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05-11-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
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Perhaps need some speed

Current kit is

18-55mm WR
35mm FA f2
15mm DA
55-300mm DA
100mm WR macro

So I don't have anything faster than the f2 and I seem to spend 90% of my time using the 35mm FA, the other lenses hardly get a look in. I seem to like this FOV and rendering. The Sigma 35mm 1.4 would be tempting, faster (but physically bigger though and a not cheap).

I'm wondering if its worth getting a fast 50 though instead of "upgrading" the 35mm and which? maybe not even bother with AF lens (50mm FA or DA). What would you say [that is fast] offers best VFM [bearing in mind what I've got]?

or is it time to move the K7 on and have better ISO capability. K-30 has cashback though, and I've only got 12 bit raw at the moment as it is. But then the 2013 camera can't be too far off...

05-11-2013, 02:17 PM   #2
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With a wider aperture comes narrow DOF. This might be a good thing, but often you're likely going to find f1.4 very difficult to use with regarss to getting an in focus image unless your camera is on a tripod.

Personally, I would go to something that has clean ISO. You can easily 2x, 4x, 8x even 16x your exposure via ISO and still get a clean resulting image with the newer cameras. This is probably one of the only reasons I'd tell someone to get a new camera instead of better glass. The return on investment and trade-off of using a wider aperture lens just makes more sense.

Of course, it all depends on your needs. If you have use for the f1.4, by all means... but keep in mind that the clean higher ISO works for all lenses. :-)
05-11-2013, 02:27 PM   #3
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When I started with my K-r I had a similar kit, the DA L 18-55mm and 50-200mm, then I bought the DA 35mm f2.4. Later I got a used M 50mm f1.7, which kind of blew my mind due to the sharpness, creamy rendering, and low light capabilities, as well as because it reminded me of aperture rings, distance scales and all that. Right now i mostly use my DA 40mm XS, though. Mostly because it is so small, but it also delivers amazing quality and fast AF. But its only f2.8, so not great for indoors or after sunset.
So, if you like the technical aspect of photography and don't mind MF, get an M series 50mm f1.7 (or f1.4), its a very popular lens on these forums. It will probably keep its value, too, so you can sell it later without a loss. But amoringello is right, fast aperture loses its novelty value after a while and you end up only using it rarely. At least for me. At first I loved f1.7, now I only use it to keep ISO below 1600.
But you can also get a brand new DA 50mm f1.8 pretty cheap and it will have AF. Thing is, if you want a fast lens, it gets very expensive if you move away from the 50mm focal length.
05-11-2013, 02:27 PM   #4
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You definitely need more speed, looking at your lens line up. I have a K-7 and my shutter count is past 40,000. Based upon my experience, you definitely need some faster lenses: typically f1.4 to f1.8. You will need to consider fast primes, because the prime lenses are the only options for wide aperture. In my case I have a mix of fast MF and AF prime lenses, incl. FA Ltds (f1.8), a f1.7 and two f1.4 lenses.

Since a lens is an investment, I would suggest to invest in some fast lenses first. The K-7 works nicely with fast lenses. Anecdocticaly, I remember, a couple of year ago, shooting at sunset along the coast in winter. I had to put on my fast lens at about 19:10; other photographers with Canikons stopped to shoot at 19:20 because ti was too dark. With my fast lens (VL58mm f1.4 in that instance), I was still shooting at 19:45 with my K-7, and a Nikon user (a big FF Nikon with a f2.8 lens) told me that he was shocked to see me still shooting.

Practically, if your budget is limited you may consider some older manual (MF) lenses. Pentax has a lot to offer in terms of older vintage lenses.

Would a newer/faster camera be a better option? NO definitely IMHO. I have both K-01 and K-7. The K-01 is superb at high-ISO compared to the K-7. But the high-ISO capabilities do not replace some fast lens(es) with excellent IQ in low light conditions.

The K-7 is still a great camera at low ISO, and I continue to love using it. I am obviously not the only one:
In low lights, some fast lens is the best option and it will give you some options and capabilities beyond your 'wildest' expectations.

Hope that the comment may help.

Last edited by hcc; 05-11-2013 at 04:48 PM.
05-12-2013, 12:48 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Conqueror Quote
need some speed
Wasn't that similar to a video game released in the early nineties "the need for speed".

IMHO you can never have enough speed, bright viewfinders if nothing else.
05-12-2013, 03:03 AM   #6
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+1 for better ISO performance. You've already got a fast lens - F2 isn't exactly slouchy. F1.7 is a measly half-stop faster and that F1.4-wide-open look gets old quickly. The better alternative to F1.4 is flash or tripod.
05-12-2013, 06:38 PM   #7

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Hi Conqueror,

I think that the higher ISO performance will give you a whole lot more versatility. A single faster lens gives you just that -- one lens that you can use at a wider aperture so you gain one stop at one FL.. 3-4 stops of higher ISO from the sensor gives you that speed increase for all of your lenses, making them considerably more usable in significantly more lighting situations. My normal kit for family events used to be a Sigma 170-70 f2.8-4.5, Tamron 28-75 f2.8, DA* 50-135, and maybe the Tokina 70-200 f2.8 AT-X Pro. Starting with the K-5, I more likely than not just mount the DA 18-250 and bump the Auto ISO up so that it tops out at ISO 10,000 instead of the ISO 1000 limit I used with the K-7. Of course, YMMV, but the sensor in the K-5 series bodies is a revelation which needs to be experienced to be believed.

05-13-2013, 02:04 PM   #8
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Original Poster
Yeah I think I do need the ISO of the new bodies.. I'm starting to get more out of my K-7 with the FA 35mm now (have learned more)... So whilst the K-30 does look good, the K-5 having the exact same controls etc... might make sense...

I'm also thinking if I can get a high quality fast lens 2nd hand at a good price that might take priority (as the K-5 sensor whilst really good is on its way out - maybe I should wait for the 2013 camera to settle in).... I missed an opportunity on a 2nd hand Voightlander 58mm which would of been good...

The DA* 55mm looks good but pricey (haven't seen any used copies)


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