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10-26-2011, 09:51 AM   #1
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FA 77mm 1.8 or DA 70m 2.4?

I'm looking to pull the gun on one or the other. The FA is $750, and the DA is $550. I'm sure they are both wonderful, but for those who have owned both, which would you buy first?

I shoot mostly portraits

10-26-2011, 10:55 AM   #2
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I dont own either, but I see many people selling their 70's to buy the 77. I believe both are great glass but the 77 (from what I have seen) may be one of Pentax's best (if not the best!)

you can likely get a used 77 for around the price of a new 70

Take a look in the FA Limited Club thread for lots of samples
10-26-2011, 11:13 AM   #3
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I'm going to make the same decision in a couple of months (hopefully). I'm inclined to get the DA 70, but not because it's better than the FA 77.
The reviews highlight different strengths and weaknesses. The FA 77 is one of the best Pentax primes, with superb bokeh and general rendering. On the other hand, its AF is slow, and it's quite a bit larger than the DA 70. ]
The DA 70 focuses very fast, it's tiny, not as fast as the FA 77, and not as 'unique'--although its IQ is high, too.

So, I guess, it depends on what you want to use your prime for. I need a longer prime for street/low light shots, and AF is of the essence for me. But for portraiture the FA 77 may be the best lens in K mount.

Last edited by causey; 10-26-2011 at 04:33 PM.
10-26-2011, 12:08 PM   #4
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I just got an FA 77 and have been surprised at the accuracy of the AF. I don't find it particularly slow either. Having read reviews indicating the AF was lacking, I have been pleasantly surprised. So, while the DA 70 might have a bit faster AF (I've never shot one), I'm not sure that should be any sort of deciding factor.

Just wanted to mention this since I had read so much about the FA 77 autofocus and my experiences so far are different. I really don't notice any difference between its AF and that of my other lenses.

Also, if you can find a used FA 77 for the price of a new DA 70, buy it! I certainly couldn't!

10-26-2011, 02:16 PM   #5
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AF is faster, and size is smaller on the DA 70mm. The FA 77mm is faster (aperture wise), and sharper [??? could be wrong on this].
10-26-2011, 02:21 PM   #6
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According to photozone, the DA 70 is sharper, but the difference between the two lenses is insignificant in this respect.
10-26-2011, 02:44 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
According to photozone, the DA 70 is sharper, but the difference between the two lenses is insignificant in this respect.
If you want to nitpick on sharpeness, the FA77 is sharper in the center (where it counts the most), but the DA70 is sharper in the edges. Both lenses are sharp.
The DA70 isnt that small, put the hood on it and its only a little bit smaller than the FA77. Both lenses are still small.

QuoteOriginally posted by angelo9978 Quote
I'm looking to pull the gun on one or the other. The FA is $750, and the DA is $550. I'm sure they are both wonderful, but for those who have owned both, which would you buy first?

I shoot mostly portraits
angelo9978, if your shooting moslty portraits get the FA77, it was designed for portraits after all. Has unique rendering, plus its almost a full stop faster than the DA70, which will give you greater control in low-light situations and more depth of feild control. If your on a budget get the DA70.

I shoot moslty portraits and have the FA77, its a fantastic lens.

Last edited by TOUGEFC; 10-26-2011 at 03:04 PM.
10-26-2011, 02:52 PM   #8
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The discussion between FA77 Ltd and DA70 Ltd leads ultimately to the obvious fact that both lenses are great lenses. You will not be disappointed by either (or both!).

However an interesting reading is : sm-02-05-02.

"The very best AF SLR lenses made today are the Pentax [FA] Limiteds. There are only three, and they have focal lengths apparently chosen by means of occultish numerology: there's a [FA] 31mm f/1.8 wide, a [FA] 43mm f/1.9 "true" normal, and a [FA] 77mm f/1.8 short tele. [...]
All three are utter standouts optically. [...] Yet all things considered, the 77mm may be the best lens of the three. A nearly ideal short tele, the 77mm Limited is superb — contrasty, excellent for portraits wide open, with a truly beautiful, delicate bokeh that compliments the almost 3-D vividness of the in-focus image. Tops in its class? There are certainly a lot of great short teles out there. But I can't name an AF SLR short tele I'd put above it." [http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-02-05-02.shtml]

Hope that the reading may help.

10-26-2011, 02:56 PM   #9
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Size doesn't matter in this case, image quality isn't really a factor either. Both are small, both produce great results. Here's what I'd be asking in your situation: Do you want quickshift or f/1.8? I wanted the 1.8, as well as the unique FA Limited rendering.
10-26-2011, 04:01 PM   #10
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This review was written in 2002. The DA 70 came out in 2007.


QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
The discussion between FA77 Ltd and DA70 Ltd leads ultimately to the obvious fact that both lenses are great lenses. You will not be disappointed by either (or both!).

However an interesting reading is : sm-02-05-02.

"The very best AF SLR lenses made today are the Pentax [FA] Limiteds. There are only three, and they have focal lengths apparently chosen by means of occultish numerology: there's a [FA] 31mm f/1.8 wide, a [FA] 43mm f/1.9 "true" normal, and a [FA] 77mm f/1.8 short tele. [...]
All three are utter standouts optically. [...] Yet all things considered, the 77mm may be the best lens of the three. A nearly ideal short tele, the 77mm Limited is superb contrasty, excellent for portraits wide open, with a truly beautiful, delicate bokeh that compliments the almost 3-D vividness of the in-focus image. Tops in its class? There are certainly a lot of great short teles out there. But I can't name an AF SLR short tele I'd put above it." [http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-02-05-02.shtml]

Hope that the reading may help.
10-26-2011, 04:46 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
QuoteQuote:
According to photozone, the DA 70 is sharper, but the difference between the two lenses is insignificant in this respect.
If you want to nitpick on sharpeness, the FA77 is sharper in the center (where it counts the most), but the DA70 is sharper in the edges. Both lenses are sharp.
The DA70 isnt that small, put the hood on it and its only a little bit smaller than the FA77. Both lenses are still small.
If I wanted to nitpick on sharpness, I would not say the difference between the two lenses was insignificant in this respect.
Instead, I would point out that the DA 70 has an advantage of 300 units compared to the FA 77 at the edges, at f2.8, where center sharpness is the same, whereas the FA 70 wins by about 100 in the center, at f4-f8. Where does sharpness matter most at this or that aperture? I don't know; I'm done nitpicking.
Pentax SMC-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Pentax SMC-DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited - Review / Test Report - Analysis
10-26-2011, 05:30 PM   #12
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I'm leaning toward getting the FA 77mm I absolutely love portraits, and I'll post some of my favs using a sigma 50 1.4, pentax 16-45 f4, and da 50-135mm (RIP). I can't wait to see the FA limited magic :P

Thanks everyone for their 2 cents, I don't think I can pass up on the FA magic! I love the quick shift focus of my sigma 50 b/c it's not exactly spot on in super low light, but for the pixie magic, I'll take the leap on the FA train even if I lose the quick shift focus
10-26-2011, 05:37 PM   #13
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10-26-2011, 05:56 PM - 1 Like   #14
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I have both the FA77 and the DA70 in hand at the moment.
Both are my second copies of the lens as I had sold my earlier copies (my first FA77 was black and while it did everything I asked optically, I didn't like the fact that the protective clearcoat on the lens barrel was starting to flake, fussy me.) My current FA77 is silver so no such issues and it looks a lot cooler than black. Optically, no difference between the MIJ black and my current MIV silver version imo.

As to my DA70, I sold it because after having used the FA77, it was hard to be shooting with a smaller max aperture. I got my current DA70 because it was cheap and I wanted to give it one more chance for me to like it.

Optically, the FA77 is definitely sharper in the center while the DA70 gives more even center to corner sharpness. AF speed difference is negligible in most situations. Color rendition is much punchier with the FA77 while the DA70 like most DA lenses gives good overall contrast but more neutral color. If I had to choose, it would be the FA77 because the micro contrast is just that bit different.

Subjectively, I find it dead easy to shoot great images from even the most mundane with the FA77. The very bright viewfinder image, the wide aperture range and terrific build quality is a big plus over the DA70. While one can shoot wide open with the FA77, the magic begins when stopped down a little, where the increased DOF plus slightly narrow FOV (compared to the DA70) and absence of vignetting gives images great background separation, which makes subject pop out.

For the DA70, the range of apertures to do the same is definitely narrower, plus the angle of view is a lot wider which doesn't make foreground/background separation as good as the FA. Now this might not mean too much of a difference indoors in a studio but when shooting outside, I always get the nagging feeling that the background could be less obvious. The DA70 works better if shooting distance to the subject is limited.

The DA70's plus point is that it is sharp even wide open but at f/2.4, there is some vignetting at the corners, it is a very small and compact lens. There is no contest in build quality between the two. The FA77 oozes quality while the DA70 appears cheap in comparison, the former is twice the weight of the DA. The chrome/anodization on the barrel is a lot thicker on the FA than the DA. Both lenses have ridiculously short hoods that may work well for film but seem too short for digital. I find the FA77 does well without any filters in front due to the larger amount of glass. My conclusion... FA77 first, DA70 second.

Last edited by creampuff; 10-27-2011 at 03:06 PM.
10-26-2011, 08:39 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
If I wanted to nitpick on sharpness, I would not say the difference between the two lenses was insignificant in this respect.
Instead, I would point out that the DA 70 has an advantage of 300 units compared to the FA 77 at the edges, at f2.8, where center sharpness is the same, whereas the FA 70 wins by about 100 in the center, at f4-f8. Where does sharpness matter most at this or that aperture? I don't know; I'm done nitpicking.
Pentax SMC-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Pentax SMC-DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Which one peaks the highest? The FA77. Nothing else to discuss. They are both plenty sharp anyway.
QuoteOriginally posted by angelo9978 Quote
I'm leaning toward getting the FA 77mm I absolutely love portraits, and I'll post some of my favs using a sigma 50 1.4, pentax 16-45 f4, and da 50-135mm (RIP). I can't wait to see the FA limited magic :P

Thanks everyone for their 2 cents, I don't think I can pass up on the FA magic! I love the quick shift focus of my sigma 50 b/c it's not exactly spot on in super low light, but for the pixie magic, I'll take the leap on the FA train even if I lose the quick shift focus
Check out-
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-sample-photo-archive/153218-pentax-f...d-samples.html

and

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/59538-fa-limited-club.html

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