Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
05-26-2013, 01:43 PM   #31
Veteran Member
rparmar's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 8,783
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
DonThomaso's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Skåne, Sweden
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 422
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
Veteran Member
rparmar's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 8,783
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
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,698
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.


05-29-2013, 10:33 AM   #35
Site Supporter
Site Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,057
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

Join Date: Nov 2011
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,765
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.

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
build, da, fa, k-mount, pentax lens, quality, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Build vs optical quality slip Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 15 08-26-2012 02:52 AM
SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 Price and Build Quality SomeClown Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11 05-02-2012 06:06 PM
DA Limiteds vs. FA Limiteds GregX999 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 120 08-08-2011 11:09 AM
DA 70 Limited Build Quality lowbit Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 8 04-27-2009 11:07 AM
*Ist DS vs K100D (Super) build quality Matjazz Pentax DSLR Discussion 6 10-17-2007 03:08 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:19 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]