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12-25-2011, 05:55 PM   #1
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need help choosing a lens

Hello guys,

I bet this question gets asked about a million times here, but I'll go ahead and ask it again...

I have a 1,000$ budget to get a new lens(es). Right now, my pentax lens collection= the 17-70 F4 and an fa50 1.4.. Usually the 50mm stays on my cam and I'm always wishing it was wider. That sort of pushes me towards the 31mm limited but some people here say the 43mm f1.9 is a better/sharper lens so maybe I should get that + another lens? (maybe the DA 21mm?). I was also looking into the 16-50 2.8 but that motor worries me. I also thought about getting the tammy 70-200 but I hardly ever find myself wishing I had more range. What would you guys get in my situation?

12-25-2011, 06:22 PM   #2
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It might help answering a couple of questions....
  • What are you going to take pictures of? Interiors, exteriors, architecture, landscapes, citiscapes, Walkaround, Street views, or ?
  • What do you want the lens to do for you?
  • Do you want auto focusing or are willing to consider manual focusing?
  • Auto aperture or are you willing to consider manual aperture lenses?
  • Are you leaning towards primes or zooms?
  • How fast - faster than f2.8 or can it be slower?
  • Does size and weight matter? Pocketable?
  • Best image quality - or better than what you currently have?

12-25-2011, 06:35 PM   #3
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The focal length is not a problem since you have a zoom that covers the range that you are interested in getting a prime lens for. The simple answer is - what focal length do you find yourself using on the zoom most? Are there clusters of lengths? When I went though this process last year I found that I was shooting a LOT at 33-37mm. Guess what my next lens purchase was? The DA35/2.4. Data, can't argue with it and when you look at enough of it there is NO speculation.

Someone here suggested that I get ExposurePlot to answer that question and it worked like a charm by analyzing my photo library for me. You can find it at Wega2 JPG Image Viewer | Exposureplot Exif Analyzer | Slide Show | Aspect Ratio Changer | Digital camera related program and its Donate-ware, so if you like it you can make a PayPal donation to the developer.

Good luck!
12-26-2011, 01:31 AM   #4
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
It might help answering a couple of questions....
  • What are you going to take pictures of? Interiors, exteriors, architecture, landscapes, citiscapes, Walkaround, Street views, or ?
  • What do you want the lens to do for you?
  • Do you want auto focusing or are willing to consider manual focusing?
  • Auto aperture or are you willing to consider manual aperture lenses?
  • Are you leaning towards primes or zooms?
  • How fast - faster than f2.8 or can it be slower?
  • Does size and weight matter? Pocketable?
  • Best image quality - or better than what you currently have?

[*]What are you going to take pictures of? Interiors, exteriors, architecture, landscapes, citiscapes, Walkaround, Street views, or ?

Street views and walkaround describes me pretty well
[*]What do you want the lens to do for you?

Basically I want something that takes pictures as well or better than the 50 1.4 but isn't as long as the 50, a lot of times I find myself wishing the 50 was a tad wider.
[*]Do you want auto focusing or are willing to consider manual focusing?

I need autofocus
[*]Auto aperture or are you willing to consider manual aperture lenses?

auto aperture
[*]Are you leaning towards primes or zooms?

I don't mind either as long as the IQ is there... However, there's something really appealing about the limited primes... if I only wanted good zooms I would have gone Nikon or Canon..
[*]How fast - faster than f2.8 or can it be slower?

2.8 or faster...
[*]Does size and weight matter? Pocketable?

Nope.. as long as it fits inside my bag I'm cool with it..
[*]Best image quality - or better than what you currently have?

Best IQ...

12-26-2011, 01:43 AM   #5
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Sounds to me like the FA31 will suit you best.
12-26-2011, 10:05 AM   #6
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  • First choice - the 31 Ltd.
  • Second choice - the 40 Ltd. or the 43 Ltd. [tossup]

On the second choice -
  • If you value aperture speed more, then the 43.
  • If you value wider focal length more, then the 40.

Last edited by interested_observer; 12-26-2011 at 10:14 AM.
12-27-2011, 04:02 AM   #7
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I shoot mostly at apertures 1.8-4.0 with FA 31 Ltd (my main lens with the kit lens as back up). It is a beauty!

You need to consider Sigma 30mm f1.4. There is a thread here...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/149865-sigma-3...-examples.html

I may get the Sigma 30 f1.4 next year to compare with FA 31 Ltd.

Here is a picture of FA31 Ltd taken at f1.8 on Christmas day less than 2 feet away..


Here is a set of photos taken with FA 31 Ltd over 6 hours.
111014 Seoul - a set on Flickr

Good luck with your selection!

Enjoy!
12-27-2011, 06:54 AM   #8
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Use your 17-70. Fix it for a week or so on 31mm and for another week on 43mm. Check which focal length suites you best; and don't cheat Optionally add 35mm in the mix (DA-L35/2.4).

A FA43Ltd might be sharper and cheaper but if you don't like using it because it's still too long, it's a waste.

So that's the unbiased part of the answer out of the way. The biased part is to get the FA31Ltd; not too long and not too wide (at least for me). And your 50mm will be a better companion to the FA31Ltd because it's not as close in focal length as the FA43Ltd.

12-29-2011, 02:27 AM   #9
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Original Poster
Thanks for all the suggestions guys. After some careful thought, I've decided to go with the 31mm limited. There's no major risk in doing so as the limiteds seem to hold their value very well in the preowned market.
12-29-2011, 04:20 AM   #10
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You will enjoy FA 31.
It is a wonderful focal length with good maximum aperture of 1.8. It is also sharp.

All the best.
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