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10-18-2011, 05:50 AM   #1
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newbie lens price question

Hi there, first post from an a newbie! I'm doing a little research to get my first prime lens and have been trying to decide between the 35mm f2.4 and 50mm f1.4.
I have noticed that the price of the 50mm has nearly doubled in the past few years, and since I am on a budget, this is one reason I am leaning towards the 35mm. I am curious about why prices go up or down for lenses? Is there any hope to wait it out that the 50mm will come back down in price?
Thank you!

10-18-2011, 06:22 AM   #2
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Hi stlpen,
your decision should be based on what your favorite focal length is and what you want to shoot. If you are looking for a shallow DOF and want to take pictures in low light situation I would recommend the 50. But you have to keep in mind, that 50 mm is a short tele on APS-C.
I don't own the DA 35 mm, but I heard a lot of good things about it. The price is unbeatable...
I wouldn't wait for dropping prices, especially with the lenses no longer in production. I think you're talking about the FA 50 mm 1.4, but if you don't mind manual lenses you should consider the SMC Pentax-M 50 1.4 which is quite cheap.
Especially when you are on a budget, I would invest money in a split screen and buy some manual prime lenses. I think for the money the DA 35 mm 2.4 cost you could buy a manual 35mm, 50mm and a split screen.
10-18-2011, 06:24 AM   #3
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Which one to buy really depends on your 'need'.

The 35mm gives you 50mm (35mm film) equivalent on a cropped digital camera; the 50mm gives you 75mm equivalent, ie short telephoto - could be good for portraits.

f1.4 is faster than f2.4, so better for (a) a bright viewfinder, (b) low light, and (c) shallower depth of field, but both lenses will need to be stopped down to around f8 to optimise performance.

As to price, who knows what the future under Ricoh will bring?
10-18-2011, 04:54 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stlpen Quote
I am curious about why prices go up or down for lenses?
In simple words, the price of new lenses is going up and up, and the last 10 years has shown that it is not going down. Beyond a lens is an investment; it does not loose value like a car or like a camera body. A good quality second hand lens can be purchased about 85-90% of the price of the same new lens even after a few years.

There is in parallel a broad market of used lenses, especially for Pentax because Pentax continues to use the same K-mount for years. In the 2nd hand market, there are both very expensive lenses (like the FA*85mm f1.4) and much cheaper lenses. Typically MF prime lenses are the cheapest and many are excellent bargains.

You are after 2 different lenses: 35mm f2.8 and 50mm f1.4. If you like to shoot in lights, I would go for the 50mm f1.4 because of the larger aperture. If you want a wider lens for action shots in daytime, the 35m f2.8 would be good choice. Both are well priced especially 2nd hand and the PF markeplace is a good place to search.

Hope that the comments may help....

10-18-2011, 05:41 PM   #5
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Two questions there: Why price changes? And, which is the best lens? I have a zillion lenses; the FA 50/1.4 is my only AF prime. It was cheap at US$200 when I bought it new 3.4 years ago. Hoya-Pentax saw fit to make more profit on it, so they jacked-up the price. Prices rise because makers and sellers want to make more money; that's easy.

I've never had the DA35/2.4. I have various manual 35mm primes in the f/2-4.5 range, and I don't use them that much. The 'normal' focal length for an APS-C camera is around 28-30mm, and my favourite walkaround prime is a manual Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA that cost me all of US$18 shipped. The FA50/1.4 is part of my original K20D kit; it's my gotta-get-the-shot lens. Fast f/1.4 lenses just can do what slower lenses can't, in terms of low-light, action, and DOF control.

But fast lenses usually aren't cheap, especially new AF guys. Solution? Old manual primes. My SuperTak 50/1.4 was US$55; a planar Yashica ML 50/1.4 was US$10; a great Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 was TWO BUCKS! Yes, those are all low-end prices. But manual 50-55mm f/1.4 lenses in various mounts can still be found fairly cheap, like under US$50. Nikon, Yashica C/Y, and Olympus OM mounts are very simple to modify for Pentax. And M42-mount lenses only need a simple adapter.

Should you get the DA35/2.4? From what I read, it's probably the best deal in fairly-fast new AF lenses. Whether it suits you is another matter. Try this: Tape your 18-55 kit lens to 28mm. Shoot there for a week. The next week, go to 35mm. The next week, go to 50mm. See which focal length feels best for you. Let that drive your decision. Good luck!
10-18-2011, 06:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies! Maybe I should add my desired subject matter - my 1 year old. I guess it is like comparing apples and oranges. I think I like the 35mm focal length better, but I love blurry backgrounds and I also really want to be able to get more pictures in my house without having to use flash or super high ISO.
But at least I know there is no use in waiting for prices to go down.
10-19-2011, 12:33 AM   #7
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If you want to shoot portraits of your 1 year old I really recommend a 50 or even something longer. You have to keep in mind that focus to infinity with a 35 mm is somewhere around 3 m. So you won`t get a good separation of fore- and background unless you get really close. From the experience I have from shooting my 10 month old I can tell that AF is really beneficial. I would try to get a good deal on the FA 50 1.4.
Additionally, f2.4 is not really fast. If you are willing to spend some more money you could get a used FA 35 2.0.
What I would do in you place: Buy a used 35 mm or 50 mm and test it. If you like it, keep it. Otherwise sell it again. You have to be a little bit careful with 'buy now' auctions on ebay. In my experience they are often overpriced. I saw some great deals here on the marketplace.
10-19-2011, 12:27 PM   #8
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ok the 50mm is sounding like what I want. Thinking of getting now because daughter's b-day party is this weekend. Options are Amazon new for $359. A local camera shop that sells used equipment has it for $300 - I have no idea how old the lens is - if it was produced for film? And also has a 50mm AF f/1.7 for $200. $200 being most in my budget.
Any thoughts or advice buying used? Is there any disadvantage to buying a older lens and using on a digital SLR?
I believe they have a 7 day return policy.

10-19-2011, 01:28 PM   #9
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The FA series was made for 35 mm film. But as far as I am concerned there are no disadvantages using an "old" lens on a DSLR (some of the FA lenses are still in production and highly desired by DSLR users).
All the prices seem reasonable. If you should buy an used lens, check for dents in the filter ring and scratches on the lenses. Furthermore the glass should be clear (no fungus or haze) and the aperture has to move smoothly. Some internal dust is normal for an older lens but it should not effect IQ. Best is to take your camera and take some sample shots.
10-19-2011, 02:06 PM   #10
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How to check used lenses: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/59245-pawnshop-lense...ers-guide.html

Old lenses (mostly) work fine on new dSLRs. I use almost nothing but those. A used FA50/1.4 is a good deal at US$300. But if it's beyond your budget, it's either 1) save up or 2) get something else. Which AF 50/1.7 does the shop have? Both the F and FA versions are very highly regarded, and would suit your purposes well. Not quite as much DOF control as an f/1.4 but easier to use and just as brilliant.
10-20-2011, 01:13 AM   #11
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Prices on lenses don't go down, but wait long enough and lenses will go out of production and be replaced by even more expensive lenses.

Figure out what focal length works better for you and whether a manual focus lens is something you might want to use. There is a Samyang 35/1.4 that is MF and they are working on a 24/1.4. Sigma has a bunch of fast lenses in various focal lengths including a 30/1.4 and a 50/1.4 - these are autofocus. If you decide to go for a 50, there are also many old lenses that work great in low light, like RioRico mentioned: Takumar 50/1.4 and 55/1.8, Petri 55/1.8, Sears 50/1.7, Helios 58/2 - these can be found for under $100, but the M42 ones will require the use of an adapter ($15-20 from third party manufacturers, $40 from Pentax).

And be prepared - photographing kids indoors without flash is not for the faint of heart. You'll throw away lots of shots.
10-20-2011, 11:50 AM   #12
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Thanks again everyone for your help. I ended up buying the used 50mm 1.7, it is the F version. I definitely have to have an autofocus lens for getting pics of my daughter.
I've only looked at pictures on my camera screen but love the results and the fact that I am getting pics inside my house!
BUT, what I have noticed after a little bit of use is how HEAVY it is! So, I have another question. If I take this one back and continue to look for a used 50 f/1.4 - I assume the newer ones are lighter, but that this lens was also originally made for film and the older ones will be heavier?? How do I know by listings how old it is and what weight to expect. Sorry if I don't seem to know what I am talking about!
10-20-2011, 01:35 PM   #13
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I just checked at Pentax K-Mount Lenses and Lens Accessories The FA 50 1.4 and F 50 1.7 are about the same weight (220 g and 200 g) which is not that heavy and nearly the same as kit lenses. Faster lenses are heavier. If you want a really small, light prime lens you have to go for the DA ltd lenses. But they are more expensive and not that fast.
Sadly, you have to make a compromise between max aperture, weight, build quality, IQ and price.
10-20-2011, 07:24 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Davidw0815 Quote
I just checked at Pentax K-Mount Lenses and Lens Accessories The FA 50 1.4 and F 50 1.7 are about the same weight (220 g and 200 g) which is not that heavy and nearly the same as kit lenses. Faster lenses are heavier. If you want a really small, light prime lens you have to go for the DA ltd lenses. But they are more expensive and not that fast.
Sadly, you have to make a compromise between max aperture, weight, build quality, IQ and price.

hmm, it is signaficantly heavier than my kit lenses though... ?
10-20-2011, 08:26 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stlpen Quote
hmm, it is signaficantly heavier than my kit lenses though... ?
My DA18-55 (ver.2) weighs 250g, more than either the FA50/1.4 or the F50/1.7. Have you weighed your lenses lately?
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