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10-02-2011, 04:18 PM   #1
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Is the Pentax DA* 55mm f/1.4 a great "walk-around" optic with the K-5 in wet environs

Greetings!
I have a Pentax K-5 with a few "WR" lenses (DA*16-50, DA*55, DA 50-200 WR). I plan to shoot landscape, city, and marathon shots in Portland, a city known to have "wet spells". I was planning to bring the DA* 16-50 and the DA 50-200 only, keeping it simple, but now think that the DA* 55mm f/1.4 would be a great "walk-around" lens for when I wanted a smaller, lighter kit. (The 16-50, while an awesome zoom, may be rather large and heavy for "discrete, fast", or night work.) Question- Would the DA* 55 make a good addition to the travel kit, or would it simply cause more "angst" in determining which lens to employ? I figured with the 2 lens kit, my decision-making would be much easier! Thank you for any advice you may provide.

10-02-2011, 04:27 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevelink Quote
Question- Would the DA* 55 make a good addition to the travel kit
Absolutely a good addition to take along in a city environment! I find a 55 to be a great walk around in the city while shooting a bunch of things including people shots; not sure how useful it will be shooting landscape in the city but I think it would be a great lens to shoot marathons with...



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10-02-2011, 04:47 PM   #3
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I have to disagree. I think that the focal length 55mm is too long. If you intend to use an all-around prime lens, I would recommend a focal length about 30-40 mm.

My best all-around prime lens is the FA31m f1.8 Ltd. In addition of a great IQ, the focal length is just right: not too long not too short. The lens is also fast (f1.8) and I used it successfully in poor indoor lighting.

Some do prefer the DA40m pancake. With the smaller K-x/K-r, it is a neat package.

I have a range of prime lenses from 31 mm to 300mm, plus a true all-around (zoom) lens (18-250mm). For an all-around prime, nothing can beat the FA31mm Ltd IMHO.

Hope that the comment will help.
10-02-2011, 04:55 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevelink Quote
Is the Pentax DA* 55mm f/1.4 a great "walk-around" optic with the K-5 in wet environs
The answer to this question is YES. You can sook it in a rainy day for hours and it wont let you down. It is a sharp lens and fast to make shots in every environment.

It's not your everyday lens for landscaping (but that is not my thing).

10-02-2011, 04:59 PM   #5
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Another, YES. It's a solid performer (in wet conditions too).
10-02-2011, 05:49 PM   #6
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The 50mm focal length has grown on me a lot but I think it would be difficult as a single walk around lens in a city. I pretty much always have a 24/28 and a 50 with me.
10-02-2011, 11:23 PM   #7
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Yes from me too, I could walk around all day with just the 55 and be happy, but thats me. Everyones preference is different tho

But if your traveling be sure that you have something on the wide end covered

Last edited by TOUGEFC; 10-02-2011 at 11:33 PM.
10-02-2011, 11:46 PM   #8
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Another yes here. My basic kit is 24/2 + 55/1.4. Although I am searching for a lens to bridge the gap left by these two, I can whole heartedly recommend DA*55 as walk around lens.

10-03-2011, 01:54 AM   #9
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As I see it, it will not result in real extra swapping. You're not going to decide that you want to be "discrete / fast" for one shot; you will decide that on forehand when you go out and think "today / tonight I want to be discrete / fast", you put the 55mm on the camera and it will stay there for a long time (you could even leave the other lenses in the hotel room or wherever you're staying so you're not tempted).

I'm in hcc's camp that 55mm might not be the most universal prime (something around 30mm does it for me as well) but if you have some space to move around, 55mm will work.
10-03-2011, 04:30 AM   #10
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It all depends on what focal length you like (55 works nicely for me) and what you are taking photos of. A 30-ish lens would be a more "normal" lens, but probably not long enough for some things -- not wide enough for others. As with all prime lenses, you have to decide on a compromise. And if you want to shoot wider, you can always shoot panoramas.
10-03-2011, 08:38 AM   #11
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The DA* 55mm is a great lens for subject isolation and picking out things which catch the eye. I feel there is a noticeable difference compared to the usual 50mm. Sure it's never gonna win any wide angle stakes but that's really not the point. To me the most versatile one lens has got to be the DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited but the 55mm makes a lot of sense when shooting at a good standoff distance.
10-03-2011, 09:26 AM   #12
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More of a 'Portrait' length lens...

QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The DA* 55mm is a great lens for subject isolation and picking out things which catch the eye. I feel there is a noticeable difference compared to the usual 50mm. Sure it's never gonna win any wide angle stakes but that's really not the point. To me the most versatile one lens has got to be the DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited but the 55mm makes a lot of sense when shooting at a good standoff distance.
55 = about a 77mm equivalent. I think that's why they brought out the 35 macro. That would be a 52mm equivalent, closer to a 'normal' lense. My personal favourite is the FA*24, which is about a 40. Not weatherproof, however, but great focal length for street shooting. Pentax needs to fill in some of these blank areas - we need a good 24, a 28, and definitely a 135.

Cheers,
Cameron
10-03-2011, 09:50 AM   #13
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I would say yes, bring it along. I think think the 16-50 would be a better choice as a walk-around. I have a couple of older MF 55's and while they are great lenses, I find them a little long for everyday use. However, my 55 Tak is always along. If I owned the DA 55*, I would bring it.
10-04-2011, 06:21 AM   #14
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The DA* 55 as a "Walk-Around" lens

Greetings!
First, let me thank everyone for all your excellent information and thoughts! After reviewing your suggestions and thinking about it, I decided that yes, I will bring it along. For one thing, though not very lightweight, it's physically smaller than the 16-50, and a tad sharper as well. It will serve me when I want to be a bit more discrete, or need that extra bit of sharpness for architecture or subject isolation. The 16-50 will serve as a general purpose lens for landscapes, cityscapes, and general use. Lastly, the 50-200 will be used if I need a longer reach for the marathoners at a distance. Of course, there are several other optics I wish I had, such as the DA* 50-135 or the 60-250, or the 35 Limited! However, I think I'll be covered with the 3 WR lenses mentioned, and I especially needed the "WR" variety, since it's notoriously "wet" in the Northwest. In any case, thank you, fellow Pentaxians, for your thoughtful and timely advice! If I get any "keepers", I'll be sure to post 'em! ~Steve

Last edited by stevelink; 10-04-2011 at 06:23 AM. Reason: typos
10-04-2011, 08:31 AM   #15
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For a marathon specifically it seems that 100mm (DFA 100mm macro WR) would be an ideal focal length. Of course the 55mm can be cropped but it seems like you'll only have time to get one body shot with a 55mm. Or use continuous shooting.
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