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05-29-2011, 08:10 PM   #226
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
The M 85 f/2 is a dusted lens, IMO. If they made one with AF, it would rival the 77ltd. problem is, it would basically be the 77ltd, so they won't be doing that.
The FA 77 was based off of an older lens design... was it this very lens?

Looks great... I wonder if I should sell for the M... I'm not exactly a rich guy...

05-29-2011, 08:46 PM   #227
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Ash, Jsherman and others know what I know, which is that a very few lenses have a special something oft times called "pixie dust". However, this special something can be specified quite plainly, as it was a design goal when the FA Limiteds were built. Since it is an intended property and quantifiable, it cannot be said to be "pixie dust" -- a phrase which, if it has any application at all, cannot be defined.

Thus I would have to say that no lenses have "pixie dust", though some certainly have a special rendering some (those who have not read the lens designer's white paper) might label that way.

This rendering is not seen in every shot, since one can shoot rubbish with any lens. But it is seen in the good shots, those with decent lighting, subject etc. It makes them more-than-good -- "special" in other words. This is not subjective but an intrinsic property of the lens.

Any who deny this -- and many do -- simply cannot see the special rendering. Their loss.
05-29-2011, 08:48 PM   #228
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
The FA 77 was based off of an older lens design... was it this very lens?
The FA77 Limited is an improved version of the A*85. What it loses in speed it makes up for in rendering and extreme compactness.
05-29-2011, 09:20 PM   #229
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Ash, Jsherman and others know what I know, which is that a very few lenses have a special something oft times called "pixie dust". However, this special something can be specified quite plainly, as it was a design goal when the FA Limiteds were built. Since it is an intended property and quantifiable, it cannot be said to be "pixie dust" a phrase which, if it has any application at all, cannot be defined.

Thus I would have to say that no lenses have "pixie dust" though some certainly have a special rendering some might label that way.

This rendering is not seen in every shot, since one can shoot rubbish with any lens. But it is seen in the good shots, those with decent lighting, subject etc. It makes them more-than-good -- special in other words.

Any who deny this -- and many do -- simply cannot see the special rendering. Their loss.
See, this ^^^^^^ is the kind of post that makes me go all coldly rational and pedantic, just as I'd started to come to some peace with the notion of "pixie dust" that jsherman fielded. That last bit is *way* too "Emperor's New Clothes" for me to swallow without debate. If it was a design goal, and can be specified quite plainly, I'd *love* to see the specifications - that would end this whole debate *immediately*, right?

Frankly, I suspect that I could give jsherman a lens made from a coke bottle and the images he produced would be lovely, and I'd wager that most of the people in this forum would mark those images as "dusted". I also suspect that if jsherman liked a "non-dusted" lens as much as he did a "dusted" lens, nobody but him would be able to tell the difference; the few samples here seem to validate that, as I don't recall anyone looking at the images posted and saying "Oh, yeah, that's the FA77. Can't miss that bokeh." If you look through the "idenitfy the lens" thread, you see the same thing. Lots of guesses and forensic analysis ( "You've got x, y, and z in your sig, I'm guessing x" answer:"Wrong, 'tis y"), but not much "Oh, wow, I'd know that lens anywhere!".

Finally, there's another possibility. Perhaps some *see* this "special rendering" you speak of, but don't *prefer* it to "regular rendering"? I can see that there is a difference in the way OOF stuff is rendered. There is smooth, there is busy, there is angular, nervous, jaggy, you name it. But they're *different*, not magic, and a single lens may go through three or four of those depending on distance between subject and backround, f-stop, and the shape of the background object.

In short, I'm not buying The Emperor's New Clothes, and until someone can identify with very high frequency which lens was used to create a "dusty" image, I'm going to continue to insist that he's naked.



Of course, maybe I'm just pissed off because there's no FA55-60 LTD. *sigh*


Last edited by jstevewhite; 05-29-2011 at 09:43 PM.
05-29-2011, 09:56 PM   #230
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I don't deny that the certain lenses are designed to achieve certain qualities would be could be stated precisely. I do deny that such any such designs are objectively better than designs without those qualities. Different doesn't mean better. Might be something the designers like better, might be something some percentage of viewers like better, but that's still subjective.

I also suspect that these differences would be harder to pick out in blindfold test than some may think.
05-29-2011, 10:15 PM   #231
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
harder to pick out in blindfold test than some may think
I think this is true. If you were to compare the FA 77 to most medium to high quality portrait lenses in the 85mm range, they would most likely be more similar than different. I'm sure other relevant comparisons exist for the other ltds.

Half of the limited charm (FA or DA) isn't about picture quality at all.. it's about small little metal lenses.
05-29-2011, 10:16 PM   #232
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Easier for me to let some pictures do the talking.
I have shot similar scenes with other lenses with less 'soul' than the FA ltds (such as the FA 50/1.4 and 18-55) and found it hard (actually impossible for me) to replicate the results even after PP:

FA 31


FA 43


FA 77




Pixie dust, schmicksy dust. These lenses are special. Period.

Last edited by Ash; 05-29-2011 at 10:42 PM.
05-29-2011, 10:50 PM   #233
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
If you look through the "idenitfy the lens" thread, you see the same thing. Lots of guesses and forensic analysis ( "You've got x, y, and z in your sig, I'm guessing x" answer:"Wrong, 'tis y"), but not much "Oh, wow, I'd know that lens anywhere!".
Yeah you are right about that thread making many guesses from peoples lenses list in sigs. But not all of them I like that... for example, someone posted a image (POST #83)and he had no lens list in sig or any links to others sites with his photos. And I idenitfied it as a FA43 image straight up. Call it pixie dust call it magic whatever, that lens does give off a very distinct look when its shot under certain conditions, and some people can spot that certain something a mile away.

05-29-2011, 10:50 PM   #234
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Easier for me to let some pictures do the talking.


Pixie dust, schmicksy dust. These lenses are special. Period.
Classic movie moment: "Just 'cause you say it with conviction don't mean $*@! to me!" LOL... No, great images. I still stand by the assertion, however, that if you can't reliably pick images made with those lenses out of a lineup, it's mostly in your head.

I get what jsherman means; when you work with the lens, you get a 'feel' for it. You get used to its idiosyncrasies and its foibles, and you can 'feel' a difference with it. When I got the 58mm f2 Helios properly mounted on my K-5, it was like meeting an old friend again (85mm was my favorite lens to work with in 35mm film). You may even be convinced you can see the difference. But if you can't replicate it in a blind test, that's what it is.

Again, all it takes to prove this to the whole community (even the skeptics) is demonstrating the ability to reliably select images from "pixie dust" lenses - in this case, the FA LTD seem to be the ones to beat - out of a lineup with other, similar, non-pixie dust lenses. I've not seen anyone demonstrate that ability yet, though. I think that's because the pixie dust is all behind the lens.

Note that it's not that I think all lenses are equivalent, nor that I think there is no difference between lenses. Nor does it mean I don't *want* the FA 77LTD. (I'd like to have all the LTDs; they're great pieces of work) But paperbag hit it on the head - half the charm is little lenses made of real metal and glass.
05-29-2011, 10:54 PM   #235
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Yeah you are right about that thread making many guesses from peoples lenses list in sigs. But not all of them I like that... for example, someone posted a image (POST #83)and he had no lens list in sig or any links to others sites with his photos. And I idenitfied it as a FA43 image straight up. Call it pixie dust call it magic whatever, that lens does give of a very distinct look when its shot under certain conditions, and some people can spot that certain something a mile away.
Now I completely 'get it' that some lenses have certain qualities that appear. Looking through the Soviet Lens Club, you can find the "swirly bokeh" that the 44 produces sometimes. *sometimes*. If you see it, you can be pretty sure it's the 44. If you don't, you can't. Easy to spot a mirror lens, too. I'm *absolutely certain* that there are situations where certain characteristics might "give away" a lens. I'm not so certain that those are global characteristics of images produced with the lens, so much as idiosyncrasies of that lens with that f-stop and that subject distance.
05-29-2011, 11:01 PM   #236
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Just 'cause you say it with conviction don't mean $*@! to me
And I'm not saying it for anyone's conviction, either.
I say it because I believe it to be true for myself and/or I'm pleasantly deluded by the results I see from the lenses.

The charm for me is only very partially in their build quality and petite/sleek design. I'm about what the lenses can do - they autofocus, and they produce brilliant images. I haven't laid my hands on a lens that comes close to that second part in images, not on paper.

Simon's touched on the artistic eye the viewer can have to appreciate certain aspects of a lens's images - so too I see the 'special rendition' as something that can be appreciated, seen in images produced by some lenses, such as the FA ltd series, and not from other lenses.

Last edited by Ash; 05-29-2011 at 11:08 PM.
05-29-2011, 11:15 PM   #237
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It seems the FA LTD are the most debated here.
Whilst the term "pixe dust" is very questionable, but most agree on "something special about them" term.

Just an observation of most post in the thread-

Most FA LTD owners do believe that there is something special about them....
A few FA LTD owners dont beleive that there is something special about them...
Most non FA LTD owners dont beleive that there is something special about them.

Seeing is beleiving, and i guess you just have to really experince the FA LTDS for yourself to be able to see it.
05-29-2011, 11:25 PM   #238
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
It seems the FA LTD are the most debated here.
Whilst the term "pixe dust" is very questionable, but most agree on "something special about them" term.

Just an observation of most post in the thread-

Most FA LTD owners do believe that there is something special about them....
A few FA LTD owners dont beleive that there is something special about them...
Most non FA LTD owners dont beleive that there is something special about them.

Seeing is beleiving, and i guess you just have to really experince the FA LTDS for yourself to be able to see it.
Mmm... There's no FA LTD in the focal length I want, so any such purchase for me would be solely to examine the lens for Pixie Dust... LOL. While I would love to have every lens from the Pentax lineup, it seems... profligate, somehow. Gimme a 55 or 60mm FA LTD, and I'm all over it, and ready to report back if I find any.

How about it, greater community? Is there a pixie dusted lens in between 50 and 60 mm?
05-29-2011, 11:59 PM   #239
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Gimme a 55 or 60mm FA LTD
Just get yourself the DA* 55 and enjoy some of this mystical dust now.
05-30-2011, 12:01 AM   #240
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Just get yourself the DA* 55 and enjoy some of this mystical dust now.
Actually, I may sell off some glass soon and get that bit of kit, dust or no, because 85mm was always my lens in 135. But many in this thread seem to think that it can't possibly have the dust because it's a DA...
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