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09-04-2012, 07:34 PM   #1
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DA 35 AL+ ltd to FA 31 litd

Hey guys...First of all, my apologies if this had been discussed numerous times.

I currently have the two DA 35s (limited and the AL), and while I much prefer the AF on the AL version (especially taking pics of my five month old baby), the ltd gets a lot more use for everything else. I've recently been eyeing the FA 31 ltd, and wanted to get some opinions on whether it will fulfil my shooting needs or not.

I think I can bank on the 31's capabilities in regards to IQ and focal length. The thing I would be most concerned about is whether the AF will be as quick (or even quicker than) as the 35 AL. The AF in the 35 ltd is a let-down for me and has caused me to miss some shots. I'm guessing this won't be a problem with the 31?

In terms of the macro capabilities of the 35 ltd, I'm fine with losing that function as I have a dedicated macro lens in the DFA100 anyway.

So, should I make the jump?


09-04-2012, 10:49 PM   #2
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I don't see any sense to buy FA31 for APS-C. DA35/2.4L is sharper. The focal length (53 vs 47 mm) is more comfortable. AF is quicker.
I've been using FA31 at my K-5 for 1 month and have to say that I don't see any SPECIAL IQ. 47 mm - to say honest - I need wider or longer.
It's nor fish, neither meat.
Bokeh is rather classical. The sharpness is not bad, but I saw better.
Only build quality could be attractive... I wished to buy FA31, but decided not to do it. FA77 and FA43 are more interesting.

FA31 is good wide-angle lens for FF camera, first of all. I'd say it's some kind of fetish for some Pentaxians of APS-C time.

Last edited by ogl; 09-05-2012 at 07:38 AM.
09-05-2012, 03:47 AM   #3
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The FA 31 will not be an improvement over the auto focus in your DA 35 f2.4, although it would be faster than the DA 35 limited, since that is a macro lens. You can speed up the focus speed on the DA 35 limited by turning it manually past the macro portion of its focus range before auto focusing.

I do think the FA 31 renders out of focus areas a little better than either of your two lenses and it is about a stop faster. I feel like I can shoot at f2 pretty comfortably and the sharpness is decent there. I guess it is up to you if the differences are worth it to you.
09-05-2012, 04:37 AM   #4
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I have the 35 limited and the 31. The 31's AF is slightly faster, but I don't think you will find it as fast as the 35 al. As far as IQ goes, there are some improvements, but it is not a huge jump. I have some shots that I have to look at to see if they were shot with the 35 or the 31. One advantage that the 31 has is that it is 1.8, and that I do use a lot. I am not ure how much low light shooting you do.

I would actually suggest that you keep at least one of your 35s and go for the 43 as a first jump into the fa limiteds...or the 77, but that might feel really long to you. I think the IQ on those two is a huge jump.

09-06-2012, 05:22 PM   #5
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Thank you for the responses.

ogl: I don't have any issue with the cropped focal length at 47 vs 53. To me, it's pretty much negligible. I don't really shoot long range, so the 77 would be out of the question, and even 43 would seem too long for me. I really wish I could test it out before committing to purchasing one, cause it'd make things a lot easier.

Rondec: Yeah, I try to use that technique to speed up the AF, but more often than not I forget to. So really, the 31 would be much less hassle for me to handle. I've seen numerous samples of the 31 and 35 ltd, and the bokeh on the 31 is absolutely beautiful.

Allison: The f1.8 of the 31 is also something enticing, though not really needed for me. Although if I had it, it would probably make me want to go low-light shooting.

One thing I don't like about my current set up is that I have to change between the two 35s. I'm certainly not complaining about the IQ on either of them, but it does get irritating at times when I just want one lens mounted on my camera for a certain period of time.

Another question I'd like to ask is how often will the FA 31 miss focus?
09-06-2012, 06:52 PM   #6
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I just bought the 31mm (last month) after playing with a friends 35mm AL and his 31mm LTD. IQ on the 31mm is better at wider apertures and bokeh on the 31mm is as good as you can ask for. Is the IQ and bokeh worth the price? That is a different question, but the 31mm is definitely a better lens overall.

I bought the 31mm for my K-5 as a walk around lens and over a 2 week trip through the Caribbean, S. America, & Mexico I ran a couple thousand frames with the 31mm. AF accuracy was excellent. I am not through all the images yet, but I have not found any that I can say are "missed focus" shots due to the lens. My only complaint is that is does have noticeable vignetting at wide apertures. This is easy to correct for in LR, but for the price I don't think I should need to "correct" anything. This is a minor complaint but that is the worst thing I can say about the lens.

At f/1.8 the lens has excellent center sharpness. Again I have not gone though all my recent images, but I shoot a lot at F/2 and so far sharpness has exceeded my expectations.

I think you will find that color, contrast, textures, & bokeh are all more pleasing with the 31mm. Is it 2x the price more pleasing?
09-06-2012, 07:40 PM   #7
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You may as well also think about the FA 35/2. I was pretty happy with my DA 35/2.4 and wasn't in a rush to replace it. But the FA popped up at a great price from KEH on ebay so I had to pull the trigger.

Optically it's pretty similar to the DA 35/2.4, but the build is a bit nicer. Metal lens mount, and the one I got came with the hood & pouch. All in all nice touches. There's also of course the faster aperture.

It just arrived today so I only did some test shots. But it seems plenty sharp at f/2 and gives noticeably more background blur than the DA at f/2.4. Just like the DA at f/2.4 was sharper than my Tamron 17-50 at f/2.8, the FA at f/2 is still sharper than the Tamron at f/2.8. The Tamron in these cases being at 35mm as it gets a bit sharper at the wider end.

Lately prices for good examples are around $375 it seems. Yeah, the 31 Limited is nicer. But it's WAY more than the FA. That so many people have them in spite of the price, and love them, probably says something. Wasn't quite enough to get me to pony up when there's other lenses I'm also trying to get.

Last edited by msatlas; 09-06-2012 at 10:09 PM.
10-28-2012, 03:21 PM   #8
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Sorry about the lack of response guys.

You raise a few interesting points, Winder and msatlas. I recently did away with the DA 35 AL and got a Sigma 30mm f1.4 from a fellow member. I find myself missing the closer-focusing ability of the DA lens a whole lot! This is a real shame as I didn't think an extra 10cm would make that much of a difference, but it's apparently huge. I think the 31mm could very well be worth it, as I'm not really interested in the FA 35. Especially if it shares the same optics as the 35 AL.

Long story short, rather than create a new thread, I thought I might ask it here instead:

Would it be silly of me to let go of a Sigma 10-20 f3.5 and the 30mm f1.4 for the FA 31? I'm most impressed by what I've seen with the FA 31 samples and while I do think the Sigma 30 has some nice centre-sharpness, I miss the ability to focus closer to subjects - which the FA 31 can do. I rarely ever use the 10-20 because it's clunky to bring along when I have a DA 15 (although from the times I have used it, it's a fantastic lens)...

So, should I do it? I think I just really want to try it out for myself so I can see what the hype is about.

10-28-2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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My wife has a 10-20 and I have thought about getting the 15Da. IMHO unless you are a professional photographer who needs a specialized lens for certain jobs, it makes no sense to keep a lens you do not use. If you think the 10-20 is clunky and the 15DA is sufficient for your wide angle needs then it makes sense to sell the 10-20 to get the 31 if and that is a big IF it is the focal length you use a lot and require the upgrade in image quality that you would get over the Sigma or the 35DA. And if that is a big improvement.

But if you are moving from one lens to the other and then to the next in the hope that you will see big improvements in your images, I think that is chasing the magic bullet which never ends well.
10-28-2012, 05:07 PM   #10
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I think I should clear up that I am 100% happy with the 30-35mm focal length and that I'm not just moving from one lens to another to find *the* lens. 30-35mm is where I'm most comfortable and most used. This is why I'm so committed to trying out the FA 31 to see if it will truly satisfy that need, and on paper, it most certainly checks all the boxes for me. Actually, I think that contradicts what I said just then about not trying to find *the* lens. I guess I am trying to find the lens in the 30-35mm FL.

You have a good point about getting rid of unused lenses, which to be honest, is a very fair point. I think I only keep it because it's such a nice lens. But I suppose what's the point of having a nice lens if you rarely use it, right?
10-29-2012, 09:48 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Munki Quote
But I suppose what's the point of having a nice lens if you rarely use it, right?
Yes, yes, yes. I recently went to the FA 31 for this reason. I use it a lot, and I like it.
10-31-2012, 08:25 PM   #12
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I rarely use my ''15, 31 & '77, but having two K-5's will allow me to keep one in rotation with the 70-200 on the other camera.
10-31-2012, 08:54 PM   #13
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I just got the 31 after having the 43 and 77. (and the F28 2.8 and Sigma 30 1.4)

My copy which is mint MIJ needs no AF adjust (unlike the 43 and 77) and is very sharp wide open. I think it is a fantastic lens great build, fairly large for a Ltd but very light and balances perfectly on the k-5.

I didnt like the Sigma, the bokeh didnt do it for me and although razor sharp in the center with great 3D pop, I just didnt like the rendering/colours/bokeh, and its very fat and bigger than the 31, certainly an excellent lens for the price. The F28 was great but not very fast and bokeh was a bit rough.

I paid a hefty price for the 31 and I was worried about being impressed or not. I love it it really is amazing, some copies may need AF adjust (like any other lens) I think this is why some poeple talk about soft or bad copies some of the time
10-31-2012, 10:32 PM   #14
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Sweet. I'm feeling more confident about my choice now!

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