Jun 9, 2021

HD vs. SMC Pentax FA Limited Lenses


The three SMC FA Limited lenses from Pentax are still, in 2021, among the most popular in the company's lineup. They are also, however, among the oldest (the SMC FA 50mm F1.4 is one notable exception).

In Spring 2021, Pentax took action in this regard by releasing an updated version of the FA Limited series. These lenses use the same basic optical formula and ergonomics, but include two notables improvements. The first, and less contentious, is the use of Pentax's newer HD coatings instead of the (already well-regarded) SMC. The company did the same thing in 2013 with their DA Limited lenses. Our evaluation at the time was positive: the change from SMC to HD visibly improved contrast and flare handling on the APS-C sized DA Limited.

The other change is the use of rounded aperture blades instead of the previous straight ones. This has the potential to improve further the out-of-focus rendering, another aspect where the FA Limited already shined.

In this review, we will take a look at how the improvements impact the performances of each of the three lenses. Without further ado, let's go ahead and take a look at how the new Pentax HD FA Limiteds fare.

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