 09:48 AM   #2
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QuoteQuote:
This report was obviously written on the silver 43mm Limited lens, which is difficult to find and quite expensive when you do. However, the black version is at least available and in stock with most retailers who carry Pentax. At the time of writing, it's available for between $560 and $650 online. This is quite a price to pay for a prime lens that doesn't seem to have any real stand-out strength, other than its physical characteristics and tack-sharp images. But if you want a small, lightweight, and stylish lens that doesn't suffer from geometric distortion and you aren't really picky about your focal length, this lens will make a nice addition to a Pentax prime collection in your bag.
This review is funny because it does not complain much at all about the lens, other than focal length and price.

The focal length argument strikes me as odd because

A) people use zoom's all the time at any focal length they please,

and

B) with a crop-factor, most lenses we use are of oddball focal lengths.

Overall I would suggest that the reviewers largest gripe is that the lens is not a bokeh machine like the FA 50 1.4, and that the lens is expensive. Overall I would not think that this reflects much on Pentax's reputation, because most of their lenses are considerably more affordable, and they do make lenses that are "bokeh machines". The FA 43 is about sharpness.

As a lens-maker, Pentax has a pretty solid reputation, other than the SDM issue, and the few duds that every company is bound to produce. If anything, Pentax has taken a lot of heat for

1) The limited selection of ultra-expensive, high performance zooms that only professionals could afford,

and

2) Their camera bodies, which have lagged behind the competition if one is to compare specification sheets.

However their bodies have a habit of offering features other companies cannot claim (TAV mode, green-button metering with entry-level cameras, affordable weather sealing, etc.)

Pentax also does not have a very robust marketing department compared to the giants.

Hope that helps. If you talk to most people who know their cameras, they would not suggest that Pentax has a bad reputation... but rather a maligned one. They used to be one of the greats in the public's eye.

Last edited by paperbag846; 01-02-2011 at 09:53 AM.
01-02-2011, 10:02 AM   #3
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The review looks fine to me, as reviews go... It's the subjective opinion of one guy looking at it as a tool rather than as a piece of art. I think he gives credit where it's due.

I wouldn't call it a pancake though, and his 'cons' do seem a bit contrived. It doesn't really need lens correction, so why complain about the lack of it? Also, "no use of Manual Aperture control on digital bodies" seems either unbelievable or irrelevant depending on what he means by that.
01-02-2011, 10:16 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by timh Quote
The review looks fine to me, as reviews go... It's the subjective opinion of one guy looking at it as a tool rather than as a piece of art. I think he gives credit where it's due.

I wouldn't call it a pancake though, and his 'cons' do seem a bit contrived. It doesn't really need lens correction, so why complain about the lack of it? Also, "no use of Manual Aperture control on digital bodies" seems either unbelievable or irrelevant depending on what he means by that.
+1 I too don't have any problems with this review - in fact that is mostly what I found to some degree. The focal length on a crop sensor also makes it a normal to short tele lens suitable for portrait and street photography.

01-02-2011, 10:37 AM   #5
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Deal enough with people and you will find someone always has a complaint about something, no matter how good the item may be. I think the reviewer was trying to address that issue by listing things that you or I may find irrelevant, but someone else may find an issue. Overall, this kind of review is more useful than one that fails to mention even minor complaints because it shows the reviewer took a lot of time to examine the item rather than present a review based on personal likes/dislikes.
01-02-2011, 10:56 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
Deal enough with people and you will find someone always has a complaint about something, no matter how good the item may be. I think the reviewer was trying to address that issue by listing things that you or I may find irrelevant, but someone else may find an issue. Overall, this kind of review is more useful than one that fails to mention even minor complaints because it shows the reviewer took a lot of time to examine the item rather than present a review based on personal likes/dislikes.
I guess I must have goggles on then. When I read the cons of the review it seemed to me he/she was griping more about the camera body then actual cons of the lens. Guess I just misinterpreted it.
01-02-2011, 11:39 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by timh Quote
The review looks fine to me, as reviews go... It's the subjective opinion of one guy looking at it as a tool rather than as a piece of art. I think he gives credit where it's due.

I wouldn't call it a pancake though, and his 'cons' do seem a bit contrived. It doesn't really need lens correction, so why complain about the lack of it? Also, "no use of Manual Aperture control on digital bodies" seems either unbelievable or irrelevant depending on what he means by that.
I agree about the review covering the subject pretty well. These are the types of things I considered, and despite the lens' many strengths, I have not yet dislodged the cash for it. I happen to be a fan of this approximate FL both on film and APS-c, but two is enough so far.

I am thoroughy perplexed about the comment on not adjusting the aperture. One does have to adjust a menu setting to have the aperture ring work on some bodies, but I don't see exactly what the reviewer means, either. I would not call this a slam on Pentax, though.
01-02-2011, 11:54 AM   #8
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I thought this was not true in newer FA limiteds:

"•No automatic lens correction (CA and Distortion) on new bodies (although you don't really need geometric correction)"

I thought it was a decent review.

01-02-2011, 12:48 PM   #9
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I think FA43 limited is expensive due to its delicately build, however, for Pentax users, we do have not a choice like 50/1.8 in Cannon. Though Pentax has released 35/2.4, but it is still not c/p for a plastic one, and it is not fast enough. In the old ages, Pentax has a cheap 50/1.4, which makes it more competitive.
01-02-2011, 12:54 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by henryjing Quote
In the old ages, Pentax has a cheap 50/1.4, which makes it more competitive.
Yes, and while I understand the need for a price increase on the 1.4, we should have a DA L 50mm 1.7, too.
01-02-2011, 12:54 PM   #11
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The FA43 is my favourite prime lens... just love it.

I though did not at first and can understand even those testing the lens coming up with the same as this report did.

This lens grows on you and it keeps giving wonderful results under all sorts of conditions


cheers

Neil
01-02-2011, 01:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by epqwerty Quote
I guess I must have goggles on then. When I read the cons of the review it seemed to me he/she was griping more about the camera body then actual cons of the lens. Guess I just misinterpreted it.
Some of his 'cons' do mention camera bodies but they are in respect to how the lens works (or doesn't work) with them. That's how I took anyway.
01-02-2011, 01:39 PM   #13
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I've read the review previously and also take on board most of the points made - it may not be a perfect lens, but it comes quite close.

Indeed, where it matters, the FA ltds all deliver - and the results speak for themselves.
01-02-2011, 04:09 PM   #14
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His cons...

QuoteQuote:
1 Chromatic aberration (although not hard-edged) wide-open till about f/5.6
2 No use of quick AF function
3 No use of Manual Aperture control on digital bodies (K7 and K-x tested)
4 No automatic lens correction (CA and Distortion) on new bodies (although you don't really need geometric correction)
5 Odd focal length on APS-C, would be much better on a FF body
6 MF ring slightly small
7 Bokeh has haloing on large apertures
8 Expensive and hard to find (sometimes)
9 AF slightly noisy
1. I've experienced it too and can make any lens do it, especially wide open.
2. No FA lens I've ever owned had quick shift. The DA lenses do as do the DFA lenses. An easy work around is to hold the lens release button while turning the focus ring (also works for catch in focus).
3. Huh? This tells me he doesn't know how to use his Pentax Cameras. (Use Aperture Ring = Permitted)
4. Must be an old review. Pentax added the FA limiteds to the corrected list in a firmware update (or he doesn't keep his k7 up to date).
5. Originally Built for a full frame body.
6. Never a problem for me but personal preference prevails I guess.
7. Again, personal preference... I kind of like the Bokeh of the 43.
8. Expensive, Yes. Especially after the 2009 add on Pentax Tax. Hard to find? No. Hard to find at a willing to pay price? Probably.
9. As are all the screw drive lenses. I tend however to blame the camera more than the lens.

QuoteQuote:
The original, silver version of the lens is made in Japan but newer (black) models are now assembled in Vietnam;
My Black one was made in Japan and yes, I'm the original owner of that one.

Overall though, his review doesn't really knock the lens. He just states he prefers something different (DA35 Macro).

01-02-2011, 04:29 PM   #15
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"Chromatic aberration (although not hard-edged) wide-open till about f/5.6"

This is probably the main issue with regards to the FA 43 Limited. Like most FA series lenses, CA control takes a back seat to punchy color rendition. I had a new black FA 43mm which exhibited horrible CA, especially in high contrast shots with specular highlights. My second copy in silver which I am using now is hands down a lot better. Use this lens long enough and you'll discover what I'd call a split personality in rendering when used wide open and when stopped down. Call it quirky or full of character, it makes for an endearing keeper of a lens.
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