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01-08-2011, 06:14 PM   #1
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Are DA LTD lenses better suited for digital than the FA LTD's

It is common knowledge the FA Limiteds are among the finest lenses ever produced, and capable of making wonderful photographs on film and digital cameras. My question is this. Are the DA Limiteds, lenses based on the formula of the FA Limiteds that have been tweaked for digital cameras?

John

01-08-2011, 07:25 PM   #2
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I should have clarified my question by being more accurate in the thread title. It should have said, "Are the DA LTD primes better suited to DSLR's than the FA LTDs."
I know folks make great photos with the FA primes on their K10D, K20D, K7's ect...
But wanted to know if you folks felt the DA primes were tweaked to work better in the digital world...

John
01-08-2011, 08:42 PM   #3
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I don't think so. While DA lenses may be better-tweaked for digital than certain older lenses (A 15mm vs DA 15mm is a prime example), FA limiteds came out along with the *ist cameras (if I'm not mistaken), and as such it might not even be a stretch to say that they're better than DA lenses.

They were designed with digital in mind, yet cover the complete image circle and have fast apertures. Thus, on digital, there won't be any vignetting since the edges of the frame aren't used. AFAIK aberration control and sharpness is superb in the FA limiteds.

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01-08-2011, 08:45 PM   #4
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Thanks Adam. I was wavering between the DA 70 & the FA 77 and now leaning more toward the FA 77......
John

01-09-2011, 08:08 AM   #5
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Try them both if you can. I know people who prefer the 77, and others who prefer the 70.
01-09-2011, 10:20 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnny9fingers Quote
Thanks Adam. I was wavering between the DA 70 & the FA 77 and now leaning more toward the FA 77......
John
John:

About a year ago, I took the plunge, sold my SuperTak 85mm 1.9, my SMC M 85mm 2.0 to *begin* paying for a FA 77mm. I own several DAs and I love them, but I really wanted the 77mm.

I have NEVER, EVER regretted the purchase. EVER.

You've probably read the reviews and the often-mentioned "pixie dust." My friend, there sure is pixie dust in that 77mm lens. Just something about it, a certain mix of sharpness and bokeh that truly renders a 3D effect. And the colors, jeepers, it's amazing.

To those who own a 70mm DA .... you made a great choice, and that lens is a helluva mix of value, size and superb performance. But my 77mm is going to be in my camera bag for as long as I shoot Pentax.

So, you have a happy problem: which great lens do you buy? My advice is as long as you're not taking food out of your family's mouths, get the 77mm. You won't ever look back.
01-09-2011, 10:37 AM   #7
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The major advantages of he DA 70 are AF speed, price, and quick-shift. The 77 has the smoother bokeh, better CA control (but worse purple fringing from what I have seen), better DOF control, better skin tones, and better performance on film.

If price is no issue I would imagine the 77 is the one to get, but you should try to give them a both a run for their money. In my experience, usability is just as important as IQ, and while the 77 handles very well, I simply have not tried a Pentax lens like the DA limiteds that make photography so EASY.
01-09-2011, 10:57 AM   #8
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You ARE mistaken....

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I don't think so. While DA lenses may be better-tweaked for digital than certain older lenses (A 15mm vs DA 15mm is a prime example), FA limiteds came out along with the *ist cameras (if I'm not mistaken), and as such it might not even be a stretch to say that they're better than DA lenses.

They were designed with digital in mind, yet cover the complete image circle and have fast apertures. Thus, on digital, there won't be any vignetting since the edges of the frame aren't used. AFAIK aberration control and sharpness is superb in the FA limiteds.
Limiteds started coming out in the film days...about 96-97 I believe.

I personally find it ODD that they're still issuing them (full-frame lenses) without a camera to go with it. I STILL think there's a rangefinder in the wings, they're just waiting for really good EV's.

Cheers,
Cameron

01-09-2011, 10:59 AM   #9
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Thanks for everyones reply. I have to admit the 77ltd was the lens I wanted to get, but wanted to learn more from folks who have the 70ltd. What you have posted so far has confirmed everything written about the 77ltd as being in a class of it's own. I will have to start saving for this purchase so there is time for me to mull this over, I do wish it was possible to try both lenses for a while, but they are not available here in the hinterlands of Wisconsin. And Gerry, I want to thank you again for the K20D. It is in amazing condition, and I'm having a blast learning how to make pictures with it....
Thanks all....
John
01-09-2011, 11:04 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnny9fingers Quote
wanted to learn more from folks who have the 70ltd
Just so you know, I owned the 70 for a little while, so I do speak from experience. I sold it to finance other areas of my life, and will purchase it again (eventually) to complete *my* ltd trio: 15 - 40 - 70. A screwmount adapter is on it's way, though, so my CZJ might be enough (yet to try it on digital).

I really found the 70 to take stunning, detailed portraits with just the right DOF wide open, so I have little desire to invest more into the 77, personally. I also really value quickshift for portraiture. If you like soft portraits, though, the FA 77 is likely a better bet, because the 70 is pretty sharp wide open. I would say that the 70 looks very modern, with a lot of punch, contrast, and sharpness. The 77 has a lot more vintage character, smoother tones, and the ability to really soften your subject's facial features. It looks like an oldschool lens, but it is still mighty sharp stopped down (sharper than the 70).
01-09-2011, 12:24 PM   #11
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I've had 77 in my bag for 6months now but always thought of it as too long for my style. But over last month or so, I've been using it regularly, and I just love it! Even more than touted 31ltd and this lens is giving serious run to my favourites (24FA*, 43ltd and 50/1.2).

On a general note, I'd say no. I don't think DAs are any better than FAs on digital. I actually prefer rendering of FA (ltds, *s or normal) to that of DAs...

My 2p

Last edited by axl; 01-09-2011 at 12:30 PM.
01-10-2011, 07:31 AM   #12
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the easiest way to find out

QuoteOriginally posted by johnny9fingers Quote
Thanks Adam. I was wavering between the DA 70 & the FA 77 and now leaning more toward the FA 77......
John
the best and easiest way to see the difference is to look at the pictures from the DA and FA limited "clubs" (the long threads showcasing the photos)

if you look at enough of them, you'll notice the slight differences in color and feel

good luck with your choice
01-10-2011, 01:02 PM   #13
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The difference in the non-Pentax world between "for digital" lenses and "non-digital" lenses was improved coatings and flocking due to the fact that digital sensors are more highly reflective than film - As a result, antireflection coating quality became more important.

However, Pentax SMC coatings have always been WAY above the average for the rest of the market - you can think of new "for digital" lenses as raising the minimum bar in the rest of the world.

There is no reason an above-average quality lens (better antireflection techniques than average) from the pre-digital era shouldn't perform well on a digital camera.

For example, with Sigma:
DC = Digital, cropped sensor only
DG = Digital-optimized coatings, full frame coverage
No designator - Might be good, but could be awful (like my old Sigma 28-200)
01-10-2011, 01:40 PM   #14
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The DA lenses tend to be smaller, a little slower, with faster auto focus then comparative FA lenses. They also are quite a bit cheaper. There are pluses on both sides, but a lot comes down to what you are willing to spend.
01-10-2011, 02:07 PM   #15
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One thing I have noticed (in all lenses) is that the ultra-wide apertures give the AF system a harder time, while the DA ltd's slower apertures result in snappy, accurate focusing.

This theory falls apart when you start using dark lenses like f5.6 zooms.
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