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04-06-2011, 08:28 AM   #1
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Another K-x best prime lens quandry

Ok, first post and I'm guessing variants on this have been asked a thousand times but I would like to know if I'm missing something in the all the info I've read here.

K-x user for over a year and now frustrated by the understandable limitations of the 18-55 kit zoom. Specifically low light performance and IQ. So as many have done before me I pick up an SMC 50mm F1.7 M, oh man I can't get on with that lens ! My photography habbits are quick and spontaneous street stuff, or my young kids then the odd bar/party situation. I simply can't react with enough time and skill to achieve sharp focus and save getting a focus screen I've tried all available advice to overcome this and failed. So I need autofocus.
In addition the focal length created of around 75mm is just too much. My Exif data shows I rarely hit 55mm with the zoom and are most comfortable at 30-45. So I'm thinking I could benefit from investing in a fast prime with a focal length edging toward wide angle.

IQ wise I'm obviously drawn to the Limiteds but the DSLR specific DA range are all long focals, FA limiteds look interesting but the FA43 will give me a 65mm equivalent. Better than the 50 1.7 but still out of my comfort zone. The images I've seen from the FA43 however are fantastic and exactly what I'm after. So naturally the FA31 looks a good bet but it's nearly twice the cost of a 43 and way out of my price range, I can just about run to the FA43 but that's my limit.

So after all this meandering my questions are this:
Am I missing out a lens (Pentax or otherwise) that suits my purpose or is it worth wairting for something new?
Am I concentrating too much on prime or is there a very fast zoom in my budget that meets my needs.(I don't want to lose IQ at the expense of zoom)
Will the FA43 really feel too 'close' or have I just gotten too used to the focal length the kit lens gives me?

I'm back up photographer at an indoor wedding soon and I'm hiring an FA31mm limited which I'm sure will blow me away, and yes I guess I could also rent a 43 and see what gives.
To sum up, I don't like flash so want an f number 2.8 or below for excellent low light, I'm obsessed with IQ and like a nice bokeh (The 50 1.7's is great), around a 35mm focal length (I think) and the big one, a budget of no more than 600.

I intend this lens to be stuck to my camera so intend to make the right choice!
All advice will be warmly received...........

04-06-2011, 09:15 AM   #2
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Have you considered the 35mm DA L F2.4 AL? I can't recommend it because I don't have it and haven't shot with it -- but it's budget friendly and right in your desired focal length.
04-06-2011, 09:18 AM   #3
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It should be quite easy to find used 31Ltd with 600 on ebay. I bought mine for $1000 last summer, it was just about these 600. It's definitely my favourite lens on APS-C. It's the only one that keeps my beloved DA 15Ltd in a bag, this forced me not to bring them together: DA 15 or FA 31 only )
But I can't say it's blowing me away since I've seen how it performed through Pentax LX viewfinder. So, I'm waiting for FF )
04-06-2011, 10:00 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by London Rob Quote
Am I missing out a lens (Pentax or otherwise) that suits my purpose or is it worth waiting for something new?
Two suggestions:
1. Pentax FA35/2. Mainly available used. Fast AF and very compact.
2. Sigma 30/1.4. In production, reasonably priced and not at all compact.

I was in your exact situation and I went with the FA35/2.

Sincerely,
--Anders.

04-06-2011, 12:20 PM   #5
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As a K-x owner myself, I rather pair my body with a DA 40mm. That lens was made for the K-x, it is so compact, just a big point and shoot.
04-06-2011, 01:45 PM   #6
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Concealed carry?

QuoteOriginally posted by Eagle_Friends Quote
As a K-x owner myself, I rather pair my body with a DA 40mm. That lens was made for the K-x, it is so compact, just a big point and shoot.
You can fit that kind of combo in a coat pocket. I've taken the K-x + FA35 out on pub crawls with friends that way.

Sincerely,
--Anders.
04-06-2011, 04:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbryant Quote
Have you considered the 35mm DA L F2.4 AL? I can't recommend it because I don't have it and haven't shot with it -- but it's budget friendly and right in your desired focal length.
Agreed. Very good performance (including nice blurry bits) at a very good price. For me a more comfortable length than the DA40 which is as good, or better, in some ways.

The obvious answer for the OP, I would have thought.
04-06-2011, 09:28 PM   #8
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What about one of the 16-50/17-50/18-50 2.8s from Pentax, Tamron or Sigma? You can get reasonably sharp copies, although perhaps not as sharp as some of the better primes. It could be a compromise to consider.

04-07-2011, 12:09 AM   #9
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Many thanks for the above replies and advice, I hadn't considered the 35 as the price point suggested it was way off limited quality. But seeing as the 31 ltd is twice the 43 ltd for not a huge difference in IQ maybe the cost is a bit of a red herring. After all I have been 'pleased' with the kit so the 35 should impress me further. I've seen image samples from the 35 on a k-f and they are amazing, probably down to the k-5, but if I can get within a whisker of that I'd be very happy.
We''ll see what happns when I trial the 31, then I may hire the 43 then the 35 and Da 40. If I can't make a decision that way I may as well give up! One thing I've learnt in all of this though is don't rely on camera body/kit reviews but pay as much attention to the lens line up as well. I guess this is automatic for your second dslr, not so obvious for your first. I love the K-x, just not in love woth Pentax's current lens family. Thanks again all.
04-07-2011, 04:20 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by London Rob Quote
We''ll see what happns when I trial the 31, then I may hire the 43 then the 35 and Da 40. If I can't make a decision that way I may as well give up! One thing I've learnt in all of this though is don't rely on camera body/kit reviews but pay as much attention to the lens line up as well. I guess this is automatic for your second dslr, not so obvious for your first. I love the K-x, just not in love woth Pentax's current lens family. Thanks again all.
You may change you mind about not liking the Pentax lens line up after trying out those lenses you've listed. If you still don't like Pentax lenses after that I'd change brands, seriously.
04-08-2011, 12:09 AM   #11
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Oh no, I'm sure the lenses pound for pound have the edge over Sony, Nikon etc and one of the reasons why I chose Pentax. My point was that after having 15 years of point and shoot it takes a while of dslr ownership to understand your photography habbits, for example your prefered focal length range. The current lens line up just falls short of MY particular desires. Having said that after processing all the above advice and much more research I'll be purchasing the da 40mm limited and I'm pretty sure I'll reap the rewards and become a better photographer. Will get it for my birthday in time for the wedding (where I'm also the groom) So, a da 40 for when I turn 40. What are the chances ?
04-25-2011, 03:20 AM   #12
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Ok, so couldn't resist the temptation and plumped for what funds would allow and I'm now the proud owner of a new 35mm 2.4 AL. And a cracking little lens it is too. Way sharper than the kit and reminds me a lot of the 50 1.7 but with AF benefits. Now, this seems to rule out the 40 ltd focal length wise so my eyes now turn to the fa43 or fa77. And just look at the prices! Don't know if costs are going to rise due to the earthquake or other factors but I picked the 35 up for 119 from Microglobe in central London and 3 hours later they jumped it up to 159.
Looks like I made the right decision, just.
04-25-2011, 06:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by London Rob Quote
Ok, so couldn't resist the temptation and plumped for what funds would allow and I'm now the proud owner of a new 35mm 2.4 AL. And a cracking little lens it is too. Way sharper than the kit and reminds me a lot of the 50 1.7 but with AF benefits. Now, this seems to rule out the 40 ltd focal length wise so my eyes now turn to the fa43 or fa77. And just look at the prices! Don't know if costs are going to rise due to the earthquake or other factors but I picked the 35 up for 119 from Microglobe in central London and 3 hours later they jumped it up to 159.
Looks like I made the right decision, just.
Good choice. Congrats.
04-25-2011, 08:43 AM   #14
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I think you made the right choice. I used the DA 35 2.4 in conjunction with the 360fgz flash yesterday for indoor Easter festivities. I took around 200 photos and there isn't a single blurry shot. Never once did I wish for a wider angle. Compare that with a year ago, I had just bought a K-x and used the kit lens without flash. There were perhaps 20% usable photos.

I think the DA-35 2.4 was the "missing lens" in the Pentax portfolio, aimed at new photographers who bought a K-x or K-r and are looking for their first fast prime lens. It's inexpensive and performs great, the focal length is perfect for indoors.

I also have a FA 50 1.4 which I find too close for indoor shots. After a while I could see selling them both for the FA 43mm limited but we'll see. For now the DA 35 is the lens that says on the camera, because when I go to grab it spontaneously it's usually the one I want.
04-25-2011, 08:47 AM   #15
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Although I'm a happy DA40 owner, I have to say that for most people, the DA35/2.4 looks like the perfect first prime.
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