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05-22-2020, 11:29 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Pentax 43 mm f1.9

I didn't think it was possible but I just got my copy of the 43 mm f1.9 and preliminary results show that it's sharper than my 31 mm and 77 mm. This lens is incredibly sharp to the point where its a little scary. I got the silver version straight from Japan but it looks a little dorky on my Black K5 IIs.

05-22-2020, 11:35 AM   #2
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The 43 is softer on the edges, but the center is amazing. My favorite lens for sure.
05-22-2020, 12:11 PM - 1 Like   #3
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The 43 is a superb lens, versatile and reliable.

Food for thought:

SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Comparing the 3 Pentax FA Limited Primes - Hands-On Tests | PentaxForums.com
05-22-2020, 12:57 PM   #4
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FA 43 has a lot of character, as all FA limiteds do. They are still great. Lot of measurbators just look at ’bad things’ but they are better than that. Enjoy your FA 43.

05-22-2020, 01:29 PM   #5
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it was the first

followed by the 77mm

and then the 31mm

I've got and like the 43 and 77, tried the 31 but haven't bought one yet
05-22-2020, 03:09 PM   #6
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Congratulations! The 43 is great for sure - I think there must be some bad copies out there as there as are some harsh reviews.

Mine is silver too and made in Japan (although I'm not convinced that makes any difference).

I mostly use mine on the K-1 where is a near perfect general purpose walk around focal length.
In terms of sharpness on FF, mine is pretty sharp from wide open (although lower contrast) and even the corners are not too bad (although noticeably soft if you pixel peep). Obviously it vignettes quite a bit on FF. Corners looking pretty good by f2.8 and everything is tack sharp by f5.6.
In my tests there is quite a noticeable change between f1.9 and f2 (vignetting decreases somewhat but contrast increases a lot) and so its quite common for me to use mine at f2.

I like the OOF rendering too - certainly significantly better than the DA40 IMO.

Enjoy!
05-22-2020, 04:23 PM   #7
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Congrats! I have a 77 that I'm having a lot of fun with... and I haven't gone for the 43 because I keep telling myself that the F50/1.7 does the job . I'm not sure I'll keep the LBA at bay forever, though.

The 31 will have to wait because I'm not made of money and the D FA 21 is getting uncomfortably close
05-22-2020, 05:17 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I’d sell the 31 and the 77 but I’d never part with the 43 😊

05-22-2020, 07:51 PM   #9
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Well, as it is, my fav of these FF Limiteds is the FA 77mm, but on a FF body, the FA 43mm would be very versatile as a walk-around compact beauty, as it has been on my 35mm film bodies.
05-22-2020, 10:31 PM   #10
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Yep one of the most unique lenses ever made. The silver version looks really sharp as well.

Phil.
05-22-2020, 10:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
Congratulations! The 43 is great for sure - I think there must be some bad copies out there as there as are some harsh reviews.
I'm not sure there are many bad reviews on this site, as the rating for the lens is 9.47. Though there was one guy who got one a couple years ago (Mad Math Mind) who really didn't like it at all. It seems like he might have gotten a bad copy, or else just really preferred a different look. If you search you can see his specific comments on it.
05-28-2020, 02:46 AM   #12
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Saw this thread and thought I’d chime in. Congratulations on your acquisition! To my understanding there is not a difference in quality between the, “ASSEMBLED IN VIETNAM” and the, “MADE IN JAPAN”, though there may have been a higher rate of defective lenses coming out of the Vietnam factory just because it took them a bit to get everything ironed out from when they first started up.

However there is, to my understanding, quite a bit of difference between some 43’s and other 43’s. This is because they have different glass!

Now in case you don’t know, creating a lens of exactly 43mm, was chosen because that would be a true, “normal” millimeter length for, “Full Frame”. Over 43 and it technically becomes a telephoto, and below 43 it technically becomes a wide angle lens. Making a lens of exactly 43mm though was difficult, but Pentax decided to demonstrate their prowess at designing lenses by making a lens of not only exactly 43mm, but also made it a lens both great in its rendering and small in size, (this was the main problem of making a lens of 43mm as most optical strategies for creating this millimeter length, called for a bulky lens, and then here comes Pentax with this virtually pancake 43mm lens).

Now when the 43 was designed, it was designed to use leaded glass! Leaded glass has numerous optical advantages, so it was commonly used in lens designs. So the 43 was being produced with leaded glass, to rave reviews. However Japan passed a law that prohibited the use of lead for certain applications, (such as making glass and I believe paint). With this law change in Japan Pentax was forced to make their next run of the 43mm lenses with non-leaded glass! They also had to switch to nonleaded glass for every other design that called for leaded glass, including the 77mm! Now the 77 though it was designed to use leaded glass, when later productions used nonleaded glass the optical design survived fairly well, without a huge amount of difference being noticed. However to my understanding, the 43’s optical design did not survive as well as the 77, or in other words the 43’s optical design working correctly was very dependent on the leaded glass that was called for when it was initially designed.

This could be a reason why a lot of people believe the made in Japan lenses are better, as many of the made in Japan lenses, that were designed to be used with leaded glass got created there with leaded glass, however by the time they went to Vietnam all those lens designs that called for leaded glass were no longer being made with the leaded glass, so you never get a Vietnam lens that uses the intended leaded glass, while many, (but not all) of the made in Japan lenses were created with the intended leaded glass.

You can tell if you have a leaded version of the 43, by:

#1, its serial number, (I forget the cut off number for when they switched to nonleaded glass, but that information can be looked up).

#2, if you have the original aluminum lens cap, the leaded version will have black velvet instead of green, and the word Pentax will be printed on the front of the cap in black lettering, rather than being engraved into the metal.

#3, I believe all the leaded versions have visible screws on the side of the focusing ring itself, while the non-leaded versions do not have screws on the focusing ring.

Hope something I’ve written here is interesting!

Last edited by SGOMMO7; 05-28-2020 at 12:17 PM. Reason: grammar
05-28-2020, 04:48 AM   #13
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Mine came with the original Pentax leather pouch. I have since purchased leather pouches for my 31mm and 77mm from eBay.
05-28-2020, 08:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SGOMMO7 Quote
Hope something I’ve written here is interesting!
Yes, I found it interesting.

Over the years, I've read occasional mentions of the early leaded-glass construction, but none as detailed as your post. However, I've never seen any references to the original source of the information.

It would be great if we were able to read a definitive statement, especially if it came from an official source such as Asahi Optical Company or Pentax Corporation. Would you happen to have links to any historical references or comparisons of images taken with the two different lens constructions? It would be interesting to read.

Thanks.

- Craig
05-28-2020, 09:21 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SGOMMO7 Quote
Now in case you don’t know, creating a lens of exactly 43mm, was chosen because that would be a true, “normal” millimeter length for, “Full Frame”. Over 43 and it technically becomes a telephoto, and below 43 it technically becomes a wide angle lens. Making a lens of exactly 43mm though was difficult, but Pentax decided to demonstrate their prowess at designing lenses made a lens of not only exactly 43mm, but also made it a lens both great in its rendering and small in size, (this was the main problem of making a lens of 43mm as most optical strategies for creating this millimeter length, called for a bulky lens, and then here comes Pentax with this virtually pancake 43mm lens).
According to one of the men who worked on the FA43...

QuoteQuote:
The first lens to be made was the FA 43mm. The intention was to make a classic normal lens to start with, and 43mm was chosen as the optimal focal length to achieve their design goals - faster than f2 and with a filter diameter of 49mm. There was a precedent for forty-something lenses from old rangefinders, and people had found that useful as their only lens. The fact that 43mm was the diagonal of 35mm film frame was not a principle that informed the design. However, they ended up using that coincidence as a marketing narrative when sales felt they needed to justify the unconventional choice.
The FA Limited Development Story (also a little DA Limited) - PentaxForums.com
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