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12-31-2009, 08:11 AM   #1
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Pentax FA 33-55mm f/4.5

Hi folks,

Anyone shooting with this lens? Any comparisons you could share between this zoom and the FA or A 35mm f/3.5?

I have read Pal's opinion of this lens here in the reviews and on photo.net (I think). With the crop sensor (presumably) 645D on the horizon, I am wondering if this will be put back into production.

Thanks, Yuri

12-31-2009, 08:46 AM   #2
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Yuri - I spent a lot of time thinking about this lens. Too much, by all accounts I decided that, for the same price as the 35mm, I was not willing to accept more distortion (which is pronounced at the widest angles), slower f-stop, less resolving power, and 16-inch close focus -- which is twice that of the 35mm.

Now, if I had the $$ for both.... I would probably own it, for travel if nothing else. Lots of people swear by this lens for its versatility.

What are you thinking?
12-31-2009, 09:14 AM   #3
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Hi Andy.

"What are you thinking? "

Good question, what the hell was I thinking (I will get this question when my better half signs for the UPS package next week)?? I just ordered one in BGN condition from KEH. I have been thinking about this lens too much as well, but thought that was okay because I rarely saw one for sale. I am anxious to compare this with the A and FA 35mm lenses.

I have been thinking about what Pal has said about this lens and that f/11 is where it is nice and it is best at f/13. I don't mind distortion too much as I had the Pentax 67 35mm fish eye for a while and had fun using it, but ended up selling it and the 67 gear I had at the time to finance some studio strobes. I have also been waiting for the Pentax 645D to emerge from its long incubation and see how it performs and what it is capable of. The K-x has me wondering if the 645D will have decent low light abilities - perhaps a dream, but it is fun to play guessing games with upcoming gear and vaporware.

The Pentax 645N is a camera I really, really enjoy using. I don't recall having another camera that I enjoyed using so much. The Minolta XE-7 body came closest, that wonderful sounding shutter and the style of the body and some of the lenses I used to have made it a lot of fun for me to shoot with, but the 645N is very sweet. I wonder if I am subconsciously recreating a 35mm full frame film kit, but with a little more oomph, hence my recent purchase of the 20-35mm equivalent.

Yuri
12-31-2009, 09:50 AM   #4
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Yuri - you're on a roll! Enjoy and by all means report back. I'd actually be most interested to know what a BGN lens looks like from KEH... my last purchase was EX and immaculately clean, so I would love to know what I'd be getting with a BGN purchase.

12-31-2009, 10:20 AM   #5
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Andy,

I recently returned my first item to KEH in over fifteen years of buying from them, many of the items in BGN condition, including lenses. My return was a BGN lens, a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8. It had a 2-3mm long scratch in the coating of the front element, not into the glass itself I think, as it looked like it was just the coating. It had a slight zig zag pattern, like someone dragged a knife edge over it and it "chattered". It was quite small and towards the edge, however, I declined to keep it and traded it for an EX condition Pentax 645 FA 45-85mm f/4.5 of all things (my second one, I should not have sold my first one).

I have had other BGN lenses that looked perfect optically, just had slight cosmetic issues.

I did purchase my 645 FA 35mm f/3.5 from them in EX condition. The glass is immaculate, however, there is slightly more cosmetic wear than I am accustomed to with their EX offerings. Given the rare nature of this lens, and that it had immaculate glass, I opted to keep this lovely lens.

I am not too worried about what the condition of the 645 FA 33-55mm f/4.5 given my past, positive experience with KEH's BGN offerings. When I get everything together I will take a group ultra-wide portrait and post here.

Yuri
12-31-2009, 12:58 PM   #6
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The FA 33-55 is my one lens kit for the 645N. Just like the 20-35. It is more compact than the 45-85.
12-31-2009, 01:17 PM   #7
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D W,

Can you share any thoughts on this lens? Anything to watch out for or enjoy (sweet spots)?

Thanks. Yuri

QuoteOriginally posted by D W Quote
The FA 33-55 is my one lens kit for the 645N. Just like the 20-35. It is more compact than the 45-85.
01-01-2010, 07:11 PM   #8
D W
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At 35mm I would take the A35 over it and at 55mm I would take the A55 over it. Not sure about the A45. What I like is it is a one lens solution since I like wider view and it matched the 35mm format 20-35 nicely.
It also offer a slightly wider angle of view at 33 vs 35.

01-08-2010, 05:44 PM   #9
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I received this lens, but am sending it back. There is something wrong with the rear element. There is a 3 - 4 mm diameter discoloration on the outer edge of the rear element. It appears as if part of the coating is missing (unlikely) or has somehow been dissolved/removed. The edges of this defect are smooth and playing with the lighting it does not appear to be a chip. Such a shame as it is an interesting range and otherwise appear to be in very good condition. The front element is perfect. I even found a source for the original lens hood - which also appears to be the same lens hood as the FA 35mm takes.
01-08-2010, 06:56 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by yurihuta Quote
I received this lens, but am sending it back. There is something wrong with the rear element. There is a 3 - 4 mm diameter discoloration on the outer edge of the rear element. It appears as if part of the coating is missing (unlikely) or has somehow been dissolved/removed. The edges of this defect are smooth and playing with the lighting it does not appear to be a chip. Such a shame as it is an interesting range and otherwise appear to be in very good condition. The front element is perfect. I even found a source for the original lens hood - which also appears to be the same lens hood as the FA 35mm takes.
I replaced the rear element of the A* 135/1.8. It costed $50......
01-08-2010, 07:22 PM   #11
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Thank you Pål!

Do you still have your 33-55mm?

Wow, that is a nice lens and $50, who can argue with that. Did you get this replaced through Pentax? How recently was this done?

Pentax USA has recently 'licensed' the repairs they do to another company. I don't know how well or poorly they repair things. I will first give Pentax USA a call to see if they have this part in stock and then think about replacing the rear element. This would be ideal as the lens is otherwise very nice.

QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
I replaced the rear element of the A* 135/1.8. It costed $50......
01-08-2010, 08:47 PM   #12
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at $50, I think Pal repair it himself...wonder how he gets the parts though...
01-09-2010, 05:09 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by yurihuta Quote
Thank you Pål!

Do you still have your 33-55mm?

Wow, that is a nice lens and $50, who can argue with that. Did you get this replaced through Pentax? How recently was this done?
.

This was about five years ago done at Pentax service center (Pentax could still provide the glass for this long discontinued lens). The rear element is not the expensive one on most lenses. Replacing it is an half hour job......

I still have the 33-55.
01-09-2010, 12:03 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by yurihuta Quote
Thank you Pål!

Do you still have your 33-55mm?

Wow, that is a nice lens and $50, who can argue with that. Did you get this replaced through Pentax? How recently was this done?

Pentax USA has recently 'licensed' the repairs they do to another company. I don't know how well or poorly they repair things. I will first give Pentax USA a call to see if they have this part in stock and then think about replacing the rear element. This would be ideal as the lens is otherwise very nice.
IMHO It would be a safer bet to have the repair done at a Pentax facility in Asia, YMMV.
01-12-2010, 03:26 PM   #15
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I am waiting for a parts list from Pentax USA to see what the part number is and then will find out if it is in stock and then how much it costs... hopefully it will be reasonable.
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