- Shikano was born in Tokyo in 1974. He graduated from the Video Course at Tama Art University. After working in various professions, he started to photograph for advertisements and magazines. He is a part-time lecturer in the Photography Course, College of Art, Nihon University and the Saitama Prefectural High School of the Arts.His main photo exhibitions are: “Tokyo Sunny Day” in 2003 at Konica Minolta Plaza, “Restored 5-story Pagoda—Minobusan Kuonji Temple” from 2009 to 2010 at Canon Gallery Ginza, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, etc., “Beijingscape” in 2010 at epSITE, “Inspirable Sacred Mountain—Mt. Shichimen” in 2012 at Konica Minolta Plaza, “Smallest Town Under the Lens” in 2016 at Shinjuku Nikon Salon, “Shimashima” in 2018 at GLOCAL CAFE IKEBUKURO, “Tomorrow’s COLOR” in 2020 at Roonee 247 Fine Arts.
HD PENTAX-FA 31mmF1.8 Limited
This lens has a focal length of 31mm, almost identical to that of my daily-use RICOH GR III. I sense very little difference between the 31mm lens of the SLR format and the 28mm lens installed on the GR III, which I use with my arms extended. That’s why I can comfortably crop the scene in front of me, as if capturing an image with my GR III. When I mount this lens on the substantial PENTAX K-1 Mark II camera body, however, I experience different kinds of joy and excitement. The solid, true-to-life image appearing in the optical viewfinder, with the aperture set to F1.8, satisfies my appetite for creativity.
Generally speaking, wide-angle lenses with strong perspective tend to produce flat images when you don’t move in close enough to the subject. Because wide-angle images contain many different elements, they tend to leave vague impressions. Although the 31mm focal length doesn’t produce a perspective as wide as those produced by ultra-wide-angle lenses, I personally believe that the strong perspective of the 31mm lens is rather difficult to handle for many photographers. In fact, it’s the lens that challenges the photographer’s artistic instincts and photographic skills.
On the other hand, since this lens provides the brightness of F1.8, you can use it just like a standard or medium-telephoto lens and take advantage of the bokeh (defocus) effect in the foreground to more clearly define the depth of field. It’s the magic of the 31mm focal length that allows you to express the perspective rather naturally and effortlessly, while skillfully arranging overlapping elements within a particular image composition. In reality, both difficulty and pleasure coexist in this lens. Of course, you can play it by the book: make the subject stand out by throwing the background out of focus. The reduced brightness levels in the peripheral areas — one of the distinctive features of the FA Limited series — is also effective in producing solid, impressive portraits.
Since the optical design is identical with that of the old smc PENTAX version, you may wonder how much difference this new lens makes in terms of image rendition. As a user of the older lens, I was curious about this difference. The fact is that I noticed very little difference between these two lenses. Like the smc version, the new lens produces gentle, subdued images at the open aperture of F1.8, while delivering sharper expressions at closed-down apertures. However, I noticed one definite difference: the new HD version produced images that were clearer and sharper than those produced by the old smc version. While the smc version reached the peak of its imaging power with the aperture closed down by two-thirds or one full stop from open aperture, the new HD version allowed me to enjoy its imaging power with an open aperture.
Although it might be evident to PENTAX aficionados, this lens can be used as a 47.5mm standard lens when mounted on an APS-C-format camera body, such as the PENTAX K-3 Mark III. This means that you can use it as a regular-use lens in both formats. I might call it a two-way imaging tool, or a new-style lens. The main thing is that it provides so many applications despite a simple design. It’s one of the lenses that most definitely embodies the FA Limited-series product concept.