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03-17-2014, 06:17 AM   #1
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This is Not Just Another (FA) vs (F) Thread!

Well, YES! It is. Sorry

SMC FA 100mm F2.8 Macro / SMC Pentax F 100mm F2.8 Macro

I needed a backup lens, so here we're! Anybody got experience
with both lenses (FA, F, versions)? Differences and similarities?

From what I've been able to gather on my own: difference is the
color rendition and tonality. FA is excellent but it can be
somewhat too "neutral" at times. I 'm guessing that F has more
in common with the rendition/tonality of (F)70/210 and 35/135?

03-17-2014, 07:53 AM   #2
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I haven't tested both of those lenses so I can't say for certain, but optically they should be identical. I think they have same construction and coatings. The differences are in the appearance/build and the focus lock (FA has focus clamp - which stops the focus ring from being moved accidentally, but it has no AF lock. The F does have a focus lock, which means you can limit where the camera will look for focus. This is pretty useful for macro lenses, I wish my DFA 100mm had it). The DFA 100mm has two versions, which should also be optically identical, but have different barrel/build. The latest DFA looks really cool and its WR, but it is very automatic. People miss the aperture ring and focus limiter

Optically, all of these lenses will be really great, I doubt you will have regrets. Macro lenses are known for their high sharpness and great rendering, but you are right to say they are "neutral." Macro lenses don't have much "character" - they are just great tools with great optical performance. This is why they are often not recommended for portraits.
03-17-2014, 08:13 AM   #3
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Sorry Na Horuk, but I have the FA version right in front of me and indeed it has a focus lock.

No F version to compare it to, though.
03-17-2014, 08:26 AM   #4
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I have the FA version. One obvious difference from the F version is that the limit switch has three settings, MF, Limit, and AF.

The Limit setting allows for either macro range or tele range.

03-17-2014, 09:17 AM   #5
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I had both versions, and decided to keep the FA version. Maybe it was my copy but the F version had focus hunting.

In terms of image quality I saw no noticeable difference.
03-18-2014, 03:22 AM   #6
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Thanks all.

QuoteOriginally posted by Crooski Quote
I had both versions, and decided to keep the FA version. Maybe it was my copy but the F version had focus hunting.

In terms of image quality I saw no noticeable difference.
That sounds like a good idea. I get the F at a good price, so if they are too similar I'll just keep whichever
seems to work the best with my unit. Hmm, that sounded much better in my head...innuendo aside lol.


Anyway, I'm hoping for the "pixie dust" effect, because it would be fun to try focus stacking with similar lenses that have slightly different characteristics.
03-18-2014, 07:43 AM   #7
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The F version has the groovy retro font on its name plate. That's why I usually prefer the F to FA.
03-18-2014, 08:26 AM   #8
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I prefer the F look, personally. The focus lock is a bonus, so if prices are similar I'd go for that one. The slight différences in rendering can probably be corrected in post.

QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
The latest DFA looks really cool and its WR, but it is very automatic. People miss the aperture ring and focus limiter


I don't miss the focus limiter, with quick-shift it's a very effective solution. I don't shoot film so the aperture ring is not missed. However, I'm really happy with the smal size and WR.

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