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05-31-2012, 11:54 AM   #1
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DA35 2.4 vs sub 100 vintage 24mm

Ok, best start off with this: I am poor, and would prefer not to become more so. As a recent purchaser of a Kx, I have only really just started with my lens collection, but here's what I have. 18-55 kit, Helios 44M, Vivitar 28mm macro close focus.

Now, I love my two vintage lenses, but I'm not really not that enamoured with the kit lens. With the Helios, I love the Bokeh and it's portrait ability (even though I'm not really into taking portraits), and with the Vivitar and love how sharp it is wide. How-ever... 28mm is not really wide enough for me. Having analysed, the pictures taken with my Kit, I've noticed that I mainly shoot in the range (digital) 30 to 40mm. So I've been thinking of getting a vintage 24mm to cover a bit more of that range. And (I think I'm right), this should roughly correlate to around 35mm (digital), so this places the DA34 2.4 into the possibilities list. However, this is my upper, UPPER, limit on what I would wish to spend (still need to acquire a tripod).

So I'm wondering how some of the old 24mm stack up against the DA35 2.4. I've been looking along the lines of Ensinor 24mm, sigma super wide 24mm, miranda 24mm. I'm not sure if there is anything else worth looking at in this range. Although nice colours would appeal to me, I'm also primarily a black and white kind of guy, so it's not my primary concern. Also, for this short of range, I'm not really thinking about bokeh, although an interesting one would appeal to me as long as I can still achieve sharpness whilst wide.

Anyone fancy sharing thoughts/experiences/images?

05-31-2012, 12:19 PM   #2
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Focal length is focal length. 24 is wider than 28 is wider than 35. On a crop camera (like yours), any focal length corresponds to a smaller field of view than the same lens would on a full frame (aka old film camera).

If you want wider than 28mm, you need a focal length smaller than 28mm.

In other words, the 35 has a field of view similar to 50mm on a full-frame camera.
05-31-2012, 12:19 PM   #3
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Ok, straight off if you shoot 30-40mm as based your kit lens use a 24mm is NOT in this bracket. Forget crop factor, a 24mm lens on a digital body is a 24mm lens. Pull your kit to 24mm, it will look like that. So if you wish to find a prime in 30-40 mm I will state just to be certain a 24 is not it.

Crop factor should only really be of interest if you are used to using any length of lens on a film body, they will 'shorten' on a digital. But a 24 on a Kx will be faintly wide with the 35 being close to 'normal'. I've owned a Kx with the da 35 2.4 and it's a stella combo, that lens is way underpriced for it's optical performance and I regret selling it. Buy it, use it for 3 years the flog it for a profit. A really cracking lens for the money......
05-31-2012, 12:24 PM   #4
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I can't verify whether this is true, but I've heard a lot about the difficult in manufacturing cheap wide angle lenses on old 35mm mounts. The 24mm lenses are probably very good, but the DA 35mm f/2.4 is amazing. It feels cheap, but manual focus is actually quite smooth, and the edge to edge sharpness is amazing. I'd recommend you go for the DA 35 without hesitation.

A question though, are you shooting with the lens set between 30-40mm more often, or is that the equivalent 35mm focal range you;re shooting at? If that's what the lens says then the DA 35 will suit you to a T. But if that's the 35mm equivalent and you're looking to go wider then the DA 35 won't be wide enough. To be fair, I wouldn't buy a 24mm if I had a 28mm (which I do). But that's just me. A single step backwards for me gives me a wider angle. If you really want to go wide I suggest saving your money for a 20mm. getting two lenses within 4mm of each other seems a bit much to me.

05-31-2012, 12:48 PM   #5
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As mentioned, lenses don't magickally stretch or shrink when moved between cameras. If you are very familiar with 35mm shooting and you're just transitioning to APS-C cameras, then the crap.factor has meaning. Otherwise, forget you ever heard of it.

Let's put your desires and parameters together. You find yourself shooting with the kit.lens in the 30-40mm range; and your 28mm isn't wide enough for you; and you don't mind manual lenses. Yes, are many decent MF 24mm primes, and those that aren't super-fast aren't always expensive. Many here like a Sigma 24/2.8, either MF or AF. I have a Paragon (Cimko) 24/2.8 that's razor-sharp. One inexpensive option is the Lentar-Tokina 25/3.5.

But this doesn't address your ~35mm desire. Again, are many decent not-too-costly MF 35s. My favorites (that you might be able to find) are the Isco Westron 35/2.8 and the Super Takumar 35/3.5, both in M42. Various models of 35/2.8s branded as Vivitar or Sears are not hard to find.
_____________________________________

Is another approach: Quality inexpensive short-focal-range zooms. My favorite kit.lens replacement set was quite cheap; these can probably be found now for under US$100 together:

* Cosina-made Vivitar Series 1 19-35/3.5-4.5 -- MF is cheap, AF not quite so but not bad. Also badged as Cosina.
* Pentax F35-70/3.5-4.5 -- tiny (smallest zoom Pentax ever made), agile (VERY fast AF), sharp as a bag of primes.

The F35-70 has semi-macro capability, around 1:3.5, very nice for close shots. The 19-35 shows virtually no barrel distortion at its widest Both lenses are very crisp, render nicely. The F35-70 has better coatings but the 19-35 isn't bad. Together, they cover a great focal range. And they're both made for FF cameras, so if Pentax ever jumps that way, you'll be ready. Are also similar lenses from Pentax and Tokina marked as 20-35, but I'm not familiar with those.
05-31-2012, 01:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Talanath Quote
So I'm wondering how some of the old 24mm stack up against the DA35 2.4
24<>35

if 35 is around the range you most use and you want a better lens for it then the 18-55 then get the 2.4/35. it's an excellent lens.

if 28 is not wide enough for you and you want a wider lens, then a 24 makes a huge difference in field of view. also, most old 24s tend to be of better quality than the 28s.
05-31-2012, 01:08 PM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
But this doesn't address your ~35mm desire. Again, are many decent not-too-costly MF 35s. My favorites (that you might be able to find) are the Isco Westron 35/2.8 and the Super Takumar 35/3.5, both in M42. Various models of 35/2.8s branded as Vivitar or Sears are not hard to find.
Rio, you forgot the part where you mention you just happen to have them in your pocket right now and will let them go for the right price. Where I live out in the boonies, you never see those lenses. Even on Kjiji I never see those lenses. If I ever wanted one of those lenses my best hope would be to beg you part with one of yours. I'm guessing there's a lot of other people in the same position.
05-31-2012, 01:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Rio, you forgot the part where you mention you just happen to have them in your pocket right now and will let them go for the right price. Where I live out in the boonies, you never see those lenses. Even on Kjiji I never see those lenses. If I ever wanted one of those lenses my best hope would be to beg you part with one of yours. I'm guessing there's a lot of other people in the same position.
I'm not in the boonies norm and i never see them (and I hit all the usual haunts fairly often)
My Lentar 21 3.8 came from the forum, I've never seen a cheap old 21 in my travels here (or a 24, and i am watching for one)

05-31-2012, 01:23 PM   #9
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Ok, so looks like I got my wires crossed a little! So, on digital, a 28mm vintage will display similarly to a normal 28mm - it's only only on a film camera I would notice the difference. Hmmm... choices, choices. I was actually bidding on a FA35-70 just recently, but missed out!

So I'm guessing that if I'm looking to go wider than 28m, then the DA35, although a brilliant lens by the sounds of it, may not actually be what I'm currently looking for. Any ideas how long this will remain in production?

In terms of the 24s, it sounds like there should be plenty of good options. What's the highest one would go for when looking at a 24mm/2.8? I'm aware that 2.5 aperture and below can raise the price a lot.

I may definitely look at getting a couple of cheap replacement kit lenses as well to cover those situations when composition is really important and I can't move to gt in position. I hate the idea of post processing (cropping etc), purely because I am quite lazy, so I always find it important to get it right then and there. But I love the image quality of primes!
05-31-2012, 01:53 PM   #10
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I find almost zilch on my travels. I can easily name the few lenses I bought offline, and where: W-Komura 35/2.5 (in Tombstone AZ); Kilfitt Makro Kilal E 50/3.5 (1:2) (Jackson CA); nameless 90/4.5 enlarger lens (Leadville CO); S-M-C Takumar 135/2.5 (Santa Fe NM); E.Zuiko 135/3.5 (Las Vegas NM); and that's about it. Every other damn lens (235 currently) appeared on eBay or some other online source.

Wait, I just remembered: I bought a Minolta MD (in Jackson CA) recently, with intent to sell. And I was given a few Minolta MDs and an Alpha, all of which have been sold. But Pentax stuff just doesn't appear in my vicinity. I am in bookoo boonies, a rural mountain hamlet with no suppliers for a long long ways, no CraigsList, and damn few antique and thrift shops even.

So, I have no hidden sources, just a couple laptops, and some methods I've revealed a few times.

* Bidding: Bid low; bid often; lose 99%; don't worry, another will come along shortly.
* Discipline: Avoid bidding wars. Set a strict limit, and don't exceed it by more than 50%.
* Lens pricing: If it costs less than a burger or sandwich, grab it. If it costs more than a supreme pizza, think about it. If it costs more than a fine dinner out with your partner(s), ask here.

How to build a big cheap lens collection? Conduct research; stay alert; get lucky; absorb disappointment; buy batches, keep the goodies and sell the rest; don't sleep. See, it's easy.
05-31-2012, 02:10 PM   #11
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All my time is falling into the ebay black hole already. I am definitely past event horizon, with no hope of return.
05-31-2012, 03:51 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Talanath Quote
Ok, so looks like I got my wires crossed a little! So, on digital, a 28mm vintage will display similarly to a normal 28mm - it's only only on a film camera I would notice the difference. Hmmm... choices, choices. I was actually bidding on a FA35-70 just recently, but missed out!

So I'm guessing that if I'm looking to go wider than 28m, then the DA35, although a brilliant lens by the sounds of it, may not actually be what I'm currently looking for. Any ideas how long this will remain in production?

In terms of the 24s, it sounds like there should be plenty of good options. What's the highest one would go for when looking at a 24mm/2.8? I'm aware that 2.5 aperture and below can raise the price a lot.

I may definitely look at getting a couple of cheap replacement kit lenses as well to cover those situations when composition is really important and I can't move to gt in position. I hate the idea of post processing (cropping etc), purely because I am quite lazy, so I always find it important to get it right then and there. But I love the image quality of primes!
28mm on digital is 28mm on digital, whatever the vintage of the lens. On a film camera, 28mm is 28mm. It's _effectively_ wider on film, but the focal length is the same.

By all reports, the DA35 is, in fact brilliant. Pentax has a 21mm, a 15mm, and 14mm primes, but all are costlier than your might want (~$400 used).

Use completed listings on eBay, or the lens database here as a guide to prices. Based on some quick browsing, I'd expect to spend US$50-150 on a used MF 24mm lens, depending on brand and luck.
05-31-2012, 04:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Talanath Quote
So I'm guessing that if I'm looking to go wider than 28m, then the DA35, although a brilliant lens by the sounds of it, may not actually be what I'm currently looking for. Any ideas how long this will remain in production?
Probably quite a while. Don't expect it to go away anytime soon.

QuoteQuote:
In terms of the 24s, it sounds like there should be plenty of good options. What's the highest one would go for when looking at a 24mm/2.8? I'm aware that 2.5 aperture and below can raise the price a lot.
Why, I would pay up to US$25 for a Lentar-Tokina 25/3.5!! I almost did a few weeks ago but blew my budget on dental work instead. Bummer. Anyway, you should be able to find a 24/2.8 marked Vivitar or Sigma or even Pentax in the US$50-100 range. Search eBay for 24MM PENTAX, then click on COMPLETED LISTINGS to see the real-world prices.

I must say that except for taking my (not cheap) Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 to shoot my grandkids, I mostly don't use 21-25mm primes now, doing very well there with the afore-mentioned Cosina-made Vivitar Series 1 19-35, or my Tamron 10-24. The slower primes mostly get pity focks irregular usage in my LOTD (lens of the day) strategy.

QuoteQuote:
I may definitely look at getting a couple of cheap replacement kit lenses as well to cover those situations when composition is really important and I can't move to gt in position. I hate the idea of post processing (cropping etc), purely because I am quite lazy, so I always find it important to get it right then and there. But I love the image quality of primes!
I still recommend the Vivitar 19-35 and the F35-70. Except for speed, these two are nearly as good as primes. Short focal ranges can be like that. One member here just bought the Cosina AF version of the 19-35 for just US$70 plus shipping, a great deal! And others here justifiably recommend the Tamron 17-50/2.8, a bargain for what it does.

In focal ranges where I have very good zooms, my main justifications for primes are mainly speed and IQ, and secondarily character (ie old slow lenses). So I'll carry the 19-35 and 35-70, supplemented by f/2 lenses at 24-28-35mm, and some tiny 35-40mm primes at f/4.5-f/11. Stopped down to f/11, IQ may be nearly indistinguishable across many different lenses. But an f/4.5 lens wide-open has different qualities than a f/2 lens stopped-down to f/4.5. Uh oh, LBA bites again!
________________________

About shooting perfect pictures: How are the results to be seen? On a computer screen only? Or will they be printed? It's very tempting to get the composition EXACTLY RIGHT and snap the shutter. Now you have a perfect picture... in 3:2 aspect. So you go a frame shop... and find that most affordable frames+mattes are in 5:4 aspect. So now you have a choice: crop the picture, or matte it screwy?

One reason 6x7 MF was popular with pros (and Pentax ruled the roost!) is that only the slightest cropping is needed to fit a 7:6 image into a 5:4 frame. Many P&S cams output 5:4, and most dSLRs output 3:2, and they take more trimming. I think you'll find that many toggers shooting for prints leave croppable margins around their subjects. It's along tradition: compose in the darkroom, not in the camera.
05-31-2012, 09:55 PM   #14
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DA35/2.4 is much better than the old 3rd party MF options.
Better color (warmer), better flare resistance, better sharpness, CA control and most cases better bokeh.
You also get EXIF data, all auto modes and AF on the DA35/2.4 of course.

The old and cheap 3rd party options will be good enough for most needs though, so you will have to determine what you need vs price.
05-31-2012, 11:02 PM   #15
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For a MF 24mm the old Tamron Adaptall 24/2.5 is a good one to look for. Sometimes they're hidden in ebay listings with film bodies in unpopular mounts. Try searching for both "Adaptall" and the common misspelling "Adaptal".

Dang, now there will be more competition on those listings...
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