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05-30-2011, 12:18 AM   #241
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
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?
The DA*55.
Actually Ive said this many times in other threads, that the DA*55 renders images alot like the FA43. And was designed by Jun Hirakawa (who also designed the FA43, FA77 and other great pentax lenses).

But take that with a grain of salt, as I dont yet own a DA*55, thats just what Ive noticed by looking at pictures from said lens

05-30-2011, 12:32 AM   #242
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
How about it, greater community? Is there a pixie dusted lens in between 50 and 60 mm?
Some say the VL Nokton 58 f/1.4 is dusted. I know one thing - it's bokeh was unique and beautiful to me.















It's nice to be complimented on my images, but I think if you look closely, almost everything from the M 85 and this Nokton are nothing special photographically-speaking - no great artistic insight, just interesting and pleasing rendering by the lenses.

This is the gist of the whole 'pixie dust' idea - that ordinary shots sometimes can hold that extra special je ne sais quoi if taken with the right lens.

I've said several times already (and tried to say in several different ways) why I think 'pixie dust' is a catch-all term that is often used because it's just difficult to encompass a bunch of objective attributes in a description. 'pixie dust' is just a convenient placeholder for this personal/subjective take on this amorphous blob of attributes. When this same opinion starts to pop up again and again attached to the same lenses, then those lenses can probably be considered dusted. Simple.

I wish Jun (super-lens genius god) Hirakawa were a member of this forum - here's a translation I found interesting - he's talking about his 43 & 77 designs:

"....without giving priority to resolving power, MTF values and other numerical evaluations, they attain a level of correction in actual photo capture that remains in your mind. This is because currently the subject plane is the target of this numerical evaluation, and thought not to be a suitable evaluation of the depiction of solid objects. Certainly, we think evaluation of object depiction by the numerical value method should be established urgently, but for the time being, that comes after the design."



I'd love to know more about what he meant there, if the translation is good.





.
05-30-2011, 06:17 AM   #243
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
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?
No. People would still argue. I know this as a historical fact because I have posted the actual lens design info several times before now. It never stops people from saying "those lenses are no different."

To find out for yourself, search for Jun Hirakawa's white paper. Sorry I don't have a link handy, or rather, the one I used to have has disappeared. Unfortunately the article is not as specific as it might be, simply to protect trade secrets I am sure. Here is how I summarised the design goals in a previous discussion: "Rather than perfectly correcting for field curvature, the FA Limited lenses completely correct astigmatic difference in both meridional and sagittal subject planes, allowing small amounts of field curvature to remain."

Easier for some to say "pixie dust".

And yes, I have regularly pulled FA43 and FA77 images out of the crowd (and have gone out on a limb in other threads doing so). Naturally there are just as many other photos in which I cannot recognise the lenses. But that is not relevant; it simply means the hit rate is lower. But this is still significant since I cannot at all recognise other "perfectly good but not special" lenses. If you are asking for a perfect hit rate before you will believe it, then sorry your unreasonable demands are going to leave you disappointed.

Of course some might not prefer this rendering, but that too is not relevant to the point that it is a special rendering.

QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Of course, maybe I'm just pissed off because there's no FA55-60 LTD. *sigh*
You can do what I did and buy the Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit-R. But I am not sure it has the pixie dust.

Last edited by rparmar; 05-30-2011 at 06:22 AM.
05-30-2011, 06:27 AM   #244
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Seeing is beleiving, and i guess you just have to really experince the FA LTDS for yourself to be able to see it.
I saw this quality in images long before I owned an FA Limited. That is why I committed to buying them. Then it took me a while to learn how to shoot the lenses to optimise the IQ. It wasn't too hard, though.


QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Just get yourself the DA* 55 and enjoy some of this mystical dust now.
Ash, I have not seen the dust in this lens, which seems to me to be a totally average renderer. Quite disappointing in fact, given the price and form factor sacrifices.

05-30-2011, 06:46 AM   #245
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote

It's nice to be complimented on my images, but I think if you look closely, almost everything from the M 85 and this Nokton are nothing special photographically-speaking - no great artistic insight, just interesting and pleasing rendering by the lenses.

This is the gist of the whole 'pixie dust' idea - that ordinary shots sometimes can hold that extra special je ne sais quoi if taken with the right lens.

I've said several times already (and tried to say in several different ways) why I think 'pixie dust' is a catch-all term that is often used because it's just difficult to encompass a bunch of objective attributes in a description. 'pixie dust' is just a convenient placeholder for this personal/subjective take on this amorphous blob of attributes. When this same opinion starts to pop up again and again attached to the same lenses, then those lenses can probably be considered dusted. Simple.

I wish Jun (super-lens genius god) Hirakawa were a member of this forum - here's a translation I found interesting - he's talking about his 43 & 77 designs:

"....without giving priority to resolving power, MTF values and other numerical evaluations, they attain a level of correction in actual photo capture that remains in your mind. This is because currently the subject plane is the target of this numerical evaluation, and thought not to be a suitable evaluation of the depiction of solid objects. Certainly, we think evaluation of object depiction by the numerical value method should be established urgently, but for the time being, that comes after the design."

I'd love to know more about what he meant there, if the translation is good.
.

It's easy to say that, and I'll give you that not *every* image you post has 'that something special', but most are not simply snaps. A photographer's art is mainly in the eye, the visualization, the way that he sees things, sometimes combined with the way he arranges things. In this batch the fern isn't up to your normal standards, and the final flower is fairly unremarkable, but all of the rest *are* excellent images; in #1, the echoed spheres; the first fern and its double helix; the slightly off-kilter teacup; the repeated alarm clocks. Adams? Westin? Maybe not - lol - but the image goes well beyond the lens. And how many people have mentioned to me how "jsherman has sold quite a few lenses on this forum"?

I'm ok with the idea that specific lenses may render things differently, but, as always, I'm a pragmatic soul; if you can't pick 'em out in the final image - I mean, separate them from "undusted lenses" - the effect is mostly in the photographer's relationship with the lens.

Sounds to me like he's talking about the projection and subject plane (as opposed to film plane).
05-30-2011, 07:26 AM   #246
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
No. People would still argue. I know this as a historical fact because I have posted the actual lens design info several times before now. It never stops people from saying "those lenses are no different."

To find out for yourself, search for Jun Hirakawa's white paper. Sorry I don't have a link handy, or rather, the one I used to have has disappeared. Unfortunately the article is not as specific as it might be, simply to protect trade secrets I am sure. Here is how I summarised the design goals in a previous discussion: "Rather than perfectly correcting for field curvature, the FA Limited lenses completely correct astigmatic difference in both meridional and sagittal subject planes, allowing small amounts of field curvature to remain."

Easier for some to say "pixie dust".

And yes, I have regularly pulled FA43 and FA77 images out of the crowd (and have gone out on a limb in other threads doing so). Naturally there are just as many other photos in which I cannot recognise the lenses. But that is not relevant; it simply means the hit rate is lower. But this is still significant since I cannot at all recognise other "perfectly good but not special" lenses. If you are asking for a perfect hit rate before you will believe it, then sorry your unreasonable demands are going to leave you disappointed.

Of course some might not prefer this rendering, but that too is not relevant to the point that it is a special rendering.

You can do what I did and buy the Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit-R. But I am not sure it has the pixie dust.
I don't require a perfect "hit rate". Just beat chance by a statistically significant margin with no false positives. I would accept that as evidence without the white paper. I'm reasonable, and willing, even happy, ultimately, to accept being wrong - just not on simple declarations. I'm well aware of our human tendency to believe we can discern far more than we actually can - I've mentioned it several times.

There is a second question that Marc brought up. Even if there is a design difference, the result is a subjective judgement. This, I think, is a salient observation; still, given the above condition (beating chance by significant margin with no false positives), I would agree that I am wrong - without rancor.

I notice you assert there is no "dust" in the DA* 55 1.4, but it was also (apparently) designed by Hirakawa. I wonder why that is? Is it your assertion that he only put the dust in the FA LTDs?
05-30-2011, 07:30 AM   #247
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Here is how I summarised the design goals in a previous discussion: "Rather than perfectly correcting for field curvature, the FA Limited lenses completely correct astigmatic difference in both meridional and sagittal subject planes, allowing small amounts of field curvature to remain."

Easier for some to say "pixie dust".
Ah, there's a strong clue there: stigmatic correction, not flatfield. So lenses labeled as anastigmats should show slight field curvature, and thus dimensionality. I must check my old anastigmats when I return home in a few weeks. Or maybe some MFL lovers here can beat me to it!
05-30-2011, 08:02 AM   #248
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Some say the VL Nokton 58 f/1.4 is dusted. I know one thing - it's bokeh was unique and beautiful to me.
.
Beautiful images - great work as always


Last edited by yusuf; 05-30-2011 at 08:07 AM.
05-30-2011, 08:21 AM   #249
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Ah, there's a strong clue there: stigmatic correction, not flatfield. So lenses labeled as anastigmats should show slight field curvature, and thus dimensionality. I must check my old anastigmats when I return home in a few weeks. Or maybe some MFL lovers here can beat me to it!
This seems to be a good article on astigmatism and curvature of field.
05-30-2011, 11:26 AM   #250
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote

I notice you assert there is no "dust" in the DA* 55 1.4, but it was also (apparently) designed by Hirakawa. I wonder why that is? Is it your assertion that he only put the dust in the FA LTDs?
Here's some "data" to help you decide for yourself. Dusted or no, it's a damn fine lens.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/140166-da*55-s...cs-please.html
05-30-2011, 11:42 AM   #251
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
Here's some "data" to help you decide for yourself. Dusted or no, it's a damn fine lens.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/140166-da*55-s...cs-please.html
Mmm... thanks. I'm still trying to decide, but prepping up my (just purchased!) DA70ltd for sale in the Marketplace. Trying to decide between the DA* 55 (focal length I like, fast max aperture, weather resistant) and the FA 43 ( shorter lens, physically smaller, metal, but sharp, sharp, sharp - did I mention I'm a sucker for sharpness? ). All the pixie dust discussion aside, I really love the way the LTDs are built and the way they feel in the hand.

I think the problem is I just *want* 'em, I don't need 'em. I'm pretty well covered with good glass from 10mm to 500mm... LBA strikes again.
05-30-2011, 11:55 AM   #252
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Mmm... thanks. I'm still trying to decide, but prepping up my (just purchased!) DA70ltd for sale in the Marketplace. Trying to decide between the DA* 55 (focal length I like, fast max aperture, weather resistant) and the FA 43 ( shorter lens, physically smaller, metal, but sharp, sharp, sharp - did I mention I'm a sucker for sharpness? ). All the pixie dust discussion aside, I really love the way the LTDs are built and the way they feel in the hand.

I think the problem is I just *want* 'em, I don't need 'em. I'm pretty well covered with good glass from 10mm to 500mm... LBA strikes again.
Well, I totally get that. I'll never say that the DA*55 feels as good to use as the limiteds (though it does have a nice wide focus ring, and of course, it's sealed), but I do like what comes from it. It was designed by you-know-who to be Pentax's premier APS-C portrait lens, hence the FL. I would encourage you to look at post #10 of that thread. The guy is a complete hack, but those images do display the impressive sharpness of that lens, since you are a sucker for that.
05-30-2011, 12:01 PM   #253
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
Well, I totally get that. I'll never say that the DA*55 feels as good to use as the limiteds (though it does have a nice wide focus ring, and of course, it's sealed), but I do like what comes from it. It was designed by you-know-who to be Pentax's premier APS-C portrait lens, hence the FL.
Indeed. :\

I have the FA50mm f1.4, which I would sell if I were going to buy the DA*55, but *not* if I were going to buy the FA43... LOL. It's like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces made of lens' dollar values. The proceeds from the FA50 1.4 and the DA70 ltd should buy either the FA43 or the DA*55... mmmm, decisions decisions decisions.

There's a part of me that really wants to lay hands on an FA LTD for some length of time so I can draw my own conclusions; but none of them really "fit" the way I shoot except the 31, and $1000+ for an experiment is a little high, particularly when I already have the excellent FA35 f2 AL. Maybe I want to believe... LOL
05-30-2011, 12:17 PM   #254
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
I don't require a perfect "hit rate". Just beat chance by a statistically significant margin with no false positives.
I commend you on your scepticism. I am the same way. Thus I do not expect to be able to convince you, though I am surprised the FA Limited thread hasn't worked.

QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
I notice you assert there is no "dust" in the DA* 55 1.4, but it was also (apparently) designed by Hirakawa. I wonder why that is? Is it your assertion that he only put the dust in the FA LTDs?
I have no idea; I only know what I see. I wish Pentax would share more lens development data including full MTF curves. Like Leica does.

QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
There's a part of me that really wants to lay hands on an FA LTD for some length of time so I can draw my own conclusions;
That is exactly what you should do. Buy the FA43 Limited on the used market and shoot magic. You will learn to love the focal length.
05-30-2011, 12:26 PM   #255
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Indeed. :\

I have the FA50mm f1.4, which I would sell if I were going to buy the DA*55, but *not* if I were going to buy the FA43... LOL. It's like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces made of lens' dollar values. The proceeds from the FA50 1.4 and the DA70 ltd should buy either the FA43 or the DA*55... mmmm, decisions decisions decisions.
I, too had the FA50 1.4 and sold it when I got the 55. The 50 always left me a little underwhelmed, though it always seems to test pretty well. Now that I have the 55, I am sufficiently whelmed.

QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
There's a part of me that really wants to lay hands on an FA LTD for some length of time so I can draw my own conclusions; but none of them really "fit" the way I shoot except the 31, and $1000+ for an experiment is a little high, particularly when I already have the excellent FA35 f2 AL. Maybe I want to believe... LOL
If that's the case, I would suggest starting with the 43. Obviously, it's the cheapest FA Ltd., though more than a couple of folks think it's the best. The Leica connection gives it a sort of unique legitimacy, as does it's performance. I agree it seems like an odd FL, but I find it "just right" surprisingly often, especially indoors when a 50 is just a little too long. B&H still sells 'em for $570, which seems like a ridiculous bargain compared to the 31. Anyway, it might help you to get the FA Ltds. out of your system.....or not!
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