Pentax FA 77 Lens Test Part 1

The FA 77mm limited lens has a legendary reputation for containing “pixie dust” inside and giving the pictures a particular quality that is hard to describe, but that excites the photographer.

As a long time shooter of prime lenses, and a reluctant shooter of zoom lenses, I am constantly on the search for a mix of primes that can satisfy the range of focal lengths that I need for travelling, while keeping the weight and ideally the cost down.

Given that I already own the A50mm manual focus prime lens, and have a 50-200mm DA zoom lens, how much benefit would I get with the FA 77mm lens over what I already own? Luckily, Leo’s Camera store in Vancouver is happy to rent me one for $20 for the day, as part of their lens rental program.

I got the lens, and headed to the Granville Island market and surrounding seawall to test the lens.

I won’t go into detail about the handling of the lens, as it is covered elsewhere on the net.

My only comment is that it seems to handle in a similar manner to what I had read elsewhere online. I was mostly concerned about the Chromatic Aberration and Purple Fringing that I had read about for the wide open shots. I wanted to see for myself how bad is it really, as well as the legendary bokeh that everyone raves about in spite of the CA/PF.

All images here are Raw images converted to JPEGS when posting below, and have not had any adjustments made to them.

The following is the best example I have of the bokeh of this lens:

Some pixel peeping around the part of the clerk’s face against the white out of focus area shows some green fringing:

Some other favourites that I shot are:

Overall the CA/PF doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem indoors at these wide apertures (all pictures are taken at F2.2). The bokeh is very pleasing and the colors pop.

The next post will look at this lens used outdoors, looking at the same scene with different aperture settings. I will also compare this lens to the other lenses that I already own.


About petergsimmons

Global citizenship is conferred on those who have lived in a variety of countries, and who don’t identify with any one culture. I am such a person. Having lived in Jamaica, Canada and Japan, I have been exposed to First World/Third World, East and West, North and South. This has lead to a rich living experience, open-mindedness and curiosity about the world around me. This variety of living conditions in human landscapes is coupled with equally diverse travels in natural landscapes from the jungles of South East Asia and South America to the Arctic tundra; tropical beaches to the Himalayas, resulting in an incredible journey through life itself.
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