FA Limiteds


Link Posted 28/03/2020 - 13:35
Given the recent f1.4 50mm and the forthcoming f1.4 85mm do you think buying a FA Limited lens is still worthwhile? The reviews put emphasis on the quality of construction, the enjoyment in using them and their unique characteristics but for sharpness are unlikely to compete. Views anyone?


Link Posted 28/03/2020 - 13:41
The limiteds are small and light. The new lenses are not. Other than that the new lenses have a lot going for them.
Regards, Philip


Link Posted 28/03/2020 - 15:30
I think it depends what you need to use the lens for. If it's travel, then small and light has a lot going for it. If it's the highest possible quality for fashion, studio, architecture, etc., then the new, larger lenses might have the edge. The new 50mm f/1.4 certainly has - it's a new breed of ultra-high performance and it might show when shooting to make huge poster-sized display prints.

For shooting for the web, then the difference becomes less marked, although sometimes it can still be seen depending on subject and image size.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 28/03/2020 - 16:26
I have the 3 FA Limiteds. I got the 43 and 77 early on (Japanese silver ones) and the 31 much latter.
Each has its own uniqueness. The 43mm always seems to deliver for me. Lovely tones and colour rendering. I hear it's less sharp on the edges but I usually use it from about F4 and not noticed. The 77mm has beautiful more neutral colours and clean looking images. The 31 is brilliant. Super colour and sharpness. Once I got a K1 it is on it more than not. This combination an acceptable weight for me with another fitting in the bag without really noticing. What very noticeable is the colour rendering of these lenses, each of which has it's own desirable character. I'm sure the new FAs are excellent but they are big. Too much so for me anyway. And it sounds like AF is good on them. The FA limiteds are nice and bright and MF is easy with them. They cost a bit new nowadays but some good 2nd hand ones are about.


Link Posted 28/03/2020 - 17:23
Thanks, I have the zooms to cover the focal lengths but enjoy going lightweight with small primes, currently f2.0 35mm and f2.8 50mm macro so logically the 77mm special edition would be the next. I donít generally use 50mm very much so have resisted the new F1.4 but the 85mm would fill a gap nicely as well. Whilst I do like to get as sharp an image as possible for a large monitor or print I have started experimenting more for which the older lenses would be ok, and leepís experience chimes with what I am hoping for.


Link Posted 28/03/2020 - 18:12
I've got to agree with the comments John has made. It depends on what you are going to use it for.. On a Personal level I welcomed the announcement of the 85mm. Thinking it would be the lens for me. As liking my studio photography. But after waiting and waiting for it to arrive. It didn't...!! Then a couple of weeks ago I got the chance to meet the Pentax rep at Wex in Manchester with a pre production model. Though not small or light. It wasnt as large or heavy as I expected . He didn't have the expected retail price. But like me he said it wont be cheap. After still no immentant market time predicted. The day before I got the chance to purchase a very good quality 77mm limited. Through this site. Which I accepted. I used it on my first studio shoot a couple of weeks back. Before the virus set in. It took my breath away.Now. I'm no lens expert, but after using both on my K1. I wont be saving up, or waiting any longer..! Yes the 85mm Is a little faster, sharper in the corners, but the 77mm leaves you at a better distance to interact with your model..
K-1Gripped K-1 ungripped K-5ii K7 Various lenses



Link Posted 28/03/2020 - 20:06
My preference is for lenses with aperture rings for my manual cameras. The FA43 is my favourite prime by a very long way.
PPG Flickr


Link Posted 28/03/2020 - 20:16
As an owner of the FA35/2, FA50/1.4 and FA*85 it never stopped me buying the FA Limitedes
AKA Welshwizard/PWynneJ
Assorted Pentax/Nikon/Mamiya stuff


Link Posted 29/03/2020 - 00:04
When two FA Limiteds can fit in the space of a single * lens you've got a nice choice to make.

Do you want one top class lens or do you want two of them?

The only downside is the (very slight) learning curve that goes with the FA Limited lenses.


Link Posted 29/03/2020 - 08:05
I wondered about the 31mm for years and it was only when Amazon Italy had one for half price I succumbed. It has become my standard lens on my K-3 and if I just want to take one camera and one lens, that's the one. My Sigma zoom has been almost completely abandoned. Of course, my eye now drifts to the 77mm...
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the cameraÖ they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website


Link Posted 29/03/2020 - 09:26
Thanks again all. I am quite envious of photographers who stick to just one genre like portraits or landscape as their equipment needs are met by two or three lenses and the associated kit, but I like to dip into different things from macro to landscape, architecture and wildlife, but not yet studio work as I just donít have the room! I am also trying to avoid over duplication so when I go away for a few days I donít fret about what I should take, but like I mentioned earlier I am tending towards primes more now as I like the results better and their lightness makes them more pleasurable to carry around. I suppose that is just part of the journey, up to a couple of years ago I thought zooms would be the best way of covering all bases and give the better value for money but limiting the focal lengths to hand I realise now is no bad thing.

It would make sense to sell some kit to fund new lenses but so far I have only exchanged for a better version as I donít want to have regrets later, but I suppose that could change.
Last Edited by RobL on 29/03/2020 - 09:34


Link Posted 29/03/2020 - 09:46
The design philosophies are very different. The Limiteds are well built, compact and quite fast while the new DFA*s are massive, heavy and incredibly expensive, with all aspects other than performance taking a back seat. Personally, I prefer the philosophy of the Limiteds, it's a far better balance of all aspects of lens design.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses


Link Posted 29/03/2020 - 11:53
Jonathan-Mac wrote:
The design philosophies are very different. The Limiteds are well built, compact and quite fast while the new DFA*s are massive, heavy and incredibly expensive, with all aspects other than performance taking a back seat. Personally, I prefer the philosophy of the Limiteds, it's a far better balance of all aspects of lens design.

For what I do the screw drive focus is usually ok and as I often use manual the only benefit of a new * lens would be super sharpness over the whole image. I have that and fast focus on my two telephoto zooms which is where they are needed anyway. It also appears that the Limiteds hold their value well especially given the resurgence in film.
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