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03-25-2014, 11:58 PM   #1
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Prime Lens - looking for advice

Im looking to buy a fast prime lens to add to my collection, mainly to take with me on social events.im looking for something compact and light as well. i already have a MF 50mm f1.4 but its not very convenient trying to focus manually in low light, even though its probably my favourite lens so far. Anyway, ive narrowed it down to 3 lenses, well these 3 that i can afford anyway. the prices indicated are from my local dealer

SMC Pentax - DA 40mm F2.8 LIMITED: 390.00 euro (can be found on ebay for around 300 euro new from japan)
SMC Pentax DA 35mm F2.4 AL: 150.00 euro
SMC Pentax DA 50mm F1.8: 160.00 euro

is the limited that much better optically over the other two to justify the price, even though the other 2 are faster?

if i proceed with the limited, and buy on ebay, there is a great possibility that i would pay extra for import charges and customs.do i risk it, or do i buy locally even though it might be a little more but avoid any hassle in the future for possible services during the warranty period?

which one would you guys go for?

03-26-2014, 12:18 AM   #2
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I'd also be interested in the answer to this. That is, 1 versus 3 above.
03-26-2014, 12:39 AM   #3
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just got a reply from the dealer and gave an extra 20 euro discount (370 euro) for either black or the silver edition.
there is also the option to buy the ltd used for around 220 euro.
Also found the HD version new on ebay for 340 euros (+import charges).

So to summarize it up :

SMC Pentax - DA 40mm F2.8 LIMITED: 370.00 euro (can be found on ebay for around 300 euro new or 220 used from japan) - (may incl. additional charges for customs/tax)
SMC Pentax - HD DA 40mm F2.8 LIMITED 340 euro new from ebay in japan (may incl. additional charges for customs/tax)
SMC Pentax DA 35mm F2.4 AL: 150.00 euro
SMC Pentax DA 50mm F1.8: 160.00 euro
03-26-2014, 12:45 AM   #4
hcc
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QuoteOriginally posted by schnitzer79 Quote
I i already have a MF 50mm f1.4 but its not very convenient trying to focus manually in low light
I am surprised by your comment. In low light, MF is possibly the fastest way to shoot. You may consider to use the distance markings on the (MF) lens to pre-focus.

Your MF50mm f1.4 is a fast lens. All the other lenses will not be fast enough in low and very low light, but the DA50mm f1.8.

Have you considered the SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited? The FA43mm is fast and well-regarded. You may find one 2nd hand that may fit your budget.

My 5 cents.....


03-26-2014, 01:14 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by schnitzer79 Quote
SMC Pentax - DA 40mm F2.8 LIMITED: 390.00 euro (can be found on ebay for around 300 euro new from japan)
SMC Pentax DA 35mm F2.4 AL: 150.00 euro
SMC Pentax DA 50mm F1.8: 160.00 euro

is the limited that much better optically over the other two to justify the price, even though the other 2 are faster?

if i proceed with the limited, and buy on ebay, there is a great possibility that i would pay extra for import charges and customs.do i risk it, or do i buy locally even though it might be a little more but avoid any hassle in the future for possible services during the warranty period?

which one would you guys go for?
No, the Limited is not that much better. In fact, I don't even like it as much. Its main attraction is the novelty of its small size, being a true "pancake" lens.


The DA40 isn't bad, but it's not that special either. And I normally look for some degree of "special" in a lens, especially one that costs over $200. I always compared photos from it to the FA43, so my comments should be considered in that light. Between the 2, there was no reason to go for the DA40. Go up to the FA43 if you can. If cost is a factor, then go down in price to the DA35/2.4 (which I'd rather have anyway). I bought a DA35/2.4 for my daughter, and I'd owned 2 copies of the FA35 it's based on before that.

I'd get both the DA35/2.4 and the DA50/1.8. Try to get them used. Recently they were going for approx. US$185 and US$115 new, respectively (after an instant Pentax rebate, and possibly bundled with a camera). So perhaps you can get a better price on them.



In the end, however, you have to decide for yourself. My favorite places to compare photos taken with these lenses:

DA40: PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model
FA43: PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model
DA35/2.4: PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model
DA50/1.8: PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model

PBase: Pentax smc DA 35mm F/2.4 AL Lens Sample Photos and Specifications
pixel-peeper: Pentax Lenses on Pixel-Peeper
03-26-2014, 01:19 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote


I am surprised by your comment. In low light, MF is possibly the fastest way to shoot. You may consider to use the distance markings on the (MF) lens to pre-focus.

Your MF50mm f1.4 is a fast lens. All the other lenses will not be fast enough in low and very low light, but the DA50mm f1.8.

Have you considered the SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited? The FA43mm is fast and well-regarded. You may find one 2nd hand that may fit your budget.

My 5 cents.....
well, even in low light, its never easy to shoot at f1.4 for the best sharpness.always ended up shooting around f2. maybe you're just more experienced than me in MF. still cant see how the ltds AF wont be faster than MF.
the lens wont be exclusively for low light situations but it would be an advantage if it could perform well in those situations. just looking for a small, compact, lightweight prime and even at f2.8, i believe the ltd is sharp wide open.
as for the 35mm read some reviews with back focus issues and im a little worried there, even though 35mm is the perfect focal length...the 50mm f1.8 even though its fast, its probably last on my list since i already have a 50mm (even though its MF) plus its a tad long for my needs.still worth considering due to the low price.
03-26-2014, 01:22 AM   #7
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I think it's hard to go wrong with any of those, but as hcc says, it's worth considering the FA43/1.9 as well.

Tha DA40 is a bit slower, but is also the only one(s) with quick-shift, which I would consider a plus in low light. The main thing the 35 and 50 have is good IQ for a low price. And for me 35mm or 40mm would generally be better focal lengths for indoor use, but that's more of a personal preference.

My 2 bits
03-26-2014, 01:27 AM   #8
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The DA 40 is very nice, built like a tank, and very even IQ across the frame. No problem using it wide open. But f2.8 is 2 stops slower than f1.4, which is a large handicap if low light is the problem. But it is tiny, if that's important to you, easily carried in jeans pocket! How many lenses can you say that about? As for autofocus and poor light, it depends on the camera. The K3 is markedly better than the K5 at this. It has to be very dark for the K3 with DA40 to miss focus. I just tried a shot that needed ISO51200, 1/13, f2.8 (which is DARK), and it was perfectly in focus!

Still, a f1.4 or f1.8 may be more in line with your needs.

03-26-2014, 01:29 AM   #9
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i have considered the FA43mm but it was out of my budget. cheapest one was 400 euros used (+ additional import charges). they were in good condition except for some minor dust inside. id prefer to buy a new DA40mm than a used FA43mm just for that peace of mind. quick shift is definitely a plus.
i agree that the 35mm and 40mm would be better suited for indoor use + social gatherings etc but really thought that the da40mm ltd was a lot lot sharper than the 35mm f2.4. i mainly check the lens reviews and scores on this site and the 40mm is up there with the best
03-26-2014, 01:52 AM   #10
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As you already have 50mm prime - get 35mm. It is more convenient for group shots, and for isolated portraits you still can use manual 50mm with focus peaking. Actually, it is even better to have aperture ring - doing focus peaking with A/DA lenses camera stops down aperture; thus manual aperture setting is more precise because it allows to focus with wide opened lens. About 40mm - IMO you have to like this FL to buy such lens. When I shoot with 35mm, I more often think that I need 30mm than 40mm, but thats personal .

A.
03-26-2014, 02:03 AM   #11
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Being that social situations are sometimes in tight spaces, two other lenses I'd consider are the F and FA28.

If the DA35/2.4 is wide enough, it'd be my first choice. 2nd would be the FA28, and third would be the F28 (I've owned all 3).
03-26-2014, 02:26 AM   #12
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My 5 cents :- if you want fast lens (low light), just go for prime with aperture 1.4 or 1.2 :-)))))......try check for 55mm f1.4 DA*


I am just using classic SMC M 50mm f1.4 manual lens....
03-26-2014, 02:31 AM   #13
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ok the lens is not just for low light. it could be used on a bright sunday afternoon where i need something small and light to carry with me with good sharpness. however it would be beneficial if it was a good performer in situations where the light was not so good i.e. restaurants and other indoor gatherings...
so to sum it up, the big price difference between the 35mm and 40m ltd is mainly due to construction and not IQ? im quite surprised actually
03-26-2014, 03:48 AM   #14
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anything above 35 is too long for indoor social events, unless you wat to take close portraits. but you can use your 50 for these. so ether take the AF 35/2.4 or a MF 28.
f/2.4 is not bad, because you want to have more than one person in focus anyway and f<2 is no use then. i usually take my 35 at f/4 to f/5.6. a flash if i can and high iso if not.

rgds,
gerd.
03-26-2014, 04:22 AM   #15
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The 35/2.4 would be my choice of those three. It's cheap, pretty fast and highly regarded.

I found the DA40 too small and fiddly, and like DSims I found it optically sound, but not "special". The FA43 pushes my buttons despite its limitations.

The DA50/1.8 is well thought-of, but you already have two fast fifties, including an autofocus version with a reputation for beautiful bokeh if not stellar sharpness at wider apertures. If it wasn't for the FA43 (and DA*55) I would still have my FA50/1.4

So, in a nutshell, save up and get a FA43
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