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05-26-2013, 01:43 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by robbiec Quote
The FA Limited line of lenses have a certain mystique, a certain aura around them both in the Pentax community and in the broader photographic community in general. Now correct me if I am wrong Steve, but you are saying that the FA Limited's are among the best engineered and crafted lenses you can buy? Lets agree on this and I'll add to that by saying it is mine and perhaps others opinions on here and elsewhere that Pentax should capitalize on this reputation and add to it by making sure that ownership details like the packaging, QA docs, manuals, etc, etc should be of higher quality than they are currently. Details like this are appreciated and add to the reputation of the Limited line especially for not too much extra, while adding massively to the reputation of the brand overall due to the halo effect of the flagship offerings.
Totally agree. We do get a nice bag and a felt-lined cap, however. I like those!

Wouldn't hurt if Pentax was to ever make a lens as nice as the FA Limiteds again. Yes, the build quality of the DA Limiteds is much the same. Functionally one loses the aperture dial. Optically one loses the magical rendering. And a good deal of speed. These three are deal killers.

FA Limiteds are superb lenses, the equal of any in the auto-focus era. The DA Limiteds are very good lenses, the equal of very good lenses from other manufacturers.

05-27-2013, 12:45 AM - 1 Like   #32
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I currently own all of the Limiteds. The order of purchase was DA40 -> DA15 -> DA35 Macro -> DA70 -> DA21 -> FA77 -> FA43 -> FA31. I bought all of them (except the DA35 Macro) second hand, but in good condition with boxes, paperworks etc. All of the FA Lenses are Made in Japan.

Having used the DA Limiteds for a couple of years, gradually building up the collection, I was very pleased with them in all respects. Focusing on build quality I had nothing to complain about. The pull-out hoods of the DA35 Macro and DA70 is maybe just very slightly wobbly, thats about it. I did miss an aperture ring and full frame compatibility (future FF DSLR and film use).

In the back of my head I always wanted to find out about the "pixie dust" and enjoy the larger apertures of the FA Limited-series, so when a fairly prices MIJ 77 and 43 came on the market, I decided to give it a go. I must say that I was a bit surprised of the build quality, or to be more specific the aperture ring. I now own all of the FA Limiteds and all of them are the same. Just a very slight wobble in the aperture ring. Otherwise I would say they are about the same. I you extend your evaluation to "the whole package", it would include felt-lined caps and leather pouches, where I would say the FA's are a bit nicer (green felt, sturdier leather bags), but both series are good. The FA's are also a bit larger and feels more substantial compared to the DA's, and it may play a part on how one values them, but the build quality would be the same except for that aperture ring...

I have not used any of the new Zeiss-lenses mentioned earlier, but I have lots of old Pentax glass. If I compare the aperture rings on the FA's with some of my old M-lenses in excellent condition (1.7 and 75-150) I would say that the M's have tighter tolerances, but maybe less expensive materials and a finish.

Best build quality and finish of all my lenses would go to the Super-Multi-Coated TAKUMAR's. Aperture ring, nicely dampened focusing and a certain weight to them, still very compact. And when those metal caps just slides on.. very nice! I think that manual focus glass has and advantage for the focusing feel. When dealing with old lenses from the early 70's, it is of course important to have a well preserved copy. Most AF-glass would be a compromise of focus throw (longer for manual focusing, preferably shorter for manual focusing). I would say that the DA's are pretty bad for manual focusing (very short throw) but the FA's sits a bit in between

Hope this makes sense to someone
05-27-2013, 06:44 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by DonThomaso Quote
Hope this makes sense to someone
Not only does it make sense, but it is all exactly correct!

The FA Limiteds are as good as an auto-focus lens can get, but manual focus build can be significantly nicer.
05-28-2013, 01:38 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
The FA Limiteds are as good as an auto-focus lens can get, but manual focus build can be significantly nicer.
1+ on that one.


Steve

05-29-2013, 10:33 AM   #35
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FA: noisy AF, feels a little more solid - oversized for APS-C cameras
DA: smaller lenses, also very well made, modern design, better haptics
05-29-2013, 08:55 PM   #36
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There is one aspect of build quality that hasn't come up in this thread yet.

While the aspherical element in the FA 31 Ltd is molded glass,
the one in the DA 15 Ltd is only laminated:


Last edited by lytrytyr; 05-29-2013 at 09:01 PM.
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