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03-01-2011, 10:51 PM   #1
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One lens over another

Please help me understand the difference between. Pentax DA 55mm f1.4 and Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 and the advantage of one over the other.

Your knowledge and help with my ignorance is deeply appreciated,

Thank you,

Robert

03-01-2011, 11:13 PM   #2
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I have neither but this should explain the differences between the DA and FA plus other Pentax K-mounts.
Pentax Lens Terminology
03-02-2011, 12:00 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by rajusa Quote
Please help me understand the difference between. Pentax DA 55mm f1.4 and Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 and the advantage of one over the other.

Your knowledge and help with my ignorance is deeply appreciated,

Thank you,

Robert
*The FA has an apperture ring and cover full fram, so you can use it also on Pentax film SLRs. You can also use it reversed for extreme macro shots (and it is quite a good choise for this). The DA* would have problem with these applications. It can only be used on the later film cameras where the apperture can be guided from the camera body, and reversed the apperture would be closed to the minima opening.

*The DA* is optimised for digital photo, the FA is not. Thought the FA does a good job as well on digital, it suffers from some minor optical problems that are more apparent on a digital shot than it was on film.

*The FA is less expensive.

*The DA* is a new design optimised to be used as a portrait lens, on APS-C corresponding to the old FA*85. If I remember correctly, the apperture is also rounded for smoother bokeeh. The FA was designed as a normal lens for film, and is one of the best ever made (when the Sigma 50mm came out, there was a large test with fast 50's somewhere on the web, and the FA50 beat the shit out of the competition for less money), it does a fair job for portrait, but has not an ideal OOF charactere.

*The FA has screw drive autofocus, which makes more noise than the SDM focus of the DA*. On the other hand, on most bodies I think the FA will focus faster than the DA*.

*You can take a shower with the DA*. That would not be a good idea with the FA. The "*" denotes the top line of Pentax lenses.

So the DA* would be the ideal lens to sneak up on shy people to shoot their portraits in the rain?
03-02-2011, 12:11 AM   #4
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or ..... the DA55 has a poor reputation for QC whereas the FA is much better ?

The FA is a Bokeh master ?

03-02-2011, 12:35 AM   #5
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Douglas,

Tack så mycket. för din tid och ansträngning.

Robert
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03-02-2011, 12:39 AM   #6
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K57xr,

Thank you very much for the direction. Very Helpful.

Robert
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03-02-2011, 09:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
So the DA* would be the ideal lens to sneak up on shy people to shoot their portraits in the rain?


...and as a common marking now to denote the lens (Sigma, Tamron, Nikon, etc), if it has the "D" or "Di", it is usually optimized for digital.
03-02-2011, 10:22 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote


...and as a common marking now to denote the lens (Sigma, Tamron, Nikon, etc), if it has the "D" or "Di", it is usually optimized for digital.
we really should generate a lens terminology list.

For example SIgma uses DC for Digital Cropped sensor (ASP-C) and DG (no idea why G) for Digital Full Frame. NO designation on Sigma means "BD" (Before digital)

Tamron uses Di for Digital - Full Frame and Dii for Digital (Cropped sensor)

Not sure about the canikon terms.

03-02-2011, 10:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
we really should generate a lens terminology list.
NO designation on Sigma means "BD" (Before digital)
I like this one!
03-02-2011, 03:55 PM   #10
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The DA* 55mm f1.4 was supposed to be a great lens, but does not attract the kind of constant glowing superlative reviews that you see for the FA 31mm f1.8 Limited. It may have been difficult to greatly improve on the FA 50mm f1.4, available for about half the price in the US. One feature that might have attracted more interest is faster focus. Pentax seems to have decided that the focus doesn't need to be fast for portraits. Most of the design decisions are geared for portrait use, then placed in a premium "*" shell with all those features added, for an unusual mix of weather-resistant portrait use.

The FA is a better choice if you aren't looking for the ultimate portrait lens or don't need the other "*" features. Or don't have enough money. The FA improves when a hood is used. If someone asks why you want a 50-55mm lens and your first word is not "portrait", buy the FA.
03-02-2011, 04:27 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rajusa Quote
Please help me understand the difference between. Pentax DA 55mm f1.4 and Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 and the advantage of one over the other.

Your knowledge and help with my ignorance is deeply appreciated,

Thank you,

Robert
The DA* is bigger.....
My own experience with them is that the DA is pretty sharp wide open, and is much sharper wide open than the FA. By f/5.6 it's pretty hard to tell them apart.
The bokeh on the DA is a little busy, so you want to watch your backgrounds a little closer than you do with the FA.
OTOH, you have more limited bokeh opportunities with the FA because it isn't as sharp at wide apertures.
I liked the DA enough that I sold the FA, but I liked the FA enough that I sold it to a friend.
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