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07-22-2012, 02:49 PM   #1

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Help choosing a "normal" prime lens

My current line-up consists of: DA 15/4 limited, F 50/1.7, FA 77/1.8 limited, F 135/2.8. Really like them all, but have an obvious focal length hole between the 15 and the 50 that I'm trying to fill. I'm looking to pick up something in the 28mm range, but am having a diffficult time deciding what (even after countless hours reading reviews, going through all the Lens Clubs several times, looking at PPG and Flickriver images, etc). Hoping to get some thoughts from people on how the below-listed lenses compare. I shoot mostly landscapes/nature, some travel and walk-around stuff. So most important features are sharpness across the frame, high resolution and realistic detail rendering, and punchy contrast. I'm not as concerned about warm/cool color rendition (I shoot raw and can correct WB in post), speed, CA, or flare resistance. Auto-focus and A setting are bonuses, but not required. The lenses I'm considering are:

F 28/2.8
K 28/3.5
K 30/2.8
Vivitar 28/2.8 CFWA (K02 or K06 versions in the Bestiary)

Can anyone provide insight on how any of these compare on the above metrics? Thoughts from those who have used any/all of these particularly welcomed.

Thanks all!


PS - If I had $1k I'd just get the FA 31 and be done with it, but unfortunately that isn't the case...

07-22-2012, 03:00 PM   #2
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DA 35/2.4 is my suggestion rather than those manual lenses you are looking at.
07-22-2012, 03:04 PM   #3
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Hi, my choice was A 28/2,8 ... it costs cca $100 and for landscape is PERFECT. for portrait bad usable, but if isnt stopped down, it have very smooth corners...
but in the center is sharp even wide open... on f8 and focusing on hyperfocal distance is taking photos from tripod very easy!
from f8-11 are corners ok and you can take close portraits...
aperatura have 5 blades and is giving very interesting bokeh...

if you want to save money, take K 28/2,8... $50? it is optical better, i think, or not?

I hope, i helped you
07-22-2012, 03:17 PM   #4
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Fortunatley or unfortunately, your four lenses are so amazing I don't think any in your list will match those ....I've used the F28/2.8 along with the four lenses you have and it's not a match. If size is not an issue the Tamron 28-75/2.8 will have better IQ. Believe it or not this zoom has everything you are looking for. I owned one but sold it as I already have the FA*28-70 which was slightly more punchier and had slightly more contrast.

Is 21mm too wide?, it is much longer than the 15. The DA 21 limited will play well with your four lenses. It is not as sharp (neither is the 15), but certainly gobs of contrast and render realistic.

If you have to have a prime and wider, is the 35/2.8 macro limited too far off your budget? it's a tad too long with your combo, but otherwise will be an absolutely perfect fit (well! other than the FA 31/1.8).

The F28/2.8 is a good lens. But nothing really special about it. Not like the lenses I've mentioned. I've owned the FA 35/2 which I think is similar to the DA 35/2.4, is better than the 28/2.8 but they still don't play with the four you have or the DA21 or 35 macro. I would rank them on par with the Tamron 28-70 which is a superb zoom.

P.S: sorry! I couldn't answer your question exactly, hopefully someone who is familiar with the manual lenses you cited will chime in...

07-22-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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I use the K 28 3.5 and an amazing walk around lens. I just set it close to hyperfocal and shoot away. I heard it's one of the sharpest lenses Pentax has made
07-22-2012, 03:38 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by selar Quote
DA 35/2.4 is my suggestion rather than those manual lenses you are looking at.
I second that. Or the Sigma 30/1,4 or another FA/DA 35 lens. Originally I was concerned that 35mm will be too narrow for a normal, but it is OK actually. I reach for FA24 when I want wider prime.
07-22-2012, 03:43 PM   #7
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Unless it is threatening rain, my walk around, normal prime for the K7 is my FA 31mm Limited. Lovely, lovely lens, and fast enough for any shot I may want to grab.
07-22-2012, 03:58 PM   #8
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I have a K 28 3.5 and absolutely love it.

However if you have the budget then I would have thought the best lense in that range would be a FA 31 Ltd - by all accounts a brilliant lens.

07-22-2012, 04:06 PM   #9
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my answer: wait a few months, save up a lot, buy the 31 and never worry about "what-if"
Unless you see yourself in a position where you "have" to have a normal lens (for paid work and whatnot), I'm sure you could easily get by with what you've got now

with that being said, if you must pick something to use until you do have the money for a 31, here's what i'd go for:
the sigma 30 for people and portraits (just dont put anything important in the corners)
the K28 f/3.5 for landscapes (stupidly sharp lens, second sharpest i've ever used IMO after the samyang 14mm and no distortion whatsoever)
the tamron 17-50 for a general use lens (sharp, versatile, AF, light, affordable, what's not to love?)
the da35 if you're too cool for zooms but still want a general use lens
07-22-2012, 05:07 PM   #10
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I'm in a similar position. On film my favourite lens was the M 40 f/2.8 'pancake' and I'm looking at 28mm to give me something similar on APS-C. As I have a lot of film gear, I'm looking for something usable on manual film cameras as well as digital. I'm currently using an SMC-M 28/2.8 and considering a SMC-K 28/3.5 if I can find one.
07-22-2012, 05:13 PM   #11
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The 28mm (and FA 31) are closer to the diagonal of our aps-c bodies. I have an F 28/2.8 lens that I like. I also have a DA 35/2.8 ltd and it is one of my favorite lenses but it has a FOV on the aps-c more like a 55mm lens on full frame. A 28mm lens will be close to the FOV of an FA 43 on full frame. I also have a K 28/2 in the my lineup.
07-22-2012, 06:53 PM   #12
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While you decide just grab any $50ish 28mm lens you can find - you may find yourself hard pressed to find a bad one, and that way you will know for certain if you want something closer to a 24 or 35. I can't say enough good things about the 28mm Rikenon I picked up for about $35, it 'cured' me (though temporarily I'm sure ) of Limited lenses that would stress my budget.
07-22-2012, 07:19 PM   #13

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Original Poster
Wow, thanks for all the great input. I hope to eventually get an FA 31, but may not be in the cards for a few years. So I'll probably fill that gap with something else until that time comes. The Sigma 30 is an interesting possibility that I haven't thought much about, but I think the softer corners probably make it not ideal for landscape work. Can anyone comment on the 30's corners stopped down?

Anyone used both the K28/3.5 and the F28/2.8 and can compare the two?

Thanks all!
07-22-2012, 07:43 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpv_UW Quote
The Sigma 30 is an interesting possibility that I haven't thought much about, but I think the softer corners probably make it not ideal for landscape work. Can anyone comment on the 30's corners stopped down?
the copy i had of it was still a bit soft in the corners stopped down. it also had a bit of coma towards the corners, which only made the softness more apparent to me. upside of this, however, is the amazing 3D-ness of it when you're doing shots of people. center sharpness was great, even wide open
07-22-2012, 07:48 PM   #15
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so why doesn't pentax make a good basic 28mm anymore? I got an older model and compared to my 21 and 35Ltd the M28 stinks

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