Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
07-05-2013, 12:11 PM   #1
New Member

Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5
Best Prime Lens?

I am in the market for a Prime lens for my K-5, mostly for landscape and portrait. As far as the Limited series goes, which one is the best?

07-05-2013, 12:20 PM   #2
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 43,147
For portraiture, probably this one:

SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

For landscapes, there's a bit more to discuss, but I can recommend the 15mm:

Pentax-DA 15mm F4 Limited Review - Introduction -

Adam Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)'s high server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover those costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

07-05-2013, 12:22 PM   #3
Loyal Site Supporter
TER-OR's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Dundee, IL
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,834
From what I've gathered, those may be difficult to combine in one lens. I think most of the time for landscape you want a wider lens, while for portait you want a bit tighter, so you can be farther from your subject. People usually don't like cameras in their face....

Though maybe for portaits you can use a less expensive option, with A series lenses. An A50mm f1.7 to me would be a good portrait lens, since you can take your time getting your focus just right.

Perhaps another solution is spending on a high quality zoom like the 16-50 might be an option.
07-05-2013, 12:27 PM   #4
Veteran Member
tclausen's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,399
What Adam says, except I would also pitch the 31mm Ltd as a perfect "normal" lens for APS-C.

15mm Ltd, 31mm Ltd, 77mm Ltd - great set to chose from ...

07-05-2013, 12:58 PM   #5
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 32,762
Welcome to the forum, there are some really cracking primes out there by Pentax, as for the best, now that's a hard one.

As others here have already suggested, IMHO you're going to struggle with just one lens to meet both your portrait and landscape needs. You really need to get "2 best primes", LBA is lurking over there in the corner, I can just see her eyes twinkling.
07-05-2013, 01:04 PM   #6
Veteran Member
Schmidlapper's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pennsylvania
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 532
The DA15 is indeed a great landscape lens on the K5, but it is not usually used as a portrait lens. To facilitate both of your requested functions from one lens a little compromise by both is necessary. I find the DA35 Ltd to be a very versatile lens and it has served me in both capacities, and it also has macro capability for close focus work. There was a reason all those 35mm SLR cameras came with a 50mm attached, it was a very versatile focal length, the 35mm on apsc falls in at around there. Now the FA77 Ltd is indeed a fine portrait lens as many have pointed out, but so is the DA70 Ltd, but both of these are mid telephoto range, which is what lends them to portraiture work.
07-05-2013, 01:21 PM   #7
Site Supporter
jimr-pdx's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: 1hr north of PDX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,550
I only have the 40 and 70 and they are uniformly excellent - I fear your choice will be a messy (but not a bad) one!
07-05-2013, 01:59 PM   #8
Veteran Member
scratchpaddy's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 2,360
QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
People usually don't like cameras in their face....
That's one reason, but I think the main reason a wide angle isn't suited for portrait is the distortion. It's important to remember that zooming is not the same thing as moving the camera closer. The exaggerated perspective makes noses look really big. It's awkward, like this one taken at 13mm:

A "normal" lens is usable for both landscapes and portraits, though. That would be somewhere between 28 and 40mm. It's not the best for either, but it works.

I don't have any Limiteds (yet), but I use a Vivitar 13mm for lanscapes (that's the lens being improperly used above) and either a Pentax A 50 f/1.2 or a Helios 40 (85mm f/1.5) for portraits.

07-05-2013, 02:28 PM   #9
Driline's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: IOWA Where the Tall Corn Grows
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,973
The FA 43 of course. When taken properly its sharp sharp sharp. No I'm not biased

07-05-2013, 03:39 PM   #10
hcc's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,531
Adam and Tclausen gave you some very good advice:

DA15mm for landscape - See in-depth review at (score 8.8/10)

FA31mm as normal lens - See in-depth review Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 Limited Review - Introduction - (score 9.3/10)

FA77mm for portrait - See in-depth review DA 70mm vs FA 77mm Limited - Comparison: Introduction - (core 9.2/10)

These three lenses are fabulous on their own. The combination is awesome!

If you want one lens only, the FA31mm will be the best compromise on APS-C (i.e Pentax K-5,K-50, K-500). It is wide enough for landscape, yet excellent for portraiture. In addition the IQ is outstanding, possibly the best IQ of any Pentax lens with the FA77mm. In fact the FA31mm scored the highest marks of the PF in-depth reviews and is Highly Recommended by Photozone (Welcome to Photozone!).

Hope that the comments may help.
07-05-2013, 04:06 PM   #11
Loyal Site Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,107
This is a bit over 10 years old, but the article is pleasant reading.Then here is an article on the best focal length for portraits - shows image comparisons.
07-05-2013, 04:45 PM   #12
Veteran Member
demp10's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Atlanta
Photos: Albums
Posts: 602
Any focal length (and lens) can be used for portraits and landscapes; it all depends on what you are trying to do as a photographer.

The best way to find out which focal length is best suited for your typical shooting style (and later find which lenses cover that focal length) is to study the photos you already have and find the ones you really like; then note the focal lengths. Also note what you do not like in your pictures and what you would like to see (e.g. sharper images, shallow DOF, more contrast, etc.). Keep in mind that many "flaws" in images can be corrected in Post Processing with amazing results (assuming that you are shooing in RAW) so a cheap kit lens can actually produce impressive images if used properly.

I assume that you already have the kit lens so you are covered from 18-55. If you find yourself shooting landscapes at the 18mm end then most likely you need a wider lens. If you portraits are all at 55mm then you need a longer lens.
07-05-2013, 06:55 PM   #13
Veteran Member
MSM's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Alabama
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 994
QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
This is a bit over 10 years old, but the article is pleasant reading.
Classic article and a good read from someone who knows a lot more about lenses then most.

Here is another article written 6 years later by the same author- Mike Johnston

Optical Paragon
07-05-2013, 10:32 PM   #14
Senior Member

Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 198
The best manual focus (little) money can buy is none other than S-M-C Takumar 28mm f3.5. No, I do not have any evidence to back that up
07-05-2013, 10:42 PM   #15

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Western Canada
Posts: 4,100
QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
I only have the 40 and 70 and they are uniformly excellent - I fear your choice will be a messy (but not a bad) one!
I have those two lenses as my only Limited Primes and they are very sharp. There seems to be a division of opinion as to whether the 77mm or the 70mm is the best Limited lens in that 'portraiture' category.

I know I wrestled with getting either one, finally decided on the 70.

In the end I don't think you can go wrong with either.

I also really like my 40mm Limited.

Also, although not Limited's....both the 50 F 1.4 normal and the 50 F 2.8 Macro...which I have...are excellent lenses.

Last edited by lesmore49; 07-05-2013 at 10:50 PM.

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
k-mount, pentax lens, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Best fast prime lens for under $500? Mlcinema Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 61 02-22-2013 08:15 PM
Best prime lens trio with upgrading possibility to FF MichaelBilson Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 29 05-16-2012 03:17 PM
Another K-x best prime lens quandry London Rob Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 15 04-30-2011 09:48 AM
Query : Best Pentax DSLR prime lens ? mba1971 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 72 11-22-2010 02:41 PM
Best prime lens for beginner? (28/50mm) SirJangly Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 37 09-10-2010 03:59 PM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:12 PM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]