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02-29-2012, 06:55 AM   #1
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lens for indoor family shots, on a budget

Hello,
I am looking for a lens for my brother, who has K10D with a 18-55 kit lens + an old manual-focus 50mm F/1.8.
He likes the latter for indoor family shots without flash, but would like to replace it with an AF lens, possibly bit wider - 50mm can be too long for a kid playing in a small room.
The challenge is the budget - he would like to stay under 200 ($270).


So far, I have found the Pentax DA 35mm F/2.4, which looks like a nice lens and fits the budget. Are there any alternatives (including third-party lenses), within the given price range?


Thanks a lot in advance.
Michal

02-29-2012, 07:56 AM   #2
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I was thinking that you could look for a copy of the SMC Pentax 28-70 f4 (make sure it is constant f4, the other kit zooms with varying max aperture are pedestrian). It was the better kit zoom for the MZ familly cameras in the 90's. Reviews showed that except for the obvious difference in speed it was optically on par with the much more expensive SMC Pentax-FA* 28-70 f2.8. It sort of slipped into the collective oblivion how good this lens is and it is often taken for just another kit zoom, so the prices aren't that high. There are several of them on ebay right now buy it now for about 80-90 Euros, and some auctions, one of them ending in some 6 hours and so far only at 15Euro. On an APS-C you lose of course the wide angle, but you get from about normal to short tele, so it is more versatile than the 50mm. It focus rather fast (thanks to a short focus throw) so it is on par with the speed of kids. It was my most used lens on the MZ5 when our first child came.
It is harder to recommend a good low budget autofocus that is also wide angle on APS-C. There is a 19-35mm Vivitar/Cosina with decent reputation, but it doesn't cover more than your kit zoom and isn't faster either. Can't think of a low budget autofocus wide angle prime.
A manual 28mm f2.8 you can get cheap since they are common. Even if it is not exactly what you asked for it might be a good complement to what you have, and will be inexpensive.
02-29-2012, 08:47 AM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestions - I would guess that F4 would be too slow for the indoor use. I would draw the line at about F2.8.
And as far as I understand my brother, AF is a must.
02-29-2012, 08:49 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I have the 35/2.4 and love it, it's one of my most used lenses. It focuses fast on both my kx and k5, and is acceptably sharp from wide open. Stop it down a stop or two and it's fantastic. For the money you'd spend I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better lens for the money without going second hand and possibly even manual again.

02-29-2012, 08:51 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mkaut Quote
So far, I have found the Pentax DA 35mm F/2.4, which looks like a nice lens and fits the budget. Are there any alternatives (including third-party lenses), within the given price range?
If you want a) distinctly wider than 50mm, b) cheap, c) autofocus, d) at least f/2.8, then that is your one option. Is produces excellent images, so buy it and be happy!
02-29-2012, 08:56 AM   #6
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Forgot to say - one thing about the 35 is it doesn't come with a hood and does need one. I've got one of the cheap 49mm filter size ones from ebay for a few euros and it improves the contrast and colours, as well as protecting the front element on the lens. This is the type I bought and it looks pretty good on the lens as well. 49mm Lens Hood (Screw Mount) Petal Crown Flower Shape | eBay
02-29-2012, 09:04 AM   #7
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The Pentax K 55mm f/1.8 lens is exceptional and can be had for less than $100. Supposedly the f/2 version has the same optical formula, and it can be had for less. Also, don't forget the fast 50s. There's also lots of good manual focus 28mm lens that can be bought cheap.
02-29-2012, 09:05 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildweasel Quote
Forgot to say - one thing about the 35 is it doesn't come with a hood and does need one. I've got one of the cheap 49mm filter size ones from ebay for a few euros and it improves the contrast and colours, as well as protecting the front element on the lens. This is the type I bought and it looks pretty good on the lens as well. 49mm Lens Hood (Screw Mount) Petal Crown Flower Shape | eBay
Thanks for the tip :-)

02-29-2012, 10:15 AM   #9
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A good indoor zoom would be the Tamron 17-50/2.8 but it's beyond the budget limit. My favorite indoor lens is manual focus, fast, quite good, and within budget: Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 in PK-M mount. I use it to shoot squirmin' vermin (my grandkids) dashing about in their unnatural habitat (a medium-size ill-lit house). Wider lenses allow shooting at slower shutter speeds -- what would require 1/40th second at 50mm would only need 1/20th second at 24mm. Also, DOF is thicker with wider lenses, as the Online Depth of Field Calculator indicates -- 24/2 has nearly twice the DOF as 35/2.4, which gives more leeway when focusing. I find 35mm unsuitable for most indoor shots but YMMV.
02-29-2012, 10:53 AM   #10
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The 40mm Ltd pancake is right on your budget, it has a rather sharp f 2.8. Great image quality and is fun to use indoors and out. The AF is very fast and accurate. 40mm is wide enough to use inside but not so wide as to distort a face. It seems to be very bright for a 2.8 and has very nice bokeh.
02-29-2012, 12:05 PM   #11
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I would recommend the Pentax 35mm f/2.4. Another one for indoor would be the Samyang (or Rokinon, Bower, etc.) 35mm f/1.4, but it is much bigger and costs slightly more. Supposedly it is quite good optically. I never tried it and I prefer the Pentax because it is much smaller, but the wider aperture might be helpful indoors. Though, the Pentax lens is sharp even wide open, has no distortion, low vignetting, negligible CA.. its a great lens and incredibly cheap for such quality.
02-29-2012, 12:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Another one for indoor would be the Samyang (or Rokinon, Bower, etc.) 35mm f/1.4, but it is much bigger and costs slightly more.
It's about 3 times the cost of a DA 35mm F/2.4 and manual focus only, so unless you really need the f/1.4, its value proposition is somewhat questionable.
02-29-2012, 12:58 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jaytee Quote
The 40mm Ltd pancake is right on your budget, it has a rather sharp f 2.8. Great image quality and is fun to use indoors and out. The AF is very fast and accurate. 40mm is wide enough to use inside but not so wide as to distort a face. It seems to be very bright for a 2.8 and has very nice bokeh.
I understand it is a nice lens, but in Eurpe, the price starts at 350, i.e. almost twice the budget.

Maybe the new 40 mm XS, it should be cheaper - though its quality is unknown at the moment..
02-29-2012, 01:15 PM   #14
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If you can find an old Sigma 24 or 28mm f/2.8 lens in an autofocus version, those are pretty nice for this use. If flash is in play, a DA 16-45 would also be a consideration.
02-29-2012, 06:02 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mkaut Quote
I understand it is a nice lens, but in Eurpe, the price starts at €350, i.e. almost twice the budget.

Maybe the new 40 mm XS, it should be cheaper - though its quality is unknown at the moment..
That's a shocking price difference, I wonder why that is, it's not manufactured in the USA it is an import and sells for $260.00. That must be very aggravating !

Last edited by jaytee; 02-29-2012 at 06:03 PM. Reason: typo
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