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12-25-2011, 09:49 PM   #1
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Build my kit...

Trying to settle on the *perfect* lens line-up, and am interested to see what folks would suggest with the following criteria in mind:

- Budget ~$1500 USD
- Want 3 lenses
- Prefer relatively compact
- Prefer primes>zooms
- Shoot mostly landscapes so need something wide
- At least one outstanding portrait lens
- Longest focal length I need to cover is 70-100mm on APS-C
- Would like all 3 lenses to be strong for landscape/travel photography (i.e. good at distant/infinity focus)
- Sharpness, punchy contrast, and realistic detail rendering are a must
- One lens with macro ability a bonus, but not absolutely critical (would like something that would focus close enough to take some reasonably close flower shots, though)

Have intentionally left this open-ended as I'd really like to see which lenses people would choose based on the above. Looking forward to everyone's opinion!

Merry Christmas!

-Brandon

12-25-2011, 10:05 PM   #2
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DA 21mm f/3,2 ltd - $670
DA 40mm f/2.8 ltd - $350
DA 70mm f/2.4 ltd - $530
That brings you in for $1550

If you really need the macro then maybe swap the DA 40 for the DA 35 macro but that is $300 more.

If you don't need true macro (1:1 image magnification) just close-up then add an F 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 zoom, maybe $75 - 100 used and gives you close-up and a good walk around lens.
12-25-2011, 10:19 PM   #3
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QuoteQuote:
DA 21mm f/3,2 ltd - $670
DA 40mm f/2.8 ltd - $350
DA 70mm f/2.4 ltd - $530
That brings you in for $1550

If you really need the macro then maybe swap the DA 40 for the DA 35 macro but that is $300 more.

If you don't need true macro (1:1 image magnification) just close-up then add an F 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 zoom, maybe $75 - 100 used and gives you close-up and a good walk around lens.
I would say the 15 because it is the widest, the 21 or 35 macro or 40, and the 70. You could save a bit going used, perhaps.
12-25-2011, 11:03 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
DA 21mm f/3,2 ltd - $670
DA 40mm f/2.8 ltd - $350
DA 70mm f/2.4 ltd - $530
That brings you in for $1550

If you really need the macro then maybe swap the DA 40 for the DA 35 macro but that is $300 more.

If you don't need true macro (1:1 image magnification) just close-up then add an F 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 zoom, maybe $75 - 100 used and gives you close-up and a good walk around lens.
I would also go with this set for a number of reasons.
  • DA 21 - Most landscapes are done at the 24-28mm length as any wider is where distortion starts to creep in. There really is not 24 or 28 currently in the Pentax line up and you would need to reach back. So that leaves you with choosing the 21 or 31. The 31 is a bit larger lens, and I find myself gravitating to 20mm quite a lot (with my 12-24). Hence the 21. I think that 3.2 would be sufficiently fast enough for what you are looking at. The nice thing about wide is that you can stitch practically all the time. Thereby going a bit narrower, you can cap the distortion and still have the as much additional width as you desire.
  • DA 40 - I have actually been thinking about swapping my A50/1.7 for the 40. It's resolution is suppose to be absolutely incredible. I have the 31 already, so I am sitting here doing nothing.
  • DA 70 - When you said outstanding portrait lens, its either the 70, 77 or 85. With your budget and size restrictions, the 70 I would think would be perfect. At 70 and with the DA you really are not giving up anything.
  • Macro - Being a bonus, and I really don't do macro, so I would tend to stick with the 40, but that is me and you are the one spending your funds.....
... also, I would not even hesitate going with previously owned lenses. I think that you could hold the price down quite nicely, and the folks here on the marketplace, tend to take good care of their equipment.



12-26-2011, 07:33 AM   #5
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Seems to me you already have something rather close with the DA 15, DA 40, and Sigma 70 macro. No surprise; you've probably had this "perfect" kit in mind for a while. The Sigma is not compact, and while I think it quite a good portrait lens would probably not meet most people's idea of "outstanding", so perhaps that's the obvious candidate for change. What about your current kit do you find lacking?
12-26-2011, 08:26 AM   #6
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Thanks for the thoughts everyone.


QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
What about your current kit do you find lacking?
I do really like the current kit, though have only had the Sigma for a short period and still figuring out how it performs in different situations. My only big beef with the Sigma is that it's bulky, but thus far IQ is great. I've thought about replacing that with the DA 70/2.4 for size reasons, then if I really felt having a macro lens was essential (not sure how I feel about that yet) picking up something like the DFA 50/2.8 macro as a normal that can also serve as a macro lens. Otherwise, there are a variety of other "normalish" lenses that I've thought look attractive (FA 43, various 50's, DA* 55). I'm fairly satisfied on the wide end (with DA 15), but have wondered about going narrower and stitching more (as suggested above) and also from time to time have a yen to try the 12-24 (I know this is not compact).

I'm just going through the constant LBA process, like many here, and was interested to get the opinions of what others would be looking at in my shoes.

Thanks all,
Brandon
12-26-2011, 08:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpv_UW Quote
I'm just going through the constant LBA process, like many here, and was interested to get the opinions of what others would be looking at in my shoes.
Not that people don't try to see things your way, but of course you're the only one who can really do that.

DA 15 :: DA 35 macro :: DA 70

Lovely compact all-Limited kit that includes macro, plus a good normal FOV in the 35 (you mention 50 as normal, but it really isn't on APS-C). You can probably make the exchange from the DA 40 and Sigma 70 without too much net cash outlay. You pick up half a stop of speed with the 70. You keep 1:1 macro magnification, but at the cost of working distance.
12-26-2011, 09:53 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
Not that people don't try to see things your way, but of course you're the only one who can really do that.

DA 15 :: DA 35 macro :: DA 70

[]
That's what I did.



then the LBA sets in for real and you have to start filling gaps.

12-26-2011, 05:21 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Landscapes tend not to move around too much (except in seismically active areas) so fast AF lenses aren't really needed there. Any of numerous inexpensive (or costly, if you wish) 28mm lenses are available. I've seen some edge distortion on every lens shorter than 28mm on APS-C. If slightly distorted edges don't bother you, 20-24mm are no problem. Various highly regarded DAs (like the small DA21Ltd) and FAs are there, as well as a number of decent manual 24s.

I'm not going to dive into the arguments over 31 vs 40 vs 43 vs 50 vs 55, nor 70 vs 77 vs 85 vs 90. Good luck!
12-26-2011, 08:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
Not that people don't try to see things your way, but of course you're the only one who can really do that.
Of course.

I've thought of the 15-35-70 DA limited lineup. The couple things that give me hesitation about the 35 are perhaps not long enough to be ideal for macro purposes, and I've read some comments that it isn't that sharp at infinity. Haven't done enough research on it to know how much stock to put in the latter; anyone have it and can comment on its performance at infinity (or close)?

Anyone have experience with the DFA 50/2.8 macro. 50mm seems perhaps a better macro focal length on APS-C than 35, and I know the DFA 50/2.8 is regarded as one of Pentax's sharpest 50's across the frame. Anyone know how it performs as a general purpose, walk-around lens?

Thanks again for everyone's thoughts.

Brandon
12-26-2011, 09:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpv_UW Quote
Of course.

I've thought of the 15-35-70 DA limited lineup. The couple things that give me hesitation about the 35 are perhaps not long enough to be ideal for macro purposes, and I've read some comments that it isn't that sharp at infinity. Haven't done enough research on it to know how much stock to put in the latter; anyone have it and can comment on its performance at infinity (or close)?

Anyone have experience with the DFA 50/2.8 macro. 50mm seems perhaps a better macro focal length on APS-C than 35, and I know the DFA 50/2.8 is regarded as one of Pentax's sharpest 50's across the frame. Anyone know how it performs as a general purpose, walk-around lens?

Thanks again for everyone's thoughts.

Brandon
Can't comment on most things listed but do have a variety of Macro lenses at different focal lengths - M50, M100, and a 90 macro. I find the 50 to be an excellent lens with incredible sharpness but I find the 90 & 100's to be much more practical when shooting macros outside the studio setting. The M100/4 Macro is incredibly sharp edge-to-edge and allows you to be a few steps back from your subject when you are shooting macros. So, I'd recommend that you consider something a bit longer for macro shots unless your intention is to do macros of inanimate objects in a studio setting.
12-26-2011, 10:03 PM   #12
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My three-lens prime kit is DA 15, DA 40, D FA 100mm.
12-27-2011, 02:25 AM   #13
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DA15, FA35 (other options too slow), DA70
12-27-2011, 08:06 AM   #14
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Only primes (somewhat better image quality but less versatile):

- DA 15 Ltd: Very useful FOV in cramped rooms or narrow streets. Good construction with built-in hood, nice punchy colors, very sharp in the center and quite OK in the corners when stopped down, low chromatic aberration, almost no distortion.

- DA 35 Ltd: "Standard" do-it-all lens. Otherwise, similar reasons as the DA 15 + built-in 1:1 macro.

- Apo-Lanthar 90/3.5: I love the focal length on APS-C (equivalent to the old 135mm on film) and the lens is compact, well made and optically perfect. It goes to 1:3.5 ratio and even 1:1.75 with the dedicated close-up lens.

The kit that I would pick:

- DA 16-45: because it's so versatile as a walk-around lens (goes to 1:4 ratio at 45mm), has low distortion, and is nicely sharp, even wide open. OK, some will say that it's not very fast -- but it's so easy to crank up the ISO with the last generation sensors -- and also that it's pretty prone to lateral chromatic aberration -- but CA gets corrected in-camera with the newer Pentax bodies.

- Nokton 58/1.4: I find the Nokton little bit better optically than the -- already excellent -- Pentax FA 50/1.4. It also has better construction, and offers perfect FOV for portrait on APS-C (equivalent to 87mm on film).

- Apo-Lanthar 90/3.5: same as above.

Autofocus and mostly zooms (I would prefer this kit when travelling with other people):

- DA 16-45: same as above.

- Pentax FA 50/1.4: The Pentax has a slightly shorter focal length than the above mentioned Nokton (which may suit better your shooting style and fits nicely between the range of the two zooms), is more compact and, of course, has autofocus.

- DA 55-300: reasonably good consumer telezoom, sharp enough at F/8-F/11. Here also, chromatic aberration will get corrected in-camera with the newer bodies.

Cheers!

Abbazz
12-27-2011, 03:55 PM   #15
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Thanks for the input everyone.

I think eventually I'll end up with DA 15 on the wide end and DA 70 on the short telephoto end. Where I waffle is in the middle. I have and really like the DA 40, but have desire to try FA 43 as well as FA 50 1.7. Would love the macro capability of either the DA 35 Macro or the DFA 50 Macro, but want to be sure they'll also be strong as general walk-around and landscape lenses (can anyone comment on this?).

Brandon
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