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05-27-2012, 06:03 AM   #1
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What's the difference between DA and FA?

Hi!!
Since I decided to focus my attention on portrait photography, I became very confused.
I found that the DA*55 was the best for my purpose: sharp,little and versatile. BUT like 2 days ago I found the (damned ) FA group, and I saw that the results that I want to obtain were in that thread.
-So what I hope to know is: what's the difference between a DA and a FA? Just only the fact that I can use on a FF the FA or also other things?
I was wavering between the DA*55 and the FA31 or 43 (or maybe 77). Don't hide that I started from the idea of buying the 16-50...........
-And what will you consider if you have to buy a lens of this kind? What can you suggest?

Thank you very much!
Gabriele

05-27-2012, 06:09 AM   #2
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Optically I would say it is a smaller difference than many people would lead you to believe.

For example, here is a great comparison of two great lenses: DA 70mm vs FA 77mm Limited - Comparison: Introduction - PentaxForums.com

Keep in mind, the DA lenses will pretty much always be a bit smaller in size. I love my DA 40mm limited because it is so tiny and yet it's razor sharp.

What is most important to you? Sharpness? AF speed? Large aperture? Size? CA? Bokeh?
05-27-2012, 06:09 AM   #3
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FA lenses are full-frame and mostly out of production, but the "Limited" lenses, 50mm, and 35mm are still being made.

See here for more:
Pentax K-Mount Lenses Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

As far as portrait lenses go, you might be interested in the the following review:
DA 70mm vs FA 77mm Limited - Comparison: Introduction - PentaxForums.com

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05-27-2012, 06:17 AM   #4
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What's important for me is sharpness and bokeh. Size is not so important!

So most of them are out of production but prices are still so high?! wow..

05-27-2012, 06:25 AM   #5
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FA lenses are Pentax's second generation of autofocus lenses, introduced I believe in the early 90's. They have image circles large enough to cover 35mm film. Most FA lenses have been discontinued, but many are readily available used.

DA lenses are autofocus lenses optimized for use on digital SLRs. Their image circles are smaller, though some reportedly will cover 35mm film. DA lenses, unlike FA lenses, do not have aperture rings.
05-27-2012, 06:30 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by gabro822 Quote
So most of them are out of production but prices are still so high?! wow..
Price is the mechanism through which supply and demand are kept in balance and is unrelated to whether a product is in or out of production. An item in high demand but low supply commands a high price. An item in high supply but low demand commands a low price.
05-27-2012, 06:53 AM   #7
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The DA*55 is an outstanding portrait lens on APS-C. It actually covers full frame pretty well if that is important. I would not describe it as little though; it is a substantial lump of glass, and the huge hood makes it look even bigger. It is pretty though :-)

The FA77 ltd is considerably smaller, lighter and even a little cheaper at the moment than the DA*55. Some consider it a little long for portraiture on APS-C, but I love its rendering and bokeh. It is a joy to behold, and to hold.
05-27-2012, 07:07 AM   #8
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What I haven't seen mentioned is that FA lenses, unlike the DA series, have aperture rings - important when using them on a manual film body (anything older than a Super Program)


Last edited by kcobain1992; 05-27-2012 at 07:25 AM.
05-27-2012, 07:15 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
What I haven't seen mentioned is that FA lenses, unlike the DA series, have aperture rings - important when using them on a manual film body
Actually, I mentioned that in my post (post #5), although I didn't mention why it mattered.
05-27-2012, 07:24 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MPrince Quote
Actually, I mentioned that in my post (post #5), although I didn't mention why it mattered.
Sorry, I read your post between the lines. Missed the last sentence.
05-27-2012, 07:28 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
Sorry, I read your post between the lines. Missed the last sentence.
No problem! I frequently misread even things I have written!
05-27-2012, 07:38 AM   #12
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Thank you for all the informations!! Now I've understand the main differences! So in term of IQ nothing change, is just a decision about the FF or APS-C format in the end...
But if you would buy a lens for this purpose, which you choose? And why, above all?
05-27-2012, 07:48 AM   #13
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Family history: The first Pentax AF lens was an M-series beast, the SMC Pentax-AF 35-70mm F2.8 with a built-in AF motor and compartment for 4 AAA batteries. Don't know if that qualifies as "First Generation" or "Escaped Mutant". The first AF line were the F-series, then FA-series (including FA-J's with no aperture rings), then DA-series (including DA-L kit zooms and DA-XS extra-small) and D-FA macros (two with aperture rings, one without). Everything except DA- and DA-L-series are designed for FF cameras, and *some* DA's don't vignette too badly on FF. See the lens review database for all the bloody details.

QuoteOriginally posted by gabro822 Quote
Thank you for all the informations!! Now I've understand the main differences! So in term of IQ nothing change, is just a decision about the FF or APS-C format in the end...
But if you would buy a lens for this purpose, which you choose? And why, above all?
If you expect Pentax to produce a PK-FF camera that you'll buy, don't buy DA or DA-L or DA-XS lenses. If you plan to stick with APS-C and want smaller lenses, buy DA's -- although some F's and FA's are pretty small too, like Pentax's smallest-ever zoom, the deluxe bargain F35-70. If by "for this purpose" you mean sharpness and bokeh, you'll find those across all lines, from the F35-70 and FA50/1.4 to the Limiteds -- and even the original AF-35-70 is supposed to be pretty good. So see the lens reviews and decide. Have fun!

Last edited by RioRico; 05-27-2012 at 07:55 AM.
05-27-2012, 07:53 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Family history: The first Pentax AF lens was an M-series beast, the SMC Pentax-AF 35-70mm F2.8 with a built-in AF motor and compartment for 4 AAA batteries. Don't know if that qualifies as "First Generation" or "Escaped Mutant".
Hmmm, I'd have to go with "Escaped Mutant".
05-27-2012, 09:11 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Don't know if that qualifies as "First Generation" or "Escaped Mutant".
I'm OK with "escaped mutant" but "experimental", "engineering trial", "proof of concept" or "testing prototype" also works. In today's parlance it was a beta test.
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