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02-06-2013, 05:15 PM   #1
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Best fast prime lens for under $500?

Hello All,

I looking for the best fast prime lens for under $500. Any opinions? (to put on a K-30)

Thank you.

02-06-2013, 05:27 PM   #2
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Perhaps the Rokinon (or similar) 14 or 35. They are manual focus, but provide excellent results.

If I was a manual focuser and had it all to do over again, I would seriously consider the 14/35/85 trio as a start.

The Sigma 30 is on a blowout sale as well.

Last edited by SpecialK; 02-06-2013 at 05:43 PM.
02-06-2013, 05:36 PM   #3
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Oh, there are countless possibilities!

Depends on how you define "best." Could you narrow your needs? e.g., Focal length? AF or MF? Aperture? Is cost important, or simply $500 max? New or used?

Off hand, as a start I would suggest:

- Pentax-F 50mm f/1.7. Typically $150-200 used, but less than $100 if you are lucky. Sharp, accurate AF, fast.
- SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4. Manual focus. Sublime.

02-06-2013, 05:36 PM   #4
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The F/FA 50mm ƒ/1.7 or ƒ/1.4 are extremely good lenses for about $200-250. Fast and cheap, the two qualities you list.

02-06-2013, 05:45 PM   #5
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If you want to spend up to $500 for a "best" fast prime, you might find a used FA 43mm f/1.9 limited for sale for under that, especially if it is assembled in Vietnam.

The FA 35mm f/2 is also awesome.
02-06-2013, 06:16 PM   #6
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I always seem to leave stuff out of my posts. Must have the option for auto focus.

Thank you.
02-06-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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I would have to say, the need to define a focal length is far more important that AF. But you should look through the lens review section of the forum, browse through the F/FA primes, the new DA primes and Sigma legacy and current primes sections. That is most of the range of AF primes that is available, find something you like.

Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
02-06-2013, 07:21 PM   #8
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What are you intending to shoot with the lens?

02-06-2013, 08:27 PM - 1 Like   #9

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The FA43 would be the answer - it outperforms all the Pentax AF 50s (which is why I sold them all when I got the FA43).

If you want faster and sharper, the answer is the DA*55, but it's over $500. If you want a lens you're really likely to love (despite the higher price) it's the FA77 - one of few lenses that performs really well wide open (FA43 doesn't; FA31 does, DA*55 comes close performing really well at f/1.6 or f/1.8, making it tied for the fastest "effective" Pentax AF lens along with the more expensive FA*85/1.4).
02-07-2013, 05:36 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
What are you intending to shoot with the lens?

Landscapes and portraits.
02-07-2013, 06:05 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mlcinema Quote
Landscapes and portraits.
A short tele is ideal for portraits, whereas a moderate wide-angle is ideal for landscapes.

Hmm, that sounds like your needing two, not one, lenses.

(Around here, that's generally considered a good thing...)
02-07-2013, 08:28 AM   #12
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The FA43 could possibly do both landscapes and portraits, depending on the situation. That would probably be your best bet if you can only afford 1 ~$500 lens at the moment.
02-07-2013, 08:34 AM   #13

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another one that's cheap is the da35mm f2.4. very nice lens too.
02-07-2013, 09:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by john5100 Quote
another one that's cheap is the da35mm f2.4. very nice lens too.
Yeah, that combined with the FA 50 1.4 and it would be around $550 or so. Best of both worlds.
02-07-2013, 10:10 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mlcinema Quote
Landscapes and portraits.
35mm focal reigns supreme in this case (from my experience). It gives you a semi-wide fov for lanscapes (good ground, subject and sky fov) while also giving you a good fov for portrait work lower chest and up. IMHO if you have never shot a prime focal to cover your intended shooting [of landscapes and portraits], I would recommend you take a zoom that you have on hand and shoot many subjects at the recommended focal lengths (35, 43, 50) and compare to see which focal is best suited for you to help narrow down your decision.

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