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06-03-2010, 02:09 PM   #1
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limited prime vs zoom

Hi, I am interested in getting another lens... preferably the DA 40 limited. Pentax also makes some well regarded zooms at the length. So if someone could please give me their opinion regarding the image quality of the DA 40 vs some of the zooms such as the 16-45 or even the 17-70? Are the DA limiteds _that_ much nicer than the zooms?

Thanks in advance

06-03-2010, 02:50 PM   #2
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First, this is a lens question, not a camera question, so I'm moving it to the proper forum.

Second, there are zillions of samle images available for you in that forum (and elsewhere) that you can peruse to help you make up your mind. As you might expect, different people will have different opinions on this, to about the same extent as if your asked "which is better, Coke or Pepsi".

My take is that IQ differences are neglible and have nothing to do with why one would pick one or the other in this comparison. It's all about smaller size and lower cost (and greater speed compared to a 17-70) of the prime versus greater utility of the zoom.
06-03-2010, 03:23 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
As you might expect, different people will have different opinions on this, to about the same extent as if your asked "which is better, Coke or Pepsi".
Pepsi might be better than water, but not Coke.
06-03-2010, 03:28 PM   #4
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Hey Marc, feel free to point me in the direction of these "lower cost" limited primes!

My "lower cost" ones all say "Takumar" on them and are as old as I am.

06-03-2010, 04:10 PM   #5
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I just meant the specific lenses being discussed here: the DA40 is cheaper than the DA*16-50 (by a lot) or the DA17-70 (by a somewhat smaller margin, but then, the DA40 is not only a ton smaller than this, but also twice as fast).
06-03-2010, 06:55 PM   #6
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I think it really depends on what you shoot. If it's one specific thing--say, landscapes--then a good prime might be the ticket. If you want to shoot a variety of subjects, a zoom is a better choice. Eventually, you may want both in your kit but because I like to shoot anything and everything, my instinct would be to start with a zoom. In fact, that's what I did: started with the Tamron 18-250mm (quickly followed by the 43mm limited. ;~)
06-04-2010, 06:15 AM   #7
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kudos to the superzoom. As much as i hate em now they do help with getting used to a dslr. I realised after awhile i never really used the telephoto so bought me a couple of old primes and have never gone back to zooms. Course ive always got the kit lens for certain times but these days i usually carry around a DA40mm and a K 55mm f1.8 with a DA15mm on the camera. Keeps me happy =)
06-04-2010, 06:57 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Pepsi might be better than water, but not Coke.
Could you clarify that, Ira? From your sentence structure I can not tell whether you are asserting that Pepsi is not better than Coke, or that Coke is not better than water.

06-04-2010, 07:13 AM   #9
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The zoom vs. prime debate is endless. I don't own either of the lenses mentioned but from my own experience with my current lenses, I can expect a better quality image from the primes. That said, I love the convenience of the zooms and that is why one of my zooms is on the camera most of the time. When the budget allows, I'm upgrading my zooms to some better glass. I'm also looking at some new primes because they are so good and faster for the most part. I think this is how LBA starts.........
06-04-2010, 08:56 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by trevorgrout Quote
Hi, I am interested in getting another lens... preferably the DA 40 limited. Pentax also makes some well regarded zooms at the length. So if someone could please give me their opinion regarding the image quality of the DA 40 vs some of the zooms such as the 16-45 or even the 17-70? Are the DA limiteds _that_ much nicer than the zooms?

Thanks in advance
The DA40 is among the most highly rated lenses in the lens database, so there are plenty of people who enjoy it. Most people who buy a prime for the first time end up loving it. As long as you have a zoom standing buy in case you need the convenience of zooming, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Of course, you could always buy an old manual prime to see how you like it. They are very, very cheap and don't depreciate much if at all.
06-04-2010, 09:03 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by trevorgrout Quote
Hi, I am interested in getting another lens... preferably the DA 40 limited. Pentax also makes some well regarded zooms at the length. So if someone could please give me their opinion regarding the image quality of the DA 40 vs some of the zooms such as the 16-45 or even the 17-70? Are the DA limiteds _that_ much nicer than the zooms?

Thanks in advance
Definitely yes. IQ of DA 40 is superb than zooms, even including DA*16-50. Just get one. You won't regret.
06-04-2010, 10:03 AM   #12
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I have some of both but since many have replied about the benefits of primes, i'll post on behalf of zooms.

One of my favorite current pasttimes is shooting promo photos for use by a local live theatre group. They appreciate the photos, occasionally they show up in newspapers or the lobby, and i like doing something that helps encourage the production of plays.

I've tried primes, but found that a zoom is more effective. I currently use a Tamron 28-75 F2.8 indoors and been getting sharp images with it. Before that i tried a DA 50-135, which produces super images, I still have it but use it now primarily when they have outdoor plays.
06-04-2010, 10:27 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
My take is that IQ differences are neglible and have nothing to do with why one would pick one or the other in this comparison. It's all about smaller size and lower cost (and greater speed compared to a 17-70) of the prime versus greater utility of the zoom.

While the assertion regarding optical quality is arguable, I tend to stand with Marc on this one. Conventional wisdom is:
  • Primes are small and compact
  • Zooms are bulky and may be heavy as well
  • Primes tend to have larger maximum apertures
  • Primes may have less compromise in optical design
  • A single zoom can replace several primes in the bag
I tend to shoot mostly primes, but will make one HUGE argument in defense of the zoom lens. The utility aspect of shooting with a zoom cannot be over-stated. To put it simply, there is no such thing as "zooming with your feet" when using a prime. In composition, perspective is everything and perspective is determined by the position of the lens. Even small changes can make a huge difference in the final image. A zoom allows you to take the photo as you saw it in your mind's eye from the position of the eye when it was seen. There are also other issues such as flower beds, mean dogs, and cliffs...


Steve
06-04-2010, 10:34 AM   #14
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Still though, even if you end up getting a better zoom (wise choice, no argument here), I would advise you bought yourself an old manual prime just to experience what shooting with a prime is like. It's a completely different way of making photos than with a zoom, I find. More fun, too (but of course that is highly subjective).
06-04-2010, 11:23 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevinschoenmakers Quote
Still though, even if you end up getting a better zoom (wise choice, no argument here), I would advise you bought yourself an old manual prime just to experience what shooting with a prime is like. It's a completely different way of making photos than with a zoom, I find. More fun, too (but of course that is highly subjective).
I agree.
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