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10-22-2012, 12:09 PM   #16
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Bargains are few and far between in Pentaxland these days, I'm afraid. The K-30 seems to have come down to very low prices for a model that's only been out for around six months and seems unbeatable for the price.

When it comes to glass, it's not so rosy. I'd say that the only first-party bargain lens is the 55-300mm. The DA35 F2.4 is reasonably inexpensive on the surface, but for the same price or less competing manufacturers offer 35mm lenses that are a stop faster (F1.8). You can get third party lenses at very good prices (Tamron 17-50 F2.8 and Sigma 30 F1.4 are both really good deals).

However, you'll have to ask the obvious question: if buying third party lenses, why buy a Pentax camera? Canon, Nikon and Sony are all better supported by third party manufacturers. Availability of good second-hand K-mount glass isn't much of an argument either. You can also get really good second hand Canon, Nikkor and Minolta glass too. For that matter, you can stick old K-mount glass on a cheap-as-chips Sony NEX 5N.

You won't quite find your holy trinity on Pentax mount. Our nearest equivalent would be something like the 21/40/70 limited trio. These are rather more expensive than your MFT lenses (the 15 is a lot more expensive, btw), somewhat slower (F2.4 - F3.2) but beautifully made and delightful to own and operate. You could swap the 40 for the 35 limited which is also an excellent 1:1 macro lens. The functional equivalent of your 20mm F1.7 is the 31mm F1.9, but this is a fantastically expensive optic and beyond the purses of most mortals.

As for weight, even a comparatively compact Pentax DSLR with a lens mounted is going to come in at twice the weight of an MFT body with a functionally equivalent lens mounted pretty much to the gram. Unless your MFT camera is a Panasonic GH3.

How important is that weather resistance to you? Because it makes everything rather more expensive. While you won't find another WR body for anything like as little as the K-30, if you buy it with the 18-135mm WR lens, it ceases to be a bargain, since Pentax believe that 18-135 to be worth a lot more than I do. A valid strategy might be to buy the K-30 body only and then pick up used 18-55 and 50-200 WR lenses for a couple of hundred dollars.

If you forego a weather resistant body, then you have a world of possibilities. If you like MFT, an EPL-2 comes in at, what, a couple of hundred bucks?

10-22-2012, 12:36 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
However, you'll have to ask the obvious question: if buying third party lenses, why buy a Pentax camera? Canon, Nikon and Sony are all better supported by third party manufacturers.
Of those, only Sony has in-body shake reduction,
but their lens selection is poorer than what Pentax offers,
despite some gems like the Zeiss ZA 24/2.

QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
For that matter, you can stick old K-mount glass on a cheap-as-chips Sony NEX 5N.
Adapter solutions are rarely as good, and the absence of PDAF makes action shots difficult.
10-22-2012, 12:46 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Of those, only Sony has in-body shake reduction,
but their lens selection is poorer than what Pentax offers,
despite some gems like the Zeiss ZA 24/2.
A lot of the gaps in the Sony lineup can be filled with Minolta AF lenses. Really the only gap I've found in the Sony/Minolta lineup is a reasonably-priced and sized moderate wide angle lens (28-35mm) for FF. They have the Sony 35/1.8 DT for APS-C, but for FF you have the old Minolta 28/2 or 35/2, both of which are extremely rare and expensive.
10-22-2012, 01:12 PM   #19
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Why buy a Pentax camera over the others? Well, first, weather sealing. Something the big two haven't done well on an inexpensive body. Two: Image quality, by all reports the K-5 and now K-30 are best or near the top in their class. Third, body size. Compare the K-5 or K-30 to another APS-C body. The K-30 isn't that much bigger than the OM-D I loved. Fourth, compatibility. There are so many K-mount lenses that will work natively without adapters.

As far as other options: I absolutely can't stand not having a viewfinder on a camera, thus, anything less than an OM-D in Olympus land is not an affordable option (the $150 to $200 for the VF-2 takes the price of even a used EP-3 to nearly the price of the K-30)

That said, I started this thread seeking opinions on whether there was a "holy trinity" for Pentax like the Oly/Panasonic trio. People have mentioned some interesting options that I will research and as funds allow, get some primes again. For the price of the K-30 and with some careful shopping, it seems like I could get a good basic weather resistant kit for less than the price of the OM-D body.

I have to say, after looking at prices, there appear to be some high quality lenses out there for the Pentax kit, and slightly less expensive than the current m43 prices of such lovely lenses as the 75 1.8 and 12 2.

It seems like what I lose in space and weight savings if I go Pentax, I'll make up for with room in the wallet if I shop carefully.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

10-22-2012, 02:06 PM   #20
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There's so many AF primes out there for Pentax that I don't know if there's a typical "holy trinity" combo. There's the DA Limited pancake lenses which are the 21/3.2, 40/2.8 and 70/2.4 if you want maximum portability. But there's so many others from which to choose.

Do you want new or used lenses? Do you want particularly light weight lenses? Are there any certain FLs you like? Have you looked at the lens reviews database here?

If I were to give the closest competing Pentax current-production lens to the M43rds primes, it would probably be...

Olympus 12/2 = DA 15/4 Limited
Panasonic 14/2.5 or Olympus 17/2.8 = DA 21/3.2 Limited
Panasonic 20/1.7 = this is a little wider than the "normal" Pentax options, but closest is probably DA 35/2.4
Panasonic Leica 25/1.4 = FA 31/1.8 Limited
Olympus 45/1.8 = DA* 55/1.4
Olympus 60/2.8 macro = D FA 100/2.8 macro WR
Olympus 75/1.8 = really the 100/2.8 macro is closest equivalent FL but for a long-ish portrait lens probably FA 77/1.8 Limited

Just a few worth looking at...some are discontinued, others current production.

DA 15/4 Limited
FA 20/2.8
DA 21/3.2 Limited pancake
FA* 24/2
F 28/2.8
FA 28/2.8 AL
FA 31/1.8 Limited
FA 35/2 AL
DA 35/2.4
DA 35/2.8 Limited macro
DA 40/2.8 Limited pancake
FA 43/1.9 Limited pancake
F & FA 50/1.4
F & FA 50/1.7
DA 50/1.8
F, FA & D FA 50/2.8 macro
DA* 55/1.4
DA 70/2.4 Limited pancake
FA 77/1.8 Limited
F, FA, D FA & D FA WR 100/2.8 macro
F & FA 135/2.8
10-22-2012, 10:30 PM   #21
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* Pentax M 50mm F2 - $10-$20. Step down to F4. It can compete with any 50mm .
10-22-2012, 11:33 PM   #22
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Regarding a "holy trinity" many would argue that the three FA Ltds, the 31/1.8, 43/1.9, and the 77/1.8 are the three to go for but bargains they are not.
10-23-2012, 09:36 AM   #23
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A slightly cheaper "holy trinity" from what I have read is the DA 15/40/70 (Substitute DA 21 for the 15 if UWA isn't a necessity). Runs ~$1500 for all 3 new, or ~$1000 used. 12 ounces total weight, ultimate travel kit and wonderful IQ. They are at the top of my list right now. There's a lens club for them in the lens club section if you want plenty of samples.

10-24-2012, 03:39 AM   #24
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Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro is also great IQ and can find very cheap today
10-24-2012, 04:32 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by 123jippo Quote
Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro is also great IQ and can find very cheap today
Second that: the Tamron is better bang for the buck than either of the Pentax 100mm macro lenses. Wish they'd bring out that 60mm F2 on K-mount, though.
10-24-2012, 04:44 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
A slightly cheaper "holy trinity" from what I have read is the DA 15/40/70 (Substitute DA 21 for the 15 if UWA isn't a necessity).
No offence, but I'd call that a "trinity", i.e., I'd remove the "holy".

The 15/4 is bettered by the 12-24/4 in all disciplines (including sharpness) except for flare and CA (or similar). I know that the 15/4 has a cult following but I'm not convinced that optically there aren't better wide angles out there (including zooms).

The 40 is slow and IQ isn't as magic as that of the FA 43/1.9. It is of course ultra small, so if that floats your but, cool.

The 70/2.4 is, again, a bit slow. A very good performer, but, again, in terms of "magic" the FA 77/1.8 has the edge, AFAIC.
10-25-2012, 05:22 AM   #27
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True bargain by any measure: FA 28-70 f/4. Tiny lens, sharp as a prime, constant aperture.

While not cheap, the FA Limited lenses are a bargain compared to other premium lenses (like Canon L, Nikon or Zeiss.)

The FA 31, 43 and 77 represent the best Pentax tradition of IQ, small size, and craftsmanship.

They are worth their list price. But I am patient in looking for bargains. I have so far bought the FA 77 when it was on sale for $600 new, and just added a used, mint, in the box FA 43 for $349. So it's possible to find these gems for bargain prices if you are patient.
10-27-2012, 10:17 AM   #28
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If manual focus is in play...

A28/2.8 - As low as $60
A50/1.7 - As low as $70
Rokinon 85/1.4 - $250 or so used.

That's some serious IQ for not a lot of money. UWA in legacy manual is tough. Likely an UW zoom or modern prime.

I'm moving to all A primes. I've changed out my focus screen to the vaunted EE-S (and looking at a dual split horizontal). Not looking back.
10-27-2012, 01:22 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
The 15/4 is bettered by the 12-24/4 in all disciplines (including sharpness) except for flare and CA (or similar). I know that the 15/4 has a cult following but I'm not convinced that optically there aren't better wide angles out there (including zooms).

The 40 is slow and IQ isn't as magic as that of the FA 43/1.9. It is of course ultra small, so if that floats your but, cool.

The 70/2.4 is, again, a bit slow. A very good performer, but, again, in terms of "magic" the FA 77/1.8 has the edge, AFAIC.
As to bargains on these - I got a DA40 for under $250 and am glad I did. The DA15 is much beloved but I got a great deal on a lightly-used Sigma 15mm/2.8 fisheye, which is a bit larger but has its merits. The DA70 is never a steal as far as I can tell folks like it too much to let go, 'slow' or not. I have one on its way now though!
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