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04-17-2012, 07:29 AM   #1
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Limited FA lenses compared to the other brands

hi guys

just wondering how would the FA ltd stack up against the best lenses of other brands regard to sharpness, bokeh, contrast etc......


thankz

04-17-2012, 08:40 AM   #2
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I don't know, I haven't used theirs, but you can have my 77 when you pry it from cold, dead fingers.
04-17-2012, 08:41 AM   #3
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Wide open, they are not as sharp as some other brands, like the Zeiss ZKs.
04-17-2012, 09:04 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Wide open, they are not as sharp as some other brands, like the Zeiss ZKs.
Come on man, you're comparing with Zeiss?
Oh yes, most other brands don't have such primes.

04-17-2012, 09:50 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Wide open, they are not as sharp as some other brands, like the Zeiss ZKs.
I'll admit that I have not used very many lenses from other manufacturers, but in a previous life, my main camera was a Contax G2 rangefinder with five prime lenses from Carl Zeiss (21/2.8 Biogon, 28/2.8 Biogon, 35/2 Planar, 45/2 Planar and 90/2.8 Sonnar). Those lenses were legendary (actually, they still are) and gave Leica M lenses a real run for their money. I remember seeing my first set of prints from the G2 and being instantly blown away by the sharpness, color and presence of the images. My Nikon gear subsequently disappeared in a closet from which it has not yet reappeared. (So sad.)

Now I have a Pentax K-7 and all three of the FA Limiteds. Although it is difficult to compare 35mm film with APS-C digital, I believe that the FA Limiteds are every bit as good as my beloved Zeiss G lenses. The sharpness, color and silky smooth rendering are so very pleasing to the eye. Of course, they are of an older design and have some flaws (e.g. chromatic aberration), but I will gladly live with those flaws, because in every other way, the lenses are superb. What I would love to see from Pentax are updated versions of FA Limiteds with weather resistance and (reliable) SDM. I think that they would sell very well, but I doubt that it will ever happen.

Rob

Last edited by robgo2; 04-18-2012 at 03:14 PM.
04-17-2012, 10:42 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Giklab Quote
Come on man, you're comparing with Zeiss?
Absolutely.
When I was looking for a standard lens on APS-C K-mount,
my three top candidates were the FA 31/1.8, DA 35/2.8, and ZK 35/2.
The FA Limited lost out against the second
because of its built-in FF hood and lack of Quick-Shift.
It lost out against the third because it wasn't sharp enough at f/2.

QuoteOriginally posted by Giklab Quote
Oh yes, most other brands don't have such primes.
It wasn't clear whether the OP's question was restricted to K-mount lenses.
If you include other mounts, let's say DSLR to be fair,
you also have to include Leica R ("Leitax-able" to K-mount), Canon L, Nikkor G, . . .
04-17-2012, 12:59 PM   #7
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one thing to consider is their size.
All three FA ltds are a lot smaller than top dogs from CaNiSon
Think of it this way, the closest counterparts would be:
Canon: 35/1.4L, EF50/1.4 or 50/1.2L, EF85/1.8 or 85/1.2L
Nikon: 35/1.4G, 50/1.4 or 1.8G, and 85/1.4 or 1.8G
Sony: 35/1.4G (this one isn't actually much bigger than 31ltd), 50/1.4 and Sony-Zeiss 85/1.4G

Yes, other brands are faster, and would have (on most examples) faster OF, also most of them would have rounded blades. But with the exception of the Sony 35 (copy cat of Minolta 35) they all will be bigger or much bigger>

IQ wise it's impossible to tell, what might be better lens for me doesn't have to be better lens for you and vice versa...
04-17-2012, 04:12 PM   #8
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The Bokeh of the FA31 & FA77 is simply beyond reproach, it's universally praised by users and reviewers. So I wouldn't waste any time worrying about that factor, simply those 2 lenses offer bokeh as good as it gets in those focal lengths. I'm not going to put the FA43 in this category as it seems to suffer from busy bokeh in more situations, much like all the DA limiteds.

Sharpness wide open is more debatable. For me, both are "sharp enough" wide open that I don't hesitate to use them that way. I'm almost positive though that the latest iterations of the summiluxs and summicrons will win out in the sharpness contest, and probably some other high end primes from Zeiss, Nikon and Canon.

However it appears that in the quest for ultimate sharpness wide open, like Leica has pursued by introducing ASPH elements and changing their optical designs over the recent years, this ultimate sharpness has come at the expense of smooth bokeh. Older Leica's are now sought after for their smooth bokeh.

So I suspect that although you may find a lens that is sharper than a FA limited wide open, that same lens is unlikely to have bokeh as good. Like most things in photography lens design is a compromise, and ultimate sharpness with class leading bokeh don't seem to come together in 1 lens (OK, except for the Noctilux).


Last edited by twitch; 04-17-2012 at 06:12 PM.
04-17-2012, 04:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Absolutely.
When I was looking for a standard lens on APS-C K-mount,
my three top candidates were the FA 31/1.8, DA 35/2.8, and ZK 35/2.
The FA Limited lost out against the second
because of its built-in FF hood and lack of Quick-Shift.
It lost out against the third because it wasn't sharp enough at f/2.



It wasn't clear whether the OP's question was restricted to K-mount lenses.
If you include other mounts, let's say DSLR to be fair,
you also have to include Leica R ("Leitax-able" to K-mount), Canon L, Nikkor G, . . .
That Zeiss' auto focus is abysmally slow. :Hysterical: If you want af Zeiss, you will need to run Sony bodies.
04-17-2012, 04:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
The Bokeh of the FA31 & FA77 is simply beyond reproach, it's universally praised by users and reviewers. So I wouldn't waste any time worrying about that factor, simply those 2 lenses offer bokeh as good as it gets in those focal lengths. I'm not going to put the FA43 in this category as it seems to suffer from busy bokeh in more situations, much like all the DA limiteds.
Can't say that I agree with this. The FA43 may exhibit some nervousness in the bokeh at f1.9 with a busy background, but stopped down to f2.8, it is buttery smooth. Rendering is very much like the other FA Limiteds and not like the DA Limiteds. Just search this forum, and you will discover more than a few people who sold their DA40s after trying the FA43, but hardly any moving in the other direction. I'm not knocking the DA40 Limited, which is a fine lens, but it is not in the same league as its older cousin.

Rob

Last edited by robgo2; 04-17-2012 at 04:52 PM.
04-17-2012, 05:05 PM   #11
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I don't disagree with any of that. FA43 is a much better lens than the DA40. FA43 bokeh suffers somewhat compared to it's FA limited cousins <f/2.8, but that's no shame as the FA31 & FA77 are as good as it gets, well, actually my K50/1.2 likewise has superb bokeh and the equal of the 31 & 77.
04-17-2012, 05:30 PM   #12
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Assuming price was not a consideration and resale was not possible, there isn't a single Nikon lens I'd take in trade for my FA77. I shot with the Nikkor 85/1.4 for a few years, and it's a phenomemal lens. But then I got the Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar, and I don't miss my 85 one bit. The Zeiss is the best portrait lens I've ever used. The Pentax FA77 is as good, or nearly as good. The Zeiss still edges it out for me, as I prefer that focal length for portraits, and I also like big heavy gear.
04-17-2012, 05:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
That Zeiss' auto focus is abysmally slow.
Maybe, but it won't give you SDM trouble,
and will still work on the future entry-level K-y which will not have screw drive.
04-17-2012, 06:01 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Maybe, but it won't give you SDM trouble,
and will still work on the future entry-level K-y which will not have screw drive.
The FA ltd series don't have SDM problems either. That is a strawman argument just like the entry level camera that doesn't exist.
04-17-2012, 06:07 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
I shot with the Nikkor 85/1.4 for a few years
Was that the D or G ?
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