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07-23-2010, 11:15 AM   #16
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My recommandation is the FA35/2 (or it's Samsung twin brother). It is a great general-purpose focal length (basically equivalent to a 50mm on a film camera), is quite sharp right from f/2, and has a pretty even sharpness across the frame.

Only problem is it is getting harder and harder to find new, as it is reportedly discontinued.

07-23-2010, 11:53 AM   #17
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Note "sharpness" is a relative term. Sure, no lens is *as* sharp in the corner as the center, particularly wide open. But some are sharper than others. The DA40 is one of the better ones for wide open sharpness, FWIW - Photozone actually has it amazing close to being as sharp in the corners as in the center right from f/2.8 (but not quite as sharp in the center as some higher priced lenses, like the FA43 or FA31).

But really, it's also a bit pointless to worry too much about corners in low loght shooting - unless you are shooting nothing but brick walls, the corners are almost never in focus when shooting wide open just due to DOF. And the faster the lens, the more that is true. You might shoot for an entire lifetime without ever encountering a real world situation in which the corners are in focus shooting a 50/1.4 wide open.
07-23-2010, 02:08 PM   #18
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The K 1.2 and A 1.2 are in the $400 range given patience. If 50 is a bit long for your intended use, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 would be another option.
07-23-2010, 02:31 PM   #19
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I can vouch for using f 2.8 in low light, ISO 1600 isn't that bad, and a really low f has some real DOF problems unless you are VERY good at manual focus.

SMC-A 28mm 2.8 was an easy decision for me. Good price, fast enough, and close to a normal fov at 2.8 was good enough for digital.

If you are good with manual focus (something I would prefer over trusting AF in low light anyways) you won't have to spend nearly 400.

07-23-2010, 03:21 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by kharenitin Quote
About $400.
I'd suggest then one of these:
DA40 Ltd <- I have this, it's fantastic!
FA35 f2
Sigma 30 f1.4

For $400 you should be able to get good IQ & auto focus. For a first prime I don't think a MF f1.2 lens is the best choice, it's definitely a specialty lens, not one for general use.
07-23-2010, 03:32 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I can vouch for using f 2.8 in low light, ISO 1600 isn't that bad, and a really low f has some real DOF problems unless you are VERY good at manual focus.

SMC-A 28mm 2.8 was an easy decision for me. Good price, fast enough, and close to a normal fov at 2.8 was good enough for digital.

If you are good with manual focus (something I would prefer over trusting AF in low light anyways) you won't have to spend nearly 400.
There's nothing that says that ISO 1600 can't be used with a A or K 1.2 or Sigma 30/1.4.

QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I'd suggest then one of these:
DA40 Ltd <- I have this, it's fantastic!
FA35 f2
Sigma 30 f1.4

For $400 you should be able to get good IQ & auto focus. For a first prime I don't think a MF f1.2 lens is the best choice, it's definitely a specialty lens, not one for general use.
They can be used like any other A or k series manual focus lens. They just have that f1.2 thing going on as well. It really comes down to a mf or af thing. Cost isn't really an issue given the lenses on your list. Build quality is going to be better on the A & k. Only the 40 ltd can compete in that regard. I'll be frank, the only reason I have an M 50 1.4 & 1.7 is that I had the before the A 1.2. The reason I keep the FA around is af.
07-23-2010, 03:33 PM   #22
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If you don't mind manual focus the M 50 f/1.7 is excellent. Easily less than $100.

If you want auto focus you can't go wrong with the FA 50 f/1.4. About $250 and wonderful in low light.

The FA 35 f/2 is a great lens that focuses fast and is sharp wide open. It's a bit closer to the high end of your range in price, and low end on the distance scale.

FA 43 f/1.9 is awesome, but runs about $500 used. Excellent in low light, a dream to use in manual focus, as well as, in auto focus. It's a bit out of your range, but it's very high end and you wouldn't likely "upgrade" it any time soon.

DA40 is a quick focuser, but is limited to f/2.8. It's around $400 as well, but I've never used one in low light to be able to say Yea/Nay.

Lot's of options, but these are ones that are all highly respected and easily obtainable.

c[_]
07-23-2010, 04:33 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I'd suggest then one of these:
DA40 Ltd <- I have this, it's fantastic!
FA35 f2
Sigma 30 f1.4

For $400 you should be able to get good IQ & auto focus. For a first prime I don't think a MF f1.2 lens is the best choice, it's definitely a specialty lens, not one for general use.
QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I'd start by trying to narrow down your focal length range a bit. There's a huge difference between 35mm and 55mm. I personally wouldn't find a 55mm very useful at all for general photography - I already retired my 50's from that duty for being too long. For me, it's more like 28-40 that is most useful, which is still a pretty big range, but I cover it using two lenses (a 28 and a 40).

Personally, the DA40 is what I like best for this. I know - it's "only" f/2.8, but at ISO 1600 or 3200 in a pinch, that's enough 99.99% of the time. And I love the focal length, the small size, the fast focus, and the price is good.

If for some reason I just couldn't stomach shooting at f/2.8 and were willing to throw away ahalf my pictures for having the subject OOF for too shallow DOF, I'd probably go with the Voigtlander 40 or maybe save money with the M35/2. If I didn't mind the size, I'd push the budget by a few dollars to get the Sigma 30/1.4. Or I'd sit tight to Photokina in the (probably vain) hopes that Pentax announces something else.
As I am learning more about Pentax I am realizing that it has such a wonderful lineup of prime lenses and sure will like to own all one day. Having said so this will truly be my first foray into primes. Since last 8 months I have been learning photography with 18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses. Just now I ordered DA 12-24 because I like wide angle nature and landscape photography. The next thing I like the most is street and candid photography. Even though I have combined reach of 18-300 mm yet many a times I have felt limitations of 3.5 and narrower apertures like when in downtown at dusk or at home trying to freeze some moments of my 1 year son.

As I said so many lenses are there each almost as good as other and I am confused and afraid not because of what I will get but because what I will miss

Life should have been easier.

07-23-2010, 06:10 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
In that range, I have the Sigma EX DG 28mm f/1.8 Aspherical Macro, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, and Cosina 55mm f/1.2 (a manual focus lens), all of which cost less than $400. I find I shoot most often with the Sigma, due primarily to it's focal length on APS-C (where it is a 'normal' lens). I've been very happy with the pictures I get from it.
How is Cosina 55mm?
07-23-2010, 06:32 PM   #25
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Suggest DA40 almost $500. I think I will get DA40 for my birthday before we go to Hawaii 2 more days to go.
07-23-2010, 07:06 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Danny Delcambre Quote
Suggest DA40 almost $500. I think I will get DA40 for my birthday before we go to Hawaii 2 more days to go.
DA40 is $339 from B&H
07-23-2010, 07:08 PM   #27
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The FA 50mm 1.4 has been a wonderful lens for me.
07-23-2010, 07:14 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by opiet70 Quote
The FA 50mm 1.4 has been a wonderful lens for me.
You can't go wrong with either the FA50/1.4 or FA50/1.7 (I slightly prefer the latter, but they're both great lenses). You can typically find either one for less than $250 used.

If you want something wider, the FA35/2 would be my recommendation. A used copy of the FA35/2 should be right, at maybe even slightly below, your $400 budget.
07-23-2010, 09:27 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
DA40 is $339 from B&H
B&H say $499.95. Huh.
07-23-2010, 09:35 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
DA40 is $339 from B&H
B&H say $499.95, huh.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/366728-USA/Pentax_21550_SMCP_DA_40mm_f_2_8_Limited.html

Last edited by Danny Delcambre; 07-23-2010 at 09:41 PM.
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