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12-08-2008, 12:12 PM   #1
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What the.... ?! New FA 50, focus ring jiggle.

OK, ...so I just bought a brand new FA 50 1.4, and put it on an ME Super I just scored off the forums, to have a peek. I immediately discovered that there's play in the focusing ring, and if you shift it side-to-side rather than rotating, the image actually shifts in the viewfinder. That can't be right, can it?

12-08-2008, 12:18 PM   #2
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Well, AF lenses are known to be built with loose tolerances to reduce resistance to the motor. A tiny bit of play is normal, and you might notice that in the viewfinder (DA 16-45 fully extended, etc).

Doesn't sound good though, can you bring it back and compare to another model?
12-08-2008, 12:26 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
Well, AF lenses are known to be built with loose tolerances to reduce resistance to the motor. A tiny bit of play is normal, and you might notice that in the viewfinder (DA 16-45 fully extended, etc).

Doesn't sound good though, can you bring it back and compare to another model?
Eh, I don't know what people are supposed to put up with these days, or therefore what constitutes 'a little' but I've retired MF lenses for less. Is whatever 'play' considered 'normal' still going to allow sharpness?

I can't just go to a store and compare: I'd have to send it back to Adorama. If I could take it back to a store to compare, I wouldn't have left with it without darn good explanation.

(I should add that my digital body hasn't arrived yet, so I can't really tell how much this might affect sharpness or proper focus. This *is* the first AF lens I've ever owned.)

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 12-08-2008 at 12:32 PM.
12-08-2008, 12:34 PM   #4
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Well my mate has an FA 50, and barring the cheap plastic barrel that scratches easily, the build quality was quite good. Since primes (usually) only extend a bit to focus at close distances, it should barely be noticeable on camera.

If the front group of elements moves under normal focussing operation (turning the ring, not pressing it to one side), then you might have a problem.

When I had the DA limiteds, my 70mm had just a whisper of looseness in the barrel, the rest were quite tight.

12-08-2008, 12:48 PM   #5
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(I messed up the quoting, so just using quote marks for Csoars.

"Well my mate has an FA 50, and barring the cheap plastic barrel that scratches easily, the build quality was quite good. Since primes (usually) only extend a bit to focus at close distances, it should barely be noticeable on camera."

Not sure what extending has to do with it.

"If the front group of elements moves under normal focussing operation (turning the ring, not pressing it to one side), then you might have a problem."

Well, it's possible to not move the ring while focusing, but I don't think it's the very front element that's moving. The image jumps, though, by maybe an eighth of an inch if you were looking at a negative, though.

If the front of the barrel were moving around, I wouldn't have needed to put it on a camera to see when I first inspected. I'd presumed that the focusing ring just wasn't directly connected to optics in that manner.

"When I had the DA limiteds, my 70mm had just a whisper of looseness in the barrel, the rest were quite tight."

Well, this obviously isn't a DA Limited. I still need to know if I have a bad one, though. I wasn't expecting any reason to doubt. Anyone know from this? I had the impression practically everyone had one of these.
12-08-2008, 05:30 PM   #6
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I haven't ever used the FA50, so I couldn't tell you if your issue is out of the ordinary.

If you should decide to return the FA50, exchange it for a FA43/1.9 Ltd. Yeah, it's a good bit more expensive the FA50, but it's built solidly--no plastic and it has excellent IQ, to boot. I had one 43, sold it, regretted it, and considered replacing it with the FA50. After reading a couple of anecdotes about it falling apart under normal use, I opted to bite the bullet and get another 43.

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12-08-2008, 06:19 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
OK, ...so I just bought a brand new FA 50 1.4, and put it on an ME Super I just scored off the forums, to have a peek. I immediately discovered that there's play in the focusing ring, and if you shift it side-to-side rather than rotating, the image actually shifts in the viewfinder. That can't be right, can it?
I just tried mine - there's certainly some play inthe focusing ring - not too different from other FA lenses that I've got. I see none of the image shifting that you mention.

Jer
12-08-2008, 08:57 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sailor Quote
I just tried mine - there's certainly some play inthe focusing ring - not too different from other FA lenses that I've got. I see none of the image shifting that you mention.

Jer
Tsk. *#&$&@.

I was almost hoping to hear this was normal. Now I'll be without money *and* without a single lens this month, it looks like.

(No,there's just plain not money there to spend three times as much on a Limited, Heather, it's not there. Besides, this lens is more to do the job of like an 85 than like a 65. )

I can't believe I strained the budget for the holidays, only to end up with no lens... and end up out the return shipping and insurance... that'll only make things even worse. I had no expectation that buying brand new would result in this.

(update there: I'm *not* out the shipping. Yay. I guess whatever I read about that didn't apply to sending something back defective. This, at least, makes me glad I didn't go with a company I don't know so well to save ten bucks. )


That's on a manual focus body, then, Sailor? I'm wondering if there's some fool thing where there's slack when the focus drive isn't engaged or something.

In the long run I would prefer not to be forced to deal with this kind of jiggle, anyway, but, darn, this blows.


Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 12-09-2008 at 10:22 AM. Reason: This just in... :)
12-09-2008, 08:06 AM   #9
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I don't suppose anyone else can confirm these lenses don't just do this? Reassure that most just aren't like this? (Yes, I'm a worrier) I'm about to call the store and find out how long it'll take to process an exchange.

(I'm *considering* delaying the return long enough to confirm the body I have coming is operational, at least, but that'd end up making it that much longer before I got actually shooting.)
12-09-2008, 08:24 AM   #10
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Waiting for the new body to come sounds like a plan. If it doesn't work properly, then you'll know for sure to return it. In the meantime, if you don't mind manual focus, you can always pick up an A50/1.7--an excellent lens that might cost you $100, usually less.

Heather
12-09-2008, 12:04 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by hwblanks Quote
Waiting for the new body to come sounds like a plan. If it doesn't work properly, then you'll know for sure to return it. In the meantime, if you don't mind manual focus, you can always pick up an A50/1.7--an excellent lens that might cost you $100, usually less.

Heather
Thanks for that. I actually just sent the lens back, though, ...it turned out the delay wasn't bound to be weeks and weeks, so I decided not to fuss.


I looked into starting with one of those 1.7s and a cheap kit lens, but the money was the same as just starting with the FA 50, and I wanted to start with the one thing just right, and in a configuration where I could test and learn everything. With my film work, a Canon 85 1.8 lives on the primary body probably eighty percent of the time, (and half the time when I go to the 50 1.2, it's solely for the speed so I can see to focus) ...so this move really seemed to make sense, even if it was plunking down a bunch all at once. (I got very, very fortunate as regards what I found to trade for my K20, but that wasn't free, either, and that ate my little buffer, especially since I'd just invested in my darkroom when the opportunity arose. Can't regret *that,* though. If this body can't suffice for a few years at least, someone must be paying me. )

Anyway, I'm probably going to end up with a lot of 50ish lenses before too too long. They're abundant and just happen to translate into the range of 'my thing.' I think I have a gift of not being a lens fiend, but, I mean, the 1.7 A? A 55 Tak? 58 Nokton? The new 55? Candy store. Forget about it. )

I anticipate I will want MF ones for when my eyes are good and the AF speed bugs me, but I want the AF for a crutch if eye fatigue makes me actually slower. (My vision's actually good, still 20/20 at least, but I'm subject to muscle fatigue, and that includes what focuses those eyes: I have a little astigmatism that becomes a big deal when my eyes get tired of compensating and decide to go on strike. ) I want to do a little trade covering local bands in small venues and otherwise document some night life.)

So, we'll see. Practicality says I can probably split the next two months between something like an 18-50 2.8 and batteries and cards and incidentals, or a bunch of cheap old things and all.
Sentiment and the long view says there's a deal I was offered on a fast FA 28. That might win. Especially when I say it like that.

But, really, after the bases are covered, the real fun begins, lenswise. I like quirky, I like character, I like the oddball find that has pleasing qualities of non-perfection... (And I love the old Pentax glass, that which kind of goes yellow. Not sure where that stopped and started: early SMC? )

It's just like, there's these couple things I want just right, and certain things that need to be presentably-OK, so I can at least have the gear be reliable. There's a bit of chatter.
12-09-2008, 08:31 PM   #12
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I don't know if you're aware of the Katz Eye focusing screens that you can get to replace the standard screen in your DSLR--these are the split-focus screens like you find on the manual film SLRs. That might help when your eyes start acting up.

Pentax DSLRs - Katz Eye Optics

Yeah, they're kind of expensive, but in your case, it might be worth it if you really want to get into the old MF glass.

Heather
12-09-2008, 10:07 PM   #13
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Sorry to hear this.

There is no play on my focus ring. I would get a return ASAP.
12-10-2008, 05:57 AM   #14
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This is kinda useless as you've sent back the lens, but I bought a very nice 28mm A series lens a few months back at a premium from a on line used camera dealer (not KEH). I was freaked out by the same exact issue, a little bit of play in the ring, and if you pushed the ring just right you could see the image "shift" in the viewfinder.

I was able to snag another 28mm A locally and was going to ship the "bad" lens back to the dealer when I started comparing the resulting images from each lens... the loose lens had the magic. The images were unbelievably crisp, the contrast was classic, top-flight Pentax. To heck with it, I kept the wiggly lens and wound up selling it's replacement on the forums.

So I guess the point is that my old A lens was probably 20 years old and hadn't fallen apart due to the wiggle ... and wound up taking fabulous images. I'm not afraid of some play in a lens within reason as long as the images it creates is what I expected from a Pentax lens in the first place.

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12-10-2008, 06:10 AM   #15
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I have a copy of the lens in question and the focus ring on mine is rock solid - no play whatsoever.

Good idea to return it!

(We need a 'thumbs-up' smiley.)
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