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03-12-2011, 09:17 AM   #1
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One pro lens DA* versus FA LTD

This is yet another what lens should I get thread.

I have the full range covered with mostly consumer lenses. I also have the FA 100mm macro, which is my best lens.

I'd like to get one pro level lens (DA*, FA* or FA LTD). Either at the tele or wide. I find my 55-300mm a bit soft at 300mm.

I still shoot film and want a lens workable on my older SLR.

I thought about FA*, but I'm tired of looking for a reasonable price and now want to get something in production.

My contenders are the DA* 200mm or the FA 31mm. I know these are completely different length, but I like pictures at tele and wide equally. From a value perspective, the DA*200mm seems much better for the WR, SDM and larger glass. It seems the FA 31mm LTD has it's reputation built into the price, not that there's anything wrong with that. If the FA 31mm were $200-300 less, I'd get it for sure.

03-12-2011, 09:53 AM   #2
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DA* 200 is better than FA* 200 due to the renewed coating since they share the same optical scheme
FA 31Ltd have no comparable analogue in DA series
03-12-2011, 11:41 AM   #3
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Also: the DA* 200 is rumored to cover the full 35mm circle.
03-12-2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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What other lenses do you have?

03-12-2011, 01:27 PM   #5
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Other lens: DA40mm LTD, DA 15mm, FA powerzoom 28-80mm, F 35-70mm(3.5-4.5), DA 55-300mm, FA 100mm macro, DA 18-55 WR.

I like the idea of the 200mm F2.8, but it doesn't get much press. I guess most people go for the 300mm F4. I'd rather have the faster lens and wait for a 400mm for wildlife. With my luck if I wait on the FA 31mm, they'll discontinue it and prices will go up even more for used copies. Also considering the Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 if that is FF.
03-12-2011, 03:38 PM   #6
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I can vouch that the new Tamron 70-200 (it's the one with macro in the name) is pretty damn awesome. The DA* 200 has a couple things on it though: SDM, quick shift focusing, and WR.
03-12-2011, 03:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pz1fan Quote
I'd rather have the faster lens and wait for a 400mm for wildlife.
How are your eyes? Can you still manually focus reliably? Your not going to do better than SMC Pentax-A* 400mm F2.8 ED [IF] Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Reviews & Pentax Lens Database

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03-12-2011, 06:55 PM   #8
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If your "older SLR" isn't capable of controlling the lens aperture electronically, then the choice between the FA 31 and the DA*200 becomes very easy - get the FA 31. The DA*200 does not have an aperture ring, and therefore would shoot at F22 on a camera body that isn't capable of controlling the lens aperture. I happen to have a DA*200 and a KM film body (circa 1976). Even if the lens is capable of covering the full frame image area, I wouldn't consider it to be a viable option on that camera body. Conversely, the FA31 would work flawlessly on such a camera body (without AF, of course).

03-13-2011, 02:09 PM   #9
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Hello_Photo, do you have both the FA31 and DA200mm? Which do you like more? My pz-1 does control the lens aperture electronically. I really like it but have thought about getting something more classic with a metal exterior.

Calicojack, my eyes are good, but my wallet isn't. A* 400 f2.8 is 1/3rd of the way to a 645D...
03-13-2011, 02:22 PM   #10
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I'm already pinching pennies for my Tamron 70-200mm Macro. Zooms with good IQ and Macro versatility are hard to beat! Primes will always have the edge in overall IQ, BUT loose out big on versatility especially at 200mm, you sure would be doing a lot of leg work to recompose your shot!
03-13-2011, 07:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pz1fan Quote
Hello_Photo, do you have both the FA31 and DA200mm?
I only have the DA*200. I opted for the DA35 Ltd instead of the FA31. However, this was before I started to think about shooting slide film on a borrowed KM body. When I see the 35mm FOV on this body (no vignetting apparent through the viewfinder), I start to wonder if I got it right. Then again, I've only shot one roll of velvia since then and the FA31 was twice the price at the time...

However, between the DA35 Ltd and the DA*200, it's no contest, the DA 35 Ltd is by far my most used lens. It's size, versatility (FOV and close-focusing ability) and image quality make it an easy choice when heading out the door (or indoor family photos with bounce flash). The DA*200 is my "kids sports and beach vacation lens." I've used it for soccer, skating lessons (indoor) and photos of my family on the beach (the narrow FOV and large aperture make for great subject isolation to make your subject stand out in crowded areas of the beach). I've even used it for a wedding, but I was a guest, not a professional (ain't it great to be an "amateur"?).

Last edited by Hello_Photo; 03-13-2011 at 08:06 PM.
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