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04-19-2012, 06:15 AM   #1
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New to Pentax - Thoughts appreciated on this kit list...

Hello all.

I'm about to start my venture into Pentax land after a false start about 3 years ago, where I somehow landed in Canon land.

Anyway, I'm going to be offloading the rest of my canon kit (7D + 24-70/2.8 L) shortly with my sights on a K-5. Trouble is deciding on what to fill the camera bag with?

Now, I really enjoy prime shooting and used to use a Leica-R Summicron 2/50 and Zeiss Distagon 2.8/21 all the time with the 24-70/2.8 in the cupboard gathering dust! These pieces of glass, especially the 'Cron gave me the output that I liked where the Canon glass seemed to "just-do" (it's all perspective I know.)

I got rid of the MF lenses as I need AF to keep up with the main subject of my shooting - daughter who's nearly 2 and darting this way and that. Also the KatzEye focusing screen and window really wasn't that good IMHO. I also like shooting street/portrait/candid with Landscape coming in a bit later in the "style rankings". One day in the next 5 years, I'll need a super-tele for Air-shows etc, and sports that the little one will get into but that's not important right now.

So with all that in mind, a lot of digging and reading what you all have to say about k-mount glass, I came up with the following contents list to fill my new bag over the next, say, 5 years or so:

1) SMC Pentax-DA 17-70mm f4 AL IF SDM
Really just looking for a decent all-rounder for any occasion; any location.

Then can't quite decide on the next piece of glass. Would welcome experiences/suggestions.

I loved my old Summicron 2/50 and it was perfect in and around the house for candid portraits (being a 75mm ish equivalent) and spot-on else where. But the 77mm does appeal to me a lot and may complement the 17-70mm better. So the next purchase is between these 2 - but fully intend to get both of them eventually!!!:

2) SMC Pentax-FA 77mm f1.8 limited
3) SMC Pentax-DA 55mm f1.4 SDM

From then on, it's a case of when money permits, get some glass:
4) SMC Pentax-DA 35mm f2.8 limited macro
5) SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm f4 ED IF SDM
6) Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM
7) SMC Pentax-DA 15mm f4 limited ED AL

If you can be bothered to help a newbee, I'd be most grateful for your experienced insights. If you can't be bothered, no problem - I should just get on with it and play; see what I like; see what I don't.

Thanks in advance

04-19-2012, 07:37 AM   #2
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I don't have experience with any of the lenses you mention.

Just a comment on the DA35Ltd
I'll like to know the reasoning for the DA35Ltd; as it is a macro, it might not be the fastest focusing lens due to the long focus throw. That is often not an issue (macro, steady objects) but if it's for faster action, it might be a handicap. DA35/2.4, FA31Ltd and Sigma 30/1.4 might be better choices.
04-19-2012, 07:47 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by rashdown_online Quote
I got rid of the MF lenses as I need AF to keep up with the main subject of my shooting - daughter who's nearly 2 and darting this way and that. Also the KatzEye focusing screen and window really wasn't that good IMHO. I also like shooting street/portrait/candid with Landscape coming in a bit later in the "style rankings".
Welcome to Pentax!

QuoteOriginally posted by rashdown_online Quote
Then can't quite decide on the next piece of glass. Would welcome experiences/suggestions.

I loved my old Summicron 2/50 and it was perfect in and around the house for candid portraits (being a 75mm ish equivalent) and spot-on else where. But the 77mm does appeal to me a lot and may complement the 17-70mm better. So the next purchase is between these 2 - but fully intend to get both of them eventually!!!:

2) SMC Pentax-FA 77mm f1.8 limited
3) SMC Pentax-DA 55mm f1.4 SDM
For chasing your 2-year old, and street use,
the DA 70/2.4 may offer faster autofocus.
I've just obtained one,
and despite the relative disrespect this lens sometimes receives from FA 77/1.8 users,
I am very happy with the bokeh and IQ
(which hold up quite well in comparison with my MF Zeiss 85/1.4 and Voigtlaender 90/3.5).


QuoteOriginally posted by rashdown_online Quote
From then on, it's a case of when money permits, get some glass:
4) SMC Pentax-DA 35mm f2.8 limited macro
7) SMC Pentax-DA 15mm f4 limited ED AL
Based on my experience, I can recommend both of these.
To avoid focus hunting with the DA 35/2.8,
you can use the Quick-Shift,
and also point the lens at a contrasty part of the scene for autofocus.
04-19-2012, 08:01 AM   #4
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Bear in mind you can rent the specialty zooms for airshows etc. That 60-250 is nice, but it's quite beefy and is a lot to carry around. I rented one for an airshow a few years ago, and on the K-10 the total weight was close to 5lbs. Most of the day I was cradling it in my arm, but still it does get tiring. I can't consider that a walk-around lens and would only really use it on occasion - the 55-300 seems more than good enough for walkaround birding/ pictures of opportunity while walking dogs.

Same with the 150-500, which I'll probably rent for the next airshow I attend.

I've found the 16-45 a convenient lens, though the 17-70 seems better rated (there are huge threads about this comparison)... I do find the 18-135 is a quicker lens in the field than the 16-45 but the 16-45 seems like it's better indoors. I'm still getting used to it.

Your lineup seems pretty comprehensive, though I wonder whether some overlap might mean you leave a lens in the bag a lot. The 55 is the one I suspect of that.

04-19-2012, 10:50 AM   #5
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If you like primes so much, why the 17-70 first? For me, I like primes for a number of reasons, but one is raw IQ. The 17-70, while a good zoom, isn't prime quality. A Tamron 17-50 or 28-75 would be a normal ranged zoom choice for someone who likes prime IQ. I would think with the $$ from the sale of the canon body and lens, you could pick up a used K-5 and 3 used DA limited primes (say 15/40/70?). This would be my suggestion for a prime guy. If you really want a zoom first, I tend to say go with one of the two I mentioned.
04-19-2012, 11:12 AM   #6
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All.

Thanks for the valuable insights - that's why I asked

@L33tGreg: Thanks for the note. I'm more of a Prime guy; yes. I've initially selected the 17-70/4 as I don't know any different in the K-mount space and I wanted a general purpose lens for every day type stuff across a wide range that can see me through while I collect primes glass. With the FA glass being a little pricey I thought this might be the best early option.

@All: Thanks for the notes on the DA-Ltds. I think I need to perhaps reconsider the FA/DA mix.

Thanks again for the inputs
04-20-2012, 06:32 AM   #7
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I shoot with K5 and M8.
I have been using M8 for 4 years to shoot my three young children. My kids get used to me and the slow focussing RF quickly. I have a lot of keepers with RF while shooting kids because i take my time to compose and wait for the 'right moment'. With K5 on the other hand, i am not disciplined enough and 'trigger happy'.

Leica and Zeiss lenses draw differently (bokeh) from Pentax. Leica without the AA filter produces very sharp images. Pentax prime (FA31) is not that far from Zeiss Biogon. I am more accurate with a RF than my Pentax AF. However, AF with Pentax is quite good once i get used to it after 10K shots with K5.

You have been shooting with the Canon 'dinosaur' zoom for a while and if you check you photo archive, you will get a feel of the most frequently used FL. That will help you decide what prime lenses to get.
I have survived on 50 Lux and 35 Biogon (1.3 crop). Now i am more than adequate with FA31 and Sigma 50 f1.4 (1.5 crop) on my K5.

All the best!
04-20-2012, 06:58 AM   #8
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@Bestzoom: Thanks for the note. I understand fully wherer you're coming from wiht the draw differences on the Leica and Zeiss. I loved the contrast and detail on the 21/2.8 but really fell for the certain "Leica" look on the 2/50 'Cron.

The trouble was that the viewfinder on the 7D is of a certain size where, when there's a moving target, I might as well have pointed the camera in the general direction of subject with the FL set to say 2m; clicked the trigger in rapid mode; and hoped for the best. With the split prism and relatively small size it was hard to use with moving targets. Composed shots were a completley different matter and I have got some beautiful shots (IMHO)

On your M8 the bigger; brighter viewfinder is likley much more helpful.

After reconsidering my options, I'm thinking of the DA*16-50 + DA-70 Ltd for now.

Then a bit later on opt for the DA-35/2.8 Ltd as a "Normal equivalent" and DA-21/3.2 Ltd as an "almost-35mm equivalent".

The FAs might be better in many respects (seems so after reading a lot of stuff) but I'm not a pro; won't ever get a film body for K-mount, and; very unlikely to get FF in the near to mid-term. I'd also like to get an M8.2 or M9 in years to come but that's going ot have to wait until retirement and kids paid off!

Thanks all for insights.

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