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02-26-2014, 05:10 AM   #1
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Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited vs Pentax DA 50mm f/1.8 Unlimited - Which one to get?

Hi all,
I will be visiting New York city this Monday for a week and I have an opportunity to visit the nice Photo stores they have.
My plan is to get a bunch of slide film, a compact camera and a normal/short tele lens for K mount.

About the lens, I was looking for a small AF ~50mm lens that I can use with film and I ended up with two options:
Pentax 50mm f/1.8 ~198$
Pentax 43mm f/1.9 ~650$ for the silver colored version

Both are said to be very good, both work on film, one supposedly has magic in it and costs over three times more.

What do you think?

02-26-2014, 05:41 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pablom Quote
Hi all,
I will be visiting New York city this Monday for a week and I have an opportunity to visit the nice Photo stores they have.
My plan is to get a bunch of slide film, a compact camera and a normal/short tele lens for K mount.

About the lens, I was looking for a small AF ~50mm lens that I can use with film and I ended up with two options:
Pentax 50mm f/1.8 ~198$
Pentax 43mm f/1.9 ~650$ for the silver colored version

Both are said to be very good, both work on film, one supposedly has magic in it and costs over three times more.

What do you think?
Pablom, you know the saying you get what you pay for. Most times this is true and when talking about these 2 lenses it almost a no brainer for me it would be the 43 hands down. Have a great safe trip....
02-26-2014, 05:46 AM   #3
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If you're going to use the lens with a film camera, don't you also want an aperture ring? The 43 has this, but the DA 50 doesn't. Of course, there are other fifties that do.

Do you want the 43? I think that depends on how much you're going to use film. I have it, and find the magic somewhat lacking on digital crop. Others have had more joy.
02-26-2014, 06:16 AM   #4
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I'm sure the Z1-P in the OP's signature can manage without an aperture ring. While the experience of shooting on film might be OK - In that respect both lenses will suit you fine. I've found that particularly in slanting winter light, the street changes exposure so fast that being locked into one speed of film would be quite a limitation. I hope you shoot film as you like, but have your K5 handy NYC - photowalk - a set on Flickr

If you wanted to pick up a fabled FA Limited from B&H on your travels, it makes a fine souvenir - the DA 50/1.8 might have a little less emotion.

Re the price difference... plastic mount, plastic barrel, no hood, no bag.. creature comforts of the 50 are quite limited. That being said, the FA 43 is will finished, truly a premium product - priced accordingly.


Last edited by mattt; 02-26-2014 at 06:17 AM. Reason: duplicated cut & paste
02-26-2014, 06:32 AM   #5
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I decided to cut to the chase and get the FA43 instead of the DA40. The money I spent is long gone but the pleasure of using that fine lens remains to this day. If you can afford the best it is always best to go that route.

On the other hand I suspect that the 50 would be a great budget alternative and if you feel the desire to upgrade later you can likely sell it and get a good amount of your money back.
02-26-2014, 06:59 AM   #6
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The DA 50 is for crop sensor rather than film. You would do well to look at the F an FA versions.
02-26-2014, 07:06 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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Better stick with the DA. The FA 43 was my first prime and it set me off on an out of control lba career which has been my ruination.
02-26-2014, 07:30 AM   #8
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FA43 is a fantastic lens for sure.
One of my most used lenses.
However, 50mm is cheap and does many things very nicely too.

On FF, (film in your case), they work a bit differently.
43mm is sort of a wide normal, and never achieves that same shallow DOF isolation look for full body shots at wide apertures that the 50mm seems more versatile in doing.
It is however very sharp, nice rendering with a slightly edgy bokeh (but not busy) which keeps things interesting,
Very different for 50mm imo on FF.

02-26-2014, 08:39 AM   #9
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FA43mm is a slam dunk cant miss on film.
I also love it on APS-C. I was concerned it would be too long, but i have found that sometimes a normal FOV is kind of boring and the slight telephoto is very nice

And as others have said, unless your film camera has aperture control, you're going to be shooting wide open all the time with the DA.

If you have the money for the limited, buy it and dont look back.
02-26-2014, 09:11 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aoeu Quote
The DA 50 is for crop sensor rather than film. You would do well to look at the F an FA versions.
Not true... the DA 50 can be used on film/full frame as long as the camera can control the aperture (as we know it doesn't have an aperture ring). This is well documented, e.g. if you go to the review for this lens on this site, you will see some film shots taken with it. It works fine with film, like the DA 35 2.4.

Having said that, a while ago I made a point of reading through some "what's your favorite lens?" type threads here and in other forums. The lens that came up the most was the FA 43 (way more than the FA 31 or DA*55, which was what I expected to see at the top). The 2nd lens that came up more frequently, according to my non-scientific observation, was the DA*300... but the point is, people who have the FA 43 seem to be extremely pleased with it, even if they have more expensive lens that they could have picked instead. If you can swing the 43, get the 43! That's what I would do...
02-26-2014, 09:32 AM   #11
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As amazing as the DA 50 would be... As mentioned above, the FA 43 is a beauty, my favourite lens.
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