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02-28-2011, 11:26 PM   #1
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FA31mm LTD or DA 35mm LTD Macro

So in my quest for a good 'normal', I seem to have narrowed it down to two lenses.

The FA31mm LTD and the DA35mm Macro LTD.

Both lenses get great reviews and have ratings above 9.5 on this site. Both fit into the Normal range for me.

Pros for the FA - Low light, pixie dust (is that really a pro?)
Cons - twice the price of the DA

Pros for the DA - Macro, cheaper
Cons - slower, long AF, maybe a tad long for 'normal'



So what I'm asking is for people that have or have used both lenses, which one do you prefer? Which is your more used lens? which one would you purchase first if you had both stolen from you?

And take price into account into this opinion, I'm by no means rich, so paying ~$1000 for a lens is pretty steep, heck $500 is expensive enough.

03-01-2011, 12:46 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by pmastello Quote
So in my quest for a good 'normal', I seem to have narrowed it down to two lenses.

The FA31mm LTD and the DA35mm Macro LTD.

Both lenses get great reviews and have ratings above 9.5 on this site. Both fit into the Normal range for me.

Pros for the FA - Low light, pixie dust (is that really a pro?)
Cons - twice the price of the DA

Pros for the DA - Macro, cheaper
Cons - slower, long AF, maybe a tad long for 'normal'



So what I'm asking is for people that have or have used both lenses, which one do you prefer? Which is your more used lens? which one would you purchase first if you had both stolen from you?

And take price into account into this opinion, I'm by no means rich, so paying ~$1000 for a lens is pretty steep, heck $500 is expensive enough.

if I got a $1,000 to spend, I won't go cheap just to settle for second best.

the only reason why most people don't buy the FA31 is because they can't shell out money for it, not because they are saving for something cheaper.
03-01-2011, 02:03 AM   #3
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As they say, the quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

The FA 31 is all they say it is
03-01-2011, 02:17 AM   #4
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The 31 Ltd is a wonderful lens. I have one and I like it very much. That said, I think you really need to look at the differences between the two lenses.
  • Speed - Does it make a difference to you? Are you going to use the speed?
  • DOF - Are you going to use the thinner DOF to an advantage?
  • Macro - Do you do macro and is this worthwhile to you?
  • $500 - Can you use the funds elsewhere?
  • AF Clutch - DA has it, FA does not.
  • Focal Length - DA is longer, FA is a bit shorter & more normal.
  • Size & Weight - A bit of a difference between the two.



03-01-2011, 02:19 AM   #5
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If you have the money buy the best....FA LTD.

Last edited by TOUGEFC; 03-01-2011 at 04:04 AM.
03-01-2011, 03:35 AM   #6
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I've not used the FA31, but I have owned the DA 35/2.8 Macro. I found it had excellent image quality; beautiful (slightly dark, lush) rendering, and was very sharp. It focuses very fast _provided_ that the camera's computer doesn't miss focus, but once it misses that focus point it cycles loud and very noisily through the entire focus range. This has (on quite a few occasions) led to me missing indoor candid shots that I'd have loved to capture.

If cost is an issue, one thing to do is consider the FA35/2 (or the Samsung D-Xenogon 35/2, its identical clone). Both can be had used for less than the price of the DA35/2.8, are sharper at equivalent apertures than the DA35/2.8 (see tests on photozone.de), and are almost as fast as the FA31. I switched from the DA35/2.8 to the FA35/2, and couldn't be happier with the swap.
03-01-2011, 03:57 AM   #7
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I think that interested_observer summed it up nicely.

QuoteOriginally posted by pmastello Quote
And take price into account into this opinion, I'm by no means rich, so paying ~$1000 for a lens is pretty steep, heck $500 is expensive enough.
Have you considered the DA(L)35/2.4? Seems to be a very good lens for the money.
03-01-2011, 06:17 AM   #8
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I'll echo what others have said. Important questions:

Do I have the money for the FA31?
Do I need macro?

Why I don't have either-- I don't have $1,000 that I wouldn't rather spend on two lenses. I have a macro lens that is a better FL for my preferences. I also have two sharp 40mm lenses and one sharp 35 that cost together about what the FA31 would cost.

That being said, if someone were to give me my choice of current Pentax lens, the FA31 would be high on my list.

03-01-2011, 07:59 AM   #9
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I have neither, but wanted to throw out there the Sigma 30 1.4 as an option as well. It's beat by the FA 31 in almost every way, but it's not at all bad, goes between $300-$400 used, and would make a good companion to a DA35/2.8 macro (my current lens roadmap).

Good luck on the hard choices (at least they're fun choices to make)!
03-01-2011, 09:02 AM   #10
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My suggestion is to rent both of them for a week.
Then at the end of the week, flip a coin --
Not to decide which one to buy, but rather, as the coin is falling, you will be rooting for it
to land one way. That's the one to buy.

David
(I have the FA 31. Never owned the DA35, but I did play with both in the store. If weight or macro was a concern, I would have bought the DA, but holding the FA31 is just something else. They don't make them like that anymore.)
03-01-2011, 09:32 AM   #11
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I have both the DA35 and the FA31 (and the FA35/2 for that matter). For the last year or so I have really been trying to like the DA35/2.8 more than the 31, but I just can't bring myself to do it, and I haven't used the FA35/2 for several years.
No matter what, I keep going back to the 31 as my standard lens.
03-02-2011, 07:27 AM   #12
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The macro capabilities of a 35mm seem a little strange to me. At 35mm to get a 1:1 ratio on an image, you're going to have to be so close to that bumblebee as to scare it off or make it angry and have it come after you. It is however quite a bit smaller than the FA 31.

Lets face it though, the FA31 is the gold standard in this focal range with Pentax, and from what I read most other brands as well.

Unless you happened to get a bad copy and didn't return it, you really can't go wrong with this lens.
03-02-2011, 07:35 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clinton Quote
The macro capabilities of a 35mm seem a little strange to me. At 35mm to get a 1:1 ratio on an image, you're going to have to be so close to that bumblebee as to scare it off or make it angry and have it come after you. It is however quite a bit smaller than the FA 31.
True, the 35 macro isn't great for 1:1 macro as the working distance is almost zero and lighting becomes a bit tricky. That said, it still nice that there is effectively no MFD as it's a great lens for general close work as well.

As for their size, the 31 is certainly larger than the DA35/macro, but I wouldn't let the size of the 31 discourage anyone from buying it as it's hardly a large lens. Here's a quick shot I took last year for someone who wanted to see a comparison of the 31 and 35 (both the DA and FA).

03-02-2011, 07:52 AM   #14
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The photo is a little misleading in that the FA31 uses a 58mm filter while the DA 35 uses a 49mm filter like the other limited lenses so the size difference is more noticeable in person than is apparent from the photo.
Having said that, I own the FA31 and love it.

David
03-02-2011, 07:57 AM   #15
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I really think that for most of us, it really does come down to cost. I just can't put 1000 dollars down on a "normal" lens, however awesome it may be. I do use the macro abilities of the DA 35, not necessarily as a 1:1 macro, but certainly giving close up ability for flowers, food, etc.
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