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09-26-2012, 09:28 PM   #1
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Pondering Lens Line-Up Choices

Hey guys, so LBA is sneaking up on me once again... I must admit that for the last few months I've been quite an equipment-whore and have gone through huge lens buying/spending sprees, I got so wrapped up in this and hardly got out to use my camera. Anyway, for the past month I've started shooting a lot and have begun to realize what focal lengths that I like using and which ones I could benefit from having.

This is the ideal set-up that I would like to have: (*** = lens to buy)

***Sigma 10-20 f/3.5 HSM (to replace the 18-55 DAL kit lens + I will have the fast DA 35 and DA* 55 primes to cover from 35-55mm)
***Pentax DA 35 f/2.4 (I will sacrifice my DA 40 ltd as I don't use the focal length enough to justify keeping it, but would still like to have a lens around this length so I think the "plastic fantastic" is a fine choice)
Pentax A 50 f/2.8 Macro (I've found that I really like this lens for a variety of reasons, mine has some cosmetic issues and oily blades that don't affect my picture quality, but will probably kill resale value, so I'm keeping it)
Pentax DA* 50-135 f/2.8 (a fast and handy versatile zoom, keeping this one for sure)
Pentax DA* 55 f/1.4 (I love this lens, sold my first copy, regretted it, had to buy a new one ... this one is definitely staying)

This will have me covered from 10-135mm in nice and fast glass.
For now I won't need anything longer, but might consider the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 in the future if something a little longer than the 135mm of my DA* 50-135 is needed.

That being said, I think the lenses that I will be leaving to fund Sigma 10-20 and DA 35 will be the 18-55 DAL kit, Panagor (Vivitar) 28 f/2.5 (manual M42, I love the bokeh from this lens, but I don't know if that is enough to justify keeping it...), Yashica 50 f/1.4 (manual M42, I don't need another fast 50), and Tokina 80-200 f/2.8 (manual, a fine lens to shoot some bird shots from a sturdy tripod from time to time, but the size and weight of this lens is what is keeping me from taking it out with me and using it in places other than my backyard).

So I know that I'm thinking out loud here and most of you probably don't give a crap about what I decide to do with my choice of lenses, but if anyone had any comments as to if my choices are wise or just plain stupid and why you think so, I would greatly appreciate it. Or if you have any suggestions on lenses that I should consider over the Sigma 10-20 f/3.5 and DA 35 f/2.4 that are in similar ranges, I would love to hear it.

Thanks for reading!

(Oh, and here is that bokeh from that 28mm Panagor that I was referring to ... )

09-27-2012, 12:19 AM   #2
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Re the DA35, a great lens, and does a good macro job. If you were wanting it for macro use, I would much rather recommend the DFA ltd 100mm WR. A brilliant lens, but of course in a different price range.
Just my thought for you to ponder.
Good luck with your LBA, most of us suffer from it

*LBA : Lens Buying Addiction.
09-27-2012, 02:55 AM   #3

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Julie, I think you're spot on with your ideas here.

One trivial matter: you may want to keep the DAL 18-55, for those occasions when you want a lens that "isn't quite as sharp." For example, if you shoot your product shots lenses you are selling with your macro, they'll actually appear to be in much worse condition than they do in real life. The DAL 18-55 makes them appear about as they really are.

I especially agree with your idea of selling the DA40 and getting the DA35/2.4. The FA40 never appealed to me as having quite the IQ I was looking for, but my FA35/2 was good. However, its IQ was noticeably degraded when wider than f/2.5, so save yourself the money and get the DA35/2.4 - one of the best values going.

I also have the DA*50-135, but went with primes longer than that. Instead of a 70-200/2.8, Consider the K200/2.5 (what I have), or A*, FA*, or DA*200. Also consider the F*/FA*/DA*300 sometime in the future (I got the F*).

Bramela has a great idea about the DFA 100 WR macro. Consider also the DA15 instead of the Sigma 10-20 (I'm not a big Sigma fan, but some love it), the DA12-24/4, or even the DA10-17 Fisheye (only moderate distortion at 17mm). If you get the DA15 you probably won't think you're missing anything by not having one of the others, and it has excellent IQ close to wide open, as I'm sure you've noticed all the other lenses you're keeping (including the DA35/2.4) also do. In my experience, Sigmas have trouble with this, meaning they look really fast in the spec sheets but struggle to deliver the value they portend.

Also, if you had an FA77 or FA*85, I think you'd still use it despite having the DA*50-135. I have the FA*85 now and I like it, but the FA77 was almost as good and was so small it was easy to take with me. In fact, I even use still use my FA135 for the same reason (roughly equivalent IQ to DA*50-135, but AF seems faster, and much smaller and more discreet).

Last edited by DSims; 09-27-2012 at 03:13 AM.
09-27-2012, 03:04 AM   #4
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Hi Julie,
It sounds like you're making good choices, based on which lenses you plan to add. You'll love the plastic fantastic, it's quickly becoming my "go-to" all-around lens.
You might consider hanging on to the kit 18-55, for a couple of reasons. First, there's so many around, you won't get much for it. Second, it's WR, and if you do any shooting in bad weather you'll be glad you have it. I shot some pretty good winter photos last year, simply because I had the gear to go out in the snow or rain. Without WR, I might not have even tried.
I have the same Tokina zoom and it's a fine lens, but what a beast to haul around! Plus, you nearly always need a tripod, which increases the weight and bulk. If you get a good price for that one, it will help fund the LBA.
Good Luck,

09-27-2012, 04:04 AM   #5
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Its still good to have one 'super-zoom' despite the limitations in IQ. Sometimes when you travel, its just not feasible to carry or change lenses too much.

I have been shooting with the 18-135 lens daily for a month. Once you learn its limitations its a pretty nice lens to use for travel. I suppose keeping the kit lens could be an option as someone else suggested.
09-27-2012, 05:28 AM   #6
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I had the Sigma 10-20 and quickly decided it was just too use DA 18-135 and DA 55-300............much smaller......of course, I also have the 15mm LTD prime as my most used wide....
09-27-2012, 06:22 AM   #7
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Yeah, the 18-135 has been good for me - I've been caught in the rain a couple times with it. As we've been having a horrible drought, I don't really mind!

I'm renting the Sigma 8-16 over a short vacation, so I should get a feel for it. I'm looking for something to compete with my 10-17 fisheye at the close range stuff. I've read good things about it, so it's probably worth a 2-week rental. It's not an inexpensive lens...
I rented the Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro and liked that a lot, I'm watching for a bargain, but doubt it will show up as such.

I'll also second the 100mm macros of any version. If you do outdoor macros handheld, it's extremely valuable. I have the FA version and really like it.
09-27-2012, 12:17 PM   #8
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I find the 100mm length for macro work is perfect for me. I don't do copy work and stills, so the extra stand off distance is helpful.

I highly recommend the DA 12-24 as the wider lens. I love the thing. I went one whole day (100+ shots) with only the 12-24 and the DA-L 55-300 and did not miss my DA* 16-50 which seems to be me one lens walk around choice.

If you go cheap when you get around to the longer lenses, I recommend the DA 55-300 rather than the DA-L. The lack of quick shift is really annoying, now that I am used to it. Image quality is acceptable.


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