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11-01-2007, 11:00 AM   #1
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What exactly does the "limited" designation mean?

I've seen a few lenses that have the designation "limited" in their name. Why are they designated that? What is special that makes them "limited"? I tried running a search on the forum to see if this had already been asked, adn couldn't find anything.

11-01-2007, 11:14 AM   #2
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The "Limited" moniker that Pentax applies to various lenses has nothing to do with "restricted quantities available to the marketplace". It is only the lens series designation, or "sub-series" designation. Generally, they are of a different construction quality than other lenses in the series, (e.g., FA lenses are of composite construction, FA Limited lenses are of metallic construction.)

Optically, they are "better" than their non-Limited cousins (within the series). But, that is an qualitative opinion, but one well supported by the images these lenses acquire. Since they have more aperture blades, the bokeh is usually more pleasing.

They are really nice lenses. I have four of them and have considered getting a fifth. Most likely won't get the sixth (too expensive and focal length not all that useful for my purposes.)

There are three FA Limited lenses:

FA31/1.8
FA43/1.9
FA77/1.8

and three DA Limited lenses:

DA21/3.2
DA40/2.8
DA70/2.4

The FA Limited lenses have an aperture ring and are usable on full-frame sensor cameras (i.e., 35mm film cameras). They were designed when film cameras still had a significant share of the market. The DA Limited lenses are digital specific and are often referred to as "the pancake kit", since all three of them have a small physical form factor. Some have used the DA40 on a full-frame camera without vignetting.

To the best of my knowledge, all six of them are still available for purchase new, however, the FA Limiteds are becoming more difficult to find. DA Limiteds are still in current production.
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