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01-21-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
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Difference between the D-FA 100/2.8 macro and FA100/2.8 Macro?

As stated in the title, what is the difference between the DFA and FA variants of the 100/2.8 macro lenses? I'd like to add a nice macro lens to my kit but don't know the difference between the two of these. If I could find a nice one for $200 or under, I'd probably buy it today. But from what I've seen these 2 are a little bit more than that. Any one able to explain what the differences are in these 2 lenses and/or maybe recommend a few other macro lenses I could look at?

01-21-2012, 08:37 PM   #2
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See here:
Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro - Review - PentaxForums.com

Optically, they are all the same. The differences lie in the build and the aperture blades.

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01-21-2012, 10:08 PM   #3
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If you are not shooting portraits you might find an F4 variant (M-100mm F4 or A-100mm F4) satisfactory - shooting macros wide open makes for very shallow DoF. Also for macro work, most would agree that CIF + manual focus is easily comparable to AF because most often you are shooting at min focus distance and moving the camera (so as to achieve the 1:1 you paid so dearly for but can easily acquire with Tubes)

The Pentax SMC tag required group on Flickr has a reasonable body of 100mm F4 images to peruse. The F4 variety is more easily come by for prices you are looking for. The AF F2.8 versions are normally double what you are looking to spend from what I've seen.
01-21-2012, 10:31 PM   #4
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I've had the pleasure of owning both. The FA is still alive in Nagaland, India with my Ph.D. student after 15 yrs. of my use in SEAsian jungles. It is tough, but weighs a ton, i.e. it is indestructible. I loved that lens and was shy on buying the DFA 100mm WR. But that is ancient history.
The new Pentax macro 100 WR is a magnificient, smaller, lighter, water resistant version that I believe is a welcome upgrade. Check out my latest macro postings using this lens. Buy this lens, you will never be sorry--if you can afford the price. If not, get a used FA100, but start weight training.

01-21-2012, 10:51 PM   #5
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Great thank you everyone! I am planning on doing portraits as well so I think the 2.8 would be better suited than the 4. I think I may just save the $400 for the 2.8... Or the 800 for the 77 limited

How does CIF work? I've tried using it but haven't actually read the manual about it. I'm not near my manual either right now to read about it unfortunately.

*EDIT*

I forgot to add, What does a focus limiter do?
01-22-2012, 12:13 AM   #6
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My plan is to get the M100macro for my travel set but I would love to get the DFA 100WR. My next $600 purchase won't be a telephoto (probably a K5).

I was however unaware that the FA and DFA 100macros were the same design. I have already dismissed the FA because it is too heavy for a travel lens. but I'm very surprised that they were able to reduce the weight by 250 grams, shorten it by 3cms and change the filter size to 49mm while maintaining it's FF capabilities. You learn something everyday.
01-22-2012, 12:15 AM   #7
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If you can find the F series version it has the same optical qualities as the FA. The Focus limiter helps you auto focus a lot quicker while using lens in non macro mode by not hunting from one end to the other, which takes a very long time. I'm happy my F 100 2.8 macro has a limiter which makes life so much easier. Great portrait lens to pair with a fast 50 by the way.

Last edited by Roob-N-Boots; 01-22-2012 at 12:29 AM.
01-22-2012, 12:23 AM   #8
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Great thanks Roob. I have a Super-Tak 55/1.8 in the mail as we speak as my first fast 50 lens. Going to play around with that for a while before going out and getting a 50/1.4. The focus limiter could be useful then if it helps auto focusing faster. My girlfriend's family has 3 very, very hyperactive English Bull Terriers that are never in 1 spot at a time, so a fast AF would be great for that. I was using the 18-55 kit lens last night taking pictures of one of them and I missed several great shots because of the slow AF in low light.

01-22-2012, 12:27 AM   #9
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Sometimes I wonder if the DFA 100 WR is the best lens I own, even though I have lenses that cost twice as much. It just seems that whenever I put it on the camera something really good comes out of it.


The FA77 is really great - something you'll want regardless of which macro lens you buy. I think it was my favorite lens when I sold it - which sounds like a stupid thing to do, but I was getting an FA*85 in its place. I haven't regretted the move at all, but as I look back I'm amazed at how close in quality the FA77 was. The FA77 (like the FA31) is one of the few lenses I would use wide open.

So the FA77 is probably your best lens choice its own right, once you have the basics covered (DA*16-50 or equivalent, DA*50-135, a macro lens, and possibly the DA10-17 fisheye).


If you're not getting the DFA 100 WR, consider the Cosina 100/3.5. It's available under many brands, in both MF and AF versions, for a very reasonable price (somewhere between around $100 and $150, if pricing hasn't changed much). I still have mine, and I keep it in my secondary kit. My Tamron 90 macro (the current version) wasn't worth keeping for it's price, but the Cosina is. My F50 macro is very good too, but I seldom use it now, since the 100 WR is so versatile. In fact, I don't even miss my Vivitar 105/2.5 MF macro (which could be amazing near wide-open) because the 100 WR is so much smaller and lighter that I actually take it with me! It's like other macro lenses may be slightly better in one characteristic or another, but the 100 WR is excellent in every category.


So, honestly, if you get the 100 WR you should be done macro-wise. In fact, there's only one DSLR macro lens that I KNOW is better (of any camera or lens brand!), and that's the Voigtlander 125. But it's MF, and as you probably know, it's rather rare and expensive.
01-22-2012, 12:39 AM   #10
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Yea the FA77 is one that's going to be down the line a bit due to the high price tag it comes with. I currently only have the 18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses, with the 55/1.8 ST on the way. I always seem to find myself trying to take faux-macro pictures with my 18-55, so I thought I'd try to get a proper lens for it that has a bit wider opening than the 5.6 (I think its 5.6..) that the 18-55 has used at 55mm. My birthday just passed so I'm trying to debate about which gift I want to get myself, a proper macro lens or a better, all-purpose walkaround, whether its a 50-135 or an 18-135. I'm kind of leaning towards the macro lens at the moment since it could also be used as a tight portrait lens which I'm hoping to do quite a bit of in the future around campus for engagement pictures and what not.
01-22-2012, 02:17 AM   #11
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In practice the 50-135 works quite well for portraits. And obviously, it works well for so many other occasions. I tend to use my primes more, but in reality I could use the 50-135 instead most of the time.

Here's an example of some portraits I took last year, solely with the 50-135 on my K-5. I took all but the first three shots.

Photos - Creative Photography Group (Encinitas, CA) - Meetup


So, with your equipment, I think I would get the 50-135 and the Cosina 100/3.5 macro. One other affordable alternative for portraits, and just an overall great lens, is the A100/2.8 (non-macro). Here are a couple of examples from the A100, on my K200D:

Big Fox Studios Sept 2011 - DSimsStudio's Photos

Although I normally PP in Capture One Pro, these two shots were JPGs straight from the camera.
01-22-2012, 02:22 AM   #12
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Well I've owned the DFA WR, normal DFA and FA 100mm Pentax macros. The WR version is the best of the lot. Excellent build quality, light weight, compact, excellent manual focus feel, Quick Shift does away the need for the focus limiter found on the FA and F versions plus I've never felt the loss of the focus clamp or aperture ring was significant. The DFA versions have better contrast than the FA/F versions with the DFA WR having the nicest bokeh due to the rounded aperture blades. All the Pentax 100mm f/2.8 macro lenses make good portrait lenses too.

What I would suggest is to avoid the f/4 versions. They may be sharp but the biggest issue is the darker viewfinder image compared to the f/2.8 lenses. It is also easier to focus with a lens with a faster max aperture. The FA 100mm f/3.5 and Cosina/Vivitar versions are cheap but only go to 1:2. They can't match any of the Pentax f/2.8 macro lenses in terms of outright sharpness. Build quality is nothing to shout about. Save your money and get the DFA WR, AF is also extremely useful whether on people or bugs.
01-22-2012, 02:37 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The FA 100mm f/3.5 and Cosina/Vivitar versions are cheap but only go to 1:2. They can't match any of the Pentax f/2.8 macro lenses in terms of sharpness.
I agree with all of your points; however, I do think the Cosina is good enough to use, and for the price it's a great value. It's a good starting place, and then one can move up if he feels the need.
01-22-2012, 05:24 AM   #14
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They are optically slightly different.
Pentax Short Telephoto Prime Lenses

The truth is macro are the best corrected lenses and you can pick pretty much any with confidence. The different lies in built quality mostly. I have found my FA100/2.8 outperforms the FA77 by a wide margin toward wide open and prefer it for portrait. It's too heavy for my taste tough.
01-22-2012, 08:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
What is the difference between the DFA and FA variants of the 100/2.8 macro lenses?
Check out the brief

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/168693-dif-lim...acro-test.html

thread for one possible answer.
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