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06-05-2011, 08:38 AM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
I dunno from pixie dust, but I sure do like this lens, and all of the LTD line. I always owned up to that, though; the glass is why I shoot Pentax - I don't own a Pentax lens I don't like. I'm seriously considering selling the Siggy 10-20 to get the 15 Ltd, particularly after the "15mm ltd controls my mind" thread. It's got the jsherman effect going, bigtime.

I think the 43 was definitely a good move - and I sold a DA70ltd and FA50 f1.4 to get it. The DA70, like all limiteds, is amazing, but no more amazing than the DA* 50-135 @70, IMO.

With the 43ltd in place, I've really considered selling the 10-20 AND the FA35 f2 AL to get a 15mm ltd, and putting back what's left in order to get the 21. Not sure 35-43 is a big enough spread to keep both.
I recently acquired a DA15, which is my first venture into DA Limited territory. I am very impressed with this lens, especially given its ultra-wide focal length. (I realize that the angle of view is 23 degrees in 35mm format, but it is still a 15mm lens, which presents some formidable optical design challenges.) The small size and excellent construction make it a pleasure to use. It is exceptionally sharp, especially above f5.6. Distortion is surprisingly well controlled but not minimal. It renders differently than the FA Limiteds. Images are very crisp and have lots of punch, whereas the FA Limiteds (I own all three) are super sharp but silky smooth.

The biggest problem that I have had with the DA15 is getting used to the wide FOV. Lots of things that I don't want get included in the frame. Also, keystoning is greatly exaggerated. Just tilt the lens slightly off level, and it will be obvious. So, effective use of a lens of this focal length will take some time to learn. I have a long way to go, but I am very satisfied with the lens so far. You, however, already own a true ultra-wide zoom, so you may not have any adjustment difficulties at all. I know nothing about the Sigma 10-20, but I would imagine that it is not small and that the optical quality is not at the same level as the DA15.

Rob

06-05-2011, 08:56 AM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
I recently acquired a DA15, which is my first venture into DA Limited territory. I am very impressed with this lens, especially given its ultra-wide focal length. (I realize that the angle of view is 23 degrees in 35mm format, but it is still a 15mm lens, which presents some formidable optical design challenges.) The small size and excellent construction make it a pleasure to use. It is exceptionally sharp, especially above f5.6. Distortion is surprisingly well controlled but not minimal. It renders differently than the FA Limiteds. Images are very crisp and have lots of punch, whereas the FA Limiteds (I own all three) are super sharp but silky smooth.

The biggest problem that I have had with the DA15 is getting used to the wide FOV. Lots of things that I don't want get included in the frame. Also, keystoning is greatly exaggerated. Just tilt the lens slightly off level, and it will be obvious. So, effective use of a lens of this focal length will take some time to learn. I have a long way to go, but I am very satisfied with the lens so far. You, however, already own a true ultra-wide zoom, so you may not have any adjustment difficulties at all. I know nothing about the Sigma 10-20, but I would imagine that it is not small and that the optical quality is not at the same level as the DA15.

Rob
Thanks for the input. The Siggy *can be* very sharp (although I'm sure you're right, it's not as sharp as the DA15); it doesn't have the... "Pentax Colors"? The contrast and saturation. As you say, it's also very large (by comparison), and often gets left at home for that reason alone. I originally intended to have a three lens zoom kit, but I find I'm not using that one a lot. I don't have the "UW eye" - usually when I reach for a wide angle it's for very practical reasons, not artistic ones. I'm thinking 15-43-58-100 isn't a bad "Short kit". (the 58 is a Helios 44m). Be nice to get something in there between the 44M and the 100mm, though. And maybe a 21 ltd, too? >:| too many lenses, not enough cash
06-05-2011, 09:55 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Careful there Boris. The 43 cannot be compared at f/1.6, so is that why you say it is 'infinitely' sharper? The same could be said at f/1.4 and f/1.8 but this is a moot point. The 43 is not soft at f/1.9, and where it can be compared with the FA 50 at f/2, it is of comparable *sharpness* however not in microcontrast and colour rendition, after which the FA 43 trumps the FA 50 in every measurable parameter.
IMO also FA43 is relatively overrated despite of being an odd focal length. I know it's a nice lens but no way FA50 can be underestimated. People have been praising FA43 but no one even shown any real comparison pics of same subject taken by FA43 and FA50. Anyone please.

Here is two recent pics from FA50



06-05-2011, 10:06 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
IMO also FA43 is relatively overrated despite of being an odd focal length. I know it's a nice lens but no way FA50 can be underestimated. People have been praising FA43 but no one even shown any real comparison pics of same subject taken by FA43 and FA50. Anyone please.

Here is two recent pics from FA50
Mmm... I'm a sucker for sharpness, and the FA43 @f4 is ridiculously sharp - the sharpest of the LTDs according to photozone.de, and I believe 'em from my short experience with it. The colors are better than the FA50 f1.4 I just sold. The bokeh is probably better for portraits on the 50, IMO, but for most other things I like the FA43's bokeh better. I don't think anyone is saying the 50 is not an excellent lens, but they're different, and many people like the FA43 better.

Honestly, at this level there is one generic difference ( half a stop ) and three differences that are subject to preference: Focal length, contrast/saturation, and OOF rendering; they're different, but it's really "Do you like this one better, or that one?"

Oh, and fit-n-finish. There's no comparison there, of course. The 43 is a limited... 'nuff said.

06-05-2011, 10:21 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Mmm... I'm a sucker for sharpness, and the FA43 @f4 is ridiculously sharp - the sharpest of the LTDs according to photozone.de, and I believe 'em from my short experience with it. The colors are better than the FA50 f1.4 I just sold. The bokeh is probably better for portraits on the 50, IMO, but for most other things I like the FA43's bokeh better. I don't think anyone is saying the 50 is not an excellent lens, but they're different, and many people like the FA43 better.
Do you have any real comparison? It's not that I don't take your arguments but this has been repeating without any solid comparison. I don't have FA43 but I do have FA77 and I can relate to what FA50 is producing and it's very close. IMO, both FA43 and Fa50 are so close in quality that it's indistinguishable unless it's been told that which pic is taken by which lens.
06-05-2011, 10:26 AM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
Do you have any real comparison? It's not that I don't take your arguments but this has been repeating without any solid comparison. I don't have FA43 but I do have FA77 and I can relate to what FA50 is producing and it's very close. IMO, both FA43 and Fa50 are so close in quality that it's indistinguishable unless it's been told that which pic is taken by which lens.
The glass and aperture mechanism is great on the FA 50mm/1.4, but the barrel simply is not that great, but serviceable. The FA 43mm/1.9 is very well made.

I notice you used to have an F 50mm/1.7 and now have the FA 50/1.4. I find that interesting because many claim that the 1.7 is better. I have never completely bought into that argument. I have the FA 50mm 1.4 and the DA 40mm Ltd and must admit that I have wondered about the 43 for several years.
06-05-2011, 10:35 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
The glass and aperture mechanism is great on the FA 50mm/1.4, but the barrel simply is not that great, but serviceable. The FA 43mm/1.9 is very well made.

I notice you used to have an F 50mm/1.7 and now have the FA 50/1.4. I find that interesting because many claim that the 1.7 is better. I have never completely bought into that argument. I have the FA 50mm 1.4 and the DA 40mm Ltd and must admit that I have wondered about the 43 for several years.
Agree about build quality - there is no comparison. I was merely talking about optical quality.

You noticed right - since I had two fifties, I sold one giving option to buyer whatever he wanted to buy - he picked up 1.7
06-05-2011, 10:47 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
Do you have any real comparison? It's not that I don't take your arguments but this has been repeating without any solid comparison. I don't have FA43 but I do have FA77 and I can relate to what FA50 is producing and it's very close. IMO, both FA43 and Fa50 are so close in quality that it's indistinguishable unless it's been told that which pic is taken by which lens.
I'll see if I can shoot some similar images with the FA43 to ones I have on file from the 50 (I sold it to buy the 43). It was back focusing yesterday, so I can't really show you the sharpness difference just yet. I calibrated it last night, so today should offer a better comparison. It's worth noting that the difference is not going to be field-significant *in most situations* (that is, 8x10 prints and normal subjects).

I probably wouldn't have made the swap if I didn't love the Helios 44M so much, honestly. And you can get those for next to nothing (mine was $27, delivered, + $16 adapter). If someone took this one I have and gave it modern coatings, I'd put it up against the FA50 or the FA43 any day.

06-05-2011, 11:20 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boris Quote
In a nutshell, FA 50/1.4 offers 90% of what FA43 can do for half the price.
I don't think this is a proper way of looking at it. They are different lenses for different purposes. In the same way, the 43 does 90% of what the FA 50 does for 2x the price!

Instead, lets consider the history of each lens. The FA 50 is very old. It's not incredibly sharp until f4, but there, it is about as sharp as you could want. It renders like an old lens.... not the best corner sharpness, smooth bokeh, poor flare resistance, etc. It looks like a classic lens. On digital, it makes for a great portrait lens with character.

The 43 is new-age. It's pretty damn sharp at f2.5. It looks pretty moderm (*pop*). It's shorter, making it better for general photography / environmental portraits, and less suited to tighter portraits. The bokeh of the 43 does suffer in some situations, unlike the 50 1.4. The 43 renders "busy" - it's a modern look. The 50 is classic, with less detail retention. It depends on your motives. The 43 has much better colour - something much more important to the film era than the digital one.

In general, I think they both excel at their own thing, however, since they *happen* to be close together in focal length, one is seen to replace the other. If one has the 43, it makes more sense to own a 55 or 70. If one owns the 50, it makes more sense to own the 35 or 31.

This is the pattern of behaviour I see, which leads to this rather silly comparison. Both lenses are so different in their utility that the only thing they really *share* in common is focal length range.

On a budget, the 50 wins for obvious reasons. On film, the 43 wins every time (focal length, sharpness, and colour). On digital, the decision should be made based on focal length, because we are getting closer to portrait lengths and the type of shooting you like to do is going to play a factor!

I hope this was helpful..
06-06-2011, 12:40 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I find that interesting because many claim that the 1.7 is better.
because it is as far as sharpness at wider openings is concerned. although aside from that, both lenses are quite different in terms of subjective rendering. I always find the 1.7 at the cooler side of the color temp which I prefer. the 43 however is a bit more contrasty compared to both 50mm.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 06-06-2011 at 05:20 AM.
06-06-2011, 01:33 AM - 1 Like   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Instead, lets consider the history of each lens. The FA 50 is very old. It's not incredibly sharp until f4, but there, it is about as sharp as you could want. It renders like an old lens.... not the best corner sharpness, smooth bokeh, poor flare resistance, etc. It looks like a classic lens. On digital, it makes for a great portrait lens with character.
I beg to differ here.

1. How sharp is sharp? Sometimes A 50/1.2 is sharp enough wide open. And the wider the aperture the more narrow is DOF - the more critical is AF precision. If all these elements are in place, FA 50/1.4 is very sharp. Again, I am talking about my own preferences. I don't like biting sharpness. I do like smooth tonal gradations and smooth transition from IF (in-focus) to OOF. Here FA 50/1.4 is good enough for prints as large as A3.

2. FA 50/1.4 has the same SMC coatings as FA 43. There may be some difference in coatings specifics, but I've found no flare issues with either lens.

3. As for corner sharpness - again, if we're measuring against standard targets - you may have a point. But if we're talking real-life photography, corner sharpness suddenly becomes moot.

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
The 43 is new-age. It's pretty damn sharp at f2.5. It looks pretty moderm (*pop*). It's shorter, making it better for general photography / environmental portraits, and less suited to tighter portraits. The bokeh of the 43 does suffer in some situations, unlike the 50 1.4. The 43 renders "busy" - it's a modern look. The 50 is classic, with less detail retention. It depends on your motives. The 43 has much better colour - something much more important to the film era than the digital one.
Busy rendering is rubbish in my book. If I have a shot with really busy OOF - it goes to trash bin. Again, IMO which obviously may differ from that of yours, pop has to do with the light and not with the lens. The lens may accentuate the pop, but without proper light, FA 43 won't be of any help.

I'd like to ask you what exactly do you mean by "The 43 has much better colour"?

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
In general, I think they both excel at their own thing, however, since they *happen* to be close together in focal length, one is seen to replace the other. If one has the 43, it makes more sense to own a 55 or 70. If one owns the 50, it makes more sense to own the 35 or 31.
I certainly agree. It is just that with 43, 55 seems like too close a focal length. 70/77 is more like it. To me.

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
This is the pattern of behaviour I see, which leads to this rather silly comparison. Both lenses are so different in their utility that the only thing they really *share* in common is focal length range.
I tend to disagree. I do agree that the comparison is somewhat silly. However, both lenses can be used as a standard low light short tele/portrait fast optic. I am too lazy, but I think it is entirely possible (and not too difficult) to come up with the dozen shots, where 6 will be shot with FA 50 and another 6 with FA 43 where to tell which is which is going to be nearly impossible.

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
On a budget, the 50 wins for obvious reasons. On film, the 43 wins every time (focal length, sharpness, and colour). On digital, the decision should be made based on focal length, because we are getting closer to portrait lengths and the type of shooting you like to do is going to play a factor!

I hope this was helpful..
It was certainly helpful to me, as it got me thinking about certain things. I think that FA 43 and FA 50 are quite close unless like I said earlier in this thread, one is really very well experienced shooter intimately familiar with one's gear. So up to a certain level it is an uneven toss where unevenness comes from the price difference between the two.
06-06-2011, 05:21 AM   #57
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Nice work Boris.
06-06-2011, 05:56 AM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boris Quote
I'd like to ask you what exactly do you mean by "The 43 has much better colour"?
I know you weren't talking to me, but I noticed the same thing. The colors from the 43 are more saturated and richer OOTC. Of course you've got sliders for that - it would matter more on slide film than digital.
06-06-2011, 06:11 AM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
. . .

Instead, lets consider the history of each lens. The FA 50 is very old. It's not incredibly sharp until f4, but there, it is about as sharp as you could want. It renders like an old lens.... not the best corner sharpness, smooth bokeh, poor flare resistance, etc. It looks like a classic lens. On digital, it makes for a great portrait lens with character.

. . .

The FA 50/1.4 was released in late 1991 whereas the FA 43/1.9 was released in 1997. The 43 was also the first Pentax lens to receive the Ghostless Coating (patented ~ 1992) on the rear element not counting traffic cameras. Ironically the FA 35/2 released in 1999 also received the Ghostless Coating. It is too bad they didn't add this to the FA 50. Additionally, several manufacturers still have fast fifties in their catalogs from the early 90s.
06-06-2011, 06:16 AM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
because it is as far as sharpness at wider openings is concerned. although aside from that, both lenses are quite different in terms of subjective rendering. I always find the 1.7 at the cooler side of the color temp which I prefer. the 43 however is a bit more contrasty compared to both 50mm.
I think some of that is sample variation and some of it cult following because the F 50/1.4 has had sample to clearly be the top af lens regarding mtf testing. However, rarely when a real test is done are more than 1 sample tested much less enough to make it a statistically valid test. I wonder if the F 50/1.4 is really sharper than the FA 50/1.4 or if it was more qc related both with the glass and the assembly, especially since the F series was the only af lenses to get the JCII stickers.

Edit: All these are very good optically and it really comes down to subtle differences and personal preferences except maybe with the 43.
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