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04-23-2008, 02:27 PM   #1
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40mm Limited vs 18-55mm?

Recently became the owner of a Pentax SLR digital. It came with the 18-55mm, but I recently added the 18-250 which of course opens up an entire new world for this rookie weekend photographer.
Having checked out a thread in which someone asked what the favorite lenses were, many responses were for "Limited" lenses with fixed focal lengths (I apologize if I'm using incorrect terminology.) My question is a 2 part. If I were to go with a 40mm Limited lens, would I notice a large difference in the quality of the photo when compared to the same 40mm setting when taken on my 18-55 lens? What are the additional benefits with the Limited series lens?
Thanks in advance...

04-23-2008, 02:51 PM   #2
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Aside from much greater optical quality, you get a faster lense, meaning a larger aperture which lets in more light. Also, the build quality of the limited lenses, and the DA* lenses are much better than the regular DA series. If size is an issue for you, the da limited series is pretty tiny.
04-23-2008, 02:51 PM   #3
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Wow! This is a very straight-forward question, yet difficult to answer simply. I suppose that the best answer is this: There will be no major changes to your images using a fixed, or prime lens. But, there are improvements to the technical attributes of the image that you might notice. Things like sharpness, contrast, corner sharpness, etc. But the actual image is not improved.

The image is made by a photographer that has an eye for art, composition, and interesting subject matter. There are people that use disposable cameras to make wonderful images that hang in galleries! The lens is one of the lesser parts of the construction of a great photograph. The photographer is the most important part. If you started playing the piano, a Steinway piano isn't going to make you a better pianist, but it can produce richer sound.

That being said, I like the quality and sharpness of the Limited series. Crisp, sharp detail is something that I am interested in. But, there is nothing wrong with the kit lens. It makes some excellent images. Go to the Pentax Photo Gallery to see some of the wonderful pictures taken with the kit lens:

PENTAX Photo Gallery

Last edited by TomInJax; 04-23-2008 at 03:25 PM. Reason: clarification.
04-23-2008, 03:06 PM   #4
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Compared to the kit lens @ 40mm, the 40mm limited should be:

-faster (better for low light)
-less vignetting
-not only shaper in the center, but across the frame
-less CAs
-smaller physical size

If you like charts and graphs, here is a link for the 40mm limited test results, and the kit lens test results. Should show some of the differences you might expect between the two.

04-23-2008, 03:26 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fritz Quote
Compared to the kit lens @ 40mm, the 40mm limited should be:

-faster (better for low light)
-less vignetting
-not only shaper in the center, but across the frame
-less CAs
-smaller physical size

If you like charts and graphs, here is a link for the 40mm limited test results, and the kit lens test results. Should show some of the differences you might expect between the two.
Sorry..."less CAs"?...
04-23-2008, 03:31 PM   #6
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CAs = Chromatic aberrations. Here is a link with an explanation.
04-23-2008, 03:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by beaumont Quote
Sorry..."less CAs"?...
chromatic aberration.
04-23-2008, 04:42 PM   #8
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depends on what you shoot and what you want to accomplish. If you want snapshots of stuff going on around you, stick with the 18-250 and be happy.

If you want to learn the art of photography, then you have some thinking to do. People used to working with a zoom will often be frustrated by a prime lens. And there is no single answer as everyone has different styles/types of shots, and often these evolve over time.

One thing to do is to take a bunch of photos then look through them afterwards and notice what focal length you used (should be in the meta data of your photo program). You might find that you shoot a lot at 18mm and a lot at 250mm. You might find that in fact you end up shooting mostly from 40-50mm. Or some mix. Different focal lengths present different opportunities to "make" an image. It depends on what/how you see things, and then what/how you want to capture it.

The reality is that for most people the image quality of a typical zoom lens is fine. A good prime will generally get you more contrast, less nasty artifacts as listed above, and will usually have subtly better color, sharpness, etc. You might not notice a difference. Or you might see a big one. Depends on the person.

For me zooms are convenient but otherwise I dont' really like them. I don't mind "walking" to get the shot, but I have my eye and what I see. I'll go out with a prime lens and just shoot what I can. Often "limitations" are the fuel for creativity. Zooms can make you lazy. But again, it comes down to personal preference and style.

04-23-2008, 05:14 PM   #9
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I really enjoy using my DA 40mm. I have also found that using it exclusively on several occasions has helped me to improve my composition, compared to using a zoom lens.

It's also a really nice lens for doing street photography, since it's so compact, people seem to find it less threatening than a longer lens (unless it's just my imagination), and f2.8 is fast enough for hand held high iso photos in the evening.

Occasionally I do wish it were just a little bit wider though...
04-23-2008, 08:32 PM   #10
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da 40mm f2.8. limited

buy it. while it last.

a unique lens. very fast and crisp. easy to handle for walk around.


---
04-23-2008, 09:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by fearview Quote
buy it. while it last.

a unique lens. very fast and crisp. easy to handle for walk around.---
Agreed. Consider it an investment as prices are going up. I just had a 40 limited in my hands and sold it.

<=== (* kicks self *)
04-23-2008, 10:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by fearview Quote
buy it. while it last.

a unique lens. very fast and crisp. easy to handle for walk around.


---
I did buy it, and just received it today. All I can say is, WOW! I think I'm going to like this one a lot.
04-23-2008, 10:51 PM   #13
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@fritz

it will be hard for u to leave home without that lens. mine always on my camera bags.congrats.
04-24-2008, 03:50 PM   #14
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Thanks muchly for all of the feedback and expertise. In my short time here, I am always impressed by the pertinant and interesting feedback. Thanks for taking the time...
04-24-2008, 04:45 PM   #15
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@ Fritz - I've got that one as well, and I don't leave home without it.

@ beaumont - honestly, set your 18-250 @ 40mm and try shooting all day without zooming one bit. If you find the focal length very useful, go for it. If not, maybe one of the other limiteds is a better choice? If you find yourself wanting to zoom more, maybe a higher quality zoom would be a good choice as well. As was said, it's a very simple question, but so many factors go into the answer it's about as clear as mud.
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