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04-22-2012, 02:24 PM   #91
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QuoteOriginally posted by nirVaan Quote
thankz for all the responses and when taking into account the FA ltd i heard the new ones made in Vietnam does not have the pixie dust. i do have a FA 43 and its from Vietnam but don't know whether it has pixie dust or not because i haven't taken pics with a made in japan one .

here is one taken with the FA 43 in very low light. jpg with no PP
Yes, and it is said to be attributable to the lead in the older MIJ lenses. I would classify this belief as urban legend. "Pixie dust" is essentially undefinable, but it is supposed to describe the unique rendering qualities of the FA Limited lenses. I think that I know it when I see it, because I own all the lenses in the series, and I'm pretty sure that I like my MIV FA43 more than its two MIJ brothers. So, in my view, the country of origin is something that no one should spend more than 5 microseconds worrying about. But if someone has incontrovertible proof to the contrary, I would be happy to see it.

Rob

04-22-2012, 02:50 PM   #92
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Let's not hype the Zeiss lenses. The 85 is not terribly sharp wide open either - even photozone calls its microcontrast "dreamy":

It is quite interesting, because the older Zeiss designs seem to be characterized by good microcontrast wide open. The Russian copies kept this characteristic too. But I haven't found it on any modern lens.
OTOH, the modern Zeiss lenses in Leica M mount, including the 85/2, have outstanding microcontrast, to the point that some Leica purists complain that they are too "clinical". I have all of the ZM lenses except the 15mm, and I can testify to their performance.

Regards, Jim
04-22-2012, 03:16 PM   #93
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QuoteOriginally posted by jamesk8752 Quote
OTOH, the modern Zeiss lenses in Leica M mount, including the 85/2, have outstanding microcontrast, to the point that some Leica purists complain that they are too "clinical". I have all of the ZM lenses except the 15mm, and I can testify to their performance.

Regards, Jim
Leica M and L mounts are a whole different :CanofWorms:

There is the SMC 43mm_L Special with matching view finder for the L.
04-22-2012, 03:20 PM   #94
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Leica M and L mounts are a whole different :CanofWorms:

There is the SMC 43mm_L Special with matching view finder for the L.
Got one, and it is indeed special in its rendering, if not as sharp as the latest Summicron when wide open.

Regards, Jim

04-22-2012, 03:38 PM   #95
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
Yes, and it is said to be attributable to the lead in the older MIJ lenses. I would classify this belief as urban legend. "Pixie dust" is essentially undefinable, but it is supposed to describe the unique rendering qualities of the FA Limited lenses. I think that I know it when I see it, because I own all the lenses in the series, and I'm pretty sure that I like my MIV FA43 more than its two MIJ brothers. So, in my view, the country of origin is something that no one should spend more than 5 microseconds worrying about. But if someone has incontrovertible proof to the contrary, I would be happy to see it.

Rob
Well, there is this disturbing review, and the disparity between lenstip's and photozone's findings. Photozone (31's great!) tested a MIJ cop, and Lenstip (31's not great) tested a MIV copy.

It's of course not about Pixie Dust, but if the integrity of the lens has been compromised by weak QC, Pixie Dust would be one of the first things to drain out.

Quote from Lenstip's summary:

"...Comparing the results of the tested lens to those achieved by such lenses as the Nikkor 1.8/35 or the Sony 1.8/35 and taking into account the difference in price, it would be difficult to describe the performance of the Pentax in positive terms. Of course the question how representative the specimen we got for testing was might need some explaining as well – it was a new lens, from an official distribution channel, which had gone through the quality control process at the factory. The opinions of Pentax users describe this lens as an instrument which is very sharp already from the maximum relative aperture; our testing model was obviously not such a thing. It is also not completely clear whether the positive opinions concern mostly the lenses which had been produced previously in Japan and if they also concern the devices produced nowadays in a Vietnam factory. It certainly might be a problem because the laboratory results we got during the tests of other “Made in Vietnam” lenses such as the Pentax smc FA 43 mm f/1.9 Limited or the Pentax smc DA* 16–50 mm f/2.8 AL ED IF SDM also differed greatly from the opinions of users. It would be difficult not to go one step further and notice a significant decrease of control quality which took place after moving the production from Japan to Vietnam. Our statistics, based on a quite limited sample but still supported by the results of our tests, shows that one Pentax lens, produced nowadays, out of very small number of other specimens, is flawed; the fact that it also concerns the best and the most expensive products of this company is especially painful.
04-22-2012, 04:00 PM   #96
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Quote from Lenstip's summary:
I love it when people say the equivalent of "our sample is too small to be meaningful statistically, BUT ..." and then go on to make conclusions, completely ignoring that they have no basis for making any assumptions.

Sorry, with respect to confidence to a "MIJ" vs "AIV" difference theory, their findings mean jack sh*t, null, nada, nothing, zilch, ... (you get the idea). Only amateurs go and weave a "AIV no good" story out of no evidence. IIRC, LensTip also posted a rather terrible review of the Sigma 28/1.8. If my copy of the lens performed as theirs, I would have tried to see how far I can throw it. My copy is great and I don't trust LensTip anymore. Maybe they don't quite know what they are doing or their parcel delivery guy loves to play soccer with parcels.

The unfortunate truth is that there are underperforming MIJ copies of the 31/1.8 as well. User @wlachan has reported about these and the reason why the 31/1.8 is prone to underperform.
04-22-2012, 04:07 PM   #97
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The f/1.8 sample images in that Lenstip review tell the story so I'm not surprised the FA31 got a bad review from them. Simply the Lenstip f/1.8 samples are horrible and not indicative of a good copy of the FA31, I'm glad they included sample photos as I wouldn't have believed the review otherwise as their experience is so different from my own. My AIV FA31 copy is far sharper wide open and has none of the "glow" of the Lenstip copy.

My copy also has none of the wobble present in other copies (including some MIJ copies), and it has no BF/FF at all. Just in case anyone thinks I'm spruking my copy for sale, no, my FA31 is most definitely not for sale.

I think this is a case of sample variation. There are good and bad copies of both AIV & MIJ and it appears the bad can be pretty bad. Whether there are more bad copies of AIV is another question.
04-22-2012, 04:23 PM   #98
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I love it when people say the equivalent of "our sample is too small to be meaningful statistically, BUT ..." and then go on to make conclusions, completely ignoring that they have no basis for making any assumptions.

Sorry, with respect to confidence to a "MIJ" vs "AIV" difference theory, their findings mean jack sh*t, null, nada, nothing, zilch, ... (you get the idea). Only amateurs go and weave a "AIV no good" story out of no evidence. IIRC, LensTip also posted a rather terrible review of the Sigma 28/1.8. If my copy of the lens performed as theirs, I would have tried to see how far I can throw it. My copy is great and I don't trust LensTip anymore. Maybe they don't quite know what they are doing or their parcel delivery guy loves to play soccer with parcels.

The unfortunate truth is that there are underperforming MIJ copies of the 31/1.8 as well. User @wlachan has reported about these and the reason why the 31/1.8 is prone to underperform.
The only real statistical way to do it would be to get 4 or 5 lenses from 4 or 5 run batches which would be a total of 16 to 20 lenses. I don't trust Photozone or Lenstip in the sense of trusting them. I just use them as informational only. The key is to not get caught up in the :koolaid:.

04-22-2012, 04:56 PM   #99
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I love it when people say the equivalent of "our sample is too small to be meaningful statistically, BUT ..." and then go on to make conclusions, completely ignoring that they have no basis for making any assumptions.

Sorry, with respect to confidence to a "MIJ" vs "AIV" difference theory, their findings mean jack sh*t, null, nada, nothing, zilch, ... (you get the idea). Only amateurs go and weave a "AIV no good" story out of no evidence.
I don't necessarily disagree, I'm just presenting it as something to consider; another data point in a list of single-sample data points (photozone also only tested one sample.) There are anecdotal accounts out there as well. Personally I tend to give some credence to anecdotal forum smoke - I think there is something real behind the "SDM issues", for example, and there did turn out to be some reality behind the shutter-induced-blur issue, the stain issue, the 16-50 de-centering issue, etc. Where there's smoke there's often fire, especially when some of the folks calling fire are not hotheads.

QuoteQuote:
...IIRC, LensTip also posted a rather terrible review of the Sigma 28/1.8. If my copy of the lens performed as theirs, I would have tried to see how far I can throw it. My copy is great and I don't trust LensTip anymore. Maybe they don't quite know what they are doing or their parcel delivery guy loves to play soccer with parcels.
Well, there's a good example of how our personal experiences may cause us to weight reviewers - I had a Sigma 28 f/1.8 for a couple weeks, shot it on my D90, and it was quite soft at higher apertures and somewhat erratic in it's AF accuracy. I had to return it. Before that and since then I've seen nice sharp examples from the lens out there, so I suspect it was a QC issue with mine. But my experience with that lens matches lenstip's

QuoteQuote:
The unfortunate truth is that there are underperforming MIJ copies of the 31/1.8 as well. User @wlachan has reported about these and the reason why the 31/1.8 is prone to underperform.
I don't doubt it.

Note that the reason MIV copies could be slightly less reliable than MIJ copies on average - if they are - would be because Pentax decided to move a working line to a new factory, probably under new management, probably with newer-to-craft, less-experienced workers. When companies do things like that, it's not unusual to see product QC waver, at least for a time. It's certainly not some indictment of Vietnam itself.
04-22-2012, 06:10 PM   #100
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Photozone describes the contrast as dreamy, not the microcontrast.
Photozone uses the word contrast, but I am not sure what dreamy contrast means. On the other hand, dreamy is the word that people generally use to describe lack of microcontrast.

Regardless of what photozone meant to say, the Planar 85 lacks microcontrast wide open - that is my experience with it. It is not soft or bad, but it is not obviously better than any other f/1.4 lens that I have. And that was my point - Zeiss lenses are not all terribly sharp wide open, to the point where one could make a statement that FA Limiteds are less sharp than Zeiss lenses wide open. *Some* Zeiss lenses may be obviously sharper, but *some other* Zeiss lenses are not. I was fairly disappointed with the Planar because I also bought into this hype of Zeiss wide open performance.

One more thing: When I received my first copy of the Planar, it was full of dust - that large front element looked like a galaxy map. I asked for a replacement and that also had some dust, although much less. What surprised me though was that when I contacted Zeiss to inquire about this issue they treated it as something normal and even mentioned that their assembly line is not dust free. It is not only Pentax's high end line of lenses that has quality control issues.
04-22-2012, 08:15 PM   #101
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
The f/1.8 sample images in that Lenstip review tell the story so I'm not surprised the FA31 got a bad review from them. Simply the Lenstip f/1.8 samples are horrible and not indicative of a good copy of the FA31, I'm glad they included sample photos as I wouldn't have believed the review otherwise as their experience is so different from my own. My AIV FA31 copy is far sharper wide open and has none of the "glow" of the Lenstip copy.

My copy also has none of the wobble present in other copies (including some MIJ copies), and it has no BF/FF at all. Just in case anyone thinks I'm spruking my copy for sale, no, my FA31 is most definitely not for sale.

I think this is a case of sample variation. There are good and bad copies of both AIV & MIJ and it appears the bad can be pretty bad. Whether there are more bad copies of AIV is another question.
My second copy also has no glow and resolves testing charts very well at f1.8 (I do notice a slight loss of contrast at f1.8 compared to f2.0). Compared to the test charts in PF review, mine is about the same at f1.8 and sharper at f2.8. But the damn hood still has a tiny wobble. Are you sure your copy has absolutely zero wobble? Do you feel a tiny bit wiggle-feeling when you put on/take off your lens cap? What about if you hold the hood with two fingers and wiggle it a bit, does it move at least somewhat?

I have gone through 2 samples and both have a small amount of wobble, and from reading other threads, it appears that majority of the FA31mm wobble to some degree.
04-22-2012, 08:28 PM   #102
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QuoteOriginally posted by chesebert Quote
My second copy also has no glow and resolves testing charts very well at f1.8 (I do notice a slight loss of contrast at f1.8 compared to f2.0). But the damn hood still has a tiny wobble. Are you sure your copy has absolutely zero wobble? Do you feel a tiny bit wiggle-feeling when you put on/take off your lens cap? What about if you hold the hood with two fingers and wiggle it a bit, does it move at least somewhat?
I've tried it and no, mine has absolutely no wobble or wiggle at all. Maybe the assembly workers were having a good day when they screwed mine together
04-22-2012, 08:52 PM   #103
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
It's probably good to note that if one focuses on a subject closer to the edge of the frame, it will be sharper than if someone focused on the center of a flat test chart, then checked the edge resolution. Suffice to say, real world photos aren't nearly as affected by the field curvature as a test chart would lead one to believe.
Exactly so! The small compromises made with the designs of the FA43 and 77 only really effect the numbers in lab tests. In real-world shooting they have almost no relevance. This is good design.
04-22-2012, 08:55 PM   #104
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I've tried it and no, mine has absolutely no wobble or wiggle at all. Maybe the assembly workers were having a good day when they screwed mine together
I wounder how many copies I would have to go through before getting an exceptional one. I suppose I need to keep my lens OCD in theck and feel happy mine is just as/sharper than the one reviewed on this forum.
04-23-2012, 01:23 AM   #105
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Personally I tend to give some credence to anecdotal forum smoke...
I don't disagree, to an extent.
For instance, I didn't believe that the first "SDM" reports proved that there was a systemic issue. Many were ready to diagnose a deep problem even though the numbers didn't necessarily warrant it.

After a while, however, I also started to believe that the SDM reports were too frequent and horrible (three repairs in a row, etc) to be explained by normal error rates.

However, I don't think we have any "MIJ is good" vs "AIV is bad" smoke in the forum, do we? Anytime an AIV copy is bad, it is used to corroborate an initial theory someone cooked up, but I don't think we see a lot of evidence that MIJ copies are better.

We could even be in a situation where AIV copies get examined harder because of the prevalent prejudice and hence more issues are found (that keep sleeping with the MIJ owners).

QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
But my experience with that lens matches lenstip's
Makes sense that two duds fail to impress.

QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
When companies do things like that, it's not unusual to see product QC waver, at least for a time.
Potentially that could explain a by now minutely difference in quality statistics but we don't even know whether the latter exists.
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