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10-09-2012, 05:01 PM   #1
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Advice on Choosing Limited Lens

Hello all,

I'm in the market for a limited lens and am considering the FA 31 f1.8, DA 35 f2.8 macro, and FA 43 f1.9. I'm planning on using the lens for general walk-around shooting, and shots of my young boy in particular (so auto focus speed is an issue).

I'm concerned that the 43 will be too long for this purpose, and the cost of the 31 makes it a bit of a stretch for my budget. This makes it seem like the 35 would be the best candidate, but I'd appreciate any insight the group might have about choosing among these lenses. I've read all(!) of the reviews on the forum, but hoped it would be useful to pose the question explicitly in terms of choosing among these three.

Thanks in advance for any help!

10-09-2012, 05:06 PM   #2
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A lot depends on what you really want. The FA 31 is definitely the best lens in the Pentax line up in this focal length. The DA 35 limited is a little on the slow side with regard to auto focus, although you could make it work. Two other lenses to consider would be the DA 35 f2.4 (not a limited), which doesn't have macro capabilities, but will be a faster focuser. The Sigma 30 f1.4 is also pretty decent as long as you aren't too concerned about edge sharpness.

I do think the FA 43 would be too long for this purpose. I just always felt that the 40-ish mm focal length isn't great on APS-C, although there are plenty of people who make it work, with both the FA 43 and DA 40 limited.
10-09-2012, 05:11 PM   #3
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I suggest taking a look into the and the You will see they are all very capable lenses. I personally have the 31 and love it for the F1.8 and the excellent IQ and colours. To be honest I would say that any one of them would be suitable for the purpose.
10-09-2012, 05:16 PM   #4
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Of those three, for a walk-around, the 35 macro. For shots of the young boy, the 43. I do not consider any prime as a walk-around, and 43 is not particularly long when chasing kids for candids.

10-09-2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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I have all three of the lenses you are considering. The FA's are by far the best rendering lenses I have used, (I love the look of them), so if you can afford it, get the 31, you will not regret it. I do not find the 43 too long, but as a walk around, the wider lens is more practical, and has more scope. The 43 is great for half body/ head and torso shots, and is an underestimated landscape lens.

The 35 has the classic Da rendering, hard to describe the difference, but I find the DA limited a little 'flat' compared to the 3 amigo's. There is nothing wrong with the DA limited lenses, but the FA's are just 'special'. The macro feature of the Da 35 is a bonus, but as Rondec says, the AF speed may be a limiting factor for you if you are chasing and active child.

Chaos_realm is correct, any would be suitable, but get the 31 if you can afford it. It is one of the best lenses ever made by anyone.
10-09-2012, 05:44 PM   #6
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This sums up how i think the fa31 compares to any da limited lens.

10-09-2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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I have two of the three you're considering. My favorite lens overall is the 43mm. That focal length suits me. I have the 31mm and I don't like it as much -- excellent lens, I just didn't click with it the way I did with the 43. I've been taking pictures of my nephew who's six months (for his grandma, who is halfway across the country) and use the 43mm most of the time for that. It really comes down to personal preference and shooting style. I agree with Chaos_Realm too and his suggestion of looking at the links.
10-09-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
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I have all the Amigos and use the '43 the most...including sports. I rarely use the 31 for anything and probably won't use the 15/21 Ltd's much when I get them.

Last edited by tabl10s; 10-09-2012 at 08:01 PM.
10-09-2012, 07:05 PM   #9

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Get an FA77 plus the DA35/2.4; then decide which focal length works better. You can sell the DA35/2.4 if you don't like it, but it's pretty good. You won't want to sell the FA77, and (especially if you have nothing like it in the 70-85mm range) you'll be thankful for it and may come to realize that its small size, speed, and excellent wide-open performance make it almost as versatile as the outstanding (but large) DA*50-135 zoom.
10-10-2012, 04:22 AM   #10
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I have the 31 and it rarely leaves my camera. It is a fantastic lens. In APS-C land, it's a "normal" lens. The 35 Macro is going to have a longer focus throw just because it is a macro. That will make it autofocus slower. That's just the nature of macro lenses.
10-10-2012, 06:09 AM   #11
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Stick with the FAs. The 31 is everything everyone says about it. The 43 is superb. I prefer the 43 FL better so the 43 is on my camera more often. However, the wider view of the 31 is useful and it has better wide open performance IMHO. I've owned all the limiteds and settled on the FAs for a reason.
10-10-2012, 09:51 AM   #12

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QuoteOriginally posted by miltona580 Quote
The 35 Macro is going to have a longer focus throw just because it is a macro. That will make it autofocus slower. That's just the nature of macro lenses.

The DA 35 Ltd has Quick-Shift, so you can easily give the AF a manual preset to make it work fast.
The FA lenses do not have Quick-Shift.
10-11-2012, 09:51 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by miltona580 Quote
The 35 Macro is going to have a longer focus throw just because it is a macro. That will make it autofocus slower. That's just the nature of macro lenses.
QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
The DA 35 Ltd has Quick-Shift, so you can easily give the AF a manual preset to make it work fast.
The FA lenses do not have Quick-Shift.

The focussing of the DA35macro is pretty quick for subjects about a metre to infinity.
It's the closer end where the the long throw is because it will still AF all the way down on subjects that are almost touching the front glass.
Very versatile lens.
10-11-2012, 05:26 PM   #14
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I have all three of the lenses that you are looking at and I would probably go with the 43. I didn't think I would like the 43 as much as I do because I already had the 35 and two 50s and I found the 50s too long. I had been using the 35 as a walk around, but I found that the 43 has more versatility. It works as a walk around and for landscapes and I love it for portraits. Since I got it, it is my go to lense for family and engagement shoots.

The macro capabilities of the 35 are fun, but it doesn't sound like you have a real need for it. Quick shift is nice and it does help when the focusing is slow. The rendering is good, but the fa limiteds are better. The fa lenses just have something. The 31 is excellent, but it is my least used of the three amigos. I haven't quite figured out why, it just seems to happen that way.
10-15-2012, 12:25 AM   #15
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I had a 43, and now have a DA35. Never tried the 31 but seems to have strong following. For a versatile, do-all lens I would go for the DA35. The macro abilities (easy to hand hold because of short focal length) is something the others can't touch. It performs in every way. You will need to be mindful of its long focus throw because if it misses, then it's a long spin back to what you're pointing at. You could get both the 35 and the 43 for the price of the 31 almost, for what that's worth. I would agree there is some character to the 43 (and probably the 31). But there are some strengths of the DA's like resistance to odd flare and ghosting as well as purple fringing. They are rock solid. And they render beautifully.

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