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01-23-2014, 09:39 PM   #1
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Favorite ~30mm lens recommendations

Hi all,

I need some recommendations. I have an FA 50/1.4 that I love, but I find it too long indoors and with small kids who feel the need to be ON ME the second the camera comes out. I picked up the DA 35/2.4 a while back to see if I liked the focal length and I really do. I'd just love for it to be faster for it to be my regular walk around lens (with the added bonus of great bokeh, please).

I'm eyeing up the Sigma 30/1.4. Is there anything else in that range I should consider? Pentax 31/1.8? I admit to being a prime addict but I could probably consider a zoom in that general range. Price is a factor, I'd love to find it used, but I'm expecting to save up and shell out quite a bit for this. I shoot with a K-5ii and a backup K-r, if it's a consideration. Probably wont upgrade my camera body for at least another 18m-2 years.


01-23-2014, 10:04 PM   #2
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I would think auto focus speed would be more important than aperture 'speed' for kids. I would use about f/5.6 and bump the iso to 800 or so, to give myself a fighting chance of avoiding mis focus and blurry shots. I think f2.4 is plenty fast enough as it is.

Off on a tangent...
I personally find my 35 is too narrow for indoors - have you considered the 21 (very fast focus) or even the 15? 15 is quite versatile and you can do both group shots and get in really close for fun photos that show the context of what is happening. Great lens with kids as you can fit a whole kid in from half a meter away and not miss focus. Once you start using the 15, it changes the way you think about composition. 15 also is very hand holdable in poor lighting due to the short focal length. Never regretted buying that lens and I think it's the main point of difference between Pentax and other brands.

So in summary, keep your 35 - it's fine. Get a 15 limited!!!!
01-23-2014, 10:50 PM - 1 Like   #3
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The Sigma 30 and Pentax 31 (at 2 or 3 X the price) both have fans. Someone should be along soon recommending an old manual 28 :-)
01-23-2014, 11:17 PM - 1 Like   #4
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How about the Pentax-A 28mm? :-)

Seriously if you want fast & 30mm then the Sigma and Pentax 31mm are your choices. The F or FA 28mm would work but both are slower.

How about the new DA 20-40 Limited? Seems perfect for chasing kids.

01-23-2014, 11:20 PM   #5
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I have the DA 35mm limited, the DAL 35/2.4 and the Sigma 30mm. Of those, the limited produces by far the best quality shots, but is slower than the 35mm lens you have now. I haven't had the Sigma for very long, but my experience with it at large apertures shows that it mis-focuses around 90% of the time on my K200D, even on static subjects in good light. If your camera is newer, I suspect it won't be that bad but I don't have the same problem with other lenses so the lens itself must be a factor. The pictures from it, when properly focused, get to what I would regard as really sharp at around f/3.2.

I can't recommend this lens for indoor shots of manic kids due to the focusing issues. The only thing I can think of is the FA 35/2, which is a bit faster than the newer version.
01-23-2014, 11:29 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
How about the Pentax-A 28mm? :-)

I'd agree here.

They're relatively cheap, and relatively fast for a 28 (the common ones are F2.8, but I think there was a faster version made as well?)

The only downside is manual focus, which with kids may be a dealbreaker...
01-23-2014, 11:55 PM - 1 Like   #7
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The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DG has been discontinued - the newer version isn't available in K mount (in any case both versions of that lens are complete rubbish, good riddance). The only current AF lenses faster than f/2.4 are either the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 or the FA31mm f/1.8 ASPH limited

Personally I think the FA31 is a superb lens for the K5II ( I have the K5IIs) sigma lenses are likely to need AF adjustment which is annoying to do with a fast f/1.4 lens . Pentax lenses typically focus perfectly on the K5II bodies.

01-24-2014, 12:07 AM   #8
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The FA*24/2 is a great focal length and it takes nice photos. IQ is very good at f/2.2.

I'll often pack it instead of the DA*16-50 if I don't really need the versatility of a zoom. Works well on the K-5 IIs.

I think the FA*24 often gets overlooked because it seems overpriced when you first look at it. But considering its usefulness, I don't think so. f/2 is actually pretty fast for that wide a lens. Sony/Zeiss, Canon, and Nikon 24mm primes may be a little better (and faster for the latter 2), but only at 2.5x to 3x+ the price (new)!

For example, when shooting running meets I'll typically take 2 or 3 long lenses plus the FA*24. The FA31, FA28, FA20, and DA15 stay home. It's significantly wider than the FA31, and significantly faster than the others.

Remember that most of the single fixed lens cameras that have come out in the last few years have virtually the same lens (e.g. the Fuji X100/X100S are APS-C with a 23/2, and the Sony RX1 is FF 35/2), so it's a good walk around choice.

Last edited by DSims; 01-24-2014 at 12:39 AM.
01-24-2014, 12:40 AM   #9

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Sometime back I compared a few wide angles including Sigma 30 and FA31, check it out.
01-24-2014, 06:52 AM   #10
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Ive had the M28 2.8, F28 2.8, Sigma 30 1.4 and the FA31.

I enjoyed both 28s, didnt really like the Sigma at all but the 31 is amazing, just in another league altogether.
If you just need a sharp lens with nice colours the 28s will do just fine.
01-24-2014, 07:04 AM   #11

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QuoteOriginally posted by geekkt Quote
Is there anything else in that range I should consider?
If the $1K price is within your budget,
I'd endorse @jatrax's suggestion for the DA 20-40.
Check out the

You're one iteration ahead of my K5 and K-x with your bodies,
but both of those are good enough at higher ISOs
for the f/2.8-4 apertures not to be a problem.
01-24-2014, 07:34 AM   #12
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I have a Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro I really like. It's not a small lens, but it's great indoors. It has the classic "what the eye sees" rendering.
I did rent a 21mm limited lens some time ago and while I liked it as a general use lens, it did not focus closely enough - which is why I chose a macro. The 21mm might be a great lens for your use, though. Plus, it's tiny.

You can also consider the 10-17 fisheye, which at 17 is more of an ultrawide.
01-24-2014, 08:09 AM   #13
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There's a DA 21mm for sale right now in the marketplace for $350.
01-24-2014, 08:27 AM   #14
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The FA 31 Limited is usable wide open, which is awesome. The bokeh is also really good. It's pricey though.
01-24-2014, 08:34 AM   #15
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