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06-22-2012, 09:40 PM   #1
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the pentax FA 31mm f 1.8 al limited, are there bad ones?

Hello,
I am about to buy the pentax smcp-fa 31mm f 1.8 al limited, and i was wondering if anyone has gotten a bad copy. I have found a few used for about 150-200 dollars less then new at B&H, but don't want to end up with someones second hand bad copy. Anyway, I was curious if anyone has heard of any problems with that lens.
Thank you

06-22-2012, 09:44 PM   #2
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Yes there are plenty of bad ones, and on the other hand there are plenty of excellent ones Just like any other lens

Last edited by TOUGEFC; 06-22-2012 at 10:52 PM.
06-22-2012, 10:49 PM   #3
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Crap, probably not worth bying a used one unless they allow returns. Its only money....
06-23-2012, 12:21 AM   #4
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If you buy used from B&H, you can return the lens if it turns out to be defective.

06-23-2012, 07:22 AM   #5
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Hey,

Please read the review on Lenstip.com They have an excellent point on the 31mm. There is a huge difference between the Japanese version and the Vietnamiese. Elements are the same, but the quality control is not. You can still get a sharp copy from Vietnam, but chances are that you'll get bad one (so are with the Jap version, but are certainly less).

I have the 31mm from Vietnam, and guess what, it's a b***h to focus. It's razor sharp once you nail it, but it's veeerrrrryyy hard to get it right on. I'm considering to get a split field focusing screen to help me with the issue. I also own a 90mm SL Voigtlander, a pure manual....and I get the focus 99% of the time, meaning that my eyes are still good.

Other options are to use the lens above 5.6, to have some room for error....or JUST RETURN THE LENS, which I didn't do lolol.

Otherwise, the lens is great, but as Lenstip mentions, it's wayyyy to expensive for what you get...I would get the 35mm Samyang instead and use manual all the way through, AF is useless on Pentax anyway if you compare it to Nikon or Canon...
06-23-2012, 07:33 AM   #6
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I don't find the 31mm any harder to focus than other lenses, but if you shoot wide open the depth of field is narrow and that's when precise focusing is key. AF is slower than the 35mm FA and DA lenses due to the heavy construction (more mass to move during focusing). This lens should be bought for it's famed rendering qualities (smooth bokeh, 3D like images), not for action photo.

My copy is made in Japan and has no manufacturing defects. If you buy second hand you could ask the seller about the country of manufacture. Of course there is always a risk buying second hand - the lens could have been dropped and gotten out of alignment or otherwise abused.

In our database you'll find a number of user reviews.
06-23-2012, 07:38 AM   #7
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With you on this one... Bokeh, and 3D like effect is great, no complains on that one.

When I try to use for portraits (i have a bad copy!), I end up shooting like 5 or 6 pix to nail the focus. Or I just get tired, get my 90mm, walk a mile away from the subject and take the pic. Lmao
06-23-2012, 09:37 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by cachibache Quote
Hey,

Please read the review on Lenstip.com They have an excellent point on the 31mm. There is a huge difference between the Japanese version and the Vietnamiese. Elements are the same, but the quality control is not. You can still get a sharp copy from Vietnam, but chances are that you'll get bad one (so are with the Jap version, but are certainly less).

I have the 31mm from Vietnam, and guess what, it's a b***h to focus. It's razor sharp once you nail it, but it's veeerrrrryyy hard to get it right on. I'm considering to get a split field focusing screen to help me with the issue. I also own a 90mm SL Voigtlander, a pure manual....and I get the focus 99% of the time, meaning that my eyes are still good.

Other options are to use the lens above 5.6, to have some room for error....or JUST RETURN THE LENS, which I didn't do lolol.

Otherwise, the lens is great, but as Lenstip mentions, it's wayyyy to expensive for what you get...I would get the 35mm Samyang instead and use manual all the way through, AF is useless on Pentax anyway if you compare it to Nikon or Canon...
I find it laughable that anyone would make focus comparisons between a 31mm AF and 90mm manual focus lens. The angle of view and dof are so different plus the focus throw of the lenses aren't the same. Of course it's pretty obvious it is going to be easier to focus with a tele, especially if one uses the stock focusing screen. And what a sweeping generalization about MIJ and MIV QC too.

06-23-2012, 10:55 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Of course it's pretty obvious it is going to be easier to focus with a tele
Not necessarily that big a difference.
The standard lens is f/1.8, while the tele is f/3.5.
For a subject at 12 foot,
the tele has a depth of field of 9 inches,
while the standard lens has 36 inches.

Last edited by lytrytyr; 06-23-2012 at 11:03 AM.
06-23-2012, 05:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Not necessarily that big a difference.
The standard lens is f/1.8, while the tele is f/3.5.
For a subject at 12 foot,
the tele has a depth of field of 9 inches,
while the standard lens has 36 inches.
It's all very good quoting DOF distances. In practice, peer into the camera's viewfinder with the stock focusing screen and pick out an object across the room from the same spot using both lenses and it will be immediately obvious which will snap into focus easier.
06-23-2012, 05:17 PM   #11
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I use the Voigtlaender 90/3.5, and it does not "snap into focus."
While I don't have an FA 31/1.8, I do have a ZK 35/2,
and that is easier to focus than the Voigtlaender.
06-25-2012, 12:59 PM   #12
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Thanks for the info, I think I'll start searching for the Japanese version...
06-25-2012, 01:07 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
If you buy used from B&H, you can return the lens if it turns out to be defective.
Same thing with Adorama and Amazon. KEH has a 14 day return policy and 6 month warranty on used items.
06-25-2012, 01:09 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Williunck Quote
Hello,
I am about to buy the pentax smcp-fa 31mm f 1.8 al limited, and i was wondering if anyone has gotten a bad copy. I have found a few used for about 150-200 dollars less then new at B&H, but don't want to end up with someones second hand bad copy. Anyway, I was curious if anyone has heard of any problems with that lens.
Thank you
As my grandpappy used to tell me, there are only 2 guarantees in this world, death and taxes.
Anything made by the hand of man can be screwed up.
06-25-2012, 02:57 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
Anything made by the hand of man can be screwed up.
What? surely not my hands...
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