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04-08-2011, 12:28 AM   #1
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A lightweight prime kit, by Pentax.

I love primes, and I plan to build a kit out of Pentax Limiteds (although some other primes could be worth thinking about).
I have the idea of a travel kit with little weight and excellent IQ (but who doesn't?). Sounds a bit like a pipe dream, but the Pentax Limiteds seem to make this possible.
My current idea is 15/43/(70 or 77).

My point (more, rather, my question) is this:

1) I like macro alot, and the ability of an easily accessable macro range in an otherwise also useful and quality lens would be very good. But where does this fit in? I'm not sure if the 35/2.8 beats the 43 in anything outside of macro, so I hesitate in making the 35 a real option. Any comments? If not, would a 70-105 range macro be more useful than a 70/2.4 or 77/1.8?
Because, quite frankly, I'm sick of reversing a Sigma 100-300 4.5-6.7 zoom on top of a Sigma 18-200 3.5-6.3 zoom.

2) There seems to be a crucial change in Pentax primes between medium tele and long tele. The F135/2.8 is the longest prime with the IQ that I'd like to use and is relatively light weight. After this (like with a 200/2.8), weight and size steps up beyond that of a lightweight travel kit. I absolutely love the idea of an F*300/4.5 in my group I plan to build, but it just seems to be too big for the job (despite being small for its features).
I know that to be this fast, this long, and have this IQ optically requires a certain amount of glass, but I just wonder if a long telephoto prime fits into my travel/lightweight kit at all.
The 55-300 seems to be the only other option, but I don't know if it's IQ matches that of the rest of my prospective group.

So I suppose I must ask: am I getting trapped in the impossible belief that Pentax can provide us with more useful quality for a certain amount of glass, metal and plastic than it has already highly optimised, or are there real options that could make this so often called "dream kit" actually possible.

In any event, I am thouroughly pleased with Pentax glass and am very happy that I chose a K20D for my 15th birthday present (and Christmas present from the whole family) last December over a Nikon D5000, simply because we of the K-mount have the possibility of undertaking this very discussion.

I have spent a lot of time with my 18-200 zoom, and have seen in the field what FL's I really like, and have also felt and tested what certain Pentax lenses can do. I crave photography, I need photography, it is such an amazing thing. I haven't yet fallen sick with LBA, but I have decided certain lenses do certain things that my zoom simply can't, and that certain lenses have the kind of character that I would enjoy in a kit of mine. Just to clarify, as I see this asked of OP's in many threads in which they don't explain, I like the following fields (please excuse me if this is just a list of all fields of photography!)

1. Portraiture and photojournalism (yes, I know, anyone can claim without much experience that they want to be a 'photojournalist', this is why I tie it in with portraiture, as I currently see these two areas as similar things in different situations).

2. Landscape- What can I say, I am heavily attracted towards travel and landscape photography, and I enjoy doing landscape here at home.

3.Nature: animals and plants, which seem to require a range from wide to tele to macro. Specifically, I can divide this up into plants in lanscape, animals in habitat and macro of both.

Well, I think that's enough from me. I would like to now see what the vast reserves of photographers at PF that are more experienced than me can throw back at me. (That's PentaxForums, not purple fringing!).

04-08-2011, 12:48 AM   #2
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The pentax DFA 100 f/2.8 WR macro is pretty small, especially without the hood.

I'm currently working on my mostly prime kits and I want to end up with both a portable (read hiking/rafting) kit and a single lens take out and use (mostly in the city) kit.

Portable: at the moment I have:
DA21 and DA40.
I want to finish it off with the DA15 and DA70. Hiking kit would ulitmately be lightweight gitzo tripod + DA15, DA21, DA*50-135 or DA15, DA21, DA40, DA70, DA*200.

DA*50-135 or DA*200 for rafting. Ideally an internal focus DA*26/27/28 f/2ish would come out.

Special: at the moment I have
A50 f/1.2
This kit needs FA31, DFA100 macro and DA*200

It's a work in progress but I hope to get there in the next 5 years or so.
04-08-2011, 01:16 AM   #3
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A DA15/FA43/DFA 100 WR would suit you i think, and its pretty small setup.
It will give you wide, mid-range and tele.
The 100 will do your macro/portraits and short tele shots and the fa43 will be your general shooter plus low-light ability and can be used for landscape.
04-08-2011, 01:28 AM   #4
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I picked up my 43mm used for a good price when I got my K-5, if I had not stumbled upon it I would have been looking at the FA 31 Ltd as my first lens and I would be looking to build a kit that looks more like this
DA 15 Ltd, FA 31 Ltd, FA 50 1.4 FA 77 Ltd, DFA 100 Macro, Tamrom 70-200mm f2.8 Macro and a 2X Teleconverter for the Tamron.

04-08-2011, 02:20 AM   #5
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FA43Ltd might be a bit long as a general purpose lens; I personally prefer them wider (28-35mm). But if 43mm is your focal length, go for it and I'll fully second TOUGEFC's suggestion.

My main setup is FA31Ltd and DFA100WR. I just mention this in case you wonder if the gap between 28-35 and 100 ain't too big. And the answer is : for me it isn't. And I don't think it will be for you as you (seem to) have defined uses for each of your lenses.
04-08-2011, 02:34 AM   #6
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Yeah i was going to say the 31LTD but it may add too much bulk for his aim to be a lightweight kit.
Some other good alternative combos-
04-08-2011, 03:37 AM   #7
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I use the 15,21,35, A 50mm f1.7 and 70. The K5 reduces the need for speed in lenses.
04-08-2011, 05:00 AM   #8
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My three-lens kit is DA 15mm, normal, D FA 100 macro. For the normal I carry either the FA 35 for its wide aperture or DA 40 for its small size. I carry a standard collapsible rubber hood that works on the FA 35 and 100mm.

04-08-2011, 05:20 AM   #9
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My most used travel kit in Pentax mount comprises the Pentax DA 15/4, Pentax DA 35/2.8 Ltd, Voigtländer 58/1.4 and Voigtländer 90/3.5.

Lightweitht (about 1kg for all four lenses) and versatile (the 15mm is wide + delivers superb colors, the 35mm is fine as a walk about lens + does macro, the 58mm is fast + ideal for portrait and the 90mm is a high quality telephoto + offers close focus), it's my ideal kit. Throw in the 1.7x Auto Focus Adapter, and you get an autofocus 153mm telephoto as well.

When I want to skim on weight, I go with the DA 15 + DA 35 + FA 77, but the kit loses a lot of its versatility IMHO.


04-08-2011, 05:34 AM   #10
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About to take a trip, where day hikes and landscape photography will be the norm.

Here's what I'm taking:

Rokinon 8/3.5 FE (A bit on the heavy side, but I think it will be useful for where I'm going)
DA 15 Limited
FA 31 Limited
FA 77 Limited
M 135/3.5

Two bodies - K5 and K7, and a mid-weight tripod.

This kit does lack macro capability. Might throw in a set of extension tubes to use on the 77 and 135.
04-08-2011, 07:46 AM - 1 Like   #11
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My basic kit is 15, 40, & 70 Limiteds, plus one longer telephoto that varies according to situation, but is currently most often M120/2.8. I'm not that into macro, but a Raynxo 150 adds virtually no size or weight to my kit and is much easier to deal with than your reversing setup. Combined with the DA70 it yields 1:2; combined with a 135 it yields 1:1. I use it with a stepping ring rather than provided clip on adapter because that makes it even smaller and easier to deal with for me.

All lenses in my kit have the same 49mm filter size, which really simplifies a prime kit more than one might think. The longest lens you can get in that filter size is probably the DA50-200WR, and it's worth considering as smallest/lightest telephoto you can get, but if you're so concerned about IQ that you're iffy about the 55-300, you'll probably be reluctant to consider the 50-200. You'll just have to consider how much you'll be using that focal length range and whether the difference in IQ in those situations justifies the difference in size/weight/cost required to step up in quality. I find the DA50-200 surprisingly good, personally, and may someday get the WR version - as much for its 49mm filter size as its WR, petty as that sounds.
04-08-2011, 09:36 AM   #12
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Another possibility

DA 15mm
FA 43mm
FA 77mm
Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro (spoda be out by the end of march)

NaCl(depends on when the Sigma will be available)H2O
04-08-2011, 10:06 AM   #13
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I'd go 15/normal/100mm WR macro as well. The 43mm is great and fits very well between the two, you could also add to that with the 35mm DAL which doesn't add much in terms of weight or space and gives a slightly more normal view than the 43mm. The 77mm would certainly be a nice option, but I would go for the 100mm macro over the 70mm any day. Just a personal preference, but if you're getting it primarily for portraiture, I figure if you're in a space where you can stand 10-15 feet from your subject, you're probably also in a place where you can stand 15-20 feet from them!

The 100mm macro is surprisingly small (width of the lens mount and less than 4 inches long before the hood) and with a limited style build it fits right in with the 15mm and 43mm.
04-08-2011, 10:09 AM   #14
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does anyone use the FA77 with extension tubes for macro? I opted for the DA70 for my kit, but if i did more macros, i'd want to trade up to the 77 because it has an aperture ring for use with ext tubes. It probably takes some great pics.

I do snap my Raynox 150 on my 70mm for good (not super close) macros:

DA70 + raynox 150
04-09-2011, 06:35 PM   #15
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Original Poster

Note: My 100th post! I love this forum, and I love Pentax, its lenses and photography itsely (well, that part is implied!).

Thanks for the suggestions. With a more general approach to lightweight prime kits, I think more people could apply to this discussion. I know it's been gone over a thousand times, but I love thinking about high quality, lightweight Pentax primes.

The following lenses I think could all be excellent components of a lightweight prime kit (trying not to make this just a list of all Pentax lenses!), depending of course on the photography of the owner:

- DA 15/4 Limited
- DA 21/3.2 Limited
- K 30/2.8
- FA 35/2
- DA 35/2.8 Limited
- Voigtlander 40/2
- DA 40/2.8 Limited
- FA 43/1.9 Limited
- F 50/1.4 (Or other small fast 50/58 of choice)
- DA 70/2.4 Limited OR FA 77/1.8 Limited
- 90-105 range macro (Lightweight)
- F 135/2.8
- Voigtlander 180/4
- F*300/4.5

(I know this is meant to be only Pentaxes, I put in the V's because they are so popular, and good quality).

Does anyone have any comments or further suggestions? I know this sounds awfully like an LBA session, but I really am trying to think about lightweight primes here.
Although I admit it does give me a tingle to think about all of these.

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