Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 limited Test Shots

Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 limited
I have consolidated my DA 40mm f/2.8 limited and FA 50mm f/1.4 into one single prime with Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 limited. After trimming my DA limited trio with 21, 40 and 70, I am down to 4 limited lens with two DA limited and two FA limited.
  • 15, 35, 43 and 77

and I find the 43mm limited to be a great replacement for my DA 40mm f/2.8 limited. The 40mm limited is an under-rated limited lens but the 43mm stands out in speed and color. I found the 40 limited sharp even wide open but the gain of speed in the 43mm is especially useful in indoor and low light shooting. Though it is not pancake small like the 40mm limited, it is a delight to use with aperture ring and a removable lens hood that is not adding too much bulkiness to the lens. It has a charming factor on its own rights.

Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 limited
When I used it in a weekend in an Art & Wine festival and an indoor night club shooting with Pentax K20D, I was very impressed with its sharpness, color and small form factor like the other limited lens.

Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 limited
A big crop to see the Love Bird in f/5.6
Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 limited
Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 limited
wide open in f/1.9
soft but usable
Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 limited
1/6 sec, f/1.9, iso 800, 43mm, +0.3 Ev, K20D

1/8 sec, f/1.9, iso 800, 43mm, +0.3 Ev, K20D
Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 limited

Impressions & Notes
  • I find it a good replacement for consolidating my two lens with DA 40mm f/2.8 limited and FA 50mm f/1.4 into one.

  • Not pancake small like the DA 40mm f/2.8 limited but it actually is small like the 21mm and its lens hood is reasonably good in size and removable. I actually don't mind and find the size quite ideal for both digital and film. It is smaller and more compact than the FA 50mm f/1.4.

  • It beats the DA limited with an aperture ring and well suited for film bodies as in Pentax MX or my Ricoh xr-p. You can call me old school but I always prefers lens that work with both digital and film bodies.

  • AF is not as fast as the DA 40mm f/2.8 limited.

  • In the night club shooting, I had a very difficult time with AF assisted light from flash and it took a second or two to lock on focus. The difficulty had more to do with my K20D

  • The gain of speed in f/1.9 offers tremendous help to my K20D shooting as I tried to avoid iso 1600 and I shot in iso 800 with f/1.9 for the test shots above. Though wide open maybe soft but I much rather have that option instead of bumping up ISO alone

  • Lens is very sharp like the 77mm and it is cutter than the 77mm in terms of size. Color rendering is vivid and rich and it lives up to the expectation and positive experience with 77mm limited.

  • Highly recommended limited lens



Ray H said...

Hin, I am happy you retain some loyalty to Pentax ;) I am about to send my K-x to Pentax Canada for warranty for a button, and I am a little worried I will run into the situation you had, but I am hoping for the best.

Now is an exciting time for you, the D7000 would make me giddy if I had the money to invest in a new system since I started only a year ago!

57thStIncident said...

I don't know about that rendering, Hin. The lady in the third picture has sort of plastic-y skin tone. :-)

I like the FA43 a lot but would probably be just as happy with the DA40. Knowing that it is a little soft wide-open, I tend to avoid shooting it wider than f/2.8 anyway. The other thing you lose of course is quick-shift manual focus touch-up. The hood isn't actually fixed, you can remove it and use a standard 49mm lens cap. Better to use an AF cap that grabs the filter threads rather than a press-on cap because these might not stay on when lens is focused to infinity.

robin said...

The FA43 is not soft wide open; it is merely not as blisteringly sharp as it is at other apertures. In any case, it is sharper wide open at f/1.9 than the DA40 is wide open at f/2.8.

But yes, the lens hood screws off just fine. Instead of doing that, screw on a hood to every lens you use that doesn't have one. A lens is not complete without a hood.

The FA43 is one of three reasons to shoot Pentax.

Peter said...

That's a big gap between the 15 and 35, are you sure you won't need the 21 and make it a 5-lens system?

Fotostevia said...

Have you used the 43 Limited on your film cameras yet? I would expect that it would be a pleasure to shoot with on a compact body. Manual focus with the narrow ring might be a bit of a challenge, but I am sure you will adapt .

57thStIncident said...

"In any case, it is sharper wide open at f/1.9 than the DA40 is wide open at f/2.8."

Robin, the tests at don't bear this claim out at all. They do show however that the FA43 is sharper at f/2.8 than the DA40...but I don't think this is what you meant.

robin said...

My bad! Somehow what I wanted to write got scrambled on the way from brain to keyboard. What I meant was what you said... and that in addition one has f/1.9 to work with on the FA43 whereas one obviously doesn't on the DA40. Thank you for the correction.

I don't often shoot wide open with the FA43 but when I do I recognise the possibilities. Similarly f/1.2 on the K50.

robin said...

Let me also add that in most cases no-one would ever be able to tell the difference between images shot with the DA40 and FA43 in terms of sharpness. That is not a good reason to choose one lens over the other. Where the FA Limiteds excel is in their rendering properties and the extra stop. (There, hope I have finally been clear!)

Anonymous said...

Check your AF fine tune option and you will see the beauty of f/1,9 shallow DOF and the 3d look.This lens is very sharp from f/1,9 if you tune the good distance.

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