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11-22-2012, 07:07 AM   #1
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Difference in-between SMC FA and SMC P-FA Lens

Hello
Just to help you answer my questions here is my brief requirement. I am looking for the sharpest, clearest picture possible and I am interested in 77mm focal length. I also plan to buy Pentax K-5 ii camera to go along with it.

I have three questions:
Q1) Is there any difference in-between these two lenses especially performance-wise?
A) SMC Pentax FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
B) Pentax SMC P-FA 77mm F1.8 Telephoto Lens


Q2) Pentax K-5 ii is weather-resistant but it appears that none of these two lenses are. Does this mean that as an overall system I will have a weak weather resistance just because of the lens?

Q3) Is there an alternate non Pentax lens equivalent in performance, size, full-frame capable and bit cheaper?

I look forward to some advice. Thank you in advance

PKAT

11-22-2012, 07:41 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by kataria0 Quote
Q1) Is there any difference in-between these two lenses especially performance-wise?
A) SMC Pentax FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
B) Pentax SMC P-FA 77mm F1.8 Telephoto Lens
I think they're just different names used for the same lens,
the "P" in SMC P-FA standing for "Pentax,"
as in "Super Multi-Coated Pentax-FA"
11-22-2012, 07:43 AM   #3
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Welcome Aboard!

On Q1 - they are the same. One has the P for Pentax in the title the other does not.

Q2 - Yes, unfortunately those are non-WR lenses and would compromise the WR of the camera.

Q3 - There are weather resistant Pentax lenses such as the * line of lenses and the 18-55WR, 18-135WR, and 50-200WR lenses from Pentax. I do not know of another maker whose lenses are WR that go on the K mount.
11-22-2012, 07:47 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kataria0 Quote
Q3) Is there an alternate non Pentax lens equivalent in performance, size, full-frame capable and bit cheaper?
In manual focus, there is an 85/1.4 branded Samyang, Rokinon, Bower, or whatever for USD 300:

Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Pentax SLY85P

You'll hear varying opinions about "equivalent in perfomance."
Sizewise, it's bigger, but it's certainly full-frame capable.

11-22-2012, 08:06 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
In manual focus, there is an 85/1.4 branded Samyang, Rokinon, Bower, or whatever for USD 300:

Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Pentax SLY85P

You'll hear varying opinions about "equivalent in perfomance."
Sizewise, it's bigger, but it's certainly full-frame capable.
Ah, I took the OP to mean any WR replacement lenses. If Non-WR lenses come into play then there are a range of lenses in the 70-90mm range that could substitute for the 77. Pentax's own MF 85/2 lens is one that comes to mind that is FF for example.
11-22-2012, 09:52 AM   #6
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Have you considered the DA70 Limited as well (see the in depth comparison/review between that and the FA77 on this site)
A bit slower, but overall the same score and half the price!
11-22-2012, 09:59 AM   #7
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OP did want "full-frame capable"
11-22-2012, 10:00 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by percy Quote
Have you considered the DA70 Limited as well (see the in depth comparison/review between that and the FA77 on this site)
A bit slower, but overall the same score and half the price!
The OP said he wants a FF lens, the 70 is great but its APS-C.

11-22-2012, 10:53 AM   #9
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Here are the different Pentax lens series: Pentax K-Mount Lenses Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

You can view a listing of all current lenses here. There's an icon telling you whether or not it will work on FF (generally, all DA lenses do not):
All Current K-Mount Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

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11-22-2012, 11:15 AM   #10
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Thanks to all for the feedback.
Well let us say that I don't need to have full-frame capable lens as I am not anticipating buying any camera after this one, well at leasat not for 10 years. So given that I suppose Pentax DA 70mm F2.4 Limited is a cheaper option. I just looked at it's spec and looked at some shots and I have following concern:

1. It is not weather resistant (WR) either. As some say dust/water can easily enter non-WR lenses. Whats the point me buying a WR camera then? I think I would like high quality WR lens with around 70mm focal length. It doesn't appear Pentax has anything suitable. Can anyone suggest one or two?

2. From shots online it appears that picture quality with SMC Pentax FA 77mm F1.8 Limited might be better than with Pentax DA 70mm F2.4 Limited. Do you concur with that?

3. Pentax K-5 is lot cheaper than K-5 ii. I know the ISO is considerably higher in ii series but I mostly plan to stick to 200 ISO for daytime/evening shots except for indoor evening pictures. Occasionally I would like to take picture of partly illuminated locations during night time. Do you think I can live with Pentax K-5.

4. Please note that I am mostly interested in Manual photography. Is there an Aperture Priority Mode in Pentax K-5?

5. If I buy a lens that doesn't have aperture ring then can I set aperture from Pentax K-5? If so, is it cumbersome to get to?

Thanks again
11-22-2012, 11:31 AM   #11
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Some of the latest Tamron lenses are said to be weather sealed, like the Tamron 90 mm Macro VR for Canon and Nikon. They also have a price tag 70% higher than the previous generation.
Otherwise, for Pentax, there's the DA* 55 and the DFA 100 WR, both which I believe are FF compatible. Both of those lenses are really nice and I don't think you would be disappointed with either.

As for 3-5, the K-5 should fit all of your needs. It has P, Av, Tv, TAv, and M modes. The two wheels front and back are very intuitive and quick for changing settings. The main reason to get a IIs is if you need the low light AF capability and if ultimate sharpness is your aim (and you can live with the potential moire you might get).

Last edited by icywindow; 11-22-2012 at 11:37 AM.
11-22-2012, 12:16 PM   #12
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Thank you for the feedback. Looking at pictures and reviews DA* lenses are not as good as FA lense. Since FA lens is not weather resistant (WR) it makes this whole deal pointless at least for me. I live in high humidity environment and also like to take pictures of crashing waves so I should really look into weather resistant lens. I think time is not right for me to buy anything yet. I will wait till Pentax releasese some WR FA lenses and then buy Pentax K-5 ii alongside. Thank you all for the help in arriving at a suitable decision.
11-23-2012, 07:46 AM   #13
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Hello
I just had an idea. What if I get a polarizer, would that protect the FA lens from water, humidity? If so would polarizer along with FA lens would make a great (if not truely pentax WR) weather resistant combination?

If not, I suspect I would need to perform cleaning etc if using FA lens. I am going to be buying protection which seems to have free service included. Would that be sufficient?

Thanks
11-23-2012, 08:12 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by kataria0 Quote
What if I get a polarizer, would that protect the FA lens from water, humidity? If so would polarizer along with FA lens would make a great (if not truely pentax WR) weather resistant combination?
Back before WR became a buzzword,
I used prime lenses on film SLRs in all sorts of conditions
(tropics, desert, jungle, industrial, ... )
with just a filter and hood as protection.
Wiped moisture, gunk or raindrops off as soon as they appeared,
but otherwise nothing special.

The only potential issue with an FA lens
might be with the circuitry for the chip,
but that should be pretty well protected
if you keep water away from the mount area.
11-23-2012, 09:49 AM   #15
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One should never say never, but I don't think Pentax will do a revamp of the FA Limited series anytime soon (at least it's not on the roadmap for the next 2 years).
That said, the majority of the weather sealing bits that you can see on a WR lens are actually gaskets at the joining part on the back side of the lens. In addition, the exterior of the lens is built using different materials.

Now, as far as the difference between the DA* 55 and the FA 77 Limited, the DA* 55 has less CA at open apertures and less maximum resolution when stopped down, but both of them in my opinion have good color tonality and great 3d effect. Both have a slightly warmer color rendition. I find with both that there is very little in the way of postprocessing that I have to do to get them the way I want them to look. If you are looking for a portrait lens, you would be hard pressed to do better than either.

Here, I don't know if it'll help, but look at some pictures I took with my K20D and the DA*55.




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