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07-11-2013, 08:45 PM   #1
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Essential prime lenses for K5 II

Hello... I just got a new Pentax K5 II w/kit lens (18-55) this week - first dSLR camera - and am looking at getting prime lenses, and wanted to ask opinion on which would be the ones to buy if I could pick up 3 (probably buy 2 sooner and hopefully 3rd later)

I typically take photos of family and scenic when traveling...

I am looking at 40mm limited and 70mm limited... but before buying any I wanted to ask so I don't buy any too close together due to cost...

Would I think of getting 15mm ltd (or 21mm ltd) - 40mm (or 35mm ltd) - 70mm ltd or 77mm ltd?

Thank you in advance for your time and suggestions.

07-11-2013, 09:14 PM   #2
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The first question is, how patient is your family with changing lenses. But let's say they'll wait for you.

Use the 18-55 as a simulator. Do you keep trying to turn the zoom ring wider than 15mm or longer than 55mm? The other focal lengths are within its range so it's pretty easy to keep the lens at 21mm or whatever, just to test out those focal lengths. The hardest decision is right in the middle because there are a pile of Pentax lenses from 31mm to 40mm. Throw in some Sigmas and recent discontinued lenses and there's a 30/1.4, 31/1.8, 35/1.4, 35/2, 35/2.4, 35/2.8, and 40/2.8 (2). Choosing that one first might help.
07-11-2013, 09:22 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Find Your Viewpoint?

Hello kbshultz, Welcome to the Forum!
My recommendation is 'none of the above'.
Try shooting with the kit zoom for a couple of weeks, think of it as driving a half-dozen different loaner cars before you buy one.
Nobody can really tell you what focal length YOU will favor eventually. Everyone has a different 'vision' or way of seeing similar scenes, add to that we all develop favorite lenses (these two factors are tied together), but you won't know until to try. Fortunately, you already have the perfect tool for the job, a wide-to-short tele zoom. The kit lens is one of the better starter zooms available and can help you learn the techniques you'll need to get the most out of those Ltd's!
JMO,
Ron
07-11-2013, 09:28 PM   #4
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I have all the limited lenses except the 35mm...which I might get anyway as well.

You won't be disappointed with any of the Limited lenses. Period. Plus they are all so small. You can carry the whole lot and it's no big deal.

I am not just pitching products here... But if you want to go primes, just cut the chase and go for quality IMO. As to focal length, that's up to you. I find I use all my prime lenses. I haven't touched a zoom in over 6 months since I made the switch to primes, well with the exception of my Tamron 70-200 which I use less than what I thought I would be using it when I first started out.

07-11-2013, 09:56 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Find out the focal length you need for your family and scenic shots. It could go either way at the wide end. Both the 15 and 21 lenses are excellent. You're merely picking between focal lengths rather than based on any quality advantage. The 40 and 70 are both very handy focal lengths. So I don't think you can go wrong with either or both of them. The 70 is great for subject isolation. So perfect for one person in a background you want to blur. Enjoy the Ltd difference.


Ash.
07-11-2013, 10:22 PM   #6
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Patience!
For what you describe, the 18-55 is perfect.
07-11-2013, 10:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kbshultz Quote
Hello... I just got a new Pentax K5 II w/kit lens (18-55) this week - first dSLR camera - and am looking at getting prime lenses, and wanted to ask opinion on which would be the ones to buy if I could pick up 3 (probably buy 2 sooner and hopefully 3rd later)

I typically take photos of family and scenic when traveling...

I am looking at 40mm limited and 70mm limited... but before buying any I wanted to ask so I don't buy any too close together due to cost...

Would I think of getting 15mm ltd (or 21mm ltd) - 40mm (or 35mm ltd) - 70mm ltd or 77mm ltd?

Thank you in advance for your time and suggestions.
Dave, Ron and ash offer sound advise. Use the kit lens, explore the camera etc, and shoot, I would say, unless you have a big trip coming us, shoot for a couple of months. Then review your shots, and get a free program from the Internet, there are several, that run statistics on what you have shot. You may discover you are always either at the 55 mm end or the 18mm end, suggesting you want longer and wider. Also look at your shots if you are always cropping in, if you are taking only the middle 1/3 in each direction you would ideally want a lens 3 times as long etc...

I would not be surprised in the least if you discover that your next purchase should be something outside the range of the kit lens, not within it.

As you expand the range by quality not quantity, then if you want to get primes think about special occasions and what you will use them for. Within the range of your kit lens, try shooting at the focal length of each prime you are considering or that others recommend. See if you like the results.

One additional point. In my experience, the concept of the family waiting for dad to change lenses grows old really fast on the rest of the family, in this respect, the 18-135 just might be the first lens you get
07-12-2013, 12:20 AM   #8
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I too would recommend waiting and using the kit lens for a while. Your question appears to focus on focal length, however it also applies to aperture (f stops - lens speed) as well. Waiting for a while and using what you already have will help you determine what would best serve your purposes. In 6 months doing a survey of what focal lengths you shot most will certainty help or show where your interests lie. It will also become apparent to you if you are usually trying to shoot in very dark situations. Looking at the apertures you used will back this up as well - as in do I really need to look for a fast lens, that costs twice as much? Right now you really don't know.

The K5II is an extraordinarily capable camera body. It does take time to find your way around and learn the body. Just because you are learning, does not mean that you need to feel limited or constrained. Here are two illustrations:
  • You seem to want to get more in to the landscape scenes - You really don't need to run out and buy a wide angle lens. You can take multiple images and stitch them together in post processing. Use a utility called Microsoft ICE (its free) to stitch that is easy and pretty simple.
  • After you take your images, do you seem to crop them heavily? - if so, then you may want to start thinking about a telephoto lens, that would get you "closer" to the object of interest. - Either that, or start to zoom with your feet to get closer.
There is also another detour you can take - another zoom, something like the 50-200 or 55-300. Either of these would complement your current kit lens, and provide you with a very wide range of capability that would handle just about everything. Then you could fill in with the areas where your interests lie with primes. This also brings up yet another question - sealed lenses, WR. Do you do a lot outside in bad weather? If so you may want to consider the WR lenses.

So in this case, actually going forward somewhat slower will actually be to your benefit. There are lots of opportunities in your future to be hit with the LBA disease.



07-12-2013, 12:39 AM   #9
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start with 21 and then grab the 70... Leave the 15 and 40 till later on..
07-12-2013, 01:00 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by SyncGuy Quote
start with 21 and then grab the 70... Leave the 15 and 40 till later on..
+1

And grab a cheap A50 f1.7 off eBay. And maybe a M135 f3.5 while you are at it. Just to play with.
07-12-2013, 01:25 AM   #11
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Some good advice about waiting. Use your 18-55, put together a folder of your favorites, then analyze them with ExposurePlot (freeware) to see what focal lengths you ACTUALLY use in that range. Base your prime lens decision on that data. All of them at 18 and you wish they were wider- then the 15 Limited woud be a great choice. LOTS at 33-37mm then get a 35, I endd up with a 35 as my first AF prime because of that and it suited me very well. Now I have others but it has been very clear that 50 is too long or too short for me for example. I have a 15, 30, 35, 43, 50, 70, and 100 in AF prime now, but the inital puchases were all made using ExposurePlot as my guide and I have been very happy with my choices as a result.
07-12-2013, 01:49 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Some good advice about waiting. Use your 18-55, put together a folder of your favorites, then analyze them with ExposurePlot (freeware) to see what focal lengths you ACTUALLY use in that range. Base your prime lens decision on that data. All of them at 18 and you wish they were wider- then the 15 Limited woud be a great choice. LOTS at 33-37mm then get a 35, I endd up with a 35 as my first AF prime because of that and it suited me very well. Now I have others but it has been very clear that 50 is too long or too short for me for example. I have a 15, 30, 35, 43, 50, 70, and 100 in AF prime now, but the inital puchases were all made using ExposurePlot as my guide and I have been very happy with my choices as a result.
I agree. You should take a look at about 10 of your favourite pictures and then check what focal length were used. Then you'll be able to find which ones are used the most.

Personally, I would recommend the 40 Ltd 2.8, 70 Ltd 2.4 or the FA 77mm 1.9 (a bit pricey though, 2nd hand is great), and if you're a landscape person - 15mm f4
07-12-2013, 05:22 AM   #13
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The essential prime lens for me is a normal (28-40mm) focal length. No matter what I pack for the day, there's always a normal prime in the bag. I have an FA 28mm f2.8, FA 35mm f2 and DA 40mm Ltd. I like the FA 28mm for its focal length. It's wide, but with no wide angle stretching and good DOF. The DA 40 is tiny, with no CA and lovely punchy colours. The FA 35mm is my favourite because it has the fastest aperture, best bokeh and the highest resolution of these.

I also have a Pentax Q. The 01 normal prime is the lens I use on it most of the time. I don't even have the standard zoom. The reason I love normal primes so much is that they are closest to WYSIWYG. The fast aperture speeds and sharpness help you capture an image with highest quality.

Most posters are recommending just using the kit lens for some period. The problem with the kit lens is the small aperture, and even then it needs to be stopped down a whole stop for acceptable sharpness. This means you'll need flash a lot of the time for indoors, which is limiting. My recommendation is to buy a normal prime right now so that you have at least one lens for low ambient light and higher image quality. Then maybe sit back for a while to see what else you want.

Last edited by audiobomber; 07-12-2013 at 05:38 AM.
07-12-2013, 05:46 AM   #14
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I agree with Dan (audiobomber) that a normal lens (something not too far off 28mm on APS-C) is an essential lens.

However, it is also the most challenging lens because the lens does nothing in terms of adding an effect to the image. Wide angle lenses dramatise angles while tele lenses create a compression effect. A normal lens challenges you to create impact through subject matter and composition only.

I really like my Sigma 28/1.8 EX because it is "fast" (i.e., lets in a lot of light) and has a very low minimum focusing distance. Sigma includes "MACRO" in the lens' designation but strictly speaking it is not a macro because it doesn't reach the standard magnification requirement for a true macro lens. Nevertheless, the front lens element is really close to the subject when the lens is at its minimum focus setting.

While the advice to shoot some more with the kit lens is good, I'd say only do that while you're having fun. I feel that a DSLR with a kit lens is bit like an oversized P&S (point and shoot compact) camera. For me a lot of the fun starts with a good prime with nice rendering and the option to produce images with shallow DOF (depth of field). So I think you desire to go for a prime is a healthy one.
07-12-2013, 06:23 AM   #15
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Normal is an opinion. Many here find "normal" not to be the most useful, used, or pleasing. My advice to those new to dSLRs and interchangeable lenses is the one that I have seen work best, and in the end cause the person to spend the least while achieving the best results. Do NOT buy a focal length because someone says you must, all photographers must, or any other such thing. Buy one based on your own perceptions and use pattern and you will be much happier, and in the end buy fewer lenses thereby saving a good bit of money. Best of luck.
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