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10-25-2007, 02:17 PM   #1
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Questions about pentax fa 43mm f1.9

Hi! I'm a happy pentax k10d user. After many shots with the da18-55 and da50-200 I've decided I want to expand my collection with something that offers me better IQ and more low light capabilities. After searching for a while I've found this lens: SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited. Do you think this is the right lens for indoor photography, street photography and occasionally for portraits? I have also doubts about buying this lens or the da 40mm f 2.8, but as I have seen the second one works only in aps-c sized sensors so it's not "future proof", as soon or late pentax will start introducing full frame cameras. I've also seen this lens produces more CAs than desirable, is this something to worry about?.

I would really appreciate any opinion or review you could provide about this lens, and also what kind of photography you use it for.

Thank you very much, and sorry for any mistakes made but I'm spanish and i don't use english very often.

10-25-2007, 02:57 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by skawi Quote
(snip) Do you think this is the right lens for indoor photography, street photography and occasionally for portraits? (snip)

Right in what way, skawi? I doubt you'll see a huge difference in image quality. So, if you're talking about aperture, I can only say that nearly all my indoor and street photography is done with a f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens, previously the Sigma 18-200mm and now the Tamron 18-250mm. And nearly all my portrait images, and some fashion, are shot with Mamiya medium format lenses ranging from f/2.8 to f/5.6. My most favorite portrait lens is the Mamiya 55-110 f/4.5 zoom. These slower apertures have never prevented me from getting a shot. If existing light drops too low, I either switch to higher ISO settings, flash, or a tripod for longer exposures.

stewart
10-25-2007, 03:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by skawi Quote
I have also doubts about buying this lens or the da 40mm f 2.8, but as I have seen the second one works only in aps-c sized sensors so it's not "future proof", as soon or late pentax will start introducing full frame cameras.
Pentax Photography Blog (not mine)
You would see some nice photos taken with MZ5n and DA 40mm.
10-25-2007, 03:40 PM   #4
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Da40

QuoteOriginally posted by skawi Quote
I have also doubts about buying this lens or the da 40mm f 2.8, but as I have seen the second one works only in aps-c sized sensors so it's not "future proof", as soon or late pentax will start introducing full frame cameras.
I would bet that it is more likely that any future camera will support functionality in an DA series lens, rather than features in a FA series lens. FA lenses are older and not designed specifically for digital. Ignore what your read about FF. Compare the size difference between the two lenses and you'll see why FF is a non-starter for Pentax.
IF (and I would suggest the chances are minimal) Pentax releases a FF camera, do you really think an old lens is going to work better than any new lens they introduce specifically for that camera? Don't make a decision based on vapourware, ie. something that hasn't been released.
Both are great lenses.

10-25-2007, 04:26 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr. The Guy Quote
I would bet that it is more likely that any future camera will support functionality in an DA series lens, rather than features in a FA series lens. FA lenses are older and not designed specifically for digital. Ignore what your read about FF. Compare the size difference between the two lenses and you'll see why FF is a non-starter for Pentax.
IF (and I would suggest the chances are minimal) Pentax releases a FF camera, do you really think an old lens is going to work better than any new lens they introduce specifically for that camera? Don't make a decision based on vapourware, ie. something that hasn't been released.
Both are great lenses.
I don't think you can write off the possibility of Pentax going FF in the near future, in which case the argument whether to buy a digital only lens with a smaller image circle is pertinent. As to a debate between an old lens vs new lens, the link below makes an interesting read. The old lens on FF beats the newer lens on a cropped sensor quite easily.

The Full-Frame Advantage

TS both lenses are capable but if I was in your shoes, I would opt for the faster max aperture of the 43mm, plus I like having a physical aperture ring if I need to couple it to a extension tube or bellows or need to reverse the lens (for macro).
10-25-2007, 06:14 PM   #6
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skawi,
It all depends what focal length you think is right. You already took a lot of pictures with your zooms. Based on that experience, select the focal length that would suit you best.

For best IQ you should be looking at, as you do, the Limited lenses designed for film and also the FA* lenses (available 2nd hand). Also consider the DA Limited lenses, although they won't work on a larger sensor, and they have a smaller max. aperture. Other outstanding Pentax lenses are the 35mm f/2.0 and 50mm f/1.4, still available new.

For indoor in my opinion the 43mm is too long. But you be the judge based on your experience with the zoom lenses.
10-25-2007, 07:32 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by skawi Quote
I have also doubts about buying this lens or the da 40mm f 2.8, but as I have seen the second one works only in aps-c sized sensors so it's not "future proof", as soon or late pentax will start introducing full frame cameras.
Actually, the DA 40 works just fine on a 35mm (i.e. "full frame") camera, although because it lacks an aperture ring it only works wide open on old K and M series film cameras. It is exactly the same design as the old M 40, so that needn't be a worry. If you're planning on taking photos inside, I've found that extra stop from 2 - 2.8 can make a big difference.
10-26-2007, 04:48 AM   #8
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Fa 43 ltd is a beauty. It has a temper that is hard to predict its performance.

Wide open is usually dissapointing. It is like fishing in the lake. As long as make the aperture between f2.8 to 5.6, surprises do happen.

This lens is so tiny that you could use it for any purpose just like any 50mm. I guess I love the build a lot itself eventhough it is so tiny.

Protrait

f4.5


Limited lanscape

f5.6



Floral

f3.5


f3.5


Candid

f4.5


f2




Few examples

10-26-2007, 05:40 AM   #9
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My opinions........

I bought the 40mm myself, having owned the 70mm for a while. I like the 70mm results, as I used it along side an 18-55 on my K10d for over a year............ not a big deal unless you are a major gear hound like I've been, then you'd realize that me keeping the same gear for a year or longer is pretty major.

All that said, I picked up the 40 to pair with the 70. I planned to get a 21, 31, 40, 70 prime kit. The day after I bought the 40, and before I even received it, I found a good deal on a 31 and bought it. I finally received the 40, and the next day the 31.

My take on the 31 vs 40 vs 70 is this:

The 31 is simply stunning and awesome. Much like the other top glass I've owned in the past like the canon 35 f1.4L or Nikkor 85 f1.4 in it's results. However, it to me seems to have something more given it's old style build and smaller size.

The 40 to me was awkward. It was way too contrasty to my taste for portraiture. It didn't have wide enough aperature to take shots of my 2 year old indoors without flash, lest they be blurred. It was almost too small, but I could have gotten used to the size. But, the output to me was not equal to the 31 or 70 by far. The pics were sharp and clear, don't get me wrong. Just too contrasty, and nothing special. Just my opinion.

The 70, so far, has been great. It has a very natural output that is closer to the 31 than the 40 with regards to color and contrast. I've never used the 77, so I can't compare to that. However, I will say I'm interested in the 77 for the slightly wider aperature and slightly longer reach, plus aperature ring.

If you've managed to read this far, the result I had was to sell the 40 and order a 43 instead. It arrived yesterday, so I've not been able to test it against the other yet, but I'm hoping for output similar to the 31 and 70 with regards to color and contrast.

I was suprised to see that a lens can have too much contrast, and that pictures can be perfectly in focus and sharp but lack a certain pop. The 40 was nice and small, and well built like the others. It had the funny screw on cap and would make a good travel lens I guess, but for short portraits I found it to not be up to my likings anyway.

Cheers and just my 2 cents worth.
10-26-2007, 06:27 AM   #10
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I've owned the 43 for all of 4 days now; I bought it for just the sort of photography you mention. The weather's been lousy so even though I'm carrying my camera with me everywhere I haven't shot much in the past couple of days.

Portraits - I immediately tried the lens out with my daughter doing her homework. Focus was fast, results were good. I like the perspective, 50mm would be just a tad too much (though I'm sure I'd adjust, LOL).

Darkness - I surprised a possum in the garbage can, and the 43 on a K100D focused confidently and with speed, with the light of a dim flashlight.

Street - it's been too rainy but I like what I've seen so far. My other main lens is the 16-45 which tends to remain at the 45 end, so I'm used to the perspective. With the zoom I sometimes wish it went 15mm or so longer. (However, walking around in Manhattan with a 70-210, I wished that lens would go wider)

I wouldn't be afraid of the wide apertures, in fact having a lens that changes character somewhat with aperture is a creative tool.

The other lens I was tempted by is the 35/2. I'd likely be happy with one. However with rebate the 43 is only $70 more at B&H.
10-26-2007, 06:35 AM   #11
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stewart_photo

QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
Right in what way, skawi? I doubt you'll see a huge difference in image quality.
Do you mean that IQ with 18-55 is comparable to the 43 ltd? Well if the answer is yes I'd better look for something else, because the main reason of getting a limited is better IQ (sharpness, color reproduction, vignetting, CAs...) as well as bokeh ( I really like playing with DOF and now I'm not able with my kit lens) and capability to shoot indoor without having to go over 400 ISO ( I really hate noise in my images). Do you think I may look for a better zoom like the 16-45 instead of getting a prime?.

I must admit I'm a bit afraid with the idea of having a fix focal lenght lens instead of a zoom ( I've always used zooms and it may be difficult to me to get used to the primes) but I'm prepared to do this effort if quality really deserves it. I was also thinking to get the da* 16-50 but I've read many complaints about it and I don't think it's worth to run the risk of getting one that doesn't work well, after spending that amount of cash.

Mr. The Guy

I'm really interested in your opinion, as I would like to spend my money in a lens that can be attached to the future pentax camera bodies, and not one that turns unusable when k10d dissapears. I've been told so many times that a camera body is for some years, and a good lens lasts forever.

Ole

Well, I'm sure if I get a 40 I will really miss something wider so I will end up buying a 21. And if I buy a 21 I will miss something longer and I will finish buying a 40. So, in conclusion if primes offer the quality I've read, I will en buying more than one to cover the focal lenght. After lots of photos with my two lenses. My conclusion is I use a lot more the da 18-55 than the da 50-200, and with the 18-55 what I use most is 18-25 for landscapes and architecture. Why to buy a 43 then? well I think that my zoom does pretty well in this range (except at 18) but it lacks of the possibility of shooting indoors and playing with depth of field, so I don't think I will find the da 21 that useful compared to 18-55 (correct me if I'm wrong). The fa 35 you talk about seems to be pretty nice too, and maybe you're reight about its convenience for indoor use.

roentarre

Thank you very much for this photos, I like all of them and the fifth photo is really sharp and has very natural color!
10-26-2007, 07:00 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
Right in what way, skawi? I doubt you'll see a huge difference in image quality.
Do you mean that IQ with 18-55 is comparable to the 43 ltd? Well if the answer is yes I'd better look for something else, because the main reason of getting a limited is better IQ (sharpness, color reproduction, vignetting, CAs...) as well as bokeh ( I really like playing with DOF and now I'm not able with my kit lens) and capability to shoot indoor without having to go over 400 ISO ( I really hate noise in my images). Do you think I may look for a better zoom like the 16-45 instead of getting a prime?.

I must admit I'm a bit afraid with the idea of having a fix focal lenght lens instead of a zoom ( I've always used zooms and it may be difficult to me to get used to the primes) but I'm prepared to do this effort if quality really deserves it. I was also thinking to get the da* 16-50 but I've read many complaints about it and I don't think it's worth to run the risk of getting one that doesn't work well, after spending that amount of cash.

Mr. The Guy

I'm really interested in your opinion, as I would like to spend my money in a lens that can be attached to the future pentax camera bodies, and not one that turns unusable when k10d dissapears. I've been told so many times that a camera body is for some years, and a good lens lasts forever.

Ole

Well, I'm sure if I get a 40 I will really miss something wider so I will end up buying a 21. And if I buy a 21 I will miss something longer and I will finish buying a 40. So, in conclusion if primes offer the quality I've read, I will en buying more than one to cover the focal lenght. After lots of photos with my two lenses. My conclusion is I use a lot more the da 18-55 than the da 50-200, and with the 18-55 what I use most is 18-25 for landscapes and architecture. Why to buy a 43 then? well I think that my zoom does pretty well in this range (except at 18) but it lacks of the possibility of shooting indoors and playing with depth of field, so I don't think I will find the da 21 that useful compared to 18-55 (correct me if I'm wrong). The fa 35 you talk about seems to be pretty nice too, and maybe you're reight about its convenience for indoor use.

roentarre

Thank you very much for this photos, I like all of them and the fifth photo is really sharp and has very natural color!
10-26-2007, 07:04 AM   #13
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Addendum: as you mention the 16-45, I can report it's a FANTASTIC lens, very concentrated tone to the image, and the zoom range is about right (though I'd like a bit more reach at the long end). The impact of f/4 is less limiting than I'd originally thought, the main issue is the focus hunts in low light. With a fast lens like the 43 there isn't hunting.

I dont THINK I'll want to get another wider prime (unless someone gives me the 31) (and till the LBA hits), but rather for the 70 or 77. The 16-45 is more than sufficient!
10-26-2007, 07:18 AM   #14
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Previous comments removed.

Last edited by txbonds; 10-26-2007 at 07:52 AM. Reason: Still biting my tongue.
10-26-2007, 07:22 AM   #15
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Don't think the 18-55 image quality is anywhere near the 43. 18-55 is nice lens. 43 has that limited look. So nice and smooth. Great at very subtle qualities.
thanks
barondla
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