Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
06-18-2009, 03:56 AM   #1
Senior Member
jfsavage's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 211
Thoughts on 77mm limited and 55mm SDM

Does anyone have any thoughts on the 77mm limited and how the new 55mm SDM?

06-19-2009, 10:16 AM   #2
Senior Member
jfsavage's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 211
Original Poster
Is there really no one out there that owns both?
06-19-2009, 10:28 AM   #3
Site Supporter




Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Wilmore, KY
Posts: 349
I have both, but haven't done a critical comparison. I find the 77mm wonderful, but for much of my shooting it is a little too much zoom. I also have the DA 70mm ltd and can't decide which of the two I like.

The 55mm SDM is a great lens as well. My only complaint is that it's very big.

If you are thinking of one or the other, you'll have to consider the difference in focal length, the difference in size/weight, and the slight difference in speed (1.8 vs. 1.4). The 77mm Ltd is a jewel to hold in your hand, but the DA*55 is a masterpiece of the latest craft in lens design.

IN a way, it's apples and oranges. I suspect the DE*55 is the more versatile lens overall unless compactness is a concern.
06-19-2009, 10:38 AM   #4
K-9
Pentaxian
K-9's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,962
The DA 55 is built like an old 85 and shoots like one on a DSLR. The problem with that is, when Pentax goes FF, you're going to be left with one giant 55mm lens that will shoot at 55 instead of 85. Not very practical for a standard lens.

Also, is this lens one that even works on FF film bodies without issues?

06-19-2009, 10:49 AM   #5
Senior Member
eyou's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 224
no vignetting at f/8 was the last i heard from the DA lenses on FF thread.
06-19-2009, 10:58 AM   #6
Senior Member
jfsavage's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 211
Original Poster
I am mostly looking for the emotional response to the two lenses. I know how much people love the 77mm, and I've been tempted by it in the past. I'm curious to see if people have the same reaction to the 55mm - it seems to have the same potential for LBA. I was hoping the price would drop down a little more than it has, as it is expensive for a non-limited lens.

I'm not too worried about FF - I'm not sure Pentax will go FF even. I see FF as the new medium format - bigger, better quality, more expensive. My gut feeling is that Pentax will produce a true medium format digital camera and leave the 35mm FF space to others.
06-19-2009, 11:43 AM   #7
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vilcabamba, Loja
Posts: 216
Irrational Arguments for an Old Film Lens

QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
The problem with that is, when Pentax goes FF, you're going to be left with one giant 55mm lens that will shoot at 55 instead of 85. Not very practical for a standard lens.

Also, is this lens one that even works on FF film bodies without issues?
So, you are suggesting to not get a lens (the 55) because it might not be optimal at some time in the future. BUT, you argue that you should get a lens that is sub-optimal (the 77) today. When the OP goes out to take pictures tomorrow, they will be using a digital camera, but you want him to buy a lens designed for film. The focal length is inappropriate for APS-C (why I sold mine). It has no weather sealing, the hood is inadequate, and the K-7 has functionality that FA lenses cannot utilize. An old design vs. a new design. A portrait lens that matches with currently available bodies, vs. a portrait lens made for a format first used before most people on this forum were born.

It's a digital world my friend. Join us. IMHO buying old stuff vs. new stuff is always the wrong choice.
06-19-2009, 12:09 PM   #8
Veteran Member
dugrant153's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,059
I donít have the 77mm, but I had the DA70 Limited and sold it to fund the DA*55. I found the DA70 too long for my general use, so Iím thinking 77mm would be the same. I like going wider, and the 55mm focal length provided just enough image compression for me for portrait and model photo use. The DA70 Ltd on the other hand had a bit too much compression for my liking. The DA*55 is the equivalent of 85mm on film... and now I see why people bought 85mm back in the day...

If I had to choose between the the DA*55 and FA77 Ltd (andÖ actually, I did choose between them), Iíd get the DA*55 F1.4. SDM is a tad on the slower end but not a big deal (the slowness, I think, is mainly a camera body issue. I shoot in some pretty difficult lighting most of the timeÖ). Manual focus feel on this lens is EXCELLENT. I actually prefer to MF this lens rather than let the SDM do its thing. The image quality is superb from F1.4 (yes, F1.4!) and up. The build quality and weather sealing and overall ďput-together-nessĒ of this lens Ö itís a work of art, IMO. Itís not a metal limited, and with the hood itís a bit chunkyÖ but I donít really mind as itís big enough to give my hands a good grip on it.

On paper, the DA*55 doesnít seem like much of an upgrade. But you definitely have to get your hands on one and test it out and see for yourself what itís all about. I went to a shop with NO intention of buying one and just gave it a quick test run to see what all the hollabaloo was about.

About a week and a half later, I had my own copy.

06-19-2009, 12:23 PM   #9
K-9
Pentaxian
K-9's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,962
QuoteOriginally posted by Mr. The Guy Quote
So, you are suggesting to not get a lens (the 55) because it might not be optimal at some time in the future. BUT, you argue that you should get a lens that is sub-optimal (the 77) today. When the OP goes out to take pictures tomorrow, they will be using a digital camera, but you want him to buy a lens designed for film. The focal length is inappropriate for APS-C (why I sold mine). It has no weather sealing, the hood is inadequate, and the K-7 has functionality that FA lenses cannot utilize. An old design vs. a new design. A portrait lens that matches with currently available bodies, vs. a portrait lens made for a format first used before most people on this forum were born.

It's a digital world my friend. Join us. IMHO buying old stuff vs. new stuff is always the wrong choice.
You're getting ahead of yourself. Yes, I did suggest not getting the 55, due to 1) it's high price, and 2) for it's potential backwards and forwards incompatibility issues. However, I never argued or mentioned the 77 lens at all. I didn't imply to get the 77, I was merely commenting on the 55.

If there are those who want to buy the new DA lenses for only using them on DSLR's, there's no reason why they can't. I simply offered reasoning why I didn't think it was logical. As far as weatherproofing, you only need it if you shoot in inclement weather. I never do. Some others may never either.

Buying old stuff or new stuff is a choice. I'll take the F 50mm 1.4 over the DA 55 as there is no justification of the higher price for just weatherproofing for me. I do not feel it's any sharper than the F. I also use film and digital bodies, and would get a FF DSLR in the future, therefore, that's 1 out of 3 of my setups that the DA will not work well with. My F lens will work with all 3.

Last edited by K-9; 06-19-2009 at 12:28 PM.
06-19-2009, 12:38 PM   #10
Senior Member
jslifoaw's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Toronto/Victoria
Posts: 262
QuoteOriginally posted by Mr. The Guy Quote

It's a digital world my friend. Join us. IMHO buying old stuff vs. new stuff is always the wrong choice.
Newer is not always better, especially when it comes to anything with electronics of any sort. The most obvious reasons to get DA lenses are quick shift (quite useful), weather sealing, compactness (in some cases), or maybe there's a focal length not served by film lenses (eg wide lenses).

We do not know if the lenses will be mounted on film cameras or FF cameras, or if the 55 might lose its ability to AF because its motor dies, or if the lens is going to be used in an application which requires manually setting the aperture.

Although underlying electronics always improve, the execution often takes backward steps due to pricing/competition or deliberate feature cutting.
06-19-2009, 02:09 PM   #11
Inactive Account




Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Toronto, San Diego, Seattle
Posts: 456
I own both

The FA77 is one of the reasons I bought a K20D a year ago last spring, as I do a lot of portrait work. I wanted great quality prime with AF, much much better than the Canon 85L and 40D, 5D I switched from....

I have to say, though, that the DA*55 is my favorite and absolutely best performing lens that I have used on the K20D thus far. I have bought and sold about 40 other lenses that aren't in my sig below, including all of the DA ltds. and a few more Voigts/Zeiss, and most of the Pentax zooms.

The two are different focal lengths obviously, but where as before I would tend to stick with the FA77 and try to get more room to back up to use, I now tend to favor the DA*55, even if it means coming in a little closer. I will now use the Zeiss 85 for headshots, but now will use the DA*55 for everything else. The 77 was my AF portrait and people machine, but the 55 has taken that role over

The 55 is very sharp at F2, perhaps just a little more useable at these more wide open apertures than the 77 is.

And I agree with your opinions about Pentax's FF

In some instances I prefer the compression of the longer focal length, but then

If Pentax were to carry out the DA* line with a 70-85 or so, I'd most likely buy that and sell the 77, maybe even sell the Zeiss 85. If they came out with a DA*28 or 30, I'd sell the FA31 in a blink of the eye.

The coloring and rendering is similar between the DA*55 and the Zeiss' that I own.

I used to have the Voigtlander 58, but the color and rendering of the DA*55 was even nicer to my eyes. It was actually very very similar, but needing and wanting AF for this purpose, then it was no question, plus the AF is very decent on the 55, and I was actually able to get better AF with the 55 than MF with the VL58.

My emotional response is that I love this lens, and I tend to use it when I can before another lens, except when the focal length is the deciding factor.

My technical feelings is that it is a very sharp and very capable lens, that really has incredible IQ, and that the AF is very accurate and trustworthy.
06-21-2009, 08:25 AM   #12
Senior Member
jfsavage's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 211
Original Poster
That is a very useful analysis - I appreciate everyone's input.

The technical analysis at SLR Gear indicates the 55mm is awesome: Pentax Lens: Primes - Pentax 55mm f/1.4 SDM SMC DA* (Tested) - SLRgear.com!

In fact, wide open (which is why I want it) it seems to be vastly better than the Canon 1.4:

"Prior to testing it, we'd heard the buzz that the Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime (non-zoom lens) was a little soft when shot wide open. Even with that preparation though, we about fell out of our chairs when we first saw its blur plots. Yikes! - This is a prime? At f/1.4, this lens has the dubious distinction of having one of the worst blur characteristics among the 20 or so lenses we've tested at this point."

And better than the Canon 1.2L:

"Given its L-class designation and lofty(!) price, we found the 50mm f/1.2 to be a bit of a disappointment. While the center-sharpness and shading (vignetting) are excellent over the full aperture range, the wide-aperture corner sharpness, the chromatic aberration, and the distortion performances were all subpar."


The 55mm SDM is heading towards the top of my shopping list.
06-21-2009, 02:17 PM   #13
Veteran Member
kristoffon's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Brazil
Posts: 532
QuoteOriginally posted by Mr. The Guy Quote
So, you are suggesting to not get a lens (the 55) because it might not be optimal at some time in the future. BUT, you argue that you should get a lens that is sub-optimal (the 77) today. When the OP goes out to take pictures tomorrow, they will be using a digital camera, but you want him to buy a lens designed for film. The focal length is inappropriate for APS-C (why I sold mine). It has no weather sealing, the hood is inadequate, and the K-7 has functionality that FA lenses cannot utilize. An old design vs. a new design. A portrait lens that matches with currently available bodies, vs. a portrait lens made for a format first used before most people on this forum were born.

It's a digital world my friend. Join us. IMHO buying old stuff vs. new stuff is always the wrong choice.
are you a troll? what a bunch of CRAP

first off, how is the 77 sub optimal? how is the hood inadequate? this lens doesn't even need a hood, you can shoot straight into the sun.

how is the focal length inappropriate? of course it's longer than on film, but are you saying that 77 mm is useless on aps-c? were there never any film 100mm lenses? actually the fov change is not relevant. 77mm is long on film and remains long on aps-c. you just have to take a couple steps further and remains an amazing portrait lens.

what functionality does the K7 have that the 77ltd won't utilize? are you talking about distortion & vignetting corretion? then you don't know what you're talking about because this lens has NONE of them.

go back to your cave, troll
06-21-2009, 06:01 PM   #14
Veteran Member
nostatic's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: socal
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,576
I consider the 77 a magic lens. I also do not believe in machine tests or picture of focus charts and brick walls.

I may end up getting a 55 for the following reasons:

good focal length (though it is somewhat close to my 43)
SDM
Weather resistance

As for emotional response, there is another thread comparing Zeiss 50 and the 55*. I think the 55* has a nicer look. I really liked my CV 58/1.4, but I need AF. I'm willing to bet the 55* would scratch that itch *and* give me silent AF (with K20d).
06-22-2009, 01:03 PM   #15
Senior Member
jfsavage's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 211
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by nostatic Quote
I consider the 77 a magic lens. I also do not believe in machine tests or picture of focus charts and brick walls.

I may end up getting a 55 for the following reasons:

good focal length (though it is somewhat close to my 43)
SDM
Weather resistance

As for emotional response, there is another thread comparing Zeiss 50 and the 55*. I think the 55* has a nicer look. I really liked my CV 58/1.4, but I need AF. I'm willing to bet the 55* would scratch that itch *and* give me silent AF (with K20d).
I find that the technical tests give good insight into some of the capabilities of lenses, as long as you understand the limitations of that type of approach.

The thread you mention is very interesting - I am hoping for some other images to be added ;}
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
55mm, 77mm, k-mount, pentax lens, sdm, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New 55mm SDM 645D lens means no SDM II? alehel Pentax News and Rumors 11 03-14-2010 09:43 AM
For Sale - Sold: DA 40mm Limited, DA 17-70mm SDM, DA 18-55mm builttospill Sold Items 3 02-18-2010 11:10 AM
For Sale - Sold: FA limited 43mm/f1.9 (black), FA limited 77mm/f1.8 (silver), FA 28-105mm/f3.2- chemxaj Sold Items 24 10-16-2008 11:17 AM
For Sale - Sold: smc Pentax-FA 77mm Limited & 43mm Limited MikeH Sold Items 2 02-13-2007 06:03 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:38 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top