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05-07-2014, 09:43 AM   #1
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FA 31 limited vs DA35 Macro 2.8 limited

I own both but sometimes I question my choice of owning both. Sometimes I feel that the 35 is actually sharper than the 31 and with it's Macro capability I'm wondering if I should just go ahead & sell the 31...?
Granted, I'm still relatively new to both lenses and probably really need to spend more time with both lenses. Has anyone else experience this enviable dilemma? .....Discuss.....

05-07-2014, 09:56 AM   #2
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I believe these two are absolutely different lenses

It is like
Who is better: shooting guard or small forward? There are similarities, but they have different roles.

Last edited by Apapukas; 05-07-2014 at 10:12 AM.
05-07-2014, 09:56 AM   #3
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I would not sell the FA31mm f1.8 Ltd. You would regret it. Its IQ is outstanding and I love the larger aperture when/if needed.

I also found to prefer the focal length 30mm over 35 mm, but that is possibly very personal

My 5 cents....
05-07-2014, 10:31 AM   #4
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I almost always use my FA 31mm between f/1.9 and f/2.8 (usually indoors with low light), so there is virtually no overlap in usefulness between that lens and the DA 35 Macro. I have to agree that the 35 is sharp, even at f/2.8. I sometimes think that the DA 35 is the perfect walk-around lens, but when I take just one lens, I usually opt for the D-FA 100mm Macro instead (and if I take two, I add the FA 31).

05-07-2014, 10:39 AM   #5
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I like both my Sigma 30/1.4 and 35 Ltd. They have opposite strengths/weaknesses.
05-07-2014, 10:50 AM   #6
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I have owned the DA 35 limited, Sigma 30mm f1.4 and FA 31 limited. I like the 31 best because it is the fastest, although it is significantly more prone to purple fringing and edges are soft wide open. I really like the DA 35 when I owned it, although honestly, I always felt like the macro ability wasn't particularly handy as anything that could move would move by the time I got to macro distance with the 35.

On the other hand, the DA 35 is very sharp, has quick shift, is more flare resistant and doesn't fringe much, if at all. Still, if you have the FA 31, then I would stick with that...
05-07-2014, 11:18 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I like the 31 best because it is the fastest,
But isn't the Sigma 30 f/1.4 faster than the FA 31's f/1.8? I'm confused with your comment.
05-07-2014, 11:23 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
But isn't the Sigma 30 f/1.4 faster than the FA 31's f/1.8? I'm confused with your comment.
I didn't find the Sigma usable for much other than portraits till it was stopped down to f5.6. My copy had really weak borders. So, while it was technically faster, the FA limited was more usable at comparable apertures. Beyond which, I like the out of focus rendering on the FA 31 a lot better than on the Sigma (the DA 35 has really nice out of focus rendering as well).

05-07-2014, 11:44 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
Discuss
Well, you got lotsa lenses, including 3 macros... My advice would be to keep the one you use most, IF you need to sell. My own lens collection is built around lenses I own. No duplicates of features, for instance, and keep only what I use. I would love to start an actual collection, but until I win the lottery, I can't. In your case, I'd probably keep the 31 and do macro with the 50 or 100. But YMMV.

If you use both regularly, and need to sell stuff, you have other duplicates in your lineup.
05-07-2014, 11:47 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Well the DA 35mm has a longer focus throw for macro range, so its AF might be slower. It is also f2.8, so its not really as bright as the FA 31mm ltd. The FA also weighs more and is longer. The FA has aperture ring (and more useful DoF scales?), which might be important if you plan on using it with bellows or older cameras. And the FA will definitely cover the full frame image circle, in case you want to use it with film cameras or whatnot. The DA macro is very sharp and has a flat field of focus, which is typical for macro lenses. Generally, macro lenses have a more contrasty, clean, sterile look to them (some might say they have less "character"). And the FoV is different, too. These might be important factors for what you shoot.
But if you don't think these factors are important to you, then feel free to sell one. I'm sure someone on the forums will be happy to buy a good FA 31mm

Edit: The Sigma 30mm f1.4 is an interesting lens, but it has its own pros and cons. Quite different from the two Pentax lenses.

Last edited by Na Horuk; 05-07-2014 at 11:53 AM.
05-07-2014, 11:48 AM - 1 Like   #11
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A macro is a sharp, flat field lens optimized for close subject distances. The FA 31 is none of these except it is sharp and has a pixie dust limited quality that a macro could never achieve. Apples to oranges.

Jack
05-07-2014, 11:59 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
But isn't the Sigma 30 f/1.4 faster than the FA 31's f/1.8? I'm confused with your comment.
QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I didn't find the Sigma usable for much other than portraits till it was stopped down to f5.6. My copy had really weak borders. So, while it was technically faster, the FA limited was more usable at comparable apertures. Beyond which, I like the out of focus rendering on the FA 31 a lot better than on the Sigma (the DA 35 has really nice out of focus rendering as well).
I knew what he was talking about right away. The Sigma is designed that way. A number of Sigmas are, with the 30/1.4 and the 20/24/28mm f/1.8 series being some of the worst offenders:

Sigma AF 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM (Nikon DX) - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Sigma AF 20mm f/1.8 EX DG RF (DX) - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis
Sigma AF 24mm f/1.8 EX DG (DX) - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis
Sigma AF 28mm f/1.8 EX DG (DX) - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis


The fact that the 20/24/28 are actually FF lenses makes their border performance on APS-C all the less impressive. In comparison the FA31 is a relatively strong performer:

Pentax SMC FA 31mm f/1.8 AL Limited - Lab Test / Review - Analysis


The FA31 also has unique characteristics (extremely smooth OOF and transition to OOF) that makes it highly desirable to many people (but also makes it tricky to use at times - for example, if you desire blatantly sharp pictures - because it's so different).

---------- Post added 05-07-14 at 12:05 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
The FA 31 is none of these except it is sharp and has a pixie dust limited quality that a macro could never achieve.
Perhaps so, but it has a different Pixie Fairy than any other Pentax lens.
05-07-2014, 12:09 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Remember that there are now two "Sigma 30 /1.4" lenses, the old EX 30, which had a strongly curved plane of focus (hence soft corners) and the new Art 30, which has a different optical design and is a lot sharper at the edges. I have both, and if work and weather ever cooperate, will get a review / comparison done.
05-07-2014, 12:34 PM   #14
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I would swap it for 21mm ltd or the 40mm, or just keep it.
05-07-2014, 01:19 PM   #15
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I have the 31 and it's my fave lens, but leaving Pix E. Dust out of the discussion, the biggest factor in this for me would be the focal length... I went first with DA35/2.4 before I got FA31 and thought I would go a long way with that patch... Problem for me is I knew from experience that the 28mm range on cropped sensor is really my favorite as a general use FOV. 35mm still felt a touch too narrow for me in that regard. It's those lazy indoor low light family shots for example that I still had to work too hard for... I still have the 35mm, mostly for my kids to learn with, but FA31 rules in my book in the general use focal length category... If I were going for macro, which I'd love to do at some point, I'd copy Keitha who does amazing work with that 100mm lens.
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