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06-18-2007, 10:23 AM   #1
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70mm or 77mmltd???

hi everyone, this is my first post at this site and here i come asking questions!! i've saved the money for a nice lens and have always really fancied the 77ltd, trouble is that its really difficult to get your hands on here in Ireland/UK/europe a according to one supplier there's none in europe at all!! With this money burning a hole in my pocket i was thinking of getting the Da 70 as by all accounts its a really tasty lens too!! I can only buy one at the moment so what to do? Wait wait wait and then the new zooms will be released and i'll be tempted to buy them and not the 77 . Help?

06-18-2007, 11:08 AM   #2
sft
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*Long Post

In short each has its advantages so I will try to list the advantages of each lens and you can make up your mind - remember one thing though: no matter which you choose you wont lose!

FA77
The single best characteristic of this lens over the DA70 is that it has slightly nicer bokeh.
It is also faster by about one stop than the DA70.
Not a pancake lens but still quite a compact fast tele after all.

DA70
Pancake design - very cool.
Quick shift focusing - a great feature and very useful for macro/portrait work.
Sharper than the FA77 at equal apertures generally. Ie. the DA70 is sligtly sharper wide-open at f/2.4 than the FA77 at f/2.5
Less CA and purple fringing.
Faster focusing - the FA77 is one of the slowest AF lenses out there

This is mind the FA77 still produces some of the best images I have seen - though remember one thing that lens has been around for ages compared to the not even a year old DA70 so its natural there are more impressive shots from that lens. Some will tell you the FA77 has this *thing* about it - though looking at the FA77 the only *thing* that I see better is the bokeh - though I should add bokeh is quite an important thing in a portrait lens so the FA77 although technically not as good as the DA70 still produces some awesome images with great depth. The bokeh on the DA70 is still very very nice however - for a decent (though not perfect comparison) see this page: Digital SLR and Lens Review: By popular demand: Pentax DA 70mm Limited compared to FA 77mm - the comparison is not perfect as the perspective and lighting are slightly different so it could favor the results of one lens over the other but in short - you judge.

And for sharpness check this out: center: TeleCompareCentres.jpg photo - Steve Jacob photos at pbase.com
corner: TeleCompareCorners.jpg photo - Steve Jacob photos at pbase.com

As you can see here the DA70 does look sharper at f/2.4 than the FA77 does at f/2.8 - even more so at the corners. But sharpness is only one aspect of the overall IQ of a lens - the FA77 for example seems to have more contrast like all the FA lenses over the digital DA's. If I had to choose though - I just dont see the IMO a little overblown magical thing about the FA77 over the DA70 (other than bokeh which is significant, and extremely smooth on the FA77 - gives good depth) but my choice would be the DA70 even still for QS focusing, faster AF, design, sharpness, the 7mm difference (I like 70 more than 77 for portraits) etc. The bokeh on the 70 is more than good enough - but if bokeh is indeed THE most important thing to you and you simply want the best bokeh you can get from a available new Pentax lens than the 77 is indeed awesome, remember that if you shoot wide-open with the FA77 you will get extremely shallow DOF (too shallow for many scenes but perfect for others) it will be very nice and smooth though the sharpness will be lacking a bit - so its a compromise but still then by all means get the FA77 if shallower DOF and bokeh is more important than the other factors. If the one stop difference and arguably not as good bokeh of the DA70 is not as important than the DA70 is the frontrunner IMO - I think with all this info you can make up your own mind but let me repeat - you cant go wrong with either!

Youre lucky you asked this just at the right time as I was doing a little research on the comparisons myself

Last edited by sft; 06-18-2007 at 11:35 AM. Reason: typos and rephrased
06-18-2007, 11:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, to be honest i've a lot more to think about. I do have to say that im very easily swung by the use of language like legendary and so on and it's thrown about a lot when the 77ltd is being discussed. Your response has grounded me a bit and thts good before i part with my hard( very hard I gave up smoking to get this money) earned. The fact that the 77 isnt available over here at the minute might make things a bit easier. Also i started to think about the 50-135 which may be available soon. checked out BH and they have 77 in stock and when i look at shipping an possible duty it shapes up fairly well in the price stakes! Still undecided though but thanks for your very thorough answer. I have to laugh at other system users who complain that they wouldnt shoot pentax because of the lack of lenses available. Seems to me its more difficult to shoot pentax because its nearly impossible to choose between their lenses!! Thanks again.
06-18-2007, 11:28 AM   #4
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Just wanted to point out that swedish cyberphoto seems to have the 77 mm ltd in stock. So there are lenses in europe, but to no doubt they are hard to come by!

06-18-2007, 11:38 AM   #5
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I asked myself the same question some days ago... and ordered a DA70mm (should arrive this week).

Reviews:

DA 70mm: Pentax SMC-DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited - Photozone Review / Test Report
FA 77mm: Pentax SMC-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited - Photozone Review / Test Report


Both are great lenses and there's no wrong choice anyway!
06-18-2007, 11:52 AM   #6
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I recommend the Photozone test.... The DA70 tested there by Klaus is the very item I have in my bag right now.
As it is too long for me I'm about to put it up for sale here. Can anyone give me an idea about what a decent price would be? The lens is as new. As I'm in EU I intend to sell it within EU thus avoiding any struggle with customs and such.

thank you in advance,
06-18-2007, 12:39 PM   #7
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What finally swung it for you ?
06-18-2007, 12:49 PM   #8
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sorry , for Lazar, what made you finally decide on the 70?

06-18-2007, 12:58 PM   #9
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Faster auto-focus, smaller/lighter, cheaper... and, very important, IQ is still excellent: most ppl who tried/have both said there's almost no difference between the 2 and I love the "rendering" of the different pictures (taken with it) I've seen!

Last edited by Lazar; 06-18-2007 at 01:08 PM.
06-18-2007, 04:19 PM   #10
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I live in Luxembourg and I've just ordered the 77 fom B&H. I calculated that even if I pay a hefty sum in duty and handling charges, I will still have saved a significant amount over any UK price that I've seen.

I went for the 77 because I wanted a lens that would work properly on an old film body as well as on digital. Leaving aside vignetting, the DA lenses don't even have aperture rings, so this isn't practical. Also, I have seen more shots from the 77 that made me go 'wow', though this is very subjective and unscientific as a measure of must-haveness.

The pancake thing of the 70 is very neat, but with modern SLRs the pocketability this gives is a myth - even with the smallest of the pancakes any of the Pentax DSLRs will still be fairly chunky.

Matthew
06-18-2007, 05:24 PM   #11
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hi matthew , i was checking out that route myself earlier on. let me know how you get on as im intrested in maybe buying from B&H. They do have them in stock and when i phoned srs( who i've dealt with before and have found to be totally reliable and honest) they contacted pentax and very honestly told me that they couldnt see any on the horizon, and couldnt give a definite date. maybe next week maybe next month but i dont know if i can hang on that long, gotta have a lens soon AAAHHH!!!
06-18-2007, 07:50 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Allen Quote
The pancake thing of the 70 is very neat, but with modern SLRs the pocketability this gives is a myth - even with the smallest of the pancakes any of the Pentax DSLRs will still be fairly chunky.
It depends...

For me it is just the pocketability of the lens that matters. Often I will have my camera slung over my shoulder (not in bag) so the pocketability of the extra lenses matters. Often I would carry just DA21, FA35 and DA70.. No need to even take a bag bigger than the very little pouch the two extra lenses sit in.
06-19-2007, 01:12 AM   #13
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Btw, just received the DA 70mm this morning and I'm already in love with it... I'm sure the FA 77mm is also very good, but I don't regret my choice at all!
06-19-2007, 02:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lazar Quote
Btw, just received the DA 70mm this morning and I'm already in love with it... I'm sure the FA 77mm is also very good, but I don't regret my choice at all!
Congratulations! I have owned both these lenses. For anyone not caring about the aperture ring (but rather about size, weight and QuickShift) there is no reason choosing the FA77.

Sometimes the FA77 renders the out of focus parts a little bit smoother. That is true. It is also true that the differences are so minute that it doesn't matter. In the end it is a question about personal taste and money and you can't go very wrong with any of the lenses.
06-19-2007, 05:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by joele Quote
It depends...

For me it is just the pocketability of the lens that matters. Often I will have my camera slung over my shoulder (not in bag) so the pocketability of the extra lenses matters. Often I would carry just DA21, FA35 and DA70.. No need to even take a bag bigger than the very little pouch the two extra lenses sit in.
That makes perfect sense. When I said "pocketability" I was thinking of the camera with the lens attached, but you are quite correct in saying that owning multiple pancakes will make your whole kit significantly more portable.

As it happens, I've just bought the older M 40mm pancake on ebay. I intend to use it mainly with my ME Supers which will give me one of the smallest SLR/lens combinations possible in 35mm format. And of course there's nothing to stop me using it on my DL, though I do find the stop-down metering and manual focus a bit of a pain at times. Focusing manually with the relatively small VF of a DSLR and no split prism can be trying sometimes. They just don't make VFs like they used to, at least not at the budget end of the price range.

Ideally, one would own all the limiteds and FA* and DA* zooms, but of course that won't happen any time soon.

Matthew
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