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04-02-2013, 06:33 PM   #1
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I've just completed the set of princesses

I bought a K-01 to replace my Canon G1-X which was stolen just before Christmas.

My thinking was that bodies are disposable and lenses last. I wanted a carry-around camera with the highest quality possible and lenses that would last a decade or more. My options were not limited by cost but I didn't want to get anything too large. The Sony NEX and Nikon 1 made the shortlist along with Pentax. I went with the K-01 because:
  1. The sensor competes with everything current in APS-C and below and betters most of it.
  2. Pentax Limited lenses are compact, high quality and full-frame. Having an aperture ring means they can be adapted to almost anything.

So I got my K-01 in black and started looking for lenses.

I soon learned that the new versions were assembled in Vietnam and, though I'm sure they're great, I wanted the Japanese versions. That meant buying used and brought me here.

First I bought the 43 and 77 in black. They were great. They looked nice but I had trouble finding a Japanese 31 in black. I could see a bunch in silver though. I work in design and convinced myself silver was going to look better and wear better, so I sold my black versions a couple of weeks after getting them and started buying silver.

Again I got the 43 and 77 pretty fast. This time I went for low serial numbers with colored bags. The 77 didn't have it's box and paperwork though so my set wasn't perfect. I scoured the web for a 31 in a red bag. The only place I found them was in Japan and they were expensive. I was getting ready to buy when....

Wow.

I found all three lenses. Early serials. Colored bags. Boxes and paperwork. Brand new.

It was crazy. A shop had them and had never sold them. They'd never been opened. They were asking a little more than retail. I bought them all.

The last one arrived yesterday. I now have maybe the only set of 100% new FA limited, MIJ lenses with early serials and colored bags in the world. I intend to use them and not just sit them in a corner to gather dust.

However, if anyone here has questions, let me know. One interesting thing for buyers to note is that my early versions have no 'Silver' or 'Black' written on the boxes - obviously because the black versions only appeared later. However people passing off 'Frankenstein' arrangements of lenses, bags and boxes probably don't know that so it's something to look out for.

Anyway - I'm thrilled. I have exactly what I wanted. A cheap, high-quality digital back and a set of really good lenses.

I'm happy to add a Pentax rig to my camera collection.

04-02-2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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Wow what a lucky find Mr. Skelter! I have the 43 and it's my favorite lens. I don't have the other two, but one can dream. Enjoy!
04-02-2013, 06:40 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by NeverSatisfied Quote
Wow what a lucky find Mr. Skelter! I have the 43 and it's my favorite lens. I don't have the other two, but one can dream. Enjoy!
Yes. Very lucky. Once-in-a-lifetime really. Part of me says I should keep them and never touch them but I bought them to shoot and that's what I'll do.
04-02-2013, 07:32 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
I found all three lenses. Early serials. Colored bags. Boxes and paperwork. Brand new.

It was crazy. A shop had them and had never sold them. They'd never been opened. They were asking a little more than retail. I bought them all.
Nice find, post some pictures please we like to drool!

Thanks, Phil.

04-02-2013, 07:38 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
Nice find, post some pictures please we like to drool!

Thanks, Phil.
Phil - I thought about that. I wasn't sure what to show though. Other than being mint there's nothing to show is there? Personally I found the packaging interesting as now I know exactly what shipped from the factory and how it was arranged.

Let me know if there's a way to make it work. I'd be happy to oblige. Tell me what you want to see.

I will likely obscure the serials if I do post. I would hate someone to steal the images and claim to be selling this kit, or working some other angle I can't conceive of.

I can do this tomorrow night, it's late where I am.
04-02-2013, 08:45 PM   #6
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You chose a K-01 for the right reason - so you could use these lenses!

I still have my MIJ FA43 and FA31, but I sold my AIV FA77 for an FA*85. I wouldn't recommend you do this on the K-01, however - the FA77 is amazing for its size and nearly as good as the FA*85. I think the FA*85 would be poorly balanced on the K-01. Besides, your early FA77 may be every bit as good, and the colors it yields are probably even better.


In the future you may want to add some or all of the FA*24, DA21/FA20, DA15, and DA10-17 FE. They're all worthy companions to you kit, although your FA Ltd.s are slightly better. Likewise with the DFA100 WR and/or F/FA135. I think the FA135 would still be a really nice size for that camera. Although it shows a little PF wider than f/4, I shoot it alongside the FA*85 and F*300, and consider them almost equal in IQ.


Congrats on your wise purchase with the K-01, and your great find with the FA Ltd.s!
04-02-2013, 09:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
Phil - I thought about that. I wasn't sure what to show though. Other than being mint there's nothing to show is there? Personally I found the packaging interesting as now I know exactly what shipped from the factory and how it was arranged.

Let me know if there's a way to make it work. I'd be happy to oblige. Tell me what you want to see.

I will likely obscure the serials if I do post. I would hate someone to steal the images and claim to be selling this kit, or working some other angle I can't conceive of.

I can do this tomorrow night, it's late where I am.
The packaging and soft cases would be interesting. They would be different from the newer versions.

No rush when you get a chance.

Thanks,

Phil.
04-03-2013, 12:29 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
set of princesses
I'm glad they've gone to a palace, where the staff there know how to treat, appreciate and look after them properly.

04-03-2013, 01:05 AM   #9
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Congrats on your finds ... sounds great and post us an image or two soon ... J
04-03-2013, 04:52 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
Part of me says I should keep them and never touch them but I bought them to shoot and that's what I'll do.
Lenes are made to be used, otherwise they're nothing but extravagant paperweigths...

I'm glad you found the collector items you were looking for. Now you can also collect the DA Limiteds
04-03-2013, 05:12 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrSkelter Quote
One interesting thing for buyers to note is that my early versions have no 'Silver' or 'Black' written on the boxes - obviously because the black versions only appeared later.
I never knew this. I always assumed the silver FA limiteds were a special edition. Maybe I just thought I read it somewhere...
04-03-2013, 08:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Erdž Quote
I never knew this. I always assumed the silver FA limiteds were a special edition. Maybe I just thought I read it somewhere...
As I understand it the originals were all silver. The original 43 was supposed to be premium and chrome fits that. The success of the 43 lead to a Leica mount version and then the 77 and finally 31. When the lenses became more widely available the black finish appeared - I think concurrently with the lenses being made available outside Japan.

Now given more people's preference for black the silvers are harder to find. Obviously they're also a little more expensive to produce.

Black versions with the early colored bags don't exist and you can tell how early a silver MIJ version is by the box. If it says 'silver' the blacks were available. If not it was still silver only.

My serials are all below 2,000. I don't know where they started. Often it's not zero.
04-03-2013, 10:05 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Lenes are made to be used, otherwise they're nothing but extravagant paperweigths...

I'm glad you found the collector items you were looking for. Now you can also collect the DA Limiteds
Actually I think I'm done for a bit. I don't want to spend money on any non-full-frame glass on any system (I shoot a few). It seems very short-term. I'm not keen on buying anything 'disposable' which is one reason I didn't buy a Sony RX1. However great it is it's a paperweight in a couple of years (not because it'll 'go bad', more that it's slow and that's frustrating.).

My next purchases in the lens space will be Leica. I'm also waiting for a good, fast, AF 'normal' for Nikon. With that in hand I'll have my Leica, my carry-camera and my 35mm kit where I want them. Done. Just shooting from then until a compact, fast, digital, MF hits the market.
04-03-2013, 10:16 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
You chose a K-01 for the right reason - so you could use these lenses!

I still have my MIJ FA43 and FA31, but I sold my AIV FA77 for an FA*85. I wouldn't recommend you do this on the K-01, however - the FA77 is amazing for its size and nearly as good as the FA*85. I think the FA*85 would be poorly balanced on the K-01. Besides, your early FA77 may be every bit as good, and the colors it yields are probably even better.


In the future you may want to add some or all of the FA*24, DA21/FA20, DA15, and DA10-17 FE. They're all worthy companions to you kit, although your FA Ltd.s are slightly better. Likewise with the DFA100 WR and/or F/FA135. I think the FA135 would still be a really nice size for that camera. Although it shows a little PF wider than f/4, I shoot it alongside the FA*85 and F*300, and consider them almost equal in IQ.


Congrats on your wise purchase with the K-01, and your great find with the FA Ltd.s!
Thanks.

I shoot the K-01 like a rangefinder. I only shoot primes on all my cameras and though I'd like something wider, 46mm equivalent is perfectly workable with a little effort.

If I'd been open to sub-full-frame lenses I would have been tempted by the Nikon 1, for it's insane speed, or the NEX, which offers similar quality to the Pentax but has viewfinder options. They lost that sale due to my determination to make my investments in glass last as long as possible. Hopefully forever. The Limiteds do that.

I'd bet my FA77 is the equal of the 85. Compared to my Nikkor 85 1.4 it's close and that's an unbelievable lens. I'm lucky enough to have a Nikkor 200mm f2 as well for reference. That's one of the best lenses I've ever handled on any system. You have to go that far, or to a Leica Summicron, to see a clear improvement at wide apertures without peeping.

In my experience, and not reflected in the pricing on the used market, the 77 is the best lens, the 43 second and the 31 third. That's accounting for all apertures.

Wide open the 43 isn't as good as the other two and the 77 has an unfair advantage as its focal length emphasizes the bokeh which makes the in-focus areas appear sharper by comparison. The 31 is happier wide-open than the 43 and has better bokeh. Stopped down a touch and the 43 really sings.

They're all great though. Very nice to handle and shoot. Much more like find manual lenses than most plastic AF stuff. Reminiscent of Leica and Nikkor's AF-D and manuals in my opinion.
04-03-2013, 06:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tabl10s Quote
Bet ya my '43 is older is older than yours.
Probably. Mines old enough to fit my requirements though and that's all I need. It's a great lens and will likely be my 'normal' on any full-frame Pentax I buy in future.

I'd love them to build a FA24 limited (around a new design) to celebrate the release of full-frame sensors. I can't help thinking the limiteds remain in production so that when that time comes they have a reasonable offering.
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