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07-12-2011, 06:18 AM   #1
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DA* 55 vs 43 limited ?

Yesterday I was ready to pull the trigger and buy the DA* 55, but at the last minute I did some research here and am having second thoughts. I've always wanted the 43 limited, and am afraid I'll regret not buying it over the 55.

Since I've never owned either, I can only go by what I see and read.

The pros on the DA* are WR (I currently don't have any WR lenses).
Faster aperture.
But there is also the worry of SDM failure.

For the 43... Well, it's a limited.
The 77 was one of the first lenses I purchased, and nothing I've ever owned in any brand compares. I do a lot of portrait work and the 77 is stunning. I would have very high expectations of the 43.

When I grab a camera and one lens to go out, 9 times out of 10 it is either with the M50 1.7, or K55 1.8. So 50ish is my most used FL, which brought me to the DA* 55 in the first place.

Does anyone own both? What would your comparison be on picture quality. Bokeh comparison?

Tony

07-12-2011, 07:45 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I don't own both but I used to...
Now I just have 55. I do miss the rendering qualities of 43 but I'm much more comfortable with focal length of 55. If you have and love 77 then 43 would make a good sense, that is however if you are comfortable with the focal length. But it's a nice spread 43+77, 55 is touch close to 77.

Now to the 2 lenses...
43 is much smaller, uses smaller (49mm as on FA77) filters is lighter and focuses faster (not fast, but faster than 55).
On the other side, 55 is quiet, is WR and has better hood and hood attachment arrangement (the DA*55 hood offers much more protection to the front element from elements, hits and debris than any FA ltd hood).

IQ wise? FA43 is incredibly sharp at any f stop, has excellent contrast and great colours. DA*55 is usably sharp at f1.4 just about as sharp at f1.8-2 as 43ltd and sharp from there onwards (43 edges it in this respect though). Contrast is very high from f1.6 and usable at f1.4. 55 has less CAs than 43 and I'd say touch less PF too. 43 has bit better flare resistance IMO and touch better colours. OOF? well, both lenses can be busy. 55 more so in "right conditions" but also because of extra 12mm 55 smooths background more in most occasions.

At the end few shots from both, you tell me which is which





















regards
07-12-2011, 07:50 AM   #3
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Thanks for describing your experience, Axl. I have the 43, and have also been thinking of giving the 55 a try, so this is helpful.
07-12-2011, 09:45 AM   #4
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I can't give an opinion on the difference between the two lenses but I can say that the 43 Ltd is an amazing little lense and described as one of the best 3 AF lenses of all time (the 77 & 31 being the other two) ! sm-02-05-02

Incredibly sharp, there are times when the extra mm width means that not only is it very easy to crop away the excess to leave you the shot you imagined but you can actually get your subject in the frame - which a 50 (or 55 in this case) often couldn't have - not without getting yourself run over as you back up !

It is one lense you'll have to pry from my cold dead fingers !


Last edited by Frogfish; 07-12-2011 at 12:13 PM.
07-12-2011, 10:20 AM   #5
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I think the two lenses are similar in many ways. They differ somewhat in rendering (you have to see photos to judge which you like better -- FA 43 has "more character"). Build is different -- obviously screw drive versus SDM, rubber/plastic exterior on the DA * versus metal on FA limited.

I guess I wouldn't let SDM on this lens be a deciding factor since it seems like SDM primes do better than SDM zooms.

For me, the deciding factor was the focal length. Like Peter says, I just like the 55m focal length a lot better than 43. It's why I sold my DA 40. It maybe a nice lens, but the focal length didn't work well for the kind of photos I like to take.
07-12-2011, 11:51 AM   #6
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Thank you for the replies so far.

Axl, the pictures are awesome. No, I'm not going to try to guess which is which.

Although 55 is a very comfortable FL for me, I'm beginning to lean more toward the 43 now.
The color rendition, and sharpness is what I love about the 77 the most. And if the 43 is similar, I won't be disappointed. I'm also considering that my next lens down is a 28 2.8, so 43 sits nicely between the two, plus I do have a few mf 50's and the K55.

Rondec, I've heard others say that the SDM isn't much of an issue on the primes, and I really don't let it play a part in my decisions. It is what it is and I'd deal with it if the situation arises.

My final thought is price.
If you could get the 55 for $450 and the 43 for $500, would that make a difference in a decision?

Tony
07-12-2011, 12:17 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
My final thought is price.
If you could get the 55 for $450 and the 43 for $500, would that make a difference in a decision?

Tony
OMG ! $500 for a 43 Ltd? Silver I hope ? That's giving it away - no brainer ! The 43 Ltd over here is nearly $800 - and I thought China was cheap compared to Europe !
07-12-2011, 12:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
OMG ! $500 for a 43 Ltd? Silver I hope ? That's giving it away - no brainer ! The 43 Ltd over here is nearly $800 - and I thought China was cheap compared to Europe !
A more realistic new price in the U.S. is $639.95 for the DA* 55 and $569 for the black FA 43 ltd. If you can get silver it is $799

07-12-2011, 03:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
Axl, the pictures are awesome. No, I'm not going to try to guess which is which.

....

The color rendition, and sharpness is what I love about the 77 the most. And if the 43 is similar, I won't be disappointed.

...

I'm also considering that my next lens down is a 28 2.8, so 43 sits nicely between the two, plus I do have a few mf 50's and the K55.

Tony
Oh comon, try.. Just for the sake of it. Out of 10 shots in there is 5x55 and 5x43
...
True there, if colours and sharpness are what you like about 77 you won't like 43, you'll love it. I'd say it's even better...
...
28 is better match with 50 and 50+ fl IMO. 43 goes really well with 24...

Good luck choosing
07-12-2011, 03:12 PM   #10
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Well, I bit the bullet and ordered the 43 a few minutes ago.

And yes Axl, I was thinking the same thing about the 28. So my next purchase will probably be a 24 or the 21.

Thanks again.
07-12-2011, 08:53 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
Well, I bit the bullet and ordered the 43 a few minutes ago.

And yes Axl, I was thinking the same thing about the 28. So my next purchase will probably be a 24 or the 21.

Thanks again.
I'm sure you're going to love it Tony. Let us know how you get on with it and post photos.
07-12-2011, 08:56 PM   #12
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Frogfish,
This is the hardest part. Waiting...
07-12-2011, 09:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
Well, I bit the bullet and ordered the 43 a few minutes ago.

And yes Axl, I was thinking the same thing about the 28. So my next purchase will probably be a 24 or the 21.

Thanks again.
Congratulations. In my mind, the FA43 is probably the finest lens that I have ever used. I tried the DA*55 but was unable to find a copy that could focus accurately, and I am not alone in that regard. I don't think that you will have buyer's remorse once you get the 43 in your hands and then see the images that it can produce with your own eyes.

Rob
07-12-2011, 09:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
Frogfish,
This is the hardest part. Waiting...
Ha ha - well you can always start planning your first outings
07-12-2011, 09:11 PM   #15
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I would take the 43mm over the 55mm. If I just had to have the F/1.4 I would go with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 over the 55mm DA*. Nothing wrong with the 55mm, but there are other lenses that are just as good or better for less money. If the most important thing is having "PENTAX" on the barrel then go with the 43mm. Excellent lens.
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