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02-19-2013, 03:15 AM - 1 Like   #46
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Good thought experiment there Cynog Ap Brychan - ergonomics is also a distinct consideration to be taken into account when considering whether one lens is " better" than another*. I recall many old school photographers settling for lenses like the K55 f/1.8 - In opposition to all those photographers who spent what they called "wasted money" on 50mm f/1.2 and f/1.0 lenses.

In a nutshell: The FA35mm f/2 is a decent lens, though 6 aperture blades compared to the FA31 which has 9 blades, tips bokeh factor significantly in favour of the FA31. Resolution between the two lenses is similar, In terms of physical construction the FA31 beats the FA35 hands down.

I work professionally with a number of very sharp lenses - The Schneider 240mm f/5.6 APO Symmar, Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5, Zeiss 21mm f/2.8, the Pentax FA*200mm f/4 ED MACRO,Noct Nikkor 58mm f/1.2, Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2. And IMO Pentax the FA31mm f/1.8 Is one of the most upsettingly sharp wide angle lenses you can buy for the Pentax K mount, I certainly look forward to the New Pentax full frame camera where its full potential will be realised.

Would this image have been sharper if I had stopped the lens down? probably, would there have been less CA? - yes, though the FA31 manages it better than the FA35.

Sharpened 100% crop from lower left corner of an image.
Even at f/1.8 with contrasty lighting the FA31 still puts in an extremely impressive performance, especially on the Pentax K5IIs. There is only one 35mm lens that can do better under those kind of conditions, it is worth 3X the price of the FA31 and it has a red dot on it.

QuoteOriginally posted by Allison Quote
The aberrations are an issue on the 31 and it does not use the most current coatings since this was a design originally made for film.
The Takumar 50mm f/1.4 doesn't have digital specific coatings on it and it performs just as well and in some cases, better than some modern 50mm f/1.4 lenses do. The coatings on a lens have practically no effect on the aberrations exhibited by a lens, only optical design and the use of exotic glass types can eliminate them - the primary function of optical coatings is to reduce internal reflections at the air/glass barrier and reduce the impact of flare. Incidentally I know that the sigma 35mm f/1.4 isn't any better than the FA31 Limited in terms of CA and PF - From RAW images sent to me by colleagues from this lens: as far as I can see it looks worse than the FA31.


*Though if you want my take on ergonomics: the FA31 manually focuses better than any sigma lens I have ever used, also the aperture ring on it is really handy when you want to use extension tubes that do not have lens contacts. Also in an optical note the FA31 doesn't have the strong "onion ring" bokeh which is a result of poorly polished aspheric lenses that are used in many of sigma's f/1.4 lenses. Also Pentax lenses have focus rings that move in the same direction as all other pentax lenses, the focus rings on sigma lenses work the other way around - even though I do work with camera systems that have focus rings that rotate in the opposite direction from pentax lenses - this thing is more problematic for photographers who have greater familiarity with pentax lenses who throw in a few sigma lenses into their kit.


Last edited by Digitalis; 02-19-2013 at 03:47 AM.
02-19-2013, 03:58 AM   #47
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Wait, how do you say that the FA31 handled the image better than the FA35 without also testing the FA35 in those conditions?
02-19-2013, 04:16 AM   #48
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I have no opinion about the Sigma, or the FA35/2.0
I did however, recently spend a month shooting my FA31 every day. For what it's worth (I am at best an amateur enthusiast) the results are HERE
What the images don't communicate is the ergonomic, tactile joy this lens is to use in the real world. It is a glorious lens, and if something happened to my AIV copy I would pay full price to replace it in a heartbeat.
02-19-2013, 04:19 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
how do you say that the FA31 handled the image better than the FA35 without also testing the FA35 in those conditions?
Because I already have, and I know the FA31 is better at handling high contrast lighting. Part of being a good photographer is knowing what your lenses can and can't handle, and working with the strengths each lens has to offer.

02-19-2013, 04:28 AM   #50
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thankz guyz for all the info.. i think ill go for the 31mm since its lighter smaller and i think have better bokeh but may be its not as sharp as the new sigma
02-19-2013, 04:34 AM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Because I already have, and I know the FA31 is better at handling high contrast lighting. Part of being a good photographer is knowing what your lenses can and can't handle, and working with the strengths each lens has to offer.
So please post the comparison. Outside of that, it's more of the same that gets that comparison thread laughed at on the other forums.
02-19-2013, 05:43 AM   #52
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Would go for sigma.
02-19-2013, 06:52 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
So please post the comparison.
Great, just what I needed - Another pair of lenses to test. I already have had requests from users from other forum sites requesting tests of this and that lens....I have so many lenses I should be paid for it

02-19-2013, 06:54 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
So please post the comparison. Outside of that, it's more of the same that gets that comparison thread laughed at on the other forums.
Are you trying to agressively defend your purchase of the FA35 or something? There's a reason the 31 is a Limited and the 35 isn't.
02-19-2013, 07:30 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by NitroDC Quote
Are you trying to agressively defend your purchase of the FA35 or something? There's a reason the 31 is a Limited and the 35 isn't.
No. I've had it for quite a while and have done no "aggressive defense" (whatever that is) of the lens.

Is the reason the 31 "limited" because it's produced in Vietnam in strictly limited numbers?
02-19-2013, 07:59 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
No. I've had it for quite a while and have done no "aggressive defense" (whatever that is) of the lens.

Is the reason the 31 "limited" because it's produced in Vietnam in strictly limited numbers?
I don't know if that question was serious, but the "limited" series has some common features--metal construction, often built-in hoods, etc. The name has little to do with production being limited.

I am a big fan of the FA35 as well, but if I could justify the expense, I'd have an FA 31 ltd as well.
02-19-2013, 08:42 AM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
I don't know if that question was serious, but the "limited" series has some common features--metal construction, often built-in hoods, etc. The name has little to do with production being limited.

I am a big fan of the FA35 as well, but if I could justify the expense, I'd have an FA 31 ltd as well.
I don't know, which definition of "limited" do you think would most fit here?

QuoteQuote:
limited [ˈlɪmɪtɪd]adj1. having a limit; restricted; confined
2. without fullness or scope; narrow
3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (of governing powers, sovereignty, etc.) restricted or checked, by or as if by a constitution, laws, or an assembly limited government
4. (Transport / Railways) US and Canadian (of a train) stopping only at certain stations and having only a set number of cars for passengers
5. (Business / Commerce) Chiefly Brit (of a business enterprise) owned by shareholders whose liability for the enterprise's debts is restricted
Maybe limited production (which it's not)?

I think Pentax should have gone with "Type R", or "S", or something Rice-Rockety. Hell, they used "S" on the current K-5.
02-19-2013, 09:03 AM - 1 Like   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
No. I've had it for quite a while and have done no "aggressive defense" (whatever that is) of the lens.

Is the reason the 31 "limited" because it's produced in Vietnam in strictly limited numbers?
It just sounds like you are trying to say the FA35 is better than the 31 simply because there are no comparisons of the two. Which doesn't make any sense. The FA35 is $400 and the 31 is just shy of $1000. I don't think Pentax jacked up the prices for nothing -- you get more when you pay the $1000. The FA31's price may be high for what it's worth, but it's certainly a better lens than the FA35, in both optics, build, and feel.

And the Limited line of lenses is similar to Canon's L lenses. The DA* line fits into that category as well. They just offer premium build (Limiteds have all-metal construction) and exceptional optics (and tighter quality control, I assume). It has nothing to do with how many are produced. Companies everywhere offer "Limited Edition" products that are sold for years. "Limited" is just Pentax's name for a premium line of lenses.
02-19-2013, 09:50 AM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
I don't know, which definition of "limited" do you think would most fit here?



Maybe limited production (which it's not)?

I think Pentax should have gone with "Type R", or "S", or something Rice-Rockety. Hell, they used "S" on the current K-5.
Are you this annoying all of the time or only when writing in different forums? This thread was about Sigma 35 / Pentax 31 and now you're writing that Pentax shouldn't name their lenses as "limited". What next? Start teaching me how to spell or comment on my bad English?
02-19-2013, 09:52 AM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by NitroDC Quote
It just sounds like you are trying to say the FA35 is better than the 31 simply because there are no comparisons of the two. Which doesn't make any sense. The FA35 is $400 and the 31 is just shy of $1000. I don't think Pentax jacked up the prices for nothing -- you get more when you pay the $1000. The FA31's price may be high for what it's worth, but it's certainly a better lens than the FA35, in both optics, build, and feel.

And the Limited line of lenses is similar to Canon's L lenses. The DA* line fits into that category as well. They just offer premium build (Limiteds have all-metal construction) and exceptional optics (and tighter quality control, I assume). It has nothing to do with how many are produced. Companies everywhere offer "Limited Edition" products that are sold for years. "Limited" is just Pentax's name for a premium line of lenses.
Incorrect. There are posts explicitly saying what was actually said. Why you're digging to say what it sounds like I'm saying is beyond me.

There is a comparison thread on this very forum. It was done in a flawed manner, for instance, not being blind, so everyone started fanboying around the FA31. On several other forums, the thread and examples were referenced more fairly and we all came to the same conclusion- the biggest difference between the two lenses is the focal length and all other differences are subjectively and objectively negligible, if anything exists at all. This thread gets made fun of on other forums because only the people rallying around the FA31 don't see how little of a difference they're splitting hairs over.

And again, you're saying $400 for the FA35. In my market, it's between 750-900 Euros. Also, since I'm from the US, I can buy a brand new FA31 for less than an FA35 quite easily. The price differetial on my market is much less than you might think, owing to the fact that the FA35 is treated as if it's a discontinued model (with suppliers often listing it as such).

Regardless, the FA35 makes a tremendous showing and if the comparos were truly blind and in the interest of being equal and producing unbiased reports, then we'd see there's close to no difference.
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