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12-18-2010, 02:43 PM   #1
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Ugh...Another Lens Suggestion Needed Thread...

Hey guys,

I hate doing this, but I feel positively stymied!

I've got up to ~$900 to spend on a lens, but am having a dastardly hard time coming up with a firm choice. My predicament is such: I currently only have the kit lens and two Pentax-A series lenses (50mm 1.7 and 50mm 2.8 macro), so my FL options are rather limited.

My current possibilities on the table are as follows:

Zooms: Sigma 10-20 f3.5 (~$650), DA 18-135 (~$550), DA 55-300 (~$325)

Primes: FA 31mm (stretching the budget at closer to $1k), FA 43mm (~$600), A 50/1.2 (~$500), FA 77mm (~$750), other fast primes.

Obviously there are a ton of options here...and I know it all depends on shooting style. I plan to get all of these over the years, but clearly I have to start somewhere.

I picked the primes I did because I will likely use them in MF mode. If I'm using a zoom, I'd like autofocus, but for primes I can have my fingers free for focusing.

My first notion is to get zooms to fill my FL gaps, but my second notion is that if I don't start picking up the FA's soon, prices will continue to rise.

My 50's have been nice, although typically I find them at an awkward FL, being too long for general use and too short for reach.

My gut says either get the 31mm now while I can or get the 43mm and the DA 55-300.

Any thoughts? I'm up for other suggestions, although I'd prefer to stick with FF fast primes if possible.

Sorry for creating another one of these threads....oy!

12-18-2010, 03:19 PM   #2
hcc
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You have a wide range of options.

First you need to consider what FL you do need. Many shoot about 30-50mm.

Second if you want to expand your FL, you may consider whether you want zoom or prime lenses. You also need to select a FL that is substantially apart from your largest FL (55 mm):
- the 50-300mm is an obvious option;
- another option is the 100mm macro lenses. There are the excellent Pentax 100mm, Sigma 105mm, Tamron 90mm, all macro lenses;
- another choice is the Voigtlander 90mm MF; the Voigtlander series is very well liked in the Pentax community;

Third, instead of expanding your FL, you might consider other type of lenses, like the FA series or the Ltd series. That is, going for quality instead of FL.


I would follow your gut feel and go for the FA31mm. I just did so for Christmas and I love it. (I got it from B&H for slightly less than 1k$.) My second choice would be the Voigtlander 90mm.

Hope that the comment will help.
12-18-2010, 03:24 PM   #3
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I answered my own question by just writing out this thread...hard to believe I've been mentally hammering this for a week only to come to a conclusion after embarrassing myself on the forums!

I decided to get the 43mm. I found a mint silver Japan version with a sub-20000 serial number (i.e. original style rendering) for $575. I'll shop around for a DA 55-300 used now with no guilt. :P
12-18-2010, 03:24 PM   #4
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What do you want to shoot? Why do you feel you need all FA limiteds? Do you shoot film?

You essentially want every prime that has cult status on this forum, which makes me wonder a little what you actually want them for... you know... the purpose of these purchases.

Do you want telephoto or landscapes? Do you want to do portraits? What are you trying to capture?

With 900 dollars, I would consider buying a DA 12-24 and DA 70 ltd used... Then you have landscape, portraiture, macro, and low light covered.

Of course, it's no FA ltd... but only you can decide whether that matters.

12-18-2010, 04:20 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
You have a wide range of options.

First you need to consider what FL you do need. Many shoot about 30-50mm.

Second if you want to expand your FL, you may consider whether you want zoom or prime lenses. You also need to select a FL that is substantially apart from your largest FL (55 mm):
- the 50-300mm is an obvious option;
- another option is the 100mm macro lenses. There are the excellent Pentax 100mm, Sigma 105mm, Tamron 90mm, all macro lenses;
- another choice is the Voigtlander 90mm MF; the Voigtlander series is very well liked in the Pentax community;

Third, instead of expanding your FL, you might consider other type of lenses, like the FA series or the Ltd series. That is, going for quality instead of FL.


I would follow your gut feel and go for the FA31mm. I just did so for Christmas and I love it. (I got it from B&H for slightly less than 1k$.) My second choice would be the Voigtlander 90mm.

Hope that the comment will help.
Thanks HCC, I decided to do the best of both and get the FA 43mm and the DA 55-300mm. I'm sure the 31mm rocks, I'll get it eventually. :P

Good suggestion on the Voigtlanders, I've been impressed by their bokeh qualities.

Last edited by jeffshaddix; 12-18-2010 at 04:30 PM.
12-18-2010, 05:07 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
Thanks HCC, I decided to do the best of both and get the FA 43mm and the DA 55-300mm. I'm sure the 31mm rocks, I'll get it eventually. :P

Good suggestion on the Voigtlanders, I've been impressed by their bokeh qualities.
Jeff,

That will be for the next Xmas or birthday !!!

Enjoy your new lenses! and happy shooting
12-18-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
What do you want to shoot? Why do you feel you need all FA limiteds? Do you shoot film?

You essentially want every prime that has cult status on this forum, which makes me wonder a little what you actually want them for... you know... the purpose of these purchases.

Do you want telephoto or landscapes? Do you want to do portraits? What are you trying to capture?

With 900 dollars, I would consider buying a DA 12-24 and DA 70 ltd used... Then you have landscape, portraiture, macro, and low light covered.

Of course, it's no FA ltd... but only you can decide whether that matters.
Hi paperbag, my shooting interests vary across the map, but I have two young kids right now so my shooting opportunities for anything but portraiture come few and far between.

I just recently got back from a trip to New Zealand that I would have loved to have the Sigma 10-20 or DA 12-24, but alas I doubt I'll be going anywhere for the new few years, so I can't see shooting much in the way of landscapes anytime soon.

I didn't mean offense by picking the lens options I did. I do a lot of manual focus, and based on what I've heard I think the FA line holds up better with that regard. Plus, I looked at a lot of pictures and generally prefer the rendering of the FA line a bit more (not to say the DA's aren't great!!).
12-18-2010, 05:11 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
Jeff,

That will be for the next Xmas or birthday !!!

Enjoy your new lenses! and happy shooting
Thanks I'll post pictures when I get it!

12-18-2010, 05:37 PM   #9
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The 55-300 is one of your cheaper choices and covers a range you don't have now.
12-18-2010, 06:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
I didn't mean offense by picking the lens options I did. I do a lot of manual focus, and based on what I've heard I think the FA line holds up better with that regard. Plus, I looked at a lot of pictures and generally prefer the rendering of the FA line a bit more (not to say the DA's aren't great!!).
Oh I'm sorry if I came across in any way offended. Not at all! All of the primes you mentioned were wonderful, albeit expensive lenses. Nothing wrong with selecting the best!.. I just wanted to ensure you had a good reason for purchasing these things (I do find that people can be misled by fourms of any kind... towards buying things they really don't need ). However "want" when the budget allows is just as legitimate as "need" when he circumstances arise. I have nothing against expensive toys.

That FA 43 should do you well or general portraiture. It's a really nice little lens.

The suggestion I made was more or less "how to make your dollar go the furthest for the most shooting situations", not "the only reasonable choice". I apologize if I came across any other way.

If you save the remainder for the FA 77 1.8 which will be as amazing an autofocus lens for portraits as you will find.

If you are a good manual focuser, the FA series will be the fastest focusing for frenetic children. I can attest that the DA 40 is quite an amazing lens for hyper-fast autofocus when your MF is not up to par. But there is no arguing the optical merits of the FA 43.

I'm planning on setting up a DA 15/40/70 kit, but that decision is guided partly by finances and a "just good enough" attitude, as opposed to a desire to own the best. I might be biased, but at least I wear it on my sleeve.

PS. Congrats!
12-18-2010, 07:15 PM   #11
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Enjoy the 43 and 55-300, they'll both be quickly very useful to you in your portraiture (particularly the 43).

Eventually, I'm sure you'll develop the itch to complete the rest of the FA ltd series, so start saving now!
12-18-2010, 10:11 PM   #12
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I have both the 43 Ltd (always start the day with that on my camera) and the 55-300 (amazing value for money) but if you buy the later then the obvious gap is the one the 10-20 (surprisingly my most used lense last year) or 12-24 or 10-24 would fill.
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