Pentax SMC-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Pentax

Sample Images

Here're some quick'n dirty sample shots taken with the K10D and RAW-converted via CaptureOne LE and ACR 3.7.

Click on a thumbnail to view the original file (opens in a separate window). Please note that the originals are FULL SIZE (=several megabytes) which requires quite some bandwidth for downloading so please don't waste the limited resources here.

Make PENTAX Corporation
Model PENTAX K10D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 77.0mm
Exposure Data: f/1.8 @ 1/640s
Size 3872x2592
Make PENTAX Corporation
Model PENTAX K10D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 77.0mm
Exposure Data: f/1.8 @ 1/1250s
Size 2592x3872
Make PENTAX Corporation
Model PENTAX K10D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 77.0mm
Exposure Data: f/1.8 @ 1/2500s
Size 2592x3872
Make PENTAX Corporation
Model PENTAX K10D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 77.0mm
Exposure Data: f/4.0 @ 1/400s
Size 2592x3872
Make PENTAX Corporation
Model PENTAX K10D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 77.0mm
Exposure Data: f/2.8 @ 1/800s
Size 3872x2592
Make PENTAX Corporation
Model PENTAX K10D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 77.0mm
Exposure Data: f/2.8 @ 1/2000s
Size 3872x2592
Make PENTAX Corporation
Model PENTAX K10D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 77.0mm
Exposure Data: f/1.8 @ 1/2000s
Size 2592x3872
Make PENTAX Corporation
Model PENTAX K10D
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 77.0mm
Exposure Data: f/2.8 @ 1/200s
Size 2592x3872

Verdict

The Pentax SMC-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited is undoubtedly a special lens thanks to its very small dimensions combined with an exceptional build quality. Optically it doesn't offer much beyond the mainstream in this class but don't misunderstand this as something negative because moderate fix-focal length tele lenses tend to be great performers. The center resolution is very fine to great throughout the tested aperture range whereas the borders leave a little to be desired at f/1.8. Stopping down resolves the border weakness and the quality is extremely high and even between f/4 and f/8. Distortions and CAs are basically non-existent and vignetting is pretty well controlled. In extreme contrast situations you can push the lens into purple fringing (color blooming) problems at large aperture settings but stopping down a little usually helps in such situations. A very positive aspect of the lens is its bokeh (out-of-focus blur). It is very smooth and buttery making the lens an obvious choice for portrait photography. The biggest "problem" is not performance but the price tag. At around 750-800€/US$ the lens is about twice as expensive as competing products on the other side of the fence (namely the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.8D). Even regarding its lovely build quality and compact design this is stretching things a little in my opinion. Obviously Pentax came to the same conclusion - the successor, the SMC-DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited, is quite a bit more affordable (although also one stop slower).

Optical Quality:
Mechanical Quality:
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