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06-06-2011, 06:21 AM   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
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.
That's an interesting notion. Can it be that 43 has higher contrast and thus the more abrupt gradation between colors that then accounts for the pop and richness???

Yet, I will allocate a bit of time and compare side by side some shots I made with FA 43 and FA 50/1.4. If I find anything worthy noting, I'd report it here.

06-06-2011, 06:25 AM   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
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.
Thanks for the information. It may stand to reason that when a technological advancement is made, it is not retrofitted to the earlier products of the company - for pure business reasons. Case to point - wonderfully useful quick-shift AF system of DA limited lenses, e.g. DA 21. I'd gladly pay the price of either retrofitting my FA limiteds with that or simply sell them and buy new ones. Obviously, it means changes of lens design and manufacturing process, but the same would apply for coatings too - simply different stages of manufacturing.

Again, there is a notion of FA 50/1.4 having issues with reflection off the sensor. Haven't had them, but I don't claim they are not there. They might be. Ultimately, again the issue here is how significant is ghostless coating vs. regular SMC in real life use.
06-06-2011, 06:43 AM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by Raffwal Quote
I once bought the FA 50mm f/1.4 to play with the shallow DOF, but I think it really isn't such a nice piece of glass. I find it so-so both optically and mechanically and definitely NOT worth the price it goes for after the price hikes. Then again, I wish to have something fast and good. The FA 43mm might be it, but getting that would probably demand some other changes in my lens collection since I already have the DA 40mm and I guess there's little sense in owning both.
You seem to be saying that the DA 40mm is a better lens than the FA 50mm. I would have to quarrel with that. The FA 50 is sharper at every common aperture, has better bokeh and of course is two stops faster. I would say the same for the FA 35 vs the 40, but only one stop faster. The DA 40 is tiny, and that's the only reason I own one.

Regarding the FA 43mm, the focal length makes no sense on APS-C, so I feel no pull to buy one, even if it does outdo my other lenses in some small indescribable fashion (i.e pixie dust).
06-06-2011, 07:09 AM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boris Quote
That's an interesting notion. Can it be that 43 has higher contrast and thus the more abrupt gradation between colors that then accounts for the pop and richness???

Yet, I will allocate a bit of time and compare side by side some shots I made with FA 43 and FA 50/1.4. If I find anything worthy noting, I'd report it here.
After my standard PP process, they are nearly indistinguishable, honestly. It's only visible if I click "reset to defaults". Which is why I would say it would be more obvious in slide film. Back in the late 80s, early 90s, nearly every Pentax lens I could lay my hands on produced more contrast and richer colors on Ektachrome than my Canon gear did - one of the reasons I chose Pentax when I went digital.

06-06-2011, 07:12 AM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote

Regarding the FA 43mm, the focal length makes no sense on APS-C, so I feel no pull to buy one, even if it does outdo my other lenses in some small indescribable fashion (i.e pixie dust).
I kinda like it. I dunno about any pixie dust, but *shrug*. Plus, part of my nefarious plan is to end up with a DA15 and a DA* 55, also. The 43 is pretty comfortable for me. I might end up selling the FA35 AL f2 and getting a 21LTD... Who knows. I'm probably just caught in the paroxysms of LBA.
06-06-2011, 07:29 AM   #66
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I don't own either of these lenses, but I used to own the FA 50. I always felt that it didn't sharpen up till f2.8; however, looking at Photozone, I see that it is actually sharper at f2 than the FA 43, based on mtf numbers (however FA 43 passes it up at f2.8 and f4).

How much significance is an mtf number of 2088 versus one of 2311? I don't really know. I do think you can see the difference between these two lenses; however, it seems to me to be more about rendering than about sharpness.
06-06-2011, 07:43 AM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
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.
true. it is somewhat interesting to know the difference between the F and FA 50/1.4. I'm not sure if the same is true with the F and FA 1.7 counterpart. this could be a trend or a debate that the F's are slightly better than the FA's? maybe or maybe. copy variations may exist, however as pointed out, it would take a substantial degree of statistics to draw some conclusions of copy variations as majority. so far, the 1.7 in most instances holds the consistency in being sharper even before both 1.4's and 1.7's went AF.

hmmmm..... the FA43, the lens that you would hate to love or love to hate. great lens so to speak, and I prefer it better than the 50/1.4 but would much prefer it as a 28mm. :ugh:
06-06-2011, 07:48 AM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote

How much significance is an mtf number of 2088 versus one of 2311? I don't really know. I do think you can see the difference between these two lenses; however, it seems to me to be more about rendering than about sharpness.
Mmm... improvements are incremental, and the numbers don't tell the WHOLE story. 230 points on mtf is around 10%. On subjects with a lot of detail - think fur, or grass - this is visible at reasonable magnifications (8x10, fit-on-23" monitor). On subjects without a lot of detail - like, say, a head-and-shoulders portrait with smooth lighting, or a shiny car - it's indistinguishable.

06-06-2011, 07:49 AM   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boris Quote
That's an interesting notion. Can it be that 43 has higher contrast and thus the more abrupt gradation between colors that then accounts for the pop and richness???
Actually, I think that it is the ability of the FA43 and the other FA Limiteds to render subtle transitions in tone and color that gives their images such a life-like, 3-D quality. This is the true source of the "pixie dust" and is what separates them from other fine lenses. (Also superior construction, of course.)

Rob

Last edited by robgo2; 06-06-2011 at 03:41 PM.
06-06-2011, 07:55 AM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
You seem to be saying that the DA 40mm is a better lens than the FA 50mm. I would have to quarrel with that.
No, I'm not really saying that since I think that DA 40mm has its own unique character (like being one of the smallest lenses ever) and I don't really compare these two. I obviously I can't compare the Fa 50mm to the FA 43mm either since I don't have the latter. But my gut feeling is that the FA 50mm just isn't such a great lens by any definition. I paid something like 240 for mine and I guess at that price it was OK. But I wouldn't certainly pay the current price (at least 100 more).
06-06-2011, 08:09 AM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by Raffwal Quote
No, I'm not really saying that since I think that DA 40mm has its own unique character (like being one of the smallest lenses ever) and I don't really compare these two. I obviously I can't compare the Fa 50mm to the FA 43mm either since I don't have the latter. But my gut feeling is that the FA 50mm just isn't such a great lens by any definition. I paid something like 240€ for mine and I guess at that price it was OK. But I wouldn't certainly pay the current price (at least 100€ more).
I dunno... the FA 50 1.4 wasn't without its charms:



But it's certainly not a lens that will get you excited.

I'll tell you one thing, though. It was *infinitely* easier to calibrate my FA 50 f1.4's focus. This FA43 is *killin* me with FF/BF. As you can see, that image was shot at f1.8, and you can see every hair in her eyebrows, and the DOF is right there at the facial plane. But the 43 misses more, and I can't seem to get the adjustment quite right.

Last edited by jstevewhite; 06-06-2011 at 08:09 AM. Reason: typo
06-06-2011, 11:46 AM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
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.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the optical formula of the FA 50 remained about the same since the M era (or earlier?) I know the coatings have changed, but thats not exactly the same as designing a whole new lens (like the FA 43).

This is what I meant by "old design"... it's heritage is about 50 or 60 years.

----

To Boris:

I agree with you on almost everything. I personally like the smoothness of the FA 50, don't much value corner sharpness (if I really need it, just stop down), don't really like busy rendering, and think that pop has just as much to do with DOF control and lighting as it does with sharpness. But these are my personal convictions, and others feel very differently. I'm not exactly a good photographer, so I simply seek to understand both sides, rather than discredit their preferences. Some of the talented photographers here do wonderful things with the FA ltds., so they clearly aren't *bad*.

However, I do tend to ascribe talent more to photographers then to lenses, so I would suggest that the FA ltds are good enough lenses that they don't snuff out the talent of a good photographer. As far as the lenses making them *better* I would suggest that this is such a personal decision (based on preferred rendering, focal length, etc.) that trying to nail it down to a specific lens is pretty challenging (esp. for a prime).

The only time I speak up is when members of the FA ltd cult advise newbies to spend a bunch of money on an FA ltd or two when they really would be better off with a good beginner's lens like a zoom or budget prime (i.e., DA L 35 f2.4).

---

Pentaxor: I'm with you on the 50 1.7 thing. I sold mine because, as it might be well known by now, sharpness isn't really the most important thing to me. That lens was crazy sharp wide open, but I found it a rather busy lens, too. People who are looking for sharpness, though, will find it a really great little lens. It comes down to the same sort of thing I commented on above - personal rendering preferences.

---

jsteewhite: As for the 50 not being "exciting", well, depends on what gets you excited. I find the 50 very "pretty', but its pretty traditional in it's rendering. I think that is part of the appeal of the 43 (the 77, in my experience, renders very traditionally as well). I find it very exciting, but thats because it draws the pictures I see inside my head.

personal. preference.

Last edited by paperbag846; 06-06-2011 at 11:57 AM.
06-06-2011, 12:13 PM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote

jsteewhite: As for the 50 not being "exciting", well, depends on what gets you excited. I find the 50 very "pretty', but its pretty traditional in it's rendering. I think that is part of the appeal of the 43 (the 77, in my experience, renders very traditionally as well). I find it very exciting, but thats because it draws the pictures I see inside my head.

personal. preference.
LOL - yeah. Once you get to this level of lenses, the distinction is almost wholly personal preference, I agree. I like 'em all, honestly. If your biggest choice is between the FA50 - a very, very sharp lens @f4, and an FA43 - a very, very sharp lens @f4 - then you're splitting hairs already, IMO.

I really, really like the Helios 44M. It's certainly... "traditional"? But it's pin-sharp from f2, and I'm a sucker for sharp. I didn't dislike the FA50, I just found I wasn't using it a lot.
06-06-2011, 12:17 PM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
I really, really like the Helios 44M. It's certainly... "traditional"? But it's pin-sharp from f2, and I'm a sucker for sharp. I didn't dislike the FA50, I just found I wasn't using it a lot.
I actually am very interested in tracking this one down because it looks rather... non-traditional . The bokeh rendering is really cool. It has more character than my K55... which I kept around for a reason .
06-06-2011, 12:47 PM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I actually am very interested in tracking this one down because it looks rather... non-traditional . The bokeh rendering is really cool. It has more character than my K55... which I kept around for a reason .
LOL... yeah, that's why I put it in quotes - on the one hand, it's the oldest lens I own - on the other, it's not quite standard bokeh-wise.
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