Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-28-2012, 03:01 PM   #1
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 612
Pentax Prime advantage or a fast zoom

I have a bit of a conundrum. I've had my K-5 for a few weeks now and have been absolutely loving it. It's what my K-7 was, plus much more. I have no regrets on buying the body. It came with the 18-55, which for what it is, it's a good lens. I had one with my K-7 as well.

However, I am having regrets on the lenses I bought. I thought I would get a few fast primes and all would be well. I'd have a lighter camera bag, and have more options; I could shoot in low light more easily. It turns out having a few rigid primes are being a bit more cumbersome to me.

I bought the 50 1.4, the 35 2.4, and the Vivitar 85 1.4 to go with my K-5 when I ordered it. The Vivitar, although cheap, is a good lens in terms of IQ, takes some time to get perfect focus. It's a very sharp lens, and I love the focal length. The lack of AF keeps me from pulling it out of my bag most of the time, though. I need more practice (and perhaps new glasses), but the AF indicator isn't accurate and I am having problems getting sharp photos at 1.4.

The 50 1.4 is a very good lens, I love it a lot. Image quality is fantastic, and coupled with the K-5 I can almost see in the dark.

The 35 2.4 is probably the one I thought I'd use the most, but it's stayed in my bag more than the other 2. It's build quality isn't very confidence inspiring to say the least.

I am honestly thinking about returning all the lenses to B&H and getting the 16-50. The prime advantage was something I thought I wanted, but I like being able to have one lens that carries all the focal lengths I need most often. When I shot film with my Canon A2, I had the Tamron 28-75 2.8 and never really needed anything else.

What are your thoughts?

01-28-2012, 03:40 PM   #2
Veteran Member
wlachan's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Canada
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,626
Maybe just return all lenses for the Tamron 17-50/2.8 if you were happy with the previous Tamron.
01-28-2012, 03:45 PM   #3
Loyal Site Supporter
baro-nite's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: North Carolina, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,298
Sounds like there are four different issues here: MF vs. AF, focusing fast lenses generally, build quality, and zooms vs. primes.

If the focus indicator (green hexagon) isn't accurate for the Viv 85, does the lens have a data contact? If so, I think you can do a fine focus adjustment on it?

As you point out, with a fast lens you can "almost see in the dark" especially with the high-ISO performance of the K-5. You're not going to get that kind of speed with a zoom. How important is it to you?

Re build quality, I can relate -- the build quality of my DA 16-45 is one reason I don't use it as much as I might. Silly reason in some ways, but I don't care. (That said, when I have the lens on the camera I enjoy using it.) This really has nothing to do with zoom vs. prime, either of which can have solid or shoddy build quality.

I happen to enjoy using primes, despite or even because of their limitations. If you don't feel that way, get yourself a high-quality zoom. Primes are "better" in some senses but in photography every decision entails compromises. The IQ of modern zooms can be nearly indistinguishable from that of primes, aside from easily correctable issues such as barrel distortion, and if you don't need speed beyond f/2.8, zooms are great.
01-28-2012, 03:52 PM   #4
Veteran Member
causey's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,758
You can use the Vivitar with Catch-in-Focus, which makes MF much-much easier. Practically, the only difference btw. AF and MF with CIF is that in the latter case your hand plays the role of the motor. Consult the camera's manual.

01-28-2012, 03:55 PM   #5
Site Supporter
rbefly's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Denver, Colorado
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,030
Classic Dilemma?

Hello Brofkand,
You have the classic dilemma; Convenience vs Quality. There have been very few (if any) zooms made that rival a prime in image quality, sharpness and resolution.
Perhaps at one focal length, at a particular f-stop, under certain conditions. But overall...no.
But, no prime can beat a zoom for conveniece in framing, composition and portability. One lens that takes the place of several? Just the time saved in changing lenses can mean the difference in getting a shot or not. You can't always back up or move forward to get everything perfectly right.
So, which is better? Depends on your shooting style, subject, location and the time you have at your disposal.
If you were shooting a fast-moving subject like sports, from a fixed location, an 80-200m f2.8 and perhaps another 100-400mm (roughly) for longer shots would be useful, and quicker to use than several primes.
But if you went out on a field trip and had time to compose grand scenic shots, beautiful landscapes or city views, I'd suggest a 24mm, perhaps a 35mm, 50mm and short telephoto. You would be looking for the absolute maximum detail, sharpness and clarity.
I believe you have the start of a good lens kit. You can certainly find zooms with better IQ than the 18-55 (although it is very good for a kit lens) and may do so in the future. But never forsake your primes. They will get you shots when nothing else will and the sharpness, particularly when stopped down, is unrivaled.
There have been suggestions on similar threads suggesting that by looking at the focal lengths you use most (with your zoom), you can see which "shooting" lengths you prefer. I think this is a good excercise, we all have our own particular way of seeing, that's what photography is. How we see our world.
Personally. I'm never happier than I am with a bag of 3 or 4 fast primes, a reliable camera and fresh batteries. Others would prefer a couple of zooms. There's no one universal "Best" way, but there is a way that works best for you.
Good Luck!
Ron
01-28-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
Site Supporter
rvannatta's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Apiary, Oregon
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,171
QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
I have a bit of a conundrum. I've had my K-5 for a few weeks now and have been absolutely loving it. It's what my K-7 was, plus much more. I have no regrets on buying the body. It came with the 18-55, which for what it is, it's a good lens. I had one with my K-7 as well.

However, I am having regrets on the lenses I bought. I thought I would get a few fast primes and all would be well. I'd have a lighter camera bag, and have more options; I could shoot in low light more easily. It turns out having a few rigid primes are being a bit more cumbersome to me.

I bought the 50 1.4, the 35 2.4, and the Vivitar 85 1.4 to go with my K-5 when I ordered it. The Vivitar, although cheap, is a good lens in terms of IQ, takes some time to get perfect focus. It's a very sharp lens, and I love the focal length. The lack of AF keeps me from pulling it out of my bag most of the time, though. I need more practice (and perhaps new glasses), but the AF indicator isn't accurate and I am having problems getting sharp photos at 1.4.

The 50 1.4 is a very good lens, I love it a lot. Image quality is fantastic, and coupled with the K-5 I can almost see in the dark.

The 35 2.4 is probably the one I thought I'd use the most, but it's stayed in my bag more than the other 2. It's build quality isn't very confidence inspiring to say the least.

I am honestly thinking about returning all the lenses to B&H and getting the 16-50. The prime advantage was something I thought I wanted, but I like being able to have one lens that carries all the focal lengths I need most often. When I shot film with my Canon A2, I had the Tamron 28-75 2.8 and never really needed anything else.

What are your thoughts?
I looked it for the poll, and have had my 16-50 since August 2007. Lots of folks who never owned one claim it is a troubled lens but I've been happy with mine. I own both some primes and the 16-50 and I normally use the 16-50, but I guarantee you that unless they are asleep there
will be 3 folks at least bad mouthing it within 10 minutes of this post. I have also carried pentaxes around for 40 years.

the other thing that I can tell you is that personal preferences for lenses has not stayed constant over the 40 years. You need to find your style.
and some times it changes. The focusing screen that is in the K7 isn't optimized for manual focus which makes it hard to use for manual focus.
I've bought, but not gotten around to install a Katz eye screen that has a split image in it making focusing easy like it used to be with the old
manual focus cameras---if there was enough light so it didn't black out.

Unless budget issues have you pressed real hard against the wall, I'd keep the lenses you have and ADD the 16-50 to my collection.
There is no right answer, but there are times for primes and times for zooms. One of those times for primes is when you use the built
in Flash, and at some focal lengths its snout gets in the way of the flash. If you never use the built in flash, it's not an issue.

similarly haveing the 16-50 won't replace the 85, an more than your 50mm prime replaces the 85.

Also you miss a whole lot of the world if you don't play around with macro stuff. You don't have to go buy a macro lense to play in the macro sand box.--- you can do it with a set of extension tubes and the any of the primes you have.
01-28-2012, 04:06 PM   #7
Veteran Member
westmill's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Stoke on Trent
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,146
QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
I have a bit of a conundrum. I've had my K-5 for a few weeks now and have been absolutely loving it. It's what my K-7 was, plus much more. I have no regrets on buying the body. It came with the 18-55, which for what it is, it's a good lens. I had one with my K-7 as well.

However, I am having regrets on the lenses I bought. I thought I would get a few fast primes and all would be well. I'd have a lighter camera bag, and have more options; I could shoot in low light more easily. It turns out having a few rigid primes are being a bit more cumbersome to me.

I bought the 50 1.4, the 35 2.4, and the Vivitar 85 1.4 to go with my K-5 when I ordered it. The Vivitar, although cheap, is a good lens in terms of IQ, takes some time to get perfect focus. It's a very sharp lens, and I love the focal length. The lack of AF keeps me from pulling it out of my bag most of the time, though. I need more practice (and perhaps new glasses), but the AF indicator isn't accurate and I am having problems getting sharp photos at 1.4.

The 50 1.4 is a very good lens, I love it a lot. Image quality is fantastic, and coupled with the K-5 I can almost see in the dark.

The 35 2.4 is probably the one I thought I'd use the most, but it's stayed in my bag more than the other 2. It's build quality isn't very confidence inspiring to say the least.

I am honestly thinking about returning all the lenses to B&H and getting the 16-50. The prime advantage was something I thought I wanted, but I like being able to have one lens that carries all the focal lengths I need most often. When I shot film with my Canon A2, I had the Tamron 28-75 2.8 and never really needed anything else.

What are your thoughts?
The 35mm F2.4 is almost certainly the best lens in optical terms, even though its as cheap as chips. its a cracker at any price.
The only other lens Ive seen thats better is the 31mm ltd which is simply superb if you have the money for it. So its a shame.
I would recomend sticking to pentax brand to be honnest though. even though the tamron easily outperforms it.
I wish I had ! There is a compatability problem when used in jpg mode for example.... auto lens correction is lost.
not weatheproof, vigneting when using built in flash and no manual fine tune of focus while in autofocus.
If you can live with F4... the pentax 17-70 is a better performer than the 16-50 with a slightly longer reach and much cheaper.
01-28-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
Senior Member
jaytee's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: tucson,az
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 255
As far as the 35mm goes I would ignore it's light weight build and experiment with it if you haven't. It is said to have excellent image quality and fast auto focus. Even though it is plastic it won't fall apart anytime soon so I would at least give it a workout?

01-28-2012, 04:21 PM   #9
Veteran Member
causey's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,758
Suggestion: use you camera with the kit lens as much as you can for 3-4 days and see whether you are satisfied with a zoom. Then imagine your zoom is 3x heavier. And decide.
Three years ago I started with a K200d + DA 18-250 (excellent lens, BTW). Still, after shooting a M 50mm 1.7, I longed for better IQ. I tried a 16-45mm + 55-300mm combo. Still not satisfied. I realized I wanted small, light, and very, very sharp. So, I went for primes, and I like it.
I intend to get the Vivitar 85mm too, even if it's a heavy lens. There are no f1.4 zooms.
But as the others said, to each his own style of shooting...
01-28-2012, 04:42 PM   #10
Veteran Member
ihasa's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: West Midlands
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,054
IMO the Tamron 17-50mm is pretty much prime quality, however all the lenses you mention have a speed advantage (even the DA35mm... just) and are a lot lighter (except the 85/1.4 I expect) so I wouldn't be in a rush to switch to a zoom. If I was you I would work within the limitations of the kit lens or save for a second hand Tamron 17-50.

I was appalled at the flimsy build quality of the DA35mm, and uninspired by my initial 'test shots' but after I had got some nice results with it, my concerns completely evaporated and I now use it often.
01-28-2012, 04:51 PM   #11
hcc
Pentaxian
hcc's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,482
QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
Sounds like there are four different issues here: MF vs. AF, focusing fast lenses generally, build quality, and zooms vs. primes.
Very true.
In fact, you tend to experience a normal situation for many, Too many things all at once: a new camera, new lenses, ... Take your time. 3-4 weeks is not logn enough to fully appreciate the value of new lenses IMHO.

Why don't use the K-5 with your kit lens for a while? This wil give a good idea of your preferred focal length(es).

With your 85mm and 50mm, lenses, CIF is a great trick for MF lenses. Read for example: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/146443-manual-f...we-afraid.html. Read the K-5 manual and you will see that it is easy to use.

Food for thoughtss....
01-28-2012, 04:52 PM   #12
Veteran Member
Verglace's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 468
QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
The prime advantage was something I thought I wanted, but I like being able to have one lens that carries all the focal lengths I need most often.
I was in the same line of thought as you. When I got in the pentax line I was sold on the limited lenses. I got myself a 15/35/50/70 set of primes to cover most ranges. They were small and extremely light, I also got the 18-55 WR for rainy days. But after half a year I found them cumbersome. When I go to trips and I wanted to change lenses I would have to find somewhere safe to change them incase of dusts. I would miss some shots because I had the wrong lens on at the time. So the 18-55 got more hands on time, when I had it on I would miss the fast aperture.

I carry all the lenses with me in my bag, so even though individually they are small, together they still take quite a lot of space in the bag(although they are still very light).

Then I realised, I'm young, fit and healthy. A heavier lens wont do me any harm, I can spend less time switching lenses and more time taking photos (and building muscles at the same time). I've decided the 16-50 is what's for me.
01-28-2012, 04:59 PM   #13
Veteran Member
westmill's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Stoke on Trent
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,146
Two K5 bodies.... one with 16-50 the other with 50-135..... you will forget how to change a lens lol
01-28-2012, 05:00 PM   #14
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 612
Original Poster
I appreciate everyone's thoughtful responses. It's a very personal decision, but I really think my photographic habits have changed.

Primes, as has been stated here and everywhere, almost always beat out zooms in terms of speed and image quality. But I think there's a bit of "good enough" that can fit in here.

I am not a street photographer, I primarily work in landscapes, architecture, and portraits. I use external lighting for portraits. In short, I don't really need fast lenses. I don't even need the high ISO of the K-5 most of the time. I rarely bump it up higher than 800, though I suppose it certainly doesn't hurt to have it available.

I'm not saying I wouldn't benefit from having some fast primes available, but in the short time I've had these lenses they've been more of a hindrance than anything.

Causey, you bring up a good point. I'm going to force myself to use my 18-55 for some time to see how I like it.

Thanks!
01-28-2012, 09:00 PM   #15
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 612
Original Poster
I have thought long and hard about it, and I've decided to return all the primes and get the 16-50. I thought about the 16-45 and the 17-70, but I would rather have weather sealing and 2.8. I'll almost certainly pick up the 50-135 as well, but it will have to wait until I actually start making money with my camera. I'm going to keep my 18-55 when I need to save weight.

I'd love to have the 16-50, 100 macro, and 50-135. Perhaps a 50 1.4 as well. For now I'll make due with the 16-50. Still deciding on if I am going to return the 50 1.4 or keep it.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
af, bag, bit, k-5, k-mount, lens, love, pentax lens, primes, quality, slr lens, time
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pentax Prime or Wide Angle Zoom chrism_scotland Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 18 04-12-2011 12:07 AM
Fast Prime? kharenitin Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 33 07-24-2010 11:24 AM
What is the advantage of 21/35/40 prime vs a f2.8 zoom lens raider Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 23 06-21-2010 10:57 AM
Can k20 and K7 take advantage of fast cards photog Pentax DSLR Discussion 7 07-03-2009 06:08 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:15 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top