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SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited

Reviews Views Date of last review
106 428,034 Fri February 17, 2023
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $668.19 9.67
SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited

SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited

The 77mm Limited lens features a metal body and built-in hood.

SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 9 blades
7 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
70 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 21 ° / 18 °
Full frame: 31.5 ° / 26 °
Built-in, slide out
Dedicated pouch
Lens Cap
Dedicated metal push-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
64 x 48 mm (2.5 x 1.9 in.)
270 g (9.5 oz.)
Production Years
1999 to 2021
$896 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:1.8 77mm Limited
Product Code
27970 (silver), 27980 (black)
User reviews
In-depth review
FREE (Fixed Rear Element Extension) focusing system

Screwdrive AutofocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 106
New Member

Registered: July, 2022
Posts: 2
Review Date: February 17, 2023 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, beautyfull, solid, bokeh whats not to like about this lens?
Cons: Used right nothing. Purple f..
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax kII   

I have used this less then the 31mm, but its a lens with its own forces. Portrait is its nr 1 force im starting to belive.

But it is so small and nice that you can use it for almost anything.
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2022
Posts: 41

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 13, 2022 Recommended | Price: $535.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Amazing bokeh, contrast
Cons: Contrast, loaded with CA, too small, minimum focusing distance, inaccurate AF
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1   

I bought into this whole pixie dust cult thing and got a 77mm Limited.

First of all, if you are looking for optical perfection, move on. This is not that lens. The most obvious flaw is the CA. It has loads... and I mean LOADS of CA everywhere in the frame when shot wide open. And why else would you get a F1.8 portrait lens if not to shoot it wide open? This is a lens for those that would still shoot it wide open and enjoy the image regardless of the CA.

How bad is the CA anyway? Well, it's bad enough to change colors of things with fine contrasty detail right in the middle of the frame. In the following image, you will notice the highlights on the camera are purple.

The following shot is of the same scene, but stopped down to F2.4 (one stop). The purple fringing is still quite noticeable.

The lens is also a bit on the soft side wide open. Not to the extent you'd notice unless you go in looking for it, but still soft. Sweet spot for sharpness is around F4, and I'm more than happy at F2.8 for most shooting or anything beyond F4 up until diffraction kicks in. This lens loves to be shot at wider apertures, though.

Lens has great 3D pop and beautiful bokeh.

Renders colors a bit on the cool side, and more contrasty.

Overall rendering is great, I love it. It's just a bit more contrasty than the other FA lenses I've used, so I find that I need to adjust my custom images.

I wish it would focus a bit closer. That would add a lot to the versatility of this lens.

AF is relatively quick for a screwdrive Pentax lens. It's not noisy but has a high-pitched sound that some people apparently find annoying. I didn't. It is, however, quite inaccurate in some situations. In situations where other FA lenses I own, as well as the HD D FA 18-105mm consistently acquire focus, this lens is a hit and miss. I originally thought I needed to do AF fine-tuning, but it turned out the K-1 simply isn't able to acquire focus reliably with this lens.

The build quality is worthy of the Limited badge. I got the black version in pretty much mint condition, and was able to enjoy the full glory of the design and finish.

Handling is so-so. I have no use for an aperture ring on the K-1, so cannot comment much on that. I can only say that I've seen better (e.g., SMC Takumar 55mm F1.8). Focus ring is similarly inferior in comparison to old manual lenses from Pentax and Nikon. I imagine this has more to do with the screwdrive mechanism than the lens construction or assembly. As with the aperture ring, this is not something I care about as I'm shooting AF. It doesn't have instant manual focus override, but none of the screwdrive lenses do. The biggest issue with handling on this lens is the size. It's way too small so my fingers keep grabbing the AF ring while the lens is auto-focusing. Is this a deal-breaker? Not really.

The built-in lens hood is great, but I find I don't need it that much. The lens doesn't really flare that much. One thing to note is that it may interfere with your fllters, or so I've read somewhere.

So... is there pixie dust in this thing? I'm not quite sure what they put in it, but I do find the images to be really really really good under the right conditions. I imagine it will take some time for me to figure out what those conditions are to make the results a bit more consistent. It does not magically turn every image you shoot into a masterpiece if that's what you thought "pixie dust" meant.

NOTE: the colors as processed by the pentaxforums engine are not representative of what this lens is capable of. In reality, the colors are much more vibrant.

EDIT: After a while using this lens, it sees less and less action due to unreliable AF. I get way too many out-of-focus images to consider using this lens more often.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2020
Location: Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago
Posts: 37
Review Date: February 10, 2022 Recommended | Price: $460.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Bokeh, Handling, Build Quality, Character, sharpness.
Cons: CA and MFD
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1   

This was a difficult one to justify. I have some killer glass in this range already. My vivitar series 1 90mm f2.5 macro, and a SMC Takumar 85mm f1.9. While they are both phenomenal lenses, the 77mm just has that edge overall. I saw a deal on the marketplace here I couldn't pass up and pulled the trigger on this beauty. I have had the 31mm limited for almost a decade now and it's been my go to for a lot of my paid work. It's the lens I trust to deliver the goods every time I secure it to my camera. The 77mm has joined the 31mm in this aspect as well! In fact, I find myself reaching for the 77mm and often want to use it over the 31mm for a lot of my recent automotive work.

I actually do have some complaints about this lens though. The main issue I have is the manual focus experience. My fingers are often left wandering each time I reach up to locate the focus ring. I often end up on the hood initially and it's been a frustrating learning curve. I have been using AF more than ever thanks to this little frustration. I am not one to trust AF, and while it's certainly not infallible it has been seemingly better than the 31mm has been for me in the past.

Aside from these disjointed observations I've been shooting with it quite a lot lately and have a decent album of images over on Flickr for review. Enjoy!
amateur dirt farmer

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 39,047

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 14, 2021 Recommended | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: clarity, bokeh, color rendition, sharpness, build quality
Cons: occasional CA, MFD
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5 IIs, K-3   

this one lives up to the legend - full stop.....

what a month - there are only two nit-picks for this lens.. everything else is simply glorious about it - color, bokeh, sharpness, clarity, all in spades....

it's a tidy, nearly-pancake of a lens, with a built-in hood and legendary Limited build quality...

two weeks into the month, I was sold on this lens - so much so, I sold off my DA70 Limited....

the two caveats - MFD and CA; the minimum focusing distance is a bit long, but this is soooooo sharp, you can crop as much as you like and still be happy...

the other issue is with occasional purple fringing in high-contrast edges; again, not a huge issue with today's post-processing software...

some shots with this lens:

utility by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

fake flowers by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

sunset in the garden by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

jeans & pegs by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

alley, biker by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

fence bokeh by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

and the rest of my flickr album for this lens:

in short - if you need a telephoto lens that produces pretty much any shot you could ask for, this is it....
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2019
Location: Hengelo
Posts: 32
Review Date: September 13, 2021 Recommended | Price: $413.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: size, sharpness, detail
Cons: purple fringing
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K3II   

A lovely piece of equipment. Lightweight, small and with so much detail in the pictures.
I use the Sigma 85mm 1.4 but the FA77mm lens is so much more fun to walk around and shoot on the street.
This weekend I met the previous owner and we had a great chat about Pentax equipment and our love for the small and sturdy lenses.
On my K3ii and when there is enough direct (sun)light, a -0.7 stop down is usefull to capture all detail.
This FA77mm will bring me even more fun and new possibilities to explore. For now I just say, when you got the oppertunity, buy it.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Eureka, California
Posts: 825

12 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 16, 2021 Recommended | Price: $440.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Dreamy, delicious image quality and, despite the cliche, definitely touched with "Pixie Dust."
Cons: Fussy lens cap, built-in lens hood of limited value.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5 ii S   

Based on the many superior reviews written by my betters here on the Pentax Forum, and especially by the sample images posted both here and on (, I knew I would love this lens and just waited for an opportunity to buy one that had been lovingly used at a price I could reasonably justify to myself. It is truly everything I had hoped for.

I am primarily an elderly Nikon shooter who enjoys a longer perspective for portraiture than most. One of my favorite lenses in the Nikon line is the 180mm f2.8D EDIF, a $600 lens that has a similar "pixie dust" quality to it. On my Pentax K-5 ii-S crop-sensor body, the Pentax 77mm Limited assumes the perspective of a 115.5mm lens, which suits me perfectly. At one point I had bought a new Nikon 85mm f1.8D and disliked it so much that I sold it on right away -- I never was able to produce a single satisfactory photograph with it, which I'm sure was due to my lack of vision and skill, as this lens is still often a recommended purchase for new Nikon shooters.

I also dabble in Canon, mainly because I coveted the 85mm f1.2 L II, a fun lens to have and use, but it is large and heavy. Here again, the diminutive Pentax 77mm Limited provides a similar spectacular quality in a much smaller package. Why did I wind up with a Pentax body with a battery grip and several lenses when I already have Nikon and Canon systems? This forum! Here is an international collection of people who generously donate their time and efforts in a friendly and supportive environment, a delightful administrator, and an opportunity to interact with some of the best photographers in the world! If we lost the Pentax Forums, I don't know what I would do. The Nikon and Canon forums are relatively impenetrable, full of essentially professional-level Adobe Photoshoppers who will always know more than I will, leaving me with nothing to contribute. Here at least I can offer encouragement and gratitude and praise. And my sincere thanks for introducing me to the magic of Pentax and this marvelous little lens. Thank you all.

With kind regards,

Mark H.
Eureka, California
New Member

Registered: May, 2017
Location: Kiev
Posts: 12

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 16, 2021 Recommended | Price: $630.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Beautiful bokeh. Great portrait picture! Lightweight lens. Robust construction. Small size. low price (for a lens of this quality). Built-in lens hood.
Cons: Lack of waterproofness. Insufficient sharpness at open aperture.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: К1   

Considering the low cost and excellent picture, I recommend this lens for purchase! This lens has more advantages than disadvantages. And this lens has long been recognized as an excellent portrait lens! If it were waterproof, sharp at 1.8 aperture, and it wouldn't have chromatic aberration at open apertures. That would be the perfect lens in all respects!

Custom User Title

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Alberta
Posts: 6,520

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 6, 2020 Recommended | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Character, colours, size (compact)
Cons: none really; loud screw drive focus, no quickshift ??
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-70   

Such an incredible, characterful, beautiful lens.

It's hard to fault the lens anywhere. Screw drive AF and no quickshift? Those features came much after this lens was released.
It's an older lens, designed for film cameras, but the beautiful images this lens produces easily allow it to compete in the modern digital world.

Wide-open, centre-sharp portraits are jaw droppingly beautiful.
Images render in an almost painterly fashion, but upon inspection incredible detail and sharpness are found.

Just an incredible lens - every Pentaxian should pursue a copy
New Member

Registered: November, 2018
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 10
Review Date: June 13, 2020 Recommended | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: f1.8, color rendering
Cons: purple fringin, AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP   

Nice bokeh. If you can correct the purple fringing then it can give you wonderful images.
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2019
Posts: 25

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 3, 2020 Recommended | Rating: N/A 

New or Used: New   


New Member

Registered: October, 2016
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 21, 2020 Recommended | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Size, Weight, Centre Sharpness
Cons: CA, Noisey AF
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3 K-1   

A great lens for headshots and portraiture it's main strengths are it's size and weight combined with it's snappy AF and nice colour rendering. Unless you believe in pixiedust it's maybe a little over priced and you should consider the DFA 100 as an alternative for headshots.

my full review is at

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 389

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 8, 2019 Recommended | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build, Size, High quality glass. AF, Fast enough at F1.8. Sharp even wide open
Cons: A little CA/PF wide open, expensive (but worth it) third party are faster and cheaper.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-1   

Sometimes a lens appears in the market that has a "legend" moniker put against it. Leica, Zeiss and the Pentax Limiteds. To be honest they are deserved.
The 77mm is one of those lenses.
Personally, I have wanted one of the 77mm Limiteds for at least 10 years, but for various reasons, I never got to the point of owning one, until now.
I am very glad I waited. It was not like "never meet your heroes", more of a case of "I have known you for years, and you are exceeding my expectations".

From the point of opening the box, I just knew it was special. It is a tactile delight, metal body, smooth as silk focus ring and precise aperture ring. It harks back to those wonderful SMC-K and M lenses, and indeed Takumars, in operation. It is that feeling of something more than just a lens.

In operation? There is a lack of AF override but when it comes to the K-1 and 33 AF points, does that matter?
AF noise with the Screw focus is not really an issue.

Wide open it is just superb, sharpness and contrast is what you get, and the lack of "dreaminess" you get with the FA50 at F1.4 to F2. Well worth using wide open.
Stopped down it just gets better all the way to F8-F11. So as a studio lens it is perfect.

Now CA/PF. Yes it has some, but in CameraRaw the processing of it as so small, you need not worry.

Cost? Well that is subjective. It is NOT a cheap lens. and from a pure price point against rivals (Samyang 85mm F1.4 or CaNikon 85mm F1.8 models) it could be considered expensive, but that is not the whole story. What you get is images that, from a personal point of view, better rendition, colour, "3D" and more natural than the latest digital designed optics that are far more clinical in their look, and lack an almost "emotional" level.

It is deserving of the legend status that has been given to it. Think of it as a small emotional, rather than a large clinical lens.

Finally, yes it is expensive, but against say any Leica and Zeiss lens it is very cheap, and it should be comparable to them. Against the mainstream brands, it is a "cut Above" even though rivals can be faster.

Small, fast, well made, special. What more do you want?

[IMG]Howarth Steam Punk Weekend 2019 by Iain, on Flickr[/IMG]
New Member

Registered: January, 2019
Posts: 1

5 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 18, 2019 Recommended | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Nearly perfect.
Cons: AF some time "refff refff" (mij version)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K70   

Let the images speak for themselve. By k70.

Buy it. Canon and nikon users will be amazed by how it looks like (silver version). Even noob photographer like me can snap good shots.
Some images on film:

By the way, its screw driver af system performs better on k70 than k3ii.
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 796

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 6, 2018 Recommended | Price: $780.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, fast, sharp
Cons: Lens cap, not WR
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: KP, K-30, PZ-1p   

This lens is near to perfect, very sharp from wide open. The lens cap can fall down sometimes and it has some CA, more than what I would like, but it can be handled easily in postprocess. It has a 49mm filter thread wich makes easy to share filters with DA15, FA43, DFA100 macro, and DA50, DA35.

Here are some examples:
IMG180414_0014 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG180422_0018 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG171008_0010 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170923_0235 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG180505_0005 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG180428_0254 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG180428_0090 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG180505_0041 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

And a Brenizer effect:
IMG180505_0047 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: January, 2018
Location: Paris
Posts: 8

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 26, 2018 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Even better with k1
Cons: Price can be forgotten the quality stays
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K1 k5   

After years using it on my k5, I can say this rocks with K1. Finding it easier to use it and catch the focus at F.1.8 with much better IQ. Was using it often at 2,8 or above with k5 .
Fov/Dov different with K1 of course but learning is quick (took me months with k5 to tame this beast...)
36Mp does not afraid it at all

Blue tones lovely
I can say the picture took with it among 100 others pics.

Take time to learn it
You must check the micro setting AF adjustment within your camera ( thanks Vietnam QC : this is a sharp lens at all apertures including at PO although you don’t have to be drunk to achieve the right focus.

This is a smile lens : when you watch it, you take it In your hands, you shoot with it, and when you watch the pics

I own others good gems (k135 2.5, lester a dine macro 105 2.8, FA 50 1,7, F*300 4.5, czj Sonnar 135 3.5, and some others goodies...) but this one is my babe! A unique mix of IQ, contrast and color rendering and build./size.

A must in Pentax land if you can afford it
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited

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