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11-27-2012, 09:37 AM   #1
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AF primes on a Budget?

Hi,

since my new K-5 swallowed most of my budget I've been trying to build a decent set of lenses on the cheap, with the DA18-55 in case I need WR and the F35-70 and F70-210 I've got slow zooms covered. I addition I've colected a heap of cheap MF primes but nothing wider than 24mm.

I guess what I'm looking for is value for money in AF primes, are there primes akin to the F35-70/F70-210 in those terms?

These are the ones I currently use:
Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 (cosina-built, P/KA)
Sigma 28mm f/2.8 Mini Wide II (P/KA)
Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7 (P/KA)
Petri 135mm f/2.8 (P/K)

With the 24 I usually find myself wanting to go wider, I really like the 28s FOV as a walkaround but I miss the AF and the 18-55 (stopped down) is quite decent at 28mm.
The 50 seems too long for a walkaround- and too short as a portrait-lens but it still ends up beeing my most-used MF lens because it's fast.
The 135 is worse than the 70-210 at the same aperture and no better than an equivalent crop from the 50 at 2.8, still a reasonably fast prime between 70 and 100mm would be nice.
What I'm also lacking is a normal prime, I've been 'trying' the possible FLs by setting my zooms to one and sticking with it for the day. I've found myself either cropping my 35mm shots or wanting them to be wider, so I think the DA40 plus a 28 would be ideal for me.

So the DA40, the F/FA28 2.8 and the F/FA50 1.4/1.7 are the obvious candidates but I haven't been able to find out how the Fs and FAs or the 1.4s and 1.7s differ in terms of IQ and the DA50 with it's 9-blade rounded 7-blade diaphragm seems like a good candidate, too.
Beyond 50mm there don't seem to be any cheap AF options, the M85/2 and the Samyang 85/1.4 do seem quite nice but I'm inclined to wait and get a DA70/FA77/DFA100 when I can afford it ('just a few years till I finish my M.A.' is what I'll tell myself...)
I think I can do without AF in a truely wide (on APS-C) lens but there don't seem to be many cheap prime options, so I'll probably go for a WA-Zoom like the Sigma 10-20.

Beyond those I've only found the Sigma 24mm AF Super Wide II, are there any other third-party lenses I should consider?

Concerning the budget, I'm setting aside 50-80 for photography-related things, plus whatever I get for the MF lenses that are replaced.
The DA40 is pretty much a given (new or used, though a Limited lens in anything but flawless condition somehow seems abhorrent to me), beyond that I'd like to start in order of value for money.


I'd really appreciate any help you can give me, which are the lenses to look for and what would be good prices for them.
My strategy thus far has been to bid on all candidates that pop up on ebay but limit my bids to prices below the average. (after 2 months waiting I got my F70-210 for half the average price, so it seems to work...)

-Jan



Glass to sell off:
Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7
Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 (P/KA)
Sigma 28mm f/2.8 Mini Wide II (P/KA)
Ricoh XR Rikenon 28mm f/3.5 (P/K)
Ricoh Rikenon 50mm f/1.7 (P/K)
Petri 135mm f/2.8 (P/K)
Sigma 70-210mm f/4-5.6 (P/KA)
Cosina 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6 (P/K)


Last edited by Boris_Akunin; 11-27-2012 at 10:58 AM.
11-27-2012, 10:23 AM - 1 Like   #2
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The Sigma 24/2.8 Super Wide II is a good choice although rather rare to find in AF for Pentax mount. Most of them I've seen out there are KA-mount.

The FA 28/2.8 is supposed to be a bit better than the F but both are good.

For the 50s, the 1.7 and 1.8 are a tad sharper at wider apertures than the 1.4. The 1.4 gets a bad reputation because it really needs a hood. With the hood, it's vastly improved. The 1.4 has the smoothest bokeh, followed by the 1.8 then 1.7 (which I think is a little busy). The 1.8 has the least CA/PF thanks to its newer coatings. Also just FYI the 1.8 has a 7-bladed aperture not 9, but the blades are rounded.

For the 70-100 range if you want something cheaper than the Limited options, you could look at the Tamron 90/2.8 macro. There's also a somewhat-rare AF version of the older 90/2.5 macro which is much more common as an MF adaptall lens. They're not true portrait lenses, but they have an AF range limiter that helps speed up the AF by locking out the macro range of the focus throw.

Personally I think having a 24, 28, 40 and 50 might be bunching up a bit. That's a lot of lenses covering a pretty narrow range. Not that you have to do it my way but I've got a Tamron 17-50/2.8, FA 35/2 and FA 50/1.4. The Tamron covers the wide end of things and the primes give me faster options at those FLs.
11-27-2012, 10:39 AM   #3
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Did you consider the DA 35 2.4 and 50 1.8 ? Those appear to be "value for money" AF primes !
Something like Sigma 24 / DA 35 / DA 50 would be a sweet, light, high quality and reasonably cheap setup.
As you state, to my knowledge nothing is really cheap past 50mm when it comes to AF primes. Maybe a Tamron 90 macro?
Have fun deciding,
Victor
11-27-2012, 10:50 AM   #4
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You aren't going to find a cheap wide AF prime.

If you don't mind MF you can get the Vivitar 19/3.8 for $100 or less.

As far as bokeh for the 50s, do you like the bokeh from the A50/1.7? Because it is the same as the bokeh for the FA.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-sample-photo-archive/174806-super-mu...0mm-1-7-a.html


Last edited by boriscleto; 11-27-2012 at 11:01 AM.
11-27-2012, 10:54 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by msatlas Quote

The FA 28/2.8 is supposed to be a bit better than the F but both are good.
Eh? From what I've seen around here, the F has a stronger following than the FA. I think you've got that backwards...

Also, for the OP, I'd recommend the F50/1.7 as a great value in a fast fifty with AF.
11-27-2012, 11:04 AM   #6
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Another Option?

Hello Boris,
Another lens option you might want to take a look at is the Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 AL . This has to be one of the best bargains going, small fast and sharp. There's a thread here somewhere called "The Plastic Fantastic" that could help you decide.
I also own the F 35-70 and the DA is sharper at 35mm, as well as a stop faster. No, it's not a Limited, but the next best thing and 1/3 - 1/4 of the price!
This lens sells for about $200.00 USD new, slightly less used.
Good luck finding a short telephoto prime with AF, at a low price. Most of the 90, 100 and 105mm AF primes are true Macros, commanding a premium price. I ended up sticking with my M 85mm f/2.0 ($200-$300 USD) and M 100mm f/2.8 ($150 USD) for portraits, even though both are fully manual.
Regards,
Ron
11-27-2012, 11:36 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by gabriel_bc Quote
Eh? From what I've seen around here, the F has a stronger following than the FA. I think you've got that backwards...
I was going off the photodo test results. Admittedly that's a little limited in scope but that's where I came up with "supposed to be."

Pentax SMC-FA 28 f/2.8 AL
Pentax SMC-F 28mm f/2.8

It could very well be that the F is the favorite here though.
11-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by msatlas Quote
For the 70-100 range if you want something cheaper than the Limited options, you could look at the Tamron 90/2.8 macro. There's also a somewhat-rare AF version of the older 90/2.5 macro which is much more common as an MF adaptall lens. They're not true portrait lenses, but they have an AF range limiter that helps speed up the AF by locking out the macro range of the focus throw.
This one's the rare one, right? If I find one again at the price that one sold for, it's certainly a candidate. The 90/2.8 seems to sell around 250€ on german/european ebay which isn't that far below the DA70/2.4(~350€) or one of the 100/2.8 macros (DFA WR: ~400, DFA,FA,F: ~300€)

QuoteQuote:
Personally I think having a 24, 28, 40 and 50 might be bunching up a bit. That's a lot of lenses covering a pretty narrow range. Not that you have to do it my way but I've got a Tamron 17-50/2.8, FA 35/2 and FA 50/1.4. The Tamron covers the wide end of things and the primes give me faster options at those FLs.
QuoteOriginally posted by victordeamorin Quote
Did you consider the DA 35 2.4 and 50 1.8 ? Those appear to be "value for money" AF primes !
Something like Sigma 24 / DA 35 / DA 50 would be a sweet, light, high quality and reasonably cheap setup.
As you state, to my knowledge nothing is really cheap past 50mm when it comes to AF primes. Maybe a Tamron 90 macro?
Have fun deciding,
Victor
It's definitively 24 or 28, fov-wise I don't need 40 and 50 but I like the 40 much better for general use and the 50 is the cheapest way to get a fast portrait(ish) lens. I'd frankly prefer a 28/40/70 kit with the A50 as a backup but with used prices as they are, I could probably replace the A50/1.7 with a F/FA50/1.7 for around 100€ while I would rather not sell my A50 to buy something slower...

I think something like this would suit my quite well:
AF Primes: F/FA28 - DA40 - DA70
AF Zooms: Sigma 10-20 - F35-70 - F70-210 (+ 18-55 for WR and to cover 20-28 if needed)
MF Primes: Revuenon 300/5.6

I guess this would work too:
AF Primes: DA40
AF Zooms: Sigma 10-20 - Tamron 28-75/2.8 - F70-210 (+ 18-55 for WR and to cover 20-28 if needed)
MF Primes: A50/1.7 - Revuenon 300/5.6

I have irrationally decided that I need at least one Limited (you might have noticed), the DA40 fits the bill best (size, fast AF, FL) and the rest of my brain is just going go have to deal with that.


-Jan

11-27-2012, 01:30 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boris_Akunin Quote
This one's the rare one, right? If I find one again at the price that one sold for, it's certainly a candidate.
Yes, exactly, model 52E. I got mine less than a year ago for $130 shipped, I think because the seller left the word "macro" out of the auction title. In this case the rarity works for you, because not many people are looking for it - they don't know it exists.

On the F or FA 28mm f2.8, the pendulum swings back and forth. I bought the first one I found a deal on.
11-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #10
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if you have the chance and you can choose I would recommend F28 / 2.8 (sharper than the FA 28/2, 8) and F50 / 1.7 (sharper than the FA 50/1, 7)
11-27-2012, 03:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mbukal Quote
if you have the chance and you can choose I would recommend F28 / 2.8 (sharper than the FA 28/2, 8) and F50 / 1.7 (sharper than the FA 50/1, 7)
QuoteOriginally posted by msatlas Quote
I was going off the photodo test results. Admittedly that's a little limited in scope but that's where I came up with "supposed to be."

Pentax SMC-FA 28 f/2.8 AL
Pentax SMC-F 28mm f/2.8

It could very well be that the F is the favorite here though.
Somehow I doubt that I'll find a definitive answer to this... no matter.
The DA40 is first on my list of lenses to buy, unless I get a really good deal for one of the other candidates.
I have a pretty good source for typical prices, so I'll set a 'plausible bargain' price for every lens and keep trying (it worked for the F70-210).
F28: 100-180 --> 120
FA28: 75-200 --> 120
F50/1.7: 120-200 --> 140
FA50/1.7: 120-220 --> 140

may the market decide, I guess...
11-27-2012, 03:59 PM   #12
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prices for F are OK, I bought it (max.120/140 euros)
11-27-2012, 04:15 PM   #13
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I am happy with smc-a 24, da40, da70 and promaster 100 f3.5 macro, which I found in af for about $170. It can be found in mf for less and it feels cheap but shoots great! I still have my rikenon 28mm and a 55mm f/2.2 but they don't get much use at all.

Good luck with your search!
11-27-2012, 11:02 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by msatlas Quote
I was going off the photodo test results. Admittedly that's a little limited in scope but that's where I came up with "supposed to be."

Pentax SMC-FA 28 f/2.8 AL
Pentax SMC-F 28mm f/2.8

It could very well be that the F is the favorite here though.
Fair enough - they're both great lenses. Seems like the F gets more love here, though.
11-28-2012, 12:42 AM   #15
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Bye-bye savings...

QuoteOriginally posted by Boris_Akunin Quote
I have irrationally decided that I need at least one Limited (you might have noticed), the DA40 fits the bill best (size, fast AF, FL) and the rest of my brain is just going go have to deal with that.
Unfortunately for you, you're already DOOMED.
You can't just buy "one" Limited. I know because I thought I could, some time ago. But then if you open that door... You might as well just go directly for the DA 21/40/70 trio. Take as much time as you need to buy each one of them (maybe used) but don't try to "save money" by buying cheaper alternatives, it won't last. Soon you'll "have to get" the Limiteds. So, the only way to not spend more than necessary is to not get anything else.
Sorry man, I wish I had better news for you.
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