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08-25-2011, 05:32 AM   #1
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Hmm what lens should I put with my DA21 & FA43

Hi guys I have a question I wanna ask, for a walkabout setup to shoot both casual portraits and artistic inanimate objects what lens should I add to my current collection?

I carry my DA21 and FA43 more often than not, given that these 2 sit nicely in my bag I have space for another and though I had fun with my 50/1.4 i'm not inclined to take it out due to the aperture ring becoming loose (though a 43 and a 50 in the same bag is overkill to me). I have a couple of tele primes but i'd rather not take them out unless needed (135/200mm) if space is a principle consideration with IQ coming up next.

What is a recommended focal length/lens to attribute the current 2? (Im thinking a 70mm/77mm and to pick outta these 2 is a whole new thread :P)

And by now you should have picked up that I don't use zooms
On a side note an dream perfect 7 collection to have would be a 10mm UWA, DA21mm, FA31mm, FA43mm, 55mm, Hartlei 65mm TS, FA77mm haha (super OCD must be at least 10-12mm apart)


Last edited by kneonx; 08-25-2011 at 09:08 AM.
08-25-2011, 06:03 AM   #2
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FA77 is the right answer
08-25-2011, 06:09 AM   #3
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Well DA 15mm is not mentioned and that could also be a very nice lens.

If you are looking for small and adding something new then the DA 70mm is the best choice.

When you want to work in small spaces then FA 31mm is a very good choice.

Looking at your dreamcollection: Only 31mm is on it.
08-25-2011, 06:09 AM   #4
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Can't help but feel you're coming at this from the wrong direction.

IQ a secondary consideration?

Anyway, the lenses you need is the one you don't have right now. It's the one you always wish you had with you for 'that' shot.

If you can't think which lens this is, it's because you don't need it.

On the other hand, if you're collecting lenses, then go for whichever one (a) you like the look of, (b) is the right size, and (c) you can afford.

Whatever you do, so long as it's Pentax you should be happy

08-25-2011, 06:18 AM   #5
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I think you should consider the 100 macro WR. Great lens for portraits and inanimate objects, plus it focuses quite fast as a short tele.

It's larger than the others you're thinking of, but very light and very well built. I'd say it's just as sharp as either the 70 or the 77, and has great bokeh too.

I have the 77 and have had the 70, but the 100 macro is more versatile--and you'd never run into the minimum focus distance like you would with the 70/77.

If it's too long for you though, the 70 or the 77 would be a great addition too and nicely spaced from your 43
08-25-2011, 07:04 AM   #6
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What do you want to do?
DA15 - for creative wide angle shots (architecture and some landscapes) - yes it's different than the 21
DA70/FA77 - for portraits
90-100mm macro - for macro shots and some portraits

One note is that you don't need to be obsessive about having 10mm between your different lenses. The difference between the 10 and 21 is way more than the difference between the 43 and 55. Try instead to get a 1.5x or 2x difference between the lenses. Or a different usage (macro, low DOF, wide, fisheye).

For me a simple wishlist would look like this - size is important
DA15 - wide angle for some landscapes and architecture
28-35mm good at everything lens but preferably compact - DA35macro is currently what I want but still deciding
FA50/1.4 - good portrait lens and I'm finding it to be a useful focal length walking around
90-100mm macro and tele

And then start adding in areas that your really like and want more options. Fisheye, DA21, DA70/FA77, longer tele, etc...

For now I'm just letting LBA for cheap Pentax lenses get the best of me. And I don't feel limited at all right now. Except for the wide angle.
08-25-2011, 08:27 AM   #7
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I'm pretty similar to you in my considerations, (size > IQ), and second abacus on the 1.5-2.0 times zoom thing. My current spread follows that law fairly closely (avg. is 1.6x) and I find the spread pretty useful (15 - 28 - 50 - 80).

You already did that unintentionally... the 43 is approximately a 1.8 times zoom from the 21.

Your logical options would be either the DA 15 (only option if size is a factor), or the 70 / 77. Both of the 70's are about the same size, but the DA 70 is a little lighter (really, both are light).

Should be easy to decide between ultrawide and tele... depends on what you want to shoot. If you are thinking about the 70 / 77 thing, I've had both and can say:

1) 77 has the better bokeh if that is your kind of thing.
2) 77 has much more in the way of colour fringing, particularly outdoors.
3) 70 has better colour saturation for landscapes.
4) 77 has better colour tones for skin.
5) 70 has quickshift, which can make for easier portrait shooting in some situations.
6) 77 is the best lens I have ever used on film.

Its a pretty close call between them. I think I personally prefer the 77, but only by a hair. The thing is, the 70 is better at some things, and the 77 is better at others, Since I prefer shooting people, the 77 wins for me... but not by much. Since I am on a tight budget, I would likely just go with the 70.

I sold the 70 to feed the 77 LBA, and finally sold the 77 because it was my most expensive lens and my least used focal length. Note that if you are happy with manual focus, there are a lot of options in the 80-85mm range. But the most convenient and light are going to be the DA 70 or FA 77.
08-25-2011, 08:35 AM   #8
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Agreed; either a 15mm or 70mm would fit the set you have; more often than not, those are the three lenses (21, 43, 70) that I take for most outings.

QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Well DA 15mm is not mentioned and that could also be a very nice lens.

If you are looking for small and adding something new then the DA 70mm is the best choice.

When you want to work in small spaces then FA 31mm is a very good choice.

Looking at your dreamcollection: Only 31mm is on it.


08-25-2011, 12:11 PM   #9
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Ron: Yup I actually considered the 15mm but as I dont do as much landscape as I would want to and its more walk about and casual events im torn between the 70/77 or the 31 as mentioned, to add the 100mm WR has sparked interest due to its macro capability as well as its long reach

John: Yeah I know IQ as a secondary concern is eye twitching but considering I don't do prints, or shoot for portfolios, Im resolving my Raws into JPG's at 720px sharpened for Facebook, but mainly also because the IQ on the current DA line lenses are really good already (70mm matches the 77 really well) and the FA's are gonna be legendary anyway (since the few lenses i wanna get are either DA or FA they seem to be all well taken care of by Pentax's in-house QC)

Far: I agree man, that 100mm Macro is just pulling me to the dark side, my mum has been bugging me to shoot some photos of her garden and flowers. Thats probably the next lens after I decide on this one :P

abacus: yeah haha I just coincidentally realised that there was such a incremental difference and played along :P I guess I just need to cover the most lacking perspective :P

paperbag: Oh yeah 77's have that nice render of portraits, though budget skews to the 70 haha ... Looks like i'll have to fight this in my head.

legacy: hehe nice I like your 70mm shots :P your kids are beautiful too haha!

For now its going tough between the 70 and 77mm but that can probably be read in another article, but as paperbag mentioned, the 85mm's are strong contenders and I've been shooting on my manual 50mm/135 and 200mm's so I'm actually also comfortable with that option ... I just wonder, is 85 too much reach? then again what IS too much reach :P guess ill have to factor the use cases of the lenses and make fair judgment

Thanks everyone )
08-25-2011, 12:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kneonx Quote
I just wonder, is 85 too much reach?
It is my least used focal length for a reason, but sometimes, it gives you photos that *pop* they need (easier subject isolation).

The 70 is a generally more flexible focal length than 77s or 85s. I prefer 50s, personally (which gets you close to what the 77 looks like on film).
08-25-2011, 01:13 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kneonx Quote
Ron: Yup I actually considered the 15mm but as I dont do as much landscape as I would want to and its more walk about and casual events im torn between the 70/77 or the 31 as mentioned, to add the 100mm WR has sparked interest due to its macro capability as well as its long reach


Thanks everyone )
You know, this difference seems to be fairly subjective. For walk about and casual stuff, I think I'd prefer the wide end, allowing a much more 'environmental' shot of the subject(s). But I can see the desire for more isolation from the short telephoto lenses. Lately, I've come to the realization that I prefer a somewhat wide perspective. Now I just need to determine if it's because I don't really have much over ~50mm or if I really do like shooting wide.
08-25-2011, 05:23 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kneonx Quote
Ron: Yup I actually considered the 15mm but as I dont do as much landscape as I would want to and its more walk about and casual events im torn between the 70/77 or the 31 as mentioned, to add the 100mm WR has sparked interest due to its macro capability as well as its long reach
The DA15 lens club is 80% architecture so I don't really understand why everyone calls it a landscape lens. The times that I see it used as a landscape lens are foreground dominated scenes or scenes where you physically can't back up.

I won't talk you out the 70/77 but the reason to buy it is to take portraits imo. If that is something you like to do then go for it. Otherwise a 90-105 macro is an interesting choice although it will likely be a lot larger. But that's only because the 70/77 are compact.
08-26-2011, 12:26 AM   #13
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Haha sorry I didn't mean to call it a landscape lens per se, but yeah I get what u mean I mean architecture because in singapore, most of our more accesible landscape IS architecture :P
08-26-2011, 12:42 AM   #14
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No need for the sorry. I initially thought of the DA15 as an ideal landscape lens but it's really only a landscape lens if the composition is right. But it's referred to a lot as a landscape lens.

Singapore is on my maybe list of places to visit in the next couple of years. And by then I'll definitely have the DA15 but I think I would like to be even wider in Singapore.
08-26-2011, 03:14 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kneonx Quote
for a walkabout setup to shoot both casual portraits and artistic inanimate objects what lens should I add to my current collection?

I carry my DA21 and FA43 more often than not, given that these 2 sit nicely in my bag I have space for another and though I had fun with my 50/1.4 i'm not inclined to take it out due to the aperture ring becoming loose (though a 43 and a 50 in the same bag is overkill to me). I have a couple of tele primes but i'd rather not take them out unless needed (135/200mm) if space is a principle consideration with IQ coming up next.

What is a recommended focal length/lens to attribute the current 2? (Im thinking a 70mm/77mm and to pick outta these 2 is a whole new thread :P)
21/43/85/135/200 = great kit and add the 15, 70 and one from 28/30/31 later.

You specifically mention casual portraits and inanimate objects ... so you don't need fast focusing lenses. The 43 Ltd does great full body/ upper body portraits but for closer I'll put forward my new (used) lens the Contax Zeiss 85/1.4 (ca. US$700 used) - it's an MF lens of course, very easy to add a PK mount to it. Superlative lens regarded as one of the best 85s of all time, and using CIF on the Pentax cameras it's amazingly fast and accurate. The 1.4 gives you creative licence. If the cost is too rich then the MF Samyang 85/1.4 is an amazing piece of kit, very very sharp and good bokeh, for ca. US$350.

Taken a couple of days ago using CIF :

Contax Zeiss 85/1.4 @ f2.8 / 1/400 / ISO400

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