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05-03-2009, 11:11 AM   #1
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FA 31mm LTD vs FA 35mm comparison


I was lucky enough to get my hands on an FA 31mm f/1.8 AL Limited for a few days. It is a truly remarkable lens. While I had it I did a few unscientific FoV and IQ tests between it, my FA 35mm f/2 AL and my MK I 18-55mm kit lens. I know there are probably a lot of people here (like me) who have to be very choosy in how they spend their LBA dollars and are wondering if the FA 31 LTD is all that.

I'm not even going to attempt to answer that question. Instead, I proffer up my latest blog article for your perusal. Give it a look over, make your own assessment and share your thoughts for others to use as they wish in their own opinion-making.

BTW, for anyone here who has been following my blog, please make note that I have moved my blog from booleansplit.com to robertsdonovan.com.

Cheers!

05-03-2009, 11:25 AM   #2
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Thank you very much for the test and for sharing it. I try to check as many comparisons as I can between those lenses.
05-03-2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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is it just me or is your blog taking forever to load
05-03-2009, 11:41 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
is it just me or is your blog taking forever to load
a/o 1:39 pm, it is just you

05-03-2009, 11:43 AM   #5
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I would agree with your findings for the most part, having owned both lenses. There are two areas you didn't cover though, both of which are really important to me and both of which vastly favor the 31. When it comes to bokeh and how the lens handles out of focus highlights, it just isn't close. The 35 is prone to hard looking bokeh IMO and it more often creates crescent shaped highlights in out of focus flare spots, which I just find eye catching and frustrating. There is not a doubt to me that the 31 far outshines the 35. I love the 31, while I have to admit that I never really took to the 35. Personally, for my style of shooting, I do find a very noticeable FOV difference between the two, but that is mostly because I tend to work from in really close most times.
05-03-2009, 12:01 PM   #6
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Thanks for these tests and your blog... well done

My new FA 31 arrived last week and I am loving it, it has not come off the camera yet.



Cheers


Neil
05-03-2009, 12:08 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
a/o 1:39 pm, it is just you
ah it works now, thanks for the test rob. there are some pretty obvious differences there. better than the test that i did.
the FA31 is a champ for landscape stuff wide open
05-03-2009, 12:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Darren M Quote
I would agree with your findings for the most part, having owned both lenses. There are two areas you didn't cover though, both of which are really important to me and both of which vastly favor the 31. When it comes to bokeh and how the lens handles out of focus highlights, it just isn't close. The 35 is prone to hard looking bokeh IMO and it more often creates crescent shaped highlights in out of focus flare spots, which I just find eye catching and frustrating. There is not a doubt to me that the 31 far outshines the 35. I love the 31, while I have to admit that I never really took to the 35. Personally, for my style of shooting, I do find a very noticeable FOV difference between the two, but that is mostly because I tend to work from in really close most times.
Good point. I did shoot plenty of bokeh shots with it but since I'm usually shooting wide open I didn't notice much of a difference between the 31 LTD and the FA 35. Stopped down I'm sure the 31 LTD's bokeh will be better than the FA 35's (based solely on aperture blade count). I did take some DoF comparison shots that I'll look back through and add to my post if their is anything noteworthy to share.

Thanks!

05-03-2009, 12:40 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
is it just me or is your blog taking forever to load
You probably caught me while editing the original post ;-)
05-03-2009, 02:23 PM   #10
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while you have them both, you might want to do some bokeh CA tests to see the results of cyan fringing in backgrounds. i've had some nasty stuff come out of the FA31 before wide open.
05-03-2009, 02:55 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Darren M Quote
I would agree with your findings for the most part, having owned both lenses. There are two areas you didn't cover though, both of which are really important to me and both of which vastly favor the 31. When it comes to bokeh and how the lens handles out of focus highlights, it just isn't close. The 35 is prone to hard looking bokeh IMO and it more often creates crescent shaped highlights in out of focus flare spots, which I just find eye catching and frustrating. There is not a doubt to me that the 31 far outshines the 35. I love the 31, while I have to admit that I never really took to the 35. Personally, for my style of shooting, I do find a very noticeable FOV difference between the two, but that is mostly because I tend to work from in really close most times.
Darren, really glad to see you posting. Your opinion is always appreciated.

With your daily use of Fa 31mm, it is not hard to know that you love this prime. Most of all, you are a hard critic on lenses.

Despite little differences comparing these two primes, it seems that Fa 31mm ltd does shine in real life shooting for some reasons.

For you, I know skin tone rendering and clipping is a taboo in your shooting. (Sorry that I use the word rendering ) I believe that Fa 31mm has to be in some ways different from 35mm f2 to charge that kind amount of money.

Fa 35mm f2 is more prone to crescent shaped specular highlights with incredibly CA to manage under Australian sun.
05-03-2009, 03:12 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
while you have them both, you might want to do some bokeh CA tests to see the results of cyan fringing in backgrounds. i've had some nasty stuff come out of the FA31 before wide open.
Thanks for pointing that out. I updated the blog post and added comparisons showing the fringing characteristics of the 31 LTD, FA 35 and kit lens. Unfortunately, I seem to have trashed my bokeh comparison shots between the 3 lenses
05-03-2009, 03:32 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Darren, really glad to see you posting. Your opinion is always appreciated.

With your daily use of Fa 31mm, it is not hard to know that you love this prime. Most of all, you are a hard critic on lenses.

Despite little differences comparing these two primes, it seems that Fa 31mm ltd does shine in real life shooting for some reasons.

For you, I know skin tone rendering and clipping is a taboo in your shooting. (Sorry that I use the word rendering ) I believe that Fa 31mm has to be in some ways different from 35mm f2 to charge that kind amount of money.

Fa 35mm f2 is more prone to crescent shaped specular highlights with incredibly CA to manage under Australian sun.




I agree that the 31 LTD's bokeh quality is almost magical. I wish I had had more time to shoot with it. But, as it was, I had to travel while I had the lens in my possession and I didn't take it with me. I don't like traveling with a lens that isn't mine and that I can't afford to replace
05-03-2009, 03:39 PM   #14
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After having seen the comparison, there is no doubt in my mind that I would go for the 31 Ltd.

On a side note, you may want to find a better host, Robert. Or upgrade your Internet Connection if you're doing the hosting yourself. It takes time to load over here in Europe...
05-03-2009, 03:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ftpaddict Quote
After having seen the comparison, there is no doubt in my mind that I would go for the 31 Ltd.

On a side note, you may want to find a better host, Robert. Or upgrade your Internet Connection if you're doing the hosting yourself. It takes time to load over here in Europe...
That's too bad...my host is in Europe

The post loads the full-sized images even though you only see the scaled-down versions in the post. That, and the fact that I have been doing a lot of work on my blog today, may make the load times a bit slower than they should be. Also, I'm seeing a lot of traffic at the moment for some reason.

Thanks for letting me know, though!
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