Pentax SMC FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited - Lab Test / Review
Lens Reviews - Pentax
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published May 2012

Special thanks to Knut Kampe for providing this lens!


We already tested the Pentax FA SMC 43mm f/1.9 Limited a couple of years ago based on the Pentax K10D (@10mp) but for as another reference test we've just re-tested it again on the Pentax K5 (@16mp). Some of the findings remain valid on the K5 so please forgive us for having reused portions of the old review here again.

The Pentax SMC FA 43mm f/1.9 is a member of the classic FA "Limited" lens series made by Pentax. The lens is very small and light-weight thus obviously a so-called "pancake" lens. Typical for all FA lenses it supports the full 35mm format so it can be used both on film and digital SLRs. On the Pentax APS-C DSLRs its field-of-view is equivalent to 64.5mm so it leaves its original scope as a "normal" lens towards a very moderate tele. At around 800€/600US$ it is far from being a budget item but in a swamp of budget oriented plastic lenses the high quality Pentax lens makes certainly a welcome difference - on paper at least.

The build quality of the lens is superb with most parts made of metal. The tiny focus ring operates very smoothly and slightly dampened. Just like all other FA-type lenses there's a dedicated aperture ring on the lens but you can, of course, operate the aperture from the camera as well. The lens is/was available in a platinum- (see below) and black-colored (see above) variant.

The lens has no internal AF motor and relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera. As a result AF operation will generate a moderate degree of noise. The AF speed is very fast on the K5.

Equiv. focal length64.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.9 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction7 elements in 6 groups
Number of aperture blades8
min. focus distance0.45 m (max. magnification ratio 1:8)
Dimensions64 x 24 mm
Weight155 g
Filter size49 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodsnap-on type (supplied)
Other features-

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