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11-05-2007, 11:46 PM   #1
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Prime lens setup

Hey folks,

After getting the DA 40mm Limited, and having an M 50mmm F1.8 on the way, I'm thinking that prime lenses is the way for me to go. I'm wondering what lenses I should get next to complete my range.
I'm hoping to be able to cover most of the 28 - 200mm range. Here's what I have so far:

Pentax DA 18-55mm kit lens (zoom) F3.5-5.6
Pentax DA 50-200mm lens (zoom) F4-5.6
Pentax DA 40mm Limited lens (prime) F2.8
Pentax M 50mm lens (prime) F1.7

(side note, my current setup is):

Overall use - DA 40mm Limited
Low light (non flash) - M 50MM prime lens
Wide angle - 18mm-20mm using the 18-55mm kit lens
Zoom - 50-200mm using the 50-200mm zoom lens.
And I use my Pentax flash unit for some shots.

Looking to go all prime and keep the zoom lenses as backup for those other times when I will need it. Hoping not to have to spend TOO much money cuz otherwise I'm thinking the Pentax DA* zoom lenses would be a better investment.

Opinions and suggestions welcome!


Last edited by dugrant153; 11-05-2007 at 11:53 PM.
11-06-2007, 12:48 AM   #2
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Get new stuff that works as a matched set

QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
After getting the DA 40mm Limited, and having an M 50mmm F1.8 on the way, I'm thinking that prime lenses is the way for me to go. I'm wondering what lenses I should get next to complete my range.
I bought the DA21 and DA70 to complement my DA40. If you look at the angle of view, in both portrait and landscape on the complete set, they complement each other perfectly. I recall, the difference in angle of view in landscape differs by 57%. The aperture is also perfect as different lens sizes bring in different amounts of light so a 'constant' speed is unnecessary. Buy the latest stuff which gives you the latest features too.
The longer range then jumps to 125 and I think it was 200. Since I am lazy and don't want to carry big lenses, I bought the Voigtlander 180. One day, I'll probably get the Pentax macro 100 to fill in the gap.Then I'll have a complete set, all with 49mm threads for reversing rings and filters. Other will say get old-style FA lenses, but their only advantage is speed, which is now somewhat unnecessary because of stabilization (ducks), they're too big and aren't optimized for digital sensors. They also don't have QSF, which I use all the time.
Before getting any set of primes, see how the angle of views among them work together in a set. For example, if you turn your DA40 in portrait mode - you have the landscape angle of view of the DA70. Perfect. The engineers at Pentax know more than everyone on this board combined. With your M 50, you might want to spend $20 and get a set of extension tubes, without electrical contacts.
Another option after completing your pancake set, instead of the Voigtlander 180, might be the Voigtlander 125 and a teleconverter.Welcome to the prime side...
11-06-2007, 01:00 AM   #3
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To cover the range you mention I use

20 - 28 - 50 - 105 - 135 - 200

Anything missing, I do with my feet. And I wouldn't have any of them if I had to buy the latest stuff. One needn't spend a fortune to enjoy our hobby....it just feels that way sometimes.
11-06-2007, 03:48 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
Hey folks,


Looking to go all prime and keep the zoom lenses as backup for those other times when I will need it. Hoping not to have to spend TOO much money cuz otherwise I'm thinking the Pentax DA* zoom lenses would be a better investment.

Opinions and suggestions welcome!
The reasons I've gone my direction is threefold, cost, size, and flexibility. The M and A series lenses are still a good buy. They are small in size and have excellent optics. Regardless of what sensor Pentax may come out with in the future, even FF, they will work. The only lens I've spent big bucks on is my 43mm f1.9. I could easily live without it and use a 50mm f1.7 instead. You can save even more money by going screwmount lenses. Here's my list of "must have" primes.

M28mm f3.5
M or A 50mm f1.7 If you have extra money consider the f1.4
M100mm f2.8
M or A 200mm f4

If you want to fill that range in a M135 or M150 would be nice. The 70 to 85mm range gets expensive. The low end answer is a Jupitar 9 M42 85mm screwmount. My choice was the M42 85mm f1.9.

By choosing the M135. 50mm f1.7, and Jupitar you should be able to get all 6 lenses for a total of about $400 if you shopped diligently. If you figure out what TC to add to this kit let me know because I'd like to get one.

Regards,

Ken


Last edited by regken; 11-06-2007 at 03:54 AM.
11-06-2007, 09:52 AM   #5
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I love my primes, and do not even own a zoom anymore. The best suggestion I can give, is that if you prefer shooting with primes, look through your library and see what focal lengths you shoot at most often and try to match those with primes first. Then you can decide what you need to finish filling your range.

Currently I have the DA 21mm, K 30mm f/2.8, DA 40mm, SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4, DA 70mm, SMC Takumar 85mm f/1.8, and the K 200mm f/2.5. This gives me a very high quality set, including three modern lenses that work well with p-ttl flash metering, and several, older, cheaper, faster lenses for natural/low light shooting.

One good thing is, there are very few, if any, bad lenses in the Pentax prime lineup. Most, even the old screw mounts, are on par or better than that from any other manufacturer.
11-06-2007, 06:22 PM   #6
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wow, thanks for the replies! Didn't think there were THAT many options.

I've considered getting all the DA lenses, as kbrabble pointed out that they work well with pttl flash metering, but the cost of the DA 21mm Limited and the DA 70mm Limited combined is equivalent to the Pentax DA 16-50mm ED F2.8 zoom lens (the really nice and expensive one). Unless I can somehow find it cheaper?

The M lenses and older lenses seem like the most economic way to go right now. Just have to pick out which ones will fill my range best. For wideangle, I find the 18mm just right, but perhaps 21mm might not be wide enough for me?
11-07-2007, 01:56 AM   #7
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I use all older (read: "cheap") lenses and ancient flash units (read: "cheap") and get along just fine and dandy.

It's nice to have the modern stuff and P-TTL, but it isn't strictly necessary. Your K100D will happily motor along and provide you joy and very good images even with old stuff. All my lenses and flash gear put together cost less than the price of one high-quality modern lens.

If I ever hit the lottery, I'll go on a spree and replace all my gear. But until then I'm very happy with making use of the older and cheaper stuff. Remember, just because the technology has been superceded and the old stuff has gone down in price doesn't mean that the gear itself has suffered one iota in its quality. They worked beautifully "back in the day" and they still work beautifully today. The ability to go backwards in time and take advantage of all that great cheap stuff is the primary reason I chose Pentax to begin with.
11-07-2007, 11:42 PM   #8
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I'm thinking of going that route. I'll see how I like the M 50mm F1.7 and see if I don't mind using older lenses.

One benefit of the DA 40 Limited, and hopefully of the other DA Limited primes, is the brightness of the picture. This has me considering just spending the money on the DA 21mm Limited and the DA 70mm as well (or FA 77mm... hmm...). Oh no! LBA!!

I was taking some low light pictures in difficult lighting conditions with the DA40mm... and oh man... unlike my zoom lenses, the DA 40mm was SHARP (when everything was in focus) and pretty bright!! I love primes.

11-07-2007, 11:51 PM   #9
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So far my collection consists of a
manual 28mm f2.8
screw mount 35mm f2
manual 50mm f2
manual 55mm f1.8
screw mount 135mm 2.8
screw mount 300mm f4
manual 500mm f8.

To complete my list I'm planning on adding somewhere around a 85mm, and a 200mm in the near future.
I might add a 20mm and a 400mm in the more distant future as well.

I'm like Mike in the fact that I'll just walk a short distance if necessary.
11-08-2007, 05:01 AM   #10
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Hi Mike

QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
To cover the range you mention I use

20 - 28 - 50 - 105 - 135 - 200

Anything missing, I do with my feet. And I wouldn't have any of them if I had to buy the latest stuff. One needn't spend a fortune to enjoy our hobby....it just feels that way sometimes.
That's very similar to the two kits I am putting together, one MF kit and one AF kit. My MF is more or less complete and consists of:

16 (Zenitar), 17 (Tokina), 28, 50, 55 (good for portrait on dSLR), 85, 100, 135, 200.

All of them are Pentax M or K lenses (except the first 2 of course).

And my AF kit is only half way there:
28, 50, 135

I am still looking to get DA14 for ultrawide and probably either D70, Tamron 90 or DFA 100 to go between 50 and 135. I don't really need anything longer than 135mm as I don't shoot that long that often and when I do, I can use my zoom or just my M200/4.

cheers
Kenny
11-11-2007, 09:20 PM   #11
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well, I just shot a wedding with mainly the DA 40mm Limited Pentax lens. Oh man, this lens is my BABY!! It totally blew away the shots I took with the Pentax 55-200mm and the Pentax 18-55 kit lens. lower F-stop and bright pictures... it's awesome. Only problem? I was running around all over the place to 'zoom' with my prime. hahaha

Problems I ran into with the prime:
1) I'm tempted to get a zoom as there were some shots where the DA40mm was not wide enough and wish I could've widened the view then. Probably should've just moved my feet more, but this is something I have to consider, especially at a wedding.

2) The DA40mm Limited has a tendency to focus on the foreground. This can get annoyign when i'm trying to focus on the subject in the midground, but only the foreground stays in focus. I was either forced to go manual focusing (lost time = possibly lost shot) or attempt to re autofocus on another point. Any suggestions?

3) Hunting. In dimly light areas, it took some time for the camera to focus. Supposedly primes, especially Limiteds, should be able to focus faster, right? Or is this more of a camera issue?



Also, after this experience, I'm thinking of refining my lens kits: Probably go a DA 21mm Limited for wide shots (any other suggestions for a wide angle to compliment my 40mm and 50mm primes?), and then F2.8 zoom for 70mm and upwards.
11-11-2007, 10:21 PM   #12
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Sorry I pretty much only manually focus so I can't help you there.
Whenever I've tried auto it's driven me nuts when it locks onto the wrong subject

I don't like weddings so I try to avoid them for the most part, but so many photographers that I know use 2 bodies at the same time.

I will be shooting 2 next year, and I'll probably use my 35mm f2 on my K100, and if I get this medium format I'll probably get a 150mm for it. Which is around the same thing as a 70mm on our digitals.

I might use a 35mm film camera with a zoom as well
11-13-2007, 12:47 PM   #13
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I'm getting there...

QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
M28mm f3.5
M or A 50mm f1.7 If you have extra money consider the f1.4
M100mm f2.8
M or A 200mm f4
I have a Carl Zeiss Jena 135/3.5 which I bought 20 years ago. I recently bought a M135/3.5 but I still prefer the CZJ, the pictures I get just look better to me, so I guess the M135/3.5 will probably remain unused.

I don't have anything longer than 135. I do like the images I get at 135, so I fancy going for a 200mm. f4 is only a bit slower than the f3.5 on my CZJ so I guess I won't notice it much. My only concern is how much it needs to be stopped down to be usable.

I did some tests recently with a resolution chart and found that for the centre of the image the CZJ at f3.5 is sharp, gets a bit softer at f5.6 and then sharpens up at smaller apertures. The M135 is soft at 3.5 and for sharpness the M135 at f5.6 is equivalent to the CZJ at f3.5, after that it is similar to the CZJ for sharpness. So for wide open (and the shallow DOF and great bokeh) its the CZJ for me.

Is the 200/4 usable wide open?

Richard
11-13-2007, 05:02 PM   #14
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M200/4

QuoteOriginally posted by richard64 Quote

Is the 200/4 usable wide open?

Richard
I find my M200/4 quite usable wide-open. It is definitely better than your consumer zooms at their telephoto-end wide-open.

cheers
Kenny
11-15-2007, 01:14 AM   #15
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I'm thinking of going the M lens route, after reading the replies to this thread (I'm possibly eyeing an M200/4 ... haha). However, I just wanted to get my facts straight.

With an M lens, you have to:
1) Set aperature manually
2) Meter using the AE-L lock function (so spot the subject, and press AE-L button to meter properly?)
3) Focus manually, then take shot. (all in that order?)

Quite a few extra steps from getting a DA and letting it do all the work for ya... but after having the DA lose a few shots due to focusing on the wrong subject, I think doing things more manually isn't so bad after all!

My main concern, then, is about losing P-TTL (as I've only used the flash in that mode so far). With M-lenses, I'd have to go to auto mode with my AF540FGZ flash?
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