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11-03-2013, 03:15 PM   #1
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Looking for a "general" prime

Hey guys,

I currently own a K5, DA18-135mm, and a SMC-A 50mm f/2. I've been really wanting a nice "overall" prime lens. I've been eyeing a DA Limited 35mm f/2.8 macro, but it is a lot of money. Also, I really like FAST lenses. Some m42 lenses have caught my eye, like the Takumar 35mm f/2... but I'm afraid the IQ wouldn't be as good as the Limited lens.

The FA 31mm F/1.8 is what I'd really want.. but of course, it's over a grand, and I don't really want to spend more than $400. If there's anything similar to it for a cheaper price, I'd be fangirling.
Anyway, shoot me some suggestions! I know there are always some old gems out there, but at this point the 35mm f/2.8 limited is the best option it seems, although it's a bit too slow by my standards.


11-03-2013, 03:24 PM   #2
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If you can find a used SMC Pentax A 28/2 out there it might fit the bill. Manual focus but auto aperture and just about the perfect "normal" focal length for APS-C.
11-03-2013, 03:26 PM   #3
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I am still mulling over getting a 31mm. In the back of my mind I am sure I will fall in love with it once I get it.

For now I am using a Pentax F28 f2.8...that focal length I have found is superb. It's not the fastest of lenses but the results are good. I am having to alternate my purchases because I have so many expensive things I want as well as to save money... plus with Christmas coming up my bank account is going to take another hit.

If I had the money I could blow through 100,000 dollars in no time...all my hobbies are super expensive

Right now the 28mm is my most used lens, yet it's the one I have owned the shortest time. Maybe I will revert back to others later on...but I am finding that focal length is a great one for just generally walking around.
11-03-2013, 03:27 PM   #4
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I think the DA 35mm 2.8 is a good choice and you can often find then used for under $450. If I had to choose just one prime it would be that one but it really depends on what kind of photos you are taking. The DA 35ltd is lens that can do everything but excels in nothing which is why I think its a good "general" use prime.

11-03-2013, 03:31 PM   #5
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I just want to offer a vote of thanks for coining the word 'fangirling' - what a ripper

oh, and my suggestion would have been the 35mm macro as an all round lens, but you say it is too expensive. Don't be put off by the relative slowness of this lens though, it is truly a tiny gem.
11-03-2013, 03:31 PM   #6
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DA 40mm XS. Has the optics of a limited, but doesnt cost as much. Of course, the 40mm ltd has its advantages - quickshift, 49mm filter threads, lens hood, distance scales.. But I would recommend these because they are very sharp, have very low distortion, great bokeh, vivid colours, fast AF, and at 40mm on crop cameras they aren't quite as tele as a 50mm.. only problem might be some purple fringing wide open, and relatively slow max aperture. I prefer the 40mm XS over the DA 35mm f2.4, but that one is also a good lens. If you want 35mm, you can still get the 35mm ltd macro, or the FA 35mm f2.0 for bigger aperture.

Last edited by Na Horuk; 11-03-2013 at 03:43 PM.
11-03-2013, 03:38 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
DA 40mm XS.
+1. I can´t take it off my camera. And this little bugger has set my mind on getting the DA21 and DA70. If there were XS versions of these two, I´d have 2 sets just in case.
11-03-2013, 03:42 PM   #8
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I have never tried the XS but I own the DA40 limited and I can thumbs up that one too for focal length and for excellent sharpness.

11-03-2013, 04:05 PM   #9
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+1 to both Sandy Hancock's and Na Horuk's suggestions. If you don't mind the manual focus (and I'm guessing you don't, since you have the A 50mm f/2) then the A 28mm f/2 would fit your described needs/specifications. I think a lot of people forget about the DA 40mm XS and the fact that it doesn't have to live on a K-01, plus it's surprisingly affordable. The only downside, at least if the PF reviews are any indication, is the XS 40mm has a downright irritating lens cap. If it were me making this decision, I would not get the 40mm only because it's so close to the 50mm prime focal length you already have.

And while we're on the subject of 40mm lenses, don't forget, there is also the SMC Pentax-M 40mm F2.8 which is a nice pancakey lens and can be had for a nice price, and the Vivitar 40mm f/2.5 VMC Pancake. It looks like the M 40mm 2.8 get's OK ratings, though not as stellar, obviously, as the 40mm ltd. - Interestingly, on Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page the M40 and 40mm ltd. have nearly identical optical formulas, but it looks like the newer limited lens has been tweaked slightly. As for the Vivitar, I don't know how common that lens is; the only reason I know about it is because it once showed up in the Marketplace.

I have a DA L 35mm f2.4 and it is a nice little lens if you don't mind the plastic mount. Digging around Bojidar's page showed it appears to be a tweaked version of the FA 35mm f/2. I don't know if f/2.4 is fast enough for you, but the focal length is a comfortable distance from your 50mm prime to make it worth swapping lenses in the field. I find the image quality to be pretty good, certainly decent wide open. I bought mine at or near the lens' original price, about $240, when it first came out, but now you can find them new for less than $200.
11-03-2013, 04:10 PM   #10
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I have the FA 31 as my general purpose lens and it is worthy of its reputation. I also have the DA 40 and still use it a lot for its size. If not for the 31, it would still be the number one walkaround lens. I had the 35 Macro and sold it only because I prefer longer Macro lenses.
11-03-2013, 04:12 PM   #11
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Don't forget the Sigma 30/1.4 if you want a fast normal prime. Some don't like it, I do.

Also, if you buy the 35Ltd used it will save you quite a bit. They are often available here in the forum for reasonable prices.
11-03-2013, 04:13 PM   #12
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For me 40mm is too long for general prime. If u can not afford fa31 then how about sigma 30mm f1.4?

Edit: one minute too late
11-03-2013, 04:22 PM   #13
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You may have to deal with the crop and run around and stretch more, but the FA50 f/1.4 has always been amazing to me. If you get to using flash, the 21 limited is also awesome. I use it for about half of my night photography.

I've done some work with the FA31 limited, but in my experience at least, it's easier to set up and frame shots with the 21, at least on APS-C. FF/Film is a whole different story: 500px / Untitled by Bryon Roché, that was at 1.8 @ ISO800.
11-03-2013, 05:14 PM   #14
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I have both the DA 40 Ltd. and the DA 40 XS (the latter only one day), but the XS has three other disadvantages compared to the Ltd. not mentioned here.

Focusing manually goes very light, so you have little feeling on the ring. You almost need to take your fingers off the ring before pressing the shutter to prevent displacing it. However, the ring is very close to the body so it's easy to touch it accidently after all. A second minus is it's short throw of about 60 degrees which makes focusing manually a minute job. A third difference is that the XS has no Quick-Shift.
11-03-2013, 05:29 PM   #15
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I am able to manually focus, but the viewfinder in the K5 makes it difficult at times, especially in dim light. This is with the 50mm f/2, by the way. The 28mm f/2.8, DA 40 Ltd., and DA 35 Ltd. seem like my most likely options right now. With my 50mm, I have an issue with softness and difficulty to get tack sharp focus.

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