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12-08-2008, 07:30 PM   #1
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Limited sets, DA vs FA... Need some guidance

I've been thinking about this for a while, but haven't really made any headway.

I'm LBA fantasizing about a 3 lens set of LTDs to carry around with me in lieu of a zoom or two.

The advantages and disadvantages of FA vs DA LTDs seem fairly clear to me at this point. Taken individually, the FAs are faster and have more "myth" about them, and are FF. But the DAs, while being slower, are smaller, lighter, cheaper, and have quick-shift.

As a set, the FAs seem too long for APS-C, with the DAs fitting much better. But even the DAs seem a bit narrow on the wide end, and quite a bit slower. Also, a big part of the reason I'm looking at doing a set of 3 is for the compactness (for everyday carry), and here the DAs win easily.

I suppose mixing might work out, but then, the satisfaction of completing the series is gone.

I'd really appreciate your insights, especially those who've been through a similar thought process.

I'm really trying to avoid somehow acquiring the full LTD collection.

For background about my goals, I'm pretty new at semi-serious photography, but have been reading everything I can find, and taking pictures whenever I can. I believe I do want to be able to shoot both primes and zooms, and I think having a prime kit will let me work on visualizing perspective and FOV. I'm hoping to get to the point where I can frame a shot in my mind, including distance from subject and focal length choice.

So far I've got a FA31, DA35 and DA40.

The fantasy kit at the moment seems to be:
DA15 (to be announced?)
FA31
FA77

Or just the DA pancakes for the compact-ness.

You see what I mean about not getting anywhere.

12-08-2008, 08:12 PM   #2
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You're certainly not the first to be torn between the DA's and FA's. The most common differentiating factors include speed, focal length, focus speed, full frame capabilities, lens size, price and owning the full "suite".
In my case full frame, and price difference between the DA's vs FA's have not been the deciding factors (nor are wanting to "complete" the set.) I went with the 31 because it seemed to recieve amoung the best feedback of any lens, and the focal length and speed were a great fit for me. Same reason for going with the 77 (specifically the kid's low light concerts being viewed from the cheap seats.) Having said that, if I could do it again, considering the rave reviews for the 35 LTD macro, I might have opted for it instead of the 31, had it been available? Re completing the set, I am not in the least bit tempted to acquire the 43, simply because the focal length in not at the top of my list. (Instead I opted for the 10-17 fisheye.)
What's missing for me, is the apparent quick focus advantage of the DA's over the FA's for the action shots of the kids, but not enough of a priority to give up the additional FA speed. Then again, while shooting outside the other day, the snow began to fall. Hmmmmm...FA vs DA vs DA*... (I can't imagine that I have been of any possible assistance here. Sorry about that, but good luck.)
12-08-2008, 08:34 PM   #3
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i had the DA21, sold it. never got a long with it but a lot of people like theirs. it's a good lens, but nothing really special about it besides the size.

now i have the FA Limited Set. on film, the focal lengths really make sense and are a pleasure to use. on digital, each lens has it's own different use and because of the crop factor, the gap are more spaced out and the differences more obvious. the FA77 makes a great sniping lens on digital, i find it the perfect focal length for capturing a lot of events, only thing that bugs me is the PF which shows up quite often. the FA43 is a great "zoomed a tad" normal, good for shooting things that are just slightly out of arms reach.

your fantasy kit seems to be too spaced out, missing a 35mm-e kinda lens unless you don't like to shoot that kind of stuff. the DA15 probably won't be that great for group photos and such due to the perspective distortion. and the gap between 31 and 77 esp on crop is huge!
12-08-2008, 10:31 PM   #4
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I agree with k100d that the FA's really make sense on film. The 31/77 combo is a great small kit on 35mm. The equivalent on digital would be the da21 and da55. If you can swing one more, 21, 35macro, 70mm would give more range and macro. Add the 15mm next year and you would have my fantasy kit.
Ryan

12-08-2008, 11:06 PM   #5
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I went with the da's...21, 40, 70, mainly for the size and easy portability. Also, I am skeptical about if or when Pentax will come out with a full frame digital body. My film shooting is strictly Takumar, and I am very happy with the results. The 15 is also on my short list*when ić becomes available.
Having said that, I am now starting to desire the fa's, especially the 31 and 77...oh, and the 43...lol.
One thing I have noticed with the da's, is that they are sharp across the whole frame, at almost*any aperture. That is really cool for what I usually shoot.
12-08-2008, 11:58 PM   #6
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If you enjoy bokeh the FA 31 and 77 are absolutely unbeatable, out-of-this-world. Really. You can't take a bad shot with these lenses. As good as the DAs might be they don't come close. Also, when (if) Pentax stops making them they'll probably sell used for more than new since I doubt many people will be parting with theirs. So my advice is if you can afford go with the FAs and you won't regret.
12-09-2008, 11:55 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by deuces Quote
As a set, the FAs seem too long for APS-C, with the DAs fitting much better. But even the DAs seem a bit narrow on the wide end, and quite a bit slower. Also, a big part of the reason I'm looking at doing a set of 3 is for the compactness (for everyday carry), and here the DAs win easily.

So far I've got a FA31, DA35 and DA40.

The fantasy kit at the moment seems to be:
DA15 (to be announced?)
FA31
FA77

Or just the DA pancakes for the compact-ness.

You see what I mean about not getting anywhere.
You have the FA31 and the DA35... Which do you like? I find that the problem with the DA set: 21, 40, 70 is that there is nothing close to the "normal" FOV. I shoot the FA31 and find it fits the bill. My 3 lens prime kit is the DA21L, FA31L and FA50. This gives me a wide, normal and short tele FOV on APS-C. I also have a M-100mm f4 Macro that gives me a bit more reach.
Of these lenses, I use the 31 and 50 almost exclusively for day to day shooting. The DA21 rarely goes on unless I really need to shoot wide, and as K100 said, I don't feel that it has that something special that the 31 and 50 do.
I would like the FA77L next and would purchase it over the DA70. Then again, I do shoot quite a bit of film as well.
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