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01-01-2012, 09:18 AM   #1
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MF lens: optical difference between M and A?

Decided on getting a MF 50mm f1.7.
But is there any optical difference between M and A?
-------------------------------

let me start off by providing my situation:

DA 16-45mm f4 (gone)
DAL 55-300mm kit (gone)
DA 35mm f2.4
DA 18-55 kit

those "were" the lenses i had.
later i traded off the DA 16-45 (i'm gonna miss the lens, but i need a faster one) and the 55-300 kit (hardly use such a long focal plus it focus slow) for a K5.
so now i am left with a DA 18-55mm kit and the DA 35mm f2.4, and my lovely K5

i shoot mostly portrait, so i would need a faster and decent focal length (50mm - 70mm) for better DOF.
i may shoot studio objects (jewelry) in the future, so a macro ability may also be important to me.
i sometimes shot landscape, but my 35mm already handle it pretty well, i don't really need wide focal length such as 15, 16mm.
because i just purchased the k5, i don't have a ton of budget for lenses.

so that is my situation.
I came across with 2 options: either a 50mm f2.8 macro, or a 24-70mm f2.8 macro.
50mm prime may give better sharpness, while the 24-70mm zoom gives more flexibility.

if you were me, what would you choose?
any other suggestion you can give me?

thanks for reading such a long post.


Last edited by telly0050; 01-02-2012 at 08:27 AM.
01-01-2012, 09:22 AM   #2
JVi
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I have the Pentax A 50 2.8 macro and I use it a lot. It is very sharp.

In general, zooms are for convenience. Primes are for photography.
01-01-2012, 09:49 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by telly0050 Quote
i may shoot studio objects (jewelry) in the future, so a macro ability may also be important to me.

I came across with 2 options: either a 50mm f2.8 macro, or a 24-70mm f2.8 macro.
50mm prime may give better sharpness, while the 24-70mm zoom gives more flexibility.
When a zoom is described as "macro," that's just marketing talk.
If you need close to genuine macro (1:1) for the jewelry,
the 50/2.8 macro will do the job.

Personally, I use the DA35/2.8 Macro LTD,
but you already have 35mm covered,
and although it may need softening in PP,
the 50/2.8 macro can serve as a portrait lens.

You'll miss 56-70mm from the zoom,
but cropping from the 50/2.8 macro
should be usable for that range,
especially with all the pixels in the K5.

Finally, the kit lens isn't too bad
over the 24-35mm range,
especially if you don't need speed there.
01-01-2012, 09:56 AM   #4
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You've nailed it. For acuity, get the prime. For flexibility, get the zoom. If your budget is small, think about used manual-focus lenses. AF is NOT needed for 'scapes and macro work and is often unnecessary for portraiture. A decent 24-28mm will be great for 'scapes. A (moderately) Fast Fifty will be great for some portraiture; a 90-105mm macro will be great for headshots, close work, and short tele shoots. But don't think of a "macro zoom" for shooting macro -- they typically don't go greater than 1:4 magnification, and their results won't be as good as with a macro or enlarger lens.

My cheap suggestions:

* Vivitar (Komine|Kiron) or Sigma 24mm or Lentar-Tokina 25/3.5 for 'scapes
* M or A 50/1.7 or SuperTak 55/1.8 for torso shots -- on tubes for macro
* some 75/3.5 enlarger lens on tubes or helicoid for headshots and macro
- or a good 1.5x tele adapter on the Fifty for softer headshots w/ thin DOF

If you absolutely *need* AF, allocate a larger budget. Ouch.


Last edited by RioRico; 01-01-2012 at 10:06 AM.
01-01-2012, 10:22 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteQuote:
Primes are for photography.
That is a stupid statement.
01-01-2012, 10:29 AM   #6
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Original Poster
thanks guys for your opinion.

before posting i was more toward the zoom option (thinking of tamron 28-75mm f2.8) for walk around.
and now i am really in between :/
f2.8 on the 75mm end will give narrower dof than f2.8/55mm for portrait isn't it?

MF is cool, but i didn't have a good experience with a 50mm f2.0 on my k-x, so i would prefer a AF lens.
plus MF isn't the way to go on moving child.

so if my budget is up to $300, anyone has any recommendation for me?
01-01-2012, 11:35 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by telly0050 Quote
so if my budget is up to $300, anyone has any recommendation for me?

As RioRico suggested, something like the Tamron SP AF 90/2.8 macro
Tamron Lenses for Pentax: Current Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
would do both portraits and macros,
although a new one might stretch your budget a little.
01-01-2012, 11:39 AM   #8
JVi
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With $300, children and auto-focus, perhaps a Pentax DA 35 2.4 or an FA 50 1.7. Again, with kids, the 50 is probably too narrow unless they "pose" or stay still.

01-01-2012, 11:53 AM   #9
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I like the Sigma 17-70mm 2.8 - 4.5. Sharp, reasonably priced, reasonably fast. Great carry around and portrait lens. Sharper than than the Px18-55. I use it on my K-10D. Priced around $300. Now all I need is a K-5.
01-01-2012, 01:44 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JVi Quote
With $300, children and auto-focus, perhaps a Pentax DA 35 2.4 or an FA 50 1.7.
OP already/still has the DA 35/2.4.
01-01-2012, 08:50 PM   #11
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I use 3 primes and oh yes I have a zoom, its called my legs.
01-02-2012, 12:44 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kshapero Quote
I use 3 primes and oh yes I have a zoom, its called my legs.
Alas, you may be taken to task by those accusing you of confusing newbs about this, because moving (with your legs) changes perspective and lens-zooming doesn't, alas. Not that I really care. I can survive multiple usages of the word 'zoom'. So I look at the Wikipedia disambiguation page and see:
  • Zoom lens, a lens assembly allowing for adjustable focal length
  • Digital zoom, an electronic emulation of focal length change
  • In film cinematography, a camera movement requiring a zoom lens ("zoom in/out")
So a zoom is both a lens adjustment AND a camera movement. Whew. OK, we can continue zooming with our legs, without damaging our jargon. What a relief!
01-02-2012, 04:22 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I can survive multiple usages of the word 'zoom'. So I look at the Wikipedia disambiguation page and see:
  • Zoom lens, a lens assembly allowing for adjustable focal length
  • Digital zoom, an electronic emulation of focal length change
  • In film cinematography, a camera movement requiring a zoom lens ("zoom in/out")

It could be worse.
Back in the day,
there was a distinction between "zoom" and "vario."
"Vario" just meant zoom lens in the modern sense, the first bullet.
"Zoom" meant more:
a lens which did not change focus when you changed the focal length
(very convenient: do your fine focus on tele, then zoom out),
or where the focal length could be changed during a long exposure
to give a weird exploding effect.
01-02-2012, 07:47 AM   #14
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thanks guys that's very informative.
i decide to get a M 50mm f1.7 and try practicing MF again.
01-02-2012, 07:51 AM   #15
JVi
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QuoteOriginally posted by telly0050 Quote
thanks guys that's very informative.
i decide to get a M 50mm f1.7 and try practicing MF again.
Great choice. Good luck.
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