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03-29-2011, 01:29 PM   #1
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To 31 or not to 31, that is my question.

Let me start hey saying that I've just purchased a k5 and whatever is chosen will be my first pentax lens.

Fundamentally, the conundrum I am working out is whether I should go for the gusto and buy the 31mm straight away, or pick up something like a 15/4 and a 40/2.8 or 35/2.8 to start.

A while back I owned canon gear (5D, 35L, 85/1.8, 135L), and while the IQ whas awesome, it was HUGE and bulky and intimidating to potential subjects. Something about a massive lens makes people feel violated I think. For the past three years I have been out of the game entirely having sold my setup for lack of use. While I miss photography, I don't miss the heft.

So along comes the nikon d7000, with it's awesome low light performance and more reasonable size. In reading dpreviews review, I notice the svelt k5. Remembering back to the days when I oggled the k20d, it's weather sealing and the interesting lineup of high quality and tiny pentax primes (I love primes), now I start having second thoughts. The k5 is so compact and well designed, the least vulgar of any camera in the prosumer class. Oh, and with equal or better performance than the d7000.

So, with amazon's latest deal ($1299) I finally made the jump. I'm excited. The only problem is: I have no lenses .

I've long desired the 31/1.8. It's fast aperture, sharpness, it's mythical status as being one of the most beautiful rendering AF lenses ever created. I want one, at least eventually. But it is expensive. Let's say if I buy the 31, I'm done for a while.

That being said, the 15mm definitely has my eye. And the 40mm. Their diminutive size and excellent performance are attractive. Very attractive.

So. What would you do?

03-29-2011, 01:34 PM   #2
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Congrats on your purchase, if you love primes you are in good hands with Pentax with so many primes too lust for.
All of the limited primes are fantastic you really cant go wrong with any of them Just get what focal lenght you think you would use the most first and dont forgot about the crop factor considering your coming from a full frame 5d.
03-29-2011, 01:50 PM - 1 Like   #3
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For the price of the 31ltd, you can almost get the 15, 40 and 70 ltd. I'd rather have the extra flexibility. You can then always save up for the 31.
03-29-2011, 02:13 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by charleychen Quote
For the price of the 31ltd, you can almost get the 15, 40 and 70 ltd. I'd rather have the extra flexibility. You can then always save up for the 31.
What he said.

If you are feeling particularly wealthy, substitute the FA 43 for the DA 40.

03-29-2011, 02:27 PM   #5
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- To 31! this is my answer
the others will come and go
03-29-2011, 02:28 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by charleychen Quote
For the price of the 31ltd, you can almost get the 15, 40 and 70 ltd. I'd rather have the extra flexibility. You can then always save up for the 31.
Excellent advice. Gives you some flexibility while your piggy bank recovers, and you have something to look forward to.
03-29-2011, 02:46 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by charleychen Quote
For the price of the 31ltd, you can almost get the 15, 40 and 70 ltd. I'd rather have the extra flexibility. You can then always save up for the 31.
+1

Great as the 31 is reputed to be, it's still just one lens, and you may feel somewhat restricted by a single focal length. Also, though it may be dwarfed by similar(ish) lenses from Canon, it's the ONLY Pentax Limited lens to exceed Pentax's iconic 49mm filter thread size -- it is substantially larger than the other Limiteds. I think since small primes are part of what's drawing you to Pentax, you might feel more delivery on this front from a 15/40/70 trio.
03-29-2011, 02:48 PM   #8
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Speaking from my experience, no matter how many other lenses that you buy, you will still wonder/dream about the 31 Ltd. So you should just buy the 31 Ltd. since it will save you money at the end. It is the cure of LBA ... well, for that range anyway

03-29-2011, 02:51 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaniRo Quote
- To 31! this is my answer
the others will come and go
+1
To the FA31mm.

While it may appear expensive, remember that lenses do not loose value. A good lens is an investment that does not depreciate. (In fact the Pentax prime lens prices have doubled in recent years.)
03-29-2011, 02:57 PM   #10
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I own the lenses you are considering. If all I had was $1,000 for primes for the whole year, I think I'd still just buy the FA31. Then as soon as I could afford it I'd buy the DA15. Then buy the FA77 or DA70. The FA31 is my most recent limited purchase, maybe I'm a bit love struck but IMHO it is easily superior to all the other DA limiteds I own.

I don't like buying 2nd hand or selling lenses, but if you don't mind perhaps you could get the DA15 & DA40, then sell the DA40 for a FA31 when you have the difference. That would be what my "head" might tell me, but my heart sure does love the gorgeous images a FA31 produces.
03-29-2011, 03:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by charleychen Quote
For the price of the 31ltd, you can almost get the 15, 40 and 70 ltd. I'd rather have the extra flexibility. You can then always save up for the 31.
People always say this kind of thing, but it's really not true. These 3 lenses would, in reality, cost $425 more than the 31 at B&H's current prices. To me, that's not close enough to say "almost." The 15 and 70 alone would be $85 more. You could, however get the DA15 and the FA43, a combo that I would personally prefer for "only" $105 more than the 31. These are two nearly universally loved Pentax primes and are truly "forever lenses", meaning you're unlikely to ever want to get rid of them. That combo may make you decide that you don't even need the 31......... it has happened! All that being said, however, I still want a 31 myself. So take that FWIW. The good news is, it's really hard to make a bad decision here.
03-29-2011, 04:07 PM   #12
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Depends on Your Style

I think it really depends on how and what you shoot. My LBA path went:

FA50 (Cheap, f1.4 but a bit long on APS-C)
DA21L (Too wide for my style, didn't use much and sold it)
FA31L (Have never regretted buying. On the camera 90% of the time)
DA70L (Great for portraits, second most used lens)

I shoot mainly my kids, in portrait or environmental portrait style and the FA31L works great for this. It is also very good for video! Now, if doing it again, I would probably have considered either the DA35L or the DA35 but I am not selling the FA31L to try them!
I don't lust after the DA15L because I found the DA21L too wide. No point in considering something wider!
03-29-2011, 04:21 PM   #13
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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.
03-29-2011, 04:35 PM   #14
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There is nothing wrong with using the FA limiteds wide open for portraits

03-29-2011, 04:39 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
There is nothing wrong with using the FA limiteds wide open for portraits
No, but papersack doesn't believe that the FA Ltds. have any magic.
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