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Sunday, July 20, 2008

When the Old is Unmatched by the New..

Here is an interesting blog article about the two different versions of the FA 43 Limited lens of earlier and later productions:-

(Article in Traditional Chinese, use Babelfish to translate if needed)

Well, physically, the new version looks cheap for the bundled bag. I don't like the deep green matte inside the lens cap neither. The black printed "PENTAX" logo on the lens cap of the old version looks more natural to me too. The purple blue or green SMC coating on the front lens element don't bother me much as what actually counts should be the image quality. So, how the image quality differs for the two versions? Are there any differences? Fortunately, the author did some quick tests to verify this in his Part II article for comparing the lens(es):-

(Article in Traditional Chinese, use Babelfish to translate if needed)

In the above, the author carried out some comparison shots head-to-head for the two lenses in pairs, at the same time and for the same scenes. He also compared to a Contax T* Tessar 45/2.8 lens for one of the shootouts.

I think the posted pictures are indeed self-explanatory. Anyway, you can read the observations and comments by the author if interested. But I do have the same impressions and observations as he does mostly for what he writes. The new version of the 43 Limited is somehow mediocre and it produces darker pictures too (the author suspected the light loss is more). And, the colour reproduction is not so favourable as the old one. The lightness rendition is not as detailed but more bolded and the image rendition is not as crystal clear (of course the Contax T* is just better, when it is compared to the old version).

All in all, for what the test pictures show, the new FA Limited produces some kinds of unfavourable colour responses which I don't like (or just hate) as I pointed out earlier, in my this old blog article. In fact, I do find that the effect of unfavourable colour response and "darkness" of the new version of the 43 Limited is already minimal. In fact, many (but not all, e.g., the 18-55 kit lens is one of the few exceptions) newer Pentax digital lenses are suffering mostly for those unfavourable colours of the newly designed and made Pentax lenses.

The author did guess that the reason for the inferior image production could be caused by new lead-free designs of newer Pentax lenses as required by the EU lately. However, whilst this might be (one of) the reason(s), I don't think that it would be a good excuse. It is just because I cannot see any new generation of Canon lenses which I newly acquired, e.g., my 24-105L and 50/1.8II etc., suffered from the same problem. Maybe it's the DIGIC processing remove the strange colours but I think which is quite unlikely as it is not easy. But, even though it is, as long as one cannot see the evils, who cares? All in all, it's all about the final results that count - one should have either the best glass or the best digital technology or both so as to produce better or the best results.

When the old lenses are unmatched by the new ones, what I can only think about is: Those *were* the days! :-((


  1. HI..I'm Steven;

    24-70L vs 28-70L


  2. See also the following for a comparison for the Old 77 Limited against the New One:-


    (Google Translate in English Here)