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07-14-2011, 03:11 AM   #1
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Cheaper prime lenses to buy before/instead of the limiteds

OK, I reckon there is a holy trinity of reasons to buy the limiteds over earlier MF primes a fraction of the cost.

1. Compactness/build quality
2. Image Quality
3. Autofocus/auto aperture

I think that if you are careful about your choice you will often only need to compromise on one of these. Lets have a list of lenses to consider that are cheaper than Limiteds, and also well worth getting as an alternative if you don't have money to burn.

From personal experience;

Sigma 24mm f2.8 Super-Wide II instead of DA 21. It's fl is 35mm equivalent, which is handier for me. The MF version is still pretty compact, and it is sharper tho less resistant to flare. Importantly, it's about an 10th of the price... And faster...

SMC A or M 50mm f1.7 instead of DA 40. Again, about a 10th of the price, but stellar IQ, and faster. The DA40 is tiny, but frankly, so is the 50mm. The FL is different, but not much, still standard to short tele. I am going to get an A version (already have the M) as soon as I can afford it...

Help me out with the others guys... Struggling to see a FA77 or DA15 alternative personally...

07-14-2011, 04:01 AM   #2
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For me the alternative to DA21 was M20, and recently there is also the Voigtlander SL 20mm f 3.5. For 24mm lens there is nothing like the FA*24.

I used CZJ Pancolar 80mm f1.8 as an alternative/cheap version of 77mm limited for some time. It has very similar optical formula AFAIK. I sold it to a canonite recently after acquiring the FA*85.

One can use Zenitar 16/2.8 and defish it to get something very chaep and yet remotely similar to the 15mm limited. I went the DA14 path and I'm happy for it.
07-14-2011, 04:32 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by elho_cid Quote
For me the alternative to DA21 was M20, and recently there is also the Voigtlander SL 20mm f 3.5. For 24mm lens there is nothing like the FA*24.

I used CZJ Pancolar 80mm f1.8 as an alternative/cheap version of 77mm limited for some time. It has very similar optical formula AFAIK. I sold it to a canonite recently after acquiring the FA*85.

One can use Zenitar 16/2.8 and defish it to get something very chaep and yet remotely similar to the 15mm limited. I went the DA14 path and I'm happy for it.
Hmm... The Panacolar is Zeiss, right? Is it really cheaper? What do they go for? I suppose the 77ltd is pretty expensive, so...

DA 14 is a good option, but as I recall is is huge - that's a big sacrifice of the first of the holy trinity...

The Voightlander does llok interesting, but it's weirdly more expensive than the DA21 I believe.
07-14-2011, 04:46 AM   #4
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I was thinking this way and got a swag of sigmas and some older pentax lenses and then I got my first Ltd. While I love some of my sigmas I have been converted to the small beautifully made Ltds. It makes my choice of going pentax stand out from the other mobs.

07-14-2011, 05:27 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
I was thinking this way and got a swag of sigmas and some older pentax lenses and then I got my first Ltd. While I love some of my sigmas I have been converted to the small beautifully made Ltds. It makes my choice of going pentax stand out from the other mobs.
So, pre your first Ltd, what were your favourite alternatives?
07-14-2011, 05:37 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeztastic Quote
Help me out with the others guys... Struggling to see a FA77 or DA15 alternative personally...
Hard to find one for the DA 15 except the A 20/2.8.

The cheap 77 alternative might be the M 85/2.

Don't forget the A 35/2 and 2.8.
07-14-2011, 06:13 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Hard to find one for the DA 15 except the A 20/2.8.

The cheap 77 alternative might be the M 85/2.

Don't forget the A 35/2 and 2.8.
Would love to get my hands on an A 35/2. I would also include the DA35/2.4 on my list, but that is a big sacrifice in build quality...
07-14-2011, 07:55 AM   #8
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I've actually started a similar thread in the local forums, but certainly no harm repeating my choices here :

SMC K24/2.8
24mm translates to about 36mm equivalent focal length on APS-C. To me, this focal length is ideal as a walkabout lens with its field of coverage. Wide enough to take in most views at almost the perspective of the eye, w/o being too wide and needing to be rather aggressive in going near the subject like wider lenses. Some distortion, but not too much compared to the exaggerated perspectives of UWA lenses.
Easily usable for shots that take in the subject in context to its environment.

The SMC K24/2.8 is small and unobtrusive, ideal for light walkabouts. Aperture is fast at f2.8 esp. when coupled with the new generation of cameras like the Kx, Kr and K5. Sharp and very good rendering from wide open.















07-14-2011, 08:11 AM   #9
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M85/2
Rated as the worst Pentax 85mm prime in most old reviews, this one is a real gem to me.
For me the M85/2 is a good performer on APS-C, sharp enough wide open and having a characteristic of its own to give some 'pop' to many pictures taken by it. Very handy as its small in size compare to f1.4 type 85mm lenses. To me this is the poor man's 77ltd.


It is not much bigger than a 50/1.4


Nice subject isolation from this lens. Very often this lens does the job w/o need to reach for a larger/heavier f1.4 version



Unobtrusive , small, lightweight, plus very suitable range and subject isolation for candid people shots






07-14-2011, 08:40 AM   #10
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Fast 50mm
This is certainly the place where the Pentaxian is spoilt for choice.
There are so many fast 50mm to choose from.
K50/1.4, K50/1.7, K50/2
M50/1.4, M50/1.7, M50/2
A50/1.4, A50/1.7, A50/2

and the FA501/4
just from Pentax alone.

Optically they are all good. Just pick your preference and budget.
I've tried all the M and A series (from f1.4 to f2) and they are all good. Use a hood to improve contrast, esp. when wide open.

The f2 ones are just a bit smaller and lighter, which is why one finds its way on my camera when I choose to use one.
The 'A' version is the most convenient to use for not much more money.
You get to use multi segment metering, PTTL flash, EXIF data on aperture, Av mode control.

However, I somehow like the 'M' versions more as they are very slightly smaller, feel better to MF and nicely built.








I find that if I am given my own peace to walk about and shoot small things that catch my interest, a lens about the focal length of a 50mm would be my prime choice (actually 43ltd is the best choice for me ).
Small, light, fast, DOF control and sharp when needed. Very effective on small object imho.










07-14-2011, 08:42 AM   #11
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My criterium for 'cheap' is WAY down there, with many M42's and some modded Nikon-mount glass. So my cheap and compact LTD alternatives include:

* Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 (but 24's aren't cheapest now)
* Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA (close-focus wide-angle)
* Nikkor 35/2 and 85/2 (modded for PK)
* CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (12 iris blades)
* SMC Takumar 50/1.4 and 55/1.8

Others I could mention are beyond the LTD range or aren't so compact.
07-14-2011, 09:13 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeztastic Quote
Hmm... The Panacolar is Zeiss, right? Is it really cheaper? What do they go for? I suppose the 77ltd is pretty expensive, so...
I sold it for 1/4 of the current list price of 77limited here in Czech republic. But I could get a lot more for it if it would be in pristine condition sought by collectors.
07-14-2011, 10:28 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeztastic Quote
Sigma 24mm f2.8 Super-Wide II instead of DA 21. It's fl is 35mm equivalent, which is handier for me.
I don't find either focal length very compelling on APS-C, but agree the Sigma is a good choice. The Pentax 24/2.8's seem to be also.

QuoteQuote:
SMC A or M 50mm f1.7 instead of DA 40. Again, about a 10th of the price, but stellar IQ, and faster. The DA40 is tiny, but frankly, so is the 50mm. The FL is different, but not much
For me, the FL difference is huge; the whole reason I replaced the 50 in my bag with the 40. 40mm is great for me as a general purpose "walkaround" type of lens, 50 terrible. It's pretty much that big to me. Others who need their basic lens to be wider might find the 40 equally awkward, I guess, but if the 40 is on your list, it's presumably because you don't think it would bea problem for you. But the 50 almost definitely would be.

But the DA35/2.4 would make an acceptable substitute in my mind, as would the M35/2. I suppose the M40/2.8, but really, I doubt I'd go that way given the existence of the other two options. For not much more money, you can have either AF or a full stop faster.

QuoteQuote:
Help me out with the others guys... Struggling to see a FA77 or DA15 alternative personally...
Agreed with the others on the M85/2 as the obvious FA77 alternative. Closest thing to a DA15 alternative wouold be the Zenitar 16.
07-14-2011, 10:28 AM   #14
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Hi

QuoteOriginally posted by jeztastic Quote
Hmm... The Panacolar is Zeiss, right? Is it really cheaper? What do they go for? I suppose the 77ltd is pretty expensive, so...

DA 14 is a good option, but as I recall is is huge - that's a big sacrifice of the first of the holy trinity...

The Voightlander does llok interesting, but it's weirdly more expensive than the DA21 I believe.
Hi....in regards to FA77 - try to find M85/2 - it's cheap, compact but more portrait lens than allround....another option is K85/1.8 which might be even better than limited, but is very rare, not so compact as M85 and expensive for mf lens.
In regards to DA15 - I don't think you'll find cheap and good quality lens in this range, either AF or MF. There's Tamron SP 17mm - i had it and I don't recommend it, Tokina RMC 17mm - no experience, Pentax 18mm/3.5 bit better than Tamron or DA16-45. BTW. neither option is compact.

now my choices would be probably something like this:
DA15 - Samyang 14/2.8
DA21 - Pentax SMC 20/4
FA31 - Pentax SMC 30/2.8
FA43 - Pentax SMC-A 50/1.7
DA70,FA77 - Pentax SMC 85/1.8

for macro DA35 i can't think of any replacement yet...

Last edited by vrrattko; 07-14-2011 at 10:39 AM.
07-14-2011, 10:30 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I've been shooting landscapes with the sigma 24/2.8, k28/3.5, k35/3.5, a50/2.8, tamron 90/2.5. All good lenses. I am now experimenting with a tamron 17-50/2.8 as replacement for the wide ones. I shall see.
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