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08-10-2012, 11:38 AM   #1
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FA 43 - quality of low serial number versions much better?

I'm debating getting a FA 43 but wanted to know if there are real, noticeable (not pixel peeping) differences in image quality between (1) Low serial number made-in-japan models (below S/N 20,000) versus (2) later serial numbers versions (whether MIJ or Assembled-in-Vietnam).

See this discussion about how low S/N FA 43's may be "better" optically because of the lead in the glass:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31678-about-fa-43mm-ltd-14.html

on the PF Marketplace, sellers usually ask for a premium if they're selling a very low serial number FA 43.

I have to decide whether to buy a brand-new AIV FA 43 for $585 from B&H, a used "ordinary" FA 43 (MIJ / AIV) for $475-550, or wait to get one of the rarer early serial number FA 43 from the Marketplace/eBay for at least $650-700, based on recent sales. Is it worth the extra $100 for such a low serial number? I am not a collector; I just would rather not spend more money than I have to, on this luxury item.

Thanks for any thoughts.


Last edited by seventysixersfan; 08-10-2012 at 11:47 AM.
08-10-2012, 01:11 PM   #2
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To be, or not to be, that is the question.


Vaards,
has 77mm silver limited Nr: 00000336.
And 31ltd+43ltd with higher numbers.

p.s. Of course, older limiteds has better collectible value.
08-10-2012, 01:42 PM   #3
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Vaards-- so in your experience with an early serial number 77 and higher serial number 31 and 43, do you notice any difference in "pixie dust" or other optical qualities? Do you have any reason to believe that your 31/43 would be "better" if it was a lower serial number?
08-10-2012, 07:03 PM   #4
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It's just a myth created out of wishful thinking. MIJ or AIV doesn't matter either. Just get whichever you like.

08-10-2012, 10:01 PM   #5
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Thanks, wlachan!! appreciate your opinion on this. I read somewhere that sample variation ("good" or "bad" copy) of the lens may be more of a factor than MIJ, AIV, or Low Serial number.
08-10-2012, 10:10 PM   #6
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seems like a made up story to me.
08-11-2012, 06:58 AM   #7
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While the AIV vs. MIJ may well be a myth, I am pretty sure there are differences in the low serial number 43s. The threads I have read about it were all here on PF, though, and should be accessible via search.
08-11-2012, 09:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
It's just a myth created out of wishful thinking. MIJ or AIV doesn't matter either. Just get whichever you like.
I know of no objective evidence that the MIJ versions are optically superior to the MIV versions. Some people go on about the lead content of the older glass producing more "pixie dust," but I think that this is little more than a myth. If someone has proof to the contrary, I would love to see the evidence.

Rob

08-11-2012, 09:55 AM   #9
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Members who have owned both old and newer 43s say there's a slight difference because of the glass. There won't be a difference between AIV and MIJ versions. I think the low serial 43s sell for a bit higher because of the silver color and collector-status more than the lead in the glass. While I'd love a silver 43 I can't justify the extra expense and am very happy with my black MIJ 43.
08-11-2012, 09:59 AM   #10
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I went with MIJ on the 77 and then I felt that when I got the other two they needed to be black MIJ too, just because I wanted them to match. It probably doesn't make a difference at all, but you will pay a bit of a premium for MIJ over AIV. Once could also argue that MIJ would retain resale value too. As to pixie dust, they are all amazing lenses. Before I got into the FA Limiteds I was ready to jump ship if Pentax didn't offer up a FF in the next year. Now, I can hold out a little longer. Although I would like to see the FA limiteds on a FF digital...
08-11-2012, 10:04 AM   #11
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Thanks for all of your helpful comments!! Sounds like I should probably pass on overpriced low serial number fa43s for sale...
08-12-2012, 12:21 AM   #12
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Of course the low serial numbers are better - what on earth are you guys thinking !

Psst - wanna buy a low serial number 43 Ltd ?
08-14-2012, 06:22 AM   #13
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I have all 3 FA limiteds, 43 and 31 are MIJ and 77 is AIV. All have serials in the mid 20000s. They are are stellar. Is it possible that the low number ones are better, sure. Does it really matter? I highly doubt it.
08-14-2012, 07:01 AM   #14
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I remember posting about this a long time ago when I briefly owned a sub 20k serial 43ltd. There is a difference - this early batch has different (leaded) lens coatings, but this difference is too minor to pay more/seek out the early version unless you are a collector.

If I had the choice between the two at the same price I'd get the the early model, but even a $20 difference would sway me to the newer one - it's just not that big of a deal.
08-14-2012, 07:53 AM   #15
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Thanks for your opinions on this!! I'll either get one used or new, but I won't try to seek out an expensive early version.
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