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04-19-2012, 08:43 AM   #1
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An 'A' lens setup…?

Hey guys! I think this is my first real post (beside a post introducing myself), so I'll try to make it a good one.

I've owned a Pentax *ist D for the last 6-7 years, and I love it. For the first few years, I shot using a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Macro. This lens has been quite an exceptional "walking-around" lens. The problem is that I hate zoom, and I hate autofocus. Both of these features, I think, end up taking away from the "aesthetics" of the lens: the focus and zoom rings feel a bit "ratchety" (if that makes sense) or clunky, and I'm simply not quick enough to zoom and focus in a smooth motion. The lens is also quite bulky/heavy (it is a Macro, after all), and the weight of the lens causes it to extend if I do not lock it in place.

All in all, I want something more "old school." About 3 years back, my mother bought me a most excellent present: an A 50mm f/1.4. I love this lens, and I haven't touched the Tamron since. Here's the plan, I'd like to sell the Tamron and buy two lenses. Which should I buy? I shoot mostly for fun, but I'm occasionally called on to shoot conferences, so I'd like to be prepared.

Here are a few buying preferences:
  • I think I can get about $300 for the Tamron, so I'd like to stay around a $400 budget.
  • I'd like older lenses if at all possible.
  • I'd like to fill a few needs. I'm thinking I might want to go with one wider lens and one longer lens.
  • The faster the lenses, the better—but I understand there are limits to what one can do on a budget.

Thanks guys!

p.s.: …for fun, here's a picture of my new kitten I shot with the A 50mm 1.4. I don't like looking like a "cat person," but I thought it came out well. (;




Last edited by keyofnight; 04-19-2012 at 08:46 AM. Reason: Fun!
04-19-2012, 08:51 AM - 1 Like   #2
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You could buy the A 28/2.8 and the A 135/2.8 and have money left over. Then you would have the old standard kit.

SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

You could substitute the A 24/2.8 and A 100/2.8 and still make budget if you are lucky.

SMC Pentax-A 24mm F2.8 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

SMC Pentax-A 100mm F2.8 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Since you posted a pet shot with the 50/1.4 so will I...


04-19-2012, 08:57 AM   #3
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What is it about zoom that you don't like? Not that I'm recommending it based on the comments you've posted so far, but the SMC A-35-105/3.5 has been described as a stack of primes. You could probably buy it plus the two lenses @boriscleto mentiond in his top set and thus have a range of 3 primes to work with (including your 50), and also has a single zoom that covered the same range for times when you only wanted to work with one lens.

It also isn't clear if you want to dramatically increase you maximum focal length, which would affect the equation.
04-19-2012, 09:16 AM   #4
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I say a 20mm maybe 24mm but not the 28mm, a 135mm f2.8 and the 35-105mm. Also, I would suggest the tamron adaptall-2 SP series lenses, these are generally great lenses, often inexpensive and you can start with p/k mounts then upgrade to p/ka mounts later when you have more money. Don't buy the first thing that comes along(unless it is going to cause you to lose sleep) because there is usually one for cheaper right behind it.

04-19-2012, 09:19 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by littledrawe Quote
I say a 20mm maybe 24mm but not the 28mm, a 135mm f2.8 and the 35-105mm. Also, I would suggest the tamron adaptall-2 SP series lenses, these are generally great lenses, often inexpensive and you can start with p/k mounts then upgrade to p/ka mounts later when you have more money. Don't buy the first thing that comes along(unless it is going to cause you to lose sleep) because there is usually one for cheaper right behind it.
The A 20/2.8 would cover the OP's entire budget.

Last edited by boriscleto; 04-19-2012 at 09:36 AM.
04-19-2012, 09:25 AM   #6
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Keep checking Keh.com, 35mm/pentax manual focus/fixed focal length.. They have a good selection and reasonable turnover.

Would you consider m42 mount lenses? They work well, esp with the 1st - you must preset the aperture, but it opens the world of great lenses quite a bit (zeiss, etc..)

Dave
04-19-2012, 09:35 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by littledrawe Quote
Also, I would suggest the tamron adaptall-2 SP series lenses, these are generally great lenses, often inexpensive and you can start with p/k mounts then upgrade to p/ka mounts later when you have more money.
This is an option, but he should know up front that PK/A adapters routinely sell for $90, although if you are lucky you can get one in a package deal where the seller doesn't realize the value of what he has.
04-19-2012, 07:07 PM   #8
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I too think the Pentax-A 28/2.8 is a good complement to your 50mm because of the FOV. I'm after one myself because I hardly use my 50mm, it's too narrow and I end using only for portraits.

And as @MSL mentioned, I also recommend the A 35-105/3.5. It's an incredible lens, not so much regarding sharpness, but very positive on DOF control and color reproduction. The FOV is useful too, equivalent to a 50-150 on APS-C.

There's a review on PentaxForums about it: Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5 - Review - PentaxForums.com

04-19-2012, 07:40 PM   #9
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I think you would need at least 24mm wide, and it would be hard to get too much wider with your budget. You could look for either a Sigma Super-wide or Super-wide II (the latter has the "A" position). The Vivitar 28mm f/2 lenses are nice for a fast normal, although contrast is better if you stop down a bit. Some of them have the "A" position as well. And for a longer lens, a Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 macro lens with a PKA adapter just kills.
04-19-2012, 07:47 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
You could buy the A 28/2.8 and the A 135/2.8 and have money left over. Then you would have the old standard kit.

You could substitute the A 24/2.8 and A 100/2.8 and still make budget if you are lucky.
Excellent. The "old standard kit" is right up my alley. The A 24/2.8 and the A 100/2.8 seem like great performers, if I can get a hold of them! (:

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The A 20/2.8 would cover the OP's entire budget.
It's funny you'd mention that—one of them is on Ebay right now for $210. I think it'll get up to $300-400 before the auction is over…but if it stays below $250, I'll see if I can swoop it up.

QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
What is it about zoom that you don't like? Not that I'm recommending it based on the comments you've posted so far, but the SMC A-35-105/3.5 has been described as a stack of primes. You could probably buy it plus the two lenses @boriscleto mentiond in his top set and thus have a range of 3 primes to work with (including your 50), and also has a single zoom that covered the same range for times when you only wanted to work with one lens.

It also isn't clear if you want to dramatically increase you maximum focal length, which would affect the equation.
I hear that the optical quality of zoom lenses changes with the focal length, but I'm sure the right zoom would eliminate that problem. My problems are simpler: I typically don't like the *feel* of a zoom lens—I like to spend more time concentrated on focusing (which I'm not great at).

I don't want to dramatically increase my maximum focal length, but I'd like to get a little higher than 75mm—I'd say about 100-135mm would be fine. The A-35-100mm sounds good, but I think I want to go a little wider than 35mm. I'll think about it, look at samples. (:

QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
Would you consider m42 mount lenses? They work well, esp with the 1st - you must preset the aperture, but it opens the world of great lenses quite a bit (zeiss, etc..)
I would definitely consider them... but what do you mean I have to preset the aperture? I didn't know that's how those lenses work. ;D Will my digital body know which aperture is set?—you know, for the in-camera metering. (I presume the answer is no.)

Last edited by keyofnight; 04-19-2012 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Forgot to respond to boriscleto about the A20/2.8!
04-19-2012, 08:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The A 20/2.8 would cover the OP's entire budget.
I wasn't suggesting specific models, more so focal lengths.

QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
This is an option, but he should know up front that PK/A adapters routinely sell for $90
That is why I suggested p/k adapters and an upgrade later when he has a few more shillings.
04-19-2012, 08:55 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 macro lens with a PKA adapter just kills.
I have one, a great great lens!!!
04-20-2012, 06:27 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyofnight Quote
I would definitely consider them... but what do you mean I have to preset the aperture? I didn't know that's how those lenses work. ;D Will my digital body know which aperture is set?—you know, for the in-camera metering. (I presume the answer is no.)
That's correct - the lens does not report the f-stop or its range. Preset means you close the aperture to the setting you desire and it closes to that value right away, before focusing (although some focus wide open then change f-stop to shoot.). I do not find this to be a problem as I seldom use f-stops higher than f:5.6.

In camera metering works fine with the green button

I made an easy, reversible modification of my camera's mount so it thinks all lenses are "A" type. This lets P-TTL flash work properly with all lenses and allows me to set the proper lens f-number to be recorded in EXIF (adjusting the viewfinder's report of f-number has no effect on an m42 lens). I have found no downside to this mod.


Dave

Last edited by newarts; 04-20-2012 at 01:50 PM.
04-20-2012, 06:56 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyofnight Quote
The A-35-100mm sounds good, but I think I want to go a little wider than 35mm. I'll think about it, look at samples.
If you do decide to go with the A-35-105, I can tell you that it's an all-around superb lens. Prime-like performance anywhere in it's focal range, and the build quality is exquisite. If you don't shoot wide angle super-often, you could pick up an A-35-105 & get a separate wider angle lens for those rare occasions when you shoot wide. Just an idea.

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)
04-20-2012, 07:01 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
If you do decide to go with the A-35-105, I can tell you that it's an all-around superb lens. Prime-like performance anywhere in it's focal range, and the build quality is exquisite. If you don't shoot wide angle super-often, you could pick up an A-35-105 & get a separate wider angle lens for those rare occasions when you shoot wide. Just an idea.

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)
From a local seller I bought a A28/2.8 and A70-210/4 thinking that I would use the A28 a lot. I subsequently found the same seller selling a A35-105 along with a camera, flash and winder, none of which I wanted. After looking at the reviews here, and seeing the mint quality of the first two lenses, I pounced on it. I've since found it to be my favorite of the three. The A28 gets occasional use, but I find that if I want to wider than 35mm, I usually want to go a lot wider so I break out the kit 18-55 (but in WR version).

It is likely that I will sell the A70-210 (partly to bundle with the SuperProgram, flash and winder .
It is possible that I may sell the A28
I will not sell the A35-105.
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