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09-22-2010, 06:31 AM   #16
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My first camera and first lens was a Pentax MX and the M 50/1.4. Both still work just fine many years later. Conventional wisdom of the day indicated this 50mm or the M 50/1.7 were pretty much the standard lens to begin with in 1981. These so-called “normal” lenses roughly reproduce a perspective that matches the human eye. Once you mastered the “normal” view you then moved on to wide angle and telephoto. This is still not bad advice.


If I were starting today my first lens would probably still be a 50mm, most likely the FA 50/1.4. On digital the FA 43/1.9 or DA 40/2.8 would provide a similar perspective. Even though these fast fifties/forties have been all but replaced by zooms they still have a lot to recommend them for a beginner.

Firstly, they are much faster with the 50/1.4 being 3 or 4 full stops faster than the maximum aperture of a typical f 5.6 consumer zoom at its longest focal length. This is a huge difference and permits you to take pictures in dim indoor light without flash. The wider aperture also permits you to throw the background out of focus. Distracting backgrounds can be eliminated and gives you more professional looking results.

Secondly, 50mm lenses are always amongst the sharpest lenses available. They will always be sharper than a consumer zoom lens. These lenses have been around for decades and are amongst the best corrected optical designs out there. You are unlikely to find a bad one.

Finally, a 50/40mm will be much lighter, smaller, fairly cheap and easier to carry around than a zoom.

Once you have learned the basics with one of these excellent fast primes you will have a better idea where your photographic interests lie: sports, landscapes, portraits. You can then add appropriate zooms or primes to meet these needs.

Tom G


Last edited by 8540tomg; 09-22-2010 at 07:08 AM. Reason: typo
09-22-2010, 06:32 AM   #17
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I think my first lens after the kit lens was a M 50mm f/2. Good lens, but I sold it with my K100D to fund the K10D.
09-22-2010, 06:48 AM   #18
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My first SLR had the FA J 28-80 on it and I got a Sigma 70-300 to go with it, but I would consider my first "real" lens purchase to have been FA 50mm f1.4, followed soon after by the DA 35. I actually shot for probably about 6 months just using the DA 35 and it still remains one of my favorite lenses.
09-22-2010, 07:34 AM   #19
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Sigma 17-70, which I bought to go with K10D. I chose it over the "kit" 18-55 (and the DA16-45, incidentally) for these reasons: more appealing focal range, slightly faster aperture, close focus ability, and great reputation on the forums and reviews. It has not disappointed me, and I still use it occasionally with very good results on my K-7, although I use mainly primes nowadays.

09-22-2010, 07:53 AM   #20
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My first lens was the DA18-250mm. It is my most versatile lens and the default option.

My second lens was a Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4, specifically selected to fill the gap/lapse of the DA18-250mm: the low-light outdoor conditions.

If I was to do it again, I would chose again the DA18-250mm as my first option.

09-22-2010, 08:48 AM   #21
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Pentax- FA50 f1.4 because everyone said that was THE lens to have. I've since stopped following 'the crowd'. Nice lens but I didn't particularly care for it. Replaced it with the FA43mm Limited.

09-22-2010, 09:01 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
Pentax- FA50 f1.4 because everyone said that was THE lens to have. I've since stopped following 'the crowd'. Nice lens but I didn't particularly care for it. Replaced it with the FA43mm Limited.

That's quite funny - my first lense I bought before I even had a DSLR, the 43 Ltd.
Now I have an FA50 1.4 on the way I was thinking I'll give it a try and if it's OK sell the 43 Ltd to fund a 60-250 and 17-50 2.8 (or similar) ! I don't use the 43 Ltd that often.
09-22-2010, 09:07 AM   #23
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My first lens was fixed on my Agfamatic 200. My first Pentax lens was the DA 18-55mm for my K10D. After a few months I got the DA 50-200mm along side it. I sold the entire set to my colleague and got the set in my signature. That's my whole history in a nutshell. I'm not sure wat to get next. DA*300mm, D-FA 100mm WR or FA 31mm ltd? Probably one of those.

Oops! Almost forgot the lens on my old Casio QV-R4. I guess I've owned more computers and cell phones than camera's.

09-22-2010, 09:12 AM   #24
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A big chunk of my first week's pay from my first "real job" out of uni went towards an FA 70-200. (I think it cost me 470AUD in 1992)


With DSLR a full 17years later it was DA 55-300 followed by DA15ltd .....and thats when the money started disappearing and the small parcels kept appearing on the doorstep.
09-22-2010, 09:14 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
That's quite funny - my first lense I bought before I even had a DSLR, the 43 Ltd.
Now I have an FA50 1.4 on the way I was thinking I'll give it a try and if it's OK sell the 43 Ltd to fund a 60-250 and 17-50 2.8 (or similar) ! I don't use the 43 Ltd that often.


Even funnier, the 43 has been pushed aside by the 31 which fights for camera time with the DA35. I bought the 43 when I did because it was the least expensive of the Three Amigos and it's the only one I bought new. It came from B&H (as did the FA50) at a time when Pentax was doing $100 rebates on Limited lens purchases. The FA50 is a fine optical lens, I'll never say that it isn't. What I didn't (and still don't) like about it is the cheap plastic feel of it, particularly the focus ring. I sold my FA35 f2 for the same reason.

09-22-2010, 09:23 AM   #26
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super-multi-coated takumar 135mm 3.5
09-22-2010, 10:45 AM   #27
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My first lens was the kit lens on the Spotmatic SP500: Super Takumar 50mm f1.4

How's that for a kit lens?
09-22-2010, 01:52 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
My very first lens was probably a magnifying glass I used to burn ants.
I think everyone did this when they had their first lens. I think it's how everyone develop a knack where and what to focus.
09-22-2010, 01:59 PM   #29
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Nikon Ai 50/1.4

first Pentax lens M50/2. because I mistook it for an f1.2.
09-22-2010, 02:28 PM   #30
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Besides the kit lens, my first lens was a M 50mm 1.7. I bought it because it was a good deal and I heard nothing but good things about it plus I wanted to try my hand at manual focusing. I like the M lens for stationary objects but for moving AF is a must.
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