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12-08-2013, 11:26 AM   #1
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Is it overkill to own both the DA 33m F2.8 Macro Limited & FA 31mm f1.8 Limited Lens

Went a bit crazy with the lens purchases on Black Friday, so I am trying to narrow down a couple suggestions. Looking for people to weigh in that have experience with my lens purchases. I have the following lenses SMC DA 10-17mm Fisheye, Pentax DA 15mm F/4 ED HD Limited, Pentax FA 31mm F1.8 Limited, SMC DA 35 F2.8 Macro, SMC DA 50mm F1.8, SMC 70mm F2.4 limited, SMC DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED, and Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG OS. I am keeping most of them but wanted your thoughts on the following choices:

1. SMC DA 10-17mm Fisheye vs. Pentax DA 15mm F/4 ED HD Limited - I kind of like the fisheye a bit more due to it's flexibility of being a specialty lens and a great wide angle. As far as photo quality, the 15mm may be slightly sharper but it isn't by as much as you would think. What are your thoughts?

2. I am keeping the FA 31mm limited, just questioning if I should keep the 35mm macro limited? Is it going to do anything for me that the 31mm won't. I love the 31mm, and question if owning both the 31mm and 35mm is overkill. What are your thoughts?

3. SMC DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED vs, Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG OS. I tried the Pentax lens and am pretty happy with it. I have yet to open the Sigma but the reviews are pretty positive. I want the sharpest lens, what are your thoughts?

I am keeping all the other. Left to my own i would return the 15mm HD lens, 35mm limited, and Sigma 70-300mm but that is just going by reviews and my initial first time use (in some cases) opinion.

FYI, I am pairing the lenses with my new Pentax K-5 II body. I have no other lenses besides what is listed.

12-08-2013, 11:34 AM   #2
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#1 is a personal choice, but the 15 has a near-rabid following around here so don't expect anyone to recommend selling it - except to themselves of course!
#2 I'd say the 31 is your lens unless you like macro from really close?
#3 the 55-300 fans are less rabid, but tests have pretty much been unanimous that in the price range it crushes all 70-300 lenses. The Sigma APO version comes close but weighs a relative ton.
12-08-2013, 12:04 PM   #3
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I've never used the 31mm but I love my 35 macro, especially the IQ. Differences from the 31? Smaller size, macro capability. Apart from that, it's down to your photographic style.

I'm not a fish-eye fan so I'd get rid of that.

Open the Sigma and test it, then decide. I have a 55-300 and very rarely use it, I'm not a long focal length shooter, so I'd be tempted to get rid of both of these, even if the IQis great, but that's just me.
12-08-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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The 35 will be wonderful on any current and future Pentax dSLR. In about 12 months the 31 should be better on a certain Pentax dSLR.

12-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #5
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I did a lot of research on PF before deciding on the FA 31 and DA 15 vs. DA 35 Ltd and DA 10-17 - I think you'll really appreciate the extra stop of the FA vs the DA 35 - downside, more CA but I think the image quality makes up for it. Also for macro, I agree w/ jimr-pdx - I have the D-FA 100 Macro, and even then I feel like I'm going to poke my subject with the lens element, would be really hard with the 35 to get that close to your subject, like a bee on a flower without getting stung...

If you have enough left over after the returns you could maybe get a DA* 60-250?! You can find them for black friday-like prices if you keep an eye on it on Amazon...
12-08-2013, 12:45 PM - 1 Like   #6
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1. I think the DA 15mm Ltd is a great, general-purpose wide angle lens. Check out the DA 15mm lens club on PF, and let your mind be controlled.

3. For the price, you won't likely do better than the DA 55-300.

2. The obvious feature of the DA 35mm Ltd is its macro capability. Although it's not a good focal length for taking macro shots of insects, it does allow one to get up close and personal with other subjects, as in this image. It's also a very good lens for general-purpose photography outdoors and indoors with low light levels. (I don't own the FA 31mm.)

- Craig


12-08-2013, 01:02 PM   #7
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c.a.m. that is a great shot.

Regarding the 31mm... I am keeping my eye on that lens. That's the top of my 'want list' right now.

I don't own the 31 and have never used it...but I own all the other limited lenses...except the 35.

Between those two though I would be 31 all day every day.
12-08-2013, 01:07 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Heck no. Having 2 copies of each is fine as long as your budget allows for it.

12-08-2013, 01:10 PM   #9
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Sold the DA35 macro. Bought the FA31. Love it, but I do miss the 35 for its great versatility. FA31 doesn't focus that closely and the wider FOV doesn't help.

If I was made of money I'd have both. But if I had to choose again, I might select the 35. It's more of an all-rounder.
12-08-2013, 01:20 PM   #10
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Bought the 35mm macro only used it once. My wife borrowed it and refuses to return it. I think she has it on her k-5IIs 80% of the time. She shoots a lot of food photography and the focal length / minimum focus distance is near perfect for that. Maybe not so good for bugs & stuff but what it does, very few other lenses can duplicate.
12-08-2013, 01:23 PM   #11
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I think people love the old limited 15mm. I have the new hd version and can't believe it is as good as the old version people rave about. I could be wrong but the lens doesn't seem worth the $500 price tag but the 31mm is worth the $900 price tag.

I really appreciate everyone's comments. It's a tough call but sounds like the sigma is the easy return. Johnmflores and several other comments have me in debated mode on returning this lens. I don't see a lot of value in the macro feature at this focal length either.
12-08-2013, 01:34 PM   #12
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PS - c.a.m. that is an amazing shot, I keep looking at it...great color and sharpness...
12-08-2013, 02:40 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
c.a.m. that is a great shot.
QuoteOriginally posted by slipdm16 Quote
PS - c.a.m. that is an amazing shot
Thank you kindly.

I think this is the type of situation in which the DA 35mm Ltd shines. Of course, not many of us - myself included - specialize in mushrooms!

There is always a trade-off between cost and personal budget. For roughly the price of a FA 31mm, at the time I was able to get the 35mm Ltd (first version) and had funds left for a good tripod.

However, the FA 31 is no doubt an excellent (exceptional?) lens.

- Craig
12-08-2013, 03:37 PM   #14
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I have both the 31 and the 35 macro, and don't plan on selling either one, though I might consider selling the 35 macro now. That's only because I have another macro lens and I just bought the 16-50, which may make the 35 the odd lens out. I'll see as time goes on.

I had originally bought the 35 macro first, I found one for a good price. It did not stop me wanting the 31, so about a year later I bought it, with the idea that I would sell the 35. But it just stayed in my camera bag, I really love having the small macro since my other macro lens is the Viv S1 105, and is another big, heavy lens. Since you don't have another macro lens I think keeping both makes sense.
12-08-2013, 03:42 PM   #15
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I use my FA31 below f/2.8 a lot. What about swapping the DA35 for a DFA1000 WR if you still want macro capability, at least this way you get a different focal length.
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