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07-06-2013, 09:11 AM   #1
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Lens Stress

Hi everyone!

I am a soon-to-be Pentaxian. I've had lengthy histories with a Canon 1D MKII and recently a Sony SLT-A99V, all with L, CZ, G glass and a nice speedlight kit. My walk around shooter is a Fuji X-E1, nice, but not quite there in the focusing department; wonderful IQ when it's on though... even in JPEG.

The Sony and the Fuji are going bye-bye. I want to get it down to one simple kit and it looks like Pentax will get my dough. I just set up a friend with a K50, the 18-55 WR and a Sigma 17-70 f2.8. I'm going to treat myself to the po' man's D800E in the K5IIs. Everything that I've read about the K5IIs says yes, yes, yes... Just do it.

The lens decision is driving me nutz as I can't play with anything until I buy it. The FX Sigma 24-70 f2.8 is on the radar, the FA 31 f1.8 makes me sweaty, but for nearly $400.00 less, Sigma's new 35 f1.4 Art comes into the sphere (even though the USB dock isn't Pentax-able yet). I've been a holy-trinity shooter for ever, with the only prime being an 85mm
f 1.whatever...

So, the question is, do I let the feet do the zooming and go for one of these nearly APS-C 50mm-ish equivalents? If so, which one? The trade-offs seem to be that the FA31 is a delicious but noisy focuser, but I don't have one to play with. The Sig 35 Art is big, but quiet. Many of the lens reviews tell tales of quality control issues and second or third replacements...

Obviously, the first order of lens priority is walk-around glass with portrait-possibilities. I'm not really a wide-guy so the game would start at 30mm-ish. My big concern in all of this is lens greatness given the resolving ability of the AA filterless K5IIs sensor... I guess if money wasn't an issue, it would be the FA31 & FA77, but at a considerable sum less, I could go with the Sig 35mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4...

Anybody here shooting with a K5IIs? What glass(s) are you using? In terms of the one that "stays on most all the time", which do you prefer?

Thanks for the drive-by and I am seriously looking forward to some objective feedback. :-)

Clint

07-06-2013, 11:03 AM   #2
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I just got done reviewing the Sigma 35mm F1.4 (review will be doing up in a month or so) and I found it to be a killer lens for portraiture. In other areas, it's basically on par with the Pentax 31mm, but the bokeh is just something else. So, if you do a lot of portraits, go for the Sigma. Otherwise, get the Pentax, as it's much more compact. Both lenses are really sharp, as they should be. Same goes for the Sigma 85mm and Pentax 77mm.

Adam
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07-06-2013, 11:35 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by samael9 Quote
Anybody here shooting with a K5IIs? What glass(s) are you using? In terms of the one that "stays on most all the time", which do you prefer?
I don't have the K-5IIs yet, but I have the regular K-5...and as for lenses I did a lot of trial and error and anything with a DA Limited in it's name and you don't need to worry. FANTASTIC lenses. Then you can build on your kit after that.
07-06-2013, 12:36 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, limited lenses will be fine with K-5 IIs, you just need to pick your focal length.

07-06-2013, 05:18 PM   #5
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You already got a lot of good advice. You cannot go wrong with the FA31mm and FA77mm, but, more generally, you cannot go wrong with the Pentax FA Limited and Pentax DA Limited lenses. These lenses are great, great, great....

In your final decision, I recommend that you consider how you use the lenses. Personally I like to carry the lens with my, in a small carrybag on my shoulder or even on the camera strap around my neck. For such an use, you need a small camera+lens system and weight is always an issue. As Adam pointed accurately, the Pentax FA Ltd and DA Ltd are nibbles. They are great for their compact size and relatively light weight. (In contrast, the Sigma lenses tend to be heavier and bulkier.) If you can to to a brick-and-mortar shop with your camera and try some lenses on. You will see the difference and it may be revealing....

Among my favourite walk-around primes, let me share my praise for 4 lenses:

Pentax DA15 mm f4 Ltd - A great, great wide angle lens - In-depth review at Pentax-DA 15mm F4 Limited Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com (score 8.8/10)
Pentax FA31mm f1.8 Ltd - An outstanding IQ, the perfect all-around focal length for APS-C - in-depth review at Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 Limited Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com (score 9.3/10)
Voitglander Nokton 58mm f1.4 - Built like a tank, superb IQ, excellent in poor weather light conditions - Highly Recommended by Photozone Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II - Review / Test Report
Pentax FA77 f1.8 Ltd - Great for portrait, very nice IQ - In-depth review at DA 70mm vs FA 77mm Limited - Comparison: Introduction - PentaxForums.com (score 9.2/10)

Each lens is different but all of the above are relatively small and light-weight, although they are all metallic construction.

Hope that the comments may help.
07-06-2013, 06:39 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
in a small carrybag on my shoulder or even on the camera strap around my neck.
Sorry for the off topic but could you please tell me what product you're using for this? I would like to get these when I finally get around to buying a quick sling strap (probably the Cinch)... thanks
07-06-2013, 10:47 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I just got done reviewing the Sigma 35mm F1.4 (review will be doing up in a month or so) and I found it to be a killer lens for portraiture. In other areas, it's basically on par with the Pentax 31mm, but the bokeh is just something else. So, if you do a lot of portraits, go for the Sigma. Otherwise, get the Pentax, as it's much more compact. Both lenses are really sharp, as they should be. Same goes for the Sigma 85mm and Pentax 77mm.
Hey Adam... Psyched about your review! This lens is getting a lot of great noise online. Given what you've had to say regarding portraits, I think it's the one that ultimately makes sense for my style of shooting. I have the 18-55 OIS on my X-E1 and its always zoomed out to about 35 or so as I don't typically like to encroach while shooting street, especially down here in Costa Rica. I also really love portraiture, so the 85 is a no-brainer, unless I can find a used copy of a 50-135.

Size is unimportant to me but the $$$ are. Yes, if it would be one lens for now, both are compelling, but given what you've has to say about the Sig 35, that's probably the way I'm going to go unless I find I have a few extra bux.

Thank you so much! I'll let you know the outcome.
07-06-2013, 10:59 PM   #8
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Hey hcc, I really appreciate your interest in putting together all the links to the reviews! And thanks to everyone else for sending their impressions. This is very exciting stuff as I prepare for my trip to Europe and points beyond... I took one last run at shooting professionally down here in Costa Rica, but it turned out to be rather disappointing, and that's why the big guns are going away.

Smaller is better now, file sizes included. Amazing how fast a 24Mp sensor can load up on a 4Tb RAID... I would love to have an FA31, but Adam's enthusiasm over the Sig35, @ nearly $400.00 less is likely how I will begin my Pentax journey. If I can find a dealer in south Florida, you can bet I'll go and play...

Thanks again, everyone! Lets see what happens!

07-06-2013, 11:27 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by todd Quote
Sorry for the off topic but could you please tell me what product you're using for this? I would like to get these when I finally get around to buying a quick sling strap (probably the Cinch)... thanks
Todd

I use very small carry bag (1 lens + 1 camera) like:

Lowepro Apex 100 AW reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database for my K-01 with a DA Ltd

Lowepro Toploader TLZ1 reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database for my K-7 with nearly any lens up to DA18-250mm (in size)

I also use a neoprene case in some case:

OP/Tech Neoprene soft pouch D-SLR Mid-size reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

but it cannot accommodate for cables and spare cards like the others.

Hope that the comment may help.
07-07-2013, 08:24 AM   #10
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Clint,

It seems like you are looking at new lenses. If you are open to the idea of used lenses, especially manual ones, then your whole world opens up with all sorts of choices for about 1/3 the cost or less. You can look at Pentax's SMC-A 28mm as one example. For about $100 you could have a great lens if it suits you.
07-07-2013, 11:18 AM   #11
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Hey 6BQ5,

I looked up that lens and lo-and-behold, the almighty Ken Rockwell actually had a review on it... I had bought a couple vintage Minolta primes to play with on my A99 just for kicks... a 28 and a 50. Yeah... nostalgic images, almost Polaroid looking, soft...

Yeah, I'm looking at either new or almost new. Sorry, but I am one of the dreaded pixel-peepers who frequently zooms in to 200-300% in Ps to correct "distractions" before applying finishing filters, etc. and I am spoiled rotten when it comes to dimensionality and depth. I go with the "better to have one thing nice" tactic here. There's a couple of used FA31's out there for a few hundred less than retail, I found a 50-135 used for nearly half. But even with the FA31 used, I can still get a new Sigma 35 Art new. I'm just being very picky because I want everything out of the K5IIs and it will all come down to the glass to get there.

At the end of the day, $1300.00 for optic miracles isn't bad... tack on another grand each, and that's what I've invested in the past. If I could get a 77 and the 31 for $2k, I'd be doing the happy-dance, but after what Adam had to say about the Sig 35, it's just tough 'cuz I can't fiddle before paying.

Thanks again!
07-07-2013, 06:59 PM   #12
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One more question and please forgive my lack of P experience... What shooting/exposure data is available in the viewfinder on the K5II? I couldn't find the info on DP.

Thanks!
07-08-2013, 01:13 PM   #13
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Hey Britt,

ASP-C equivalent in the FA 31 is just a tad under 50mm which is about where I'm typically at when doing full body, but you are right... too short for head shots. I usually use am 85mm prime or my 70-200 racked out to 85-ish. That kid looks great!

This one is with the SAL70200G at precisely 85mm/f10/1.250/ISO 250.

From what I am reading, the FA 77 will put me right about here with this subject with a shooting distance of approximately 6', which is where i like to be in the studio. The size of these two FA's are really appealing/speaking to me...

(Hmm... Wonder why the color shifted so much...)
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07-08-2013, 01:54 PM - 1 Like   #14
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I think if you can find a good copy of the *50-135mm f2.8 it would be on your camera most of the time. On the k5iis the quality is very close to primes. The issue with walking to zoom in or out is if you are doing candidates like with kids, the moment might be gone by the time you get in position.
Put in the 35 arts lens I think you would have most of the bases covered.
Of course you are going to get many opinions

Good luck with your decision

Randy
07-08-2013, 04:53 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
I think if you can find a good copy of the *50-135mm f2.8 it would be on your camera most of the time. On the k5iis the quality is very close to primes. The issue with walking to zoom in or out is if you are doing candidates like with kids, the moment might be gone by the time you get in position.
Put in the 35 arts lens I think you would have most of the bases covered.
Of course you are going to get many opinions

Good luck with your decision

Randy
Yup, kinda what I've been thinking also. It will be a matter of timing as to what actually happens... All the Sony stuff is going up on Ebay next week. Once my PayPal account begins filling, then I can begin ordering. Yup. The FOZ (Foot Operated Zoom) can be daunting, but I don't shoot kids; I like working with adults and headstones... go figure.
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