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07-27-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
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kit lens vs. manual focus 24mm f2.8

I'm looking for a 35mm equivalent prime. Right now I am using the kit, which is actually pretty good at 24mm, even wide open. It's a little slow at f4, but not terribly so.

I have been looking at replacing it with a prime. Autofocus lenses are either not ideal (e.g., da 21 f3.2) - wrong focal length AND aperture for my needs, or crazy expensive (FA 24mm *).

Manual focus lenses are affordable, but expensive for what they are due to their rarity (I'm guessing). There are 3rd party screw mount lenses available, but they STILL run you about 70 dollars, and I'm not convinced they will be much better than the kit. The highly-regarded manual lenses run you much more, and seem to be crazy rare.

I guess I'm asking - what 24mm lenses will be significantly better than the kit (not just a stop faster, also much higher quality). I could wait a while, perhaps Pentax will release their own DA version of a 24mm lens.

An aspc-only 24mm f2.4 would be a great DA ltd. Much more useful than the 21 f3.2, for people who already own the DA 15.

Any ideas?

NB- I don't care at all about using this lens on full frame.

07-27-2011, 11:24 AM   #2
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I have been looking for a sigma super wide. It will cost more than 70 though.
07-27-2011, 12:08 PM   #3
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I tried some no-name manual 24mm f2,8 and I was quite disappointed. I have much better experience with Sigma 24mm f1,8 macro EX but that lens is too big and heavy. I'm afraid I cannot give you better advice than seeking out a FA*24 in a good condition. I swear it is worth it.
07-27-2011, 12:17 PM   #4
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M42s: On eBay recently, I've seen a Vivitar 24/2.8 go for under US$20 (I quit at US$15) and a Spiratone 25/3.5 for under US$15 (I quit at $10 -- I'm cheap this month). Sometime in the next couple weeks I'll put an Sigma-Z 24/2.8 on sale. I've had a couple Lentar 25/3.5's, both with apertures stuck wide open, but they were pretty sharp there. The Sigma-Z is maybe a bit sharper than the DA18-55 at 24/4. None of these is exactly a world-beater, but the prices are good.

What I'm keeping in that focal length are a Nikon-mount Paragon PMC (Cimko) 24/2.8 modded for PK, VERY sharp (I paid US$9); a T2-mount Albinar-Sigma 24/2.8 (US$27) that's a near-twin to the Sigma-Z; and my mainstay, a Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 in PK-M mount ($130). That's actually my second Kiron 24/2; the first... had a stuck-open shutter! That's HALF of my 24-25mm glass from different makers with the same problem. Is it me, or is it a curse?

My advice: Bid on my Sigma-Z!!

My honest advice: Old-sharp and old-fast 24mm glass ain't cheap. Old-cheap 24mm glass ain't super nor fast. The Kiron 24/2 is a beauty. It probably can't be found for under US$200 except with great luck. You might find a sharp old Nikon or Olympus 24/2.8-3.5 for under US$40 and those are easy to mod for PK. Yashica C/Y lenses are easy to mod too, but good luck finding one! If you don't need blinding speed, the DA18-55 at 24/4-11 is as good as most 24's under US$100. If you can't find an affordable dream lens, use the kit lens and save up.

07-27-2011, 12:20 PM   #5
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You probably saw it, but there was a Super Wide AF in the marketplace recently that might not yet have sold.

I am pleased with my copy of the same lens . . .
07-27-2011, 12:21 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
If you don't need blinding speed, the DA18-55 at 24/4-11 is as good as most 24's under US$100. If you can't find an affordable dream lens, use the kit lens and save up.
This is the answer I was looking for, thank you .

So, compared to, say, your Kiron 24/2, both at f 5.6, would the Kiron be significantly better than the kit, or would the advantages lie more in the fact that it goes to f2.8, f2?

I'll also keep my eye out for the Sigma f2.8. Good reviews on that one... I would be willing to pay more than 100 for a good lens... I just want to be sure it will ACTUALLY be better than the kit.

e.g., my SMC A 28mm f2.8 was about 5% better than the kit lens when it was stopped down to the same aperture. Of course, it was a stop faster, which was nice inside (but not really enough to make a difference, honestly), and the corners were sharper.

I thought "well, this 100 dollars could be better spent elsewhere" - and now I have a 50 1.4, which is COMPLETELY different from the kit!

So yes, a 24mm f2.8 is worth it to me, not so much for the speed, but if it will be significantly higher quality then the admittedly 8/10 quality I'm getting from the kit.

Last edited by paperbag846; 07-27-2011 at 12:26 PM.
07-27-2011, 12:28 PM   #7
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I've got a MF Sigma 24mm f2.8, and I certainly didn't pay more than 20 for it, a year or so back now. It's pretty good walkaround lens really, and has a decent focal length scale on it (unlike the modern 30/1.4, grrr). Though at f4, the 24/2.8 's subject is in focus from infinity to 2m, so the fact it's MF is fairly irrelevant.
07-27-2011, 12:33 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrA Quote
I've got a MF Sigma 24mm f2.8, and I certainly didn't pay more than 20 for it, a year or so back now. It's pretty good walkaround lens really, and has a decent focal length scale on it (unlike the modern 30/1.4, grrr). Though at f4, the 24/2.8 's subject is in focus from infinity to 2m, so the fact it's MF is fairly irrelevant.
Do you find this lens works better than the kit? I would have no problem with MF at 24mm.

07-27-2011, 12:52 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Autofocus lenses are either not ideal (e.g., da 21 f3.2)
QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Much more useful than the 21 f3.2
Why is the 21 not useful?
07-27-2011, 01:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Why is the 21 not useful?
21 would be very useful if I did not have the 15.

You should realize I'm cheap AND a minimalist. I want the fewest number of small lenses. My idea kit looks like this:

15mm - 24mm - 55mm.

This roughly corresponds to a common kit from the yesteryear:

20mm - 35mm - 85mm.

For some reason I don't really care for normals (35mm or 50mm on film).

For those "other" focal lengths (namely, normal and telephoto) I'm happy to use cheap zooms (the kit and my F 70-210, which is very inexpensive for the performance).

Each lens (15 - 24 - 55) is approximately a 2X zoom, and that focal range covers a great deal of what I care to shoot (I like having the zoom around for the occasional sporting event, or wildlife, but this happens very infrequently and I don't feel like sinking much more than 50 dollars into a lens for that range).

The 21 is quite a bit closer to the 15, and does not accomplish as much over the kit as would a 24mm f2.8. I want something versatile for indoors / groups / streets, wtih a low-light advantage over the kit lens.

The 21 is not a good fit between my 15mm and 50mm (which is a compromise because I can't afford the DA * 55mm, and I have an old K 55 f1.8 lying around for the times I really want to use that focal length). Its a little too wide, and since it's a 21, it's also a little slower than the 24 f2.8's available to me.

So basically, for my purposes, I lose TWICE on the DA 21... and it's not exactly a cheap lens. I'm convinced I can do much better for 500 dollars.


----



Before the 15 existed, the 21- 40 -70 spread makes a lot of sense, although it was arguably skewed to the long end of things. I prefer the looser feel of a wider lens, mostly. I prefer 55mm to 70mm for portraits, and that threw the whole DA LTD line into a bit of a no mans land for me (except for the 15).

I really like the 50mm on digital (similar FOV to the FA 77 on film), and barring a cheaper DA* 55mm alternative, I'm going to stick with the FA 50.

If you have / like the DA 40 or 70, the DA 21 is a great wide to tack on to your kit.

Last edited by paperbag846; 07-27-2011 at 01:42 PM.
07-27-2011, 01:39 PM   #11
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another option is the Tamron Adaptall-2 24/2.5 - a very good lens for the money.
07-27-2011, 01:43 PM   #12
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Thanks gabriel. How does it compare to the kit?
07-27-2011, 02:07 PM   #13
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I have the 18-55 (II), and my impression is that the Tamron has it beat. I could try take some comparison pics if you're interested.
07-27-2011, 02:50 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Edit: See my messsage #31 for more complete results.

This is really quick and incomplete. I'll have to redo it; I was also testing to see if I could get usable results. It's newspaper taped to my garage wall, camera on a tripod about 7 feet away. K-7, ISO 100, 2 second delay, all lenses at f2.8. I tried to focus perfectly with the viewfinder and check with live view, but I should have focus-bracketed too. I have to track down a hood for this; no hood used on any of these. I set the white balance to the same number for each of these shots in ACR.

Lenses were:
Kiron 24mm f2.0 in PK mount
Vivitar (Komine) 24mm f2.0 in PK-A mount
Sigma 24mm f2.8 Superwide II in PK-A mount

I did shoot with the WR kit lens but thought I could get fancy and rely on contrast-detect AF in live view. Total mis-focus, so much for high-tech.

This composite is my quick results. On the right are 100% center crops, Kiron on the left, then Vivitar, then Sigma. On the left are 100% corner crops, Kiron at the top, Vivitar, then Sigma.



With this evidence, everyone will think I didn't focus the Vivitar correctly. I would think that too. The Vivitar does this to Christmas lights wide open, so I think my results are right.



Now that I have all the setup done, I should be able to reshoot soon, include the kit lens and control for more variables.

Last edited by Just1MoreDave; 07-28-2011 at 01:27 PM.
07-27-2011, 03:25 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
This is the answer I was looking for, thank you .
Y'r welcome!

QuoteQuote:
So, compared to, say, your Kiron 24/2, both at f 5.6, would the Kiron be significantly better than the kit, or would the advantages lie more in the fact that it goes to f2.8, f2?
The Vivitar-Kiron is a magical lens. Counting my bad copy, I spent over US$200 to get it. The only manual lens I've paid more for is the K50/1.2 -- those are about my most-prized lenses. Other cheaper winners include the Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA and the Lentar-Tokina 21/3.8 -- the 28/2 is about in the same class as the 24/2 (and I use it more!) and the 21/3.8 is a dandy bright-street lens.

QuoteQuote:
I thought "well, this 100 dollars could be better spent elsewhere" - and now I have a 50 1.4, which is COMPLETELY different from the kit!
Fast Fifty's are indispensable. My original Pentax were DA10-17, DA18-250, and FA50/1.4 my gotta-get-the-shot lens (and my only AF prime). A planar Yashica ML 50/1.4 is a close runner-up, and they're only surpassed by the K50/1.2. When I started building a prime kit, I looked for what was significantly faster than those DA zooms. So my fast collection includes:

* Zenitar 16/2.8
* Vivitar-Kiron 24/2
* Vivitar-Komine 28/2
* Nikkor-O 35/2 modded for PK
* K50/1.2, FA50/1.4, Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4
* Nikkor 85/2 modded for PK
* S-M-C Takumar 135/2.5
* Vivitar-Kiron 200/3.5

Some were cheap, some weren't. Faster glass exists but I can't afford it. I also have and love some fine slower and cheaper glass, but that's for another thread...

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Why is the 21 not useful?
My Lentar-Tokina 21/3.8 is fun and useful, especially when stopped down to f/11 and prefocused to 2m for DOF from 1m to infinity. It's a fine lens for bright streets. But it's not enough better than the DA18-55 or DA18-250 at 21/11 for everyday use; so it's in my lens-of-the-day rotation, not my carry-it-everywhere set.

Is 21mm a useful focal length? Sure, especially for shoot-from-the-hip fun, or with light control in large interiors and small exteriors. Note that it's FOV-equivalent to 32mm on 135/FF cams, right between somewhat-wide (35mm) and pretty-wide (28mm), but with noticeably thicker DOF. It's a lens for closing in AND getting the context, and not much for subject isolation.
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