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Pentax Lens Review Database » Film Era Pentax K-Mount Lenses » FA Prime Lenses
SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited

Sharpness 
 9.8
Aberrations 
 8.6
Bokeh 
 9.7
Autofocus 
 8.8
Handling 
 9.6
Value 
 9.1
Reviews Views Date of last review
104 406,125 Thu February 10, 2022
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $669.90 9.68
SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited

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

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

SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
7 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F1.8
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
70 cm
Max. Magnification
0.14x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 21 ° / 18 °
Full frame: 31.5 ° / 26 °
Hood
Built-in, slide out
Case
Dedicated pouch
Lens Cap
Dedicated metal push-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
64 x 48 mm (2.5 x 1.9 in.)
Weight
270 g (9.5 oz.)
Production Years
1999 to present (in production)
Pricing
$896 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:1.8 77mm Limited
Product Code
27970 (silver), 27980 (black)
Reviews
User reviews
In-depth review
Notes
FREE (Fixed Rear Element Extension) focusing system

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame Support
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



Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 104
New Member

Registered: December, 2020
Location: Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: February 10, 2022 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lordawesome/albums/72157720107154196
   
amateur dirt farmer

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 32,468

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 14, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pepperberryfarm/albums/72157718723973613/page1

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: 31
Lens Review Date: September 13, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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

8 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 16, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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 pbase.com (https://pbase.com/cameras/pentax/smc_pfa_77_18_limited), 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
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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: 6,205

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 6, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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
Lens Review Date: June 13, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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
Lens Review Date: May 3, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros:
Cons:
New or Used: New   

K1










   
New Member

Registered: October, 2016
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XLz2aTDdNY&t=5s
   
Pentaxian

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

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 8, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 18, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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
Lens Review Date: July 6, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 26, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | 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

PROS
IQ
COLOR RENDERING 3D pop
Blue tones lovely
I can say the picture took with it among 100 others pics.

CONS
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
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: December 21, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $580.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, looks great, light sucker
Cons: No Quick Shift. No WR
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k30   

Bought this in anticipation of moving to FF soon. Just fired off a few test shots on my k30. FL feels long on APSC, but not as limiting as the my other recent pre FF purchase, the DFA100. I feel that both lenses will be more useful on the k1.

Very punchy. The transition from in focus to out of focus is very unobtrusive, giving a fantastically natural sense of 3D depth. This might be the 'pixie dust' people talk of. What I immediately noticed was that you can see the plain of focus very clearly when shooting wide apertures, which means the wide aperture sharpness is awesome. If it's not sharp its more likely the focus than the optics!

The bokeh is smooth but not bland. It has some texture to it but it seems sympathetic. The colours are quite warm.

The weather has been very grey here recently. I haven't seen much CA yet, but conditions haven't been too challenging. Will prob do an update later.

I love the way the thing looks like a light hoover, with it's large rear element. It's definitely good for low light shooting, as it positively encourages you to open it up.

They say that equipment doesn't make you a better photographer, but even after a few shots with a lens like this, you start to think differently. The more you see those transitions, the more you want to really use and encourage that depth. I can't see how I could go back. If you look at the prices of Zeiss, or the Canikon 85mm portrait lenses etc which by all accounts can offer this level of creative palette, for the Ł476 I paid, so far it looks an absolute bargain.

To compare it with the DFA100WR, I would say both are super sharp, especially the 100mm which seems to have incredible resolution. Both have 3D pop in abundance. The 100 has a smoother bokeh, although not necessarily more beautiful. I think the 100 has the clarity of a modern lens, but with really lovely rendering. The 77mm on the other hand is better in low light, has a touch of warm vintage character to it, and that extra sense of depth which when you nail your composition and focus, can look magical.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 1, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Image Quality, Quality Built
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-50   

Incredible. I marvel at the images that are produced by this lens. I was one of those that did not believe in the pixie dust association but, now I am a believer. Highly recommend if you can get your hands on this lens.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited



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