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10-15-2011, 11:05 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
I probably sounds like defending but that's what I thought. It's f1.8 we are talking. If the pic was taken at f8, then it's not good.
I didn't mean to sound negative about FA31 wide open performance - i have this lens and find it useful or decent wide open if you like.....but if i want really sharp picture i stop down at least to f2.8. Anyway most lens designs are optimized for some stopping down. On the other hand the bokeh and 3dimensionality (btw greatly presented in photo above by sjwaldron ) is what I praise more about the 31 limited.

10-15-2011, 02:28 PM   #17
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There is a lot more that determines the quality of the lens, then sharpness figures wide open.
I also have the FA31 (Vietnam version), and yes, at f1.8 aperture it is a little softer and has slightly lower contrast then when stepped down to f2.8. However, it is quite acceptable for the times when I want the shallowest depth of field (which is not that often).
As others have mentioned, there are other qualities which determine how good a lens is. In terms of colour rendering, 3D effect and overall image feel (which is difficult to describe), this is my best lens. Ad yes, it is rather expensive, but I do not regret spending the money on it since it makes me happy by giving me great results for the type of shooting I do. Others however, may have different priorities and needs.
10-15-2011, 03:20 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by sjwaldron Quote
So does anyone with negative comments here actually have the lens?

At f1.8 ISO 2500:

All sizes | fa31mm_f18 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
It's on my wishlist (even after this test) and I put that catwoman/catmotorist on that same wishlist
10-15-2011, 06:00 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
It's on my wishlist (even after this test) and I put that catwoman/catmotorist on that same wishlist
The character is Celty Sturluson from an Anime called "Durarara!!!" It's a Japanese rendition of the headless horseman. That character is actually the headless horseman, but with a motorcycle instead of a horse. You would probably like this because I used two Celty cosplayers for the cover photo.

I have a lot more examples with the 31mm here:
scottjwaldron.com | 2011
I used the 31mm around 90% of the time at that convention.


I'm not saying the lens is perfect, but I think it deserves some respect that the reviewer didn't give it. It's one of those lenses you can say "They don't build them like they use to... oh wait, Pentax still does." That being said, I think the lens could use a refresh.

10-15-2011, 11:07 PM   #20
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Apologies to Digitalis and anyone else my comments offended. Hopefully, you were offended by my comments about Vietnam being a third world communist country, not my comments about the FA31 being a dissapointment?

If you think I'm racist, I guess that's my fault for not backing up what I'm talking about, so I will explain:
I've been to Vietnam and I've also been to Japan.
I will actually admit to being prejudiced about Vietnam and communism in a way I wasn't before going there - I swerved strongly away from my naive student beliefs after less than a week of seeing the reality. Communism is making Vietnamese and Chinese our cheap labor and supporting our lifestyles.
The factories and conditions for workers there are shocking by my standards coming from a country where you have rights as an employee and expect freedoms and conditions.
I spent 15 minutes in a silk factory in Vietnam back in 2003 and the sound was deafening - beyond any hard rock concert - my ears were ringing like being hit with a cymbal in the side of the head and my throat dried up with the dust and I had to leave. The workers were all young girls - I don't know how old - it's hard to guess their age - but certainly looked like they should have been in school.
The dust and fibers in the air were terrible and not one worker had any protection against the noise or dust. Also, the poverty when I was there stretched in every direction around the city centers. You only needed to walk 15 minutes to come across slums - like in the picture below that would take days of walking to reach the other side. Maybe I was in the wrong places in Japan, but I never saw any slums.

I've been made to think about this stuff again after Mike Daisey's talk about Apple's workers in China making iphones and ipads and the other luxury goods we enjoy here. Should we keep buying this stuff without questioning who makes it and how they're paid and treated? Does anyone know or care about how our favorite brand functions in the Philippines or Vietnam? It's logical that they are there to reduce their wages bill - Japanese workers are better paid. That's all.

Last edited by calsan; 10-20-2013 at 03:24 AM.
10-15-2011, 11:59 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
The factories and conditions for workers there are shocking by my standards coming from a country where you have rights as an employee and expect freedoms and conditions.
While we will get a bit off topic here, I'll say I don't know what we personally can do about it beside only buy goods made in countries we know will have decent labor standards. I think the big two still assemble some of their equipment in Japan. They are probably able to do that because they have larger market share compared to someone like Pentax. I would rather have my Pentax equipment completely made in Japan, but that period is most likely gone for the foreseeable future. I don't think dropping Pentax over this would solve the true issue...

The 31mm is already a $1000 lens in today's global economy. How much more would it cost to make it a profitable lens for Pentax if it were still completely made in Japan? There is a lot of information we just won't be able to know unless we had insider contact on the subject.
10-16-2011, 09:35 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by taurus9 Quote
However, in my experience, it is a stretch to say that shooting with the lens wide open is sharp, so the results were not completely surprising.
Here's a sample I have with the FA31 wide open - click on image for larger size:



Works for me.

[UPDATE] Turns out I took this at f/2.8 - memory failure. That being said, I don't remember feeling that FA31 has issues wide open - when I'll try it again, I'll make sure to take some shots specifically at 1.8.

Last edited by Laurentiu Cristofor; 10-17-2011 at 11:41 AM.
10-16-2011, 09:51 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Here's a sample I have with the FA31 wide open - click on image for larger size:



Works for me.
Your comment in flickr say the exposure is "f/2.8 ISO 800 1/100" so not wide open, or was this a typo

10-16-2011, 10:09 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Your comment in flickr say the exposure is "f/2.8 ISO 800 1/100" so not wide open, or was this a typo
Darn, my memory fails me - I thought I took that shot wide open. flickr info is correct - I just checked the EXIF - it's 2.8.
10-16-2011, 10:21 PM   #25
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Very few lenses are at their best wide open, and all decent to good lenses will have a sweet spot where everything clicks a few stops off wide open, the 31 is no exception to this. I've been fortunate to have been the owner of two of them, one silver, one black. Both very good wide open, the black one perhaps just a smidgen better, and both startlingly sharp stopped down a bit.
Wide open is one of those things where sample variation can make or break a lens, and it takes very, very little sample variation to make a lens less than what it could be at maximum aperture. Combine that with the very real possibility that the lens wasn't focused perfectly and it's pretty easy to come up with a less than stellar test of what is a pretty stellar lens.
10-16-2011, 10:38 PM   #26
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I have to agree with you, Wheatfield. I own black MIJ FA 31 and it is very fine wide open. I think that my FA 77 is better, but FA 43 is certainly not. At least in sharpness department. I am not as happy about MIV DA 21 though as I do tend to have to close it down to at least f/4 though on occasion it would produce very good results wide open as well. Though I do appreciate LensTip approach to testing (nothing subjective, purely measurements) and though I do believe they do an honest and thorough job, this time I think they may have let it slip a bit. But then again I don't care about LPMM or whatever sharpness measure they have. I do care about how my pictures look and judging from about 4,000 frames in my collection shot with FA 31, it is one mighty fine lens.

Clarification: I have used only one sample and it is that sample I am talking about. There is no intent to generalize in my words. None whatsoever.
10-16-2011, 11:29 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Your comment in flickr say the exposure is "f/2.8 ISO 800 1/100" so not wide open, or was this a typo
QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Here's a sample I have with the FA31 wide open - click on image for larger size:



Works for me.
How about this one?


http://www.flickr.com/photos/dslrninja/6252595417/in/photostream/

In the right conditions even f1.8 can appear very sharp, but it's partly because of that special contrast the lens has. I also notice it doesn't like super harsh light much (that photo was taken at a nice diffuse time of day).
10-17-2011, 01:46 AM   #28
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Thats some nice colors going on in that picture love that pink hair!

But in all honesty, despite reviews, rants and pricing issues.
Every pentax fan boy will want/aim to own/use the FA31 once in their life, even if its just for a day.
If they don't they are either in denial, and this urge even exists in Canon Nikon and Leica shooters.
10-17-2011, 03:38 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by sjwaldron Quote
The 31mm is already a $1000 lens in today's global economy.
I wish it where that cheap around here (Sweden) for some reason the better Pentax lenses are ridiculously expensive here, it's a $2000 plus lens right now. I could get three sigma 30/1.4 and still have money left.
10-17-2011, 04:03 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
I wish it where that cheap around here (Sweden) for some reason the better Pentax lenses are ridiculously expensive here, it's a $2000 plus lens right now. I could get three sigma 30/1.4 and still have money left.
Nothing wrong with the Sigma 30mm mate, faster and sharper (in the center where it counts)
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