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10-24-2007, 01:12 PM   #1
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Starting to like primes... DA 40mm Limited

So I went and tested out a DA 40mm limited today and I am very close to buying it!

After using zoom lenses all this time, I figured that prime lenses would be difficult to shift to. But after some 'walking around' (aka 'zooming with a prime lens'), I was able to get some really nice shots with the DA 40mm. This will probably be the lens I use for my friend's wedding, and with enough space, should be able to take all sort of shots throughout the event.

I have done a ton of reading of the whole primes vs zoom debate, so my questions are a little different:

1) How does the DA 40mm F2.8 Limited compare to the Tamron XR 28-75 F2.8 zoom? I've heard that the Tamron XR is amazing in terms of sharpness and IQ, but I've also read that you can get a bad copy of the lens. The Pentax DA 40mm Limited seems like a reliable and solid lens, but what about the Tamron?

2) What is your technique for using primes? When I use my zoom, sometimes I'll reach the end of the zoom range and start walking towards subject, so it seems I already have the technique down pat. However, I'm thinking that this has limitations as there may be times when I won't be able to move (in a car/bus, in a theatre, during a hockey game, or limited walking/moving space).

10-24-2007, 02:20 PM   #2
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Da40

QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
How does the DA 40mm F2.8 Limited compare to the Tamron XR 28-75 F2.8 zoom?
2) What is your technique for using primes?
A prime lens has to make no compromises and be specifically optimized for the focal length. A zoom is always a compromise, but the Tamron may be less 'compromised' at 40mm (the least amount of compromise varies in different lenses). Someone who has both lenses will have to comment...
Soon, you will see the world 'framed' for the primes you have. Before you even pull out your camera, you will know exactly which lens to use and what the final picture will look like, or you will be moving into a better position, even before pulling out your camera.
I take probably 80% of my pictures with my DA40 even though I have the other two pancakes. My desire for the size, weight and IQ compromise of a zoom is zero. Primes is where Pentax crushes the competition.
10-24-2007, 07:59 PM   #3
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Need an image?

Thanks for that input.
In regards to my question (2), I've been reading up how a prime will help make you a better photographer in that you learn to frame your shot better. And I'm more of a walk around photographer so I think that this prime would help me a lot.

And I think I've fallen in love with the absolute sharpness of this DA 40 Limited!


NOTE: this image was cropped. Also, my apologizes as these were test shots, so my focusing was off.


But my goodness... Look at that! My eyes water from that complete sharpness of that image!
10-24-2007, 11:38 PM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
2) What is your technique for using primes? When I use my zoom, sometimes I'll reach the end of the zoom range and start walking towards subject, so it seems I already have the technique down pat. However, I'm thinking that this has limitations as there may be times when I won't be able to move (in a car/bus, in a theatre, during a hockey game, or limited walking/moving space).
Choose the most suitable prime and adjust with feet from there

10-25-2007, 12:35 AM   #5
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I've been a prime kind of guy for about 2 months now.
I get better results, and part of the reason why is I have to think the shot out a little more.

However I'll tell you 1 thing.
You'll want a Zoom for your friends wedding.
Going up to at least 135mm, or even a 200mm.

The 40mm just won't give you the range that you desire.

If at all possible bring along 2 bodies as well.
A 35mm film should be fine.
10-25-2007, 03:21 AM   #6
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I shoot nothing but primes and 99% of my shots are "target-of-opportunity" chances that present themselves typically for a very few seconds. I haven't found the primes at all limiting in those situations. It's just a matter of being used to them and learning to have the appropriate one mounted. For those other times when I have the chance to leisurely shoot, using the shoe-zoom or swapping lenses is no big deal.
10-25-2007, 03:28 AM   #7
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The da 40 may be a nice lens, but its not faster than the tamron zoom, just a lot smaller....
so if size is not a problem then the zoom is more flexible. unless you want to get a prime that will actually give you an advantage over the zoom. *cough* fa43 *cough*
10-25-2007, 04:22 AM   #8
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You will get used to visualizing what field of view is offered by a given prime before you look through the viewfinder. I find when I use zooms I end up using much longer focal lengths, because I get lazy and don't move to the place that will give me the best field of view for a given composition. As a result, my zoom photos tend to be a lot flatter and more lifeless than those I take with primes.

10-25-2007, 04:38 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
The da 40 may be a nice lens, but its not faster than the tamron zoom, just a lot smaller....
so if size is not a problem then the zoom is more flexible. unless you want to get a prime that will actually give you an advantage over the zoom. *cough* fa43 *cough*
I second that DA40 vs. 28-75mm f/2.8 comment. However, I'd also suggest you look at the FA35mm f/2.0.
10-25-2007, 07:59 AM   #10
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I have seriously considered the Tamron XR 28-75mm, despite my new love for the primes.

1) My main concern with buying a Tamron 28-75mm is the image quality and the build quality. I've heard build quality problems and that drives me nuts. As for IQ, is it as sharp as the prime lenses?

2) I have also considered the FA43, the FA35 and others. Their prices, though, for one prime lens is about the same as the Tamron XR 28-75mm. Might as well buy the Tamron zoom?
10-25-2007, 08:07 AM   #11
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The tammy seems like a good lens. vs the da 40 I dont think sharpness will be different eanough to overshadow the flexibility of the zoom. only real big difference is the size.
the fa 43 and fa 35 are both faster than the tamron, so they have that advantage which to some is very important.

tammy doesnt seem like a bad choice though, these dog shots looks sharp eanough to me:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/13753-dog-portraits-round-2-a.html
10-25-2007, 08:12 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
I have seriously considered the Tamron XR 28-75mm, despite my new love for the primes.

1) My main concern with buying a Tamron 28-75mm is the image quality and the build quality. I've heard build quality problems and that drives me nuts. As for IQ, is it as sharp as the prime lenses?

2) I have also considered the FA43, the FA35 and others. Their prices, though, for one prime lens is about the same as the Tamron XR 28-75mm. Might as well buy the Tamron zoom?
I'm also considering the Tamron 28-75/2.8... I have some friends with the Sigma 24-60/2.8 and a coworker with the former, and I've a/b compared them. The Tamron is soft with wide shots and the Sigma is soft with longer shots. Both do well wide open but have best results stopped down a bit.

My SMC-M 50/1.4 and SMC-M 135/3.5, however, are always sharp. As others have pointed out, the zoom will generate varied results due to the many compromises made to accomplish the zoom range. IMHO though, unless they are willing to do the wedding twice, you need to be ready for anything (in other words, have a zoom or two cameras, preferably both).
10-25-2007, 08:44 PM   #13
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I have some zooms ready, but they're the Pentax kit DA lens (18-55) and the pentax DA zoom (55-200). I'm thinking that if I need these bad boys, they will be have to be used with flash or a tripod indoors, and be in range to use the F3.5 or F4 Aperture.

I set my Pentax 18-55 kit lens to 40mm and 50mm respectively. I find that the 50mm is a bit too tight indoors and that 40mm or so is just about right for most of my applications. I'm liking the idea of the Tamron, but the price is a little too high for me to afford right now

I found the DA 40mm Limited prime lens to be pretty neat. During testing, except for the most darkest rooms, the F2.8 seems to hold its own. I'm thinking that, unless the church is ultra-dim, I should be able to suffice with the F2.8 and the sharpness of the prime lens. This combined with my flash unit should make some decent photos, even during dim events.

Last edited by dugrant153; 10-25-2007 at 09:04 PM.
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