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03-20-2011, 01:42 PM   #1
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Help needed - two prime lens kit

Ok, I know this has been discussed to death, but need help deciding between the DA15 Ltd and DA21 Ltd. Iíve read all the threads and looked at the fantastic pictures from both. Both seem to have strong advocates (the DA15 controls jshermanís mind, while Duplo describes the DA21 as the best rendering landscape lens in the Pentax lineup), although the DA15 seems to get more love in general.

So my question is: If you were putting together a light-weight, two-prime-lens kit, which would you pair with the DA70? Primary use would be for taking pictures while out walking/hiking with my K-r. On the rare occasions that I need or want to carry a third lens, I would add either the FA35/2 or the FA135/2.8, depending on if I thought I was going to need something longer than the DA70.

Iím currently leaning towards the DA21 because I've seen that others have been satisfied using this combination and Iím concerned that the difference between 70 and 15 may bee too great, even with cropping, for just a two-lens kit. It also seems that the DA15 may be harder to learn to use properly, while the DA21 might be easier to get good photos with for a general snap-shot shooter like myself. However, itís hard to ignore the lack of distortion and flare with the DA15, as well as the fact that it doesnít duplicate the FOV of any of my current lenses (which can be seen in my profile). The different FOV also makes the decision harder because I can't compare that focal length with 21mm to see how it fits my style - which probably tends to favor telephoto over wide except for landscapes.

Before someone suggests it, I have considered the DA12-24, as well as the Sigma and Tamron alternatives, but ruled them out because of size and weight even though I'm sure they are great lenses that would fit nicely with my collection of f/2.8 zooms.

Thoughts??

03-20-2011, 01:51 PM   #2
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Just out of blue one comment(don't have 21 or 15). I have been struggling with same thing. if you have access to zoom like DA 18-55 WR you can see quite fast if 21 is enough for you or you prefer wider that 18. I like to shoot from 35 to 70. And I have pentax A 24/2.8 for wide/normal prime.
03-20-2011, 01:56 PM   #3
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I own the 15 and not the 21, so I can't compare them for you either, but just based on what you said, the 21 seems more practical for your needs as a mate to the 70 (plus if you feel awkward about something on the wide end, the 21 will no doubt offer a more comfortable walk-around FOV for you than the 15).

There are a few people in here who seem to have almost the entire DA Limited lineup who can weigh in for you.
03-20-2011, 02:11 PM   #4
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FA 31 and FA 77 would be my first choice as a pair.. depending on how wide you need.
DA 21 and DA 70 or even DA 100 Macro would be good too.
Using your kit 18-55 just look over your EXIF data and check focal lengths on your favorite shots.. that is the first one you should be looking at!

03-20-2011, 02:24 PM   #5
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The 21 for a 2 lens kit, no question.

Much more versatile, I think they render much more similarly than different IMHO.

I would beseech you to expand your kit to 3 lenses though. Bring along a fast 50. M/A 50 1.7 will be small enough to hang out with your limiteds.
03-20-2011, 02:35 PM   #6
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I have a large number of primes in both k mount and M42 and had been stuck for some time at 24mm because it was hard to find legacy lenses. I just picked up the samyang 14mm and thoroughly enjoy it. I think 21 mm would be not wide enough for a lot of calls considering you also have a 35
03-20-2011, 02:38 PM   #7
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i am thinking of going 15mm DA LTD and 50mm FA macro (or equiv) - macro, short tele, standard and super wide in two lenses!

back in the zuiko days, i did tons of travel stuff with just a 28f2 and 85f2. these days i'd go 40f2, carrying the 21 f3.5 and 85f2 in a non-camera bag type bag (they're Limited-style size and weight, and near build quality).
03-20-2011, 03:00 PM   #8
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Since you already have the DA 70, and the FA 35, maybe you should be leaning towards the 15mm and just carry the three of them. If you were going for a 3 lens kit from scratch I would probably lean towards the DA 15mm, D FA 50mm macro and FA 77mm. Or if you just wan to cary small light lenses, the 21mm, 43mm, 70mm.

03-20-2011, 03:16 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jrkeiser Quote
So my question is: If you were putting together a light-weight, two-prime-lens kit, which would you pair with the DA70?
There's no doubt in my mind that the DA21 is the best partner for the DA70 in a 2 prime lens kit.
03-20-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
There's no doubt in my mind that the DA21 is the best partner for the DA70 in a 2 prime lens kit.
Same here. Even the size matches up, especially if you carry the hood for the DA70 separately. I'd probably stick a DA40 in there, too, but that is just me.
03-20-2011, 03:48 PM   #11
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I think for a 2 lens kit 70 mm is actually too long which is biasing the wide end decision. For walking around with only 2 lenses I can see 15 and 35 mm easier than 21 and 70
03-20-2011, 03:54 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I've haven't gone back and looked at my most used focal lengths in quite a while. I rarely use the kit lens (not enough reach for a lot of my shooting). My general walk around is the Tamron 28-75/2.8, which is a great lens (especially for low light and family events), but sometimes not wide enough and heavier than I usually want to carry when hiking. I tend to shoot on one end of the zoom or the other (which is another reason I lean towards the DA21/DA70 combo - a slightly wider version of that zoom at the two extremes), but I have noticed that when I'm not at 28 or 75, my most used focal length ends up being right at 43mm.

So far I've been able to convince myself I don't need the 43mm Ltd since I've already got a perfectly good FA35 (even if it lacks the pixy dust of the 43). I have, however, considered either the 18-135 or 18-250 as an alternate to the 28-75 for a general walkabout zoom in good light when traveling with the family.

Anyway, back to the question at hand... I agree with Lowell's comment that if I add the FA35 in and look at a three lens kit, then the DA15 makes more sense than the DA21. However, if I choose to take the FA135 instead of the FA35 for more reach, then the question about the difference in focal length between the DA15 and DA70 comes back into play. I'd really like to limit the number of primes to two to three max. If I'm going to carry more than than, I might as well just take a zoom - the new DA18-135 being the lightest of the two options I've considered (although reviews seem somewhat mixed).

So, my brain tells me that the DA21 may be a better fit in a two or three lens kit (assuming that the FA135 gets the nod rather than the FA35), but the glowing reviews and pictures from the DA15 keep me from pulling the trigger.

Perhaps I just need to resign myself to using zooms and stop the LBA madness. And to think, all my dad ever used on his old film camera was a Super Tak 55 f/1.8 and I never heard him complain about needing something wider or longer. He just took the pictures he could with the camera and lens he had.
03-20-2011, 03:56 PM   #13
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Here's an example of me not following my own advice.

I stumbled across a mini fashion show last week and thought why not, I'll snap some pictures because I had my camera with me, but all I had with me was my DA15 and my DA70. Unfortuantely the 70 was far too long, and the 15 was far too wide. A DA21 would have been much better, but ideally what I needed for the situation was my FA31 or DA40 (hence why maybe you should consider a 3 prime kit).

DA70 perspective too tight ....


and from the same spot, the DA15 perspective was too wide ....
03-20-2011, 04:04 PM   #14
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Twitch,
Very nice pictures. Do you think you could achieve the effect you were looking for by cropping the picture from the DA15, or did you really need the 31 or 40?
03-20-2011, 04:06 PM   #15
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Chex,
Of topic, but I see you have the DA18-135. How do you like it?

Edit: I just saw your posts in the thread on the DA18-135. Looks like your lens has some focusing issues. Hope you get them resolved
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