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08-28-2013, 08:23 AM   #1
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DA 40mm f/2.8 or DA 50mm f/1.8 as go-to affordable lens?

I'm getting K-5 primary for travel photography. For landscapes I decided to pick DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited, but I'm not quite sure yet which go-to lens would be more versatile 40 or 50 mm, I like how both of them renders the image, but if I'm going to own to own 21 & 40 it seems like I'm missing short-telephoto range. Any suggestions?

08-28-2013, 08:40 AM   #2
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Ok, great, I can't edit or delete my post because I have to have at least 2 posts and 1 day-old account. So, here is the better-worded version of it:

I got Pentax K-5 recently and I'm planning to use it mainly for travel and street photography. I currently own:

* SMC Takumar 28/3.5, which is a great MF lens, however it has a little bit of fungus inside, so I'm not sure if I'm going to use it;
* Zenith 50/2.0, which has an interesting "glow" wide-open, but overall so-so MF lens.

I wanted to get two AF lenses, one to shoot landscapes and another one for portraits and as go-to lens. It seems like for landscapes nothing beats DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited in terms of quality/price ratio, but for go-to lens I'm stuck between:

* DA 40mm f/2.8, which seem like terrific lens, but might a bit slow for indoors photography without a flash and might not be a good choice for portraits;
* DA 50mm f/1.8, which seem to be very good lens for its price, however as I shoot quite a bit with 50mm, sometimes I wish it was a tad bit shorter to compose the photo correctly.

Any suggestions?
08-28-2013, 08:40 AM   #3
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I switched from 50 to 40 but I use that focal length mainly for portraits in my small studio. For landscape I think I would feel the same way, I'd prefer the 40mm focal length. Plus it gives you an incentive to get the 70! Or the 100mm macro, another nice complement to that lineup.
08-28-2013, 08:50 AM   #4
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I'd also consider the 35 f/2.4, thought between the two you posted I like the 40. It's nice and sharp, lightweight too.

08-28-2013, 08:51 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I switched from 50 to 40 but I use that focal length mainly for portraits in my small studio. For landscape I think I would feel the same way, I'd prefer the 40mm focal length. Plus it gives you an incentive to get the 70! Or the 100mm macro, another nice complement to that lineup.
@bdery I'm not sure if I would have enough use for 70mm, I think I'll get some old used MF telephoto just to have something at that range and for macro I have a great Raynox converter which is capable of taking really great pictures (here on canon 1000d with cheapo 50/1.8):
08-28-2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
I'd also consider the 35 f/2.4, thought between the two you posted I like the 40. It's nice and sharp, lightweight too.
I didn't quite like 35/2.4, the pictures I saw posted here of it seemed to lack any character, colors were bleak and sharpness was rather ok (still better than 50/1.4 wide-open tho )
08-28-2013, 08:57 AM   #7
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I don't have the 40 so I can't comment on that, but I do love my FA 50/1.7. The DA is pretty much the same lens optically.
08-28-2013, 09:00 AM   #8
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I'd probably go with the DA 50 (but plan on adding a hood), unless you want the really tiny size of the DA 40.

08-28-2013, 09:03 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Well, I guess the DA40XS vs DA50/1.8 would be the fair comparison (both plastic, no quickshift, no distance marks) So, the 40 is smaller but the 50 is faster.
I just made the switch from the F50 to the 40 because I rarely shoot at f/1.7 and I like small lenses. Now I also want to switch my F28 to the DA21 because of size and weight!
08-28-2013, 09:05 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kitestring Quote
I wanted to get two AF lenses, one to shoot landscapes and another one for portraits and as go-to lens. It seems like for landscapes nothing beats DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited in terms of quality/price ratio, but for go-to lens I'm stuck between:

* DA 40mm f/2.8, which seem like terrific lens, but might a bit slow for indoors photography without a flash and might not be a good choice for portraits;
* DA 50mm f/1.8, which seem to be very good lens for its price, however as I shoot quite a bit with 50mm, sometimes I wish it was a tad bit shorter to compose the photo correctly.

Any suggestions?

I have no way of knowing what type of indoor shooting you want to do but I found that the f3.2 on 21 is fine for no flash use in most well lit homes. It is also my preferred street and landscape lens. Therefore it is my goto lens and stays on the camera all the time. I do have some faster A series glass if I want to do something creative. In most homes the 40 and 50 just can't get far enough back to take in the complete scene.

I also own the 40 and like it a lot outside. I guess I just love pancakes.
08-28-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kitestring Quote
I didn't quite like 35/2.4, the pictures I saw posted here of it seemed to lack any character, colors were bleak and sharpness was rather ok (still better than 50/1.4 wide-open tho )
Sorry to say, but this is nonsense.
08-28-2013, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Hey there. Sounds like a good plan. The answer is, of course, to get both.
I don't have the DA 50mm f1.8, because I have a Pentax M 50mm f1.7 manual lens. But if they are optically similar, its a great deal. And f1.8 can be very useful in low light situations or portraits.
I have the DA 35mm f2.4, and.. I dont know. Sometimes I get amazing sharp photos with beautiful colour (especially for landscapes), sometimes I do something wrong and its not that great. I use it a lot more since I bought the K-01. Affordable, sharp, wide angle, fast AF, compact. Only problem is that it has a little distortion, so its not perfect for close up portraits.
I have the DA 40mm XS, too. Its a great lens. Very sharp! Very fast AF, very compact. I like its bokeh, and the rounded aperture blades make sure it stays nice at all apertures. Virtually no distortion. Works for almost anything, portraits, landscapes, architecture photos.. Only problem with the XS is the 27mm filter thread and lack of QS (then again, the 35mm and 50mm also don't have QS), so it might be worthwhile to think about a used DA 40mm limited (you get QS, distance scales, sensible filter threads, and lens hood).

I can easily recommend the 40mm XS. The 35mm, too, but I tend to use the 40mm more (I find it to be more consistent in quality). I kind of tell the lenses apart in terms of purple/green. The DA 35mm is great at rendering green colours. The 40mm XS renders more purple. Or maybe its just me.
And remember that on APS-C, 40mm is not wide. I would go for 50mm only for the extra brightness of f1.8 and if I didn't already have a dirt-cheap, but amazing 50mm lens.

Last edited by Na Horuk; 08-28-2013 at 09:15 AM.
08-28-2013, 09:13 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
lack of QS (then again, the 35mm and 50mm also don't have QS
Poor´s man Quick Shift: Press the mount release button with your right pinky and tada! instant manual focus
08-28-2013, 09:57 AM   #14
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I have both the 21 and 40 (plus 15,31,70 and F50 1.7). You will love both of those lenses and with Current DSLRs the speed should not usually be an issue.

Once you get used to the quality of a Limited lens, a plastic fantastic might not be as desirable, although image quality is good.
08-28-2013, 10:15 AM - 1 Like   #15
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My $0.02: I have the DA 40mm Ltd. I absolutely love, LOVE this lens for several reasons.
1. it's compact and unobtrusive. it's really, really light.
2. it's focal length is perfect for walking around, I think, especially when combined with its size. I used this lens 95%-99% of the time on a recent 10-day trip to Disneyworld. there were times when I wish it was a bit wider, but those were few and far between. the 40mm focal length allowed for great, personal candid shots while also allowing for shots of architecture and such.
3. its ease of use. snap it on and go. that's it. I got so many good shots with this thing. it focuses fast and quietly.
4. its performance in restaurants was surprisingly good. i rarely used the flash, and i thought the 2.8 COMBINED with the usable ISO performance of the K-5ii negated the need for a flash in many/most of our indoor situations. Heck, I even took photos on several rides/shows: we would be in nearly pitch black or a dim-light situation, and the 40mm 2.8 performed admirably, in a way that I'm sure other lens could not match.

I have an A 50mm 1.7. I have to admit that on those rare occassions when I had time to compose and focus carefully, the rendering and IQ of that lens is...just wow. So I think a case can be made for the DA 50mm. Also, everyone should have a nifty-fifty, I think. I will get a DA 50mm at some point (nearly had one from the pentaxwebstore for cheep), but I'm not sure it will beat the 40mm Ltd.

One final thought: Instead of the 21mm, you might consider the DA 15mm Ltd. Then you're not so close in focal length between that and the 40 or 50. For example, for my photography, I have the DA 40 Ltd., and grab that much more than my 28mm 2.8 because the focal lengths are close enough for me that I'd rather have the DA 40mm LIMITED than the 28mm that I have. I'm sure some others here would disagree. BUT I also have the A 50mm 1.7 in my bag...always. I use it almost as much as the 40mm. For me, though, they serve completely different purposes. If I'm feeling arsty and have time, I prefer the images from the A 50mm 1.7, but if I'm taking street photos and/or family photos around the house (like at holiday times) when I need to be quick on my toes in order to get "that" shot, I grab the DA 40mm Ltd. because I know it works really, really well.
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