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01-06-2011, 02:10 PM   #1
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FA 31Ltd vs K 30/2.8

Hi everybody,

I need to fill the gap between 21 and 40/43 Ltds. Sometimes I find 21mm too wide and 40mm too narrow. I don't like plastic F/FA 28mm, so there are two pretty expensive alternatives: FA 31Ltd or K 30/2.8. I read some people suggesting K 30/2.8 as the manual alternative to FA 31Ltd. Is there anybody here who own or owned both?

K 30/2.8 is ligher, smaller and twice as cheaper as 31Ltd for the same or almost some optical quality (minus AF). I have two concerns:
- K 30/2.8 has 5 aperture blades vs. 9 in FA 31. Does not matter wide open, though.
- 2.8 vs. 1.8 -- this is a big difference when shooting indoors.

Any advices? Pictures taken by K 30/2.8 are hard to find. There are few at pbase, and in K-Club here.

Thanks.

01-06-2011, 02:50 PM   #2
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Don't forget the DA 35/2.8 Ltd. which is half of the FA 31 Ltd's price (since you don't like plastic I won't mention the new DA 35/2.4 nor the FA 35/2).

I have the FA 31 and it is amazingly sharp and has creamy bokeh.
01-06-2011, 03:07 PM   #3
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That's a hard question to answer.

I have owned the K30 and the FA31, but I ended up selling the FA31 a few months back. The FA31 produces a look that some people love and others don't. It's all a matter of preference. Since preference could be the determining factor, is there anyone in your area that has a copy of either lens so you could try it for yourself?
01-06-2011, 03:12 PM   #4
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I am sure 31 is the perfect lens

35mm is not too different from 40. Also some people commented that this is good lens for Macro and close distances, but not for the street/landscape photography. After all, this is Macro lens. So I am not sure. But thank you for reminder.

01-06-2011, 03:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by smc Quote
I have owned the K30 and the FA31, but I ended up selling the FA31 a few months back. The FA31 produces a look that some people love and others don't. It's all a matter of preference. Since preference could be the determining factor, is there anyone in your area that has a copy of either lens so you could try it for yourself?
So you are keeping K30 instead of FA31? This is interesting indeed. Do you use it on a regular basis now?

I can probably find and try FA31, but I definitely can't find K30 in my area. This is rare lens. So can't compare.
01-06-2011, 03:37 PM   #6
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There other alternatives: K28/3.5 and M28/2 are excellent choises too. The former being quite cheap.
01-06-2011, 03:47 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by climit Quote
There other alternatives: K28/3.5 and M28/2 are excellent choises too. The former being quite cheap.
Yes, I know. I even bought M28/3.5 to try. But I did not like it. Too dark, and I was not impressed with the pictures. 28/2 (A or M) may be an interesting option but it is the same rare and expensive as 30/2.8.
01-06-2011, 03:50 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kaipa Quote
So you are keeping K30 instead of FA31? This is interesting indeed. Do you use it on a regular basis now?

I can probably find and try FA31, but I definitely can't find K30 in my area. This is rare lens. So can't compare.
Yes, I do use it on a regular basis, although I picked up a K28/2.0 a few months ago and I toggle between the two. Are you OK being stuck using M mode on your camera? You'll also be stuck with manual focus of course.

If you are sure that is the lens you want, you can always post a "wanted" on the marketplace here on the forum. I kept my eye on ebay for quite a while but eventually a good one popped up for a reasonable price. Search "Pentax 30mm" every so often to see what comes up.

01-06-2011, 04:03 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by smc Quote
Yes, I do use it on a regular basis, although I picked up a K28/2.0 a few months ago and I toggle between the two. Are you OK being stuck using M mode on your camera? You'll also be stuck with manual focus of course.
K28/2.0? This heavy monster? Btw, have you ever considered/tried M/A 28/2.0?

Yes, I know how to use M-mode, I've got a couple of manual lenses and had more before. Not very convenient, but that's ok. The main "problem" is that EXIF is empty, so I often forget what aperture has been used for the shot.

Could you share some images from K30? I am not sure if it is the right lens for me, I just feel I need to fill the gap around 30mm, and K30 looks to be a good fit.

Thanks.
01-06-2011, 05:00 PM   #10
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While I personally like and use the DA 35mm2.8 ltd, the DA 35mm/2.4 AL is another option worth considering.
01-06-2011, 05:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kaipa Quote
K28/2.0? This heavy monster? Btw, have you ever considered/tried M/A 28/2.0?

Yes, I know how to use M-mode, I've got a couple of manual lenses and had more before. Not very convenient, but that's ok. The main "problem" is that EXIF is empty, so I often forget what aperture has been used for the shot.

Could you share some images from K30? I am not sure if it is the right lens for me, I just feel I need to fill the gap around 30mm, and K30 looks to be a good fit.

Thanks.
Yes..the K28/2 is heavy

Checkout PENTAX Photo Gallery and select image data, then lenses. You'll find "SMC 30mmF2.8" in the list of lenses. (none are my pics btw)

Mine at this range are family shots, but here are a few from the K30....not that it is very representative of what the lens can do.....





01-07-2011, 09:47 AM   #12
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Thank you for your pictures. Btw, Pentax Photo Gallery has just 7 pictures for K30/2.8.

This is interesting. Everybody says K30/2.8 is superb lens, but there are not many examples at public places.

Anyway, I decided to order it and try by myself. Will see how it performs comparing to my Lims.

Last edited by kaipa; 01-07-2011 at 10:07 AM.
01-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #13
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For more examples of K30 (and user experiences, in German), see Objektiv Pentax K 30mm f2.8 SMC - DSLR-Forum

In my own shooting practice, I don't often need autofocus in the 28-35mm range, and like smc, I basically use manual gems like K30/2.8, K28/2.0 and others like K35/3.5. (If you do need autofocus and don't want to spend too much, I would recommend FA 35/2.0.)
01-07-2011, 01:10 PM   #14
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I have the FA31/1.8, the K30/2.8 and the K28/2. What do you want to know???

I think, from a photographer's point of view, that the FA31 is the best choice. Of course, because it has AF, auto aperture, can be used in all program modes of your camera, etc.

The K30 is a typical strange Pentax focal length. Like the K120, which I also have. It's a great lens also, but stellar? I don't know, maybe I should do a shoot-out between the two It has a typical Pentax K build, meaning that it's better built than the M series (more akin to the Takumars which are literally bomb-proof).

The K28/2 is a diferent beast altogether. I prefer it using wide open because of its unique ability to separate the subject from the background. This is even more evident in movie making (the K28/2 was designed by Herr Dr. Erhard Glatzel with movie making in mind, hence its nickname "Hollywood").

Off topic: look what he was awarded by the NASA:

01-07-2011, 03:03 PM   #15
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Thank you for the links to German forum. I saw it before, but was too lazy to register to see photos. Now I did it. Some pictures are exceptionally good, others are... just good.

I know K28/2 story. It was designed in Carl Zeiss labs, and actually there is Carl Zeiss counterpart Distagon T* ZK 28/2 (made by Cosina, if I remember correctly). Great lens. In the similar price range with FA 31Ltd.
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