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07-24-2012, 02:48 PM   #1
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What direction to go with my lenses? What's next?

Between my ZX-30, K-5, and lenses I've purchased, this is where I'm at:

SMC Pentax-DA 18-55
SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4
SMC Pentax-F 50mm f/1.7
SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4
SMC Pentax-F 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 Macro
SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6
Quantaray 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Macro




Unless someone convinces me otherwise, I'm planning on selling the M 50mm f/1.4. I don't think it's been on the camera since I got the A 50mm f/1.4. The F 50 f/1.7 is nice to have for AF when chasing the kids around.

I'm trying to figure out where to go with my lenses. I've been looking to go wider. The Quantaray isn't a spectacular lens, but it does pretty well. I haven't spent much time with it on the K-5, but used it quite a bit on the film body. I have some lenses here to do people shots of the kids and family. I suppose they will work well enough for the "walking around lenses" too. I'd like to do more landscapes.

I was eying up a 28mm lens, some A 28 f/2.8s, a K 28 f3.5 as I'm sure they're better than the 28mm range on my 28-80 kit lens from the ZX-30. The 18-55 kit lens covers the 42 mm FL that a 28mm FF lens would look like. I was trying to find a comparison of the A 28mm f/2.8 vs the FA 28mm f/2.8 as I'm keeping an eye out for both and they're not priced that much differently.

I'm probably going to be restricted to crop lenses if I want to go wider than the 28mm FF FL or the 18-55 K-5 kit lens. I had a pretty strong onset of LBA, and maybe I should just not buy anything for a while and then look at some of the Limiteds. The FA 31 Limited looks amazing, but I'm not swinging the nearly $1,000 on that right now.

And to go wider, I'd like the lenses to be faster and have better IQ. I'm guessing the DA Limiteds are where I need to look in the future...like the 15 or 21.


Anyone else at a similar point at some time? What did you do? Suggestions?

07-24-2012, 03:16 PM   #2
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An A 20/2.8 or FA 20/2.8 would be comparable in cost and IQ with the DA 21,
but would also work on the ZX-30.
07-24-2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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I was at a similar stage late last year, and ended up going through a pretty big LBA spree. Fun, but fact is I've got very little use out of some of those lenses. Rationally speaking I should have spent more time/money/effort learning about lighting and flash; getting to that now. I don't regret the buying spree, though. I agree with selling the M50/1.4, unless you want to develop an M-series kit (49mm filters etc.); it is optically the same as the A, except that the A should have better coatings and of course the A setting.

You say "go wider"; the usual question is -- what focal lengths do you use most often with the 18-55?

The FA 28 and A 28 have different optics; the FA seems to be better regarded (I haven't used either). 28mm is a very versatile FL and that would be a good place to start. It's a common misconception that wider = better when it comes to landscapes.

You mention people/family shots -- if you are thinking close-ups and/or conventional portraiture, you are lacking a classic portrait lens (other than 50/1.4, which is quite good for portraits on an APS-C sensor).

My general suggestion is to pick one subject type where you feel your current kit is limiting you, and start with that.
07-24-2012, 04:47 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
I was at a similar stage late last year, and ended up going through a pretty big LBA spree. Fun, but fact is I've got very little use out of some of those lenses. Rationally speaking I should have spent more time/money/effort learning about lighting and flash; getting to that now. I don't regret the buying spree, though. I agree with selling the M50/1.4, unless you want to develop an M-series kit (49mm filters etc.); it is optically the same as the A, except that the A should have better coatings and of course the A setting.

You say "go wider"; the usual question is -- what focal lengths do you use most often with the 18-55?

The FA 28 and A 28 have different optics; the FA seems to be better regarded (I haven't used either). 28mm is a very versatile FL and that would be a good place to start. It's a common misconception that wider = better when it comes to landscapes.

You mention people/family shots -- if you are thinking close-ups and/or conventional portraiture, you are lacking a classic portrait lens (other than 50/1.4, which is quite good for portraits on an APS-C sensor).

My general suggestion is to pick one subject type where you feel your current kit is limiting you, and start with that.
I think I should probably hold off on buying anything additional at this point unless I come across something 20mm or wider. I don't know where I'm limited at yet. I just got my K-5 on July 3rd and I've been having a blast with it, but we just had our second child on Saturday and in getting ready for him, I haven't had much time at all to go out and shoot anything other than stuff around the house/yard. I plan on doing that in the very near future. Not that I really want wider for landscapes, just a different perspective for any kind of shooting. I also have a flash on my list as well. I was thinking about starting off with a Yongnuo 560 II...seems like an inexpensive way to get into using a flash.


Last edited by jtkratzer; 07-24-2012 at 04:55 PM.
07-24-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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My $35 Rikenon 28mm lens has postponed the financial trouble that Limiteds would bring (both 21 and 31), and a used Sigma 15 fisheye "saved" me from the DA15. Both are FF-friendly too, for what that's worth. I even have a true macro holding the fort at 50mm, though you don't mention going in that direction. I personally live quite comfortably without the expense and weight that sub-f2.8 glass often extracts as payment, so I won't stop you from selling the f/1.4.. and not because I want to buy it!

You really have the typical focal ranges covered pretty well other than sub-18mm, but LBA (and its sister ailment, current-lens dissatisfaction) isn't always rational - good luck to you!
07-24-2012, 06:40 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
My $35 Rikenon 28mm lens has postponed the financial trouble that Limiteds would bring (both 21 and 31), and a used Sigma 15 fisheye "saved" me from the DA15. Both are FF-friendly too, for what that's worth. I even have a true macro holding the fort at 50mm, though you don't mention going in that direction. I personally live quite comfortably without the expense and weight that sub-f2.8 glass often extracts as payment, so I won't stop you from selling the f/1.4.. and not because I want to buy it!

You really have the typical focal ranges covered pretty well other than sub-18mm, but LBA (and its sister ailment, current-lens dissatisfaction) isn't always rational - good luck to you!
I'll have to check those out. I think any hobbies carry some form of LBA-type affliction...home brewing for me went from a turkey fryer and bottles to a full electric system capable of producing 10-12 gallons of beer with a dedicated 50 amp 240V service, temperature controlled fermentation, and enough kegs and bottles to store/age/serve over 100 gallons of beer.

I behaved myself when it came to shooting sports, effectively limiting myself to a few pistols for competition, a couple hunting rifles, and some shotguns for clays and what not.

I should get a grip on photography stuff. My problem is I'm enjoying it now more than ever. Having the instant feedback on the shot with digital is awesome. Having a gorgeous wife and two beautiful kids gives me something to point the lenses at everyday. The kids also are changing how I do (used to do) my other hobbies. The gun/archery club was almost an hour away. Not a member any more. I haven't ridden my motorcycle nearly enough either because I'm home with my family or we go out as a family rather than my wife and I on the bike.

I need to spend some time on the review section to find out what's not garbage when it comes to bargain lenses and work with those until/if I decide I need something else.

I do like the idea of macro. The 70-300 does macro from 180-300. Not an amazing lens at 0.95m MFD, but it works. I'm waiting for the 35-70 to show up as well, but it also gets good reviews on the site.
07-24-2012, 06:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
home brewing for me went from a turkey fryer and bottles to a full electric system capable of producing 10-12 gallons of beer with a dedicated 50 amp 240V service, temperature controlled fermentation, and enough kegs and bottles to store/age/serve over 100 gallons of beer.
Well, hey! Now we know who's hosting the mid-eastern Pentaxian summer bash!

QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
I do like the idea of macro. The 70-300 does macro from 180-300. Not an amazing lens at 0.95m MFD, but it works. I'm waiting for the 35-70 to show up as well, but it also gets good reviews on the site.
If you ever get bored and/or short of big cash, look at Tamron Adaptall lenses. The adapter-K is like $15 (or $85 if you want the aperture reporting of the KA) and the lenses are almost all quite good, and cheap to boot! The Tamron Adaptall 90mm/2.5 Macro is the one lens of that type that I haven't been able to replace with a modern one that is equal.

07-24-2012, 07:05 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Well, hey! Now we know who's hosting the mid-eastern Pentaxian summer bash!



If you ever get bored and/or short of big cash, look at Tamron Adaptall lenses. The adapter-K is like $15 (or $85 if you want the aperture reporting of the KA) and the lenses are almost all quite good, and cheap to boot! The Tamron Adaptall 90mm/2.5 Macro is the one lens of that type that I haven't been able to replace with a modern one that is equal.
I love brewing. It's an absolute blast and it's amazing how good the beer is and how little you have to pay for ingredients. Bell's Two Hearted Ale is one of my favorite IPAs and it runs about $46 for a case of 12 oz bottles. I can make almost 4.5 cases of that beer for under $60 in ingredients.


I'll check out those lenses as well. I'll have to look for the adapter that does aperture reporting as I like being able to use some of the settings other than full manual from time to time.
07-25-2012, 02:51 AM   #9
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If you want wider on FF, for cheap, not very fast, but cheap look at the FA-J 18-35.

18mm on film gives you a 90 FOV (approximately), and that's soooo cool

It has almost no visible field distorsion, like UWA usually have. In fact, i think it has less distorsion than the 18-55 @18mm.


i'm on a seat, and my knees are just out of the picture by few inch

I found this lend for 40€ on ebay, few month ago, and that's almost my most used lens on film, when i'm traveling / discovering places alone. You will tell me "no time to travel" i say ok, but with a flash that you can bounce you can have some awesome familly picture with the whole familly (ie : 20 people on the frame on a single line )


Baronite gave you the best advice : look at how you practice photog, what you shoot most or enjoy the most, and build your whole set around it.
I used to have around 15 lens, now i'm at 10, and i still have some i don't use a lot ...
07-27-2012, 10:27 AM   #10
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At least the current offerings on eBay, the Adaptall lenses aren't really any cheaper than most of the Pentax lenses I'm seeing.

Other than distortion, is there really any other reason to go for the FA-J 18-35? I mean, the cropped FOV is what, approx 27-50, when I have the 18-55 kit lens, 28-80 and 35-70?

I saw a couple 20mm f/2.8s on eBay and they're frickin expensive based on the asking prices, but I see some ridiculous prices on eBay...
07-27-2012, 12:02 PM   #11
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For just APS-C digital, I suggest the DA 16-45/4, used. Prices may have changed recently but these used to be $250ish. For that, you get a better lens than the kit, and 2mm wider (doesn't sound like much but it's 11%). It's good right where prime lenses are expensive or unavailable in Pentax mount, that 16-30mm range. Sell the M and A 50/1.4 and maybe the 35-70 or 28-80.

It's more complicated to work the ZX30 into the equation. Wide angle and film coverage at the same time limits your choices further. That's where the FA-J 18-35 comes in, there's a few other lenses like a Vivitar 19-35, then you start spending real money. Think carefully before building two systems like this.
07-27-2012, 12:32 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
For just APS-C digital, I suggest the DA 16-45/4, used. Prices may have changed recently but these used to be $250ish. For that, you get a better lens than the kit, and 2mm wider (doesn't sound like much but it's 11%). It's good right where prime lenses are expensive or unavailable in Pentax mount, that 16-30mm range. Sell the M and A 50/1.4 and maybe the 35-70 or 28-80.

It's more complicated to work the ZX30 into the equation. Wide angle and film coverage at the same time limits your choices further. That's where the FA-J 18-35 comes in, there's a few other lenses like a Vivitar 19-35, then you start spending real money. Think carefully before building two systems like this.
Well, I wasn't really trying to build the two systems. I have the ZX-30 from 12 years ago, and it's not worth much of anything, so I've held onto it. If I want something in film, I can find something Pentax else Pentax makes. I mean, the only lenses I have right now without the A on the aperture ring is the DA 18-55 and the M 50.

Why do you suggest selling the A 50 1.4? Other than the 28-80 and 70-300, all the other lenses have been acquired since July 3rd, which was only the 18-55. The rest have shown up somewhere between the 16th-23rd I believe. The few shots I've taken with the F 50 1.7 have been good, but I like the manual focus on the A 50 1.4 for the shallow DOF compared to the slightly more than 1/4 turn the focus ring travels on the F 50.

I'd be shocked if I got more than $175 for the M 50, 28-80, and 35-70. If were to get the 16-45, I would be gaining 2mm on the wide side, losing 10 on the other end, and losing the WR.
07-27-2012, 01:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
I saw a couple 20mm f/2.8s on eBay and they're frickin expensive based on the asking prices, but I see some ridiculous prices on eBay...
As I mentioned before, you should be able to get at least an A20/2.8 for about the same money as a new DA 21.

The advantage in your situation is that the A20 becomes an ultra-wide on film.
07-27-2012, 01:38 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
Other than distortion, is there really any other reason to go for the FA-J 18-35?
the FA-J is the only cheap 18mm for FF.

It seem i forgot to say that the only interest of the 18-35 is using it on film. Otherwise the 18-55 is better for digital.
07-27-2012, 01:40 PM   #15
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DA 16-45 is good replacement for the 18-55, and 16-45 covers film from 20-21mm to 45mm which is nice!!!
About the 50s, sell the 50 1.4 M and A and buy F/FA 50 1.4 then decide which one you like best the 1.4 or 1.7, I think that if you like smooth bokeh you will choose the F/FA 50 1.4, the zoom - Sigma 70-300 APO is very nice lens . Instead of the 35-70 and 28-80, try to find 35-105 3.5 .
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