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03-10-2012, 06:15 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
To the OP: You are not alone in your focusing problems with the DA*55. I personally tested 5 copies and could not find one that focused consistently. Dpreview, in their testing of the lens, made note of extremely erratic focusing which they attributed to misalignment of the plane of focus. Other owners have reported similar issues. I realize that there are satisfied owners of the 55, but those people are either lucky to have gotten good copies or have not not tested them critically.

In the end, I purchased the FA43 Limited and could hardly be more pleased. It is now my favorite lens and possibly the best that I have ever owned.

Rob
Thanks for adding that - after I was having problems, I did some more research here, and found a couple members with this same issue. I knew I read that somewhere but couldn't put my finger on the posts when someone commented above that they had never heard of such problems with this lens.

Perhaps we are too critical, but after my first outing with the lens I knew something was wrong - nearly 50% of my first shots were out of focus. Then with my detailed focus testing revealed the issue for sure. I'm sorry but a $640 lens shouldn't act like this. I agree that those who have a good copy are very fortunate as the rendering of this lens is just beautiful.

While the 43 Ltd would be my next choice in this FL range, after doing some more testing as noted above, I've found that I really need something a bit shorter than even the 43. Working on purchasing a 35 Ltd now.

03-10-2012, 06:25 PM   #17
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I had an initial problem with focus with my DA*55mm. I thought I had a problematic lens. I sent my K-5 with the lens to Japan and everything is now perfect. The issue wasn't with the lens but with the camera as Pentax Japan replace the AF module. I have both the FA43mm and the DA*55mm good as both are, I do prefer the DA*55 more.
03-10-2012, 06:41 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
I had an initial problem with focus with my DA*55mm. I thought I had a problematic lens. I sent my K-5 with the lens to Japan and everything is now perfect. The issue wasn't with the lens but with the camera as Pentax Japan replace the AF module. I have both the FA43mm and the DA*55mm good as both are, I do prefer the DA*55 more.
I tested four of my sample lenses on a K-7 and a fifth on both a K-7 and a K-5. I have not had focusing problems with any of my other lenses, be they screw-driven or SDM. I am quite convinced that the problem was with the lenses themselves. Dpreview's testing confirms this. Your case may have been unique, or Pentax may have repaired the lens without telling you.

Rob
03-10-2012, 06:48 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Thanks for adding that - after I was having problems, I did some more research here, and found a couple members with this same issue. I knew I read that somewhere but couldn't put my finger on the posts when someone commented above that they had never heard of such problems with this lens.

Perhaps we are too critical, but after my first outing with the lens I knew something was wrong - nearly 50% of my first shots were out of focus. Then with my detailed focus testing revealed the issue for sure. I'm sorry but a $640 lens shouldn't act like this. I agree that those who have a good copy are very fortunate as the rendering of this lens is just beautiful.

While the 43 Ltd would be my next choice in this FL range, after doing some more testing as noted above, I've found that I really need something a bit shorter than even the 43. Working on purchasing a 35 Ltd now.
Choice of focal length is a matter of personal preference. However, as long as you are going wider, might you consider the FA31 Limited?

Rob

03-10-2012, 06:51 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
I tested four of my sample lenses on a K-7 and a fifth on both a K-7 and a K-5. I have not had focusing problems with any of my other lenses, be they screw-driven or SDM. I am quite convinced that the problem was with the lenses themselves. Dpreview's testing confirms this. Your case may have been unique, or Pentax may have repaired the lens without telling you.

Rob
My K-5 had no issues with my other lenses (SDM or screw drive) and I know exactly what was done and stated in the job order because I know the local Pentax repair tech in person. Nothing was done to the lens. I used the DA* 55mm on my K-r and another K-5 and the lens delivered sharp images even before I sent it to Pentax Japan. Some might come to the conclusion that the lens was problematic when the issue could very well be the camera without even realizing it.
03-10-2012, 06:59 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
Choice of focal length is a matter of personal preference. However, as long as you are going wider, might you consider the FA31 Limited?

Rob
Well yes I have looked at the FA 31 LTD, but.....this will be my first LTD prime and I don't want to spend $1K right now in case I don't take to the prime world.

Actually I'm kind of excited shopping for my first LTD prime - I get to see what all the praise is all about.

Although not a LTD prime, I just love the look and feel of my D FA 100 Macro WR - I am assuming that the LTD's will be of equal or better build than that.
03-11-2012, 09:14 AM   #22
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The Limited are of pretty much the same grade as the 100mm WR macro - I think most would consider the macro to hold an honorary Limited title based on build quality and optics.
03-11-2012, 09:45 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by pxpaulx Quote
The Limited are of pretty much the same grade as the 100mm WR macro - I think most would consider the macro to hold an honorary Limited title based on build quality and optics.
Sorry but I really can't agree with that at all. The FA Limited's are on another level completely, all metal (compared to the plastic construction, with a metal barrel, of the 100 WR) and damn gorgeous optics, the DA Limiteds I can't really vouch for other than the DA 15 Ltd, which again seems to have better build quality compared to the 100 WR macro. For a macro lens the 100 WR has, criminally, no aperture ring - an incredible omission for a macro lens (as is the lack of a focus limiter) marketed as a premium product.

Note also that the WR on the 100 WR is NOT the same as the WR on the DA* which is as quoted below from another quote from Pentax's website :

The DA* series
"The tightly sealed, weather-resistant and dust-resistant construction enhances durability for use in both rainy and dusty conditions..."

The WR series
"Weather-resistant to handle damp, inclement conditions."

Optically there is virtually nothing to choose between any of the good macro lenses (Tamron, Sigma, Pentax) when used for macro. The Tamron has gorgeous bokeh (9 blades) but the Pentax (8 blades) will just edge it if specular highlights are in the shot (until both are stopped down). And I do love the size of the 100 WR - even if only beating out the Tamron by 60g (about 2 oz.). When it comes to price though .. the Pentax costs nearly twice as much as the Tamron.

03-11-2012, 11:30 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shamwow Quote
For what you want to use it for, I think you would be best served by the DA40mm limited.
I believe this lens has the best edge to edge sharpness of the lenses you mentioned.
Plus, it renders nicely, contrasty with pleasing colors.
Only drawback is it is relatively slow.
I bought the DA 40mm and it's a very good lens. I just put it on ebay because I got the 43, and the 43 is the best lens I've ever tried. The da 40 is a 9/10 and the 43 is 10/10 for me. One thing to think of is that the da 40 got a very short focus throw so the k-5 atleast will jump some and focus won't be 100% every time, the 43 got longer focus throw and is more accurate IMO.

I was also looking in to the DA 55, but I just couldn't buy a lens that cant focus properly, same with sigma 50mm, I ended up with the DA 40 and FA 43 and now the DA is on ebay. If you are getting the DA-L 35 2,4 I'd say get the DA 40 instead.
03-11-2012, 05:15 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
My K-5 had no issues with my other lenses (SDM or screw drive) and I know exactly what was done and stated in the job order because I know the local Pentax repair tech in person. Nothing was done to the lens. I used the DA* 55mm on my K-r and another K-5 and the lens delivered sharp images even before I sent it to Pentax Japan. Some might come to the conclusion that the lens was problematic when the issue could very well be the camera without even realizing it.
Fine, we can all agree that in your case, the focusing problems were related to the camera, and your copy of the lens is a good one. I'm happy for you. But the same cannot be said of others, myself included, who have experienced problems with the DA*55. In many, and probably most, of those cases, the problems were caused by faulty lenses. Whether this is a design issue or a QA issue, I cannot say, but I do advise anyone considering this lens to test it very thoroughly and critically.

Rob
03-11-2012, 11:49 PM   #26
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FWIW my DA*55 is more accurate than my FA43, and its better in low light too.
03-12-2012, 01:35 AM   #27
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The DA*55mm is a swell lens. I compared the FA43mm and DA*55mm in B&H last December while I was on holiday and got the DA* 55mm. But I am finding it a little too heavy for everyday use, coming from my DA limiteds. If weight is not a concern do get the DA*55mm. Its excellent, especially on APS-C. To me, the FA43mm has a weird focal length on APS-C.
03-12-2012, 06:57 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
Sorry but I really can't agree with that at all. The FA Limited's are on another level completely, all metal (compared to the plastic construction, with a metal barrel, of the 100 WR) and damn gorgeous optics, the DA Limiteds I can't really vouch for other than the DA 15 Ltd, which again seems to have better build quality compared to the 100 WR macro. For a macro lens the 100 WR has, criminally, no aperture ring - an incredible omission for a macro lens (as is the lack of a focus limiter) marketed as a premium product.

Note also that the WR on the 100 WR is NOT the same as the WR on the DA* which is as quoted below from another quote from Pentax's website :

The DA* series
"The tightly sealed, weather-resistant and dust-resistant construction enhances durability for use in both rainy and dusty conditions..."

The WR series
"Weather-resistant to handle damp, inclement conditions."

Optically there is virtually nothing to choose between any of the good macro lenses (Tamron, Sigma, Pentax) when used for macro. The Tamron has gorgeous bokeh (9 blades) but the Pentax (8 blades) will just edge it if specular highlights are in the shot (until both are stopped down). And I do love the size of the 100 WR - even if only beating out the Tamron by 60g (about 2 oz.). When it comes to price though .. the Pentax costs nearly twice as much as the Tamron.
Relax, 'twas just a passing comment. As an owner of the 15mm, 43mm and previously the 21 and 70, I happen to think the 100mm is also quite well made.
03-12-2012, 08:58 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
Optically there is virtually nothing to choose between any of the good macro lenses (Tamron, Sigma, Pentax) when used for macro. The Tamron has gorgeous bokeh (9 blades) but the Pentax (8 blades) will just edge it if specular highlights are in the shot (until both are stopped down).
Just a slight quibble but I believe it was the DFA 100 macro that had 8 blades. Wasn't that one of the selling points of the new 100 WR, that is has 9 blades? I've owned the old version DFA 100, and now have the 100 WR, and to me the old model was more of a "plastic fantastic". I like the WR's build quality a lot, but your point about cost is well taken.

I also use the 15 Ltd, FA 43, and 100 WR as a compact kit, and it can cover a lot of bases. As for the FA 43, it is probably my favorite lens of any, and I often use it wide open (or close to it). I haven't tried a DA* 55, but I have owned the F 50/1.7, and FA 50/1.4, and I much prefer the 43 to either of those. Bummer about having to return your DA*55 - I've had to return a DA*16-50 for warranty replacement, as well as a DA*50-135, so I feel your pain. (The 50-135 is still one of my favorites though!)

Stormtech that'll be a nice kit! Although now that you're straying toward 35 mm FL... I too have had thoughts of picking up a 35 Ltd, but worry that it would be too close to the 43 to make it worthwhile. Decisions, decisions!
03-12-2012, 12:11 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by NeverSatisfied Quote
Just a slight quibble but I believe it was the DFA 100 macro that had 8 blades. Wasn't that one of the selling points of the new 100 WR, that is has 9 blades?
Sorry NS but no it only has 8 blades (but they are rounded, which is what gives it those excellent specular highlights) - maybe you are thinking of elements (it has 9 elements) ?
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