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09-05-2018, 03:19 PM - 1 Like   #46
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Bruce you're being kind with the 20% remark

You'll quickly realise that what you lose out on in terms of bokeh and aperture, you gain in contrast and rendering. It's really not a significant drop in bokeh/smoothness at all. You'll love the choice you've made. Next step, FA*85!

09-05-2018, 05:37 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by HarisF1 Quote
Bruce you're being kind with the 20% remark

You'll quickly realise that what you lose out on in terms of bokeh and aperture, you gain in contrast and rendering. It's really not a significant drop in bokeh/smoothness at all. You'll love the choice you've made. Next step, FA*85!
The FA77 bokeh is exceptional and aperture is just a number. Getting something in focus besides the pupil of one eye has distinct advantages in most portrait photography. Agree completely about rendering. I looked at the Samyang 85mm but all the images I saw on Flickr just had a certain flatness to them. But you'll see as you start accumulating winners.
09-05-2018, 08:12 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrea K Quote
With the Limiteds, at least the FA Limiteds, you can not think in terms of focal length or maximum aperture. Trust me.
I think in terms of rendering and coverage. Not very interested in extreme sharpness.
And of course in terms of already available alternatives. I often use the 77mm because, while I have other great portrait lenses, none of them is AF (and all but one are much bigger).
The main reason I didn't buy the 31mm is that I don't deem the AF as necessary at that focal, and if I need AF I already have the FA 2/35MM, and if I ever shoot APS-C, the Sigma 30mm. Talking of rendition (and good enough sharpness), I have the K 2/28mm and K 3.5/28mm, the Soligor C/D 2/28mm, and the Samyang 1.4/35mm. All of them are wonderful lenses, each one in its own way.
I guess you can understand that investing a substantial amount of money in a new lens has to serve a purpose that in my case has to go beyond collector's appetite. I am not so sure it would, so I hesitated.
Of course the perspective of a young/new Pentax enthusiast who's starting, or completing, his/her lens arsenal would be different. The three FA Limited are small, unconventional, well built objectives with great rendition (and a couple of not so terrible shortcomings). If I just bought a K-1 and had no good primes for it, I would try to buy them all. All have something special that a do-it-all zoom won't ever give.
Though I believe it takes some experience to understand what they have to offer over the very good performance of a modern zoom. You don't buy esoteric hi-fi if you think your stereo is already playing more than fine...
All considered, I still believe that the 77mm is the one that has the least alternatives. It has AF, a beautiful bokeh, and in my personal experience trumps high status lenses like the CZJ Pancolar 1.8/80mm.
The 43mm is not at the same level, IMHO.
If you had any 50mm AF, and any f/1.2 MF, would you buy the 43mm (which costs second-hand more or less like the other two fifties together)?
09-06-2018, 12:42 AM - 2 Likes   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by kernos Quote
The FA77 bokeh is exceptional and aperture is just a number. Getting something in focus besides the pupil of one eye has distinct advantages in most portrait photography. Agree completely about rendering. I looked at the Samyang 85mm but all the images I saw on Flickr just had a certain flatness to them. But you'll see as you start accumulating winners.
Here's some Sammy goodness that might make you think twice about it, no flatness here

f1.4



f1.8



f1.8



f1.6






f1.6





09-06-2018, 01:42 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
I think in terms of rendering and coverage. Not very interested in extreme sharpness.
And of course in terms of already available alternatives. I often use the 77mm because, while I have other great portrait lenses, none of them is AF (and all but one are much bigger).
The main reason I didn't buy the 31mm is that I don't deem the AF as necessary at that focal, and if I need AF I already have the FA 2/35MM, and if I ever shoot APS-C, the Sigma 30mm. Talking of rendition (and good enough sharpness), I have the K 2/28mm and K 3.5/28mm, the Soligor C/D 2/28mm, and the Samyang 1.4/35mm. All of them are wonderful lenses, each one in its own way.
I think that your perspective isn't right about the FA Limiteds. You can't say "I don't buy the FA 31mm because I already have the FA 35mm"... I repeat: you can't think in mm or f stops terms with the Limiteds.
I have each and the ratio of shots between the two is 99% with the Limited.... the FA 35mm is a good lens, sharp, decent bokeh, f/2.0 but it does not have the pixie dust inside.
Seriously, the key with the Limiteds is the solid objects rendering, the pop up effect that isn't all about bokeh. In this field the K 28 f/3.5, that I also own and is a sort of 3D lens, is better than the FA 35 but can't compete with the Limited.

QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
The 43mm is not at the same level, IMHO.
If you had any 50mm AF, and any f/1.2 MF, would you buy the 43mm (which costs second-hand more or less like the other two fifties together)?
It's a different lens. You are right, not so sharp than the 77mm, and other 50mm range lenses, but it has a different purpose that probably does not suit you.
I have all the 50mm AF and MF, included the f/1.2, include some special versions... wonderful lenses... the best are the A f/1.2 and a special FA f/1.4 dedicated to the worldwide Pentax representatives.... but the 43mm has the right focal length
09-06-2018, 02:19 AM - 1 Like   #51
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FA 43mm f1.9 limited is the perfect walk around lens and the image from viewfinder is very close to the human eye. It's not without reason that it's a legendary lens. It's sharp but not too sharp wide open ( ideal for portraits ) 3D effect and unic bokeh are amazing.

Have a look Gosia Jurasz photos, she is Pentax Ambassador and she loves FA 43mm.

Gosia Jurasz Fotografia (@gosiajurasz) ? Instagram photos and videos

Last edited by irek83; 09-06-2018 at 02:32 AM.
09-06-2018, 02:21 AM   #52
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You need a sponsor for the 43mm Limited?
There is Luminous Landscape: sm-02-05-02 - Luminous Landscape
09-06-2018, 02:33 AM   #53
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@Andrea K, This review was written when the K-1 was not on the market yet and actually the FA31 on the crop was better. Now a more useful lens is FA 43

09-06-2018, 03:37 AM   #54
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FA Limiteds on crop factor!?!
09-06-2018, 03:52 AM   #55
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Pentax SMC-FA 31mm f/1.8 AL Limited - Review / Test Report
09-06-2018, 04:47 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
I am willing to take a 20% step back in optical performance to gain a significant advantage in all other areas
Let the 77 grow on you, I'll believe after a while you'll say it's a step to the side, not a step back. It does some things differently, maybe, but not worse
09-06-2018, 05:07 AM - 2 Likes   #57
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The portraits you show are good, but the rendering is restrained which for some photos just works, particularly with the first portrait. I agree with bdery, the FA77 has a different aesthetic. I think these flower pictures (of which I have a whole lot more experience) illustrates how the 77 sees.

f2.2


f5.6

09-06-2018, 05:49 AM - 2 Likes   #58
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FA77 F1.8
All wide open, only last two are stops to f2.8



















09-06-2018, 07:13 AM - 2 Likes   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrea K Quote
I think that your perspective isn't right about the FA Limiteds. You can't say "I don't buy the FA 31mm because I already have the FA 35mm"... I repeat: you can't think in mm or f stops terms with the Limiteds.
I have each and the ratio of shots between the two is 99% with the Limited.... the FA 35mm is a good lens, sharp, decent bokeh, f/2.0 but it does not have the pixie dust inside.
Seriously, the key with the Limiteds is the solid objects rendering, the pop up effect that isn't all about bokeh. In this field the K 28 f/3.5, that I also own and is a sort of 3D lens, is better than the FA 35 but can't compete with the Limited.
This is not what I meant.
Comparing the rendering of the 31mm Limited with the FA 35 mm (from what I've seen), would be a stretch. The FA is a solid lens though.
I simply wrote that TOGETHER the lenses I own (around the same focal) are an alternative, thus the purchase is not an imperative. Especially considering the high price.
If I need AF, which is not common, I use he FA. That's all. Other way I go for the others.
The Soligor has great bokeh, and the "Pentax Distagon" 2/28mm has great performance at close range. The Samyang has great sharpness, very controlled fringing, and if you want crisp, contrasty pictures there are no film era lenses that can beat its amazing performance.
Actually I think that the Samyang 35mm and 135mm slap in the face any film lens.
If you are after a certain kind of rendition, far from the clinical eye of the Sammy, a number of cheap vintage lenses can do wonders. Under controlled lighting even an humble Meyer Lydith provides for beautiful pictures... and terrible ones in different shooting conditions
I am not dismissing the 31mm, just trying to explain that IMHO it sits roughly in between the different optics I mentioned. A good choice if you plan to use only one lens, not as convenient (economically speaking) if you already have plenty of choice.
What makes the Limiteds special, in their own peculiar way, is not the word "Limited", it's the original approach of the talented optical engineer who set the goal of those projects. As always happens in optics, the blanket is too short, and choices had to be made. I highly appreciate the approach, but nobody makes miracles, stretching the blanket over your head invariably leaves your feet in the cold.
A simple example: in my experience the A Star 1.4/85mm is actually sharper than the Limited, but I use the latter much more than the former, cause I like the way it renders.

QuoteQuote:
It's a different lens. You are right, not so sharp than the 77mm, and other 50mm range lenses, but it has a different purpose that probably does not suit you.
I have all the 50mm AF and MF, included the f/1.2, include some special versions... wonderful lenses... the best are the A f/1.2 and a special FA f/1.4 dedicated to the worldwide Pentax representatives.... but the 43mm has the right focal length
Well, I guess it comes to personal taste.
I always like a little bit longer than most do. For portraits I tend to prefer a 100 or a 135.
If the release of the D FA lowers the prices, I'd rather go for the 55mm (even if Pentax does not consider it full frame and doesn't even embed a profile in the firmware of the K-1).
All in all, with all due respect for the peculiarity of the Limited family, I stick to my original opinion.
The 77mm is the only one that really stands out and is not easily replaceable by anything else available to PK users.
If price was no objection, I'm sure you understand how much I would like to try them all.
Reality is different, and at least I'm happy I started buying nice Pentax lenses at the end of the seventies, and stuck in digital time to my beloved film lenses waiting for the chimera of full frame (with most saying it would never come). Check my old posts on this forum, few agreed and most saw my opinions as a bit funny, if not kind of delusional. Here we are, with the K-1 II... Regarding the highly controversial field of lens choice, I'm still trying to use plain boring common sense. Trying to stay away from fanboysm and excessive brand loyalty, looking at the fact I know and the pictures I see.
I might be completely wrong, but I try my best to not be victim of prejudice, in positive and in negative.

P.S.
The Sammy 1.4/85mm is no slouch either.
The previous post confirms that with its pictures
Off topic:
If extreme bokeh and speed are not needed, I found that some consumer zooms can give surprisingly good portraits.
Some FA zooms of the time of the MZ's are way, way better than similar zooms made in the seventies/early eighties.
All the "silver" ones are at least "good enough", and the last version of the 28-105mm is amazing.
This forum can be very useful. I read of the great colors and contrast of that lens, was not happy with the price of the new D FA (after all it's a kit lens!), and decided to buy one, well... two, to keep the best.
The reviews were spot on. I took many Velvia-style, saturated, contrasted pics with it, reviewing them on the computer screen left me speechless. Just got to stop down a little...
I still have both. They perform more or less the same, so I guess I'll keep the one that came with the original hood.
The forum has helped me look for a lens I would never consider without access to relevant information.
I hope our exchange of different opinions and different points of view would help to widen the perspective of those who are considering the purchase of an FA Limited, with some awareness of possible alternatives.

Last edited by cyberjunkie; 09-06-2018 at 08:28 AM.
09-06-2018, 01:51 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by kernos Quote
The portraits you show are good, but the rendering is restrained which for some photos just works, particularly with the first portrait. I agree with bdery, the FA77 has a different aesthetic. I think these flower pictures (of which I have a whole lot more experience) illustrates how the 77 sees.

f2.2


f5.6

Nice shots

I simply meant to illustrate that a focal length of 85 with an aperture of f1.4 (and shooting at f1.6 and nailing it right) does something that the FA 77 just cannot compete with. But that doesn't mean to say it would take a poorer shot, where it might lesson in bokeh and 3d punch compared to the sammy, it will make up for it in many ways, least of all size, compactness, colours and having AF. I mean... do you think I managed these shots perfectly with the Sammy first attempt? Heck no... lol
I'm just at a point that I must get some AF back in my life, too many missed shots of candid portrait stuff because no AF. And I welcome all the other bonuses that come with the FA 77, but if someone is honestly just concerned with still portrait shooting and can manage MF I will suggest the Samyang 85/1.4 everytime, it is a beast, and also considering price differences it walks away with the value prize.

My Sammy is now for sale, I have to recoup the cost of the FA77, however I have my eye on the Sammy 135 for another day

Fwiw from the few test shots I played with in the garden with the FA 77, it's not a great flower lens, you can't get that close to flowers as well as other lenses for that insane detail+bokeh look. Check out the Samyang 135/2 for flower shots


QuoteOriginally posted by irek83 Quote
FA77 F1.8
All wide open, only last two are stops to f2.8



















Yeah your shots totally persuaded me this FA77 was a good idea =) Excellent, and whilst I can see that the Samyang 85 might punch the subject out more, or resolve that bokeh better, the FA 77 is no slouch, and adds other qualities to the shot. It's not all about insane bokeh, and having AF, size, compactness easily makes up for it. I'm looking forward to really putting it to work =)

QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
This is not what I meant.
Comparing the rendering of the 31mm Limited with the FA 35 mm (from what I've seen), would be a stretch. The FA is a solid lens though.
I simply wrote that TOGETHER the lenses I own (around the same focal) are an alternative, thus the purchase is not an imperative. Especially considering the high price.
If I need AF, which is not common, I use he FA. That's all. Other way I go for the others.
The Soligor has great bokeh, and the "Pentax Distagon" 2/28mm has great performance at close range. The Samyang has great sharpness, very controlled fringing, and if you want crisp, contrasty pictures there are no film era lenses that can beat its amazing performance.
Actually I think that the Samyang 35mm and 135mm slap in the face any film lens.
If you are after a certain kind of rendition, far from the clinical eye of the Sammy, a number of cheap vintage lenses can do wonders. Under controlled lighting even an humble Meyer Lydith provides for beautiful pictures... and terrible ones in different shooting conditions
I am not dismissing the 31mm, just trying to explain that IMHO it sits roughly in between the different optics I mentioned. A good choice if you plan to use only one lens, not as convenient (economically speaking) if you already have plenty of choice.
What makes the Limiteds special, in their own peculiar way, is not the word "Limited", it's the original approach of the talented optical engineer who set the goal of those projects. As always happens in optics, the blanket is too short, and choices had to be made. I highly appreciate the approach, but nobody makes miracles, stretching the blanket over your head invariably leaves your feet in the cold.
A simple example: in my experience the A Star 1.4/85mm is actually sharper than the Limited, but I use the latter much more than the former, cause I like the way it renders.



Well, I guess it comes to personal taste.
I always like a little bit longer than most do. For portraits I tend to prefer a 100 or a 135.
If the release of the D FA lowers the prices, I'd rather go for the 55mm (even if Pentax does not consider it full frame and doesn't even embed a profile in the firmware of the K-1).
All in all, with all due respect for the peculiarity of the Limited family, I stick to my original opinion.
The 77mm is the only one that really stands out and is not easily replaceable by anything else available to PK users.
If price was no objection, I'm sure you understand how much I would like to try them all.
Reality is different, and at least I'm happy I started buying nice Pentax lenses at the end of the seventies, and stuck in digital time to my beloved film lenses waiting for the chimera of full frame (with most saying it would never come). Check my old posts on this forum, few agreed and most saw my opinions as a bit funny, if not kind of delusional. Here we are, with the K-1 II... Regarding the highly controversial field of lens choice, I'm still trying to use plain boring common sense. Trying to stay away from fanboysm and excessive brand loyalty, looking at the fact I know and the pictures I see.
I might be completely wrong, but I try my best to not be victim of prejudice, in positive and in negative.

P.S.
The Sammy 1.4/85mm is no slouch either.
The previous post confirms that with its pictures
Off topic:
If extreme bokeh and speed are not needed, I found that some consumer zooms can give surprisingly good portraits.
Some FA zooms of the time of the MZ's are way, way better than similar zooms made in the seventies/early eighties.
All the "silver" ones are at least "good enough", and the last version of the 28-105mm is amazing.
This forum can be very useful. I read of the great colors and contrast of that lens, was not happy with the price of the new D FA (after all it's a kit lens!), and decided to buy one, well... two, to keep the best.
The reviews were spot on. I took many Velvia-style, saturated, contrasted pics with it, reviewing them on the computer screen left me speechless. Just got to stop down a little...
I still have both. They perform more or less the same, so I guess I'll keep the one that came with the original hood.
The forum has helped me look for a lens I would never consider without access to relevant information.
I hope our exchange of different opinions and different points of view would help to widen the perspective of those who are considering the purchase of an FA Limited, with some awareness of possible alternatives.
Yeah the Samyang 135/2 is on my future buy list, for now I also have an adequate Takumar 135/2.5 for that distance. I just felt that having a 77 and a 85 was doubling up too much, 85 had to go :'(
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