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PentaxsmcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black)
 
4.9

(based on 87 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (78)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

99%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Strong construction (61)
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (58)
  • Durable (51)
  • Nice bokeh (48)
  • Consistent output (44)

Cons

  • Heavy (15)
  • Slow focus (6)

Best Uses

  • Low light (46)
  • Night photography (46)
  • Landscape/scenery (35)
  • Weddings (31)
  • General purpose (14)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (30), Semi-pro photographer (14), Enthusiast (13), Casual photographer (11), Pro photographer (4)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (53)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

FA31 after using it for 1 year

I bought the Pentax K5 and this lens at the very end of 2010. This is the only lens I have for the K5.The FA31 is the most impressive lens I've used in...Read complete review

I bought the Pentax K5 and this lens at the very end of 2010. This is the only lens I have for the K5.The FA31 is the most impressive lens I've used in 45 years, and that includes Nikon F lenses and Zeiss lenses for the Contax SLRs.My favorite attribute of this lens is its bokeh (i.e. how it renders out-of-focus images, especially highlights). I really wanted the Pentax FA43 lens, due to its size/weight and focal length perspective. I prefer a moderate telephoto to a normal. However, when I tried out the FA31 and the FA43 head-to-head on the K5, the bokeh convinced me. It was that apparent, even though the FA43 has very good bokeh. Background highlights were rendered considerably better with the FA31.One thing I will say, on my K5 I've had to use the AutoFocus Adjustment at +4 to correct for backfocus on the FA31. But that's OK - I'm glad the K5 offers that. That being said, it is still very important to nail the focus with this lens.When your subject is between 2-5 feet away, this lens (like the FA43) gives an almost 3-dimensional rendering. Not always, but often enough. Hard to describe. (A picture is definitely worth 1000 words here!) On this attribute, the FA43 is slightly better, IMHO.Even though the FA31 is not weather-resistant, I've had no problems in moderate rain, though I am careful. And I put a wide (1/2") rubber band around the base of the lens where it joins the body to keep moisture out, as that is the weakest link. The rubber band covers both the camera lens mount and the rear of the lens. The lens itself is extremely well-sealed due to its high quality construction in general.All the other positive attributes you see in other reviews are also true for my FA31 (micro-contrast, color rendition, tonal transitions, etc.), but others have said them already!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Incredibly well made but...

...super soft at f/1.8. I own a number of fast lens including a few 50mm f/1.2 that blow this away at 1.8-2.0. The Pentax 31 (my copy?) didn't...Read complete review

...super soft at f/1.8. I own a number of fast lens including a few 50mm f/1.2 that blow this away at 1.8-2.0. The Pentax 31 (my copy?) didn't start to sharpen up till about 2.8 and was razor sharp at f4. But thats not why I bought it. Nice dreamy renderings at 2.8 but my 30 year old Takumar is better wide open. I'm sorry but for this much money, and for its reputation, I expected a bit more. I returned for the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and never looked back.

Reviewed by 87 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Believe the hype - this is one excellent lens!

By Pen-freakin-tax-fan

from Marysville, OH

Verified Buyer

Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

This is the perfect accessory for my K1 and K5IIs. Having researched this purchase extensively, my expectations were high. I was definitely not disappointed, as the lens provides outstanding IQ and speed. The build is really "old school", in that it is as robust as my old SMCP's from the film era. You will never regret investing in this item.

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5.0

Awesome

By Darek

from Canada

Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

Awesome lens and service. Thanks.

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5.0

Extreme clarity

By Brian

from Minnesota

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Nice Bokeh
  • Strong Construction

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Night Photography

    Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

    I now use a 15 mm, 31 mm, and 50 mm focal length primes for almost all of my photography. Unless I am in an auditorium and can't move, this trio of lenses gives me the range I need for landscapes and portraits.

    The FA 31mm has very high resolution and very good bocah. Sharpness is tight even when wide open.

    The lens is quite expensive and cost as much as my camera body. However, unlike the body I expect this lens to hold value or even appreciate in value in time. It will be a lifetime purchase that will travel with me in time from Pentax body to body.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    Great lens

    By dkemme

    from Greeley, CO

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

      Great around the house and food pictures, quickly becoming my favorite lens. Large lens hood takes some getting used to but worth it.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Old but Gold

      By Anatoly B

      from currently everywhere

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Durable
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Rugged
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

          I use this fantastic lens with Sony A7RII with Pentax K to Sony FE adapter.
          I did compare with Sony FE "native" lenses such as Sony/Zeiss FE 35mm f2.8.
          Pentax 31mm f1.8 is much better. Ideal focus lange for travels and landscapes.Fantastic contrast, color rendering and excellence resolution.
          The only thing may be on dark side - this lense come to be completely manual on Sony A7RII body.
          But it's not disadvantage for me/

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          (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          A true classic

          By zedom

          from Montreal

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Durable
          • Lightweight
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

          • Slow Focus

          Best Uses

          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Night Photography

          Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

          i now have all 3 FA Limited lens. began with the 43mm, then the 77mm. i hesitated a long time for this 31mm. was not sure to like the size and the range. i bought it for my 50th birthday to complete my collection. i'm very happy with it. as good image quality as the 2 others, style, design and built quality even better. i use it with my K5II. it's a kit i will always keep. i hope someday Pentax will make a full frame to pair with these fine lens, but i fully enjoy there aps-c for the moment.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          The Finest AF Lenses

          By Christian V.

          from Fairfax, VA

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Pros

          • Consistent Output
          • Durable
          • Easily Interchangeable
          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Lightweight
          • Nice Bokeh
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Night Photography
            • Video
            • Weddings/Events

            Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

            These are film-era lenses with screw-drive autofocus. Pretty quick but make a slight noise.

            The older SMC coating is also prone to fringing wide-open in high contrast situations. Luckily there's a PP adjustment in your Pentax body to help minimize.

            Quirks aside, they quite possibly capture the most stunning and vibrant photos on film or your DSLR sensor, which help explain their continued production and high demand.

            The FA-31 is the biggest and baddest of the trio. When you need the extra degree of coverage for group shots and landscapes. Downside is the extra weight and bulk.

            If you are good at composition, your photos WILL stand out!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            5.0

            Lovely Lens

            By ML

            from FL

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Fast / accurate auto-focus
            • Nice Bokeh

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Night Photography

              Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

              I bought this lens as an alternative to the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 for use in travel photography. It is smaller and lighter, without sacrificing quality. So far, I love it, although I haven't yet used it extensively and I am adjusting to the trade-off of the flexibility of the DA* 16-50mm. Haven't decided yet if I will go back to the DA* 16-50mm as my go-to travel & walk-around lens.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Leica in Disguise

              By BNapa

              from Las Vegas, NV

              About Me Pro Photographer

              Pros

              • A Tank Of A Lens
              • Consistent Output
              • Durable
              • Easily Interchangeable
              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
              • Nice Bokeh
              • Rugged
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

              • Serious Ca At Wide Open

              Best Uses

              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Night Photography
              • Video
              • Weddings/Events

              Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

              This lens is super sharp even wide open. The only drawback in my opinion is serious CA at wide open. The CA goes away by f4.

              I have mixed feelings about the CA issue. I am paying top dollar for a prime lens and I do not want CA. At the same time the lens is perfect in every other respect. If you did not see the Pentax logo on it, it can easily be mistaken for a Leica lens. That in itself is a mjor accomplishment for Pentax.

              All said and done, it is a keeper. Quit complaining and start creating images!!

              I have rediscovered the joy of photography with this lens and my new Pentax K5IIs. What a combo!

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (1 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              happy

              By luis

              from PE,CA

              Verified Buyer

              Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

              really like the color

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              (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great deal Pentax

              By Mikhail

              from Ural, Russia

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Nice Bokeh
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Indoors/Low Light
                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Sports/Action
                • Video
                • Weddings/Events

                Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                Benchmark lens. Nice bokeh and razor sharp same time. Exellent built. Price...who care?

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Beautiful Lens

                By Len

                from Richmond, VA

                About Me Casual Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Nice Bokeh
                • Rugged
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                • A little pricey

                Best Uses

                • Indoors/Low Light
                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Night Photography

                Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                I am a novice to photography but had read the reviews on this lens. First, B&H Photo delivered the lens in a timely fashion that required my signature. They wanted to make sure I received it. Second, it was well packaged. Finally, the lens is as advertised. I have taken several pictures with it and the photos are tremendous! I can only imagine how good my pictures will get as I improve in understanding lighting, camera settings, etc. Thanks B&H!

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (9 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                3.0

                Incredibly well made but...

                By famatta

                from Chicago

                About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Nice Bokeh
                • Rugged
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                • Poor in Low Light
                • Slow Focus

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                  ...super soft at f/1.8. I own a number of fast lens including a few 50mm f/1.2 that blow this away at 1.8-2.0. The Pentax 31 (my copy?) didn't start to sharpen up till about 2.8 and was razor sharp at f4. But thats not why I bought it. Nice dreamy renderings at 2.8 but my 30 year old Takumar is better wide open. I'm sorry but for this much money, and for its reputation, I expected a bit more. I returned for the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and never looked back.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (0 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  3.0

                  I would buy this product again

                  By Leaf

                  from FL

                  About Me Casual Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                  • Heavy
                  • Weak Casing

                  Best Uses

                  • Landscape/Scenery

                  Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                  Overall, that's great! I recommend

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (0 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Awesome optics

                  By Roy

                  from Seattle, WA

                  Verified Buyer

                  Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                  Will be my walkaround lens. It is just fantastic.

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                  (9 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  B&H Shipping Needs Improvement

                  By Chuck

                  from Pacific Northwest

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                  First a critique of B&H shipping. It's a [$] lens, please pack the lens carefully. The box arrives semi-crunched. The one single bag of air that was put in the box is deflated. The lens box has a small rip in it. Surprisingly the lens works. This is not the first time B&H has used such skimpy packing or where the bag is deflated, but the first time the product box appeared to suffer as a result. The rest of the world uses packing peanuts, you should look into it so that my lens didn't play pinball from NY to WA.Now the lens...it is bigger than it looks in the picture. I see what people say when they say it's a bit heavy. After using the 43mm I expected the same sort of magic. Didn't see it. Hoping that its not because I have a bad copy or because the lens doesn't quite work the way it should due to the way it was shipped. But I'm not willing to eat the shipping to send it back since the lens seems to work.

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                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Incredible, performance and Construction

                  By b2promo

                  from Hermitage, PA

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Durable
                  • Easily Interchangeable
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Rugged
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                      What a lens! I have it attached to a Pentax K5 and the pictures are absolutely wonderful. The quality of the build make you feel like you purchased a excellent quality lens and don't feel you payed too much. Low light performance is outstanding.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (3 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      great but...

                      By Choupina

                      from Montpellier, France

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Consistent Output
                      • Durable
                      • Easily Interchangeable
                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                      • Nice Bokeh
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Indoors/Low Light
                        • Landscape/Scenery
                        • Night Photography
                        • Weddings/Events

                        Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                        Very good lens as you can read every where, a little less for chromatic aberrations.
                        I have a 77mm limted made in Japan, I was disappointed to discover when I opened the box that this 31mm is made in Vietnam, for this very high price item I would have expected a Made in Japan stamp.... ( about rate on the second hand market I imagine the Japanese will be higher in the future)

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        (0 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        very good lens

                        By nico34

                        from Montpellier, France

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Verified Reviewer

                        Pros

                        • Durable
                        • Nice Bokeh
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors/Low Light
                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Night Photography
                          • Weddings/Events

                          Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                          Very happy with this lens for all the qualities describe everywhere on the web.
                          Juste one thing where I'm disappointed, I have a limited 77mm pentax bought second hand and he is made in Japan. When I open the box of the 31mm I realize it was not made anymore in Japan but assembled in Vietnam.

                          I would have expect a lower price for a vietnamese lens...
                          I would be not surprised that in the second hand market the price will be different depending where it was made...

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Sharper than a Samurai sword!

                          By vanillarice

                          from Perth, Australia

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Consistent Output
                          • Durable
                          • Easily Interchangeable
                          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                          • Nice Bokeh
                          • Strong Construction

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Indoors/Low Light
                            • Landscape/Scenery
                            • Night Photography
                            • Video
                            • Weddings/Events

                            Comments about Pentax smcP FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black):

                            I think I am in love with this lens! It is built like a fine Swiss watch, has a great weight to it and has the mechanical quality of a prestige German car... a Porsche.

                            Optically, it is stunning! It has the razor sharpness and smooth creamy bokeh that is found in similar wide angle Ziess/Leica lens designs but at a fraction of the price. Focusing is generally excellent.

                            Images show amazing life-like definition and contrast. For a wide angle lens it has very low distortion, great edge to edge sharpness and performs well (even wide open). Stopped down to F4 and beyond it is equal to better than some of the best lenses that I have used.

                            It looks and feels like it was meant for business and will be useful for all times that you need a bright standard lens on the Pentax APS-C format. I'm positive it will be my main lens for most situations and when I die you will have to pry it from my cold hands.

                            My only gripe is that you cannot fit a polarizing filter. Luckily I can use my 12-24 F4 for any landscape shots that require the optical benefits of that filter, so all is not lost.

                            I use it for both indoor and outdoor shots, and for most purposes I can think that a standard lens should cover. In fact, it hasn't left my camera since I first attached it. I am convinced that I will buy another body just so I can use it all the time with as little fuss as possible. It's THAT good!

                            Highly recommended. If you are a Pentax user then this lens should definitely be in your kit.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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