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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
106 431,464 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
$919 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 16-30 of 106
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 7

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 21, 2017 Recommended | 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 £476 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
Review Date: November 1, 2017 Recommended | Price: $499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, Image Quality, Quality Built
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.
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 456
Review Date: May 30, 2017 Recommended | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: high keeper rate, sharp enough wide open, smooth bokeh, pixie dust
Cons: none that I've discovered for my shooting
Sharpness: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K5 iis   

I have been looking for a portrait lens for aps-c for some time and tried a number of different approaches - Pentax DFA 50mm 1.8, Porst 55mm 1.2, Tokina atx 90mm macro, Helios 77m, but nothing comes close to what I'm getting out of this lens. There is just a certain extra bit of life that comes out of each picture. My keeper rate is higher than my skill level, which is how I can tell a great lens. The following shots look best opened in flickr with something equivalent to an ipad screen resolution but you sort of get the idea. All were done with natural light, no reflectors, and ISO 200

IMGP4767.jpg by David Miley, on Flickr

IMGP4737.jpg by David Miley, on Flickr
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 32
Review Date: April 28, 2017 Recommended | Price: $740.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Quality, Built Quality
Cons: No Quickshift, Balsam separation after ~15 years
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K10D, K30, K70   

This is one of the best, if not THE best Pentax lens!
I.Q. is outstanding:
- Center and Corners: Very Good - Good at 1.8, Excellent - Very good at 2.8+
- Excellent bookeh, colors
- Very little vignetting, flare, distortion.
Excellent built quality, very practical telescopic hood.
The minor minuses are the absence of Quickshift, and a little bit of Purple Fringing at full aperture in front of a light source.
What killed me is that, after 15-20 years, despite a perfect overall condition, two elements became slightly separated, creating a haze and killing the I.Q. I had to sale for a song my beloved lens, and buy a new one!
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2013
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 1,717

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 23, 2017 Recommended | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Resolution, colors, bokeh
Cons: AF can be touchy, fringes like crazy, built-in hood is useless
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1   

While I've owned this lens longer than anything currently in my kit (I buy and sell a lot of lenses), it's really gotten almost all its usage on the K-1. My review will concern its performance there, as I found the focal length not useful on a crop body.

Sharpness and Resolution: 10
Mythical, exceeded only by the DA*55. Looking for something that will make the most of that 36MP sensor? Look no further than here. This lens resolves the tinniest of details, stuff that I can't see with my 20/15 vision until I get back into the editing room. Colors...superlative. They are accurate, punchy, deep, gorgeous. My buddies remark how pleasing the color of my photographs is and this lens is a major part of that.

More than anything, this lens has a very natural way of rendering textures. It's very smooth and natural. My style of photography is often described as "cute" and "feminine" and the bokeh of this lens has been a major reason for that reputation. It's not overly sharp and harsh but rather soft with a gorgeous midtone contrast gradient. This lens can just make images that will make your heart flutter with the right subject.

Aberrations: 7
Barrel and pincushion distortion don't exist, of course, but man...this lens fringes like crazy. Holy cow. It's often obvious at screen size. It is correctable, for the most part, but wow, it's really really obvious in high contrast situations. Put the a strongly backlit sky behind your model and you can expect her hair to have a purple halo around it. Yikes.

Bokeh: 10
This lens just has a beauty to its images, a smooth and calming effect. The bokeh is never harsh. There's tremendous pop in the images, with a sharp focal plane and immediate descent that mimics perfect flash work in natural light. I primarily shoot this lens at f/2.8 and f/3.2 and it's nothing but round highlights in the back even at those apertures.

Autofocus: 8
For the most part, it's quite good. But there are certain lighting situations where the camera futzes back and forth. I don't quite get it but when you get into a fight with this lens, it really puts up a fight, winding back and forth with a hideous screw drive racket. For this, I had to knock it two points even though it's one of the most reliable focusers I've ever used. And when it misses, it does so very subtlety so you can't see the issue in the viewfinder.

It's worth noting that I have these issues mostly when I'm doing full body shots from far away. If I'm doing a headshot or filling the frame with my subject, I never have a problem. It locks on quickly then and connects with incredible sharpness.

Handling: 10
The built-in hood is useless. I don't even know why it's there. I have a rubber hood for this lens and that works well. Aside from that, this lens is light and compact and really a treat to have on the camera.

Value: 10
Is this lens as good as the $1500 85mm lenses from Canon and Nikon? Probably not. But it's damn close. I suppose we'll get the answer when the DFA*85 comes out later this year or next year. I do intend to upgrade but unlike the FA31, which I will thank for its service and part ways, moving beyond the FA77 will be much harder given what it can do.

If you're a portrait or model shooter with a K-1, this lens is the alpha, the omega, and everything between. It's dreamy, beautiful, sharp, yet soft. It doesn't have "power" in its rendering like 85mm offerings usually do but has a characteristic look that will make any girl you shoot look the epitome of feminine grace and beauty.

My only regret is that there isn't a 50mm clone of the lens. It's not always possible to get back far enough to use 77mm, a problem which will get worse with the DFA*85. This is unfortunate as I'd love to be able to take every shot with this lens instead of the 40% it usually carries for me.

Sample images:
New Member

Registered: January, 2014
Posts: 2
Review Date: September 12, 2016 Recommended | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness
Cons: autofocus can be difficult in low light conditions
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k5 ii   

my fav lens in my quiver, very sharp, very little aberrations, great bokeh,
use it a lot for concerts

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 2,766

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 6, 2016 Recommended | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, design
Cons: Purple fringing at max aperture, AF can hunt
New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5 IIs, K-01   

I bought this for its field of view on APS-C and all my experience is on APS-C cameras. It works well for me as a compact short telephoto prime. I do use it for portraits, but I also find it generally useful for landscape and architecture in some cases. For what it’s worth, mine is a “Made in Japan” version with a low serial number, bought second hand two years ago.

Good things start to happen when I get this lens out. I often hear that buying gear won’t make you a better photographer, but somehow pictures that I know would look dull with my other lenses look special with this lens. I think it is partly that the field of view is quite restrictive so it makes me think harder about what I’m doing. Also, the sharpness of the in-focus areas and the beautiful nature of the bokeh in front and behind that give the images a special look. The lens itself is very nicely made, and I particularly like the built-in hood that slides out.

One thing to be careful of is purple fringing, which can be quite prominent, but it improves if stopped down just a little, where the bokeh is still nice. The other issue is the autofocus, which seems to be OK with the CDAF on my K-01, but hunts a lot on my K-5 IIs. There are some other modern conveniences that are lacking from this lens, like quick shift, silent focusing and the latest coatings. But I feel like the whole ethos of the limited line is to make beautiful lenses the way they used to be made, so I don’t object to these characteristics too much, and just love the lens for what it excels at.

A year later and my opinion of this lens is unchanged.
New Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: jakarta, Indonesia
Posts: 14
Review Date: February 29, 2016 Recommended | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: light weight, color rendition,
Cons: built of hood
Sharpness: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

I have this lens since 2012, rarely used. I take it only for portrait
since it seems to have an excellent color rendition and soften
the skin. I never had a clinical sharpness with this lens, may be
with larger value of aperture. If you are fun of portrait photography,
then this lens is perfect.

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,070

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 14, 2015 Recommended | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, fast, well built, beautiful rendering and bokeh
Cons: Expensive, purple fringing in high contrast situations
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K30   

I've always wanted this lens but have either never had the money to buy it or couldn't justify the price. When traveling, I found a store that allowed me to try it out on my K30 I had with me. I first took a photo of my wife with a DA 70mm 2.4, and thought it looked great. Then I mounted this FA 77mm 1.8 and took the same picture and from the very first click I could see the "pixie dust" that everyone refers to. I ended up buying it right there on the spot, and somehow got the wife's somewhat approval to do so

There is just something to this lens that makes photos look so pleasant. It is as if the lens is super sharp, yet never in a harsh way. The colors are beautiful and accurate. It is perfect for portraits, and was obviously was designed this way. It is also perfect for flowers and nature, and is so sharp that if you have a high megapixel camera you can easily crop for macro shots. The bokeh is good, and the way the subject is isolated from the background is unique and what gives this lens its personality. In some instances the bokeh can appear a bit busy however.

Where this lens really shows its age in design (circa 1999) is in high contrast situations since it was designed for a film camera and not for digital. Purple fringing will show up at large apertures, and does often. I can correct it somewhat with photoshop but there are times where a photo is nearly ruined. I find I cannot depend on this lens for important occasions in bright light unless stopped down to at least f2.8, which is a shame since the reason for spending this much money is to use the f1.8 aperture. The autofocus isn't faster than the competition, but when comparing it to other wide aperture primes around the same focal length it isn't any worse either. My lens will focus accurately on my K30, and any out of focus shots can usually be contributed to me not holding still enough to nail the razor thin depth of field. If the lens had quick shift focus override (it doesn't), I still don't think I could be much better than my camera is in terms of accuracy. A lot of torque is exerted when focusing such that some people said the lens can even loosen itself up over time. Mine has not had this problem.

The build quality of this lens would make you think you were using vintage glass. Even the cap is finely machined aluminum and I find the built in hood a welcome addition. The most surprising thing about this lens is how small it is; it is only a little bigger than my DA 50mm 1.8. Yes, it is pricey, and it does have a few limitations but if you compare it to Leica and Zeiss pricing it is a better bargain. If Pentax ever does update this lens with modern coatings to reduce the purple fringing, it would be perfect as long as it didn't change the character of the lens.

Here's a bunch of samples:
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Paris
Posts: 1,939

7 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 21, 2014 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, bright, great color
Cons: not WR
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

I borrow this lens for a month from a dealer, firstly because it's a legend and I'm a curious guy, I really want to "test the legend", secondly it's the winner of the Pentax Lens Tournament
Update : I love the lens so much I bought it never look back, it outperforms any other lens in my collection So, what it delivers ? a very high class lens, sharp wide open, I usually shoot wide open at every possible situation (unless I want a lot of background), color is great, very bright.
Autofocus rarely hunt. Manual focus is SOOOOOOOO SMOOOOOOOOTH, I love the MF of this lens !!!Some example :

New Member

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 1
Review Date: October 1, 2014 Recommended | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, bokeh, colour rendition, bouild quality
Cons: some CA
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 6    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K10D   

Great bokeh, very good sharpness, beautiful lens. Slow AF, some CA.
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 1,294

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 11, 2014 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: small, fast enough, character
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

My first Ltd. I am beginning to love it.
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Moscow
Posts: 13
Review Date: September 2, 2014 Recommended | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Overall IQ, sharpness, bokeh, colours, contrast, size
Cons: Price, slight PF, slow AF, both of mine were built not so good
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K10d, K20d, K-30   

Two words:"Highly recommended!"

Probably, it was my bad karma, but both my 77LIMs (MIJ) were disassembled themselves after several years of work. However, I repaired them and kept the silver one. No further issues so far, for last 3 years.

Despite of this fact, the lens is outstanding portrait performer with unique IQ.

My other shots by this lens.
New Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 17
Review Date: September 1, 2014 Recommended | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent built and image quality
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

This is my first FA limited lens. Its excellent. Just get one. Very sharp and beautiful colors.
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2011
Location: Los Angeles,CA.
Posts: 30

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 27, 2014 Recommended | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: amazing image quality, renders beautifully, gorgeous looking lens and build, everything is amazing about the lens.
Cons: I wish it wasn't as much as it is but I was very happy to spend that money.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-01   

After talking with Ned Bunnel about the difference between a MIJ V.S. a AIV, I quickly went out and tried to hunt one down. I found an amazing condition MIJ for $700 and instantly snatched it up. Though, if I found an AIV for the same price, I would have bought that one too.

This is an amazing lens. I shoot a majority of my work at f/1.8 and it is incredible at that aperture. It is always sharp and delivers great image quality. I have been using it for the last few months so I'm sure I will continue to discover more things about it but for now I am very happy. I've been using my D800 with a 85mm 1.8d and was hoping to find a smaller camera/lens combo.On top of that, I really wanted something that gave a very different look then that combo. And this is really a great new combo I have going on( K-01 and 77mm ).

Everyone has chimed in already about this lens but my take is this….
As a portrait shooter, finding a lens that works well with my style has always been important. I find that I constantly look for the individual character of any given lens, its ability to produce sharp images, and its size/build quality. The 77mm Ltd fills that criteria. All of those things, are done to such an umpteenth on this lens. But I'm sure you want to really hear what I love ….so here goes.

I really love the rendering of this lens. The lens creates a feel and look that is completely its own signature. I really feel that the lens has an ability to separate the subject from background supremely well. It does this by pulling out the subject and then rendering it differently then the background. I have seen this but only with my Leica lenses. There is a very definite pop to the subject.

It is as sharp as everyone says it is. Be very careful about what your focus point is because it will be the point of focus for the viewers eyes. Just know it will be sharp.

I know this is silly but as a lens physically….it is gorgeous. It was made with care. The materials used, the way it was designed, and the craftsmanship is superb. I simply love the sheen and feel of the lens.

I hope this helps. You'll love the lens. I know I spent $700 for a used lens when I have bought new lenses at a lesser price in the same range( i.e. nikon 85mm 1.8 ) but I don't regret it one bit.
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