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08-25-2009, 07:04 PM   #1
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Help with DA Ltd lenses

Hi all,

Being an engineer, I really appreciate good mechanical quality of gear. Many years ago, I was the proud owner of a new Spotmatic and some Takumar lenses and I really miss their beautiful tactile feel and quality. Now , I am setting up a new system and I really like the look of the DA Ltd lenses for the same reason. However, I have looked at some reviews of these lenses, and while most always comment about the superb construction and finish, they all seem to rate these lenses as quite average optically. I print my own up to a maximum of A3 or 13x19 inches, and so I would love to hear from any members who own some Ltd lenses about their opinions as to what quality I could expect? For some unknown reason Pentax are not well represented here in New Zealand with a lot of shops not even stocking Pentax. However I can get the gear from Australia sent over without much problem. I am particularly interested in the 15 f4, and the 21 f3.2. Any feedback would be appreciated.

John

08-25-2009, 07:26 PM   #2
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Welcome John, I have the 77 LTD and I am currently borrowing the 40 LTD. I find them both to be excellently built. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Just one thing, rather than getting them shipped from Australia, you may find it cheaper to buy from B&H or Adorama in New York. A lot of people in your part of the world use them.
08-25-2009, 07:38 PM   #3
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John,

The 77 LTD is an FA not the DA. Excellent lense though.
08-25-2009, 07:45 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by blind-bat Quote
John,

The 77 LTD is an FA not the DA. Excellent lense though.

Yeah sorry John, didn't mean to mislead you. FA or DA, the build quality is consistent across the LTD range though I believe.

08-25-2009, 08:13 PM   #5
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I would go for the FA limited unless you really need the wide angle. The FA Limited lenses are optically superb, has a large max. aperture (f:1.8 or f:1.9) and are mechanically very much like you remember your Takumars! With that said, the DA 15mm is tempting as well...
08-25-2009, 09:06 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Welcome John, I have the 77 LTD and I am currently borrowing the 40 LTD. I find them both to be excellently built. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Just one thing, rather than getting them shipped from Australia, you may find it cheaper to buy from B&H or Adorama in New York. A lot of people in your part of the world use them.

And like Gary said with the current $ rate the lenses prices on offer from b&h etc are very attractive and I have in the past saved big $'s in buying from them.




Neil
08-25-2009, 09:19 PM   #7
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And shipping from B&H is faster than domestic freight!
I've bought numerous things from them and cannot fault them on any of those transactions.
08-25-2009, 09:42 PM   #8
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I'm very happy with my DA21, DA40 and DA70. The feel and handling of these little lenses on a K10D or K20D is just great.

As for image quality, and those reviews you mentioned that suggest that these lenses might not be perfect: my subject matter pretty much never includes test targets, so maybe that's why I'm so happy with them. I don't have a clue about whether or not these lenses are better or worse than others, all I know is that they are the focal lengths I like, in the small well-built sizes that I like, and seem to me to work really well for what they were designed for.

08-25-2009, 10:23 PM   #9
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Thanks so much

Thanks so much guys for the feedback and especially the advice about buying from the USA. I don't know whats going on here (and don't care) but I can get the gear here at twice the cost of either Nikon or Canon. Go figure. Also I totally agree about not photographing charts etc, I don't think I've ever done that. I remember years ago, even then, according to tests the Nikon and Canon lenses nearly always came off better in lens tests. And yet I remember a guy in a local club with some landscapes taken with Pentax lenses and they were truly stunning. I believe there is a quality to lenses that can't be measured with any chart. However, I do want to be able to produce top quality A3 prints, and since I probably won't be able to test prior to purchase, I thought I'd ask you guys. Seems you are pretty happy with them. For those who have bought equipment from overseas, how do you get on about warranties?

Thanks again, John
08-26-2009, 12:16 AM   #10
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I have done some A3 prints with lenses such as Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX DG II and there was absolutely no problem with image quality. I believe the Ltd lenses from Pentax are even better image quality again.

I am very happy with the Pentax system and eagerly awaiting my K7 body. Unfortunately I can't afford the good Ltd lenses right now but like yourself am keen on a wide angle prime, perhaps even DA21. I would love the FA 31 Ltd but need to do a "bank job" first

FWIW, you might even look at re-purchasing some of your old lenses from ebay. I have had experience with a few older Ricoh, Pentax/Takumar and other Jap-brand lenses from back in the day. You can still get superb image quality on modern digital SLR cameras. My friend has a Super Takumer 50mm f1.4 almost permanently attached to his Canon 5DmkII and the image quality is outstanding, even considering the full frame coverage at 21MP.
08-26-2009, 01:21 AM   #11
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as the above poster suggested, if you dont mind giving up AF, auto-exposure and all the other modern conveniences that are available with a modern Pentax lens, you can still use Takumar lenses. a lot of people such as myself use them every day. however I dont know anyone who has not been more than happy with the IQ of any of the Pentax DA much less the FA limiteds. I dont pay attention to online 'tests' but you can check this forum right here and see amazing photographs produced by all these lenses, being used how they were meant to be used. I highly doubt you would be dissatisfied with the capabilities of these lenses. in fact I believe you would be sooner dissatisfied with the capabilities of the image sensor or your own abilities behind the camera before you have quarrels about the abilities of these lenses.
08-26-2009, 02:08 AM   #12
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I have all three FA Ltd lenses, and they are stunning. I regularly enlarge up to 24in. X 36in., and the quality is first class.
08-26-2009, 08:26 AM   #13
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You'll love the build of the FA and DA Ltd's. The only concern you may have is that they're not quite as good for manual focusing (the damping isn't quite as buttery). But the fit and finish and of course the image quality will likely make you forget about that.
08-26-2009, 08:38 AM   #14
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Same as Yves, I've had no problems printing up to 2x3 ft prints with my K20D/K-7 + DA Limiteds. I in particular love the focal length, size, build and optics of the DA21.
08-26-2009, 09:10 AM   #15
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Not to mention that I've really come to like the quick-shift feature on the DA Limiteds!

QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote
You'll love the build of the FA and DA Ltd's. The only concern you may have is that they're not quite as good for manual focusing (the damping isn't quite as buttery). But the fit and finish and of course the image quality will likely make you forget about that.
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