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10-17-2013, 08:28 PM   #1
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My Small / Lite Prime Kit

I have been somewhat going after a set of primes over the last 5 years, that are physically small and lite weight, however have an excellent blend of sharpness, overall IQ, resolution, character and color. Individually there may be some minor weaknesses (in some reviews), but for me - I think that they work together rather well. The goal was to have everything fit in the Pentax Limited lens case - Interior Dimensions 11.25 x 2.0 x 2.5" (28.6 x 5.1 x 6.4 cm). I don't have the case yet, but I think that everything will fit - we will see. It may be a tad tight and maybe only really fit 4 of the 5. But I have been thinking about this on and off for quite a while.
  • Voigtlander 20mm f 3.5 Color Skopar
  • Contax Zeiss 28mm f2.8 Distagon
  • Pentax 31mm f1.8 Limited
  • Pentax SMC A 50mm f1.7
  • Contax Zeiss 85mm f2.8 Sonnar
I wanted to go from as wide as possible (given small and lite) to really no longer than 85mm. Beyond that the physical size just grows. I also wanted some what fast apertures, but no real hard requirements. I think that the apertures are good for me - as I usually shoot off a tripod in low ambient light, with the lowest ISO and mostly let the shutter speed float to where ever it has to go.

This set concentrates on somewhat the wider end of things - but not too terribly wide. Any wider and the lens size really balloons up. These are also all full frame lenses. Who knows what may happen or if a full frame body may or not be released. I don't even know if I'll ever be interested or even be able to afford it, or if it will be physically too large for what I want to carry. But I have the option - and in the mean time they all shoot great on an APS. They are all wonderful lenses, small and light that I can just take in a single small case.

All I am interested in now is to wander around and shoot some interesting images.



10-17-2013, 09:31 PM   #2
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  • DA 21mm Limited f/3.2
  • F 28mm f/2.8
  • DA 40mm Limited f/2.8
  • F 50mm f/1.7
  • DA 70 mm Limited f/2.4
I would also have the DFA 100mm f/2.8 but it would not fit in the Limited case
10-17-2013, 09:38 PM   #3
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Being a minimalist, I've had the same sort of idea for the last few years. I don't care about putting all my lenses in a single case, though. Slowly I have managed to acquire the following lenses (the hope of one day getting a digital FF Pentax camera being a factor):

A 20mm f2.8
FA 31mm f1.8
FA 50mm f1.4
FA 77mm f1.8

This set plus the DA 15mm Ltd is what I have on my K-5, and I am very happy with the focal range and speed. I just wish I could get out more to shoot with these beauties.
10-17-2013, 09:47 PM   #4
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I was going with 15/24/40/50/70 for a while. I then got a great deal on a DA16-45 that kinda threw me off but so far I've kept the 40 and 70 active. They deserve the time!

10-18-2013, 12:34 AM   #5
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A Pentax 35mm f/2.4, which is sharper then both my Pentax 16-45mm and my Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8.

Keep it on my K-01 for walkaround photography; leave a bag with the 16-45mm and a 55-300mm in the truck. Using the 28mm with a reversing ring for closeup photography these days.
10-18-2013, 12:51 AM   #6
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I reckon DA21 / DA40 / DA70 / DFA100WR is hard to beat. All take 49mm filters and all are remarkably small for what they offer. Throw in the DA15 if you want a APS-C superwide. Pack them with the K-01 and you're set.

Although I owned the DA40 and DA70 for a while, I opted for the FA43 and FA77 instead for improved speed and a little extra pixie dust. I have left the FA31 out because it is a little big, and the filter size is wrong.
10-18-2013, 01:41 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I wanted to go from as wide as possible (given small and lite) to really no longer than 85mm. Beyond that the physical size just grows.
Since you seem OK with manual lenses you might also like the Pentax M135/3.5 which is about as small as you can get in telephotos.
10-18-2013, 05:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I have been somewhat going after a set of primes over the last 5 years, that are physically small and lite weight, however have an excellent blend of sharpness, overall IQ, resolution, character and color.
  • Contax Zeiss 28mm f2.8 Distagon
  • Pentax 31mm f1.8 Limited
If smallness of the total package is a criterion,
I'm surprised that you'd take both these lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I wanted to go from as wide as possible (given small and lite) to really no longer than 85mm. Beyond that the physical size just grows.
The Voigtlaender 180/4 is only 15% longer than the FA 31 (79mm versus 69mm).

10-18-2013, 06:32 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
All I am interested in now is to wander around and shoot some interesting images.
How do you go about changing lenses on the run?
I find I have to look around for a park bench or something to sit the lenses on, If I try to do it standing up these days there is too much risk of dropping a lens while I change over.
Last trip I just had a small holster bag with strap with 2 lenses and no strap on the camera, but it is too much to hold the camera in one hand and get the lenses out with the other.
10-18-2013, 06:44 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
How do you go about changing lenses on the run?
I find I have to look around for a park bench or something to sit the lenses on, If I try to do it standing up these days there is too much risk of dropping a lens while I change over.
Last trip I just had a small holster bag with strap with 2 lenses and no strap on the camera, but it is too much to hold the camera in one hand and get the lenses out with the other.
I just put them on the ground
10-18-2013, 08:17 AM   #11
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Well if I want to travel light I wouldn't take any lens to change, just one attached to the camera.
10-18-2013, 08:22 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Well if I want to travel light I wouldn't take any lens to change, just one attached to the camera.
Also dual camera A used K10D is cheap!
10-18-2013, 08:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
DA 21mm Limited f/3.2
F 28mm f/2.8
DA 40mm Limited f/2.8
F 50mm f/1.7
DA 70 mm Limited f/2.4
Oh, I want the 21 and 70 so badly to complete this kit. Might even leave the F28 and F50 at home
10-18-2013, 11:39 AM   #14
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@Ron and Andi -- am starting to think that two cameras -- a K-01 with the 35mm f/2.4, for walkaround, and my K-30 left in the car with its 55-300mm for airplanes and sports -- might be the simplest and most useful approach.

What do you think? As for the prime on the first camera, this gets into personal choice really fast... I like the field-of-view of the 35mm, but others may prefer a wider angle, like the 21mm. So many choices, so little money!
10-18-2013, 12:01 PM   #15
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I think the thread needs lens pictures so here's mine. The Sigma Superwide II 24mm f2.8, Pentax FA 35mm f2, Pentax-F 50mm f1.7 and Pentax-M 120mm f2.8.




I would start with the DA 15/4 if I had money, skip the Sigma, keep the FA 35/2, swap the F 50/1.7 for a DA 70/2.4 and keep the 120.
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