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Lens review

Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited

22 September 2009
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • very solid and, in the same time, classic, stylish barrel,
  • brilliant image quality in the frame centre at all apertures,
  • very good frame corner image quality on slight stopping down,
  • splendid chromatic aberration correction,
  • practically zero distortion,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • good work against bright light.

Cons:

  • soft frame edges near the maximum aperture
  • noticeable coma,
  • weak autofocus.

The Pentax smc P-FA 77 mm f/1.8 limited is undoubtedly a very well-made lens indeed. Although its price is higher than the price of Canon and Nikon lenses with similar parameters, it has one serious advantage – a significantly better performance near the maximum relative aperture. Noticeable coma and the softness at edges when wide open are minor flaws and you shouldn’t bother yourself with them. The most serious disadvantage of this lens is its autofocus. It is loud, not very quick and the most important thing - not accurate. Of course you can cope with it, especially taking into account the fact that many classic lenses with similar look and build quality are completely manual instruments. On the other hand, though, when you spend almost 800 $ on a lens with such parameters you would wish to have an instrument without any serious fault. After all, we’ve got a very interesting and cheaper alternative in the same Pentax system – namely a Pentax smc P-DA 70 mm f/2.4 limited- which in our tests didn’t have so serious autofocus issues and in all other categories, apart from vignetting, fared very well. The conclusion still can be positive, though, because everybody will find arguments for buying either a limited 70 mm lens or a limited 77 mm lens. What’s the most important thing, everybody will be happy with their choice.
Sample shots:

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Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/180 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 10.7 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/180 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 8.2 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/2.2, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 9.6 MB
Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 9.7 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/50 sec., ISO 800
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 10.6 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/180 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 7.7 MB
Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/180 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 8.5 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 160
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 10.8 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/3200 sec., ISO 125
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 8.8 MB
Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 11.1 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 10.5 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/2000 sec., ISO 640
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 10.2 MB
Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited - Summary
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 3.5 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/25 sec., ISO 1600
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 3.6 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 77 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 2.9 MB



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