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07-16-2011, 11:15 PM   #1
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Any <$200 AF lenses for low-light photography (Primes? Zooms?) ?

I looked at some of the prime lenses and they are more expensive than the other brands.
I'm new to Pentax, so can someone suggest some lenses for low-light photography for the K-x


07-16-2011, 11:19 PM   #2
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DA 35mm 2.4, pretty descent in low light, coupled with your high ISO performance of the K-X, you should be able to get some good usage out of it.

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07-16-2011, 11:46 PM - 1 Like   #3
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The answer is simple: no. There is no cheap AF fast prime lens.

For low light or poor lights, you want to use a lens with large aperture and low f: ie. f1.8 ot f1.4 better. There is no cheaper fast prime with AF. However you should consider very seriously some older A lenses with MF. Using Catch in focus, you will find that MF is not as difficult as you think. Further in really poor lights, the AF often cannot focus-confirm and MF is the only way.

You may be interest to read the following thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/146443-manual-f...we-afraid.html
There are some comments from many exprienced Pentaxians.

I think that a MF lens (A50mm f1.2, 1.4 or 1.7) is possibly the best way to start. You will find that the MF lenses have a nice focus ring and you can get excellent, well=focused shots using Catch-in-Focus in your Kx.

Hope that the comment will help.
07-17-2011, 12:13 AM   #4
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Joe and hcc are quite right. Fast and AF and cheap are mutually exclusive. Fast manual lenses are another matter. In the not-too-distant past I bought a Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA for US$18, a Yashica MF 50/1.4 for $10, a Tamron BBAR 28/2.5 for $4, and a Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 for TWO BUCKS!! Fast 50s and 28s aren't hard to find nor painfully costly. Those in N/AI, OM, and C/Y mounts are easily modded for Pentax PK; an M42 lens only needs a simple adapter.

Fast MF primes aren't necessarily hard to focus. With my delaminating eyeballs, I depend on Catch-In-Focus (CIF). But longer fast lenses do have very thin DOF. You may want to stay at f/1.7-2 -- and 50/2 lenses are often dirt cheap. To shoot in low light requires some combination of:

* higher ISO - Your Kx is renowned for its high-ISO performance.
* faster lens - My K50/1.2 is a pain to use in the dark. An f/2 is fine.
* firm tripod - You'll be amazed what 30-second exposures can grab.
* more light - Remember, you're photographing light, not objects.

AF often sucks in low light anyway. Go manual!


Last edited by RioRico; 07-17-2011 at 09:37 PM.
07-17-2011, 04:04 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by joe.penn Quote
DA 35mm 2.4, pretty descent in low light, coupled with your high ISO performance of the K-X, you should be able to get some good usage out of it.
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+1!

Pentax SMC DA Macro lens - 35 mm - F/2.4 - Pentax KAF
07-17-2011, 04:15 AM   #6
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Sometimes you can find a used Pentax-F 50mm f/1.7 for about $200, not usually less. That is a great lens, and good in low light situations.
07-17-2011, 05:56 AM   #7
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The DA35/2.4 and the FA50/1.4 are both solid performers and the 35 goes New for around $175 while the 50 Used can be found for just over $225.
07-17-2011, 01:04 PM   #8
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I disagree that f/1.4 is necessary or even all that helpful in low light. It's rare for light to be so low you can't get decent shots at f/2.8 with a "normal" focal length lens on a modern DSLR, and when light is that low, you seldom get interesting pictures anyhow (no lit means no modeling of subject, so things look flat and uninteresting). And DOF is so shallow at f/1.4 it's almost useless for the sort of shots most people would be interested in taking most of the time. Although sure, it's occasionally nice for creative purposes, but that's kind of a separate issue from low light photography in general. Also, 50mm is too long for most indoor photography. And while MF is not impossible, and I do it very often, it's quite difficult on an f/1.4 lens with the stock focus screen because the viewfinder will show entirely too much in focus.

So bottom line for me is, by all, pick up a cheap manual 50 for creative use (no reason to spend more than $50), but the DA35/2.4 is the no-brainer solution to the problem of low light photography in general for the stated budget.

07-17-2011, 01:17 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I disagree that f/1.4 is necessary or even all that helpful in low light. It's rare for light to be so low you can't get decent shots at f/2.8 with a "normal" focal length lens on a modern DSLR, and when light is that low, you seldom get interesting pictures anyhow (no lit means no modeling of subject, so things look flat and uninteresting). And DOF is so shallow at f/1.4 it's almost useless for the sort of shots most people would be interested in taking most of the time. Although sure, it's occasionally nice for creative purposes, but that's kind of a separate issue from low light photography in general. Also, 50mm is too long for most indoor photography. And while MF is not impossible, and I do it very often, it's quite difficult on an f/1.4 lens with the stock focus screen because the viewfinder will show entirely too much in focus.

So bottom line for me is, by all, pick up a cheap manual 50 for creative use (no reason to spend more than $50), but the DA35/2.4 is the no-brainer solution to the problem of low light photography in general for the stated budget.

Sorry but I disagree. I've used my FA50/1.4 in a number of applications where the 2.8 just was not up to it. Remember that DoF is impacted by BOTH the f-stop AND distance to subject. I like the 35/2.4 but it does not capture certain events as well as the 50/1.4.
07-17-2011, 01:23 PM   #10
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Best bang for the buck in that budget would be one or two flashes (you can buy 2 vivitars and a radio trigger..)...the flash will let you use all your lenses in low light at their softspot around f8...

If what you want is definitely a lens...then i would advice you to save money and get you something like a f2,8 Tamron constant zoom (28-75 or 17-50 are not so far from your budget) or the 90mm macro....f2,8 is usually enough in low light if you don't mind to push the ISO up.
07-17-2011, 01:32 PM   #11
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I don't like using tripods and rarely recommend them, bit if your usual low-light subjects are not moving, perhaps a 3-legged contraption could help.
07-17-2011, 01:44 PM   #12
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I guess it would be useful if the OP notes what kind of low light shooting they are looking to do

As Marc noted though, the no brainer with the OP's budget and matching specs is the 35 2.4...




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07-17-2011, 02:22 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Sorry but I disagree. I've used my FA50/1.4 in a number of applications where the 2.8 just was not up to it. Remember that DoF is impacted by BOTH the f-stop AND distance to subject. I like the 35/2.4 but it does not capture certain events as well as the 50/1.4.
+1. And it is not only low light that forces the use of wide apertures but also attempting to shoot a moving subject in low light. Indoor candid portraits is where I find myself needing to use wide apertures - keyword being candid. Trying to photograph a kid that doesn't know how to sit still is the quickest way to learn the value of a fast lens. I'd use f/1.0 if I had it.
07-17-2011, 02:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Trying to photograph a kid that doesn't know how to sit still is the quickest way to learn the value of a fast lens. I'd use f/1.0 if I had it.
I must say I find that pretty odd, low light and 1.0'ing (or 1.2'ing) on a moving subject with such shallow DOF? Not doubting it, however, I shoot 90% of the time in low light (with 95% of my lenses manual focus), moving subjects which is about 90% of my shooting and some of the worse lighting situations you can run across and find it hard enough shooting with a 1.4 and just can't imagine doing it with a 1.2 or 1.0.



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07-17-2011, 03:03 PM   #15
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+1 marc. f1.4 should not be used for low light with high iso available to us. f2 is my fav aperture in this range, and honestly, the 35 is NOT too slow for low light.

I'd stick with the 35 unless you could think of a very good reason to go with a 50 (for example, you shoot mostly portraits). All the AF 50s worth owning will be over 200, though.

I also agree that a manual lens is pretty much the way to go for low light anyways. My FA 50 hates low light focusing, and my K55 f1.8 has a MUCH better focusing ring. I get more in focus shots with the k55 in low lights because the FAs ring, while not horrible, isn't great either.
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