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06-25-2009, 07:05 PM   #1
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FA 31mm Limited assembled in Vietnam - bad QC or bad luck.

Few weeks ago I received my FA 31mm Limited and took a photo just to test it wide open.

The bellow images are 100% crops at f/1.8:

(Non working link removed)

I just expected better IQ wide open from this lens, especially when everyone on the Pentax forums rave about it being sharp even wide open.

I returned the lens and requested for exchange with another one. The second lens I received today looks much better wide open. I can even see clearly the texture of the scratches on the box in the 100% crop below.

(Non working link removed)

So I'm wondering is the lens assembled in Vietnam just a bad luck or is it a trend. Can someone else who bought the 31mm Limited assembled in Vietnam recently post the same photo of the box just to see if there is any difference.


Thanks in advance.


Last edited by Tom S.; 10-22-2012 at 03:35 AM.
06-25-2009, 07:23 PM   #2
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Think it is bad luck. Is there something wrong with Vietnam? :-P
As most people already know, all the limiteds are assembled by hand so QC should be much higher already.
06-25-2009, 07:29 PM   #3
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my 31limited has "Made in Japan" proudly engraved on the underside of it...if they are making them in Vietnam then i'm glad I bought mine when I did.

shame to see that your copy isn't living up to expectations.
06-25-2009, 08:19 PM   #4
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Mine says "Made in Japan" in white letters on the lens hood. The one I returned had "Assembled in Vietnam" engraved on the black body close to the lens mount.

Can you please post the same shot of the lens box with your 31mm Limited?

Thanks in advance.

06-25-2009, 08:44 PM   #5
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Maybe there are gray market limiteds??
06-25-2009, 09:03 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
Maybe there are gray market limiteds??
The seller is B&H Photovideo and it has the best reputation worldwide. Don't think it's a gray market.
06-25-2009, 09:21 PM   #7
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Umm, B and H does sell gray market, but always lists it as such. They've done so for years, and you will see both prices in their ads (USA/non-USA). The gray market versions are cheaper with different warranties. They would always sell gray market film, well, years ago when film was big.
06-25-2009, 09:49 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Voe Quote
Can you please post the same shot of the lens box with your
I think your 2nd copy is pretty fine.

I risk in getting caught in serious pixel peeping here, but here is my pic of the box, i tried to keep proportions the same, also zero PP applied in ACR.

Argh its resizing it.



06-25-2009, 09:54 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by GLXLR Quote
As most people already know, all the limiteds are assembled by hand so QC should be much higher already.
All lenses were assembled by hands afaik from the cheapest to the most expensive. I am too lazy to dig my lens box from basement so you will have to live with my sample. What I have found with this lens is that the focus could shifted easily once "focused". The difference in sharpness could be quite dramatic.

http://www.pbase.com/wlachan/image/114284618

Last edited by wlachan; 06-26-2009 at 01:05 PM.
06-26-2009, 09:36 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Voe Quote
Few weeks ago I received my FA 31mm Limited and took a photo just to test it wide open.

The bellow images are 100% crops at f/1.8:

I just expected better IQ wide open from this lens, especially when everyone on the Pentax forums rave about it being sharp even wide open.

I returned the lens and requested for exchange with another one. The second lens I received today looks much better wide open. I can even see clearly the texture of the scratches on the box in the 100% crop below.

So I'm wondering is the lens assembled in Vietnam just a bad luck or is it a trend. Can someone else who bought the 31mm Limited assembled in Vietnam recently post the same photo of the box just to see if there is any difference.


Thanks in advance.
If you took just "a", one, photo that's hardly evidence to put fault in the lens. Focusing this close DOF is so thin it's easy to shift the camera slightly between autofocusing and taking the picture and the result will be blurry and you'll wonder why. The second picture does look better but in your place I'd use a tripod and shoot a flat, perpendicular surfae to eliminate all doubt.
06-26-2009, 10:49 AM   #11
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Alan, if you are going to post photos that are so large, could you please post a link instead. Failing that, get a faster server, this one is taking forever to download.

On a side note, I am surprised and heartened to see that they are assembling the FA Limiteds in Vietnam now. This suggests that they will not be disappearing from production anytime soon. I could well be wrong, but I don't know of any other time that some of the lenses have had their production moved and asssumed it wouldn't happen. This means that the FA Limiteds (and others) can go on, even when originating from different factories.
06-26-2009, 12:50 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kristoffon Quote
If you took just "a", one, photo that's hardly evidence to put fault in the lens. Focusing this close DOF is so thin it's easy to shift the camera slightly between autofocusing and taking the picture and the result will be blurry and you'll wonder why. The second picture does look better but in your place I'd use a tripod and shoot a flat, perpendicular surfae to eliminate all doubt.
As you can see both images have DOF in the center so camera shifting is not an issue here.
Believe me I took many shots with this lens and I had to stop down to f/4 to get sharp ones. I posted these two because currently they are the only ones that are of same subject, which can show the difference between the two lenses. I could not get anything close to sharp even at f/2.8. I have the 21mm, 40mm, 43mm, 70mm, and the 77mm Limiteds and I pretty much know what to expect from the 31mm Limited. Of all the Limiteds 43mm is the least sharp wide open, but the 31mm assembled in Vietnam lens was so behind from what 43mm could deliver wide open. The new lens though is heaps better, actually it's perfectly fine for me.



QuoteOriginally posted by Darren M Quote
On a side note, I am surprised and heartened to see that they are assembling the FA Limiteds in Vietnam now. This suggests that they will not be disappearing from production anytime soon. I could well be wrong, but I don't know of any other time that some of the lenses have had their production moved and asssumed it wouldn't happen. This means that the FA Limiteds (and others) can go on, even when originating from different factories.
This is a very good point Darren. I also don't see why they should stop production of lenses that are so much in demand and fetch for a good price as well, and actually cause people from other systems to switch to Pentax.
06-26-2009, 01:42 PM   #13
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the two photos that you took are different, one is 1/50sec and the other is 1/90sec...if you want to test a lens you should shoot it in manual and have same setting on both lens...
06-26-2009, 02:07 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ltdstar Quote
the two photos that you took are different, one is 1/50sec and the other is 1/90sec...if you want to test a lens you should shoot it in manual and have same setting on both lens...

...and put it on a tripod and focus manually. The last point is absolutely mandatory unless you want to test the AF system and not the lens. If there are some sharpness problems, try focus bracketing...
06-26-2009, 02:14 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Darren M Quote
On a side note, I am surprised and heartened to see that they are assembling the FA Limiteds in Vietnam now. This suggests that they will not be disappearing from production anytime soon. I could well be wrong, but I don't know of any other time that some of the lenses have had their production moved and asssumed it wouldn't happen. This means that the FA Limiteds (and others) can go on, even when originating from different factories.

Spot on. It shows that Pentax have no plans for discontinue them in the near future....

My guess is that the Japan made FA Limteds will in the future reach astronomical prices on e-bay. Particularly the early batches; those that came with different color leather lens bags: A brown for the 43mm, Green (77mm), and red (31mm)....
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