Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-17-2015, 04:34 PM   #1
amateur dirt farmer...
Loyal Site Supporter
pepperberry farm's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,250
prime, prime, everywhere a prime...

OK - now that I've had my K-50 for about four months, I'm ready to continue learning and expanding what I can do with it.... so....

I need a prime lens... and I have questions...

I have spent the last two weeks, absorbing as much as I can about primes - reviews, comparisons, etc...

What i want a prime for: portraits, landscape and as a walking around lens...

Is a 35 mm lens that much of a different view than a 50 mm? Is an aperture of f1.8 that much more noticeable in low light than an f2.4? Should I be looking only at autofocus lenses vs manual?

I've read from end to end the thread on old manual lenses and how great they are - but is it really just the 'neat' factor of using an old lens vs a new 'plastic fantastic'?

guidance, advice and criticism... all welcomed.....

03-17-2015, 04:55 PM - 4 Likes   #2
Pentaxian
Na Horuk's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Slovenia, probably
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 11,183
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
Is a 35 mm lens that much of a different view than a 50 mm?
Yes.
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
Is an aperture of f1.8 that much more noticeable in low light than an f2.4?
Yes, there is a noticeable difference between f1.8 and f2.4. But keep in mind that 35mm is wider, so you can get away with a longer shutter speed before motion blur will be noticeable, so this is not such a big low light advantage as it might seem. But f1.8 at 50mm will render a much shallower DoF and bigger bokeh blur. Big difference for portraits with shallow DoF for subject isolation, for example. Not to say that shallow DoF is something to be valued, but it is a tool that can be useful.
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
I've read from end to end the thread on old manual lenses and how great they are - but is it really just the 'neat' factor of using an old lens vs a new 'plastic fantastic'?
Different lenses might render images differently. Old lenses tend to have the classic "film" look. Some old lenses are very good even by modern standards, others are funky or have a pleasing effect despite their shortcomings. Sometimes they are so cheap that you can ignore their flaws. It comes down to what you need as a photographer. If you always rely on AF, don't buy a manual lens. If you don't want to spend time to learn about M mode, don't buy a manual lens.

Btw, there are many threads about DA 35mm f2.4 vs. DA 40mm XS vs. DA 50mm f1.8. Usually the DA 35mm gets most votes for "first prime to buy" because it has a more comfortable field of view and can be used for most everyday stuff. DA 50mm is preferred if you want artsy shallow DoF photos, portraiture, things like that. I would not recommend the DA 35mm for portraiture, at least not of just a person's face, due to distortion - faces start to look round.
DA 40mm XS has slightly higher build quality than the other two and is generally a nice lens, quite sharp, very contrasty. Basically you get the DA 40mm ltd for a much lower cost, with a couple missing features.

I'd say buy DA 35mm f2.4 and older A 50mm f1.7. A series are not fully manual, but don't have AF.
03-17-2015, 05:13 PM - 1 Like   #3
hcc
Pentaxian
hcc's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,631
You asked a a hard one. There is no single best lens. It will depend upon yourself, what you like to shoot, how you like to shoot and what you expect.

I can simply share my own experience for a prime for portraits, landscape and as a walking around lens. I have one lens that fits the bill (for me): the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4.

It is a MF lens, metallic and very sturdy, superb IQ. Why it is my fav for the job? Because the VL58mm gives me the best outcome for all type of weather, incl. fogg, smoke, smogg and appalling lighting conditions. It works for me great and it is not bad at portrait, although I prefer the FA77mm for portrait.

There is no simple answer to your query and I can only share my experience.
03-17-2015, 05:19 PM   #4
amateur dirt farmer...
Loyal Site Supporter
pepperberry farm's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,250
Original Poster
experiences and opinions are exactly what I am looking for - thanks for sharing!

03-17-2015, 05:26 PM - 3 Likes   #5
Veteran Member




Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 897
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
OK - now that I've had my K-50 for about four months, I'm ready to continue learning and expanding what I can do with it.... so....

I need a prime lens... and I have questions...

I have spent the last two weeks, absorbing as much as I can about primes - reviews, comparisons, etc...

What i want a prime for: portraits, landscape and as a walking around lens...

Is a 35 mm lens that much of a different view than a 50 mm? Is an aperture of f1.8 that much more noticeable in low light than an f2.4? Should I be looking only at autofocus lenses vs manual?

I've read from end to end the thread on old manual lenses and how great they are - but is it really just the 'neat' factor of using an old lens vs a new 'plastic fantastic'?

guidance, advice and criticism... all welcomed.....
If you want one prime lens for all, I recommend FA 31 1.8. One lens to rule them all...

Cheap alternative : da 35 2.4 or da 50 1.8 or fa 35 f2 or fa 43 1.9...
03-17-2015, 05:30 PM   #6
Pentaxian
stillshot2's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Photos: Albums
Posts: 876
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
What i want a prime for: portraits, landscape and as a walking around lens...
A landscape lens and a portrait lens are usually two different types of lenses. The rule of thumb is that portraits are taken at 85-135mm (give or take) and landscapes are usually wide angle, yet I've seen some nice landscape photos at longer focal lengths. And you say you want a good walk around lens too. Hmmm, I'm going to suggest the DA 50mm 1.8 since it is very affordable and can somewhat meet all these requirements. I like mine a lot, and if 50mm is ever a little tight indoors I just turn the camera sideways to portrait orientation and nearly always get the shot I want just fine. I find old "K" and "M" manual lenses a little bit of a hassle because you have to use the green button and stop down before a photo, and using auto iso is out of the question. "A" lenses can be used in more than just manual mode but cost more and still only have the option of manual focus.

Last edited by stillshot2; 03-17-2015 at 06:55 PM.
03-17-2015, 05:31 PM   #7
Pentaxian
SpecialK's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: So California
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 15,540
By (my) definition no prime is a "walk around" lens unless you are only looking for compositions that fit in its arbitary rectangle. Zooms are far more versatile for a wide variety of shots - if you are looking for them. So it's up to you to decide what method of shooting you want to do. If your subjects are stationary and approachable - statues, buildings, museum exhibits, etc, primes are nice. For fluid and moving subjects at random distances, a zoom may be handy.

Fast = weight, size and usually $$$. If you are a daylight shooter, a slower lens may be just the thing for you. And, you can manually focus an auto-focus lens, but not vice-versa.

This might be handy.

Focal length comparison tool, Tamron USA
03-17-2015, 06:42 PM - 3 Likes   #8
Pentaxian
redrockcoulee's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Medicine Hat
Posts: 2,188
I shot with manual focus prime lenses only for 14 years, back when they were only called lenses. I still use manual focus primes on my Hasselblad. With my Pentax I have 4 AF and I MF prime lenses. If I was in your place I would start with the DA 35 2.4. It is a good lens, inexpensive and is a normal focal length for your camera. With MF to start you are testing out if you like using primes at the same time you are seeing if you like to manual focus. Try the 35 2.4 and if you like primes pick up a manual focus 28 or 50 as they are cheap. After that look t the guys with hundreds of lenses and decide if you want to join them in their insanity.

03-17-2015, 06:54 PM - 1 Like   #9
Senior Member




Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 120
A lot of good things have already been said here!

My personal experience was having bought a DA 50mm f/1.8 after the kit lens. It really impressed me! For portraits, I don't think the DA 35mm comes close (it was one of my next lenses). The DA 35mm never appealed to me, and I really only mounted it if I was trying to take pictures of multiple people in one area. It is a great, sharp lens, but I find that infinity focus is much too close to the camera for my tastes. It's also a bit more expensive than it's 50mm sibling. A very strong vote for the 50mm here for you! It could also be a smart move to buy the 35mm first and see if MF is something you are comfortable with, and then getting an older 50mm... Honestly though, I don't think the DA 50 has much going against it though. I'm pretty sure you won't regret buying it! :-)
03-17-2015, 06:59 PM - 4 Likes   #10
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,387
Evening,

I do landscapes, cityscapes and stuff. Having said that, knowing the why behind some of the recommendations, I find really helps. In terms of portraits, wide angle lenses do really poorly because they distort in order to pull in the wide view. That is why folks are recommending 50mm to 85mm to 135mm for portraits. Here are a few links that point up the differences.... and here is just a whole slew of images that drive home the point...A lens for landscapes. Well, any lens can be used for a landscape. What it comes down to is pretty much a two items. The view you want to capture and the foreground.
  • Let's say that there is a mountain range off in the distance with a trash filled gully right in front of you. Using a telephoto lens, you will just capture the mountains pretty close up - shooting "over" the gully.
  • Then there is the lake view right in front of you with the mountain's reflection in the lake. With a wide angle lens you can capture the lake with the reflection along with the mountain, all in one shot.
  • Ahhh, but you don't have a wide angle lens. No problem - just take the lens that you do have - let's say your 18-55 kit lens. Turn it down to 18mm - not wide enough, you say. Well then, shoot the scene in sections - panels with about 25% overlap. Then down load Microsoft ICE (its free), and it will stitch it together for you. Instant wide angle lens.
If you have a burning desire for a "prime" lens, I would suggest looking on Craigslist for a Pentax film camera. They usually come with a 50mm f2 attached - for about $20. It's a good lens, but not a f1.4 or f1.2, but it's manual focus and just a single focal length. You can compare the shots from it to your current lens and see what you like - without mortgaging your first born.

If you have the kit lens, just experiment with it (or them if you have the pair). Just set them for the desired focal length and go shoot something - instant "prime". The key is to go experiment with what you have to figure out what you like, and don't like.

03-17-2015, 07:13 PM   #11
amateur dirt farmer...
Loyal Site Supporter
pepperberry farm's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,250
Original Poster
so, it sounds like I may be searching for two lenses then, not just one...

one short prime, say 30 to 50 mm, and another prime, 80 to 135 mm...
03-17-2015, 07:17 PM   #12
Senior Member




Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 120
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
so, it sounds like I may be searching for two lenses then, not just one...

one short prime, say 30 to 50 mm, and another prime, 80 to 135 mm...
On APS-C, I think the 50mm is quite a good focal length! Something like 77mm is pretty great too, but starting with 50mm will give you a viable option! If you find yourself doing a lot of portraiture, it could be worth getting a longer lens. A 50mm I think would be a great single lens for your two needs though!
03-17-2015, 07:28 PM - 5 Likes   #13
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 14,921
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
What i want a prime for: portraits, landscape and as a walking around lens...

Is a 35 mm lens that much of a different view than a 50 mm? Is an aperture of f1.8 that much more noticeable in low light than an f2.4? Should I be looking only at autofocus lenses vs manual?

I've read from end to end the thread on old manual lenses and how great they are - but is it really just the 'neat' factor of using an old lens vs a new 'plastic fantastic'?
Curious what your background is in photography? Are you an ex-film geek like me or new to the whole thing?
Also what is your budget?

In the meantime let's see about these questions.

1) 35 vs. 50. The answer as indicated by others is accurate; this is a big difference. If you have the kit lens you can show this to yourself by taking a day to shoot nothing but 35mm or 50mm and then another day with the opposite requirements. The fact is that 50mm was the "Normal" lens on old film 35mm or current "Full Frame" digital cameras but on APSC which is the size sensor you have on the K50, the "normal" lens is a 35mm. The 50mm is more of a short telephoto and portrait lens (just at the low end of that range) However with room to move back this is less of an issue - indoors it is a problem, outdoors not so much.

2) AF vs. Manual. You will get many answers but MY answer is get the AF lenses for now. The ability to manually focus on the K50 is so so, through the use of Live View you can do focus peaking and you can use focus confirmation via the viewfinder but these are a poor substitute for split prism focusing screens like we used on manual film bodies.

3) Religion vs. Science. A lot of cult like info exists and few people take the time to be careful to directly compare old primes vs. today's lenses. There are many fantastic lenses of all ages - and some of the things that drive the acceptance of a lens vary from person to person. As an example, many older lenses exhibit significant purple fringing. Modern lenses are designed with this in mind and often (but not always) perform better in this respect. This is just one of many factors.

Now back to the start; a prime to fulfill these functions on APSC here is what I think of for each:
Portrait - typically between 50-135mm and large fast opening f/2.8 or better
Walk about - typically between 20-50mm (or larger range) and medium fast opening f/2.8 preferred but not required
Landscape - typically between 10-20mm and speed is not important since most shots will be f/8 or slower.

The point is these are three completely different optimizations. The specific focal range and f/stop can vary and there are plenty who would have different opinions, the point of my listing them is to give some guidance not to set anything in stone.

In terms of price I don't think you really set your budget out but let's talk about options.

A)DA 50 f/1.8, F/FA 50 f/1.7 - Long but usable for walk-about, fast enough for that and just long enough to use for portraits. F is the sturdiest, DA is the cheapest and most modern optimizations. All of these almost the same.

B) DA 35 f/2.4, DA 40 f/2.8 (Limited or XS version) - fits the walkabout category, fast enough, not too tight for "normal" perspectives. Doesn't provide that classic rangefinder street photography angle of view that the DA 21 or an FA 24 would provide. These lenses also fit the walk around but are more expensive.

C) Nothing particularly cheap in the landscape class that stands out. The DA 15 is fantastic but not cheap.

There is no single lens PRIME option that fits all of these but a two lens kit can come close. The DA 21 f/3.2 and the DA 50 f/1.8 (or F/FA 50 f/1.7) is probably the closest you can get. The 21 is a bit narrow for some landscapes but great as a walkabout and the 50 is a bit short for portraits but not bad. The fact that you can turn your camera vertical and use the 21 or the 50 to make a stitched panorama means the lack of the ultrawide landscape lens isn't really a huge loss. Where this fails is indoors where the distance minimum for the framing you want may not be there with the 50 and the 21 may seem too slow but don't be afraid to push ISO a bit.

The other way to go would be to get a high quality zoom like the 16-50 f/2.8 which fills all these roles and more.
03-17-2015, 08:53 PM - 8 Likes   #14
Pentaxian
Kozlok's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Albuquerque
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,298
Just buy one. Any one. Enjoy. After awhile, you will realize what you want that the first lens doesn't do. Then buy that one. Repeat. All choices are good.
03-17-2015, 09:08 PM   #15
Veteran Member
sterretje's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Roodepoort, South Africa
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,561
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
What i want a prime for: portraits, landscape and as a walking around lens...
One lens does not fit it all For portraits, something between 50 and 100; 35 is more suitable for full-body portraits. For walk-around something between 24 and 35; it will also make a good focal length for landscapes (although a lot of people prefer wider).
I suggest that you dig through your photos and inspect the exif for the focal length that you used for shots in the above categories that you really liked; it might give you an idea which focal length to get.

QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
Is a 35 mm lens that much of a different view than a 50 mm? Is an aperture of f1.8 that much more noticeable in low light than an f2.4? Should I be looking only at autofocus lenses vs manual?
Put your current zoom on 35mm; what do you see? Put it on 50mm? Is there a big difference in what you see?

With regards to the difference between f/1.8 and f/2.4, it's one stop. But I'm always disappointed how quickly I have to increase ISO when it starts getting dark, even with a f/1.8 lens.

Manual focus lenses is fun. If you're looking for a lens that allows you to point-and-shoot, get an AF lens; MF takes a bit more time. Personally I don't use MF lenses in low light as I have difficulty focusing under those conditions, even with a split prism screen.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
budget, cost, couple, da, f/3.5, k-30, k-50, k-mount, length, lens, lense, lenses, light, mm, night, pentax k30, pentax k50, pentax lens, plan, primes, review, settings, slr lens, thread, vivitar, vs, wind
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Gone a little prime crazy StevenMatchett Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 22 09-23-2013 05:49 AM
Nature A four (prime) lens walk normhead Post Your Photos! 12 05-16-2013 07:08 AM
Prime m -> prime ii RonHendriks1966 Pentax K-30 & K-50 4 05-23-2012 10:38 AM
K Prime vs. M Prime multiweb Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 28 02-23-2012 03:32 PM
Pentax prime vs Nikon prime ladybug Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 58 09-19-2010 01:03 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:48 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top