I'm back ... with a black ... FA31

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Richard Murdey
Richard Murdey Senior Member • Posts: 2,780
I'm back ... with a black ... FA31
7

Now I didn't expect that to happen, but an offer I couldn't refuse (Map Camera Halloween Sale...) resulted in renewed ownership of the revered Jewel in the Crown of the FA mount lineup.

It's been 18 months since I rationalized away my old one on the basis that a) the DA35/2.8 macro was smaller, 1/3 the price, and just as sharp and b) I have a full frame Nikon now which means that bleeding money to get a 47/2.5 equivalent on APS-C when I could put a 50/1.8 and 50/1.4 on my D600, later D750, made no sense whatsoever.

Those rationalizations still stand. The FA31 is the most "Pentax" of Pentax lenses: it makes no sense as a purchase (on APS-C) yet the Pentax shooting experience is just not the same without it. I also realized that of my favorite photos taken with Pentax dSLRs, all of them, almost exclusively, were taken with the FA31.

So why is the FA31 a lens to permanently weld to your camera? Let me try making a bullet list:

  • 47 mm is a really convenient and comfortable focal length. That extra 3 mm makes all the difference.
  • It's one of the very few AF lenses with a good, tactile MF reponse. (Focus throw is a bit short however.)
  • f/1.8 is fast enough for decent DOF effects and a definite low light advantage vis. the DA35/2.8.
  • It renders like a goddess, and the colors are spectacular.
  • It is a very precise lens, nearly flawless. Almost no distortion, almost no CA, almost no vignetting. It is also very sharp, with an almost perfectly flat plane of focus.

In short, everything looks better through an FA31.

 Richard Murdey's gear list:Richard Murdey's gear list
Nikon D750 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/21 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/25 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1,4/50 +7 more
Pentax K-3 Pentax smc FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited
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