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01-07-2016, 12:20 AM   #1
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DFA 90mm vs FA 120mm Macro

Hi all,
I currently have the DFA 90mm, the FA 150mm and the FA80-160mm lenses.

In an effort to strip down weight in my system I have decided that until we see a new DFA 80-160 or 90-180 (180 max being my ideal) lens that is on the roadmap, I want to go back to using just one lens for short tele work (mainly landscape), plus having just one lens in the bag makes one think more about composition rather than "oh I need the other lens out"

I have tested all 3 lenses and can conclude the following:

1. The DFA 90 and the FA150 are definitely sharper than the 80-160, or perhaps they have more contrast, which at the end of the day equates to sharpness anyway in my book. Tested at F8 and F11.
2. I have checked through old photos and most taken with the 90mm have been cropped, at least a similar crop to 120mm.
3. The OS in the 90mm is not very effective. I use a monopod for walkaround 645 work and at critical speeds of 1/40, 1/60 and 1/80, the OS was not offering any benefit being on or off. Same goes for handheld with proper use, given that the monopod could interfere with the OS effectiveness in the same way a tripod can.

So I was thinking of the following: sell the DFA 90 (which is mint) and with the money from that, purchase a FA 120 and the new DFA 35mm (I would very much like the new 35) and probably have some change left over.

Is there anybody in the forum that has compared the 90 to the 120 and can offer an opinion on sharpness, contrast and CA etc?

01-07-2016, 01:14 AM   #2
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Well, the 120mm feels quite a bit heavier than the 150 (at least 50% more), and the corners at f/8-11 are superior on the 150 as well. I've taken both out to shoot and would rather carry around the 150 and deal with the extra range. Not useful for landscape, but the 150 focuses faster and does go one stop faster. For me the 120 stays in the studio full time and I only use it for product photography.
01-07-2016, 04:23 AM   #3
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What do you mean by OS sorry for my ignorance.
01-07-2016, 05:27 AM   #4
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OS - Optical stabilization, I would guess.

01-07-2016, 01:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
Hi all,
I currently have the DFA 90mm, the FA 150mm and the FA80-160mm lenses.

In an effort to strip down weight in my system I have decided that until we see a new DFA 80-160 or 90-180 (180 max being my ideal) lens that is on the roadmap, I want to go back to using just one lens for short tele work (mainly landscape), plus having just one lens in the bag makes one think more about composition rather than "oh I need the other lens out"

I have tested all 3 lenses and can conclude the following:

1. The DFA 90 and the FA150 are definitely sharper than the 80-160, or perhaps they have more contrast, which at the end of the day equates to sharpness anyway in my book. Tested at F8 and F11.
2. I have checked through old photos and most taken with the 90mm have been cropped, at least a similar crop to 120mm.
3. The OS in the 90mm is not very effective. I use a monopod for walkaround 645 work and at critical speeds of 1/40, 1/60 and 1/80, the OS was not offering any benefit being on or off. Same goes for handheld with proper use, given that the monopod could interfere with the OS effectiveness in the same way a tripod can.

So I was thinking of the following: sell the DFA 90 (which is mint) and with the money from that, purchase a FA 120 and the new DFA 35mm (I would very much like the new 35) and probably have some change left over.

Is there anybody in the forum that has compared the 90 to the 120 and can offer an opinion on sharpness, contrast and CA etc?
Your experiences with the 90mm Macro I can not confirm. I find the OS very useful handheld although for landscape I mostly use my tripod. If your photos taken with the 90mm have to be cropped, its not the fault of the lens...

But I agree totally in your effort to go just for two lenses. I very often have just the 2.8/90mm Macro and the FA 3.5/35* in my bag. These two lenses cover 90% of my photographic work. If required I take the FA 2.8/150mm with me, but not very often. With this equipment I feel very lightweight and comfortable even it's MF.

*will be replaced by the new HD 35mm in the next few days...
01-07-2016, 01:59 PM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Original Poster
Ristretto thanks,

I know you have the 90, you have taken some great images with it.

Well I have the 28-45 and while it's wonderful, a lighter 2 lens kit of the DFA35 and say the FA120 would give me a 28mm and 90mm Kit which would cover most needs for travel.

If the new tele zoom comes out then that will be my mainstay as the zoom is much more critical at longer lengths than it is at the shorter lengths.

It's a lot of money to have tied up in one lens that is not a focal length that I am using all the time.
01-07-2016, 02:42 PM   #7
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don't forget to check out the 55-110 f5.6 zoom lens.. this lens may solve your problem.
01-07-2016, 04:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by acarlay Quote
don't forget to check out the 55-110 f5.6 zoom lens.. this lens may solve your problem.
Though it is not a particularly strong lens. I have it, and hardly use it. Not amazingly sharp.

01-09-2016, 09:39 AM   #9
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I had both the FA150 and older A120, I chose to stay with the A120 and sold the 150. My A120 was sharper than the 150 in all aspects.

I tested the new DFA 35mm and it's completely worth it over the previous gen. 35's.
01-09-2016, 01:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rhern213 Quote
I had both the FA150 and older A120, I chose to stay with the A120 and sold the 150. My A120 was sharper than the 150 in all aspects.

I tested the new DFA 35mm and it's completely worth it over the previous gen. 35's.
Are the optics in the FA 120 the same as the A?

With the new 35, did you notice any problematic field curvature?
01-10-2016, 12:56 PM   #11
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As far as I know, the 120mm's are indeed identical. And very good—the copy I had was better than my 2.8/150mm, although that said, they sere also different in character, it's not all about sharpness. I sold my 120mm to keep the 150mm.

No experience with the DFA 35mm.
01-12-2016, 08:36 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
Are the optics in the FA 120 the same as the A?

With the new 35, did you notice any problematic field curvature?
The A and FA 120's are identical, the only change was the addition of AF, and the full/limit switch. They also both have floating elements to adjust the lens for macro to infinity focusing. I went with the A just because I don't use AF.

The new DFA35 has no noticeable field curvature, nothing like the FA35, and less than the A35. It's sharper than both older models edge to edge.
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