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05-08-2012, 06:25 AM   #1
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Wide-angle prime for K-01 - Advice needed

I need some advice about a wide-angle lens to add to my kit. I want to use it for street and architectural photography, mainly with my K-01. I also have a K20D and an MZ-3, but I don't use film much.

I have the FA 35, which is great but sometimes too long on APS-C. I also have a GR Digital (1st gen.), which is what I carry for wide-angle shots at the moment but it's very noisy. I really like it's 28mm equivalent FOV (18.5mm on APS-C) and the very low barrel distortion. I basically want to replace this with a lens for the K-01.

So far, I've thought about the following lenses. I'm including the prices as a comparison with each other - they probably all look expensive with the current exchange rate. In the case of the used lenses, I will be able to find multiple copies in the second-hand shops here in Tokyo and try them out so I should be able to get a reasonably good copy.

DA 21 f3.2 Limited - 37,000 yen, $463 new
DA 15 f4 Limited - 45,000 yen, $564 new
FA 20 f2.8 - 39,000 yen, $489
F 28 f2.8 - 21,000 yen, $263 - too close to FA 35 probably
A 24 f2.8 - 18,000 yen, $226
FA 24 f2 - 45,000 yen, $564 - too heavy for K-01?

I've managed to think myself into a state of confusion, so it would be really helpful to hear a few outside opinions. I'm open to other suggestions too. Thanks for taking the time to look. Even more thanks if you can offer some advice!

05-08-2012, 06:37 AM   #2
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Personally I'd go for either DA21 or FA20 for street shooting... It's wide enough for you to really get in there and the IQ of both is exceptional... I believe barrel-distortion is more controlled on the DA21 (this is from reviews)...

If that's the price of FA20's used in Tokyo and they're frequently available then I need to come visit!
05-08-2012, 06:55 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
too heavy for K-01?

Unfortunately not quite sure what that one means, but here are a few contributions. I've noticed all of your examples are fixed focal length lens; which are in fact always better optically.


Zeiss Wide Angle 28mm f/2 Distagon T* ZK Manual Focus 1486-307

Optically one of the best Pentax PK lens' - ever, but it is manual focus. It's also probably a bit too close to the FA35 in your posting.


Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 ZK Distagon T* Lens for Pentax K-Mount 1486-305

A bit more reasonably priced and even a slightly more wider angle, still manual focus


And now for the real issue, even though as you clearly stated you do not use film much...

The DA lens line for Pentax is for digital cameras only; and may very well not work with the MZ3!!
05-08-2012, 07:01 AM   #4
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What about the DA 14mm? 21mm equivalent is very nice.

But the obvious chocie to go with the K-01 would be the DA limiteds, the 21 or the 15. I personally don't care too much for the 15, but other's fall head over heels for it, so it's worth a try.

QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
Zeiss Wide Angle 28mm f/2 Distagon T* ZK Manual Focus 1486-307
Those are beautiful lenses, but they're huge and unwieldy.

05-08-2012, 07:01 AM   #5
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I'd go for the FA20 at this point since you can get it at what would be a great price over here. a little larger but it will let you shoot on the MZ-3 as well and if a FF digital comes (as seems likely) it will work there as well.
The big advantage to the DA21 is of course size on the k-01
05-08-2012, 07:11 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, Dave. Those two look attractive and the comparative review on this website is quite informative.

Actually, the FA 20 is one of the less frequently seen FA lenses but I happened to see two in different stores today. The one I really can't find is the FA 50 1.7 or the F 50 1.7 for that matter.

Anyway, I know you were probably joking but if anyone does ever come to Tokyo, you could waste a lot of time trying to find these little used camera stores and there are far better ways to spend your time!
05-08-2012, 07:18 AM   #7
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As you're in Tokyo, I'm sure you know Fujiya Camera in Nakano.
I've seen the DA15 go for as little as 36,000 second hand.

I might be a bit biased towards the DA15 as I've shown a lot of interest in it over the past few weeks.
So, out of your options, I'd go for the 15or 21.

Have a look through some of the "lens clubs".
Here's the DA15 one:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/86234-15mm-limited-controls-my-mind-club-265.html
05-08-2012, 07:23 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies so far. Looks like the Cosina/Zeiss lenses are 79,800 yen for the 25mm f2.8 and 83,790 yen for the 28mm f2 new. That's a way over budget for me, I'm afraid. I think I've seen the 25mm for under 60,000 yen used. But if I were going to carry all that weight, I might as well get the DA 12-24. I got the K-01 because I wanted to have a lighter kit.

I guess I have to decide how important full frame is to me. Am I a believer in the digital FF? When I use the MZ-3, the FA 35 is usually wide enough.

05-08-2012, 07:29 AM   #9
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Mickey, that's where I saw the FA 20 for 39,000 yen today. Dangerously, it's on my way home from work. Best camera shop in Tokyo in my opinion.

Oh, and they had a K-01 body only in there for 41,800 yen as well!
05-08-2012, 07:36 AM   #10
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I love the DA21 with the K-01. It is an ideal street lens; it is very compact and the field of view is very close to what I see with the naked eye.
The DA15 is awesome too, but bigger, a bit slower and a little more exaggerated perspective (not necessarily a bad thing )
05-08-2012, 07:36 AM   #11
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Yeah, without a doubt it's the best.
They are always getting a variety of lenses so I check there often.
05-08-2012, 07:38 AM   #12
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In my experience, DA 15mm is a fab fab lens but it is definitely wiiiiide and (imho) only really comes into its own at f8-f11, so some caution required. The DA 21mm is equally fine in its own way, but barrel distortion is fairly noticeable and its sharpness declines towards the edges of the frame, less so as you step up towards f8. At f3.2 the DA 21mm is a centre-only job for me. A very fine lens, however, resolves detail very well, and I use it a great deal for city/street shooting but it would not be my first choice for strictly architectural shots and I doubt it was designed with those in mind. Distortions are easily whisked away in post like Lightroom, however. No experience of your other choices, though lenses here are so much more expensive that I think you will have a treasured bargain whichever one you choose. They all sound like fine lenses.
05-08-2012, 08:19 AM   #13
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+1 DA 21mm Limited

Light & Small

Wasn't there a rumor of an XS version of this lens in the pipe?
05-08-2012, 09:24 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mickey Quote
As you're in Tokyo, I'm sure you know Fujiya Camera in Nakano
QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
I know you were probably joking
I have no sense of humour.... Have written this store down in my diary, if I ever do (which I might) get to Tokyo I'm sure I'll be able to spare a day or so ambling round camera shops... That's my kind of fun!
05-08-2012, 10:21 AM   #15
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Parameters of the problem:

* Wider lenses ain't cheap
* Faster wider lenses ain't small
* Wider lenses don't NEED to be faster; consider 1/FL
* Any lens wider than 28mm on APS-C shows edge distortion
* Street-shooting and 'scapes don't necessarily overlap, lens-wise

Small lenses in the neighborhood are the DA15/4 Ltd (215g) and DA21/3.2 Ltd (140g). And the Fisheye Takumar 18/8 (90g), but it reportedly sucks. Moderate-size lenses there include the slightly fishy PK-M Zenitar-K2 16/2.8 (300g) and many 24/2.8s (220-300g). Just about everything else is bigger. My fave street+scape lens used to be the M42 Tokina-made 21/3.8 (290g) but now I favor a PK-A Cosina-made Vivitar Series 1 19-35/3.5-4.5 (290g).

I'll echo previous recommendations for the DA21 Ltd.

Last edited by RioRico; 05-08-2012 at 12:52 PM.
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