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05-18-2010, 01:36 AM   #16
axl
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I have been bit concerned by this "43ltd is soft wide open" myth when I purchased one to replace my beloved DA40.
Once I adjusted my K10īs AF (debug) I never looked back!
43 kicks ass to just about anything Íīve ever used. period.
At f1.9 is spanks out so much raved about FA31, it is sharper than K55/1.8, F50/1.7 or A50/1.7 (though my experience with that one was limited to few days). Stopping this lens down yields excellent result no matter if you are @f2.8 or f11. I have to say that as much as I try to dislike this lens, I have to admit it beats me every time. Itīs perhaps the best lens I have used, ever.

05-18-2010, 06:38 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by farfisa Quote
But then you'll have to add "should I get the FA43 or DA40?" stuff.
That one's easy. You get the FA43. It's sharper, faster, renders that magic and is a nicer size. The DA40 is too small. Only reason to get it is to save money.

QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Itīs perhaps the best lens I have used, ever.
Me too. If it could focus closer it would be perfect. On digital I often prefer the focal length of the FA77. But still the FA43 is the best.
05-18-2010, 08:22 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
...snip...


Me too. If it could focus closer it would be perfect. On digital I often prefer the focal length of the FA77. But still the FA43 is the best.
Agree on that one. If only it could focus closer! 10cm closer would do IMO....
Now when I have 31 + 43 I have really begun to lust after 77ltd... canīt find one (used for good price)
Hope soon I have 3 lenses to sell to cover for it
05-18-2010, 02:46 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Now when I have 31 + 43 I have really begun to lust after 77ltd... canīt find one (used for good price)
Hope soon I have 3 lenses to sell to cover for it
Copies come up here on the forum regularly. That's how I got mine.

05-18-2010, 03:37 PM   #20
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Just to show my opinion on this topic - a 100% crop from our last vacation.
f2.8, out of camera (GX20)

05-18-2010, 09:21 PM   #21
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Another pretty sharp wide open FA43:

05-19-2010, 09:33 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Copies come up here on the forum regularly. That's how I got mine.
I know Robin.
Barbossass was selling his copy from Portugal few weeks back and I stupidly decided not to go for it....
Now I have to wait and keep my eyes open...
Though I have to say itīs going to be hard to say goodbye to K50/1.2. Under certain circumstances it comes tied together with 31ltd as my 2nd best lens....
oh well, decisions, decisions, decisions.
Weīll see...
05-19-2010, 10:04 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
. . . Itīs perhaps the best lens I have used, ever.
I agree completely. It makes me smile a bit when I see another 40 vs. 43 thread, as I've owned both.

I just purchased the 77 and I'm dying for it to get here. I don't know if I'll ever own the 31 as I don't know if I can justify the price and the 43 is so close to that focal length anyway.

You'll get your 77 soon enough, I was also watching the marketplace closely for a decent price on one for some time.

05-19-2010, 10:09 AM   #24
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The 43 isn't soft. Here's an older photo I took with it the day it arrived, wide open at f/1.9:
05-19-2010, 04:54 PM   #25
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Photozone tested the FA43 and FA31 on a K10D. To compare a few key points:

Barrel Distortion: 0.65% versus 0.8%
Vignetting wide open: .78 versus 1EV
Vignetting from f/2.8: <=.24 versus .34EV
MTF50 corner/centre wide open: 1119/1775 versus 1810/1849
MTF50 corner/centre at f/4 (peak performance): 2245/2422 versus 2060/2345
Chromatic Aberration (worst/best): 1.05/1.24 versus .41/.68

The FA43 has better vignetting and distortion characteristics than the FA31 and better maximum sharpness, even in the corners. So use it at f/4 if this is your priority.

On the other hand the FA31 has a flatter field with better CA control and significantly better corner sharpness wide open. However, if one is using a wider angle lens wide open, will you be shooting walls that require sharpness corner to corner? It is an amazing spec but one that has less applicability than it might. The FA31 also has smoother bokeh in troublesome situations.

Despite that last fact, it seems to me that the characteristics of the FA43 make it better suited for how we might actually use such a lens... to emphasise the centre subject when using small depth of field. Its curved field can be used to advantage to highlight the subject and give it "pop". And this is exactly the result I see from many samples taken with these lenses.

On the other hand, if you want pure sharpness corner to corner again the lens delivers. Simply dial in f/4.

The bottom line: know your lens and know how to use it.

Last edited by rparmar; 05-19-2010 at 05:17 PM.
05-20-2010, 10:34 AM   #26
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QuoteQuote:
The FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited produced stellar resolution figures in the MTF lab except at wide-open aperture. At f/1.9 it suffers from rather low contrast combined with a soft border performance whereas the center is already pretty sharp.
I think this sentence from the Photozone review is a pretty good summary of what people find lacking in the FA43 wide open. It's not so much that the sharpness isn't there, it's that the contrast suffers, which can make the images look somewhat lifeless compared to when the lens is stopped down. Of course, you can always bump contrast in post.

Another interesting thing from looking at how different lenses performed on Photozone reviews, is that it seems like there (at least) two different design philosophies for lenses. Either it has great center performance wide open (DA15, FA43, FA77, Canon 24 f/1.4L, Canon 35 f/1.4, Zeiss 35 f/2) and evens out on the borders as you stop it down, or there's another group that starts out more balanced (FA31, FA35, DA40, DA70) and gets sharper in the center at around f/4. I wonder if most lens designers have to make this compromise one direction or the other. Maybe Leica designers don't

QuoteQuote:
On the other hand the FA31 has a flatter field with better CA control and significantly better corner sharpness wide open. However, if one is using a wider angle lens wide open, will you be shooting walls that require sharpness corner to corner? It is an amazing spec but one that has less applicability than it might. The FA31 also has smoother bokeh in troublesome situations.
I disagree that the corner to corner sharpness doesn't come in handy wide open. When you're using the FA31 on off center subjects wide open, this definitely helps.

On the subject of the FA43, I think my only criticism of it is not image quality related at all. My only problem with it is that it's a fairly awkward focal length on APS-C cameras in my own personal use. I think of any other lens besides maybe the FA31, the FA43 would shine the most on a Pentax FF camera, especially one without a strong AA filter
05-20-2010, 11:31 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Urkeldaedalus Quote
I disagree that the corner to corner sharpness doesn't come in handy wide open. When you're using the FA31 on off center subjects wide open, this definitely helps.
True, yes. But I have found this to be less a problem with 12-14MP since cropping is totally viable. And I can think of other situations where this characteristic might be useful, like needing to shoot low light interiors and wanting the entire frame to be decent. But generally there are other mitigating factors in these circumstances.

For me, if something needs to get sacrificed in lens performance I am OK with it being corner performance wide open, since it is highly unlikely anything will be in the focal plane at f/1.9 anyway.

Of course this is not the same for a wider lens that has a smaller maximum aperture. I want my DA12-24 to be sharp corner to corner wide open or very soon thereafter, since f/4 already captures lots of subject in its depth of field.
05-20-2010, 01:23 PM   #28
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Field Curvature can incorrectly give a softness impression

Here's how to test for Field Curvature.

After doing your normal focus test, if you see an area of the image that appears "soft", then manually adjust your lens to see if you can sharpen up the soft area. If you can, then the problem is not softness - its field curvature!

About a year ago i read this article on Photo Techniques magazine on field curvature. The author had taken the best 6 50mm lenses out there, and tested all for field curvature. His conclusion: all 50mm lenses he tested had some softness due to field curvature. Make sure all focus problems, e.g. FF and BF, have been eliminated prior to checking lenses for "softness" Minor center focus problems have a greatly increased effect in areas of field curvature.

Recommendations from the author:
a. Test lenses in real world conditions since that is what counts.

b. Get to know in what conditions your lens performs its best - and use your lens appropriately

One of my conclusions after reading this article is that its unlikely that the majority of lens reviewers out there have the technical skill to properly assess lenses. I'll put faith in sites like photozone.de and in the overall consensus of users like one finds in Pentax forums Lens Reviews. A very complex area.
05-21-2010, 06:56 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by builttospill Quote
I agree completely. It makes me smile a bit when I see another 40 vs. 43 thread, as I've owned both.

I just purchased the 77 and I'm dying for it to get here. I don't know if I'll ever own the 31 as I don't know if I can justify the price and the 43 is so close to that focal length anyway.

You'll get your 77 soon enough, I was also watching the marketplace closely for a decent price on one for some time.
I agree here again...
I used to have DA40 and loved it, to bits!
But once I got my hands on FA43 I never looked back. I got lucky and got my copy for 300GBP used W/O box. I agree that on APSC 43 and 31 are bit close but itīs justyfyable difference in FOV to own both IMO... My biggest worry is that once Iīll get 77ltd Iīll have to say my 50/55/85 and itīll result in huge gap between 43 and 77. Shame there isnīt something like 55ltd but DA*55 is pulling my leg instead of 77ltd... oh well....
05-21-2010, 07:08 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Photozone tested the FA43 and FA31 on a K10D. To compare a few key points:

Barrel Distortion: 0.65% versus 0.8%
Vignetting wide open: .78 versus 1EV
Vignetting from f/2.8: <=.24 versus .34EV
MTF50 corner/centre wide open: 1119/1775 versus 1810/1849
MTF50 corner/centre at f/4 (peak performance): 2245/2422 versus 2060/2345
Chromatic Aberration (worst/best): 1.05/1.24 versus .41/.68

The FA43 has better vignetting and distortion characteristics than the FA31 and better maximum sharpness, even in the corners. So use it at f/4 if this is your priority.

On the other hand the FA31 has a flatter field with better CA control and significantly better corner sharpness wide open. However, if one is using a wider angle lens wide open, will you be shooting walls that require sharpness corner to corner? It is an amazing spec but one that has less applicability than it might. The FA31 also has smoother bokeh in troublesome situations.

Despite that last fact, it seems to me that the characteristics of the FA43 make it better suited for how we might actually use such a lens... to emphasise the centre subject when using small depth of field. Its curved field can be used to advantage to highlight the subject and give it "pop". And this is exactly the result I see from many samples taken with these lenses.

On the other hand, if you want pure sharpness corner to corner again the lens delivers. Simply dial in f/4.

The bottom line: know your lens and know how to use it.
I donīt think itīs really fair to compare 31 with 43. First was designed in early 2000s includes AL element and most important it is WIDE ANGLE LENS!!! 43 relies on age old classic design that just about every Pentax 50/1.4 (and many other 50s from others for that matter) used since 1960s.... and it is NORMAL LENS.
And if you look at the size of them, youīll agree that wignetting is much more expectable from 43. Had they made it the size of 50/1.4 and kept it 43/1.9 the wignetting would have been better IMO.

on APSC 31 comes to life as replacement for FA43 on film. IMO with such focal length on APSC you are much more likely to frame subject off the centre than with wide angle, so corner to corner sharpness comes handy on 31 IMO.

Having said all that, when outdoors I reach for 43 2x out of 3. Indoors itīs the other way around.

As for your bottom line. 100% correct IMO. Any of the ltds or *s in bad hands are not worth the money. Once you know your stuff, you can make these lenses shine and you can hide those few weaknesses they may have...

BR
Peter
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