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03-29-2011, 04:46 PM   #16
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You could get an FA43 first. It wouldn't blow the whole budget, and it is also darn nice. Frankly the DA40 is really nice too. I've found the 31 to be just a trifle temperamental, a little trickier to coax out its best. But I've only had it for a matter of weeks.

If comparing used prices, one can probably get a 31 for under or about $900. I did, but I got lucky. :-)

03-29-2011, 04:54 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Problem with only owning the 31 is it's a fairly standard focal length on digital. It's a great lens, but if you are poor like me, owning it is just going to prevent you from using anything else.

If you are shooting models and you want to be unintimidating, the DA limiteds are the way to go. You will be stopped down with the FA limiteds, anyways.

Lets assume you are frugal and buy used.

FA 31 is about 1k.

DA 21 - 400.
DA 40 - 300.
DA 70 - 450.

All prices are approximate, but you spend only 25 more and have access to WAY more focal lengths. Lens speed is a nice thing to have, but you can't get around perspective distortion.
I have a 31 Limited, which I luckily purchased before the prices began to skyrocket. There is no doubt that it is one of the finest lenses on the planet. But since you are on a budget, I think that you would be better served by the combination of lenses listed above. They are all so good that you will be more than happy with the results, and you will have much greater flexibility than with a single lens kit.

At the risk of seeming heretical in this prime lens love fest, you might also consider the DA*16-50 as a single lens kit. It is awfully good optically, even if not quite up to the level of the Limiteds. I use it as my main lens for general purpose photography, even though I own two (soon to be three) FA Limiteds.

Rob
03-29-2011, 05:48 PM   #18
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i was in your position a month ago, bought the 31 and absolutely love it! however as many others have said you can get a few other pentax ltd primes for the cost of the 31, so just ask yourself if u need flexibility more or will you be fine with just the 31 for a while?

I often find myself needing a bit more width or zoom, so I've been saving hard - the 15 and 70 are on my list next!
03-29-2011, 06:19 PM   #19
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Well, I'm not in a huge hurry, so used is likely the way I'll obtain these.

I'm fairly certain that I'll eventually have to own the 31mm . The real question is do you start with the hallmark of Pentax lenses and build out from there, or do you start with some other excellent lenses, and build up to the top.

Another factor I'm considering is the benefit of making big purchases like ripping off a bandaid. Get the worst over with (i say worst from my wife's perspective ) and know that future purchases are going to be less expensive. There's something to be said here.

03-29-2011, 06:30 PM   #20
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FA31 if you are feeling rich, FA35 if you want the focal length and affordable price, FA43 if you want the sharp rendering and affordable price. I would personally advice you to buy a used copy to save more and maximize your budget.
03-29-2011, 06:36 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
FA31 if you are feeling rich, FA35 if you want the focal length and affordable price, FA43 if you want the sharp rendering and affordable price. I would personally advice you to buy a used copy to save more and maximize your budget.
Agree about buying used to maximize your budget. Every lens I currently own, with the exception of the 15 (because I was impatient when it first came out) was purchased used and I have zero regrets as I've saved a ton of money doing it that way.
03-29-2011, 06:42 PM   #22
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Get a K-x and then easily afford the FA 31 with room for either the DA 15 or 70.

Bodies come and go, but lenses are your investments in quality.

I would also say that the DA 35 Macro is an exceptional performer. Slower than the 31 but the macro capability, very convenient FL, and its phenomenal resolution give it some unique qualities. It's easily the most versatile prime from Pentax, or for that matter, from any supplier.
03-29-2011, 06:50 PM   #23
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I do understand the argument for buying a lower priced body and a better lens. For me, that has always been tough.

I'm in agreement that a lens is more critical to the end result than the body (though you could argue that the ISO performance can give you flexibility). That being said, I feel like the usability of the body contributes significantly to the experience.

For me, the K5 was the right time to buy into an admittedly expensive body, but one that meets the size, ergonomic, and feature requirements to put the question of body out of the picture.

03-29-2011, 07:04 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by feilb Quote
I do understand the argument for buying a lower priced body and a better lens. For me, that has always been tough.

I'm in agreement that a lens is more critical to the end result than the body (though you could argue that the ISO performance can give you flexibility). That being said, I feel like the usability of the body contributes significantly to the experience.

For me, the K5 was the right time to buy into an admittedly expensive body, but one that meets the size, ergonomic, and feature requirements to put the question of body out of the picture.
I think you're right on here. The K5 is maybe the first Pentax body that can actually make a pretty substantial difference in your photos (and the photo taking experience) than the previous body or a down-market body. It really is quite a leap forward.

Also, while buying used can save you some money, the 31 is a bit of an exception. New ones go for $965 at B&H. A used one (well, I guess sort of new, but second-hand) went for more than that about a week ago and they typically go for about $900. I'd rather buy that lens new (actually, I only buy new, but then I'm anal) and get full exchange ability and a full warranty, not to mention that new lens smell.
03-29-2011, 07:23 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
No, but papersack doesn't believe that the FA Ltds. have any magic.
No lens has magic. Photographers do. It's also BAG, I don't associate with the sacks of society.

The FA 31 is a wonderful lens but no one should deliberately limit themselves to one focal length... the FA limiteds might be 10% better than the DA limiteds, but they are not priced that way (as with all prestige items). The FA 31 has no rival in the lineup, but with an equivalent focal length on digital of approximately 46 mm, it's going to be both a flexible focal length, and a boring one. There's a reason that telephoto and wide angle primes exist.

For example, the FA 77 is a great lens, and it's marginally better than the DA 70. However, I can own a DA 70 and 40 for a tiny bit more... but I have a LOT more flexibility. Hmm.

And that portrait you took wide open is very nice, although I don't think you really realized my point. Why shoot a lens wide open when you can stop it down a little and reap the benefits? There's a reason most studio photography is done at f8...
03-29-2011, 07:33 PM   #26
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It was taken as a studio shot at home with backdrop, flash off camera/umbrella etc...
The way i see it , why stop down when you can shot wide open and reap the benefits
03-29-2011, 08:33 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
And that portrait you took wide open is very nice, although I don't think you really realized my point.
Yep, Simon (TOUGEFC) gets the credit for that wonderful portrait, not me.
03-29-2011, 08:45 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
The FA 31 is a wonderful lens but no one should deliberately limit themselves to one focal length...
One of the best exercises anyone can do to grow as a photographer is to intentionally limit yourself to one focal length for an extended period of time. I suspect that's where the "single in (month)" games came from. I've seen several posts recently from folks talking about how their dads went decades with only one lens. I'm not saying you should do it for that long these days, but you get the point. And if you are going to limit yourself to one, you could hardly get any better than the 31.
03-29-2011, 09:14 PM   #29
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Implying that you couldn't do that with any other lens.

Even if you were to do this exercise, it would be prudent to have ACCESS to another if the need arises.

How awful would it be to be out walking the streets, and see a distant scene to capture, but you are stuck with your expensive normal focal length.

How awful would it be to be indoors / travelling, and see an expansive scene you cannot capture with a normal focal length...

Etc.

DOF control and sharpness / bokeh is well and good but focal length is actually the most important of them all.

Fact: The 31 is too expensive for most people's needs, and it would be wise for the OP to invest in a flexible set up if funds are tight.

I really don't think everyone needs to leap on the FA limiteds just because they have a cult following. Granted, this sort of behavior is normal for a forum (I've seen my fair share of it on things like gear forums for musicians).

Consider the disservice you are doing the OP by insisting that the only proper choice is a very expensive one... not everyone has thousands of dollars laying around for this sort of thing.
03-29-2011, 09:21 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Consider the disservice you are doing the OP by insisting that the only proper choice is a very expensive one... not everyone has thousands of dollars laying around for this sort of thing.
Please point out anywhere in this thread that I have done any such thing.
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