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03-30-2011, 05:26 AM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by feilb Quote
Well, when I say not intimidating, I'm not talking about models. I don't do any studio work.
Ritchard Avendon was working outdoors too, and many of his subjects most likely didn't even know him and were unlikely to have ever seen an 8X10 view camera before.

QuoteOriginally posted by feilb Quote
For me, out with friends or in public places, people tend to feel uneasy around a camera as big as one's face mounted with a lens the size of one's forearm. They react differently. More cautious and awkward. With a tiny camera (and lens), there is no mistrust.
You really think so? a camera is a camera, if people don't want to have their photograph taken it won't matter to them if you're using a 16"X20" polariod or a Minox 110 camera.

I have done street photography with my FA31mm f/1.8 and nobody really cared or noticed me. I know some photographers that have used a pentax 67II with a big white 800mm f/6.7 with a 1.4X teleconverter to get tight close up portraits of people in streets.

With my friends and family I have used lenses ranging from 600mm to 12mm - and none of them cared one bit. But I suppose that is unfair my family is full of skilled photographers, and my friends are fully aware I'm a camera nut.

03-30-2011, 08:34 AM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
and it is expensive enough that they cannot possibly be selling that many of them.
I get where you're coming from, Wheatfield, but B&H has a hard time keeping them in stock. I get the impression that they are selling the pee out of 'em, unless they're only getting one at a time.
03-30-2011, 08:37 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
unless they're only getting one at a time.
Honestly, it's more likely this. Pentax does not exactly ship their products to NA in droves.

We might form a tight community in cyberland, but the Pentax market share is anything but big in NA.
03-30-2011, 08:40 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by sjwaldron Quote
For the OP:
Don't get anything in the 30mm range if you eventually want a 31mm as they might be used to convince yourself otherwise.
Very true. I bought a Sigma 30 for that very reason and really liked it, but ultimately, it didn't scratch my FA31 itch so I sold it. Other things have come up since then, but the 31 is one of only 2 or 3 lenses left that I have any desire for.

03-30-2011, 08:45 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Honestly, it's more likely this. Pentax does not exactly ship their products to NA in droves.
Come on! B&H sells a lot of them because they are the cheapest source in NA and it is the single most desired lens in Pentax land. There was a poll here not too long ago that revealed as much.
03-30-2011, 09:02 AM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
Come on! B&H sells a lot of them because they are the cheapest source in NA and it is the single most desired lens in Pentax land. There was a poll here not too long ago that revealed as much.
I can't believe B&H would have more than a handful of 31s sitting around in inventory at any one time, or any other Pentax product, for that matter. Not with the small size of the Pentax userbase and the premiere "it's not every day of the week I buy a lens like this!" nature (and corresponding price tag) of the 31.
03-30-2011, 09:08 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by v5planet Quote
I can't believe B&H would have more than a handful of 31s sitting around in inventory at any one time, or any other Pentax product, for that matter. Not with the small size of the Pentax userbase and the premiere "it's not every day of the week I buy a lens like this!" nature (and corresponding price tag) of the 31.
I know they're not getting them by the truckload, but I was being facetious when I said one at a time. At whatever rate they are acquiring them, they are definitely selling them because they are only in stock a little over half the time.
03-30-2011, 09:16 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
I know they're not getting them by the truckload, but I was being facetious when I said one at a time. At whatever rate they are acquiring them, they are definitely selling them because they are only in stock a little over half the time.
True. I doubt B&H has more than 10 at a time though. Although the desire for the 31 is pervasive (especially in an enormously gear-centric forum like this, which is probably not representative of the Pentax demographic as a whole), the actual "I have money in my hands!" demand is probably pretty low. Certainly lower than Pentax's capacity to produce more FA Limiteds. My feeling on this is that they are expensive for Pentax to manufacture and that they regulate the production continuously based on demand from retailers. I have a hard time believing Pentax simply can't pump 'em out fast enough because the demand is so high.

I think they probably only hit serious production bottlenecks when they're releasing a new product, like what happened with the K-5, when everyone wants one at the same time. 31 has been out for a long time and it probably sells at a constant trickle rate that's not hard to keep up with, but not worth exceeding by making tons of them in advance.

[edit] It is after all a captive audience. If someone wants to buy a 31, Pentax won't lose money making them wait an additional week, because the customer isn't going anywhere.

03-30-2011, 09:34 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by v5planet Quote
True. I doubt B&H has more than 10 at a time though. Although the desire for the 31 is pervasive (especially in an enormously gear-centric forum like this, which is probably not representative of the Pentax demographic as a whole), the actual "I have money in my hands!" demand is probably pretty low. Certainly lower than Pentax's capacity to produce more FA Limiteds. My feeling on this is that they are expensive for Pentax to manufacture and that they regulate the production continuously based on demand from retailers. I have a hard time believing Pentax simply can't pump 'em out fast enough because the demand is so high.

I think they probably only hit serious production bottlenecks when they're releasing a new product, like what happened with the K-5, when everyone wants one at the same time. 31 has been out for a long time and it probably sells at a constant trickle rate that's not hard to keep up with, but not worth exceeding by making tons of them in advance.

[edit] It is after all a captive audience. If someone wants to buy a 31, Pentax won't lose money making them wait an additional week, because the customer isn't going anywhere.
Yep, I agree with all of this. I also doubt if anybody sells them like B&H or maybe Adorama (I think they have the same price). Amazon, for instance has it listed for $1300 or so.

Still, they are selling and you know all the tooling and, obviously, R & D has long since been paid for. I really think that the only way Pentax would stop producing them anytime soon is if they needed the production capacity for some other hot product. The poll that I referred to showed that an astonishing number of folks have plans to buy a 31 at some point. I know that ain't the same as actually laying out the long green, but at least it is on a lot of folks' radar.
03-30-2011, 09:46 AM   #55
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It's not if they are selling them or not, it's are they selling enough of them to keep making them, possibly at the expense of other focal lengths that might sell more?
At some point, Pentax will have to put a few more APS-C lenses out to fill the gaps in the lens line. No normal (non macro) primes between 77mm and 200mm for example needs to be addressed, as does longer glass, something between 21mm and 35mm, etc.
Meanwhile, they have these film era dinosaurs in the lens line up that are low volume because of cost, but are taking up production capacity.
I'd love to be wrong on this, but I don't expect any of the big image circle Limiteds to still be in the lens catalog for more than a couple of years, given Pentax's current fixation with APS-C cameras.
If they decide to produce a 135 format, that would perhaps change the game, but then we also don't know how the 31, 43 and 77 perform on 135 sized sensors, though we do hear people complaining about the 77 and it's propensity for purple fringing on APS-C sensors.
Anyway, all this is just my way of saying to the OP, buy the 31.
You won't regret it.

Last edited by Wheatfield; 03-30-2011 at 10:17 AM.
03-30-2011, 09:52 AM   #56
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feilb: You're not alone with that exact same problem. Unfortunately, I haven't solved it yet.

A lot of good input and considerations here though, from praising the 31 to Paperbags sobering views. The latter seem to keep my LBA at bay (thanks!) even though it is generally considered an incurable disease and my LBA tells me paperbag is trying to lure me away from the 31 so he can have precious all by himself...

At the moment I think I would choose the 15, 40 and 70 DA ltds over the 31 if I could have them for the same price (~$1k. However, I'm held back by the fact that I'd like one of my primes to be a really fast one (<2), haven't found a solution for that yet.
03-30-2011, 09:57 AM   #57
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Other lenses do not = the FA 31

I own about 17 or so lenses, most of them are considered at least "good" or better. The ONLY lens I still really want is the FA31. I had a chance about 4 years ago to get one, but I opted for a used DA 12-24 and a FA 35mm f/2.0 instead. Don't get me wrong I love my 12-24, but I wish I had gone for the FA 31 instead. Four years later the 12-24 has pretty much kept it's price but the FA 31 ltd is now close to $300 more expensive. Oh and the FA 35mm? Sits on a back shelf, I actually prefer the DA 35mm f/2.4 much more.

NaCl(get the 31mm, you won't regret it)H2O
03-30-2011, 10:03 AM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
I have a 31 Limited, which I luckily purchased before the prices began to skyrocket. There is no doubt that it is one of the finest lenses on the planet. But since you are on a budget, I think that you would be better served by the combination of lenses listed above. They are all so good that you will be more than happy with the results, and you will have much greater flexibility than with a single lens kit.At the risk of seeming heretical in this prime lens love fest, you might also consider the DA*16-50 as a single lens kit. It is awfully good optically, even if not quite up to the level of the Limiteds. I use it as my main lens for general purpose photography, even though I own two (soon to be three) FA Limiteds.

Rob
+1 The DA Limiteds are excellent. In the end it is a personal choice.
03-30-2011, 10:16 AM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Honestly, it's more likely this. Pentax does not exactly ship their products to NA in droves.

We might form a tight community in cyberland, but the Pentax market share is anything but big in NA.
Not necessarily so. According to my friends at Adorama (and I go there often enough in person to be on a first name basis with several of them) they cannot keep the ltd's in stock no matter how big their shipment is. I was asked specifically about the 77, almost 4 years ago when I got it "What is it about these FA limited lenses? How come we can't keep any in stock even if we get a bunch of them?" I'll grant you that it's possible that the FA ltd's are somewhat scarce now, but 4 years ago, not so much. My answer? this.

NaCl(the demand for the FA ltds has always been high...for a reason)H2O
03-30-2011, 10:40 AM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
I really think that the only way Pentax would stop producing them anytime soon is if they needed the production capacity for some other hot product.
This is my feeling as well. I don't think Pentax would stop manufacturing the FA Limiteds unless they felt they had something just as good (or better!) to replace them with. Whether or not they'd actually be better or on the same level as the FA Limiteds will doubtlessly be extremely contentious, but one thing is certainly true: they wouldn't be the same. People will talk about 'the good old days', and the 'classic rendering of the FA Limiteds you just can't find anymore, c'est la vie, c'est la vie!'
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