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03-04-2013, 07:31 PM   #1
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Fast, wide prime under $500?

Like the title says, I'm looking for a fast (at least F2) wide (20-35mm) for under $500 new or used. I would use it for indoor events, possibly some street shooting as well. I shoot with the K5iis, and I also have the Sigma 70mm 2.8 Macro and the Samyang 8mm Fisheye, as well as a Pentax -M 50mm 1.7

I've been looking at the Sigma 28mm 2.8 and the 30mm 1.4, but I've gotten a little wary on some of the mixed reviews on each... Any other suggestions?

03-04-2013, 08:51 PM   #2
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These two bower lenses may fit the bill. They're both fast and very sharp.

Bower 35mm f/1.4 Lens for Pentax SLY3514P B&H Photo Video
Bower 24mm f/1.4 Wide-Angle Lens for Pentax SLY2414P B&H Photo
($200 rebate expires 3/5, aka tomorrow)

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03-04-2013, 08:57 PM   #3
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How about autofocus lenses? I'm comfortable with manual focus and CIF but it's always nice to have that auto option.. are there any autofocus lenses as sharp as the Bowers?

Last edited by Drake Avenue; 03-05-2013 at 05:23 AM.
03-04-2013, 09:57 PM   #4
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Having owned the Sigma 28/1.8 and the 30/1.4, I'd say that the Sigma 30 is seriously sharp from wide open, but the corners do that mushy thing that can make good portraits. It's good for isolating people and things in the middle half of the frame. The Sigma 28/1.8 is better on the corners, but it really shines up close - its macro ability is pretty good overall.

Since you have the K5 iiS, why not consider the Pentax 35/2.8 Ltd Macro? It's got great performance all the way across the frame and super sharp. Just a bit of a bump up in ISO on that great camera you have will do fine to get you the shutter speeds you'll need indoors.

03-05-2013, 12:12 AM - 1 Like   #5

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Find a good copy of the FA*24/2, although it may run you $600. But it's a good lens if you need the speed, and it's not too big. It's a good lens to fit between the DA15 and the FA43 (or a 50). My poor FA20 and FA31 aren't seeing much use now (although they're both great lenses).

The DA35/2.4 is also very usable wide-open (most primes aren't, notably some Sigmas which are only a good value on paper, though haven't used the two mentioned here). As I'm sure you know it's really an FA35/2 without its largely useless fastest half-stop (I know, I had two of them, and each had significant IQ loss below f/2.5). That would save you a lot of money and might still serve your purpose. For that matter the FA20-35/4 is nice, but it's 2 stops slower than you want. This is why in my mind you're limited to the primes Adam mentioned and the ones I named.

The FA*24 may be a little pricey, but it's worth it to get that much speed in that wide a lens (especially a FF compatible one!) with AF. I have a K-5 IIs too, and it will give good results if you make sure the AF is adjusted correctly. With that much invested in a camera you should be buying lenses of this caliber anyway. Your Sigma 70 macro and M50/1.7 are excellent, worthy lenses, but it just takes more money when you go this wide and want to stay fast.

The FA*24 takes nice images at f/2.2 and has a surprisingly shallow DOF with probably the sharpest fall-off (quickest transition from In-Focus to OOF) I've ever seen. It's something to get used to, but I like the lens. Just look at Canon's recent announcement of the non-L (which usually means "mediocre" in my experience) 24/2.8 lens for $650 and you start to realize the FA*24 is not a bad buy. As I said, my FA20/2.8 is good, but the FA*24 just seems better with its fast speed plus much wider angle than the FA31. 24mm is a focal length I always liked on APS-C anyway, and I missed my A24/2.8 (honestly, about the only lens I've ever missed). It's nice to finally replace it with a faster, AF lens now.

EDIT: Oops, my mistake - I guess the Canon 24/2.8 IS was announced last February, but I just happened to read it recently.

Last edited by DSims; 03-05-2013 at 03:01 AM.
03-05-2013, 02:38 AM   #6
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I'd suggest a FA35/2
03-05-2013, 07:20 AM   #7
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FA35/2 is the one.

There are also the Sigma 24/1.8 and 28/1.8, but they are huge and I know that the 24/1.8 does not have good bokeh (as much as there is bokeh for a 24mm ; but certainly the FA*24 is far better in that aspect)
03-05-2013, 07:53 AM   #8
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I have that Sigma 28mm f1.8 as well, I got mine used for around $300. It's hard not to sugest the FA35 though, for general use.

03-05-2013, 07:56 AM   #9
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I'd suggest the DA 35mm F/2.4. Can be had new for @ $200 and is the same optical formula as the FA 35 F/2.0. It's nice, light, sharp, with good bokeh and inexpensive to boot. Until I got my FA 31mm ltd, it was always in my bag.
I've owned 2 copies of the FA *24mm and I returned both immediately, both copies had severe decentering issues and an inability to close focus properly. I got the Sigma 24mm F/1.8 instead. It's a nice lens but big and heavy.

NaCl(the DA 35mm F2.4 is an excellent lens even if it was $300!)H2O
03-05-2013, 07:58 AM   #10
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These FA* lenses are quite intriguing, I'm going to have to look into that.
03-06-2013, 05:41 PM - 1 Like   #11
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thanks everyone, I snagged a DA 21 Limited and a DA 35 2.4 for a little under $600 used for both
03-06-2013, 05:47 PM   #12
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That's sweet! Have fun with you new lenses
03-06-2013, 08:16 PM   #13
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Great lenses! Have fun with them!

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