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04-21-2012, 02:05 PM   #1
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How unique are the Pentax Limited Lenses?

I'm anxiously awaiting the delivery of my first Pentax Limited lens (used) - a DA70. I have read a good bit on the Limited series and understand that there are passionate feelings about them, in both directions. I also know that the FAs and DAs are viewed differently by folks. I read about Leica lenses, and even <gasp> Canon lenses (not many but some) that folks liken to the Pentax Limiteds and then I see others say that the Limited lenses are "unique".

My question is this - other than the often unique focal lengths (31, 43, 77) what other than their all metal construction is unique about them today?

04-21-2012, 02:16 PM   #2
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The fact that they're so small and made of metal sets them apart, I think.
04-21-2012, 02:28 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The fact that they're so small and made of metal sets them apart, I think.
Certainly, and the Pentax SMC coatings. I suppose I should ask Blue about whether they have the new rear element costings that he has a thread on too.

There must be other design features for the non-pancake models that allow them to be so small. My Vivitar 85/1.4 is a real monster when its size and weight are compared to the closest focal length in the limiteds, the 77.
04-21-2012, 02:38 PM   #4
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You pledged not to buy any more Pentax lenses, but you bought a LTD anyway. THAT's how special they are.

04-21-2012, 02:44 PM   #5
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The Pentax FA Ltd are regarded by some as the best prime lenses ever built, across all brands. One website (and I cannot find it yet) even stated that the FA77mm was THE best lens.

I have the FA31mm Ltd and, yes, it s a a special lens. For me, I regard the FA31mm as special/unique because it give me the best percentage of 'keepers'. If I need to shoot something unique and want the best IQ with the least chance of stuff up, the FA31mm Ltd is my best choice.
04-21-2012, 02:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
The Pentax FA Ltd are regarded by some as the best prime lenses ever built, across all brands. One website (and I cannot find it yet) even stated that the FA77mm was THE best lens.

I have the FA31mm Ltd and, yes, it s a a special lens. For me, I regard the FA31mm as special/unique because it give me the best percentage of 'keepers'. If I need to shoot something unique and want the best IQ with the least chance of stuff up, the FA31mm Ltd is my best choice.
Can't agree more. Assuming you nail your focus and expose correctly, it's very very hard to take a picture that's not great looking. Even the most mundane thing looks great.

The same can be said about the 77mm. Too bad I can't say the same about my 43mm - Pentax QC not at work?
04-21-2012, 03:10 PM   #7
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They contain unique PD (Pixie-Dust) glass elements that have a mild ability to control the human brain. Have you seen the DA 15 thread?

This is powerful sorcery we're dealing with here.
04-21-2012, 03:50 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Certainly, and the Pentax SMC coatings.
As great as their coatings may be, I wish Pentax would get rid of that prefix, though. In the 70's, sure, it was special, but these days, every lens is multicoated!


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04-21-2012, 04:07 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mareket Quote
They contain unique PD (Pixie-Dust) glass elements that have a mild ability to control the human brain. Have you seen the DA 15 thread?

This is powerful sorcery we're dealing with here.
Pentax engineering is full of wizardry.

04-21-2012, 04:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I'm anxiously awaiting the delivery of my first Pentax Limited lens (used) - a DA70. I have read a good bit on the Limited series and understand that there are passionate feelings about them, in both directions. I also know that the FAs and DAs are viewed differently by folks. I read about Leica lenses, and even <gasp> Canon lenses (not many but some) that folks liken to the Pentax Limiteds and then I see others say that the Limited lenses are "unique".

My question is this - other than the often unique focal lengths (31, 43, 77) what other than their all metal construction is unique about them today?
Some of us have some of both. The FA lenses have the feel of a manual lens when manually focusing. The DA ltds are close in that regard. The build feel is reminiscent of the Takumars during the Asahi Optical glory days.
04-21-2012, 04:11 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
As great as their coatings may be, I wish Pentax would get rid of that prefix, though. In the 70's, sure, it was special, but these days, every lens is multicoated!
The irony is they often don't mention Ghostless Coating. Both ltd series have it and select other lenses. The only one that gets mentioned consistently is the SP. The Aero Bright is on some of the newer premium lenses as well.
04-21-2012, 04:13 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
As great as their coatings may be, I wish Pentax would get rid of that prefix, though. In the 70's, sure, it was special, but these days, every lens is multicoated!
Possible new prefixes:

* PPD - Pentax-Pixie-Dusted
* SDC - Super-Duper-Coated
* TUC - The Ultimate Coating
* IGC - Insanely Great Coating
* XTC - eXtreme Takumar Coating

While we're at it, Pentax needs an image make-over, part of the re-branding as A Ricoh Company. Let's start by dumping the designation Limited. Users don't want to be limited. No, the permium Pentax primes (PPP's) should be UN-LIMITED! The SDM motors should be thoroughly debugged and updated, and labeled as Super-Duper-Motors -- still SDM, with SDC (Super-Duper-Coating). Maybe all Pentax products should be re-flagged as SUPER-DUPER.
04-21-2012, 04:15 PM   #13
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"Unique" means one-of-a-kind. So, essentially every different lens is unique. How about another adjective?

Actually, it's pointless as you've already read all the opinions, there will not be any new opinions here, and you've already bought the lens so you will be able to look for yourself soon :-)
04-21-2012, 04:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
The irony is they often don't mention Ghostless Coating. Both ltd series have it and select other lenses. The only one that gets mentioned consistently is the SP. The Aero Bright is on some of the newer premium lenses as well.
Agreed- I only ever hear of those in the initial press releases, as they're not even mentioned in the official specs.

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04-21-2012, 04:20 PM - 1 Like   #15
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We just had this identical thread over on the Rangefinder forum (I think it was) so the material is at my fingertips. Some say the FA Limiteds have pixie dust, but in fact this quality is not in any way mystical, but was designed into the FA43 and FA77 by Jun Hirakawa. (He did not design the FA31 but rather the FA35.)

Pixie dust is easier than saying (or explaining) that these lenses fully correct the astigmatic difference in both meridional and sagittal subject planes, while allowing small amounts of field curvature to remain. This means that sharpness is not as absolutely perfect as would otherwise be possible, though it is still excellent. It also means that sharpness declines at wide apertures towards the periphery of the image. However, the up-side is smooth bokeh, that is, a transition from the subject to the out of focus part of the image that is gentle. These two lenses render dimensionality at the expense of raw numbers that can be shown off in lens tests.

The only other lenses that achieve this look with any regularity are the physically imposing Zeiss lenses. And possibly the most expensive Leica 50mm and 90mm variants. (I see it more in the Zeiss, to be honest.) But none of these are auto-focus.

So, yes, the FA Limiteds are "unique".
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