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10-25-2013, 08:06 AM   #1
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K5 enroute, what lens to get? 35mm macro?

After I sell my fuji system i can pay off my credit card balance and buy one lens for my "incoming K5" I am seriously considering the 35mm DA limited macro because its focal length lends itself well to a "walk around do it all type of lens" plus i really want a macro! However, with my current 35mm i find myself using panorama setting a lot to get a wide angle shot of landscape, city, etc. Ive been reading lens reviews like crazy and im a bit confused. I know people here rave about their Pentax limiteds, but the reviews that show MTF, corner sharpness it scares me. My fuji 35mm F1.4 is mega sharp, great color and contrast. the only fault is bokeh at f1.4 isnt smooth.

I have a pentax 55mm F1.8 i can use for portraits, id REALLY like a lens for macro or a lens for wide angle. I like the sigma/tamron 17-50mm because they are so easy to use for my wife and pretty sharp lenses. they are wide enough for landscape but can double as portrait lens and things in between.

I am really torn between these:
Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 *
Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 *
Pentax 17-70 F4
Pentax 35mm Macro *
Pentax 15mm limited
Samyang 14mm F2.8 *

I think typing this out, i answered my own question. im going with the 35mm macro unless anyone has any better suggestions. Ill continue to use panorama for my wide angle shots and then ill also have macro.

10-25-2013, 08:20 AM   #2
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Reading through your reasoning, I think you did answer your own question. Best of luck.
10-25-2013, 09:44 AM   #3
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I agree, if you want macro.. no point in getting a lens that doesn't have it. My choice was a SIgma 70 macro.. but I already had the DA 35 2.4 and a FA 50 1.8, but I didn't have a 70.
10-25-2013, 10:24 AM   #4
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There is a review here some where of these three lenses
Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 *
Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 *
Pentax 17-70 F4

and if i recall it said that the Sigma was the best, but the tamron was the most afordable.
Although i've also read here that the Tamron is no better than the 18-55 kit lens

Last edited by OldNoob; 10-25-2013 at 10:32 AM.
10-25-2013, 10:35 AM   #5
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I psersonally think the 35mm is a little short for a macro. I had a FA 50mm Macro that i swapped out for 100mm WR since it was too short. The latter I do not use for much work other than macro mostly because of the AF hunting. You may be better of getting a manual focus longer macro lens and supplement with a quality standard zoon. My 2 cents
10-25-2013, 10:36 AM   #6
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Hello Buttons,
It sounds to me like you've already decided, but I'll throw out another consideration for you to think about.
A 35mm prime is not wide enough for one of your primary purposes and you'll have to 'work around it' by stitching panos. Ok, compromise #1.
A 35mm prime is about the least-used focal length for macro. Too short, you have to get about 2 inches from the subject. At that distance, critters have already skittered off, bees get annoyed, the lens and body actually interfere with the available lighting and/or flash. Compromise #2.
There's a good reason 70mm to 105mm macros outsell 35mm macros by a huge margin.
My guess is, after using the 35mm macro for awhile, you'll keep it because it's sharp, fast and valuable. But you'll regretfully buy a 100mm macro because the 35mm is just too hard to use close-up. So, $600 for the DA 35 Macro and $500-$800 more for a 100mm Macro. $1100-$1400 smackers, sooner or later.
When you could just as easily buy a DA 35mmAL 2/4 (plastic fantastic) for $150-$180 and have $400 or more for a true macro, like the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 ($450 new), Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro($470 new), etc.
Or, buy the Tamron 17-50mm ($435 new) or Sigma 17-50mm $670 new) and save for the 100mm macro. No stitching, no compromise.
Last, two new lenses, the Tamron zoom and the Tokina 100 Macro, about $900 total. Both single-purpose, no compromise.
Choices, choices.....
10-25-2013, 10:53 AM   #7
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You should seriously look at the options for macro on the cheap as well. Things such as reversing rings and extension tubes can be used to turn any lens into a macros lens at a fraction of the cost. Just do a search for Thomas Shahan on google and you'll see what can be done with about 20 bucks worth of kit and an old manual lens. He has vids on YouTube showing his set up as well.
10-25-2013, 11:08 AM   #8
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No one focal length will really work as a single lens catch-as-catch-can, i.e., "walk around" lens. I would recommend a Sigma 17-70 for that, which focuses pretty closely as well. Used ones are about $300.

35 is a bit short for macro, as mentioned. For about the same price, you could get a Tamron 90 macro and a Pentax DAL 35.

10-25-2013, 06:11 PM   #9
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The original Sigma 17-70 is usually available used easily, and it has pretty OK macro, getting almost to 1:2. Not bad. The pics from that zoom are pretty good too. If I didn't need WR, I'd have that lens instead of my 18-135WR.

Edit: It's available right now in the market place for $270 from mechmike10:

I have the 35Limited, and it can indeed do absolutely everything. I used it as my single in...lens in August. I shot macro, landscape, close up, far away, I even did some birding with it. It's a frustrating lens to use, though. Just when you've got it almost in focus, it decides to focus elsewhere, and it racks back and forth and back and forth, and sometimes I just want to chuck it across the road. In even moderately low light, it focuses like crap. Just better off with manual focus. But then sometimes it's brilliant. It's really not a lens for someone in a hurry.

Typical macro stuff:

Some landscape:

And some birding:

10-26-2013, 12:20 PM   #10
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thanks for all the replies. maybe i should just get a tamron 17-50mm then a manual focus 100-105mm macro lens.
10-28-2013, 10:26 AM   #11
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If you want to get "really close" then you need longer than 35. If you intend to use flashes for macro, then you need longer than 35. If you don't want to scare away little critters, then you need longer than 35.

If you just want to be able to shoot still life close up, like pretty much lens touching the subject... and particularly if you prefer hand-held macro shooting, then the 35 is a fantastic option because it is a top-notch normal lens you can use for so much other shooting.

Sounds like you need something wide for your landscape and other needs. Don't overlook the 18-135WR. It's great from 21-70mm, good from 18-115, and if you're doing close-ups it performs well at 115-135. Just don't shoot it's long end at anything far away. That could be a nice complement to your 55.

If you're a prime person, then a 15 and a 35 with your 55 would be a great combo.
10-29-2013, 09:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by buttons Quote
I think typing this out, i answered my own question. im going with the 35mm macro unless anyone has any better suggestions.
Have you looked at the Sigma 28/1.8 EX DG ASP MACRO?

It is wider than the 35mm, but only a "normal" focal length on APS-C.
However, unlike the 35mm macro, it is full-frame capable, so a more future-proof investment, AFAIC.

Note that it is not a true macro lens in the 1:1 magnification sense, but it allows extreme close focusing. It is also very fast, sharp and can exhibit extremely nice bokeh.

This Sigma lens does not appear to get much love from Pentaxians, not that people have anything against it, but I don't see it being recommended as often as other lenses. I guess the reason is that it is rather large considering its focal length. But I feel that the size is warranted to make the optical performance possible and this lens should be a lot more popular based on its merits.
10-30-2013, 12:13 AM   #13
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How about the 21 mm Limited as your all around, "walk around lens", and adding a longer macro lens later. Alternatively get the 35 mm f2.4 DA "plastic fantastic" lens. The 35 mm f2.8 Macro Limited is a very good lens but by being a macro is a bit of a compromise as a general purpose lens.
10-30-2013, 08:51 PM   #14
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For those interested I went with a Tamron SP 17-50mm XR DII F2.8 lens for $260 shipped. that will be my general walk around, i may still use my 55mm F1.8 as a portrait lens, and then some manual focus 100-105mm macro lens.

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