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05-11-2011, 08:51 PM   #1
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DA* 55mm f/1.4 - I'm an idiot, but oh well...

I actually ordered it by mistake.

I was wavering between the DA* 55 and the 18-135mm and must have added the 55 to my cart without realizing it. Of course, once I got the confirmation email, I realized the mistake, but because I asked for overnight shipping, it was too late to cancel once I went back to Amazon.

So it came tonight. UPS got here late, so I only had a little daylight left to play with it, and ultimately, it's a fine lens. It functions well, focuses quickly and quietly, and certainly seems very sharp at least at f/2. At f/1.4 and 1.6 it's less sharp and more dreamy.

On my K-5, I had to adjust to a +8 for focus accuracy.

The FOV was just okay for me. Honestly, my biggest issue with it was size and weight. If you know me, you know I value small and light, and I'm just not sure over time I'd enjoy using the 55 all that much because of it's girthy size. No, it's not gigantic or anything, just a whole lot heavier than the FA 43mm, and not as much character.

I have a pre-order in for the silver DA 70mm f/2.4 (which I loved on the Kx), and I think it's a better fit for me overall. Combined with an FA 31, if I can find a silver one at some point, I think the 31, 43 and 70 will be a nice prime kit for me. I'm going to return the DA* 55 tomorrow.

I'll be testing out the 18-135 over the next few days, but at least with the first few snaps I tried the focus looks close to spot-on. I'm going to use to all day Saturday (and I hear it's going to rain - hurray!), so I'll get a better sense of whether she and I will be a match. At least for something weather-resistant, I think it's a good versatile solution.

Here's a shot I took with the 55...



05-11-2011, 09:16 PM   #2
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I believe DA* 55 was designed by Jun Hirakawa by adapting the FA 77 formula. Keep using it and you might discover its true character.
05-12-2011, 04:25 AM   #3
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Enjoy that fine piece of glassware. Look forward to seeing more of what it can do.
05-12-2011, 04:59 AM   #4
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No your not an idiot, your got the better lens

05-12-2011, 05:02 AM   #5
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The DA*55 is great! The only lens I regret selling. Especially since my 70mm is out for repair.
05-12-2011, 05:17 AM   #6
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A great lens to order by mistake. Enjoy and let us see some good photos from it.
05-12-2011, 06:19 AM   #7
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I'll chime in if I may. I'll be writing up big review on DA*55 but need to get couple more experiences under the belt.

Anyway, I've been trying to figure 55 out for a while now. Had my first copy a while back but returned it as I didn't like the OOF. Purchased my 2nd copy month or so ago.

Is it as sharp as FA ltds? No.
Does it focus faster than FA ltds? No (43ltd) and equal (77 ltd)
Does it have better OOF? Tough one. The OOF rendering and the rendering reminds 43 a lot IMO. Ever so slightly more nervous with the "right background". The OOF highglight discs are great from f1.6 to f4. No octagons, nanogons or ninja stars. The rendering as such is somewhere between the longer FA ltds and 50/1.2. Meaning? It's sharper than 50/1.2, yet not as sharp as 43 or 77. Still it delivers plenty of detail to work with. The subject/bacground separation is there. Perhaps not as obvious as with FA ltds but it's there, visibly present. So far my conlusion is that this lens is perfect replacement for FA*85. As such optimized for portrait distances, but lacking slightly to FA43 for general purpose usage.
My best shots so far came between f2-4 and 1.5-5 meters. In those conditions the DA* delivers 100%. Having said that it very good outside that scope but not as special as within those boundaries.
If I got DA*55 and DA18-135 in the same packege, no way I'd send the DA* back
05-12-2011, 07:08 AM   #8
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Incredible what the subconscious can do...Lba has dripped to your ša and now it makes you push buy and add to cart buttons...
If i had the money and the permanent threat of decapitation by my GF wasn't present i would own quite a few things more.

Enjoy it! it looks like a nice lens.

05-12-2011, 07:38 AM   #9
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Well it is a great lens, and yes it is big and I prefer my DA40mm for a dayswalk, but you can make absolute stunning pictures with the DA*55. I vote for keeping it.
05-12-2011, 07:53 AM   #10
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Keep using it a bit longer... You just might fall in love with it.

For one thing, it's a good lens to have because of it's weather sealing if you're adamant against zooms...
05-12-2011, 07:56 AM   #11
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Hey Guys,

Believe me, I certainly hear everything you're all saying. Problem is, that if I own the 31, 43 and 70, plus the 18-135, it's unlikely I'd ever choose to take the 55 out, because of it's weight and size.

If it was more like one of the limiteds in size - I'd keep it.
If it was 1/2 the price, I'd keep it.

It's just one of those odd lenses that sits in a weird spot for me personally. I'd rather have the money go towards the silver 70 (which is showing "in the warehouse" now on my Pentax Webstore order!).

Who knows, maybe I'll end up regretting getting rid of it... but I'm doubtful as of now. My reasons for returning it don't have anything to do with it's image quality, because it certainly seems great. It's really more the price, money I have to spend on lenses and what needs to be a priority for me, and ultimately it's size.

Good thing is that it isn't a rare lens by far... so if in a few months I decide I do want it, I can just buy another one through Amazon.
05-12-2011, 08:03 AM   #12
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I personally love the DA *55. It isn't really that big a lens, unless you use it with the hood (which probably doubles its length). The weather sealing is nice to have and I do like the bokeh and sharpness of it as well. The only thing that is negative is the focal length (a little long for a walk around lens -- wish they offered something equivalent but 28mm focal length).

05-12-2011, 08:23 AM   #13
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Wow nice setup...why do you want the silver since you already got the 70? is it any different?

I think that if i had that setup i would keep the 55, return the zoom and add a 15 or 14mm to the mix. 15,31,43,55 and 70 would be niiiiceeee (this is coming from someone who loves primes but has two workhorse zooms because the amount of money needed to pull a 5 lens arrangement like that would probably cause my "accidental" death ).
05-12-2011, 08:25 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I personally love the DA *55. It isn't really that big a lens, unless you use it with the hood (which probably doubles its length). The weather sealing is nice to have and I do like the bokeh and sharpness of it as well. The only thing that is negative is the focal length (a little long for a walk around lens -- wish they offered something equivalent but 28mm focal length).
Nice shot, Rondec!

The DA*55 slowly overtook the FA limiteds until is my most used Pentax lens. It does have a unique look and I find it to be very versatile. I love it for portraits and snapshots, especially when the 77 or 100 can be too long.

At first, I struggled with the size a bit too. I bought a collapsible rubber hood, then I used the hood from the Voigtlander 58/1.4 which is half the size, but in the end I ended up liking the stock hood for the protection from objects as well as from light.

Really, the difference in physical size between the DA*55 and the FA 31 is negligible (30g and 2mm), and aside from the hood, the DA*55 looks about the same size as a kit lens. I mention the kit lens because some people think the DA*55 would make them stick out in a crowd. But most people with DSLR's are using kit lenses which are bigger.

People love the DA 70 though, so it could be right for you too, but the DA*55 deserves a chance, I think.
05-12-2011, 08:34 AM   #15
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It may deserve a chance when I have the extra money - Remember, I was trying to decide on what lenses to buy when I accidentally bought it. I know I love the 70, so really, I need the money towards that one first.

I didn't use the hood on the 55. I hate hoods (other than the little ones on the FAs/DAs). The weight was a problem for me, and the 31 might prove to be the same problem (I didn't realize it was quite so big and heavy... I may have to rethink it). I know it seems silly, but I have some arthritis problems and carrying anything even a little too heavy for me becomes a problem fast... in the short time I was using the 55 last night, I was already "feeling it" in my wrist. That's one of the reasons I was able to make the decision to return it so fast.

For it's price and size, I have to LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Maybe I'll rethink it again in a few months after I have the other necessities first. I'll certainly keep thinking about everything you guys have said.
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