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04-28-2015, 02:11 AM   #1
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FA 31, 43 & 77 future upgrades ?

Anyone any idea whether these lenses might be updated, with the release of the new FF ?

(A related question that does occur to me with these FAs: They are praised so highly by many, possibly because they are FF glass being used predominately on cropped sensor Pentaxes. I appreciate they were designed for film, and thus FF, but might they not be so stunning when used in new digital FFs when all the image circle will be used ?)


As they have an almost religious following, I suspect the idea of minor "improvements" to them will be abhorent to some. But, maybe tweaks to make them even better might be possible. Maybe like the DA limiteds new coatings or quickshift or ...

Like others, the path from the DA limiteds to the FAs that's been followed by many LBAs is now an even more natural route in preparation for a FF purchase, possibly some considerable time in the future. Knowing if they might/will be upgraded would be helpful.

Thanks


Last edited by BarryE; 04-28-2015 at 03:03 AM.
04-28-2015, 02:41 AM   #2
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Any announcement of an updated/upgraded FAs will likely be a two-edged sword for both Ricoh and current owners of the FA.

If they announce it now, and if they still have a lot of new old stocks of these trio, that will probably grind sales to a near halt as most prospective customers will just wait for the update, and decide from there. Bad news for Ricoh. Ricoh will need all the cash they can get to increase probability of success for the FF.

If they announce it now, and the FA supplies have all dried up, and depending on the quality and amount of upgrade the new FAs will have, we'll either see a flood of FAs in the market, or we start seeing second hand prices climb to stratosphere.

My bet is that Ricoh will announce an update when the FA supplies in theie sales pipeline are almost dry, and be that as it may, Ricoh would allow the chips to fall wherever they would.

Personally, I'd rather keep the FA collection, and decide later if I should upgrade or not. If I will, I'd be losing a few hundred dollars, I guess. If the the updates are "meh", then I'd probably be losing more hundreds of dollars chasing the would-be then rare FAs and a few days of sleep. )
04-28-2015, 02:46 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
As they have an almost religious following, I suspect the idea of minor "improvements" to them will be abhorent to some.
Exactly this. Look at the SMC vs. HD lenses. The only difference is HD has better coatings and rounded aperture blades. But for some lenses, like DA 21mm and DA 15mm, this drastically change the way they render starbursts on highlights and bokeh in general. Now this is a very minor thing, but to many this was a big "problem". So its difficult to say if an HD DFA 77mm would be as popular as the SMC FA 77mm was/is.
But there are already some threads about these lenses. Seems they have been discontinued some time ago, so we can expect new lenses. Many Pentaxians think that lots of old F and FA series glass is more than good enough for modern FF camera (even showing tests on film and Sony FF cameras), but Pentax don't agree. They have already talked about some old designs not being up to their standards for FF. I suspect they will release a lot of new designs and very few revamps. Hope the FA limited lenses get a revamp, though. They are legendary, as you said
04-28-2015, 05:12 AM   #4
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The Model T Ford is legendary; that doesn't mean it should be produced in perpetuity. I'm sure Ricoh/Pentax has many criteria by which they judge whether and when to refresh their lineup. The only thing that is certain is that it will happen as long as the Company and brand remain viable. I do see more and more of the traditional function of lenses being shifted to the body. The most recent lenses all lack an aperture ring, for example, and all aperture functions are controlled in the camera body. This means a more consistent interface between camera and photographer but it also means less flexibility in using lenses on foreign or legacy bodies.

04-28-2015, 07:44 AM   #5
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If the FF camera is successful, it's likely these lenses will be updated or (the horror!) replaced. At the very least, the CA issues need to be addressed. For the short term, they will likely to remain as is. Ricoh has holes to fill in the lens lineup and re-designing successful current production lenses doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Of course, all we can do is guess at this point. My guess is that they will wait until the FF has been out for a while.
04-28-2015, 08:36 AM   #6
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Ricoh could simply update the coatings and add a few weather seals while keeping the screw drive focus and basic optical formula in tact to make them D-FA *. I'm just not sure what else Ricoh could do to something like that FA 77.
04-28-2015, 09:23 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Ricoh could simply update the coatings and add a few weather seals while keeping the screw drive focus and basic optical formula in tact to make them D-FA *. I'm just not sure what else Ricoh could do to something like that FA 77.
I agree, they shouldn't go further than this. Really IMO updating them could be a bad move as the expectations would be too high. "So, "if it's not broke, don't fix it." Make something distinctly new like D-FA*s.
04-28-2015, 10:23 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Trudger1272 Quote
I agree, they shouldn't go further than this. Really IMO updating them could be a bad move as the expectations would be too high. "So, "if it's not broke, don't fix it." Make something distinctly new like D-FA*s.


Agree with this, that is make something new. It's unlikely that a new design will totally replicate all aspects of the current FA limited line up, without changing something else. For example the very symptoms that cause some flare or CAs, might be the same characteristic which creates the beautiful "cinematic" type rendering of the existing FA lenses.


I am not saying don't do it, obviously they have to keep the set up to date, and demand for new great primes should be there if the body is successful. Just they will be different for sure. Whether that difference is worth "upgrading" etc is something we have to see.


The rendering and characteristics of the FF sensor is perhaps a more important point to mull over, as this is the "recorder" of the new format, and glass will need to be designed to make the best of it, or overcome it's limitations.

04-28-2015, 12:46 PM   #9
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Here's the other current thread.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/293525-fa-l...roduction.html
04-28-2015, 01:27 PM   #10
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They will probably just re-release them with HD like the other limiteds. I imagine they will probably release some DFA WR primes with SDM to go with the new FF as well.

Though some things shouldn't be messed with....the DA15 SMC will probably hold value pretty well, for example, because it produces much nicer starbursts than the newer HD version.
04-29-2015, 06:50 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
[...] I suspect the idea of minor "improvements" to them will be abhorent to some. But, maybe tweaks to make them even better might be possible. Maybe like the DA limiteds new coatings or quickshift or ...
When we speak of potential modifications/upgrades to lenses, anticipations rise all round, and expectations are varied.

For many today, the FA Limiteds are prized for their special rendering, that "look" they can impart to pictures. Hard to describe sometimes, and often impossible to measure, but real nonetheless, and beautiful.

As such, changes to this trio of lenses which could affect their rendering are understandably viewed with cautiousness, for therein lies the very essence of their greatness.

It is true that much development has taken place in the realm of lens design, and also, current vogue places greater importance on certain criteria in lens performance.

However, the above may or may not all necessarily gel with the original design brief of the FA Limiteds per Mr. Jun Hirakawa, in terms of the intended picture rendering to be attained.

In other words, "newest" and "best" can sometimes be quite relative, and cannot be automatically presumed to work to the best effect for lenses created in a different era with quite different rendering criteria in mind.

For example, the issue of purple fringing, an unfortunate side-effect of using film-era lenses with digital sensors. It is said that part of the design brief of DA type lenses was to overcome this problem which affected FA type lenses (one example being the FA77). Which is very good. We can see the fruits of this effort in the DA Limiteds for example, which are comparatively free from PF. But what happens when these design techniques are applied to the FA Limiteds? It seems quite possible that their rendering would be affected. In what way, it's of course hard for us to say now; perhaps the FA Limiteds may attain a more "DA" kind of look? This is surely something significant! End of the day, who knows, we might be overall better off correcting the PF via PP.

Again, rounded aperture blades, the current design trend intended to give more circular OOF highlights, could also significantly alter the unique bokeh nature of the FA43, causing it to lose its signature "texture" and character.

Again, the HD coatings, said to be "better" and shown to improve optical performance, could affect the rendering of the FA Limiteds. What the resultant effect will be remains to be seen. "Better" technically may or may not equate to "better" rendering-wise. Could it result in a more "digital" look? Is so, that would probably run counter to the film-like flavour of the FA Ltds. Admittedly subjective, but that's just how it is when it comes to things like lens rendering.

Also, it has been speculated/rumoured that certain optical parameters in the FA LTDs design were deliberately left only partially corrected. If current design methodology calls for more complete correction, and if this should result in the loss of the "3D effect" the FA LTDs are famed for, shall this be regarded as an "improvement"? Spec-sheet wise, yes; rendering-wise, that is another matter altogether.

Again it has been said that the FA Ltd's were so designed as to optimally render solid, three-dimensional objects, possibly at the expense of some uniformity of flat-field performance. If however current design vogue places more importance on the latter, then in all likelihood the former will be impacted, and the rendering of the FA Limiteds as we know it will change.

Thus in implementing any changes to the FA LTDs, I trust Ricoh-Pentax would exercise much caution when it comes to the rendering.

Other recent developments in lens design however, which have no bearing on rendering but serve to improve functionality, eg. WR, DC, QS, these would probably be generally welcome.

Last edited by KDAFA; 04-29-2015 at 10:03 AM.
04-29-2015, 11:04 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by KDAFA Quote
Again it has been said that the FA Ltd's were so designed as to optimally render solid, three-dimensional objects, possibly at the expense of some uniformity of flat-field performance. If however current design vogue places more importance on the latter, then in all likelihood the former will be impacted, and the rendering of the FA Limiteds as we know it will change.
i'd say that an update of optical formula can improve things without really changing the character of the lens.
For example : the DA*55 vs the FA50, both 1.4.
The DA*55 is quite well corrected for PF (there is some fringing @1.4 on objects, not on peoples), and is really sharper than the FA50.
If you look, the optical formula of the DA*55 use the same base with two thin elements in the middle and in the end of the diagram. It correct PF, help increasing micro-contrast and sharpness feelin, without changing the OOF spec or rendering.

DA*


FA


I would add that the difference between the DA70 and the FA77 is that the former have one less element than the second, but the formula remain the same

DA


FA


And by the way, did you notice that the formula looks very similar in all thoses lenses ? The 67 105 f2.4 also use that formula. Like the 43mm too.

Pentax really did use a lot the 7/6 formula (expanded Ultron*), and i'm pretty sure they will keep it, refine it a bit, but keep the core of it.

Some brands like Leica rely and used to rely on the same formula that they did improve over various generation, to get the most of it : Summicron 50/2 Version 4/5 with the formula 6/4 produce from 1979 to 2013, yes i'm speaking about you !

--
* Advanced Ultron : not Avengers related
04-29-2015, 11:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
i'd say that an update of optical formula can improve things without really changing the character of the lens.
For example : the DA*55 vs the FA50, both 1.4. [...]
If you look, the optical formula of the DA*55 use the same base with two thin elements in the middle and in the end of the diagram. It correct PF, help increasing micro-contrast and [...]

[...] I would add that the difference between the DA70 and the FA77 is that the former have one less element than the second, but the formula remain the same
Thanks for the effort of digging out all those dusty lens diagrams!

Yes, I understand that lens manufacturers do retain lens formulas for sometimes quite long periods - didn't realise it was that long with Leica!

But if I may respectfully point out, when we say that the modifications done for the DA*55 have increased the micro-contrast, that already implies that the lens' rendering has changed. Whether for the better or the worse is of course subjective, and it also depends on a user's personal taste. But the fact is that the rendering HAS changed.

Another case, of the DA70 compared alongside the FA77 - the "look" (rendering) produced by these two lenses is indeed very different, as seen in real world photos taken - even though they have a degree of similarity in formula.

In fact, it is precisely this difference in rendering flavour that caused me to agonise when choosing one of the two. I studied photos taken by both lenses and eventually went with the FA; nothing wrong at all with the DA, just a matter of personal preference as regards the rendering character.

So I believe similarity in lens formula alone cannot vouch for the lens' rendering character.

And since the issue at hand is precisely that - rendering, I hope that if Ricoh-Pentax plan to make modifications, that they'll take the pains to carefully evaluate any effects on the rendering.

Cheers!
04-29-2015, 11:58 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
Anyone any idea whether these lenses might be updated, with the release of the new FF ?

(A related question that does occur to me with these FAs: They are praised so highly by many, possibly because they are FF glass being used predominately on cropped sensor Pentaxes. I appreciate they were designed for film, and thus FF, but might they not be so stunning when used in new digital FFs when all the image circle will be used ?)


As they have an almost religious following, I suspect the idea of minor "improvements" to them will be abhorent to some. But, maybe tweaks to make them even better might be possible. Maybe like the DA limiteds new coatings or quickshift or ...

Like others, the path from the DA limiteds to the FAs that's been followed by many LBAs is now an even more natural route in preparation for a FF purchase, possibly some considerable time in the future. Knowing if they might/will be upgraded would be helpful.
The Zooms are being released this year 2015 and Primes in 2016.
04-29-2015, 02:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by KDAFA Quote
But if I may respectfully point out, when we say that the modifications done for the DA*55 have increased the micro-contrast, that already implies that the lens' rendering has changed. Whether for the better or the worse is of course subjective, and it also depends on a user's personal taste. But the fact is that the rendering HAS changed.
Indeed, the rendering of the lens is not the same. Of course not.
But, from my test, both lens render the OOF, the bokeh, the same way. The main difference is in the "in focus area" where the DA* is more natural in color, but has more micro-contrast.

So, of course, any "re-design" lens will be different from the original one, but the re-design can be done to maintain many of the lens rendering specification.

I would add that in the prime lens territory, the sharpness is not always the things that is the most developped. The Nikon 58mm 1.4 is far from being the sharpest lens wide open. But as the DA*55 it's very forgiving wide open for the subject. And the OOF area are absolutely marvelous.

Anyway, the new limited will be different than the previous one, and that's quite a good thing IMHO. There will be more choice for everyone taste. and wallet
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