Pentax FA 77mm Lens Part 3

After testing the FA 77mm lens and then testing the Sigma 105mm Macro lens, I purchased the FA 77 lens. I had a few concerns about the CA/PF at wide open apertures, but figutred if I could tame the beast, the other advantages of this lens would come to the fore.

I visited UBC Asian festival today which consisted of a Korean Cultural Festival and the Japanese Cherry Blossom viewing festival at Nitobe Garden ( probably one to two weeks later would have been better to see more trees in bloom).

The FA 77 lens proved to be very good indoors. The first seven are taken inside the Asian Center at ISO800 with no flash. The Lantern was taken outside in the Garden at ISO100. The Cherry Blossoms in front of the building are taken at Fir and 10th Avenue at ISO800 F5.6

The last four pictures are taken with the DA 35mm lens.

The FA 77 is definitely sharp at F5.6. It is a bit soft at F2.8 and larger. However, the bokeh is still very pleasing at F5.6, and the depth of field is of course larger. I find with these complex scenes that it is almost better to manually focus the lens, as the 11 point AF can sometimes focus on different parts of the trees etc, which can be a problem with shallow depth of field. The CA/PF was a problem on only two images that I took today out of 115. The overcast conditions probably helped the situation.

The images were processed using Aperture 3 with Auto levels and some adjustment of the exposure applied. The indoor images had their White Balance corrected. The rendering of the JPGS in the WordPress preview seem more saturated than what I see on the Aperture Viewer using my monitor. Therefore, if the greens and reds seem overdone it could be a result of the media conversion to JPG from the PEF file when inserting with the WordPress Media Browser.


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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4 Responses to Pentax FA 77mm Lens Part 3

  1. Chris Sorlie says:

    Hi Peter! Came across you site as I logged mine on photography. I’m a Canadian from Barrie, Ontario. I have to ask you – have you had any “staining” problems with you sensor? I don’t have an s.l.r. yet. My son shoots for a living and uses Canon. I don’t know why but I’m just not fussy with Canon. I have always had a soft spot for Pentax and, like you, would like to use primes. I spoke with a Pentax rep at a camera show last week. They said the “staining issue” was overblown on the web and there are no problems. What are your thoughts?
    Thanks Peter!

    • Chris,
      I was a bit apprehensive about the staining issue as well. However, Kerrisdale Camera here in Vancouver told me that the units shipped about two months before I bought mine were the start of the “clean” batch. I am still a bit weary, as I read that the staining could appear after some time has passed by. I decided to take the plunge and bought the K5, as my istDS needed upgrading after 6 years. So far, I have had no problems with the K5, and have had incredible results with the FA77 and K5 combination. I am just sorting my photos from a recent trip to Indonesia, where I used the FA77 and the DA35 Macro about 95% of the time. Only used my kit zoom one day of the entire three week trip. My next purchase is the DA15, and then I think I have my light travel kit figured out. While I like to support the local dealers, the prices of the prime lenses are about 20% cheaper at BH Photo than in Vancouver, and likely Toronto ( as I think Pentax Canada sets the prices in Canada).

  2. Chris Sorlie says:

    Thanks Peter,
    I am assuming you purchased the K-5 because you already have Pentax lenses. I have not read about the staining appearing after some time. That’s a bit scary considering the cost of the camera. Maybe I will pass on Pentax. I don’t understand why the Nikon d7000 doesn’t have the same problem given the same sensor.
    I’m in no rush for a new camera as we won’t be traveling until Sept. It is a good time to be in photography.

    • Chris
      I am not sure that the Nikon is any more immune than Pentax. I did a Google search on Nikon D7000 and stains and found a few threads that mentioned the problem. As an example:
      I realize both cameras are expensive and you would not expect this sort of problem for a semi pro camera. You might want to wait a few months and see if the “noise” about this problem subsides. If you can afford the K5 I would still consider it, as it is weatherproof, built very tough and you can use the limited lenses on it. Yes, I bought the K5 as I already had some Pentax lenses.

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