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03-22-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
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Help! Difficulty choosing a lens...

Am looking to add a short telephoto prime (something in the 40-55 mm range) to my bag, but am having a heck of a time deciding what to get. While I realize no one can make the decision for me, I find it helpful to get others' thoughts regarding what they would do in my situation.

Criteria:
- 40-55 mm
- prime lens
- must be auto-aperture
- can be either auto or manual focus
- cost not an issue
- compactness is a plus
- Pentax or 3rd party OK
- must be full-frame compatible
- IQ and versatility are the most important attributes

Lenses I'm considering:
- Fa 43/1.9 limited
- Fa/F 50/1.7
- A 50/1.2
- A 50/2.8 macro


I've had and liked the Fa 50's and the Fa 43 in the past; never had any experience with the A's. Can anyone think of others that I've missed? Of more interest, what would you do in my shoes? FWIW, my current kit is Da 15 limited, Fa 31 limited, Fa 77 limited, and F 135/2.8 (though selling this). I want something that will fit nicely between the 31 and 77 in terms of FOV, either on APS-C or the mythical (but undoubtedly just around the corner) Pentax FF. I shoot landscapes, travel, a little bit of macro (nothing serious), and walkaround/everyday stuff. In a perfect world, I'd like a lens that can thrive in all of those areas.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Best,
Brandon

03-22-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpv_UW Quote
A 50/1.2
Is a seriously good piece of glass, to sort of half use a quote from Men in Black movie, "it's the last 50mm you'll ever wear".
03-22-2013, 02:23 PM   #3
hcc
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpv_UW Quote
Criteria:
- 40-55 mm
- prime lens
- must be auto-aperture
- can be either auto or manual focus
- cost not an issue
- compactness is a plus
- Pentax or 3rd party OK
- must be full-frame compatible
- IQ and versatility are the most important attributes
Lenses I'm considering:
- Fa 43/1.9 limited
- Fa/F 50/1.7
- A 50/1.2
- A 50/2.8 macro
I think that you have a good idea of what you want already. I can share my experience with two lenses:
-FA50mm f1.7
-Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4

I just bought a FA50mm f1.7 from Keh and I am impressed so far. It is a budget lens (I paid $200 for an EX- lens), but so far it is almost on par with my Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4. Despite the plastic feel, it is compact and fast.

My main recommendation would be however to consider the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4. It ticks many boxes on your list. The VL58mm is very sturdy (metallic lens) and perfect for harsh outdoor conditions. The IQ is superb. The VL58mm is extra-ordinary (IMHO) in poor lighting conditions: e.g., fog, smoke, smog. In these conditions, I prefer the VL58mm out of all my lenses. Lastly the VL58mm is excellent in very-very-low light, when the AF does not lock (the VL58mm is MF). The MF ring of the VL58mm is very smooth and easy to use.

While the VL58mm is no longer manufactured, you can find some regularly at PF marketplace, keh.com and Adorama (Used).

I placed a comparative discussion on the VL58mm and FA31mm at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/209251-fa31mm-...mm-f1-4-a.html. It may interest you since you already have the FA31mm and you may able to relate to your own experience.

I hope that the comment may help.

Last edited by hcc; 03-22-2013 at 08:24 PM.
03-22-2013, 03:14 PM   #4
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A50 f/1.2 or Zeiss 50 f/2 Makro ZK (if you can find one), two of the finest primes you can get hold of. Have one, want the other
The A50 f/1.2 can focus reasonably close but will demolish a FA50 f/1.4 or f/1.7 for bokeh and sharpness stopped down.



03-22-2013, 03:59 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpv_UW Quote
Lenses I'm considering: - Fa 43/1.9 limited - Fa/F 50/1.7 - A 50/1.2 - A 50/2.8 macro
I am confused by the question. Why would you want just one of those? Each is enough different except possibly the FA / F f/1.7. Just decide if you want the FA or the F and get all four, problem solved.......
03-22-2013, 04:07 PM   #6
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You can add to the list the DA40/2.8 (as money is not a problem, get the 43 instead ) and the DA*55/1.4 (my favorite lens by far on FF) and the DFA 50/2.8 macro.
03-23-2013, 07:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
You can add to the list the DA40/2.8 (as money is not a problem, get the 43 instead ) and the DA*55/1.4 (my favorite lens by far on FF) and the DFA 50/2.8 macro.
I've had the Da 40 and while I liked it, I think I like the others on this list better. I wasn't aware that the Da*55 covers full frame? Do a lot of people use this on FF?

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I am confused by the question. Why would you want just one of those? Each is enough different except possibly the FA / F f/1.7. Just decide if you want the FA or the F and get all four, problem solved.......
Touche.

QuoteOriginally posted by robbiec Quote
A50 f/1.2 or Zeiss 50 f/2 Makro ZK (if you can find one), two of the finest primes you can get hold of. Have one, want the other
The A50 f/1.2 can focus reasonably close but will demolish a FA50 f/1.4 or f/1.7 for bokeh and sharpness stopped down.
Hadn't thought of the Zeiss. What is the typical used $ of one?

QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
-Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4
Another good suggestion that I'll have to consider.


Thanks all for your suggestions.

-Brandon
03-23-2013, 08:45 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpv_UW Quote
I wasn't aware that the Da*55 covers full frame? Do a lot of people use this on FF?
The DA*55 is fully FF-ready

This beauty is my main lens on my Super A and MZ-5n. The only big drawback of the DA*55 is that it's a SDM only lens, so no AF on film body so far.

03-23-2013, 11:40 AM   #9
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If you want macro (at least half-size without tubes),
then the ZK 50/2 Makro-Planar @robbiec mentioned
is the only contender that can match both
the magnification of the A 50/2.8 and
the magnificence of the A 50/1.2 or FA 43/1.9.

You may be lucky enough to find one
for less than four figures (I was).
03-24-2013, 04:47 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpv_UW Quote
I've had the Da 40 and while I liked it, I think I like the others on this list better. I wasn't aware that the Da*55 covers full frame? Do a lot of people use this on FF?



Touche.



Hadn't thought of the Zeiss. What is the typical used $ of one?



Another good suggestion that I'll have to consider.


Thanks all for your suggestions.

-Brandon
New the Zeiss is about $1400 , last time I looked about 1,150 in ZK, but that's including VAT, in USD that equates to 1475 or thereabouts but you can take roughly 20% off as you pay less tax. Second hand, probably about the $1,000 mark.
03-25-2013, 02:08 PM   #11
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Thanks all for your input.

I just missed out on a "BGN" A 50/1.2 on KEH this weekend. Oh well.

Right now, I'm going to try not to break the bank so shelling out $800 for an "EX" copy of the A 50/1.2 isn't in the cards. That also means the Zeiss is off the table.

While intriguing, the Da*55 and the Nokton 58 are a little longer FL than I want (either as short tele on APS-C or as normal on FF). So those are out.

So trying to decide between:
K 50/1.2 - cheaper than A 50/1.2, essentially same lens, have to suck it up and deal with stop-down metering
Fa 43/1.9 - most versatile, great overall performer, only beefs are spotty AF accuracy (n=1 experience with the prior copy I had, realize this may not translate to all copies) and bit less desireable OOF than the 50 (though not bad by any means)
F 50/1.7 - fastest and most accurate AF lens I've used, great IQ and versatility for price, would save some $ for the next time LBA comes calling

Too bad can't just get all 3...

-Brandon
11-29-2013, 10:12 AM   #12
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Hello - i couldn't find an adequate thread to ask this - so if anyone could point me in the correct direction, that'd be great!

I have an older telephoto lens that no longer zooms in and out smoothly. Is there a page of thread that helps with telephoto service, etc?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
-ZaethR.
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