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09-17-2012, 11:55 PM   #1
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New (2nd hand) FA 31mm Ltd owner

Hi all,

Long time reader first time poster here..

As the title explains, I picked myself up a 2nd hand Pentax FA 31mm f/1.8 (from Cash Converters of all places), I wasn't really keen on buying 2nd hand but I had a chat with the salesman about warranty and this particular store offers a good warranty on all their products (3 months, even on CDs). The lens is in pristine condition and had a UV filter already attached also, so I have a feeling whoever owned it previously had looked after it, the only downside is that it is a MIV copy.

I queried him a bit further on what this warranty would cover, and it includes anything that involves the lens not operating as it should (including things like misaligned lens elements, sticky aperture rings and so forth).

So as I now have the lens in my possession, please give me some advice as to all of the things I should test in the coming weeks to make sure there is no issues with it whatsoever, whilst it will still be covered for service.

I have done a bit of testing already, like a brick wall shot to look at the edge to edge softness, and it is amazing how much sharper it gets from f1.8->2.8->8.

A few quick things I have noticed;
I find the focus ring to be quite "loose" or "free" as such, it turns relatively easily, but I am used to my Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 which is quite rough in comparison. Is this usual?
When looking at the aperture rings with a aperture between 1.8-8, the shape of the inner ring (made by the blades) is not perfectly even (I have read that it is the case with the 9 blade design) is that true?


Apologies for the 100 questions, just want to be 100% that everything is in order, and to test all the things I can whilst the lens is still under warranty

Thanks in advance!!

p.s. This was the first shot it took, straight after leaving the store went and got a big brekky


09-18-2012, 01:04 AM   #2
gtl
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Yes the blades are not completely circular in the FA31mm. From your pic, the lens looks fine though I would shoot more first.
09-18-2012, 01:14 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by gtl Quote
Yes the blades are not completely circular in the FA31mm. From your pic, the lens looks fine though I would shoot more first.
Cheers for that, makes me feel better as it was the only real concern I had from first glance.
09-18-2012, 02:55 AM   #4
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I was concerned about the non-circular aperture of my DA * 60-250 when I first discovered it, until I went to the store and they pulled a new one from the box and showed me the exact same behavior. So it's obviously by design. I've since shot that lens for OOF highlights at different aperture settings and they're not perfectly round, but they look good anyway.

09-18-2012, 04:53 AM   #5
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Congratulations and welcome aboard! Nice lens, picture looks good.
09-19-2012, 08:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shimoneous Quote
the only downside is that it is a MIV copy.
presume much?

Leicaphiles often regard lenses made my Leica in Canada to be inferior to their German made counterparts - but I have seen countless tests proving that there is absolutely no difference.

enjoy the lens!
09-19-2012, 08:58 PM   #7
gtl
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
presume much?

Leicaphiles often regard lenses made my Leica in Canada to be inferior to their German made counterparts - but I have seen countless tests proving that there is absolutely no difference.

enjoy the lens!
Optically my AIV copy seems very good though I don't have a MIJ copy to compare against. What I do notice however, is the front hood wobbles ever so slightly. I am not sure if this is unique to AIV copies though.
09-19-2012, 11:04 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by gtl Quote
I am not sure if this is unique to AIV copies though.
no, it isn't. Although the lens hood on my MIJ FA31 does not wobble in the slightest, it might be a good idea just to get the lens serviced - I have heard that wobbly hood is an indication of a potentially catastrophic loosening of the internal focusing mechanism. I have had that happen to my FA77 - which is also MIJ. But since the repair was done the performance from my FA77 has been nothing short of stellar.

09-20-2012, 02:33 AM   #9
gtl
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
no, it isn't. Although the lens hood on my MIJ FA31 does not wobble in the slightest, it might be a good idea just to get the lens serviced - I have heard that wobbly hood is an indication of a potentially catastrophic loosening of the internal focusing mechanism. I have had that happen to my FA77 - which is also MIJ. But since the repair was done the performance from my FA77 has been nothing short of stellar.
Wow. This is not good to hear at all. I understand mikeSF's FA77mm disintegrated halfway while he was shooting. Looks like he is not the only one. Pentax QC seems questionable. Wonder what the servicing costs for all 3 of my FA limiteds would be though...
09-20-2012, 06:02 AM   #10
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by gtl Quote
Optically my AIV copy seems very good though I don't have a MIJ copy to compare against. What I do notice however, is the front hood wobbles ever so slightly. I am not sure if this is unique to AIV copies though.
After reading this I gave the lens hood a wobble, and it does indeed do so.. I think i'll take it to a local camera shop to be assessed first, then look at what has to be done for it to be tightened up.

I might try and make a video of the wobble tomorrow and post it up, see if it's the same as what you have.
09-21-2012, 12:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gtl Quote
I understand mikeSF's FA77mm disintegrated halfway while he was shooting. Looks like he is not the only one. Pentax QC seems questionable
while Pentax QC was to blame if you get onto the problem early it will cost you less to repair in the long run. FYI I have had lenses from Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Bronica...etc,etc suffer from failures that ranged from annoying to catastrophic and 90% of them evolved from simple wear and tear. Many Leica aficionados often claim that their precious Leica cameras are more reliable than any other manufacturer in the world - which is a fallacy because what many of those aficionados typically have enough money to throw around to have their cameras serviced by Leica every three years.
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