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03-06-2008, 11:54 AM   #1
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Lens buying dilema

I am really torn at what to do at this point. I have saved up about 1k to purchase lenses to "feed" my new found habit. I had originally wanted to go with something in the 250mm plus range but lately I find myself taking lots of pictures of everyday things (family members, random objects etc) and feel maybe I should also look at doing some portraiture.

So I decided to do some research and now I feel like my head is about to explode. I just can't decide what to do. To make a long story short here are the 2 scenarios I am considering.

1. FA 31mm ltd -- by all accounts one of the "best" ever but will eat most of my $
2. FA 35mm and FA 77mm ltd -- will get me more lenses "faster" but I am not sure if I should pass on the 31.

For some background I currently have a GX-10 with a dfa 100 macro, 18-55 kit and a Voigtlander 180mm . I am looking for a well balanced selection of lenses as I really have no "favorite" subject. Sometimes its wildlife, sometimes people etc. I seem to like primes better than zooms and don't mind spending a few $ for nice stuff.

Sorry this is a little long but I appreciate your opinions and suggestions in helping me make this decision.


Last edited by BeerCan; 03-06-2008 at 11:55 AM. Reason: spelling
03-06-2008, 12:18 PM   #2
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I can think of a couple of ways to feed the habbit, or more appropriately spend youor hard saved $1000.

If it were me, and I have a bias to wildlife shooting at one end and archetecture at the other, I would put that money into an asbestos purse to prevent it from burning a hole in your pocket, and wait until the announced and long anticipated 70-200 F2.8 zooms from sigma and tamron appear. Get one of those and a 1.4x or 2x TC from the same supplier as the lens, and you will have a very big portion of your lens needs met (not the lens itsef although it is rather substantial). This lens will do a lot for any wildlife and sports work you want to take on/

As you wait, you can start to think about specifics for portraits, but the bottom end of the big zoom can do some of this, and at F2.8 is wide enough to give some depth of field control.

You can then think about below 70mm seriously.
03-06-2008, 12:50 PM   #3
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IQ-wise, the 35/2 is not that far behind from the 31/1.8. Many long time Pentaxians prefer the 35/2 over the 31 because of its lightweight and cost. However, if you're still not so sure about it, then get the 77 1st. If you like the focal length, then you have a choice of later getting the 31 or the 35. If you don't, then return it and get the 31.
03-06-2008, 05:48 PM   #4
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If I were you I'd go for FA31 + DA70.
They stretch your 1k budget just a tiny bit if the rebates come back, or wait for the right ones on Marketplace.

03-06-2008, 06:19 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BeerCan Quote
Sorry this is a little long but I appreciate your opinions and suggestions in helping me make this decision.
One question; why not just buy all the lenses that you really want instead of compromising? I guess I'm asking do you have to have them all now, surely you'll have more money that you could direct towards more glass in six months or so and then more after that?
03-06-2008, 06:47 PM   #6
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I have the same dilemma. I'd like the 77mm ltd, but the Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 will be available for $700soon. If I could just find a positive review, i'd probably go for the Tammy and pick up a 31mm ltd later as i do mostly wildlife

Last edited by ivoire; 03-06-2008 at 07:27 PM.
03-06-2008, 07:36 PM   #7
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i'm beginning to think that I'm not going to buy any zoom lenses when I get the K20.

Anyone seen the 35/2.8 macro yet? I'm thinking that paired with a 77 would do most of what i want.

I don't think *any* zoom lens will touch either the 31 or 77 wrt sharpness, contrast, etc. Just depends if you're willing to compromise...
03-06-2008, 08:59 PM   #8
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We just came out of a grueling winter at work. We were told we would get a bonus when a job got done. We got it done. I thought a couple hundred dollars would be cool but was amazed at what our boss laid on us.
I'm sure the 35 would have been a great lens for my capabilities but all of a sudden the 31 Limited was a possibility and I couldn't resist. Now I have a no compromise, top of the line, no excuse, no holds barred lens. We'll see what I can accomplish with it.
It got here today but wouldn't you know, the mail lady who never gets here before I get home from work, came early. I needed to sign for it so she kept it. Now I can't get it before tomorrow and it's driving me crazy:-).
I would say to get a FA Limited that suits your style whether it be the 31 or 77. Who knows how long they will be available and they work with film cameras, the DA's will be around for a lot longer, I imagine. And the build quality of the FA Limiteds. Now I haven't seen mine yet or any of them, in person, but I handled a DA* last weekend and I'm sure the SDM and weather sealing and all that is awesome but it doesn't compare to what I'm imagining this Limited is like. The FA Limiteds are old school builds, the way God intended a lens to be built, imho:-). Aperture rings, DOF scales, metal and glass, all that good stuff.
Good luck with your decision.

03-06-2008, 09:54 PM   #9
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If you shoot mostly indoors, I would go for the FA31 first with its wider FOV and closer minimum focusing distance. Both it and the FA77 are optically fantastic, with the FA77 slightly shaper with the two samples I have. (Other people find the FA31 sharper.)

Here's a FA31 pic, with the famous 3D effect & glow.

03-06-2008, 10:30 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aegisphan Quote
IQ-wise, the 35/2 is not that far behind from the 31/1.8. Many long time Pentaxians prefer the 35/2 over the 31 because of its lightweight and cost. However, if you're still not so sure about it, then get the 77 1st. If you like the focal length, then you have a choice of later getting the 31 or the 35. If you don't, then return it and get the 31.
Agreed. I've owned the 35 and it's a great lens without question. I had to sell most of my lenses a few months back (family stuff) and have been slowly getting a few replacements. I picked up a 31mm and only because the deal was so good. For 3 times the price on average the 31mm is not 3 times better. Maybe 10% and that's not sharpness, it's more of a depth to the image which is hard to describe and doesn't show up in every scene. So with limited budgets and unless the deal was really hot, I think I'd buy the 35mm as my first choice every time. So get the 35 and 77. You should be able to do that around $750-800 and you have a great combo that really can't be beat. Save the rest for the 70-200 zoom that is coming.
03-08-2008, 08:29 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies so far, lots of food for thought. As an experiment today I took my kit lens and set it on 31mm. I then walked around and took some shots of just random things. I then did the same with the lens set on 43mm. I obviously could not set it on 77 so I skipped that

Seems just based on this small little experiment I might prefer things more towards the "normal" range. Most of the shots I took at 43 looked a little better to me fov wise. I still have a lot to learn so my tastes may change, but based on this I am now considering the 43 ltd and a nice flash. I wonder how many times I can/will change my mind before I actually push the "buy" button. Is this part of the fun ?
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