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08-05-2013, 01:43 AM   #1
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Posts: 29
A set of three fast prime lenses (if you're on a budget)

NOTE: Somehow the images I uploaded aren't visible in the post if I access pentaxforums via https. I included them using the command [ IMG ] [ / IMG ] (w/o the spaces), but the image is being included automatically as when accessing pentaxforums via https, resulting in a 404...

Many of us share the joy of using prime lenses, so do I.
I enjoy that they force me to think more about composition, and because they are generally fast - I don't like flashes.
Though I have to admit that I don't like primes only because of their optical performance - but also because
of their looks. Especially if they are small. And have an all-metal body. And a big front lens. And colourful
letters all over them.
You see, I'd be one of those "FA Limited-guy". If only the prices were lower. Oh dear. *1*

I've got two bodies, a MX and a k100d. Thus I need lenses with an aperture ring.
And on the digital body, I find an "A" setting is enormously comfortable.
For most shots on the streets I like "normal" focal lengths,
a bit wider if possible, for example on my MX I like something between 35mm and 50mm, and consequently on the k100d something between 24mm and 35mm.

There are many discussions on this forum about the choices of prime lenses, and I would like to present one choice that I find reasonable.
These are the lenses I bought over the last four years, spending significantly less than 500 Euro in total.*2*

(Left) The Kiron 28 f/2.0, which sells for roughly 100 Euro.

(Middle) The Pentax FA 35 2.0, which sells for roughly 300 Euro.

(Right) The Pentax M 50 1.4, which sells for roughly 70 Euro.

The Kiron 28 2.0 is sufficiently sharp wide open, has an A setting, and is a compact and a rather fast standard lens for the k100d.
The FA 35 2.0 is pretty good. But so expensive . Still, on my MX it gives an excellent focal length for travelling,
and with its AF it's my lens for "quick shots" with the k100d.
Then there's the M 50 1.4, nice for portraits on the k100d, and a great walk-around standard lens for the MX, when I'm afraid of
taking the FA 35 . When not in cities or in the mountains, I find 50mm to be a very versatile focal length, just in cities and in
the mountains I prefer a wider field of view.

Now that I've justified rationally why I enjoy these lenses so much, I want to point out their looks :P.
Doesn't the Kiron with its metal hood (no vignetting on the k100d) compete very well with the FA ltd's in terms of built quality?
Not to mention the M 50 1.4, which only lacks an A setting to be flawless (well I might be exaggerating. but given the price!).
Ok, the FA 35 is pasticky, and still so expensive...but it has an A setting, AF and delivers the best image quality of the three.
Thus it has its place.

There are many sample pictures of the M50 and FA 35 already on the forum, thus below I'll just post a few center 100% crops of
the Kiron lens at various apertures.

f/2.0 100% crop (original: )

Another picture at f/2.0:

f/2.4 100% crop (original: )

f/2.8 100% crop (original: )

Another picture at f/2.8:

f/4 100% crop (original: )

That's all what I wanted to share with you.
There are many other possible choices, but maybe someone of you has similar requirements and desires as I do,
and maybe this thread helps him or her decide.

Best regards,

*1* The 31mm f/1.8 sells used for roughly 800 Euro, the 43mm f/1.9 for roughly 450 Euro, and the 43mm f/1.9 for roughly 550 Euro.
I just can't justify spending that much money on a single lens; if I have some money and the luck to find some free time,
I enjoy travelling, and each lens would cost me more than 10 days of travelling...
Maybe these lenses will be an option one day, when I'm old and wealthy :P, but not for now.

*2* It seems that in the US lenses are usually cheaper than in Europe, and I guess that replacing Euro with USD without
changing the numbers gives quite a good estimate for the prices in the US.

Last edited by Rapfl; 08-05-2013 at 01:55 AM.
08-06-2013, 11:40 AM   #2
Senior Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Doylestown, PA
Posts: 200
If your budget is even lower, I might recommend something like this:

Generic 28/2.8 (any make) $20-30
Ricoh/Sears/Pentax 50/1.7 $20-50
Ricoh/Sears/Pentax 135/2.8 (or 135/2.5 or 135/3.5) $20-80

Yes, they're all manual focus. If you want an autofocus lens in the bunch, while I haven't owned it personally, I would say the F 50/1.7 is the way to go.
08-06-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
Senior Member

Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 198
If your budget is not as low as in thornburg's suggestion, consider these

Sigma Super Wide II 24mm f/2.8 $120-150
DA 35mm f/2.4 or 40mm XS $150-180
M 100mm f/4 $100-130

Sharing 3 shots from my primes:

Sigma Super Wide II 24mm

S-M-C Takumar 35mm f/3.5

DA 40mm XS


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