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01-24-2013, 11:10 AM   #1
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Replacement for my 40mm Ltd

Hey guys,

I'm quite confused right now, unable to think clearly and as if that's not enough...I'm german. So please bear with me and excuse me if I don't make myself clear.

Skip this part if you're not interested in a tale of a boy and his lens...

I currently own a 40mm Limited and the sad story goes like this:
I immediately fell in love with it...the size, the build quality, the image quality. At that time, it was by far the most excelling lens I owned. A friend of mine and her baby came to visit and I took the first photos with the lens and was nothing else than amazed. I was able to see myself in the reflection of the small child's eyes, the skin tone and detail....just beautiful.
Then, a few months later, I needed (wanted, craved...) a nice wide angle lens for landscape and star photography, got the 15mm Limited and what can I say...like a newborn, it exclusively got my attention and the 40mm Limited sat jealously for itself in the corner.
The funny thing is, I thought it'd be the other way around. It took a long time for me to make the decision to buy it and I was in in doubt about whether it would see enough use to make it worth spending 700 on it. I didn't see myself as a friend of wide angle photography.

Anyway...now, when travelling, I take my 15mm Ltd, the 40mm Ltd and the 55-300mm with me. Since I own the 15mm Ltd, I've been to Scotland and Amsterdam and took 218 photos (keepers) with the 15mm and just 41 with the 40mm. I had the 15mm on my K-5 almost all the time and when I decided to use the 40mm for a change, I didn't really know what to do with it because the 40mm fov was constantly too tight for my purpose. Maybe I just forgot how to use it correctly and got too used to the ultra wide angle, because everytime I saw something worth taking a photo of, I looked through the viewfinder and thought "Really that close??". Sure, I didn't expect to see my feet but at least the fov of my eyes. I know, 40mm equals 60mm and that's just a little bit closer to the subject as one sees it with one's own eyes. Ironically that's exactly the reason I bought it and not the 35mm or below...turns out I don't like it that much.

Bottom line: I'm looking for something new (again), to replace my 40mm Ltd. Actually I'm not sure if I have the heart to sell it, because I do love it and perhaps someday I'll regret giving it away but...anyway, I need a lens which is a bit wider, mainly for indoor, available light and street photography. My budget is between 400 and 600 (roughly 500 to 800 USD)...please don't recommend the FA 31mm ;)

The lenses I have on my mind are:

Sigma 30mm F1.4:
Pro:
Very fast, nice bokeh. I absolutely love John Carey's style (fiftyfootshadows.net) and I think this lens might enable me to take similar photos (don't get me wrong, I don't want to copy him).
Here some examples of his stuff to show you what I mean:
A Fresh Start
Dial Tone
Contra:
It's Sigma and I heard many scary stories about their quality management. Also I don't know what to think of the size, weight and really big filter diameter...

Pentax 35mm F2.8 Limited:
Pro:
Pentax, Limited (!), great quality. I kinda like the thought of knowing I could always take macro shots if I want to. With my p&s I used to use the Raynox DCR-250 thingy and really enjoyed it. Now, with the K-5 I don't use it at all because it's pretty hard to use it handheld and when being outside, I carry as few things with me as possible.
Contra:
I don't know if the difference between 35mm and 40mm is big enough for me to not think of it as being to tight. 2.8 might not be fast enough (?). DOF not as narrow as that of the Sigma.

The Pentax 21mm Ltd also crossed my mind but I think that's too wide and it doesn't allow me to isolate things.
Then I thought about filling the gap between the 15mm Ltd and the 55-300mm with another zoom lens? Perhaps the Pentax 16-50 or Sigma 24-70? The thing is, I wanted to avoid zooms and only invest in primes in the future (55-300 being the exception). Limited primes to be concrete :)
I just don't know what to do. I don't expect you to decide or do the thinking for me, I think I just need a little push or inspiration.

Thank in advance for every response and thanks to all of you who took the time reading this! I reread it a couple times and to me it makes sense, I hope you feel the same way ;)

Greetings
Freddy

01-24-2013, 11:32 AM   #2
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You could also consider the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 which has image quality like a Ziess or the FA 35mm f/2 which is meant to be a fantastic lens.
01-24-2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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I have the 40ltd and use it a lot on my K-01. I also have the 35/2.4 and its a great lens. The FoV is not different enough for me with those two to think of replacing one with the other. If you are consistently finding the 40 too tight a FoV then the 35 is unlikely, in my experience, to represent enough of a change. You might think of a 28mm or even the 21ltd, although the latter might be too close to the 15ltd.
01-24-2013, 11:47 AM   #4
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I already did, but I'm not so sure about them. The Samyang lens is MF only, I've got two old Pentax lenses in my bag but don't use them at all (only for just for fun shots at home) because first, I fear to miss shots because I didn't get the focus in time and second I often think "Is it really in focus or am I wrong?" and the FA 35/2...the macro capability of the 35 Ltd is a bigger advantage to me as the half f-stop and iq-wise they should be on par or not?

QuoteQuote:
If you are consistently finding the 40 too tight a FoV then the 35 is unlikely, in my experience, to represent enough of a change. You might think of a 28mm or even the 21ltd, although the latter might be too close to the 15ltd.
That's exactly my concern

01-24-2013, 11:49 AM   #5
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You didn't mention that either the 40/2.8 or the 15/4 was too slow. That makes me think 28mm f2.8 might work, either F or FA 28/2.8. It won't be too close to 40. While they aren't pancakes, both lenses are fairly small. For maybe 180-200€ used, you could save some money.
01-24-2013, 11:50 AM   #6
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Keep the DA40. I had the same problem as you.....loved the DA 40 until I got the DA15 which is a magical lens. Still, I find the DA 40 is a great walk around lens for those quick grap shots.
01-24-2013, 12:02 PM   #7
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I have the 40 Limited and the 15 Limited, and of the two, I also tend to use the 15 more.
But I wouldn't get rid of the 40. It's relatively inexpensive compared to the other Limited lenses, and the image quality is great. If you get rid of it, you may end up missing it later.
I don't feel that changing it for a 35mm would be much of an advantage - they are just that bit too close in focal length. A lens somewhere around 30mm would fill the gap nicely (the Sigma 30mm, or the 31mm Limited, or a 28mm) or maybe even the 21 Limited (possibly a bit close to the 15, as already mentioned, but then you could have the pleasure of a set of Limiteds!)
Good luck, whatever you decide.
01-24-2013, 12:07 PM   #8
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You might want to look into a Sigma 24 or 28 f/1.8. They are big, but are right in the middle of your current setup.

01-24-2013, 12:28 PM   #9
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I can give another vote on F or FA 28. Great lenses, you can fall in love again. How ever, thinking about your DA 40, don't let it go yet. Someday when you have got little tired of new lenses, you can put them on self and take just one lens with you at time let's say for few days. You'll find the magic again.
01-24-2013, 12:32 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Freddy, welcome to the forum, and thanks for telling your story.

Each prime lens has its own way of seeing the world.
That's partly a question of focal length, and also a question of rendering.

When you get a new lens, especially one as addictive as the DA 15,
it's easy to get totally absorbed with it.

Can you train your eyes to visualize what the DA 40 sees?
That's a different mindset from what the DA 15 demands.
I often switch to a 50mm lens for walkaround,
and have to rethink my way of looking at things
after using wider angles (15, 20, 24mm).

A big part of the pleasure in photography with prime lenses
is looking at the world in different ways.
If you can learn how to do that,
you'll get the benefit of both your Limited lenses.
01-24-2013, 12:41 PM   #11
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35mm is not much wider than 40mm.

Don't get the Sigma 30mm F/1.4. OK, it's fast. But its IQ and its fun factor are nowhere near those of limited lenses.

21mm is not too wide.

If I could keep only one of my primes (see my signature) but one, I'd keep the 21mm Ltd.

If you get rid of your 40mm Ltd, you'll regret it.
01-24-2013, 12:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by carcha Quote
the FA 35/2...the macro capability of the 35 Ltd is a bigger advantage to me as the half f-stop and iq-wise they should be on par or not?
The FA 35mm f2.0 is a full stop faster than the DA 35 f2.8 macro. Smoother bokeh too. Whether either is wide enough to change for a 40mm Ltd you'll have to decide. I find the difference between 40mm and 35 matters. I usually carry the 40mm with the 15mm. If I'm only carrying one prime, it will be the FA 28 or FA 35. The FA 28mm f2.8 is noticeably wider than 35 or 40 but still a normal. I like the colours and overall IQ, but bokeh is not its strength.

The images below show the FA 35 with and without Raynox 250. It's nowhere near the DA 35 macro's capability, but good for flowers etc. The DA 35 macro is a nice feature, but subject distance is too tight for insects. If you want to shoot bugs, you'd be better off with a Raynox on your 55-300. The Raynox 150 is the best match with the 55-300 due to longer subject distances and lack of vignetting.




It may be worth mentioning that the honey bee in the Raynox shot was only 2/3 the size of the bumblebee in the FA 35 shot

Last edited by audiobomber; 01-24-2013 at 12:55 PM.
01-24-2013, 01:16 PM   #13
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Oh boy, where to begin...

QuoteQuote:
You didn't mention that either the 40/2.8 or the 15/4 was too slow. That makes me think 28mm f2.8 might work, either F or FA 28/2.8.
The 15/4 isn't too slow because I mainly use it for landscapes, often with a tripod and when I used in indoors or at dawn or situations like that and I noticed it's time for something faster, I took the 40. But even then, the 40 could have been faster. I'll have a look at the two lenses you mentioned. They're rare aren't they? Didn't find them anywhere.

QuoteQuote:
Freddy, welcome to the forum, and thanks for telling your story.
Thank you :) much appreciated!
QuoteQuote:
Can you train your eyes to visualize what the DA 40 sees?
...
A big part of the pleasure in photography with prime lenses
is looking at the world in different ways.
There's the problem...after using the 15 for so long without using the 40, I got used to the 15 and forgot how to handle the 40 and now I can't even clearly imagine when I would use the 40. Maybe for taking photos of friends who aren't comfortable me sticking my 15 up their nose to fill the frame with their head.
But you're right...that's exactly the joy of using primes. I got the focal length and know it (until I neglect it) and know instantly how I'll take the photo and how it will turn out (what to frame and where). With a zoom I've got a range of focal lengths and therefore a douzen possibilities to frame without moving around.

QuoteQuote:
Don't get the Sigma 30mm F/1.4. OK, it's fast. But its IQ and its fun factor are nowhere near those of limited lenses.

21mm is not too wide.

If I could keep only one of my primes (see my signature) but one, I'd keep the 21mm Ltd.
I share your thoughts of the Sigma. I once browsed the 21 Ltd Club Thread and thought "One day..." but not to replace the 40 but to extend my set of Limiteds.

QuoteQuote:
If you want to shoot bugs
Rather not. More like plants and flowers or detail shots of objects.


Thank you all for your responses! I'm not used to get so many (kind, helpful and conufsing) replies in so short a time ;)
01-24-2013, 01:55 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by carcha Quote
Maybe for taking photos of friends who aren't comfortable me sticking my 15 up their nose to fill the frame with their head.
Just maybe? It's not just a matter of making them uncomfortable, it's also going to look very different. Just do this - take two portraits, one with the 15 and one with the 40, while keeping the size of the head in the frame roughly constant. I'm pretty sure you'll appreciate the 40 much more again after this exercise.
01-24-2013, 02:11 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by carcha Quote
Bottom line: I'm looking for something new (again), to replace my 40mm Ltd. Actually I'm not sure if I have the heart to sell it, because I do love it and perhaps someday I'll regret giving it away but...anyway, I need a lens which is a bit wider, mainly for indoor, available light and street photography.
Basically you want to fill the gat between the 15 and the 40, then let go of the 40? I was going to suggest getting a F50 f1,7 or FA50 f1,4 to gain some low light performances, but it doesn't seem to fit your bill.

QuoteOriginally posted by carcha Quote
It's Sigma and I heard many scary stories about their quality management. Also I don't know what to think of the size, weight and really big filter diameter...
Sigma lenses are just as reliable as other brands, I believe. Their 30 is quite big, however, I agree. As large as some zooms.

QuoteOriginally posted by carcha Quote
The Pentax 21mm Ltd also crossed my mind but I think that's too wide and it doesn't allow me to isolate things.
Not sure what you mean but it's the other lens I was going to recommend.

Baqsically you want a 35mm lens, if I understand correctly Then you have to choose between a FA35 if you can find one, a DA 35 which is very inexpensive and a DA limited macro 35 which is expensive but probably the best performer of the lot. It's a matter of specs vs money from that point.
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