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05-18-2011, 05:31 PM   #1
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Best all around lense with low Fstop

Ok, well I got a little bit of extra money from work for some reason...not gonna ask. I really want to get a lense with at least an f/2.8 or lower. I am still unclear how the mm numbers relate to the lenses. Like an 85mm lense, does that mean it is a fixed 85mm?

Here are the lenses I currently have:

1) SMC Pentax 1:4 70-210mm lense (it was my dad's)
2) Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 WR lense that I bought with my K-5
3) SMC Pentzx-FA 1:3.5 1:3.5 100mm macro that I had with my slr Pentax
4) SMC Penax-FA 1:3.5-5.6 28-80mm that came with my slr Pentax

I take a LOT of pictures of my kids and want to get the most bang for my buck.

Can somebody please tell me what type of lense would be best, taking in to consideration all the other lenses I have?

I thought I wanted a telephoto so I ordered a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8, but I decided my old 70-210mm works just fine for all my telephoto needs. I just want something with a lower Fstop and that is a good all around lense, especially for those candid portraits of my kids. I do, however, do a lot of outdoors shooting. We live in the country and most of the time when I go outside, I grab my camera, with the lense attached and go. I don't usually take my whole bag. I could probably manage to bring an additional lense, but ideally as few as possible would be ideal.

Thanks for any input you can give me! :-)

05-18-2011, 05:53 PM   #2
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tamron 28-75 f2.8?
can be use both indoor and outdoor portrait.
05-18-2011, 06:38 PM   #3
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It might be a good thing to look at the EXIF's on the photos you have to get an idea of what length range you like.

The lens speed you need depends on the camera you have and what the dimmest venue you expect will be.

F:1.7 or f:2 is probably fast enough for me; with faster lenses the dof is so small it is hard to get enough in focus. For interior social shots 85mm is not bad

the bottom is a 100% crop of a photo taken at a dining room table in dim lighting. Rokinon 85:1.4 manual focus.

The Tamron 28-75 is a good lens.

But these lenses may be too short if you will be taking photos of sports activities.
05-18-2011, 06:56 PM   #4
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DA* 50-135mm f2.8 =]

05-18-2011, 07:20 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eagle_Friends Quote
DA* 50-135mm f2.8 =]
It seems to me that's a great range except for field sports...
05-18-2011, 08:47 PM   #6
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Best lenses I have used for taking pictures of my kids:
FA 43mm f/1.9
DA 40mm f/2.8
FA 31mm f/1.8
F 50mm f/1.4
M 50mm f/1.4
M 50 f/1.7

The last two are manual only lenses. The Limited lenses are not cheap, but oustanding; the FA 50/1.4 would be another good "bang for buck" choice. It will only be 50mm, but much smaller, easier to carry around and less obtrusive than your other lenses.
05-18-2011, 09:43 PM   #7
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I absolutely adore my FA 50mm f1.4, and highly recommend it for a lens that's both fast and versatile.
05-18-2011, 09:57 PM   #8
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The fastest auto-focus lens I have is my F 28mm 2.8 and it produces some of the sharest IQ I have seen.

05-19-2011, 06:21 AM   #9
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Good advice to go look at previously taken pictures! Thanks for the example photos too!
05-19-2011, 06:26 AM   #10
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ok, thanks for the feedback. I have the lenses mentioned on my list. Now, the question I have is about difference in focal lengths of lenses. Ex: 50mm vx. 50-135mm. Wouldn't it be better to get the one with the range vs. just the 50mm? I am still totally learning about photography so I apologize if I seem a little slow. :-)

Gonna check out my previous pictures taken in LR later today to see at what length I shoot a lot at.
05-19-2011, 06:44 AM   #11
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the advantage to the fa 50 is it is 2 stops faster allowing you to shoot in lower light without flash at a reasonable shutter speed. Second advantage is wide open you will get much nicer Bokeh (out of focus area). 50 mm is pretty close to an ideal portrait length.Primes Typically have better IQ (sharpness,contrast colour rendering) than Zooms. Drawback is at f1.4 it will be hard to nail the right focus with a moving subject like your kids so you are much more likely to shoot f2.8-f4.0 to capture focal zone.. second drawback is of course it is one foacla length (albeit a very useful one). PRice wise it is good value
The 50-135 is a great telephoto zoom. in the old days it would equate to a 75-200 on a 35mm Camera. a very popular and useful length (witness all the 70-200 that are still on the market, they are almost all holdovers from film days though usually with updates in design)
2.8 is fast enough to give good bokeh, and has enough DOF to capture subjects in focus pretty consistently. IT is a WR lens, you don't mention which camera you have but Weather sealing can be very nice to have. Focus is fast and quiet being SDM. build quality is as good as it comes. IQ wise it really doesn't get any better in a zoom. Drawback is price of course. for what a 50-135 is worth you could get a couple of faster lenses for your arsenal (ie the FA 501.4, the DA35f2.4 together are about half the price of the 50-135)
05-19-2011, 07:52 AM   #12
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FWIW, I had an FA50/1.4 and I found to be way too soft at 1.4 – it doesn't really begin to shine until 2.8. If you want decent performance with a big aperture that doesn't break the bank (relatively speaking) consider the Sigma 30/1.4. I just sold that one also but unlike the FA50, the Sigma 30 is pretty decent at 1.4 on only gets better from there.
05-19-2011, 10:04 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hurleygirlie05 Quote
....

1) SMC Pentax 1:4 70-210mm lense (it was my dad's)
2) Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 WR lense that I bought with my K-5
3) SMC Pentzx-FA 1:3.5 1:3.5 100mm macro that I had with my slr Pentax
4) SMC Penax-FA 1:3.5-5.6 28-80mm that came with my slr Pentax

I take a LOT of pictures of my kids and want to get the most bang for my buck.

Can somebody please tell me what type of lense would be best, taking in to consideration all the other lenses I have? ...
We can't know what pictures you envision taking of your kids.... you must do that!

The lenses you have cover the focal length range well, but none are suitable for low light. In my life I've been more frustrated by low light than by focal length and this is from a guy who cannot zoom with his feet.

I'll bet you'll have many many low light situations in gyms, in the house, in the evenings, at dance recitals, backstage at theater, at graduation, and even in the daytime when you need fast exposures to use a long lens without motion smear..

One solution is to buy a fast camera like a K-x; I have a K-x and a K-100D; the K-x's high ISO capability is equivalent to adding two or three f-stops to all my lenses.... with the K-x I need only about 1/4-1/8 the light needed for the K-100D to get the same quality photo.

I can use the K-x and the kit 55-300mm zoom at gymnastic events where the K-100D would fail.

The other solution is to buy faster lenses in the focal length range you'll need. In general as children get older they will be further from you for the photos you want to take.

But it is for you to decide what photos you really don't want to miss and get a lens to fit that need.

A fast 50mm lens probably should be in your kit; probably f:1.8 is fast enough.

Last edited by newarts; 05-19-2011 at 10:26 AM.
05-19-2011, 10:14 AM   #14
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Sharpness is not everything in a lens. You aren't blowing it up to poster size or selling a %100 crop to a national glossy magazine or something. The FA wide open is plenty sharp for most people's needs.


Now, hurleygirlie it seems you are rather new so please forgive me if you already know what I'm about to tell you. And I'll also recommend going to Pentax Beginner's Corner Q&A - PentaxForums.com as it's a great place to learn. All of this is my summation, which is roughly accurate but I make no claims at expertise.

Now, think of each picture (exposure) you take as having a triangle of factors: aperture (f-stop number), iso, and shutter speed. Aperture is the size of the hole that lets light onto the sensor (smaller the number, the bigger the openning), iso is how sensitive the sensor is to light (higher the number, the less light is needed to make a proper exposure), and shutter speed is obviously how long light is allowed to hit the shutter. Each of these also affects something else in the exposure, and that's what you want to concentrate on.

Aperture controls depth of field (DoF), which is what range of distance things are in focus. The larger the aperture, the shallower the DoF. So for example, let's say you're taking a picture of a dog with a long snout, facing you head on. A very small aperture (higher f stop number) might have everything from the tip of it's nose to the end of it's tail in focus. A very large aperture (lower f stop number) might only have the tip of it's nose in focus.

With iso the main concern is "noise" the little specks of random colors or grains that appear at the higher iso numbers. This greatly varies between bodies, with the K5 having the least noise at the highest iso numbers.

With shutter speed, it depends on subject matter. If the subject is not moving and the camera is on a tripod, very slow speeds can work well. But for hand held shots of moving subjects (such as candids of children) you probably want a higher shutter speed to "freeze" the action, so to speak. Of course if you use a slower shutter speed the subject will be motion blurred which can be a very artistic effect, but generally you'll want a higher speed.

So, a lot depends on the body you are using, and the lighting conditions etc. I find that indoors the advantage of a zoom (not having to move to have a closer shot) are far less than the advantages of better image quality and larger aperture afforded by the primes such as the FA 50 or DA 35 f2.4AL. Especially with the K5, I tend to use TAv (I set the aperture for the DoF I want and the shutter speed to something I can shoot by hand without blurring, then the camera sets iso so the exposure is correct) and the results have been excellent. Also remember that, especially with the higher resolution of modeern bodies and the excellent sharpness of a good prime, severely cropping a picture to correct the framing etc is a great option.
05-19-2011, 10:21 AM   #15
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I went on a hunt for fast lenses to capture my kids and bought both the FA 50mm f/1.4 and the new DA 35mm f/2.4. I also have an f/2.8 zoom lens.

Just reading the forums I could not gain an appreciation for how much faster f/1.4 is than 2.8. It's a lot faster. Is it a bit soft wide open and hard to catch action in focus? Yes I suppose so. Usually I stop it down to 2.0. But personally I really like the FA50. It's tiny (compared to a zoom) and very fast.

I use the FA50 for indoor action - my kids martial arts, indoor auditoriums. I hesitate to bring the 50mm to house parties, birthdays etc because it's somewhat close.

For everything else I use the DA 35mm 2.4. It's not as fast so I often will use the AF-360 flash with it and bounce it off the ceiling. Neither one is very expensive which is why I got them.

If I could get ahold of a 35mm f/1.4 lens it would probably never leave my camera. I think the only thing that fits that description is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, or shell out the money for one of the fast Limited FA's.
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