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02-02-2015, 07:31 PM   #1
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Advice on 24mm and 200mm Prime lenses

I am looking for two lenses and would appreciate some advice please.


1. a compact high quality 24mm prime lens to run on my k-01 (or k-3) to use for "street photography", and
2. a compromise between price and quality 200mm prime to use on my k-3 for moderately distant nature shots and inside action or head/portrait shots in an auditorium.


1. 24mm Prime (for k-01 or k-3) for Street Photography
I would ideally like it to be sharp, at least 2.8 aperture and also have distance scales on the lens for Zone focusing or Hyperfocal focusing. I don't mind manual. From the forum database 2 Pentax lenses seemed to meet my criteria: the FA* 24mm f/2 AL IF and the A 24mm f/2.8. I have not yet checked non-pentax alternatives.


2. 200mm Prime (for k-3) for moderate distance nature, inside sports and head shots in moderate / poor light. Here I located 4 candidate Pentax lenses: Two k-mount lenses, the 200mm f/2.5 and the 200mm f/4; the A* 200mm f/2.8 ED and the A 200mm f/4. I must admit that the A* looks fantastic, but it is probably out of my price range.


BTW I do have a Tamron 200mm f/3.5 adaptall-2 Pentax-fit and a k-mount Pentax 300mm f/4. Unfortunately I cannot find the Tamron ... it is in the same box (somewhere?) as my old film camera. I am (still!) having difficulty with focusing, depth of field and contrast with the 300mm. I also have used a Sigma 120-400, for sports (soccer) qquite successfully but, when the light goes the ISO creeps up and noise takes over.


My question: Which pentax or pentax-fit lenses can you please recommend for these two purposes.


Thank you in advance for your suggestions.


Michael

02-02-2015, 08:00 PM   #2
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I have neither lens but from what I've read on the forums the past two years I think they are stellar and would meet your needs.

1) FA*24 F/2

2) DA* 200 F2.8
02-02-2015, 08:57 PM   #3
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I have the DA* 200mm F2.8 and I love it.


It is great for event photography, especially shooting from side of the stage.


It is great for animal photography when your subjects are tame and/or big. Frustrating to go after small and timid birds with the 200 on the camera instead of the 300.


Will post some examples when I'm at home.
02-02-2015, 08:58 PM   #4
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My DA*200 is f/2.8, weather resistant, sharp sharp sharp. Don't know your budget, but this lens can be found used for $650 and up. New lens is $900-$1200, depending on sales promotions.

I use the DA21, f/3.2 or FA 31, f/1.8 for street. Even the FA43, f/1.9 works nicely for walk about urban stuff. I do not have any experience with a 24mm lens.

02-02-2015, 09:01 PM   #5
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I struggled a bit with the 300mm F4 when I first got it. Stopped hand holding for a while and concentrated on using it on a tripod. Then I started to love it and now I am familiar enough with it to get decent hand helds.
02-02-2015, 09:42 PM   #6
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The DA21 is a little slower and a little wider, but it's a fabulous lens. I also have the A24. It's a fine lens, but the 21 is better.
02-03-2015, 12:00 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mekiAus Quote
From the forum database 2 Pentax lenses seemed to meet my criteria: the FA* 24mm f/2 AL IF and the A 24mm f/2.8. I have not yet checked non-pentax alternatives.
Have I already responded to one of your posts? These are my two favorites. I really liked the A24, but the FA*24 is a huge advantage to me now because of the AF, which I often rely on. The f/2 comes in more handy than you might think - very good IQ at f/2.2 is a real strength of this lens, and it makes it more versatile. This is what I'm sure I'd pick for most street photography, unless you want to get a dedicated camera with the same focal length (like one of Fuji X100 series cameras (there are three models now!)).

QuoteOriginally posted by mekiAus Quote
2. 200mm Prime (for k-3) for moderate distance nature, inside sports and head shots in moderate / poor light. Here I located 4 candidate Pentax lenses: Two k-mount lenses, the 200mm f/2.5 and the 200mm f/4; the A* 200mm f/2.8 ED and the A 200mm f/4. I must admit that the A* looks fantastic, but it is probably out of my price range.
Again, I would imagine you want AF sometimes. In this case the DA*200 is out, because the AF is too slow for some sports. True, it works in some circumstances, but it's the slowest focusing lens I've ever tried for sports. I kept it less than 2 weeks before re-selling it. IQ was still very good. Therefore get the FA*200/2.8 instead - same optical formula and faster focusing on your K-3. One forum member claimed the DA*200 focuses quickly on the K-3, but this would be virtually impossible unless there's a firmware fix I'm unaware of. Until I get more evidence I'll assume it's still slow-focusing on any body.

If you don't need AF the K200/2.5 (which I have) is very nice.

There's a pretty good chance you need to stop down the Sigma 120-400 a bit to get the IQ you want. Therefore a *300 (DA/FA/F) may still be a big upgrade. They're very good wide open, and especially strong when stopped down only 1/3 stop. Combined with their excellent overall IQ they make more difference than you might expect. I don't know if you're really sure you want the 200mm focal length (I find I can usually take only the F*300 and leave the K200/2.5 home, especially since it's not AF) or just the f/2.8 aperture. If you're not sure I'd lean toward a *300, since they have a little better IQ than the DA/FA*200, and 300mm often turns out to be a good or better FL anyway. Nevertheless, the FA*200 is still very nice.

Last edited by DSims; 02-03-2015 at 12:15 AM.
02-03-2015, 12:20 AM   #8
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I have the FA*24 and it is a very fine lens indeed. It is by no means compact though. My month spent with it recently can be seen HERE

Having said that, the DA21 is the natural partner for the K-01. It is *tiny*. My recent month with it is HERE, and a lot of them were taken on a K-01.

I have never used a 200mm prime, and frankly I would suggest it is a bit long for the K-01. One of any number of legacy 135's would fit the bill better.

02-03-2015, 12:42 AM   #9
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I have used the A24 and think it is OK, but I consider the FA20mm far better in sharpness, contrast and colour. I put the SMC Takumar 24/3.5 ahead of the A24 - a lens that is not only small but a pleasure to use. Never tried the FA24.

As far as 200mm lenses go, I can't comment except to say perhaps you could consider the Sigma or Tamron 70-200/2.8 - highly regarded lenses.
02-03-2015, 04:28 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Based on your criteria, it may be worth looking at the Sigma 24mm 2.8 Super Wide II

I have the MF version, it's compact, sharp, good metal build, has a focus scale. I have successfully used it for street photography, zone focusing. My only dislikes are that it flares somewhat into thesun, although a 3rd party rubber hood improves this, and the colours are maybe not as pleasing as Pentax lenses.

It's fairly common and cheap though, my as-new copy cost me 35 on eBay, so worth trying to see if it fits the bill for your needs.
02-03-2015, 04:31 AM   #11
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Here is a portrait with the 200mm F2.8, at F2.8 taken under a crummy fluorescent light in a car park. (During a workshop on using available light, including supposedly impossible light.)
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02-03-2015, 04:36 AM - 1 Like   #12
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And a portrait taken in good, soft light.
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02-03-2015, 04:55 AM - 1 Like   #13
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And actual wildlife.
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02-03-2015, 05:00 AM   #14
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I have the Sigma 24/1.8 EX and it is excellent in almost all regards. It doesn't meet your size desires (neither does the Pentax FA*/2 really), but in all other ways I am sure it would please you. It isn't great wide open (but not terrible either), but from f/2.2 on it is really pleasing to my eyes. Good sharpness, excellent bokeh and good results with flare and out of focus highlights. By far my most used lens and the reason I don't use my FA31/1.8 as much as I should.
02-03-2015, 05:00 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mekiAus Quote
24mm prime lens to run on my k-01 (or k-3) to use for "street photography"
On crop sensor cameras I found my 24mm to be a bit long for "street" work, I use almost exclusively my “Mistress" (SMC Pentax-A 15mm F3.5) or my "Good Lady” (SMC Pentax-A 20mm F2.8).

As for 200mm... IMHO you will not find a finer lens than the SMC Pentax-A* 200mm F2.8 ED, but then I'm a bit biased.

Unfortunately because of the company this lens keeps, she does not even make to full blown "Lady" status and is therefore often left back at base.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 02-03-2015 at 05:06 AM.
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